The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, December 05, 2004
 

Congress: Pelosi's prime pork, Reid blows his trumpet


There's naturally been some talk in DEWDROP circles about the coronation of centrist, anti-abortion Harry Reid of Nevada as new Senate minority leader [1].

But, lest they get carried away with the comparison with his liberal House counterpart, Human Events has compiled a list of the pork snaffled from the trough by the snout of Rep Nancy Pelosi, including
• $2,123,000: Restore schooner C.A. Thayer

The which item, considering the fuss made about the couple of million allocated for Bush's yacht, one can't help feeling to be a tad unfortunate, presentation-wise.

In Pelosi's defence - a defence I would love to hear her make, by the way! - the total cost of these earmarks (around $15 billion a year, from memory) is chicken-feed compared to the total Federal budget. (Though huge in relation to campaign contributions - which these projects, in effect, are. Who says there's no public funding for American elections?!)

The big-ticket corruption comes with corporate state expenditure: defence procurement is the model, with the cost-plus contract (however that's dressed up) involving an effective partial nationalisation. And the model is modified and expanded to areas like Medicare (the prescription benefit) and social security privatisation (if Bush gets his way).

Guess who was on the list of those who broke the filibuster of the Medicare bill [2] twelve months ago?

Step forward, Harry Cœur de Lion!

Exactly how hard is he going to fight social security privatisation, I wonder?

  1. Isn't this supposed to be the Dem Barry Goldwater moment? Damn Kerry for losing by too small a margin!

    Reid has given an interesting interview to the New York Times (piece today). He seems to think that he is now (or is laying his claim to be) Numero Uno of the Democratic Party:

    I think the leaders of the Democratic Party are Reid, Pelosi, Richardson, still Bill Clinton
    - John Who? - though not necessarily, he says, in that order. And deigns to says that (emphasis mine)
    he did not intend to "hog all the TV shows or radio interviews," but instead hoped to promote Democrats in general. To that end, he has developed a "war room," an expanded communications operation that will be in charge of getting out the party's message at a time when Democrats can do little more on Capitol Hill than complain.
    And says
    I don't look at my job as a tyrant or a dictator.
    Dem Senators mightily disappointed to hear that, no doubt...

    He almost has a log cabin childhood - it was a wooden shack, apparently.

    And on the mistakes issue (emphasis mine):

    "I'm not like President Bush," he said, when asked if Democrats had made any mistakes. "I recognize that I made mistakes." Still, he would not say what he thought they were.
    On policies, he calls Bush's social security privatisation
    a sop to the big shots on Wall Street.
  2. Piece of April 16.

    The progress towards a corporate state under Bush I discussed on May 20 with the benefit of Nick Confessore's piece on the K Street Project. The essence is that Federal revenues that stay within the government can't be used to make campaign contributions; private sector revenues can; ergo, privatise: the private sector gets a rake-off as management fees, and a return for whatever risk it assumes (which, naturally, will be minimised!), and the pols get a rake-off as contributions.

    These privatised activities would nevertheless continue to be regulated by government; lobbyists certainly wouldn't be out of a job, and, since there are always 'improvements' to be made in regulations, there would be a need to grease the palms of the pols into the indefinite future.

    Everybody wins! Except the voters - and, for them, Harry Lime's speech up on the Reisenrad is as true today as it was in the 1940s:

    Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don't, so why should we? They talk about the people, and the Proletariat... I talk about the suckers and the mugs...
    In a piece (October 7) on the mega-porked corporate tax bill, I mentioned that one reason for sunset clauses were to ensure that lobbyists got another chance to earn fees for the same giveaway.

MORE

The two big ones for the CA Thayer aren't the first: last year, Pelosi was trumpeting $4.2m for the tub won in the 2003 raffle, to add to $4.6m and $1m in 2001 and 2002 respectively. Making a declared total for Nancy's Ark of just under $12 million!


SMALL WORLD

Human Events turns out to be published by none other that - Eagle Publishing, who - piece yesterday - also distribute Bob Novak's tip-sheet.

It's a jungle out there...


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