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Earmarks-Porkulus Beasts or Useful Prescriptions

Earmarks-Porkulus Beasts or Useful Prescriptions

Recently the debate over earmarks has begun to really heat up. No one seems to have shed much light on the issue or made the case “for or against” very well. Earmarks have gained notoriety because of their association with big pork barrel spending and outright bribery (think of Louisiana Purchase or Cornhusker Kickback) to get large spending and regulatory bills passed (think, more taxes and less freedom). Taking the easy button is, to say, “no more earmarks”. Alas, it is not so easy.

Earmarks have a very useful place in the Congress. The problem is the abuses that have been piled on by many to “bring home the bacon” to their districts and states, and their use in legislative bribery. Earmarks dedicated to exploring public policy issues or establishing outside commissions serve a very valuable function. For instance a bill to set up an outside commission to investigate: how the justice department is handling the release of Guantanamo detainees/the Black Panther case, EPA administratively imposed mandates, the war in Afghanistan or any other general public concern may have a hard time surviving a straight up or down vote in the face of a hostile majority or Presidential veto. Who would expect the administration, members of Congress or the judiciary to approve an outside investigation of themselves or their actions? And Lord knows we have a lot that needs investigating. However, if it is attached to a more looming and important bill it can survive. Such was the case for the outside commission investigating the Iraq war that led to the “Surge” recommendation, which resulted in a US and Iraqi win and shortening the war significantly.

Most recently the conversation between Congressman Frank Wolf and Neil Cavuto on Fox got very heated concerning earmarks. The case for or against was not made very well, due in part to interruptions by Mr. Cavuto, who already knew the answer he was looking for. As you can see from the above, the responsible answer to, “are you for or against earmarks?” is not always as simple as a “yes or no”.

Congressmen of either party, whether you agree with them or not, are due the respect of that office. It is the ability to have civil discourse that keeps the wheels of liberty oiled and rolling.

What the Congress needs to do is ban the use of earmarks for obvious pork projects and their use in bribery, and clearly define the allowed uses! The key is to get Congress to understand that, even in the Congress, bribery should not be legal. Congressmen should be held accountable to the same laws and standards as “we the people”!

Tom Whitmore  

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Take The Town Halls To Washington

Nationwide Tea Party Coalition - "Take The Town Halls To Washington"
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (March 5, 2010) - The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition is today announcing a new project, "Take The Town Halls To Washington", which is designed to bring tea party activists to Washington, DC during the month of March to meet, question and review the positions of approximately 60 Democrat members of the House of Representatives whose vote on the pending Health Care legislation has not yet been publicly announced. Tea Party Nation is a collaborating partner in the project.
Spokesman Mark A. Skoda, who is also Chairman of The Memphis TEA Party stated, "President Obama has indicated his willingness to ignore the people and force his bill through Congress using whatever means necessary. Our objective is to bring thousands of constituents to DC to meet with their representatives, capture their comments and produce a review of those positions on a daily basis. We believe that time is of the essence and the people need to understand where these representatives stand before any vote is taken."
Organizer, Michael Patrick Leahy further stated, "After more than a year of tea party resistance to the big government efforts of the Obama Administration, it all comes down to the next 3 weeks. The Administration has made it clear. They intend to ram down the Health Care takeover through a corrupt Congress by the end of this month, in direct defiance of the clearly expressed will of the American people.”
“It is time for every tea party activist across the country to consider dropping everything he or she is doing and join us in the most important battle of our life time. We need your energy, commitment, and efforts to make this succeed. We need you to consider coming to Washington during this 3 week period, and if you can’t come to Washington, be part of this project in your local area.”
A nationwide webcast is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9, 2010 with meetings in DC scheduled to begin the following day through March 31, 2010. Logistics are being coordinated for those coming to Washington and daily briefings and reviews are scheduled during the project. It is expected that visits will take place while Congress is in session from Monday through Friday.
The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition is an informal federation of thirty local tea parties from around the country who work collaboratively on important national projects. It was the group that organized the February 27, 2009 “Nationwide Chicago Tea Party” in 51 cities around the country that launched the Tea Party Movement, as well as the April 15, 2009 Tax Day Tea Party, where 1 million tea party activists attended events in over 900 cities.

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