Friday, April 28, 2006

Rampant Confusion

Perhaps inspired by the rutting pigeons currently puffing and circling to mark the coming of spring, Arlen Specter is doing his own little bit of neck puffery, threatening to cut off funding to W's domestic surveillance program(s) unless he comes clean about the whole deal, at least to Congress.
"Institutionally, the presidency is walking all over Congress at the moment," Specter said. "If we are to maintain our institutional prerogative, that may be the only way we can do it."
Well... yeah, can't argue the doormat point, but why am I remembering Specter leading the way in handing out free passes to the executive branch, personified by Alberto Gonzales, in the Judiciary Committee's wiretap hearings a couple of months ago? Why do I remember Specter throwing his support behind GOP declarations that the best solution to the wiretapping
problem was to pass legislation making the president's very illegal activities retroactively legal after all?

Specter announced his intent to turn this pull-the-plug amendment to a spending bill into a full-fledged stand-alone bill, and to hold hearings. A bill and hearings! So there's hope for some stubborn remnant of decency here, right?
Specter made it clear that, for now, the threat was just that."I'm not prepared to call for the withholding of funds," he told reporters later.
Oh. Never mind.

He did say that he hopes to raise public awareness of the issue. If that has always been the case, why didn't he hit Gonzales harder? The obstruction and obfuscation was generated in those hearings was more than ample fodder for a public stink-making.

Meanwhile, the GOP Congress has come up with some great ideas for alleviating the financial crunch skyrocketing gas prices are putting on middle America. Number one, of course, is a $100 rebate check to every taxpayer. Think of it! One hundred dollars. That's between two and three tankfuls for people with a
verage-sized vehicles, and less than a tank for Hummer, Excursion, and Escalade drivers (giggle).

It's the equivalent of tossing a quarter to a pestering 10-year-old at your backroom card game and saying, "Here's two bits, kid, now scram" in your best Jimmy Cagney.

But it's more than a simple palliative slap in the face. Take that hundred and multiply it by 100 million taxpayers, and whaddyaget? 10 billion dollars. Ten billion dollars... of taxpayer money... most of which will be paid right back to the oil companies. Should I point out that with that 10B we could buy other things? Should I be a shit and point out that it would buy us a week and a half in Iraq? Of course, should that provision pass, it would mean that the rest of the spending bill it's attached to passes as well, and what else could be lurking in there? Opening up ANWR to drilling? Unfortunately, yes. And, should it be defeated, how many Republicans are going to scream that the Dems took a Benjamin out of every poor and middle class American's pocket?

Long past time to get the bike dusted off and lubed up. And to rediscover my super-local economies of scale.

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