Wednesday, November 16, 2005



Back on October 20, when Oklahoma right-wing loon Tom Coburn (unbelievably, a U.S. Senator), attempted the first positive thing of his miserable political career-- to delete the embarrassing $453 million Alaska "Bridge to Nowhere" from the 2005 transportation appropriations bill-- Alaska right-wing loon Ted Stevens (as unbelievably, also a U.S. Senator), had a major hissy fit. "I don't kid people," Stevens threatened. "If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state . . . I will resign from this
body." At least that is what the WASHINGTON POST reported. Home state television station KTVA went a little further in painting a picture of a drama queen at full throttle-- showing him looking right at Coburn and screeching that if his bill passed he (Stevens) would "be taken out of here on a stretcher." Alas, the old boys (and girls) network in the pork-fueled Senate closed ranks behind the whacky Stevens and voted down Coburn's sensible amendment (82-15) which would have redirected some of the
$453 million to the Interstate 10 bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, a major New Orleans thoroughfare that was severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

Even Stevens' dependable allies at the viciously right-wing Heritage Foundation abandoned him on this, circulating a paper, "The Bridge to Nowhere: A National Embarrassment," which points out that "fiscally responsible members of Congress should be eager to zero out its funding." And many residents of Alaska-- less selfish and ego-driven than the crazy Stevens-- support forfeiting the bridge money in order to help Gulf Coast residents. "This money, a gift from the people of Alaska, will represent more than just material aid; it will be a symbol for our beleaguered democracy," reads a typical letter to the Anchorage Daily.

Well today the whole world waits with baited breathe to see how Mr. "I Don't Kid People" gets out of resigning-- let alone the stretcher scenario-- now that saner heads and the right-wing's bane-- REALITY-- have prevailed and his beloved bridge has indeed been defunded. Well, not everybody. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has been calling on Stevens to resign for some time-- at least from his conflict-ridden job as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. (They have also called on the less powerful Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the full extent of a mind-boggling array of conflicts of interest that point to Alaska's senior senator as being even more corrupt than current corruption posterboy Bill Frist.)

According to the non-partisan CAGW "an investigation by the LOS ANGELES TIMES revealed how the powerful Senator made millions of dollars from investments with businessmen who received government contracts or other aid through his legislative efforts. The case highlights the lax ethics rules surrounding the business dealings that members of Congress and their families have with special interests at the taxpayers' expense."   
CAGW President Tom Schatz has pointed out that "in 1997, Sen. Stevens allegedly began a concerted attempt to accumulate a personal fortune by wielding his extraordinary power in the Senate. Apparently, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate thinks he can get away with anything in the pursuit of a plush retirement... The looting mentality is so ingrained in Washington that lawmakers see nothing wrong with profiteering from our tax dollars. It is bad enough that Alaska leads the nation in pork barrel spending per capita, but for Sen. Stevens to bring home the bacon for his own financial benefit would be a new low-- even for an appropriator. Every one of his projects should be scrutinized by the Senate Ethics Committee."     
The LA TIMES clearly points out that Stevens, like George Bush, has a lifelong, unadulterated record of failures in business and private enterprise but somehow has wound up extremely wealthy, a multimillionaire.  


Post a Comment

<< Home