Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The F-35 Word

I guess Speaker of the House John Boehner cares about job creation, after all... as long as it takes place in his home state of Ohio.

There's a showdown brewing over the F-35 fighter jet engine, "its fate to be decided by more than 90 freshmen lawmakers who previously haven't had to choose sides between two major defense companies," according to Andrew Taylor of the AP.

More like pitting lobbyists of "two major defense companies" against each other, with these freshman Republicans ultimately voting for which ones have provided the most campaign contributions. These freshman Republican lawmakers, including the 26 "mavericks" who briefly rebelled against three provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT which were up for renewal only to cave on Valentine's Day, can do one of three things. They can vote to give the $450,000,000 F-35 contract to GEAE (with plants in Ohio and other states), vote for Pratt Whitney (with plants in Connecticut and elsewhere) OR

...they could do the right thing and side with the president and Defense Secretary and decide to write off the F-35 as too costly. The Obama administration and Dr. Gates both insist the F-35 would waste about $3 billion over the next few years. But either of those three choices could come back to bite them on election day 2012.

It's yet to be seen if the smaller government Tea Baggers who elected 52 of these lunatics to the Tea Party caucus would approve of their puppets cutting spending from the wars they seem to love so much. $158 billion of the bill is earmarked for the worthless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The E Word

So while everyone in Congress is all hyped up on the F-35 Word, no one's mentioning the "E" word, the "E", of course, being Earmarks. The supposedly anti earmark 112th Congress is lobbying for a half a billion dollar jet engine to be made by one defense contractor or another but the battle isn't along party lines but regional ones. If you ask John Boehner which contractor ought to get the F-35 contract, why, he'll say GE because they have a plant in Ohio.

If you were to ask any lawmaker from Connecticut or whereever else Pratt Whitney has plants, take a wild guess and guess which one they'll vote for. But how is bringing jobs to one's home state or district, laudable as it may seem on the surface, not qualify as an earmark?

Meanwhile, on the dark side of the bill, no one seems to care about the Draconian cuts in the budget that, thanks to Republican obstructionism, was punted from the 111th to the 112th Congress. Here's an example:
The Food and Drug Administration budget would decline by 10 percent, and spending also would fall by 10 percent for a food program for pregnant women and mothers and their children.

Republicans have no problem earmarking almost half a billion dollars for an overpriced, redundant jet engine but would not think twice about endangering food safety and taking more food out of the mouths of pregnant women and children. So much for their pro-life stance.

In fact, the massive bill would feature $61,000,000,000 in cuts for such domestic programs to make room for war and war machines such as the F-35 alternative engine. And when they've cut virtually all aid to the indigent, Republicans will then seek more cuts in Social Security, Medicare and other federal entitlement programs so they can keep feeding the defense contractors who are even now sending an army of lobbyists to viciously fight for contracts that would lead the deaths of other poor people...

...while mealy-mouthing platitudes about being pro-life, fiscal responsibility and slashing earmarks.

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