September 11, 2007

Doing the Pork Barrel Polka at Home

by Donald G. Mashburn

Members of Congress who claim to be against federal revenue earmarks often sing a different tune at home. In Washington – if the TV cameras are present – they rail against earmarks and other pork in congressional legislation. But when sung at home, the “Pork Barrel Polka” has lyrics that are quite different.

Even nominally conservative politicians seem to change their tune after hanging around the hog trough too long, or spending too much time with the certified big-spender tax hogs of Congress.

A good example was the recent defense of earmarks made by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., in statements in Norman, OK. According to the Norman Transcript, Rep. Cole “defended government revenue earmarks, saying prudent public investment is good public policy if the projects stand up to scrutiny and debate.”

Scrutiny and debate? This is the same Tom Cole who previously refused to show his list of pork projects to news outlets that sought to have them scrutinized and debated.

Cole’s two-step to the “Pork Barrel Polka” is an act performed across the county by members of Congress. Every pork barrel raider in Congress shares Rep. Cole’s view of earmarks. And every one of them claims to their more gullible constituents that his pork projects are “prudent public investment.” It’s that mindset that turned Congress into the high-spending pork purveyors they’ve become.

Cole, who claims to be a conservative, and other GOP members of Congress just don’t seem to get it. There was an election last fall, and the GOP lost. Yes, the anti-war and the anti-Bush drumbeats in the liberal media took a toll, but a big part of the GOP debacle was that folks couldn’t distinguish between the counterfeit “conservatives” and the big spenders of the past.

Although the GOP had been in control of Congress for years, they couldn’t seem to restrain themselves when it came to spending. And when President Bush couldn’t find a veto pen for six years, spending in his administration spiraled out of control. Much of the blame can be placed on members of Congress who developed a liking for earmarks pork, and the comradeship of the tax hogs in Washington.

The disintegration of fiscal discipline at both the congressional and presidential levels left voters confused and unable to distinguish between the GOP-controlled Congress and the tax-and-spend congresses of the past.

And the current GOP crop in Congress isn’t doing anything to improve on that unflattering image. As long as they think they must deliver pork to the folks back home, and peddle it as “prudent public investment,” they cannot command the respect and support of sensible voters who want to see fiscal sanity return to government.

“Counterfeit conservatives” who fight for a position at the federal hog trough so they can brag to the home folks about the bacon they’re bringing home, sound and smell like the tax hogs from the years of Democratic control in Congress.

They can preach that earmark tax dollars are public investments, but they can’t rid themselves of either the sound or smell of conventional tax hogs.

Hang around the hog trough long enough and you get used to the smell.


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

by Bob Parks

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column about my fatigue at seeing people, governments, and nations succumbing to the ever-growing demands of Muslims. Here in America, we have bent over backwards to accommodate Muslim traditions at the expense of our own. We have given them special treatment no other group would receive without criticism, and even lawsuits.

I concluded that most appeasers succumb for fear of reprisals that include possible violence.

The column in question was about Geert Wilders of the "right-wing Freedom Party" in the Netherlands, who called for a ban on the Qu'ran. According to the piece I cited, "He would also outlaw the book's use in the mosque and at home. Mr. Wilders says the Qu'ran (Koran) is a fascist book which promotes violence and is similar to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf."

I was called intolerant and even a racist by people both in the Netherlands as well as here in America. I predicted Mr. Wilders would subsequently have problems buying a life insurance policy after his remarks, and sure enough, he received the customary death threats.

Another pending example where someone is reaching out to Muslims (and I predict, it will not be enough), a Dutch Catholic Bishop is urging Christians to use the term “Allah.”

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Aug. 15 – A Dutch Catholic bishop said churches in the Netherlands should use the name Allah for God to ease tensions between Muslims and Christians. The Rev. Tiny Muskens, bishop of Breda, told the Dutch TV program "Network" Monday he believes God doesn't mind what he is called, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported.

The Almighty is above such "discussion and bickering," he insisted. Muskens cites as examples Christians in the Middle East and Indonesia, where he served 30 years ago, who also use the term Allah for God, NewNetwork reported Wednesday. "Someone like me has prayed to Allah yang maha kuasa (Almighty God) for eight years in Indonesia and other priests for 20 or 30 years," Muskens said. "In the heart of the Eucharist, God is called Allah over there, so why can't we start doing that together?"

However, a survey published in the Netherlands' largest newspaper, De Telegraaf, showed that most of the more than 4,000 people polled oppose the bishop's view, the Associated Press reported.

Let's not forget there have been many published accounts over the years of Muslims demanding the right to exercise their religion when they deem necessary in our countries, while detaining Christians attempting to bring a Bible into theirs. We've read the stories of persecution of those who convert to another religion from Islam. We've read the stories of missionaries who've been killed for spreading their religion in those nations, while we read about those who believe their religion must reign supreme over our laws here.

I would hope the Reverend Tiny Muskens, bishop of Breda, understands that saying the name of Allah in his church will not be a welcome gesture. Not welcomed because it will not be enough. It never is. I'll be proven wrong when the gesture is returned in kind.

Funny how the news report says, "Muskens thinks it could take another 100 years, but eventually the name Allah will be used by Dutch churches, promoting rapprochement between the two religions."

Muskens needs be reminded Muslims always demand things now. Instead of insisting on assimilation, we are continuing to succumb to political correctness and fear of violence. Look online for pictures of protests. Please show me one picture where after a Muslim group receives what they want, they say "Thank you." I haven't seen it and I've been looking.

No good deed goes unpunished, and the very people seeking to get along will be the very people who will be targeted next because they show weakness. I hope Reverend Muskins doesn't learn this lesson the hard way.

But some things never change.

Bob Parks is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc.