2008 CONGRESSIONAL PIG BOOK® SUMMARY
“The Book Washington Doesn’t Want You to Read”
Praise for CAGW and the Pig Book
pulling out of the congressional station. Citizens Against Government Waste has issued its annual
Congressional Pig Book Summary… This year's budget may finally slay the myth that there is anyone who can credibly claim to be a fiscal conservative inside theWashington beltway.” – Asheville Citizen Times, April 17, 2004
Former Representative David Minge (D-Minn.)
“The King of Pork” Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) – National Public Radio, July 19, 2001
“All they are is a bunch of psychopaths.”
CAGW“Oinker” Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) – Associated Press, December 26, 1999
organization representing more than 1.2 million members and supporters nationwide.
CAGW’s mission is to eliminate waste,mismanagement, and inefficiency at all levels
Politicians especially love to talk about fiscal responsibility. On
March 13, 2008 the Senate had an opportunity to test that rhetoric
when Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) offered an amendment to impose a
one-year moratorium on earmarks. Pork beat talk as the measure
failed by a vote of 29-71.
moratorium but will not unilaterally disarm. Democrats won’t
agree because of objections from big porkers such as House Defense
Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.). On
February 11, 2008, Roll Call noted, “Every private entity that
point since 2005. ” At his February 27, 2008 fundraiser for lobbyists,
Murtha received a standing ovation.
(CAGW) 18-year exposé of pork-barrel spending includes:
Center for Public Service; and $188,000 for the Lobster Institute in
highest total ever) into the 12 appropriations bills worth $17.2 billion.
The 11,610 projects represent a 337 percent increase over the 2,658
projects in fiscal year 2007. The $17.2 billion is a 30 percent increase
over the fiscal year 2007 total of $13.2 billion. Only the Defense
and Homeland Security bills included earmarks in fiscal year 2007,
so comparisons of other bills are made between fiscal years 2008
and 2006. Total pork identified by CAGW since 1991 adds up to
runners up were Hawaii with $221 per capita ($283 million) and
North Dakota with $208 per capita ($133 million).
The one glimmer of hope is that for the first time taxpayers were
able to see, for the most part, which members requested which
projects. Out of the 11,610 projects in the 2008 Pig Book there were
11,146 disclosed projects worth $13.8 billion and 464 undisclosed
projects worth $3.4 billion.
still have many miles to go before they sleep without earmarks.
The 1,188 projects, totaling $2.8 billion, in this year’s Congressional
Pig Book Summary symbolize the most egregious and blatant
examples of pork. As in previous years, all of the items in the
Congressional Pig Book Summary meet at least one of CAGW’s
seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:
• Not specifically authorized;
• Not competitively awarded;
• Not requested by the President;
• Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous
• Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
• Serves only a local or special interest.
are left with a bad taste in their mouths. In 2006, the Agricultural
Research Service refused to release public budget documents. In
2007, the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension
Service did not testify about individual special research grants.
Despite this lack of transparency, total pork spending decreased by
33.6 percent from $584 million in fiscal year 2006 to $388 million
in fiscal year 2008, while the number of projects increased by 22
percent from 502 in fiscal year 2006 to 614 in fiscal year 2008.
Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $3,723,750
for a Natural Products Lab; $2,780,400 for the Jamie Whitten
Delta States Research Center; $1,075,419 for the Agricultural
Wildlife Conservation Center; $849,015 for genomics for southern
crop stress and disease research; $511,395 for biotechnology research;
and $229,383 for rural systems research.
Subcommittee Ranking Member Robert Bennett (R-Utah), including:
$2,616,555 for a Utah conservation initiative; $1,191,600 for function
genomics research; $559,059 for high performance computing; and
$186,684 for pasture and forage research.
Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), including: $3,829,008 for the
Lost River Watershed Project; $3,226,257 for the GIS Center of
Excellence; $1,529,220 for the Appalachian Fruit Lab; $521,325
for aquaculture product and marketing development; and $112,209
for feed efficiency research.
Subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), including: $2,502,360
for the Dairy Forage Agricultural Research Center in Prairie du
Sac; $1,861,875 for development of specialty markets; $346,557
for urban horticulture research; and $178,740 for the Dairy Business
Association (DBA), which according to its website, “is an industry
organization comprised of dairy producers, corporate and allied
industry supporters. The DBA promotes the growth and success of
all dairy farms in Wisconsin by fostering a positive business and
political environment.” Besides tax dollars, the DBA is financed by
companies such as Monsanto, EcoLab, and Smithfield Beef Group.
Total net income for the three companies in 2006 was $671.4 million.
$7,556,660 for grape and wine research. Wine is a popular beverage.
In fact, in 2006, per capita U.S. wine consumption was 2.39 gallons
while the U.S. exported 404.5 million liters of wine. Total wine
sales in 2006 were $27.8 billion. There is no pressing need for taxpayers
to pay for this research.
Subcommittee member Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), including:
$2,085,300 for the Forage-Animal Production Research Facility;
$627,576 for health education leadership; $559,059 for new crop
opportunities; and $502,458 for precision agriculture.
Subcommittee member Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), including: $919,518
for income enhancement demonstration research; $845,043 for the
Center for Innovative Food Technology (one of the Center’s projects,
agritourism, “is when the public visits a working farm, ranch, winery
or any other type of agricultural operation for enjoyment, education,
outdoor activities, shopping or dining. You experience agritourism
when you go to a corn maze, watch cider being pressed, pick your
own apples, and take the kids to pick out their own pumpkin or
shop at a farm stand.”); $411,102 for wheat quality research; and
$407,130 for agriculture science research.
“refinement of processing technology for laminated veneer lumber
for furniture, flooring, and other specialty industries.” As if no one
has ever done that before. This research has cost taxpayers $90.8
million since 1985.
Subcommittee member Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), including: $1,646,394
for the McDowell Grove Dam Rood Plain/Wetlands Restoration
Project in DuPage County; $107,244 for wildlife habitat improvement;
and $36,741 for conservation science at Lincoln Park Zoo. This
“free” zoo was established in 1868 after a pair of swans were given
to the Lincoln Park Commissioners. Today, the zoo can be rented
out for weddings, picnics, corporate events, and holiday parties.
Subcommittee member Sam Farr (D-Calif.), including: $1,869,819
for the U.S. Agricultural Research Station in Salinas; $425,997 for
the Monterey Bay Sanctuary; $380,319 for sustainable agriculture
research; and $222,432 for greenhouse lettuce germplasm. This
cabbage has cost taxpayers too much money.
$1,709,946 for sorghum research and $1,550,073 for the Plant
Stress and Water Conservation Lab.
Subcommittee member Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), including: $1,869,819
for the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in
Peoria; $837,099 for crop production and food processing; and
$70,503 for the Illinois Buffer Initiative. Taxpayers need a buffer
zone from Rep. LaHood’s pork-barrel spending.
(R-Alaska), including: $968,175 for berry research; $818,232
for alternative salmon products; and $132,069 for native plant
Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.),
House appropriator Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.), and Reps. Raul Grijalva
(D-Texas), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Richard Neal (D-Mass.).
In the past, USDA has testified that, “The goal of this program is
to develop a sustainable domestic shrimp farming industry in the
United States.” The timeline for this achievement appears to be
indefinite. Since 1985, $68.7 million has been appropriated for
Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), including: $1,843,008 for the
University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point Geographic Information
System; $368,403 for the Red Cliff Tribal Hatchery; and $294,921
for potato pest management.
Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.): $1,229,334 for mosquito
trapping research/West Nile Virus; $523,311 for invasive aquatic
weeds; and $218,466 for vector-borne diseases.
(D-Nev.), including: $1,117,125 for Mormon crickets; $365,424
for the Nevada arid rangelands initiative; and $36,741 for weed
$709,995 for Suwanee, Dixie, and Lafayette counties dairy and
poultry waste treatment; $329,676 for oyster post harvest treatment;
and $283,998 for the Green Institute. The Institute’s mission is
“sustaining the environment and our communities through practical
innovation. Our vision is shared by the thousands of people who
donate and purchase our quality reclaimed and green building
materials, design and construct green buildings, generate clean energy,
learn how to manage storm water and landscape sustainably, and
work together to conserve and restore our environment.” One of
its programs, Gardenworks, is “to improve urban livability with
green space. Our green spaces are an indispensable part of the
urban environment: beautifying neighborhoods, reducing heating
& cooling costs, lowering stress, cleaning the air, providing food
and income, increasing biodiversity, lowering crime, and improving
water quality in our lakes and rivers.” Lowering stress and crime?
Leahy (D-Vt.), including: $335,634 for environmentally safe
products; $261,159 for the Center for Rural Studies; and $97,314
for maple research. This has really put taxpayers in a sticky situation.
$742,764 by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) for olive fruit fly
research. Part of this money, $211,509, is to be spent in Paris, France.
and four senators. Hops is a main ingredient in beer, and according
to “Here’s to Beer,” a website designed to increase the image of
beer, consumption of beer in 2006 constituted 85 percent of all
alcohol consumption and 52 percent of all alcohol sales. In addition,
the website states that “nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population are
regular beer consumers.”
Inouye (D-Hawaii), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Rep.
Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). According to a September 13, 2007,
Star Bulletin article, “Hawaii's floriculture and nursery products
brought in an estimated $100.7 million last year, new state data
indicates, a bright spot in the state’s diversified agricultural sector.
Flowers and plants grown in Hawaii have plenty of potential to
flourish, with last year’s numbers holding steady at the $100 million
mark – close to the record of $101 million set in 2005.” Surely, the
industry can afford .25 percent of its blooming revenue to do its
own research. Since 1995, CAGW’s Pig Book has identified $3.8
million in pork for this research.
S.C. According to the Federation’s website, “conservation partners
and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $258 million
upholding hunting traditions and conserving more than 13.1 million
acres of wildlife habitat.” Once proposed as the national bird by
Ben Franklin, the average American ate 16.9 pounds of turkey in
2006. Turkey consumption has increased 108 percent since 1970.
The turkeys produced in 2005 weighed 7.2 billion pounds and
were valued at $3.2 billion. This earmark makes taxpayers feel like
big fat turkeys.
for the Montana Sheep Institute. According to the organization’s
website, “The Montana Sheep Institute (MSI) is a cooperative project
between Montana Wool Growers Association and Montana State
University. The MSI is dedicated to developing and implementing
non-traditional adjustment strategies that will increase the competitiveness
of Montana's lamb and wool in the world market. Our
goal is to explore opportunities to increase the utilization of sheep
in weed management programs and improve the profitability and
competitiveness of the Montana Sheep Industry.” This is a b-a-a-a-a-d
earmark. Since 2002, CAGW’s Pig Book has identified $2.8 million
in pork for this research.
Act” was renamed the “Science, Departments of State, Justice, and
Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (SSJC).” In
2008, the name has been changed yet again, and now it is known
as the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act (CJS). With
all of these name changes, appropriators may have grown tired of
spending as much money on pork as they did in the past. The number
of projects decreased by 13 percent, from 1,987 in fiscal year 2006
to 1,731 in fiscal year 2008. The dollar amount decreased by 47
percent from $1.9 billion to $1 billion.
Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), including: $5,640,000
for the Marshall Space Flight Center; $470,000 for a National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)Maritime Museum
in Mobile; $329,000 for American Village Citizenship Trust Montevallo
for character programs in at-risk areas (the group’s website boasts
that its mission is to “…to strengthen and renew the foundations of
In addition to these lofty goals, young lovers can rent out the
chapel and the barn to get married for $2,650.); $235,000 for the
Foley Police Department for communications upgrades; and
$235,000 for West Alabama Marine Shrimp and Fish Aquaculture
to develop new methods and find efficiency in the development of
marine shrimp and fish aquaculture using ponds and the salinic
water of West Alabama.
Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $11,280,000
for the Stennis Space Center; $7,520,000 for the Center for Marine
Aquaculture (according to the senator’s website, “Funding will be
used to create, develop, and commercialize new technology to meet
America’s demand for warm water marine seafood. This program will
lay the basis for the development of a new industry for Mississippi
and the Gulf of Mexico region.”); and $1,175,000 for Jackson
State University for computer software and mapping.
member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including: $3,478,000
for the harbor seal and stellar sea lion protection program for
management measures to protect harbor seals and stellar sea lions
in partnership with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the
Alaska Sea Life Center; $2,820,000 for the Native American/Native
Alaskan Liaison Office; $1,128,000 for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of
Alaska Eagle River for an at-risk youth mentoring program;
$188,000 for monitoring and restoration of salmon stocks to allow
the monitoring and restoration of depressed salmon stocks under
the management of one organization, the Bering Sea Fishermen's
Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), including:
$2,350,000 for Teach for America, New York, to engage teachers
in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); $893,000
for the National Aquarium in Baltimore Conservation and Education
Programs for conservation and education programs of the marine
environment National Aquarium of Baltimore; $178,600 for Johns
Hopkins University Baltimore for the Johns Hopkins Prisoner Career
Re-Entry Program to provide job training and placement.
Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), including: $846,000 for a distance
learning program at Fairmont State University; $540,500 for an
independent verification and validation research program through
NASA; $282,000 for the Micronauts Education Simulator at
Wheeling Jesuit University; and $188,000 for the Glenville State
College Anti-Recidivism Prisoner Education Program.
$1,880,000 for the Educational Advancement Alliance Math, Science,
and Technology Program; $846,000 for the Father's Day Rally
Committee Inc. Men United Program in Philadelphia; $47,000 for
the Grands As Parents Very Important People (VIP) Program in
Philadelphia; and $47,000 for a mural arts program for at-risk
youth in Philadelphia. Rep. Fattah started securing the funding for
the four projects in the middle of a heated battle to win the Democratic
nomination for mayor of Philadelphia. Both he and the taxpayers lost.
$1,598,000 for the Monroe County drug analysis module and
$1,128,000 for an Onondaga County records management project.
Y.), including: $940,000 for Bronx River restoration; $282,000
for Latino Pastoral Action Center programs for at-risk youth in the
Bronx; and $94,000 for El Museo del Barrio educational programs
in the Bronx for at-risk youth. This museum had net assets of
more than $3.6 million at the end of 2006.
Durbin (D-Ill), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), House appropriator
Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.). The aquarium’s
website says the facility was a “gift to the people of Chicago from
John Graves Shedd, president and chairman of the board of Marshall
Fields & Company.” This aquarium receives 2 million visitors per
year and has 36 corporate benefactors. At the end of 2004 (the last
year for which information is available), the aquarium had a fund
balance of approximately $200 million. Those are some liquid assets.
(D-N.Y.), and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) for the Abyssinian
CNSNews.com article, “Clinton teamed with senior New York Sen.
Charles Schumer and New York Rep. Charles Rangel, both Democrats,
to provide three earmarks for the Abyssinian Development Corporation
(ADC). The ADC is a separate non-profit community development
organization…that focuses on increasing quality housing, delivering
social services, and boosting economic and educational opportunities
in Harlem. Clinton accepted credit for the Abyssinian earmarks
and other earmarks in a statement released in December saying, ‘I
am proud that these funds will help support critical investments in
New York City – from strengthening community programs for our
children to supporting the city’s colleges and universities to cleaning
up our waterways.’”
including: $282,000 for Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy at-risk
youth programs; $235,000 for the Project for Public Spaces for
preservation and revitalization of the Moore Street Market; and
Year recipient John Murtha (D-Pa.) for Concurrent Technologies
Corporation Corrections Learning Environment. According to a
January 14, 2008 article in The New York Times, “In 1991, Mr.
Murtha used a $5 million earmark to create the National Defense
Center for Environmental Excellence in Johnstown to develop
anti-pollution technology for the military. Since then, it has garnered
more than $670 million in contracts and earmarks. Meanwhile it is
managed by another contractor Mr.Murtha helped create, Concurrent
Technologies, a research operation that somehow was allowed to
be set up as a tax-exempt charity, according to The Washington
Post. Thanks to Mr. Murtha, Concurrent has boomed; the annual
salary for its top three executives averages $462,000.”
and Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) for the Arkansas World
Trade Center (AWTC). Funding will support efforts to develop
international trade initiatives in Northwest Arkansas at the University
of Arkansas. Created in 2006, the AWTC was established to “promote
international trade throughout the state and region.” As an investor
level contributor ($5,000), one is entitled to “[F]ull business support,
with free use of conference rooms up to four hours, use of fax machine,
copy machine and local phone usage, free domestic video conference
and 5 meetings per year at no charge up to 4 hours per event (max
audience 75).” Needless to say, with their “contribution” of
$446,500, taxpayers should be able to use this conference center
Whitehouse (D-R.I.) for American Sailing Training Association
Newport for after-school programs for at-risk youth to reduce truancy
(R-Maine), and Rep. Thomas Allen (D-Maine) for the Lobster
Institute. The group’s website says, “The LOBSTER INSTITUTE
is a cooperative program of research and education with the lobster
industry at the University of Maine…” Not only has the Lobster
Institute been working on its “Lobster Cam (TheLobstercam.com),”
one its major accomplishments has been lobster dog biscuits:
“Your dog can now be a lobster connoisseur. Blue Seal Feeds, Inc.
has launched the newest addition to its dog biscuit line – Blue Seal
Lobster ‘Bisque-its’ – based on a concept devised by the Lobster
Institute at The University of Maine, and their commercialization
partner Saltwater Marketing LLC.” That isn’t much of a treat for
of bribes he accepted from defense contractors in exchange for
earmarks; on February 27, 2008 House Defense Appropriations
Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.) received a standing
ovation at a fundraiser for defense lobbyists. On February 11,
2008, Roll Call noted, “Every private entity that received a special
project from the Pennsylvania Democrat in last year’s defense
spending bill had given him political money at some point since
2005” There are no two better examples to illustrate the problems
with defense earmarks. When members of Congress gorge themselves
on defense pork, America’s fighting men and women are not getting
the proper equipment that they need to fight the war on terror
around the globe. While every penny of defense funds should be
wisely spent, at least there was a reduction in the number of porkbarrel
projects by 19 percent from 2,618 in fiscal year 2007 to 2,108
in fiscal year 2008, while the total cost decreased by 32 percent,
from $10.8 billion in fiscal year 2007 to $7.3 billion in fiscal year 2008.
Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including:
$25,000,000 for the Hawaii Federal Health Care Network;
research; $10,000,000 for the National Defense Center of Excellence
for Research in Ocean Sciences; $5,000,000 for the Maui High
Performance Computing Center; $3,500,000 for Army conservation
and ecosystem management; $3,000,000 for the Hawaii National
Guard Counter-Drug Program; and $2,000,000 for Brown Tree Snakes.
Subcommittee Ranking Member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including:
$44,200,000 for the Access to Joint Tanana Training Complex;
and $3,200,000 for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research
Program (HAARP). While the official stated goal of HAARP is to
“further advance our knowledge of the physical and electrical
properties of the Earth's ionosphere which can affect our military
and civilian communication and navigation systems,” conspiracy
theories abound from it being a weapon of mass destruction to it being
able to manipulate weather conditions around the globe. The truth is
that the project has received $111.3 million in pork since 1995.
Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), including: $54,000,000 for the
ABL Facility Restoration Program (according to an October 3,
2006 article in the Cumberland Times News, “Alliant Techsystems,
also known asATK, as the primary leasee of the Navy’sABL facility,
will benefit most from the improvements to the facility,…‘ATK is
very pleased that Senator Byrd has continued to support the facility
restoration program at [ABL]…. The upgrades … have allowed us
to expand our business and offer the Department of Defense a wide
range of quality products for our war fighters.’”); $18,000,000 for
the AFIP Records Digitization Program; $5,600,000 for the Joint
Interagency Training and Education Center; $4,800,000 for the
AutonomousMaritime Navigation Program; $2,400,000 for economic
production of coal-to-liquid fuels; $2,400,000 for research to reduce
the environmental impact of coal-to-liquid fuels; and $900,000 for
the Electronic Commodity Program.
$23,000,000 for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC).
Rep. Murtha became infuriated by Rep. Mike Rogers’ (R-Mich.)
motion to remove the NDIC earmark. According to Rogers, Rep.
Murtha warned, “I hope you don’t have any earmarks in the defense
appropriations bills because they are gone and you will not get any
earmarks now and forever.…That’s the way I do it.” Since 1992,
more than $509 million has been used to fund NDIC, which is
administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ.). But DOJ has
asked Congress to shut the NDIC down because its operations are
duplicative. This project helped Rep. Murtha win CAGW’s 2007
Porker of the Year award.
Subcommittee Ranking Member Bill Young (R-Fla.), including:
$4,500,000 for comprehensive maritime domain awareness;
$3,000,000 for multi-jurisdictional counter-drug task force training;
$1,200,000 for the Advanced Dynamic Optics Program;
$1,000,000 for atmospheric water harvesting; and $1,000,000 for
advanced battery technology.
(R-Calif.), including: $5,000,000 for the Center for Innovative
Geospatial Technology; $2,400,000 for the National Eye Evaluation
and Research Network for clinical trials of orphan retinal degenerative
diseases; $2,400,000 for National Center for Research on Evaluation,
Standards, and Student Testing skill set analysis; $2,400,000 for
the Lewis Center for Education Research (The center is described
on its website as “a unique educational facility designed to improve
educational effectiveness and scientific literacy among American
schoolchildren.”); $1,600,000 for the Technology Commercialization
and Management Network; and $1,600,000 for microsatellite serial
Subcommittee member Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), including:
for the Center for Solar Electricity and Hydrogen; $2,000,000 for
the Northern Ohio Integrated Command Operations Program; and
$1,000,000 for internal base facility energy independence –
Subcommittee member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), including:
$4,000,000 for the Northwest Maritime Information and Littoral
Operations Program; $1,600,000 for the Open Source Naval and
Missile Database Reporting System; $1,200,000 for the National
Bureau for Asian Research (according to the Bureau’s website, it is
“a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution dedicated to informing
and strengthening policy in the Asia-Pacific.”); and $1,000,000 for
the Puget Sound Navy Museum.
Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The Gateway National
Recreation Area’s website describes the Jamaica Bay Unit as “a
wealth of history, nature and recreation, from New York City's first
major airport and coastal fortifications to a wildlife refuge and
pristine beaches.” A nice place to swim away with defense dollars.
the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and
educational programs that promote character development and life enhancing
values through the game of golf.” If The First Tee
wanted money to spread its teachings to the military, it could ask
its numerous corporate sponsors, who would likely respond with at
least $3 million. Rep. Clyburn told CNBC on November 27, 2007
that the program will help “make generals and colonels.” Apparently,
after hundreds of years of military operations without having such
a program, it was critical to add The First Tee in conference, in the
middle of the war on terrorism.
Array. This project first appeared in the 2005 Congressional Pig
Book and has received a total of $5.6 million. It is part of SETI
(Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), which describes the telescope
as “cutting-edge astronomical research and a simultaneous search
for signals of intelligent, extraterrestrial origin.” The Pentagon
should classify this as an Unidentified Fiscal Object.
Intelligence Scholars Program (PRISP). According to the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), “PRISP provides monetary incentive to
college students who pursue studies in critical language specialties,
area studies, and technical and scientific specialties. A 2005 article
in the Chronicle of Higher Education noted that, “This pilot project
– the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program – is seen by some
observers as a long-overdue effort to remedy the federal government's
collective ignorance about foreign lands. Other scholars, however,
view the semisecret program as a profound threat to universities’
integrity and to the ethical norms of social science.”
life produce for remotely deployed forces. This sounds suspiciously
like a 2007 Congressional Pig Book project: $1,650,000 by Senate
appropriator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to improve the shelf life of
Appropriations Act is the 62 projects worth $2.3 billion that were
Submarine. Even though the earmark was technically undisclosed,
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Ct.) took credit for it in a press release dated
November 13, 2007. According to an article in The Hill, “In a report
to Congress, the Navy said boosting the production of submarines
early would disrupt its overall shipbuilding plan by shifting $5.1
billion from other important programs.”
Aerospace Daily & Defense Report article, “The Air Force plans to
delay the fielding of its revamped Space Fence – a distributed
group of ground-based sensors designed to track objects in space
as they orbit. Initial operational capability is now set at 2015.”
InsideDefense.com reported on December 23, 2006 that “The
funding cuts to the so-called ‘Space Fence’ program are included
in an internal Pentagon budget document known as program decision
memorandum IV, signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon
England earlier this month, according to the Air Force. While the
memo itself is not intended for public release, details about the cuts
were included in a ‘future year funding’ document posted on the
Hanscom Air Force Base’s Space Fence business opportunities
year 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations Act. The number of
projects increased 89.2 percent, from 942 in fiscal year 2006 to
1,782 in fiscal year 2008, while dollar amounts increased a whopping
142 percent, from $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2006 to $3.8 billion in
fiscal year 2008. The Army Corps of Engineers program has long
been a bastion for pork, and this trend continued in fiscal year 2008.
$92,033,216 for 25 projects by Senate appropriator Mary Landrieu
(D-La.), including $1,850,000 for the removal of aquatic growth
and $1,180,800 for materials and energy research at Tulane University
in New Orleans.
$57,655,568 for 31 projects by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), including:$3,444,000 for Tar Creek cleanup; $984,000 for the University of Oklahoma in Norman for the large scale application of single-wallnanotubes; $201,720 for restoration of Joe Creek; $21,648 for Bartlesville water supply; and $246,000 for the OklahomaComprehensive Water Plan.$48,807,560 for 25 projects by Senate appropriator Ted Stevens(R-Alaska), including: $5,904,000 for research at the Institute for
$492,000 to deepen Anchorage Harbor; and $214,512 to combat
erosion at Kenai River Bluff.
Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $27,643,472
directed to the Yazoo River and Basin, a plan long derided as wasteful,
with an estimated cost of $200 million, which would drain thousands
of acres of wetlands and forests in order to increase useable farm
land; $1,968,000 for bioengineering research training at Jackson
State University; $590,400 for the University of Mississippi Medical
Center for research in the areas of increasing efficiency by reducing
the amount of contrast media needed for certain procedures; and
$3,936,000 for the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems at
Mississippi State University.
(D-Nev.), including: $2,681,400 for the Center for Materials
Reliability at the University of Nevada, Reno; $1,968,000 for the
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering for continued
expansion of the James E. Rogers and Louis Weiner Jr. Large-Scale
Structures Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno; $984,000
for the University of Nevada, Reno, for a Fire Science Academy at
Elko; $738,000 for a technology transfer initiative at the University
of Nevada, Reno; and $590,400 for operations and maintenance at
the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.
(D-Calif.), including $1,574,400 for a cooperative agreement
between the Department of Energy and Inyo County and $107,256
for long term sediment management at Humbolt Bay.
advanced green design at the Museum of Natural History in
Minneapolis. Admission to the museum is free to University of
Minnesota faculty, staff, and students, while adults are charged $5.
for oyster revitalization in the Delaware Bay. In its heyday,
Delaware Bay provided a world-class source of oysters. However,
due to disease and over fishing, oyster populations have been on
the decline. This shell planting and seed transplant project is an
effort to revitalize the supply of oysters in the New Jersey and
Delaware waters of Delaware Bay.
Ranking Member Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) for the National Museum
of Nuclear Science and History site in Albuquerque. According to
the museum’s website, it is the nation’s only congressionally chartered
museum of nuclear science and history, and attempts to “convey
the diversity of individuals and events that shape the historical and
technical context of the nuclear age.” Admission is $6 for adults.
(R-Ohio) for Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc., to develop
a solid oxide fuel cell at the Fuel Cell Prototyping Center at Stark
State College of Technology in Canton. Rolls-Royce Group reported
a net profit of £600 million, or more than $1.2 billion in 2007,
meaning the company could take .041 percent of its profit and pay
for the research itself.
of metallic glass. Produced by cooling metals from liquid to solid
while preventing crystallization, metallic glass is much stronger
and more elastic than traditional metals. These unique characteristics
have scientists predicting a multitude of possible uses, including an
armor piercing projectile, electric transformers, and even golf
clubs; industries that may benefit should fund this research.
museum is to highlight the role of Rocky Flats in manufacturing
nuclear weapons during the ColdWar. After production at Rocky
Flats ended in 1992, it was discovered that the area suffered from
environmental contamination associated with nuclear weapons.
After a period of remediation, the idea is to create a museum on an
adjacent piece of land. According to its website, the Rocky Flats
ColdWar Museum will include artifacts such as “glove boxes,
storage containers, photographs, building diagrams, respirators and
protective suits, radiation measuring instruments, hand scanners,
gloves, signs and the Tepee from anti-nuclear demonstrations, and
a security station.”
building technologies at Lakeview Museum in Peoria. A February
2, 2008 Rockford Register Star article provided a glimpse into the
mind of appropriators when it quoted Rep. LaHood as saying, “The
reason I went on the Appropriations Committee, the reason other
people go on the Appropriations Committee is they know that it
puts them in a position to know where the money is at, to know the
people who are doling the money out and to be in the room when
the money is being doled out.”
V. FINANCIAL SERVICES
Byrd (D-W.Va.) for renovations to Haddad Riverfront Park. On
February 1, 2008 The Charleston Gazette quoted Chairman Byrd
as saying, “Maintaining and improving Haddad Riverfront Park is
a top priority for the city of Charleston.” If it is so important, the
51,342 residents of Charleston could each pay $46.75 to the city
instead of forcing the price tag on the hundreds of millions of
Americans who probably will never visit the facility.
Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) for the Congressional Cemetery inWashington,
D.C. The cemetery is supposed to be a historic landmark, but
according to the website of the organization established to preserve
the cemetery, a “prominent U.S. Senator” said that he “had never
heard of it.” Locally, the cemetery is best known as an open space
where, for an annual membership fee, Capitol Hill residents can let
their dogs run free.
Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) for unspecified upgrades to Barracks Row,
an upscale neighborhood eight blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building.
Rep. Lewis felt it necessary to appropriate funds even though the
Barracks Row website claims “business is booming.” Lewis
stated, “…the return on the federal investment is difficult to measure,
but it’s truly immeasurable in my mind’s eye.” The picture becomes
clearer when one learns that Rep. Lewis’wife, who is also his chief
of staff, owns a residence four blocks from Barracks Row.
can be compared with fiscal year 2007 is the 2008 Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act. While the threat of
terrorism and natural disasters has not disappeared, Congress’
appetite for homeland security pork has diminished. The number
of projects went from 40 in fiscal year 2007 to 124 in fiscal year
2008, while total dollars dropped by 87.8 percent from $2.4 billion
in fiscal year 2007 to $294.8 million in fiscal year 2008. Nonetheless,
every penny of pork in the homeland security bill reduces the
ability of the government to defend the nation.
$51,131,119 for 95 projects airdropped into the conference report
for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Predisaster
Mitigation by 72 members of the House of Representatives, spread
among 31 states. That equals 76.7 percent of the number of projects
and 17.3 percent of the dollar amount in the bill. According to
FEMA’s website, the purpose of the Predisaster Mitigation Program
is to provide funds to states, territories, Indian tribal governments,
communities, and universities for hazard mitigation planning and
implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster. The recipient
of the grant decides based on applications what is most deserving
within its jurisdiction. In fiscal year 2008, the program had a
budget request of $100 million. Many members of Congress have
criticized FEMA for its mismanagement of numerous programs
over the past several years. However, they are making the
agency’s job harder by forcing staff to administer projects that may
not meet the competitive program’s criteria and usurping the
federal minimum standards for authenticating and securing driver’s
licenses supposedly to thwart terrorism, was buried in an $82 billion
supplemental military spending bill and passed without congressional
debate in May 2005. While the proposal to use radio-frequency
identification (RFID) technology in the state-issued driver’s licenses
was dropped by DHS in February, 2007, the REAL ID program
remains a burden on taxpayers, at an estimated cost of $23 billion.
Passed as an unfunded mandate, the REAL ID Act stipulated that a
state would not receive any future federal funds designed to help
offset the cost of the program if it did not follow the minimum federal
standards for updating licenses. Bringing state driver’s licenses
systems up to date with adequate security provisions will be a
costly endeavor; adding further requirements such as developing a
new database to store information will be technologically challenging
and add to the cost. Ultimately, taxpayers will be forced to both
pay more for their driver’s licenses and be subject to tax increases
to help offset the expenditures that are not covered by the higher
the South Carolina Adjutant General’s Office of Emergency
Preparedness, for projects in Santee and Manning. With groundbreaking
made possible by the $1.5 million directed toward Santee
in this project, the town will receive the convention center it has
long sought. The Times and Democrat on January 26, 2008 noted
that Santee Mayor Silas Seabrooks had previously called Rep.
Clyburn about the possibility of funds for a conference center.
According to the article, that is when the eight-term representative
got an idea: “The light went off in my head. What’s wrong with
having a conference center which could also serve in the case of an
emergency as an evacuation center. So, we wanted this facility that
will not only accommodate conferences, but one that could be here
… to save lives.” The new facility is being cited for its role as a
conference center, not as an evacuation center. Gregg Robinson,
executive director of the Orangeburg County Economic Development
Commission, explained in the same article, “…we will see the
opportunities and spin-offs in retail and commercial development
that come with it and all of the benefits of tourism dollars that
come to Santee.” Rep. Clyburn managed to pull the wool over the
eyes of his colleagues and the taxpayers to secure money for a
conference center that would have otherwise gone unfunded, at
least with federal dollars.
member Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) for the Citizens Advice Bureau
(CAB) in New York. Using a “holistic approach to community
development,” CAB’s mission, according to its website, is to improve
the economic and social well-being of individuals, families and
communities who are most in need. This has nothing to do with
protecting the country from natural disasters or the threat of terrorism.
mixture of resource management, National Park Service (NPS) and
wastewater earmarks. The Save America’s Treasure (SAT) Program
in the NPS continues to exemplify the problems with pork. President
Clinton established SAT in 1998. The program requires that funding
from the federal government be matched by other sources of funding,
such as state, local, and/or private. While all funding was intended
to be awarded competitively, that process has been hijacked by
members of Congress, who earmark half of the money for projects
that were not requested by the NPS. The good news is that the
number of projects in the bill decreased by 25 percent from 737 to
556 from fiscal year 2006 to fiscal year 2008 and spending decreased
by 40 percent, from $669.5 million in fiscal year 2006 to $403.8
million in fiscal year 2008.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), including
$9,844,000 for the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast Air Quality
Management Districts for targeted emission reduction grants and
to a January 12, 2007 article in The San Francisco Chronicle,
Hunter’s Point may be an option for a new football stadium:
“Feinstein has also been involved in renewed stadium talks between
the 49ers and Mayor Gavin Newsom’s administration, which recently
offered an alternative stadium site at the former Hunters Point
Subcommittee member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including:
$3,937,600 for the Tongass Timber Supply Pipeline; $3,937,600
for the United States Geological Survey Volcano Observatory;
$2,953,200 for the Alaska Conveyance Program; and $492,200 for
the Craig Recreation land transfer.
Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), including: $2,953,200 for the
Mingo County Redevelopment Authority for water and sewer
improvements; $1,646,901 for theWood Education and Resource
Center (one of the center’s workshops, “Helping theWood Products
Industry Profit From the Next 10 Years,” explains exactly why
taxpayers would be better off not funding wood research);
$1,830,984 for Monongahela National Forest Road improvements;
and $123,050 for a Mother's Day Shrine in Grafton (population
5,489, with a land area of 3.8 square miles).
Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $1,525,820
for the Town of Flora for a drinking water and wastewater
construction pro$5,906,400 by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) for Great Smokey
National Park, North Shore Road Settlement. Taxpayers thought
they would be a getting a break when North Carolina porker
extraordinaire Charles Taylor lost the 2006 election to Rep. Shuler.
While campaigning, Rep. Shuler criticized Taylor’s use of earmarks,
and upon election, in a December 31, 2006 interview with US
News & World Report, Shuler said, “We have to find a much better
way to balance our budget and use tax dollars much more
wisely…And if we don't have the money, then we don't need to
spend the money.” It did not take long for Rep. Shuler to catch
“Potomac Fever” and renounce his pledge to spend money wisely.
$4,872,780 for five projects by House Interior Appropriations
Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), including:
improvements for Belfair; $1,476,600 for National Fish and
Wildlife Foundation endangered species grants; and $246,100 for
Bremerton Public Library restoration.ject; $984,400 for construction at the Okhissa Lake
RecreationArea; $689,080 for the NASAStennis Space Center to
fund healthy forest restoration data; and $147,660 for the Immanuel
Member Larry Craig (R-Idaho): $1,575,040 for Gold Creek
Ranch; $984,400 for Idaho’s strategic plan for managing noxious
weeds; $295,320 for the Chesterfield Schoolhouse; and $196,880
for theWilson Theatre in Rupert. According to Idaho Public
Television, “In 1998 the citizens of Rupert listed as their top priority
the restoring of theWilson building. ‘We have set a tentative date
of April 2006, which is the Centennial of the founding of the city
of Rupert,’ says Earl Corless, a member of the board of directors
overseeing construction. ‘We would love to have it finished and
opened by then.’ By January of 2005, the town folks had raised a
million dollars. They need a million and a half more.” Just not
from their own pockets.
(D-Ill.), including: $836,740 for land acquisition at Shawnee
National Forest; $344,540 for City of Chicago GreenStreets Tree
Planting Program (according to Sen. Durbin’s website, “The
GreenStreets program focuses on improving the quality of urban
life through tree planting and care, recycling and open space
revitalization. This fifteen year old initiative serves as a successful
model of how an investment in urban natural resources conservation
can restore deteriorated neighborhoods and enhance public open
space.”); and $295,320 for Knox College in Galesburg. Home of
the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Knox attracts a large group of
politicians including former Attorney General John Ashcroft, and
former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. A college of only
1,300 undergraduates, Knox has a $66.2 million endowment, in
addition to an annual tuition bill of nearly $30,000.
Member Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.): $1,181,280 for the city of Sedan,
RuralWater District Number 4 Chautauqua County for water
and wastewater infrastructure; $295,320 for the Butler County
Courthouse; and $221,490 for the Brown Mansion in Coffeyville.
The mansion is believed to be a site of paranormal activity and has
recently been popular for ghost hunters looking for a scare.
appropriator Tom Latham (R-Iowa) for the City National Bank
Building. The privately-owned building was designed by Frank
LloydWright and is currently undergoing renovations for the
creation of a hotel consisting of 26 guest rooms.
Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) for the Grand Opera House in Dell Rapids.
In 2006, the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls noted that after an upcoming
fundraiser, the building was going to be renovated to be a bar and
for the Grand Opera House inWilmington. On June 25, 2007, the
Opera House announced its 2007-2008 season, featuring performances
from artists such as comedian Lewis Black and rock and roll
legends David Crosby and Graham Nash. Ticket prices, not tax
dollars, should be raised to pay for additional work on the facility.
Member Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho),
and House appropriator Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) for the Idaho
sage grouse. According to a February 26, 2008 Associated Press
report, “Federal officials will again start gathering information to
help determine whether the sage grouse should receive full or
partial protection under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S.
Fish andWildlife Service announced the new review Tuesday, two
months after a federal judge in Idaho condemned the agency for
botching its initial study.”
John Doolittle (R-Calif.) for the Oroville Historic State Theater.
According to the theater’s website, “The Historic State Theater of
Oroville is located at 1489 Myers Street, in Downtown Historical
Oroville, and is available for Plays, Bands, Movies, Fashion
Shows, Musicals, and even Pageants and Meetings.” Along with
your tax dollars.
in Bloomington. The Temple was originally constructed in 1921 as
a ballroom and theatre. However, in 2000, it was in need of
preservative construction; as a result the City Council of Bloomington
approved a ¼-cent sales tax increase to fund the project. This sales
tax increase was extended in 2003 until 2025 to ensure funding
(apparently not sufficient) for the Temple.
restoration of Merchant’s Row, a surviving nineteenth century
town adjacent to the Perryville Battlefield. Sites included in the
preservation project are a mill, a building referred to as “the Opera
House” (which never housed an opera), several homes, and a cave.
$98,440 by House appropriator Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) and Rep.
Robert Brady (D-Pa.) for the Philadelphia Art Museum. At the end
of 2004 (the latest available), the Philadelphia Art Museum had net
assets in excess of $300 million.
Granbury Historic Opera House Theater. Shows slated for 2008
include Annie Get your Gun and The Music Man. Trouble, oh we
got trouble, right here in River City! With a capital “T” That
rhymes with “P” And that stands for Pork.
Joseph’s College Theatre renovation in Rensselaer. One of the
theatre’s fundraising campaigns is “Name a seat,” in which different
contribution levels have different naming potentials. For example,
$100,000 you get a stage named after you. The main stage should
be named “Porky.”
SERVICES, AND EDUCATION (LABOR/HHS)
projects but less spending than in fiscal year 2006, the last year
such a bill was passed by Congress. In fiscal year 2006, the thenchairman
of the Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee,
Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) told his colleagues there would not be any
earmarks in the bill. Nonetheless, CAGW uncovered 51 earmarks
worth $1.8 billion. In fiscal year 2008, Sen. Specter showed no
restraint whatsoever in regard to his earmarks, bringing home 116
projects, or 302 percent greater than the next largest amount (35)
by an individual lawmaker. His bounty helped increase the number
of projects by 4,300 percent, from 51 in fiscal year 2006 to 2,244 in
fiscal year 2008, while the cost decreased 40.1 percent, from $1.8
billion to $1 billion.
(R-Alaska), including: $33,907,000 for the Alaska Native
Educational Equity Education Act; $6,875,000 for the Denali
Commission for job training activities under the Denali Commission
Act of 1998; $243,000 for the Alaska Native Heritage Center in
Anchorage for a partnership with Koahnic Broadcasting for a
Native Values project; $243,000 for a marine ecosystem education
program at the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward; and $243,000 for
the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District to expand the
PLATO learning program.
Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $4,875,000
for the University of Mississippi for Phase II of the National Center
for Natural Products Research; $487,000 for workforce training in
Marine Composite at the University of Southern Mississippi in
Hattiesburg; $975,000 for Mississippi State University for digital
conversion at theWise Center-Broadcast Facility; and $195,000 for
an international study abroad program at Tougaloo College, which
has an endowment of $4.7 million.
Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), including:
$6,337,000 for two earmarks for the Iowa Department of Education
to continue the Harkin Grant Program; $1,500,000 for the AFLCIOWorking
for America Institute (dedicated to creating jobs and
strengthening communities); $731,000 for the Presidential Timeline
Project at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation in Austin
(which provides digitized information from presidential libraries);
Symphony Orchestra; $316,000 for a best practices initiative on
lower back pain at Palmer College of Chiropractice in Davenport
(giving taxpayers a big pain just below the back); $146,000 for the
Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa in DesMoines for exhibits,
multimedia collections, and displays; and $97,000 for Iowa Games
in Ames to continue the Lighten Up Iowa Program, which instructs
individuals on how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Sen. Harkin has long been a determined crusader for pork. In a
November 25, 2006 New York Times article, he claimed, “I happen
to be a supporter of earmarks, unabashedly. But I don’t call them
earmarks. It is ‘Congressional directed spending.’” This proclamation
earned Sen. Harkin CAGW’s Porker of the Month award for
Subcommittee Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), including:
$853,000 for 25 projects for organizations in Pennsylvania for
abstinence education and related services; $87,000 for job training
programs atWomenWork! in Pittsburgh; $87,000 for a supercomputing
facility at Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit in Pittsburgh;
$87,000 for a fuel-cell coalmine vehicle demonstration project at
United MineWorkers of America in Fairfax, Virginia; and $73,000
for a truancy reduction initiative at Community Empowerment
Association, Inc., in Pittsburgh.
member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) for
construction, renovation, and equipment at the University ofAlabama
in Tuscaloosa. A press release appearing on Sen. Shelby’s website
on June 21, 2007 specified that a “70,000 square foot interdisciplinary
health services building” would be constructed at his alma mater
using Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
money. A 2005 ExpectMore.gov assessment of HRSA earmarks
found that they “are not subject to a competitive or merit-based
process to ensure higher priorities are funded first” and “divert
people and associated financial resources from HRSA's core mission
activities.” While this project earned Sen. Shelby CAGW’s Porker
of the Month award for October, 2007, taxpayers can hope that
Rep. Bonner, the newest member of the House Appropriations
Committee, can avoid having his name adorn a similar award in
Foundation inWarner Robins.
Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for exhibits, education programs,
community outreach, and/or operations at the Figge Foundation.
The V.O. Figge and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Charitable Foundation
contributed $13 million of the $46.9 million necessary to create the
privately run FiggeArt Museum. The rest was received from private
donors; Vision Iowa, a state program that funds recreational, cultural,
educational, or entertainment facilities; and River Renaissance, a
redevelopment program in Davenport, the location of the museum.
After receiving funding from private interests as well as from city
and state governments, the museum was ultimately reliant on pork
as well. The Figge Foundation should have completed this process
without involving federal taxpayers.
the Museum of Utah Art & History in Salt Lake City to improve
technology and exhibit preparation.
and educational programs at the College Park Aviation Museum.
member Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) and Sen. George Voinovich
(R-Ohio) for the Bibliographical Society of America in New York
for the First Ladies Museum in Canton and for the FirstWhite
House Library Catalogue. The museum was founded by Rep.
Regula’s wife, Mary Regula, while his daughter, Martha Regula, is
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Rep. DianeWatson (D-Calif.) for
education and outreach at the LosAngeles Craft and FolkArtMuseum.
archives at the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at The
City College of New York. This “Monument to Me” has caused
some problems for the 19-term representative. The project was
challenged on the House floor on July 19, 2007 by second-term
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), who said, “You don’t agree with
me or see any problem with us, as members, sending taxpayer
funds in the creation of things named after ourselves while we’re
still here?” Rep. Rangel responded, “I would have a problem if
you did it, because I don't think that you've been around long
enough that having your name on something to inspire a building
like this in a school.” Ego and taxpayer dollars clearly do not mix.
education activities at the In Tune Foundation Group. According
to a December 10, 2007 Washington Post article, the director, other
current and former employees of In Tune, and their families have
donated at least $31,000 to Rep. Hoyer’s political action committee
from 2004 to 2006. In the same article, Rep. Hoyer stated, “If you
support something…either through legislative language or verbal
support or appropriated dollars, what happens is the proponents of
those objectives wind up saying they want to support you.” He
added, “Sometimes it's a question of which is the chicken and
which is the egg.” Sometimes you can be both.
(D-N.Y.), and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) for Jazz at Lincoln
Center in New York. The center’s website states: “Jazz – we play
it, we teach it, we write it, we dance it, we sing it, we present it, we
photograph it, we film it, we produce it, we archive it, we record it,
we broadcast it, we commission it, we celebrate it, we love it, we
share it.” Perhaps they should pay for it, too.
to make headline news. But, there is still no bill too big or too
small for appropriators to insert at least a few morsels of pork.
The number of projects decreased by 71 percent, from 14 in fiscal
year 2006 to 4 in fiscal year 2008. The amount of pork dropped by
98 percent, from $19.8 million in fiscal year 2006 to $400,000 in
fiscal year 2008.
member Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), House Legislative Branch
Appropriations Subcommittee member Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), and
House appropriator Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) for theAbraham Lincoln
Bicentennial Commission, which seeks to inspire Lincoln observances
until his bicentennial birthday in 2009. In Lincoln’s Gettysburg
Address, he said “all men are created equal.” When it comes to
earmarks, appropriators are not equal to other members of Congress.
Since 2001, $2.5 million in pork has been spent at the federal level
for Lincoln’s birthday celebration. In addition, eight states have
created commissions honoring the former president with countless
millions in state tax dollars.
Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and House appropriator RogerWicker
(R-Miss.) for the University of Mississippi music archives.
does Congress’s penchant for pork. The fiscal year 2008 Military
Construction, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
Appropriations Act saw an increase of 32.6 percent in projects,
from 144 in fiscal year 2006 to 191 in fiscal year 2008, while dollar
amounts increased 13.1 percent, from $1 billion in fiscal year 2006
to $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2008.
chapel complex at Fort Leavenworth; $10,400,000 by Rep. Ike
Skelton (D-Mo.) for a chapel at Fort LeonardWood; $9,000,000 by
Senate Military ConstructionAppropriations Subcommittee member
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House appropriator ZachWamp
(R-Tenn.), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rep. John Tanner
(D-Tenn.), and Rep. EdwardWhitfield (R-Ky.) for a chapel center
at Fort Campbell; and $5,900,000 by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.)
$6,700,000 for two projects funding fitness centers:
Goodfellow Air Force Base and $900,000 by House Military Construction
Appropriations Subcommittee member Patrick Kennedy
(D-R.I.) for a fitness center at Naval Station Newport.
student activity center and library at Laughlin Air Force Base.
Member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) for air conditioning at Vista Del
Sol, Twentynine Palms.
$1,500,000 by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) for a dining facility at
Subcommittee member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) for a bachelor quarters
addition at Naval Station Newport. According to its website,
Newport’s Bachelor Housing is a “Zumwalt Award winning 5-star
facility with a state-of-the-art waterfront Conference Center.” In
December, 2005 the facility received the Performance Plus Gold
Pineapple Achievement Award for excellence in training and guest
satisfaction from the American Hotel and Lodging Association
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 to be “earmark free,” there
are 10 earmarks worth $76.3 million lurking in the report. State
and Foreign Operations Appropriations pork spending decreased by
29 percent, from $107.7 million in fiscal year 2006 to $76.3 million
in fiscal year 2008. The number of projects decreased by 37.5 percent,
from 16 in fiscal year 2006 to 10 in fiscal year 2008.
and Water Commission (IBWC). The IBWC’s mission is “to provide
binational solutions to issues that arise during the application of
United States-Mexico treaties regarding boundary demarcation,
national ownership of waters, sanitation, water quality, and flood
control in the border region.” One particular project, a proposed
sewage treatment plant in Tijuana, raises questions about the
IBWC’s effectiveness. According to an op-ed in The San Diego
Union Tribune on February 14, 2007, “Formed in 1944, the IBWC
in 1999 built a treatment plant in San Ysidro. But it was late and
over-budget, and its discharge still violated the CleanWater Act.
This created an opening for Bajagua, a group of North County
investors with a bold proposal to build a larger, better and cheaper
plant in Tijuana. The IBWC quickly rejected the idea, because the
agency wanted more money from Congress to upgrade its new plant.”
Ireland (IFI). IFI, established in 1986, is an organization whose
objectives are to promote economic and social advance and to
encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between nationalists
and unionists throughout Ireland. Despite the fact that peace has
broken out in Ireland and the Irish economy is the strongest in
Europe, U.S. taxpayers continue to fund SesameWorkshop, a
shorter Northern Ireland version of Sesame Street; Ben & Jerry’s; a
“conference to highlight development opportunities for chefs;” and
two three-star hotels, one of which is no longer in business.
CAGW has identified $249.6 million for this project since 1995.
to the Global Policy Forum (GPF), the Kimberly Process was initiated
in 2000 to set up “an internationally recognized certification system
for rough diamonds and establishing national import/export standards.
In November 2002, 52 governments ratified and adopted the
Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, which was fully implemented
in August 2003.” The GPF called the system “flawed from the
beginning ” because it is voluntary and self-regulated. Both the
Word Diamond Council and governments that signed on to the
certification process have failed to monitor and regulate the diamond
trade, according to the GPF.
URBAN DEVELOPMENT (THUD)
decrease in dollar amounts, from $3.6 billion in fiscal year 2006 to
$1.6 billion in fiscal year 2008, while projects decreased by 25
percent, from 2,707 in fiscal year 2006 to 2,031 in fiscal year
2008. Despite this progress, all earmarks adversely impact an
agency’s ability to carry out its mission. A September 7, 2007 report
by the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General that
studied the earmarks in the fiscal year 2006 Transportation
Appropriations Act stated, “Many earmarked projects considered
by the agencies as low priority are being funded over higher priority,
non-earmarked projects.” The report continued, “Funding these
new low priority projects in FY 2006 added to the already substantial
backlog of replacement projects from earmarks in prior fiscal
years and caused FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] to delay
the planning of its higher priority replacement projects by at least
Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $2,940,000
for bus and bus facilities at the Coast Transit Authority; $2,940,000
for expansion of a section of Highway 9 to four lanes; $1,470,000
for the Statesman Boulevard and Trail; $196,000 for the Southern
Cultural Heritage Foundation in Vicksburg for renovation of the
Southern Cultural Heritage Center Auditorium; $196,000 for
construction of a multipurpose facility in Marietta; and $196,000
for the Taylor Hall Renovation Project in the city of Grenada.
“Kit” Bond (R-Mo.), including: $1,470,000 for statewide bus and
bus facilities; $551,250 for the Heart of America Bicycle/Pedestrian
Bridge; $367,500 for improvements to Downtown Square Street in
Grant City; $367,500 for redevelopment of the 11th and Grand
neighborhood in Kansas City; and $183,750 for restoration of the
Poplar Bluff Historic Depot.
(D-Mass.), including: $5,880,000 for development and construction
of the MBTA Fitchburg to Boston Rail Corridor Project;
$1,470,000 for downtown streetscape in Pittsfield; $784,000 for
the Franklin Regional Transit Center; $735,000 for MART bus and
commuter facilities; $269,500 for the Barrington Stage Company
for the renovation and buildout of the Berkshire Music Hall and
Octagon House in Pittsfield; and $196,000 for the Massachusetts
Landscape Connectivity Study.
$490,000 by House THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) for construction and buildout of
the Los Angeles County Fire Museum in Bellflower.
city of Las Vegas to complete renovation and transformation of the
historic downtown Post Office to a museum on local history.
and Railroad Museum in Helper for construction and renovation of
an addition to the museum to improve accessibility.
memorial building at the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum
Township for construction of aWoodbridge Historical Museum.
earmarks for the construction of Interstate 66 in Kentucky. In the
early 1990s, I-66 was conceived as a coast-to-coast highway.
However, the 1994 Transamerica Transportation Corridor Feasibility
Study found that it was not worth the cost. While most states
abandoned the project, Rep. Rogers has not been deterred from his
mission of building this boondoggle. Of the entire I-66 project in
Kentucky, only two short sections that are 120 miles apart have
reached the planning stage. Those portions, approximately 61
miles total in length, are expected to cost $3.5 billion. Government
officials cannot say how or if the entire project will be funded.
Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) for the Cambridge-Isanti
Bike/Walk Trail. After Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) unsuccessfully
attempted in September, 2007 to pass a moratorium on earmarks in
the wake of the 35Wbridge collapse in Minneapolis, Chairman
Oberstar defended the Isanti Trail, saying “Eliminating important
projects that promote tourism and recreational travel will not make
up for years of underinvestment in our nation's infrastructure, it
will just slow down other segments of the economy.” Of the
bill, $57,085,000, or 74.3 percent, was added by Chairman Oberstar.
John Carter (R-Texas) for lane expansion of RM 1431 in the city of
Cedar Park, Texas. Speaking of this project, Rep. Carter said, “I’m
very proud of all of the earmarks that we do… It’s the ones that
people use to line their own pockets or other people’s pockets that
for the Big Sky Economic DevelopmentAuthority, for historic
preservation of the Cobb Field facility in Billings. Home to the
Minor League Billings Mustangs, Cobb Field was built in 1948
and is currently undergoing modernization, including a new scoreboard
– all paid for by taxpayers. A September, 2006 article in
Satisfaction Magazine noted that owning a Minor League Baseball
team can be quite profitable: “But a well-run baseball operation
can turn a net profit of 5 percent to 10 percent a year, according to
interviews with team owners and consultants. Then there is the
equity play: Minor league teams have been appreciating in value
by 3 percent to 5 percent annually in the past decade, with some
instances – albeit rare ones – of owners selling for 10 times their
original investment after holding the team for just five years.”
According to the Mustangs’website, 95,309 people attended a
game at Cobb Field in 2007. An increase of $3.45 per ticket would
have removed the burden to the taxpayers.
Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) for renovations to the International Peace
Garden in Dunseith. Spanning the border of North Dakota and
Manitoba, the International Peace Garden boasts 150,000 flowers,
terraced walkways, and the 120-foot Peace Tower. In September
2007, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) offered an amendment to eliminate
this earmark from the Senate version of the transportation bill.
Sen. Coburn argued the money would be better spent on road repairs,
calling it “morally wrong” to spend money on wasteful projects
while citizens are dying on the nation’s roads. Unfortunately, the
amendment failed by a vote of 32-63.
Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) for
construction of theWalter CloreWine and Culinary Center in
Prosser,Washington. According to its website, the Culinary Center’s
purpose is to educate and promote the areas of viticulture, enology
and culinary practices, showcase the quality ofWashington’s wine
industry, and increase the state’s tourism industry. The website also
states that wine inWashington is a $3 billion industry. Taxpayers
should not be soaked for a new wine center.
construction of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras.
The Graveyard of theAtlantic documents the plethora of shipwrecks
off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. This Titanic waste
of booty is a fishy way to keep a sinking economy afloat.
Wakely Lodge Resort, the site of a nine-hole public golf course in
Indian Lake. The $19 greens fee charged atWakely Lodge Golf
Course is apparently not enough to cover renovations to the lodge.
walking tour of Boydton. The town has a population of 474, and
covers .82 square miles. That’s a lot of money for a short walk.
of a National Mule and Packers Museum in Bishop. Defending his
earmark, Rep. McKeon stated, “One thing we forget is the people
in Bishop pay taxes…they have gotten very little back from the
federal government.” There are 3,575 people in Bishop. If they
each pay just $13.71 to a local museum fund, all of the otherAmericans
who pay taxes would not be forced to support a museum few are
likely to visit.
This booklet was written by David E. Williams, vice president,
policy, and Sean Kennedy, research associate. It was edited by
Thomas A. Schatz, president.
CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE PRESENTS
PIG BOOK “OINKERS” OF 2008
Recognizing Dogged Perseverance in the Mad Pursuit of Pork
to Representative Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) for $211,509 in olive fruit fly
research in Paris, France.
to House MajorityWhip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) for $3 million for
The First Tee in the defense appropriations bill.
to Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) for $165.7 million in defense pork.
to Representative John Murtha (D-Pa.) for $23 million for the
National Drug Intelligence Center.
to Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) for $386 million in pork.
to Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) for $1,950,000 for the
Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service.
to Montana Senators Max Baucus (D) and Jon Tester (D)
to Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)
to Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) for $344,540
for the city of Chicago GreenStreets Tree Planting Program.
for $7.9 million for 36 theaters in 21 states.
to Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) for $173.2 million in defense pork.
to Maine Senators Susan Collins (R) and Olympia Snowe (R), and
Rep. Thomas Allen (D-Maine) for $188,000 for the Lobster Institute.
to Representative Virgil Goode (R-Va.) for $98,000 to develop a
walking tour of Boydton, Virginia.
to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for $196,000 for the renovation
and transformation of the historic downtown Post Office in Las Vegas.
Pork Per Capita by State
(National Average: $33.77 Per Person)
2008 State 2008 Pork Population Pork/Capita 2006 Change
1 Alaska $379,699,715 683,478 $555.54 1 0
2 Hawaii $283,149,151 1,283,388 $220.63 2 0
3 North Dakota $132,883,420 639,715 $207.72 5 2
4 West Virginia $325,799,541 1,812,035 $179.80 4 0
5 Mississippi $449,883,378 2,918,785 $154.13 6 1
6 Vermont $70,631,915 621,254 $113.69 12 6
7 South Dakota $89,241,281 796,214 $112.08 10 3
8 New Mexico $205,220,434 1,969,915 $104.18 9 1
9 Montana $86,749,151 957,861 $90.57 7 -2
10 District of Columbia $46,126,719 588,292 $78.41 3 -7
11 Arkansas $204,151,772 2,834,797 $72.02 36 25
12 Louisiana $291,193,790 4,293,204 $67.83 19 7
13 Rhode Island $70,848,807 1,057,832 $66.98 14 1
14 Delaware $55,605,307 864,764 $64.30 24 10
15 Nevada $158,779,895 2,565,382 $61.89 8 -7
16 Iowa $184,625,783 2,988,046 $61.79 37 21
17 Alabama $280,071,372 4,627,851 $60.52 15 -2
18 Kentucky $237,504,148 4,241,474 $56.00 16 -2
19 Kansas $143,744,440 2,775,997 $51.78 39 20
20 Idaho $68,026,924 1,499,402 $45.37 13 -7
21 Utah $117,671,306 2,645,330 $44.48 18 -3
22 Maryland $240,356,990 5,618,344 $42.78 22 0
23 Virginia $326,488,200 7,712,091 $42.33 32 9
24 Missouri $244,170,488 5,878,415 $41.54 25 1
25 Washington $268,294,892 6,468,424 $41.48 17 -8
26 Minnesota $199,847,089 5,197,621 $38.45 38 12
27 Connecticut $134,387,293 3,502,309 $38.37 35 8
28 New Hampshire $42,159,826 1,315,828 $32.04 11 -17
29 Wisconsin $174,816,697 5,601,640 $31.21 41 12
30 Nebraska $54,252,725 1,774,571 $30.57 26 -4
31 Massachusetts $186,992,813 6,449,755 $28.99 46 15
32 Wyoming $14,294,522 522,830 $27.34 23 -9
33 Tennessee $167,805,330 6,156,719 $27.26 34 1
34 Oklahoma $98,306,642 3,617,316 $27.18 48 14
35 Pennsylvania $332,534,975 12,432,792 $26.75 40 5
36 Illinois $327,333,197 12,852,548 $25.47 31 -5
37 South Carolina $111,630,689 4,407,709 $25.33 42 5
38 Indiana $158,296,422 6,345,289 $24.95 49 11
39 North Carolina $216,408,374 9,061,032 $23.88 33 -6
40 Texas $558,967,383 23,904,380 $23.38 47 7
41 Maine $29,521,553 1,317,207 $22.41 28 -13
42 Florida $382,964,232 18,251,243 $20.98 50 8
43 New Jersey $180,531,502 8,685,920 $20.78 30 -13
44 Georgia $196,628,305 9,544,750 $20.60 51 7
45 Oregon $75,943,902 3,747,455 $20.27 29 -16
46 Michigan $196,478,810 10,071,822 $19.51 45 -1
47 Colorado $94,039,035 4,861,515 $19.34 21 -26
48 Ohio $211,698,486 11,466,917 $18.46 44 -4
49 California $666,398,576 36,553,215 $18.23 43 -6
50 New York $323,390,913 19,297,729 $16.76 27 -23
51 Arizona $89,790,175 6,338,755 $14.17 20 -31
TOTAL* $10,186,338,285 301,621,157 $33.77
* This figure differs from the $17.2 billion total for pork. Pork projects earmarked for multiple states or
projects that cannot be attributed to a specific state are not included in the pork per capita calculations.
Senate List by Dollar Amount | Alphabetical
House List by Dollar Amount | Alphabetical
1301 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Military Losses, 1980 thru 2006
Whatever your politics, however you lean, however you feel about the
current administration, this report should open some eyes.
Military losses, 1980 through 2006
E-mail on military deaths is shaky on facts
By Chuck Vinch – Staff writer ArmyTimes.com
Posted : Thursday Mar 27, 2008 7:50:12 EDT
A spam e-mail making the rounds in the military community serves as a reminder that facts can be flexible when they are launched anonymously into the vast void of cyberspace.
The e-mail, entitled, “Some very interesting statistics: Military losses, 1980 through 2006,” states that more U.S. service members died on active duty during the eight years of the Clinton administration, when there were no major U.S. military conflicts, than in the first six years of the George W. Bush administration, during which the military was fighting two large-scale wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The e-mail offers year-by-year U.S. military death totals from all causes — operations, illness, accidents, suicides, etc. — from 1980 through 2006. The data supposedly were taken from a periodically updated Congressional Research Service report on the subject, which in turn is based on statistics compiled by the Pentagon’s Defense Manpower and Data Center.
There’s just one problem: The figures listed in the email are wrong. They vary markedly from the figures published in the cited CRS source document. According to the e-mail, slightly more than 14,000 U.S. active-duty military deaths occurred from 1993 to 2000 during the eight years of the Clinton administration, compared to 7,932 deaths from 2001 through 2006 under President Bush.
“The loss from the two latest conflicts in the Middle East are LESS than the loss of military personnel during Bill Clinton’s presidency, when America wasn't even involved in a war,” states the e-mail, whose original author is, of course, forever lost to the electrons. But some simple math using the figures listed on page 7 of the CRS report reveals that the figures for several of the years under Clinton are inflated, while figures for some of the years under Bush are downplayed. In reality, according to the CRS report, 7,500 service members died on active duty in the eight years from 1993 through 2000, compared to 8,792 in the six years from 2001 through 2006.
The Pentagon has not yet released data on total active-duty deaths for 2007, but 1,014 service members died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that year, and more than 100 have died in the wars so far in 2008, pushing the known total under Bush to more than 9,900. The report does not address the ratio of active-duty deaths to force size; the active-duty force shrank significantly during the drawdown of the 1990s, from more than 1.7 million in 1993 to about 1.3 million by the early years of this decade.
The claims of this particular e-mail are easily disproved. But the online proliferation of such anonymous documents highlights a serious concern for researchers and scholars about how to separate fact from fiction within the vast quantities of raw material online — and being consumed by users who often have no easy way to gauge the reliability of the information they see. The Web site of The Sheridan Libraries, the main research facility at Johns Hopkins University, includes a lengthy “how to” guide for evaluating Internet information that underscores the difficulty. “When you use a research or academic library, the books, journals and other resources have already been evaluated by scholars, publishers and librarians,” the Web site states. “Every resource you find has been evaluated in one way or another before you ever see it.” Online, however, “none of this applies — there are no filters,” the library Web site states. “Because anyone can write a Web page, documents of the widest range of quality, written by authors of the widest range of authority, are available on an even playing field. Excellent resources reside along side the most dubious.”
“You have to look at the source,” said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a massive online storehouse of information about every aspect of the security world, including defense, space, intelligence, weapons of mass destruction and homeland security. Pike said he relies primarily on information from the dot-gov and dot-mil Internet domains — the official sites of the U.S. government and the Defense Department — for his Web site, “on the theory that any material from those sources has had some sort of fact-checking.” If he ventures into the dot-com realm, Pike said he generally sticks to contractor Web sites, since “presumably they know what they’re talking about when it comes to their toys.” “But sometimes we still find mistakes from those sources,” he added.
With its bottomless pool of instantaneous information, the Internet had made many people comfortable about jettisoning their critical-thinking skills, Pike said. “These days, there is a tendency to believe anything you see online that’s reasonably well-spelled,” he said. “But you have to check your sources. You have to have a good BS detector.” A good tool for dubious readers who want to confirm their suspicions is Snopes.com, which contains a database of debunked Internet myths — many related to the military.
A check of the CRS source document cited in the e-mail on U.S. military deaths shows that the e-mail’s author got it right for only three of the eight years of the Clinton administration. Figures for the other five years are off by a wide margin. For example, the e-mail cites 2,465 active-duty deaths in 1995; the figure in the CRS report is 1,040. For 1998, the e-mail cites 2,252 deaths; the CRS figure is 827.
For the six years of the Bush administration, the e-mail gets none of the figures correct. Some are off only slightly — in 2001, for example, the e-mail figure is 890 deaths, the CRS figure, 891 — but other years are far off the mark. In 2005, the e-mail lists a figure of 919 deaths; the figure in the CRS report is 1,942. Similarly, the figures for 2006 are 920 in the e-mail, 1,858 in the CRS report.
“Whatever your politics, however you lean, however you feel about the current administration, this report should open some eyes,” the e-mail declares.
Defenselink, the official website for the Department of Defense, issues news releases every weekday that identify military personnel killed at
CRS Report RS21578. Iraq: Summary of U.S. Casualties, by JoAnne O’Bryant.
CRS Report RS22537. Iraqi Civilian Deaths Estimates, by Hannah Fischer.
CRS Report RS22532. Iraqi Police and Security Forces Casualty Estimates, by Hannah Fischer.
CRS Report RS22452. United States Military Casualty Statistics: Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, by Hannah Fischer.
Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures (Jefferson, NC, and London: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2001)
that our mainstream media continues to spin these figures (for political gain).
Nothing more. It's all about politics and some politicians, are now famous for
turning American against American for a vote. (Consider Slick Willy and his
comments just recently made about South Carolina , Jesse Jackson, and the
'blacks' voting for the 'black' candidates); or Hillary's stump speech after her
Super Tuesday 'victory' stating that the current administration does not
'listen' to anyone and continues the war costing precious American lives. Yes, I
might even agree with her, but she should be made to acknowledge her own
husband's administration forced the military to release Osama when we
actually had him detained.
I hope that during the time between now and November, that intelligent
Americans can decipher the facts from the spin and the spinners from the
leaders; those who seek even more power from those that seek justice, the
dividers from the uniters.
Over the next months let's be good listeners (yes, Hillary we are listening)
and see and hear who tries to divide our nation; and who wants to unite our
nation. Who wants to control how our money is spent and who wants our money
spent the way we would spend it. Who seeks power and who seeks justice?
Who spins the facts and who is genuine? (These statistics are published by
Congressional Research Service, and they may be confirmed by anyone at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf
portions of the above edited by the CftC
It is said that generals always fight the last war. But when David Petraeus came to town it was senators – on both sides of the aisle – who battled over the Iraq war of 2004-2006. That war has little in common with the war we are fighting today.
I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war – and our part in it – at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.
The change goes far beyond the statistical decline in casualties or incidents of violence. A young Iraqi translator, wounded in battle and fearing death, asked an American commander to bury his heart in America. Iraqi special forces units took to the streets to track down terrorists who killed American soldiers. The U.S. military is the most respected institution in Iraq, and many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers. Yes, young Iraqi boys know about "GoArmy.com."
As the outrages of Abu Ghraib faded in memory – and paled in comparison to al Qaeda's brutalities – and our soldiers under the Petraeus strategy got off their big bases and out of their tanks and deeper into the neighborhoods, American values began to win the war.
Iraqis came to respect American soldiers as warriors who would protect them from terror gangs. But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are even happier helping rebuild a clinic, school or a neighborhood. They learned that the American soldier is not only the most dangerous enemy in the world, but one of the best friends a neighborhood can have.
Some people charge that we have merely "rented" the Sunni tribesmen, the former insurgents who now fight by our side. This implies that because we pay these people, their loyalty must be for sale to the highest bidder. But as Gen. Petraeus demonstrated in Nineveh province in 2003 to 2004, many of the Iraqis who filled the ranks of the Sunni insurgency from 2003 into 2007 could have been working with us all along, had we treated them intelligently and respectfully. In Nineveh in 2003, under then Maj. Gen. Petraeus's leadership, these men – many of them veterans of the Iraqi army – played a crucial role in restoring civil order. Yet due to excessive de-Baathification and the administration's attempt to marginalize powerful tribal sheiks in Anbar and other provinces – including men even Saddam dared not ignore – we transformed potential partners into dreaded enemies in less than a year.
Then al Qaeda in Iraq, which helped fund and tried to control the Sunni insurgency for its own ends, raped too many women and boys, cut off too many heads, and brought drugs into too many neighborhoods. By outraging the tribes, it gave birth to the Sunni "awakening." We – and Iraq – got a second chance. Powerful tribes in Anbar province cooperate with us now because they came to see al Qaeda for what it is – and to see Americans for what we truly are.
Soldiers everywhere are paid, and good generals know it is dangerous to mess with a soldier's money. The shoeless heroes who froze at Valley Forge were paid, and when their pay did not come they threatened to leave – and some did. Soldiers have families and will not fight for a nation that allows their families to starve. But to say that the tribes who fight with us are "rented" is perhaps as vile a slander as to say that George Washington's men would have left him if the British offered a better deal.
Equally misguided were some senators' attempts to use Gen. Petraeus's statement, that there could be no purely military solution in Iraq, to dismiss our soldiers' achievements as "merely" military. In a successful counterinsurgency it is impossible to separate military and political success. The Sunni "awakening" was not primarily a military event any more than it was "bribery." It was a political event with enormous military benefits.
The huge drop in roadside bombings is also a political success – because the bombings were political events. It is not possible to bury a tank-busting 1,500-pound bomb in a neighborhood street without the neighbors noticing. Since the military cannot watch every road during every hour of the day (that would be a purely military solution), whether the bomb kills soldiers depends on whether the neighbors warn the soldiers or cover for the terrorists. Once they mostly stood silent; today they tend to pick up their cell phones and call the Americans. Even in big "kinetic" military operations like the taking of Baqubah in June 2007, politics was crucial. Casualties were a fraction of what we expected because, block-by-block, the citizens told our guys where to find the bad guys. I was there; I saw it.
The Iraqi central government is unsatisfactory at best. But the grass-roots political progress of the past year has been extraordinary – and is directly measurable in the drop in casualties.
This leads us to the most out-of-date aspect of the Senate debate: the argument about the pace of troop withdrawals. Precisely because we have made so much political progress in the past year, rather than talking about force reduction, Congress should be figuring ways and means to increase troop levels. For all our successes, we still do not have enough troops. This makes the fight longer and more lethal for the troops who are fighting. To give one example, I just returned this week from Nineveh province, where I have spent probably eight months between 2005 to 2008, and it is clear that we remain stretched very thin from the Syrian border and through Mosul. Vast swaths of Nineveh are patrolled mostly by occasional overflights.
We know now that we can pull off a successful counterinsurgency in Iraq. We know that we are working with an increasingly willing citizenry. But counterinsurgency, like community policing, requires lots of boots on the ground. You can't do it from inside a jet or a tank.
Over the past 15 months, we have proved that we can win this war. We stand now at the moment of truth. Victory – and a democracy in the Arab world – is within our grasp. But it could yet slip away if our leaders remain transfixed by the war we almost lost, rather than focusing on the war we are winning today.
Mr. Yon is author of the just-published "Moment of Truth in Iraq" (Richard Vigilante Books). He has been reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan since December 2004.