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Bunning's block: Politics at its best, or worst?

Mark Mardell | 20:55 UK time, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Traffic flows freely for once along the busy George Washington Memorial Parkway linking the US capital and the Virginia suburbs.

Some drivers may have reason to bless Senator Jim Bunning for making their commute less fraught with delays.bunning_ap.jpg

For the roadworks that have been going on for two years are at a standstill. Huge earth movers lie idle in the middle of the road, and the workers have all been sent home.

As we filmed one truck turned up, loaded up some ladders and locked up the construction site. The repairs to make the hump back bridge fit to carry 75 vehicles a day have stopped.

It is all the work of one man - Senator Jim Bunning - who has stopped a routine bill to continue payment for this and more than 40 other projects. He's done it on his own, against the wishes of his 99 Senate colleges - both Republican and Democrat.

Payments to doctors, the unemployed and even money to allow rural viewers see cable TV will be hit.

He's using a process called unanimous consent. According to the Senate's own website:

A Senator may request unanimous consent on the floor to set aside a specified rule of procedure so as to expedite proceedings. If no Senator objects, the Senate permits the action, but if any one Senator objects, the request is rejected.
.

As a baseball star Jim Bunning was known for his "brush back pitch" - essentially throwing near the head of the batter to get them to move off. In old age he's lost none of his taste for aggressive play.

The White House has called him "irrational" and Democrats are delighted if people get the impression Republicans are out to wreck plays to help the jobless.

That's hardly fair as some of Mr Bunning's own Republican colleagues urged him to back off and none have supported him.

But he has yet again used the procedure to block money being spent.

Mr Bunning's objection is partly based on procedure but also because the $10bn payment is unfunded. He didn't want to defend his view to reporters, backing into a "senators only" lift to make his escape.

But he has explained himself to his colleagues. His objection is party based on procedure but mainly on his objection to adding to America's ballooning deficit by extending a $10bn payment without saying where the money is coming from.

He read out a letter from a sheet metal worker from Kentucky who said he hadn't worked a full week for two years but "fully supported" the senator for standing up to those who wanted to spend taxpayers' money they do not have.

This country is sooner or later going to implode because of the massive amount of debt built up over the last 40 to 50 years. Selling the country's soul to countries like communist China in order to finance our lifestyle... is sheer lunacy.

The letter went on.

As far as I know there is no connection between the senator and the Tea Party movement. But surely these are sentiments they would admire?

They have been lauded by some for being the authentic voice of America, angry about the ways of Washington. It will be interesting to see how they view this piece of Capitol gridlock.

I am eager to hear if the senator has admirers out there.

Comments

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  • 1. At 9:30pm on 02 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    I'm no admirer of Senator Bunning, but I see nothing wrong with his having blocked an action in this way. Unanimous consent is something to be used for noncontroversial measures, as it bypasses debate. If the Senator wants debate on the question, he is entitled to it.

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  • 2. At 9:35pm on 02 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    As a fiscal conservative I sympathize with decisions made to operate within budget, but there are times when common sense must take precedence to ideology, politics, or personal motives, and this happens to be one of those times.

    The USA, and several other countries, are still enduring the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs, their homes, their cars, have been unemployed for many months and worse of all have little hope of ever enjoying the comfort they did a few years ago.

    Stopping legislation to provide them with unemployment benefits that usually amount to $300 a week and denying them healthcare COBRA coverage is nothing short of being inhumane.

    I think it is important to point out that Sen. Bunning voted against the PAY-GO concept in the 90s, which he now uses as an excuse for his decision, enthusiastically endorsed the tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans that contributed to the end of our budget surpluses and our growing deficits, and had no problem with the emergency resolutions used by the Bush Administration to spend $1T in Iraq.

    I reckon the plight of ordinary Americans ranks low in his list of priorities...

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  • 3. At 9:36pm on 02 Mar 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    MM,

    It is a pittance, a penny in comparison to the gold in a Swiss Bank, but as they say every penny counts. I for one applaud the good Senator for keeping the American government from spending yet more money the American people can ill-afford to lose. The Senator speaks logically. You do not spend money you do not have, and cannot reasonably repay. Here the President's cost cutting measures fall short, as he contradicts his own speeches against illogical and unwise spending.
    Unemployment? Road-works jobs? These are ephemeral things, unable to sustain an economy for very long. Novocaine to the economic root canal that is still in process. After a while, that Novocaine wears off and you have to deal with the pain. It hurts, but it is necessary unless you wish to be addicted to the drug. Yes, I have compared welfare to a drug. I admit this freely. Scorn if you must, but all too many people rely on unemployment when they could be working, even if the job is seemingly beneath them.
    As for Senator Bunning he speaks the truth; Just as you do not buy candy with promises, you do not fund unemployment on dreams.

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  • 4. At 9:43pm on 02 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    I should add that refusing consent to take a shortcut does not constitute "gridlock." The bill will continue to move forward, but according to the regular rules of the Senate.

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  • 5. At 9:48pm on 02 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    There is something very wrong with a government that consistently spends more than it takes in, but there is something much worse with a society that does not mind spending $2.2B to build a B2 bomber but has problems spending $3B to help fellow citizens in need.

    There are plenty of places where savings could be realized without resorting to cruel theatrics to make a point. This imbecile may not realize it, but the target of his decision are every day Americans who currently depend on a little assistance from our government to make ends meet. Thank God he is not running for re-election.

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  • 6. At 9:48pm on 02 Mar 2010, McJakome wrote:

    The specifics here might seem irrational, but I wish a majority of our federal and state lawmakers were as averse to profligate spending as this senator.

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  • 7. At 9:52pm on 02 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    This is exactly the sort of petty politicking that is having to be dealt with day to day, when matters of extreme importance to US citizens ought to be taking precedence. It's bully-boy spoil-sport bad behaviour. How can anyone take the Republicans seriously?

    They lost the election and need to demonstrate the national pride they shout about so loudly and support their fairly and democratically elected President.

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  • 8. At 10:03pm on 02 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Bunning's "agressive play" is called "country hardball."

    Senator Bunning is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Among his accomplishments is a "perfect game." There are only seven perfect games in the history of the National League and eleven in the American League.

    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/pitching/piperf.shtml

    Baseball is in spring training now, so we will soon have an alternative spectator sport to the dreary drama of politics.

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  • 9. At 10:06pm on 02 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 3, Magnos

    "Scorn if you must, but all too many people rely on unemployment when they could be working, even if the job is seemingly beneath them."

    A woman interviewed in CNN this morning put it well when she said that the problem was not only that she had been unemployed for over a year, but that there were no places to send her resume to because nobody is hiring.

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  • 10. At 10:06pm on 02 Mar 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    @7 Amaryr

    Democratically elected President perhaps, but the Senator's behavior is why the minority is so often called the Opposition. How supportive were the Democrats when President Bush was in power? Answer: Not very. The Democrats did their job as the minority and opposed the Republicans from passing conservative legislation time and again. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it is the turn of the Republicans to stymie the Democrats. This is American politics. It has been this way for three hundred years. I doubt it will change any time soon.

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  • 11. At 10:15pm on 02 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    SaintDominick (#5) "... a society that does not mind spending $2.2B to build a B2 bomber ..."

    The B2 bomber was planned in the 1970s and developed in the 1980s during the cold war. The original plan was for 132 aircraft. With the end of the cold war, the number was reduced twice, and only 21 were built. The high cost per unit is partly a consequence of the low numbers built.

    Americans do object to billion-dollar (the incremental cost) aircraft when the justification for them has expired.

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  • 12. At 10:16pm on 02 Mar 2010, Metaxy wrote:

    Senator Bunning is a bit hypocritical. During the Bush administration he voted in favor of 2 unfunded wars, an unfunded tax cut that would make the health care reform modest in comparison, and an unfunded Prescription Drug program. Where was his fiscal conservatism, pay as you go ... There is a difference between ideology and policy. Policy is practical. I would also argue that though our national debt must be reigned in; we the American people will not pay for it. No new taxes is simply a lack of willingness to confront the problem and we are part of it.

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  • 13. At 10:19pm on 02 Mar 2010, CheriS wrote:

    I don't recall the Republicans being so fiscally conscious when it came to handing over all that unaccounted for $$ to Halliburton for their lack of performance in Iraq. It sounds like some are afflicted with selective fiscal consciousness. Unfortunate, because they and their ilk are not the ones suffering the consequences.

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  • 14. At 10:21pm on 02 Mar 2010, enzo11 wrote:

    Bunning is exactly right to use this proceedure.

    The "pay-go" bill was passed just a few days ago, yet the rest of Comgress seems hell bent to ignore it on one of the first spending bills presented afterwards. It was a no-brainer for Bunning to hold his collegues feet to the fire - by law, he had no choice.

    amary:

    There is a difference between supporting the president whan he deserves it, and blindly following him to fiscal ruin. You, and others here, might want to try understanding the difference.

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  • 15. At 10:26pm on 02 Mar 2010, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    Why not take this stance against the wars and corporate welfare which are far more expensive and also require defecit increase.

    If it is about "selling the country's soul to countries like communist China in order to finance our lifestyle" I would suggest that giving unemployed families money to feed their kids is less of a "lifestyle" issue than controlling countries and securing oil for gas-guzzling vehicles with lower fuel efficiency than most other developed nations, a sub-par public transport/rail network and a consumerist infra-structure that requires the production and desire for "stuff'. Why not make a stand against the defecit on these issues?

    As usual those at the bottom of the pile become the easiest targets.

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  • 16. At 10:31pm on 02 Mar 2010, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    @10 Magnus

    Blatant obstructionism is a realtively new aspect of American politics, especially to this degree. Historically the republicans have been far more obstructionist than the democrats, a simple google search from an objective source will back this up.

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  • 17. At 10:36pm on 02 Mar 2010, Nevada_Blue wrote:

    What has the good Senator done to honor the other half of the steelworker's complaint: Ok he is opposed to adding to our debt, financed in part by China, but more importantly, what is he doing to shrink our trade deficit and stop sending more currency overseas at an annual trade deficit of over $250 billion, or more than a month's pay each year from every working US family? At least federal spending on obs programs - or just funding already-started infrastructure projects like those described here - put US taxpayers back to work and doesn't outsource jobs.

    I'm tired of this rhetoric as if we just discovered the national debt in 2009 when deficit spending has a 40+ year history with both parties fueling deficits from conservative 'gun' and liberal 'butter' spending combined with love of anti-tax rhetoric and the lack of will to match tax revenue and budgets, instead pandering with tax cuts that were just debt passed forward. The failure to increase the per-gallon highway fund gasoline tax over almost 20 years, while roads and bridges deteriorate and the flow of commerce slows, is a prime example.

    Even if we gut the government in a tea party quest for lower taxes by cutting apart all our safety nets, the damage to our economy will continue from outsourced jobs and shuttered US companies in leveraged buyouts (once Frank Lorenzo and "Gordon Gekko"; current guise 'equity capital', see Mitt Romney etc.); from the distancing and risky derivatives that replaced local lending investment, and local purchasing; and from an increasingly consumption-driven society that values cheap imported goods over any thought about where the purchase price goes, whether the purchase is necessary, or what country and government (free or totalitarian? friendly or confrontational?) each of our purchases supports. John McLaughlin suggested it's time for 'limited protectionism' in his 2009 wrap-up shows. The cries to starve US government spending would carry more weight with me if they came from people who were doing more to curb their own consumer addictions to bankrolling our lender, China Inc.

    Roads and bridges, etc., are at least 'made in USA' and funding them and their taxpayer workers has a multiplied benefit to our economy.

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  • 18. At 10:54pm on 02 Mar 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    Congress doesn't live like the rest of us. They have every lucrative government security blanket available to them. I can hear the distant din of a growing insurrection. God Help us!

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  • 19. At 10:54pm on 02 Mar 2010, The cookie monster wrote:

    Was Bunning a supporter of Bill Clinton when he stabilized US government finances and repaid its debt? Did he put up such a song and dance when GW Bush wrecked US government finances and doled out billions in tax reductions to millionaires and bilionaires? Of course not! But now that Obama is implementing textbook economic anti-crisis policies by supporting the weakest in society and stimulating employment by essential infrastructure projects, now all of a sudden Bunning's found religion?? This argument has long been closed. There's a scary degree of consensus among commentators and mainstream media that the GOP no longer do policy in the US general interest, they just do populism. Bunning's move will undoubtedly be popular with the tea-parties, but what else are they than right wing anarchists?

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  • 20. At 10:55pm on 02 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "... by law, he had no choice." (from enzo11 at #14)

    Where do people get these kooky ideas? The pay-as-you-go legislation allows exemptions for emergency appropriations, which this was. The Congress can designate appropriations as "emergency" by recorded vote, which they did in this case.

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  • 21. At 10:56pm on 02 Mar 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    ref 9 SaintDominick

    "A woman interviewed in CNN this morning put it well when she said that the problem was not only that she had been unemployed for over a year, but that there were no places to send her resume to because nobody is hiring."

    Then perchance we should be more focused on creating lasting jobs than funding economic stagnation. Allow me to put it in this light: If America had the money to fund unemployment out of pocket I could say nothing. This is the same position I have on a public option. I would have no argument (nor would I feel justified in doing so). As it stands, however, America is bankrupting itself with healthcare and foreign conflicts. I know the pain of joblessness, and I am not unsympathetic. Still, to buy things you must have money. America doesn't. I feel pain at saying that, believe it or not. Many of my own family suffer in the ruins of Detroit, but then I suppose that woman you speak of will be abandoned just as the citizens of Brightmoor and Redford before her. Nor will she be the last, sadly.

    It seems its time for the Democrats to start choosing; unemployment or health care? Public works or unemployment? Education or...?

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  • 22. At 11:01pm on 02 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Nevada_Blue (#17) "Roads and bridges, etc., are at least 'made in USA' ..."

    Not necessarily:

    http://www.baycrossings.com/dispnews.asp?id=2276

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  • 23. At 11:05pm on 02 Mar 2010, David Moore wrote:

    I support Senator Bunning. Our representatives in Washington MUST STOP SPENDING!

    I have sympathy for those who are not working but the reality is that 80-90 percent of US citizens ARE working. I have tried to hire a couple of local unemployed young men. They have declined to do the physical labor required (construction work) because they are getting unemployment. They will not go to work until the money dries up. The government is paying them to do nothing so that is exactly what they are doing.

    I know that not all unemployed people are like this and I don't know how you sort out the dead beats from the truely deserving.

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  • 24. At 11:18pm on 02 Mar 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    @16 When...

    I did not say the Democrats did it more. Nor did I tell you my sources. I said that the Democrats attempted to block the passage of Republican backed ('conservative' was my exact word) legislation in the past. If you look at history you will find each side blocking the other, time and again regardless of who was in power.

    The Republicans stopping the enlargement of the Supreme Court by Roosevelt. The Democrats halting the Vietnam conflict. The issue of slavery in the 19th century. On and on, all the way back to Jackson against the Bank of the United States, or the Federalists and Anti-Federalists before Jackson.

    Sources are only information. They do not provide perspective by themselves. Sources are also inevitably stained by bias, no matter their origin. Of course if you'd prefer we can petition the BBC to require references on opinions.

    Magnos Iacobos

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  • 25. At 11:21pm on 02 Mar 2010, U13817236 wrote:

    "As far as I know there is no connection between the senator and the Tea Party"...more importantly, there's no connection between the loopy senator and sanity. Bunning is a crank, pure and simple, who has never lost his taste for the limelight. He's exhibit A in why the Senate - an outmoded anacronism like the House of Lords - should be abolished. This is not about fiscal - let alone moral - responsibility in any way, shape or form. The paltry $10 billion is for social programs which is why there allegedly isn't enough dough to pay for it. But this is the same senator and senate that has no such scruples at throwing countless billions at the Pentagon to fund illegal wars. The official military budget this fiscal year is over 60 times that amount - plus many hidden special subsidies in other appropriations bills. War mongers like Bunning and Obama are always ready to run up massive deficits to give the Amerikan wehrmacht anything it desires and bailout bankers - but there's never any $ left over for the plebs who pay for it all.

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  • 26. At 11:29pm on 02 Mar 2010, vagueofgodalming wrote:

    The bill will continue to move forward, but according to the regular rules of the Senate.

    Yeah, but when the rules seem designed to prevent anything useful getting done, maybe they should consider getting some better rules. It's not as if they're part of the Constitution; they're just a bunch of tradition that's grown up.

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  • 27. At 11:45pm on 02 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 21, Magnos

    "Allow me to put it in this light: If America had the money to fund unemployment out of pocket I could say nothing. This is the same position I have on a public option. I would have no argument (nor would I feel justified in doing so)."

    As I have stated on previous threads, I am in favor of a constitutional ammendment banning deficit spending, which makes it hard for me to defend spending without the funds to pay for it, but there are other ways to save money and balance our budget besides taking it from those who have lost everything...including the hope of doing better in the future.

    As I said in an earlier post, I would have been a lot more sympathetic if Sen. Bunning had shown the same concern for fiscal responsibility in the Bush era when he enthusiastically endorsed every spending bill put in front of him, and ignored the emergency resolutions that W was using to fund the Iraq war without paying for it out of budget. That spending spree did not bother Sen. Bunning at all...it only becomes a problem when the ones struggling are middle class and poor folks. Sorry, but that is unacceptable to me as an American and as a human being.

    If Sen. Bunning is concerned about the budget, which has been out of control for 9 successive fiscal years - and with one brief exception for many more before - he should propose a 5% across the board reduction in all Federal spending and support President Obama's plan to raise the tax liability of those earning over $250K a year.

    The problem we have is that we do not have the money to correct an economy that is in shambles, invest in R&D and in new industries/technologies to generate employment, modernize or at least repair our infrastructure, and make the improvements to our healthcare and education systems.

    Another poster pointed out that he offered jobs to two unemployed persons and both turned him down because they rather sit on their butts while collecting unemployment but I can tell you, from personal experience, that that is not always the case. In fact, I suspect it is the exception rather than the rule.

    Most Americans are not bums, most want to work, and most are not proud of having to go to an unemployment office to collect a check that barely allows them to make ends meet.

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  • 28. At 11:52pm on 02 Mar 2010, Baron wrote:

    Insanity! A member of the Senate asks for fiscal responsibility. Note, he is not asking to stop this legislation, just that the Senate find a reasonable way to pay for it.

    Senator Bunning pitched a perfect game while in the major leagues, which means he can take the pressure to not conform. The senator has every right to vote against any legislation. There are plenty of countries who "get things done" by having no rules, vagueofgodalming, they're called dictatorships. I, for one, would not like to live in such a place.

    Is finding proper sources of funding for a government program so bad? In fact, the story should really read "Members of the Senate can not find fiscally responsible ways to pay for their own legislation, yet again!"

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  • 29. At 11:54pm on 02 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    vague.. (#26) "Yeah, but when the rules seem designed to prevent anything useful getting done, ..."

    On the contrary, the unanimous consent rule is designed to expedite getting routine business done. In this case, one senator didn't consider the matter routine, so witheld his consent, that's all. It will get done pretty soon anyway.

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  • 30. At 00:08am on 03 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    The House of Representatives adopted the so-called PAYGO rule on January 5, 2007 (H.Res. 6) The Senate adopted this rule in 1993. Sen. Bunning voted against it.

    The PAYGO rule requires that legislation affecting direct spending must not increase the deficit over a six-year period, including the current year.

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  • 31. At 00:31am on 03 Mar 2010, GardeniaHut wrote:

    @ 10 Magnos Iacobos

    So we've had a democracy for 300 years? Well, the money for your education was well spent, wasn't it. An apparent waste, but I'm sure you'll blame it on someone else.

    Why don't you face the fact that the Democrats won an election? Why don't you admit that you no longer uphold the ideals of the American Constitution? Democrats did support their president during the Bush years, even though he was proven to be perhaps the worst president ever. Just look at how many republicans want to be seen with Bush now.

    Thoughtless tripe like that produced by Mr. Iacobos is what is pulling America downward at an ever increasing rate. Senator Bunning is a huge hypocrite, and the facts are obvious to prove it, just like most republicans - two faced flip floppers. They don't want President Obama to succeed, period. Doing so would prove that republicans aren't fit to lead. Because republican(t)s don't believe anymore in the system of government we've established. Republicans are the enemies of freedom.

    Kudos to @7 Amaryr.


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  • 32. At 00:33am on 03 Mar 2010, kakkowaruigaijin wrote:

    Senator Bunning didn't stop the bill, he just stopped it from passing without a real vote.
    The fact that Brits are whining about this finally helps me understand this article.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8521587.stm
    Yet you still ask why America's deficit is so large.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7825816.stm
    If the British could balance their own budgets, there suggestions for Americans struggling to balance their budgets will be a little more welcome.

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  • 33. At 00:41am on 03 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    You can argue about the unanimous consent rule. But bunning is right the money should be taken out of the unspent stimulus.

    It is only the pettiness of the Dems that they refuse to accept a common sense solution from a Republican.

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  • 34. At 00:50am on 03 Mar 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Ah yes, Jim Bunning former Major League pitcher for the Tigers, Phillies, Pirates and Dodgers who compiled a lifetime record of 224 wins and 184 losses. Threw a perfect game against the New York Mets in 1964. Member of the baseball hall of fame, elected by the veterans committee in 1996. Up until this week, this has been Jim Bunnings legacy as millions of fans in the Philadelphia, had rooted for him regardless of their own political affiliation.

    Unfortunately, the actions of Jim Bunning in the United States Senate, blocking funding for those who are unemployed and a bill that would maintain funding for medicaid, anding an obscene jesture to a television crew. Now threaten to over shadow what was his legacy. Because Bunning has revealed himself to be arogent and concerned only for his own political point of view and almost totally unwilling to compromise on reform bills. He doesn't even care what members of his own political party think of him. He hasn't even spoken to Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnel for months. Bunning seems to have single handedly seized power within the United States Government. This was not what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the US constitution.

    The irony is that when he was a ball player, Bunning was actually well respected and liked by his teamates and his opponents. This is the complete opposit of what he has become as a member of the US Senate. He has litterally become a clubhouse cancer. A threat to the harmony of the United States senate and a liability to the Republican Party. It is this later carreer that people could well remember when they think of the name Jim Bunning. This in my opinion, as a fan of the game, is a shame. Yet it is also self inflicted as Bunning has done this damage to himself.

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  • 35. At 00:57am on 03 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    Seems to me Sen. Bunning merely requested the bill be funded and that Sen. Reid could have past the bill with a majority vote or simply complied and funded the bill. With that said, Bunning picked the wrong issue to rally against IMO.

    For folks who believe those unemployed are just trying to live off the govt. dole, this is not a normal economic down turn. There are simply very few jobs available for the number of people unemployed.

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  • 36. At 00:57am on 03 Mar 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    8. At 10:03pm on 02 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    Bunning's "agressive play" is called "country hardball."

    Senator Bunning is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Among his accomplishments is a "perfect game." There are only seven perfect games in the history of the National League and eleven in the American League.

    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/pitching/piperf.shtml

    Baseball is in spring training now, so we will soon have an alternative spectator sport to the dreary drama of politics.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    That is true, about Baseball being an alternative to politics. However, I have seriously begun to doubt both Senator Bunnings fitness to hold office and his credentials to be in Cooperstown. He averaged 13 wins and 10 losses a year over a period of 16 years. Playing on bad teams that realy isn't all that special. He's one of two pitchers of whom I have doubts about their credentials to be in the Hall of Fame, the other is Sandy Koufax.

    As a Senator, I think he is proving that he doesn't belong in the US Senate and should retire imediately.

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  • 37. At 01:01am on 03 Mar 2010, Baron wrote:

    @ DThompson
    I'm not sure your gripe against Magnos Iacobos. Looking at your comments to him I'm not sure why you'd say he wasted his money on an education? Surely, you must agree that spending wartime like budgets must have an end. In my case, I hope it's end is not in the ending of the United States government. Have we learned nothing from communism and central planning? Has the idea of government/avant guard playing with society with their various Utopian dreams, which have all failed not done?
    Senator Bunning asking for sensible practices in government expendature is truly in step with most of America. Rather, it's the rest of the Senate that has lost all sense of reality. A normal budget requires that one does not spend more than they take in. Many Asian societies are very good at this, and slowly, this sensible idea is returning to the citizenry of the United States. I would hope you would function in such a way in your own life DThomas. So why, when it comes to government, do all of the rules go out the window?
    By the way, if you dislike Bush II, I'm sure you absolutely loath Wilson for getting the US into WWI, right? Just curious to see if as a Democrat that you can be consistent.

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  • 38. At 01:06am on 03 Mar 2010, KingLeeRoySandersJr wrote:

    Is Washington out of sync with America? Yes. Yes it is. It isn't the government it programs it's children it is and generation after generation it's Totalitarianism grows.

    The politicians high salaries and perks must be eliminated to procure the income for those that work! They sure don't serve the people! The policies of loan sharks have been passed and Politicians have given Banks power to not continue to give loans and operate as a bank should. These are some of the reasons too many projects have not been completed and the reason jobs in general are on short time or have been ended.

    The Financial down turn of the People has arisen out of the USA's Government practicing Socialism crippling business, to buy up business and control business. Politicians are so corrupt they basically are needless. Hidden powers control authority in the bureaucracy of the US Government and don't count that I am leaving out executive powers of the Pentagon that manipulate political office. Politicians are the propaganda used to hide the actual powers that run and rule the USA's Government.

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  • 39. At 01:09am on 03 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    While Bunning has earned his criticism, I'm wondering why Sen Reid did not call for a vote to end debate and vote on the measure right then. Was using Bunning as a political bludgeon against republicans more important than passing this bill? Perhaps someone more familiar with Senate rules has an answer.

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  • 40. At 01:13am on 03 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Congratulatons Senator Bunning. It is unfortunate that it had to come to this to bring this urgent issue facing our nation to the forefront of Congresses' attention. They say that to train a mule, first you have to hit him in the head with a 2 by 4. That's to get his attention. How clever you were to find one, how courageous you were to use it. In the end, those who are temporarily inconvenienced by not receiving their unemployment checks on time will be made whole, the roads will get built.

    As usual the media does not fully report what has happened because the truth conflicts with its own political agenda but I heard him say it. What the media left out was that Senator Bunning said that if Congress could not find funding for this (small) 10 billion dollar bill, how would it find funding for the much larger expenses it has and continues to mandate? How will those be reconciled? Sooner of later the US government will have to face the music and for many Americans the sooner the better. Business as usuall will not be conducted today and hopefully not until the basic underlying problem Congress continues to ignore is addressed and resolved. We do not want to wake up one day and find we are in the same disasterous state as the UK.

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  • 41. At 01:33am on 03 Mar 2010, ar wrote:

    Every time a Democratic president gets elected, the Republicans re-discover the horrors of the budget deficit and national debt that they helped to create.

    Mr. Bunning's escapades in the Senate are a joke and serve as a means to keep him in the media's attention. To his credit, it's working very well.

    Voting Demopublican or Republicrat only changes who feeds off the federal through. I had to laugh when Mr. Bernanke recently said that in 2-3 years time-frame the US seriously needs to reduce its budget deficit.
    Okay Ben, whatever. You'll be enjoying your federally funded pension by then and so is Mr. Bunning.
    If you're a fiscal conservative there is no one you can vote for. Absolutely no one.

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  • 42. At 01:38am on 03 Mar 2010, profutzer wrote:

    SaintDominick has the right perspective on the good senator. Bunning's point making is pretty disingenuous given his past voting record. I think he couldn't care less about the problems of the average American. Hey, that sounds a lot like Bush.

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  • 43. At 02:19am on 03 Mar 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    I am eager to hear if the senator has admirers out there. No, I am not one of his admirers......

    Yes, Washington is out of sync of the rest of the United States and, has been for many years....

    (D)

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  • 44. At 02:33am on 03 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    11. At 10:15pm on 02 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    SaintDominick (#5) "... a society that does not mind spending $2.2B to build a B2 bomber ..."

    The B2 bomber was planned in the 1970s and developed in the 1980s during the cold war. The original plan was for 132 aircraft. With the end of the cold war, the number was reduced twice, and only 21 were built. The high cost per unit is partly a consequence of the low numbers built.

    Americans do object to billion-dollar (the incremental cost) aircraft when the justification for them has expired.
    __________

    Not unlike the sad story of the ill-fated Avro Arrow.

    Except that in addition to reductions in the projected numbers, the engine builder, Rolls Royce, backed out. Suddenly AV Roe had to develop, from scratch, a cutting edge jet engine (which turned out to be the Orenda Iroquois) as well as an airframe. Following Suez, British interest in an order for 144 aircraft dried up, as did French interest in the Iroquois engine. So the development budget doubled (+/-) while the production run was cut by slightly over half.

    And so the projected cost per aircraft then escalated to roughly six times the cost of the next most expensive front-line fighter built in the US at the time.

    Which led to trouble.

    February 20, 1959.

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  • 45. At 02:46am on 03 Mar 2010, George Milton - Baltimore wrote:

    One senator cannot for long block senate action. I agree with his having taken a stand on the endless spending with no limits. This is simple political theater on the part of the senate leader who could call for cloture anytime he likes.

    The real question is not this $10B bill but the runaway spending machine that is Washington - seemingly determined to spend the nation into total bankruptcy. For a vision of our future, see Greece.

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  • 46. At 03:30am on 03 Mar 2010, AngryPatriotUSA wrote:

    What Sen. Bunning is doing is contrary to the best interests of the United States. And, surprisingly, particularly against the best interests of the Republican Party.

    That said, the reason why he is able to do it is because the senate has been using the Unanimous Consent rule to avoid taking firm positions. Unanimous Consent allows bills to pass without requiring Senators to go on record with a vote. It has been a way to get spending (and all too often pork) onto the budget without being on record as having voted for it.

    What Bunning has done is to force a vote on spending that normally would have passed without a vote, and which was deliberately not given time for normal voting procedures to be applied. His Republican colleagues (who were ready to be part of the unanimous consent) now have to make a decision to go on record as voting for or against a spending bill, and they are upset with him for forcing them to do so. Doubtless some will vote against it so as to maintain their "perfect" record of not voting for unsupported spending bills, but when such bills routinely pass via Unanimous Consent, such a record is at best a sham.

    So, what Bunning has done, aside from making a lot of people angry, imposing hardship on those least able to bear it, and dragging the name of his party through the mud, is to remove a level of obfuscation behind which senators routinely hide their support of spending.

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  • 47. At 03:43am on 03 Mar 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:


    This just broke a couple of hours ago. Bunning dropped his objections and his amendment failed 53-43. Sounds like he knew he was going to lose he decided not to let the otherside win. This is very undemocratic in my opinion. So sad to see such a man resort to these sort of tactics.

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  • 48. At 03:51am on 03 Mar 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Here's what needs to happen to the Senate and Senator Bunning. In my constitutionally protected opinion.

    1. They need to amend the rules to make fillabusters harder to pull off.

    2. They need to censure Jim Bunning and or have him expelled.

    3. He needs to be expelled from the Hall of Fame, unfortunately there are no provisions for this last one.

    However, the former are possibilities if he continues to behave in such a craven manor. Otherwise, we'll just have to wait until January when his term expires.

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  • 49. At 06:01am on 03 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM wrote: even money to allow rural viewers see cable TV will be hit.




    No kidding!

    And when does it say that people were endowed by their creator with an inalienable right to watch cable TV?

    Even if it brings classy "East Enders"?

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  • 50. At 06:12am on 03 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #48 AmericanSportFan suggests:

    "He [senator Bunning] needs to be expelled from the Hall of Fame"




    And you, sir, should be inducted into the Hall of Shame.


    [Although I understand that no federal money for ESPN HDTV coverage availability on cable can make some American sport fans really angry]

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  • 51. At 06:33am on 03 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #1

    I would be more than willing to pay extra 5 cents per gallon if there was an additional tax imposed, earmarked specifically for building/repairing our roads&bridges.

    I would be vehemently opposed for clearly unfunded fed expenditures.

    And being merely one of the sheep does not exactly qualifies one for a Badge of Honor. Not in my book, at least.

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  • 52. At 06:39am on 03 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: "Thank God he is not running for re-election."




    Perhaps that's why he was willing to take a principled stand?

    Unlike those (from both main parties) who do? :)

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  • 53. At 06:43am on 03 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Baseball is in spring training now, so we will soon have an alternative spectator sport to the dreary drama of politics."


    Perhaps some of our cousins would care to notice that "the country of fat blobs" got more medals at Vancouver Olympics than any other nation.

    [all powerfull Russia ending up in the 11th place]

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  • 54. At 06:49am on 03 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #11 GH 1618 wrote:

    The B2 bomber was planned in the 1970s and developed in the 1980s during the cold war. The original plan was for 132 aircraft. With the end of the cold war, the number was reduced twice, and only 21 were built. The high cost per unit is partly a consequence of the low numbers built.

    Americans do object to billion-dollar (the incremental cost) aircraft when the justification for them has expired.






    Cutting number F-22s has not exactly lowered their costs per unit either.

    And Congress cutting (in its wisdom) funds for space shuttle made a lousy glider our of a potentially great space plane.

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  • 55. At 06:52am on 03 Mar 2010, Planet Seeker wrote:

    Do the BBC and Mark Mardell really mean "99 Senate colleges"? Perhaps "colleagues" might be better!

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  • 56. At 09:59am on 03 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    While I am not against dealing with deficits, it is an economic reality, surely picking the correct political battlegrounds is a skill a senator should have. On the big scale of things the $10 bn is relatively small fry, as others have pointed out the military bill in the US is huge for one thing I wonder how much Xe get paid each year out of the budget, and this money was actually being earmarked to do some good.

    If we accept the unemployment figure of 10% others have used that still millions of people who could be affected by this delay, not saying they will just could. The projects being affected also employ people, who could also be affected by delays in these projects. The senator is hurting real Americans to make a political point. To blame the Republicans is a tad harsh, this is the action of one man not the party, the party have not supported him. It seems he believes that since he is retiring in November he can make a statement without consequence, which is when you look at it a bit shoddy.

    Please note this is not a condemnation or even much of a comment on American politics, rather on the political manoeuvrings of one man. All political systems leave themselves open to abuse from individual politicians who would rather self serve than serve the electorate, the Ukrainian PM being an example that comes to mind, Farage in the UK another example of a politician who seems to be more interested in getting publicity than actually trying to do anything meaningful.

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  • 57. At 10:59am on 03 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 58. At 11:03am on 03 Mar 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re # 50

    I am not suggesting that Senator Bunning be expelled from the Hall of Fame, with out cause. I don't believe he belongs in there because his statistics don't measure up to his contemporaries. There is also a character clause in the hall's charter which voters have to consider. Mr. Bunning's actions in the United States have proven that he has no character.

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  • 59. At 11:46am on 03 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    So. This Senator's single piece of obstructiveness on behalf of 'small government' dumps several people out of work; stops the reimbursement of costs incurred through the government run medical systems he and his party have continually argued they want to protect, stops the payment of uemployment benefit and medical insurance that is meant to give some form of short-term aid to people who lose their jobs in a recession.

    And where are all those people who tell us that Americans will always join together in some kind of community to help those less fortunate who find themselves in need? Are they rushing out to raise money to pay the doctors, hospitals and carers who will suffer a shortfall in income? Are they out on the streets with collecting tins to ensure numerous small infrastructure repairs are completed or merely tidied up so they don't deteriorate due to enforced inactivity so they end up costing twice as much to fix later?

    No, I thought not.

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  • 60. At 11:49am on 03 Mar 2010, Risforme wrote:

    Bunning wasn't standing on principle all you have to do is look at his track record. He voted for an extension just like the one in this bill, just as unfunded in 2003 when Republicans controlled Washington. This was purely a partisan move that costs the taxpayers more money and innocent Americans their jobs.

    Conservatives like Bunning are using the antiquated rules of the Senate to put a gun to the head of American Democracy. The largest deficits in our history were run up by these so called fiscal conservatives. To pretend this was nothing more to advance the Trickle down economic theory is just entirely naive.

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  • 61. At 1:07pm on 03 Mar 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    Well, this matter has been resolved and Bunning's attempt to get this obscene $10 expenditure offset by reducing a subsidy to the paper companies has been defeated, after which the Senate RUSHED to pass the rest of this wretched bill.

    Bunning was right! The Republican caucus who sent the neo-Democrat Susan Collins to try to persuade Bunning to back off show themselves to be spineless.

    Perhaps the American public is finally realizing that it is time to THROW THE BUMS OUT!

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  • 62. At 1:52pm on 03 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Many Republicans said they agreed with his view but not his tactics"


    Which means: he's not for re-election; we are.

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  • 63. At 1:59pm on 03 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "THROW THE BUMS OUT!"


    Looks like it's a Tea Party time. :-)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------WE'LL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

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  • 64. At 3:52pm on 03 Mar 2010, Dakota_Erik wrote:

    I think it is admirable that one Senator stands on principle. He doesn't have re-election to worry about, and that diminishes his heroism just a tad. Harry Reid is losing his re-election race for standing on principles as well, they just don't happen to reflect the positions of the majority of his constituency. Just last week the Senate passed a new "Paygo" bill, and this was the first major test of that legislation. Having been unemployed in this mess of an economy, I empathize with those who are suffering. But, how many additional weeks of unemployment pay can we taxpayers afford to give out? 50? 75? 5 years? If we look at the revenues, I'd say its getting toward zero.

    I heard today from one Senator, that if we wanted to balance our out of whack federal budget here in the USA, we'd only need to raise taxes by 60%. Or, we can focus on cutting government by half.

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  • 65. At 4:04pm on 03 Mar 2010, dceilar wrote:

    Meerkat @63

    These tea-baggers and Bunning remind me of old tea - old, cold, and bitter! Unconsumable for most palettes unless you are old, cold, and bitter yourself.

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  • 66. At 4:07pm on 03 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Aw shucks.
    He's Mavericky.
    Maybe this is a ploy to position for Presidential Candidacy?

    YaGotta haz balz t'run fer the baggerz.

    It's a slogan!
    Quick!
    Print & Sell some (made in this here USA) Bumper Stickers and T-shirts!
    The T-Shirt Printing Biz: It's a Job-Creating Economic Boost!


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  • 67. At 4:21pm on 03 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Shivvering 61:
    "Perhaps the American public is finally realizing that it is time to THROW THE BUMS OUT!"

    Funny. I felt that way when we started logging our national parks, when we embarked upon wars for oil, when we black-listed medical equipment during embargo, when our energy policy aged into rust, and when our economic position became dependent upon landfill-fodder imports so that we could have our beloved bread and circus...

    Gosh. I feel like such a prophet.
    Sorry everyone. I seem to have instigated a mob-like riot.
    My apologies.

    I'm just worried that folks are so hot for a lynchin' that we're gonna hang the wrong people. Anyone care for some McCarthyism? Red Tea Flavoured?
    -- Shhh... No one expects the Spanish Inquisition. ;-)

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  • 68. At 4:25pm on 03 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Sorry but am I the only one puzzled by the relevance to Bunning’s sporting past? I am sure that he was fantastic at his sport and his reputation may have been a contributing factor in him being initially elected to office, but sporting competency does not necessarily (or in all probability very often) equate to political competency.

    I am not suggesting that because at one time a professional he would be a rubbish senator, rather that other than a piece of historical background that fact he was one seems largely irrelevant.

    Also I keep hearing about the Tea Party doing well at the November elections, are they actually fielding candidates or just giving support to those candidates that mirror their particular views?

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  • 69. At 5:12pm on 03 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Risforme (#60) "Conservatives like Bunning are using the antiquated rules of the Senate to put a gun to the head of American Democracy."

    Oh, please! This little spat was over by Wednesday morning. Which rule, precisely, do you think antiquated, and how would you rewrite it?

    The Senate is more than 200 years old, so its rules have a history that long. They are revised from time to time, but not often. How old is too old? Does anyone think a deliberative body should write new rules from scratch every 10 years or so, merely to avoid an accusation of being "antiquated"?

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  • 70. At 5:18pm on 03 Mar 2010, ErnestPayne wrote:

    The episode is symptomatic of American politics and the comments are symptomatic (for the most part) of the American ethos and American ignorance. Viewing the implosion of the US (from Canada) is fascinating.

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  • 71. At 5:21pm on 03 Mar 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 60

    You're absolutely spot on. But those are not the only unfunded votes Bunning Cast, In 2001 he voted for the Bush tax cuts, which were not funded. In 2003 He voted for the Iraq war which was NEVER funded. and in 2005 he voted for an extension of unemployment benifits. This puts his own interests ahead of the interests of the American People. This is the interests of the tea party, who want these kind of policies.

    This is not the first time he has done this. Back when he was pitching he apparently got upset that the Yankees stole his club's sign and threw at Mickey Mantle while the Mick was trying to steel second base. How this helped his team the tiger's is beyond me because this would have allowed Mick to not only take second but third as well. Bunning put his own interests in relatiation ahead of his teams interests back then and he's doing it again now. What a shame.

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  • 72. At 5:27pm on 03 Mar 2010, timcrilly wrote:

    How can one of the world's foremost democracies allow one legislator to hold the entire country to ransome in this way. Surely the American people cannot agree that this is democratic? All countries need to borrow money in order to finance expenditure and therefore have to risk increasing govermant debt. This is especialy true in the current economic times. Also Senator Bunning seems to conveniently forget that it was during his party's watch that the US economy went to hell in a hen basket. It is no wonder that if the American people continue to allow this kind of political manouver they will bring any way forward to a standstill.
    If they do not get their political house in order then they will be guilty of causing untold harm to millions of their citizens. They should ponder on this before they wag their DEMOCRATIC finger at any other country.

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  • 73. At 5:27pm on 03 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Dakota_Erik (#64) "I heard today from one Senator, that if we wanted to balance our out of whack federal budget here in the USA, we'd only need to raise taxes by 60%. Or, we can focus on cutting government by half."

    That's just political talk. The size of government never changes mush, and tends to get a little bigger under every president. The federal budget was balanced during the Clinton administration. The federal government is not twice as large as it was then.

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  • 74. At 5:38pm on 03 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a link to a chart showing where the federal budget is spent, for the fiscal years 2006 through 2009:

    http://www.federalbudget.com/

    Note how much of it is interest on the debt. That has nothing to do with the size of government.

    Another big contributer is military spending. Is that government?

    The rest mostly falls in two categories: Health and Human Services, and Social Security.

    If the health care proposal fails, and the baby boomers (who are starting to retire now) die off earlier than they otherwise would as a result, that should help.

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  • 75. At 5:39pm on 03 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Oops! Did I forget the link?

    http://www.federalbudget.com/

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  • 76. At 5:41pm on 03 Mar 2010, U14357051 wrote:

    68 Sporting achievement is a clear indicator of intelligence.
    ;) (just in case) ;)

    51"And being merely one of the sheep does not exactly qualifies one for a Badge of Honor. Not in my book, at least


    I'll take your insiders view on being a sheep as expert testimony.


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  • 77. At 5:42pm on 03 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    By the way, I provided that link only for the convenient chart. I do not endorse any of the rhetoric to found on that site. In particular, I do not consider Social Security to be a "Ponzi scheme."

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  • 78. At 5:51pm on 03 Mar 2010, U14357051 wrote:

    37 Baron
    "Surely, you must agree that spending wartime like budgets must have an end"

    maybe try ending wars and spending on your people?
    You conservatives like to harp about responsibility. What the hell were the years of Bush.
    Screw WW1 lets get real. There have been planes and space craft invented and the parties swapped from being pro segregation to anti segregation. The rise and fall of the soviet Union.GM existed and still sort of does.
    They bought and buried the train tracks from the hey days you refer to.
    There was a world wide depression. And another World war.
    Man walked on the moon.

    The world changed since 1918

    Back to that huge deficit ran up under Ronny GHWB and GWB.



    Just curious to see if as a Republican that you can be consistent.

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  • 79. At 5:54pm on 03 Mar 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    68. At 4:25pm on 03 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:
    Sorry but am I the only one puzzled by the relevance to Bunning’s sporting past? I am sure that he was fantastic at his sport and his reputation may have been a contributing factor in him being initially elected to office, but sporting competency does not necessarily (or in all probability very often) equate to political competency.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You're right about that. Although I'm not suggesting that his carreer as a pitcher qualify him from political office. What I'm suggesting is the his actions as a Sentor suggest that he doesn't have the character to be in the Hall of Fame.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am not suggesting that because at one time a professional he would be a rubbish senator, rather that other than a piece of historical background that fact he was one seems largely irrelevant.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes you're right one doesn't necessarily go with the other. In my opinion Bunning wasn't good at either occupation. I think he should retire immediately from the Senate.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Also I keep hearing about the Tea Party doing well at the November elections, are they actually fielding candidates or just giving support to those candidates that mirror their particular views?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What they are trying to do is influence the Republican part and block reforms and thawrt democracy in the United States. They want to get rid of the social safety net. They don't care about civil rights. They want an end to goverment fund healthcare for the poor. This is what the Tea Party Stands for.

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  • 80. At 6:05pm on 03 Mar 2010, LE Mental wrote:

    At 06:01am on 03 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    MM wrote: even money to allow rural viewers see cable TV will be hit.




    No kidding!

    And when does it say that people were endowed by their creator with an inalienable right to watch cable TV?


    Goodness! What a right-wing statement! I suppose it suits the repubicans to keep sections of the population in the dark. Are the local newspapers owned by republican supporters? Do they rally those without cable TV at election time with nationalist republican hogwash? Never mind, cable TV itself is full of hogwash and useless drivel. I wonder if US television has ever really heard of in-depth analysis documentary on the state of their own nation. They may care to view archives of such classic UK programmes as 'World in Action', and Panorama. Still, I suppose it's left to Michael Moore to do this and then get arrested in Chicago under GW Bush's administration for trying to get debates going in public.

    I do hope the Democrats, should they lose the next presidential election, are already plotting and scheming for tit-for-tat reprisals. If the Rebublicans are unfit to contribute to change that benefits the poor and average American then I hope the Democrats shall take a well-deserved leaf from the republican book of tricks and demonstrate no more Mr Nice Guy politics. To stymie the Democrats after the mess the 8 year republican tax cuts for the wealthy and the trillions spent on war and no regulation of Wall Street when the writing was already on the wall,
    so to speak, is negligent, lazy and full of spin. Let us not forget the bullying of the GW Bush administration in the Senate. The closing of ranks. And the lying - to the world of the spurious reasons for war with Iraq. The republican party is spiteful to the core. Out it comes at every turn.

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  • 81. At 6:20pm on 03 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    timcrilly (#72) "How can one of the world's foremost democracies allow one legislator to hold the entire country to ransom in this way. Surely the American people cannot agree that this is democratic?"

    He did not do that. All he did was refuse unanimous consent and force the Senate to discuss an issue and take a vote. That is what deliberative bodies do.

    We call exaggeration such as yours "making a mountain out of a molehill."

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  • 82. At 6:49pm on 03 Mar 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 80

    You're absolutely right. It's time for the Democrats need to get tough and stop talking about bipartinsanship when it is obvious that the republicans are not interested in participating. It's time to use reconcilation to get things done. It's time to make sure that the Republicans learn the price for their obstructionism. If the Democrats do that, and show the American people some back bone. I think they not only hold onto their control but actually extend it.

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  • 83. At 7:03pm on 03 Mar 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    Sports: I wish you would stop harping about Bunning's previous career.

    Mr. Bunning forced an issued and caused it to get attention. He accomplished what he felt was necessary and shifted his position to address the needs of the people impacted.

    If he slowed the government from spending money it does not have, we have several generations of citizens that should be grateful.

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  • 84. At 7:33pm on 03 Mar 2010, PhilStone wrote:

    Senator Bunning just voted against a Pay as you Go bill, so the fact that there is no direct financing for this bill is just a pretext, not a principled stand at all. And while no one voted with him, plenty of Republicans came out and said nasty things about people on unemployment in support of Sen. Bunning.

    He is basically just gumming up the works to slow things down even further, in accordance with the Republican "Master Plan" to keep the President from accomplishing anything. At this point there are nearly 250 bills which have passed the House (many with plenty of Republican support) which are being blocked by the Republicans in the Senate. Even bills that they would probably also support.

    If the government was not creating jobs, as the Republicans have regularly claimed, then no one would have been put off of one by this.

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  • 85. At 8:04pm on 03 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    <RICHPOST>PhilStone (#84) <i>"And while no one voted with him, ..."</i><BR /><BR />What do you mean by this? Nineteen senators voted against the temporary extension bill: <BR /><BR /><a href="[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]</RICHPOST>

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  • 86. At 10:39pm on 03 Mar 2010, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    @24 Magnus

    In reply to my statement "Blatant obstructionism is a realtively new aspect of American politics, especially to this degree. Historically the republicans have been far more obstructionist than the democrats, a simple google search from an objective source will back this up"

    Magnus replied :

    "Sources are only information. They do not provide perspective by themselves. Sources are also inevitably stained by bias, no matter their origin. Of course if you'd prefer we can petition the BBC to require references on opinions."
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    So there are no objective sources? EVERYTHING is tainted with bias? There is no such thing as a simple truth?

    On the BBC live print report for England v Egypt Caroline Cheese reported that Peter Crouch has scored 20 goals in 37 games for England.

    Is she lying? Has he REALLY scored 20 goals in 37 games? Were some of those goals merely penalties? Should he have been ruled offside on any of them? Does Caroline Cheese have ulterior motives by pushing this "information"? Is she actually a Spurs fan hoping to boost support for Crouch to be in Englands starting XI at the World Cup, raising his valued price and enabling Spurs to use the money from his sale to buy Lionel Messi from Barca ?

    Likewise, Time Magazines' reported that in the last Congress, from 2007 to 2008, Republicans in the Senate filibustered or threatened to filibuster 139 pieces of legislation and in the current Congress, Republicans are on a similar pace.

    Is this a lie? Is it biased? Or is it just a FACT?

    In the 1950s, there was an average of just one filibuster per Congress. In a 20-year period, from 1950 to 1969, there were only 20 filibusters (a number Republicans tripled in just one year with 69 filibusters in 2009)

    Do you accept the relevance of these FACTS or do you only see tainted left-wing sources?

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  • 87. At 01:10am on 04 Mar 2010, McJakome wrote:

    70. At 5:18pm on 03 Mar 2010, ErnestPayne wrote:
    "The episode is symptomatic of American politics and the comments are symptomatic (for the most part) of the American ethos and American ignorance. Viewing the implosion of the US (from Canada) is fascinating."

    How proroguish of you.
    :)

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  • 88. At 02:50am on 04 Mar 2010, crash wrote:

    How disgusting for having the audacity to ask how we are going to pay for this !!my god next thing people will be expecting them to balance the budget.

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  • 89. At 12:12pm on 04 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #88

    You mean to force government to live within its means?


    To quote Col. Kurtz from "Apocalypse Now": HORROR! HORROR! :-)))

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  • 90. At 12:49pm on 04 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 91. At 4:41pm on 04 Mar 2010, U14357051 wrote:

    83
    "Mr. Bunning forced an issued and caused it to get attention. He accomplished what he felt was necessary and shifted his position to address the needs of the people impacted."


    So he used the poor as pawns.
    Great claim to make.

    What honesty
    " You go hungry and don't get the meds for granny this week I have something to say"

    What compassion

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  • 92. At 5:25pm on 04 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    The notion that the federal government should "live within its means" is popular rhetoric, but it makes a falso comparison with individuals who must live within their means, and it is a cheap substitute for analysis of the nature of the national economy.

    Consider the following two graphs:

    US National Debt graphs

    The first graph shows that in absolute dollars, the national debt always goes up, although it has been going up steeply only since about 1975.

    The second graph is adjusted for inflation. It shows that the national debt was approximately constant in inflation-adjusted dollars until about 1983, when it started to rise steeply.

    Now compare this to the following graph:

    US National Debt relative to GDP

    Considering all three representations of the national debt together, we see that from the end of WWII through about 1980, the national debt was being reduced relative to the wealth of the nation, even though the debt was increasing in absolute terms. This was a period of increasing prosperity, for the most part. When inflation was low, the debt was constant, wealth was increasing, and times were good. It is only since the huge runup in the national debt beginning with the Reagan administration that the size of the debt has become a problem, because debt service has become such a large part of the budget.

    The comparison with individuals is false because the nation has an indefinite life span. As individuals, we do not generally seek to eliminate debt in our early earning years. We do not usually attempt to pay off the mortgage on our first home. We hope to sell it at a profit, and buy a better home with a larger mortgage. We might do this a few times. If our wealth increases with our debt, it is not a problem. Later in life, we hope to pay off our mortgage about the time we retire, perhaps by moving to a smaller home when the children are on their own. This model has no applicability to the nation. As long as the population and wealth of the nation is increasing, and inflation is low, we can carry a reasonable amount of debt indefinitely, as we did for about 35 years following WWII.

    We do have a problem with excessive national debt today, as these charts make clear, but platitudes such as "live within your means" don't do anything to help understand where we went wrong and what we should do about it.

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  • 93. At 11:48pm on 04 Mar 2010, Nevada_Blue wrote:

    well said GH # 92 - I hope lots more see this than the bloggers here

    # 22 - GH you let a little air out of my 'Buy American' bubble in earlier post here - I didn't know China would sell us a Bay Bridge to go with toxic toys, melamine milk and cheap chips (some with bonus spyware). We, not the producer, are the quality assurance for all the cheap imports and now we also see the full cost to society after the flood of imports, which started as a trickle in early-mid 1980s... RIP, Bethlehem Steel.

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  • 94. At 03:15am on 05 Mar 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    What Mr. Bunning did was the WORST in politics with the blocking the legislation that was necessary for people on "benefits."


    (D)

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  • 95. At 12:41pm on 06 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 96. At 9:26pm on 06 Mar 2010, U14357051 wrote:

    93 Agreed
    But then all the tooling was sold. what a shame. Would America put up with the pollution.

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  • 97. At 7:04pm on 07 Mar 2010, U14373952 wrote:

    94 He certainly did.

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  • 98. At 7:57pm on 07 Mar 2010, U14357051 wrote:

    93 Why exactly did Bethlehem Steel drop by the way side?

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  • 99. At 12:24pm on 08 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Just one small reminder:


    WE'LL REMEBER IN NOVEMBER!

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