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  1. Default Sandy Relief Slowed by Pork

    Opinion Piece - The Outrageous Sandy Outrage

    Expenditures for a Hurricane, and Beyond


    Updated News


    My two cents: Even accounting for the tendency of newspapers to be rather sensationalist in their reporting coverage, Alaskan fisheries and Colorado wildfire relief are self-defining factors that are rather off tangent from the problems that need to be addressed from Hurricane Sandy. Pork-barrel legislation is relatively common, however this case in particular has a level of cruel manipulation in the sense that relief provisions were tampered with by political greed on part of Congress to gain suction with whatever core constitutions their bacon would benefit. It is likely that aid relief was suspended precisely to add these provisions to the bill. Governor Christie and other representatives from New York and New Jersey were likely in the know that this bill was being fattened by personal interest on part by several politicians. Presenting and passing on the $60 billion appropriated bill as being a complete aid package for the state constitutes a continuous play by politicians to play on the ignorance of Americans. Politicians, much like high scale sales traders, bankers, and others in the upper echelon of money-market dealings regularly deal with dispensing misinformation and manipulative trading that play on public ignorance. In both occupations, it is oft the case that legality is strictly followed while the nature of the law is betrayed and morals are thrown out the window when capital is offered whether it is in the form of money, political influence, or career advancement. It would help if controls were put into place to regulate such matters such as open dissemination of which Congressman approved of which provision when it comes to pork additions. However such changes would require pressure for reform by a constituent public that will take the politician's position as hostage if the pursuit for transparency is not undertaken, unfortunately values do not pay and collective concern for idealism wanes. However, the fact that blatant porking would occur on a relief bill is a disgusting manifestation of our modern political culture taken to light.

  2. Default Re: Sandy Relief Slowed by Pork

    Yet another case of the US government acting like the US government.

  3. Default Re: Sandy Relief Slowed by Pork

    People are against all these?
    I'm fairly certain that the governmental facilities near the shore all got hit by sandy too.
    And this is speaking as someone who lives a mile inland.

  4. Default Re: Sandy Relief Slowed by Pork

    Many of those provisions listed aren't of primary concern or relevance to Hurricane Sandy relief in terms of the destruction on shore communities in New Jersey and New York. The Secret Service for one doesn't provide immediate relief to Sandy victims. I mean stuff like National Park service, in lieu of people who are looking for practical provisions such as insurance or for re-engineering water works for cities and towns takes precedence her over the DEA or FBI who lost "office equipment" and "furniture." Sandy didn't particularly rip through New York City, I mean what I saw of 30th and Broadway to 42nd and Wall Street indicated that the major city areas were relatively unscathed. And I haven't seen any information citing that governmental agencies had these problems where Sandy tore through their buildings and flung off furniture from inside the building to the outside. Note that $15 million is being used for construction of NASA facilities, the sand berms is tacked on almost like an after thought.

    Also the most detailed listing that is provided is $1 million for the DEA to replace 15 vehicles and equipment. I mean seriously, what are they driving, Mercedes Benz E-Class? Because even if you presume that the D.E.A. is driving around in top class luxury cars which are priced around $50,000 a vehicle, you still come up with $750,000 for funds leaving $250,000 for equipment. Which begs to question, how does $250,000 worth in equipment get lost by Sandy? Did they seriously leave 15 $50,000 vehicles with $250,000 worth of outfitted equipment in the middle of the storm because they were trying to do their civic duty as... drug enforcement agents?

    It's really totally preposterous. A 2010 Hummer H3 maxes out at $40,000 being generous. And they are not the sort of car that you lose or have to completely ditch due to a hurricane. Much less if you do have equipment in there, at the very least it should be safe, unless you had that thing parked right on the coast for whatever unimaginable reason possible. It's not that there love isn't given to these agencies, it's that these agencies aren't being candid with the provisions they have lost due to Sandy yet expect millions of dollars from relief aid by earmarks instead of requesting it from the government outright.

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    Default Re: Sandy Relief Slowed by Pork

    Some of the provisions on the bill were trying to help things that had been affected by previous storms or disasters and that still remain unfixed. Other funds were being allocated towards investigating issues and preparing disaster-prone areas for future storms. Everything isn't as black and white as that WSJ article made it seem to be. I'd pull some information, but it seems I hit their paywall and am restricted from further access.

    Btw, you don't know what specific equipment the DEA uses in their vehicles. Considering they are law enforcement, I wouldn't be surprised if they had custom-made vehicles with all kinds of sophisticated equipment. While idk if this was the best time for numerous fixes and agency-upgrades (so to speak), I'd imagine that some of them are important and worth taxpayer money.

  6. Default Re: Sandy Relief Slowed by Pork

    >and equipment
    you honestly have no idea how expensive replacing all that kit is. it's not the vehicle thats expensive, it's the fancy pomegranate in it. and that's not including replacing all the expensive computer equipment they lost to the storm.

  7. Default Re: Sandy Relief Slowed by Pork

    When the DEA and other government agencies look for funding, do they usually do so via earmarking pre-existing legislation?

    This is not posed as a sarcastic question, but as a genuinely inquisitive question. I think that certain provisions provided can be debated, but the intent behind whether such provisions were needed would beg to question why they would rely on senators to push essential and important provisions.

    Some of the upgrades they are using probably will be well appropriated. Without a doubt. But the timing is horrible and I think it is appropriate to say that this may not be the proper use of regulatory channels if they have a serious need of this equipment. So whereas I think we agree that this money can be put to good use, it's not what this legislation is stipulated to originally be about pre-pork and now you're adding tons of pork on to the table probably because these agencies are not receiving appropriate funding for several projects they want done through regular channels. Pork at it's more innocuous state detracts the initial purpose of the legislation with side ear-marks. On a more manipulative level it is used by senators and agencies to get what they want at the expense of turning the original bill into something they want it to be. So again I have to push the point that the D.E.A. and the Secret Service, while probably being ok agencies, have very little involvement in Hurricane relief aid. Unless we are stipulating that the departments themselves are victims and need aid, then that is a vastly broader interpretation in which we are no longer considering civilian needs and individual support, but infrastructure and agency repair which really runs up costs on a whole different pay scale.

  8. Default Re: Sandy Relief Slowed by Pork

    I don't know how expensive it is. I can only conjecture how much it could be. And I can conjecture how relevant it is to being necessary for relief efforts. I can also only speculate to what extent I think that the report is faithful and not an attempt to pull extra funds. I don't know what they model their cars with in terms of surveillance, computers, tracking, ect. or how hard these areas were hit or what structures were damaged relatively to appropriately justify the cost. I am without a doubt speculating and I may be completely wrong, but in all approximation I do not believe the storm caused as much damage as is reported to merit the funds reported. Especially with respect to government agencies that do not seem to be related at all to Hurricane Relief and should have taken responsive precaution with respect to the storm.



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