Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., promised Americans that when they took over Congress in 2006, they'd restore accountability and transparency.
They didn't say anything about intelligence.
When the current Democratic Congress isn't busy shoehorning financial giveaways to its union friends and business partners, when it's not busy ramming unread, horribly written thousand-page bills into law, it's busy on matters of vital import like resolutions praising Michael Jackson and pricey vacation "investigations." They're bad – they're bad – and they know it.
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That's right. In the middle of the "worst recession since the Great Depression," fostered by George W. Bush's anti-capitalist policies and exponentially increased by President Obama's open pursuit of nationalization, inflation and taxation, our Congress is spending our tax dollars on junk legislation and expensive European junkets.
On June 26, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, and Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., introduced a resolution on the floor of the House celebrating the King of Pop. Their resolution runs a full 1,539 words, almost six times as long as Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. And it's just as eloquent, tracing the entire course of Jackson's life. It's as though Jackson-Lee and Watson went through Jackson's diary: "Whereas Michael Jackson began his stellar recording career as the featured member of The Jackson 5 … Whereas, on Jan. 10, 1984, Michael Jackson visited the unit for burn victims at Brotman-Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, and demonstrated his concern with people suffering from grievous injuries …" The resolution finally concludes by labeling Jackson a "global humanitarian and a noted leader in the fight against worldwide hunger and medical crises," as well as "an accomplished contributor to the worlds of arts and entertainment, scientific advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and global food security." According to Congress, Jackson is the Madame Curie of 1980s rock.
Apparently, it was important that such a resolution be introduced in the House. It is not quite as important, however, that our representatives in Congress read bills that dramatically redefine the relationship between government and the individual, bills like cap and trade, the stimulus package and the original bailouts. It's a wonder the Congress didn't invite the Jackson family to have his memorial service on the floor of the House. Sen. Al Franken, D-Saturday Night Live, could have been the MC, and the Democrats could have sung an arrangement of "Smooth Criminal."
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Aside from the vital importance of paying tribute to Jackson, Congress has also taken it upon itself to investigate Sammy Sosa's alleged steroid use and the Bowl Championship Series. No wonder the members of Congress treat themselves to the finest medical care government cash can buy – the stress and pressure of healing the world takes its toll.
That must be why the fresh and clean Democratic Congress busts the budget with fancy trips for its members. According to the Wall Street Journal, spending on overseas travel is up 300 percent since 2001; taxpayers are now picking up the tab on congressional delegations, which is up by 70 percent since 2005. Some of these crucial "we are the world" fact-finding missions to exotic places include a February trip to Italy for eight Democratic representatives led by Pelosi. Cost: $57,697. Knowing you've stimulated Italy's economy: Priceless.
Then there's Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., who took a four-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with his wife, four legislators and their families. The purpose: learning about global warming. Baird and Co. could have simply called the Galapagos for a weather report. Instead, they shelled out $22,000 of our money. That trip must have been a thriller.
There could be a reason Congress is spending so much time feting Michael Jackson: Congressmen and Jackson have so much in common. Congressmen, like Jackson, are disproportionate clients of plastic surgery clinics (just ask Pelosi). Congressmen, like Jackson, are sitting on piles of cash they can spend at will. And Congressmen, like Jackson, live in Neverland.