Coburn Smells Bacon… In The General Direction Of Alaska

It looks like Captain Bridge To Nowhere is at it again.

From the Fort Smith Times Record:

Still, those senators have ways to stymie things. One of the senators most criticized for his personal projects, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has a hold of his own on Coburn’s bill to make public the spending patterns of the government. Called the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, the legislation calls for the creation of a database open to the public where citizens can track government spending.

“He’s the only senator blocking it,” Coburn said of Stevens.

Coburn and Stevens sparred earlier this year when Coburn attempted to block the so-called “bridge to nowhere,” a transportation project in Alaska to build a bridge that less then 60 people a day would use that would have received $223 million from the federal government.

Coburn said the purpose of the transparency act is to open up government so citizens can hold officials accountable.

“What we need is transparency and sunshine,” Coburn said.

For a while, Stevens refused to confirm that he was the one placing the anonymous hold on the legislation, but he finally admitted it today.

While I hardly agree with Coburn on everything, he does strike me as one of the last few honest Senators left in America. We need that Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to pass if we’re to have any hope of reclaiming the nation from its debts.

17 Comments
  1. Coburn is probably as dishonest as the rest. He’s a Republican. He’s a Congressman. He’s not Ron Paul.

    It seems that Gov. Murkowski lives on the island that the bridge to nowhere would connect to. Which means that the island is inhabited (probably) by the uber rich. Murkowski was just defeated. Maybe Stevens will be too?

  2. Russell Means claimed in his autobiography that the only reason that Ron Paul won the LP nomination in 1988 was that his wife and 2 children at the time were brought in to vote for him at the last second, and he won by 3 votes over Means.

    can anyone confirm or disprove this claim that was there?

  3. “Coburn is probably as dishonest as the rest. He’s a Republican. He’s a Congressman. He’s not Ron Paul.” David, as much as I agree with that sentiment, this bill would at least be a step in the right direction. The fact that a republican authored this bill doesn’t detract from the intent behind the bill, to bring some accountability to gov’t spending. I think we can all agree that that’s not a bad thing.

  4. I’m asking for confirmation. It would affect my opinion of Paul if true.

    since when have any of you been appointed the off topic comment police? of course it’s off topic. What of it?

  5. Means: I find that Libertarians and right-wing conservatives, in fact everyone getting into politics are concerned about government and they say nothing about how centralized power is the actually the culprit, be it either corporate or government. Centralized power does not feed into the free market; it controls it.

    I dont agree with Means on some other points, but the above sentence should be required reading. He gets it, he understands that IT”S NOT JUST THE GOVERNMENT – it’s ANY source of concentrated power rich enough to corrupt.

  6. Has Mr. Means ever run a business? A 50-employee corporation may well run better on “centralized power” than decentralized, depending on the business it is in, economies of scale, experience of management, etc. etc.
    What is important is competition (or freedom to compete) which can keep misuse of centralized power in check.
    I can refuse to shop at, say, Target if I thought they were abusing their power a lot easier than I can refuse to deal with the IRS.

  7. R.E. Lee — I don’t like to do this sort of thing…

    but in attempting to compare a 50-employee corporation to a centralized power is essentially a strawman in any world with more than 200+ people.

    And while the sentiment of free competition is important… it is equally important to recognize that there are some scenarios which are essentially ‘natural monopolies.’ (A misnomer, granted, but still.) Comparative to your example; Target is no centralized power. Wal-Mart is becoming such in the economy, and hence so many people’s complaints against it. What freedom of competition most inspires is *transparancy.* …. but that’s a conversation for another time. :) Centralized power is in fact the enemy of individual freedom; that’s a tautology.

    Overall, I have to agree with Tim West here. It doesn’t matter what it calls itself; any organization that attempts to exert blanket authority over sections of the lives of individuals is morally bankrupt.

  8. Corrolary: Libertarianism ought to concern itself with freedom in all arenas; not just that of government.

    This includes ‘social’/government, ‘fiscal’/corporate, and ‘religious’ freedom and FREEDOM FROM. What good does it do the cause of freedom if we abolish government altogether only to have our minds enslaved by a blind, bigotted faith? (Fundamentalist…)

    I’ve ranted on this before: Fundamentalism is the enemy of freedom. Even ‘fundamentalist libertarianism.’

  9. Yes. If the LP ever gets it in it’s head that ALL forms of threat to individual liberty needs to be taken on instead of just government, we might become more than a one issue protest party.

    In taking on new targets, you broaden your coalition. The core issue with the LP is that it’s support base is too narrow to organize itself at the district level, or at the very least, to the population centers.

    Opposition to JUST the government by itself only attacks half the problem – and the other issue is that the LP only accepts negative liberty concepts. There are instances where government spending has created untold wealth savings for business and people at large, but you cant tell that to them.

    The Interstate Hiway system is a good example. It has returned so many trillions into the economy since 1958 that there’s no reliable way to count it all. The Interstate Hi way system is a example of government spending that increased liberty far more than the taxes it consumed.

  10. Well, here’s a estimate I did find fom the 1990’s:

    This annual economic benefit is estimated to have peaked in 1970 at approximately $38 billion. Over the 40 year period, it is estimated that gross producer cost reductions have exceeded $1 trillion (1) — more than three times the gross original investment in the interstate highway system
    My point is that libertarians call the IHS socialist, regardless of what it has done for us in return over the last 40 years, or they would say it should be privatized, totally missing the point.

    *SOME* KINDS OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING ENHANCES PERSONAL FREEDOM AND OPPORTUNITY, NOT DESTROYS IT. But saying so violates LP tenets. Well, I say fuck the tenets. I am prisoner of no ideology, including libertrianism. I make up my own mind based by what I learn along life’s way.

  11. Coburn is 50% right-wing facist wacko and 50% on-point. His book, BREACH OF TRUST is a great read. I saw him on CNN one time and looked all over for the book (I forgot his name and the book’s name after seeing him – thus making the search very difficult). I paid full price and then about two months later it was $5 at Barnes & Nobel and they had a ton of them. So look for it – it examines how Congress turns “outsiders” into insiders and documents the fiscal corruption of the Republican revolution of 1994.

  12. Opposition to JUST the government by itself only attacks half the problem

    Exactly right. Corporate power is equally bad.

    The Interstate Hiway system is a good example. It has returned so many trillions into the economy since 1958 that there’s no reliable way to count it all.

    What is seen and what is not seen? Can we know to what use the money would have been put otherwise?

    My point is that libertarians call the IHS socialist, regardless of what it has done for us in return over the last 40 years, or they would say it should be privatized, totally missing the point.

    Missing it in what way? We would not have roads if it weren’t for gov’t, because businesses and people have no need to get around and no incentive to build them? Government is more efficient at road-building? Better at directing how much money needs to be spent where in the economy?

  13. This annual economic benefit is estimated to have peaked in 1970 at approximately $38 billion. Over the 40 year period, it is estimated that gross producer cost reductions have exceeded $1 trillion (1) ”” more than three times the gross original investment in the interstate highway system
    My point is that libertarians call the IHS socialist, regardless of what it has done for us in return over the last 40 years, or they would say it should be privatized, totally missing the point.

    And the feds spend $30 billion a year in maintaining it… so at best it’s a weak return on our investment. Probably less so if you count all the other incidental costs, both public and private. Throw in the cost of policing it alone (which the states pay, not the feds) and it’s probably a money-loser.

    I’m with you in principle, Tim, but the highway system was a mistake in particular. If we built a maglev train system or something, though, it probably would be just as you say.

  14. Corporate power can be bad. I submit that there are really only three ways that a company can get to power and maintain it. One through the power of the gov’t. Two, through illegal ways. And Three, providing a better service/product at a more relatively lower price. Two of these are bad and one is good. Walmart, Microsoft, Standard Oil all used the third way to get to the top. Once they were at the top they found it easier to use the first route to stay there in some cases. It is easier this way because there is so much power and money concentrated in gov’t that it seems easier to slick a few politicians pockets rather than compete to get your customers. If our government shrank signicantly and wielded less power this option would not be so tempting. You can kill two birds with one stone by giving the power back to the individual rather than the gov’t. Without gov’ts power behind them corporations would lose their power over people and have to compete for their business.

  15. Another problem I have of just going after specific corporations is even if you succeed in bringing down a business such as Wal-Mart another business will be right there to step into its place. I would rather have us expend our energy and get at the source of their power and that is govt and the power/influence it currently has.

    In otherwords, get rid of the laws such as eminent domain, instead of attacking the businesses who currently use it (as of right now legally, but IMO wrongly). Get rid of the regulations that impede other businesses from entering a field or competing with the larger businesses. Get rid of the subsidies, tax credits/deductions, etc that help the big businesses more than the small businesses.

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