Sunday, December 23, 2007

Team America's Readers Tee Off On Dan Seals and Earmarks UPDATED x1

Wow- I went out for dinner last night and came home to find that the Faithful Readers here at Team America had been quite busy while I was goofing off. It appears that the Sealmeister has used his e-mailing skills that he learned working for ThePoint.com and figured out that targeted e-mail blasts are a lot cheaper than running ads or sending our mailers (none of which have hit District mailboxes yet, as far as I know). While I have not been able to independently verify this, and it's not on Seals' website (the latest press release on the site is dated Nov. 2), one of our readers claims that Seals released the following e-mail only last night:

Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2007
From: "Dan Seals" info@dansealsforcongress.com
Subject: In Congress, It’s the Time of Year for Taking

Dear Friend,

It's that time of year again. The snow is on the ground, the holiday spirit is in the air, and the gift-giving is underway. And nowhere is this gift-giving more apparent than Congress' most recent spending bill, which gave billions of dollars in pork to the big special interests and lumps of coal to our children, grandchildren, and future generations to come.

That's right. Just this week, Congress sent a spending bill to the president that contained a side-splitting 9,000 earmarks, pet projects of individual members of Congress that are slipped into legislation at the last minute, financed with taxpayer money, and never debated or scrutinized before being signed into law. Given that we as a nation are already in debt, future taxpayers, like my kids, will pick up the bill.

Some of these earmarks surely go to good projects. But too many of them don't. The problem is that the process of earmarking doesn't give us any way to tell. That's because the decisions about what gets funded and what doesn't get made behind closed doors and without debate. That is an invitation for waste and abuse. The Democrats that took control of Congress in 2006 point out that they have taken steps to reform this process. They have not gone far enough. The system of earmarks should end. 9000 earmarks isn't a victory for anyone, but it is a definite loss for the taxpayer. I can think of no good reason why we should continue supporting a system that encourages waste and abuse. Our Congressman, Mark Kirk, can apparently think of 140 million reasons. He asked Congress for a staggering $140 million in pet projects to be funded by taxpayer dollars. Again, I'm sure there are some good projects in there. But if so, why not bring them into the light and have them voted on? The only one who has anything to lose is the project that shouldn't receive any funding in the first place. And that's the way it should be. But this is Congress, where it is better to take than to give. It's one more reason why we need a change in Congress.

Sincerely, Dan Seals
Democrat for Congress
December 22, 2007 8:23 PM


Many readers wasted no time jumping on this issue, as noted in the many, many comments to the last post, below. In a nutshell, our readers noted that the projects that will be funded by the Kirk-sponsored earmarks are hugely important to the 10th District , and most (if not all) were released by Kirk and fully vetted and considered months ago (not 'hidden' as Seals appears to think).

Moreover, many were also sponsored by Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama. In fact, if you check out the link under Durbin's name above, you will find that he brags about securing $350 million in projects for Illinois, not just the $140 million that Seals is so upset about Mark Kirk funding. Where's the outrage against Durbin, Dan? Oops. Next time Danno, you might want to check with the bosses before going out and making a record that you don't support their projects or your own constituents.

Getting back to Kirk and his so-called "pet projects," among other things, expanding Metra service is a biggie. But rather than spending time by trying to fight Mark Kirk's efforts to improve the quality of life for people in the district, maybe Seals should join the call with Kirk to the DEMOCRATIC leadership in Illinois to provide matching funds so that we do not loose out in over a billion dollars in federal grants. More about that here and here.

Blasting "pork" that is wasteful government spending is one thing. But Kirk already has a top-notch record on that issue, considering he killed the "bridge to nowhere." (and, in fact, it was largely the public outcry over the "bridge to nowhere" that has lead to increased scrutiny of federal earmark spending. Leave it to Seals to try to steal an issue from Mark Kirk that he practically invented).

And hidden, last-minute earmarks that are not the subject of debate aren't good, as they are generally also pork. But important projects that benefit constituents and represent the return of our own tax dollars to benefit local causes are not "pork," especially if they are fully considered and debated, and are not last-minute add-ons. Here's a list as compiled by the TA readership:

Dan Seals would have voted AGAINST:

-- The Durbin/Kirk legislation to help schools, written by the leaders of Highland Park, Glenview and North Chicago.

-- $100 million for our Veterns Hospital.

-- O'Hare security upgrades

--$600,000 to research and develop better detection of breast cancer in African-American women for University of Chicago Hospitals

--$536,000 for a therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research

--$30 million earmark for the Metra Connects program which is a coordinated plan to address transportation issues and meet the population explosions within Northeast Illinois, and the Metra's STAR line project to connect the northwest suburbs with O'Hare and downtown.

--Earmarks of $7 million for each of the four major Metra extensions (STAR line, UP West Extension, UP Northwest Line, Southeast Service Line).

-- at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, North Chicago: $26.871 million for infrastructure upgrades ($16.65 million) and a weapons training facility ($10.221 million) at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.


Sorry, Dan, but you seem to be proving time and time again that you are an amateur at this. Simply railing against "earmarks" smacks of trying to jump on a populist issue by relying on a buzzword, instead of doing actual research to understand the issue. Why would anyone think that you could do a better job at representing this District than Mark Kirk? Especially those of us that aren't millionaires?

A big hat tip to all the TA readers who researched this issue and spent a lot of time compiling the earmark list that Seals opposes.

UPDATED 12/24/07: I mentioned in comments yesterday an interview Charles Krauthammer gave on Fox yesterday concerning our scorecard on the "axis of evil" (North Korea, Iran and Iraq), which has now made it into his syndicated column. It's definitely worth a read for his unconventional look at how our efforts against these countries has turned out.

20 comments:

ProudVet said...

Dan Seals opposes veterans health care.

Dan Seals wants to bankrupt our school systems.

Dan Seals opposes breat cancer and autism research.

Dan Seals opposes Metra funding.

Dan Seals like invasive species.

Dan Seals should withdraw from the race of Congress immediately.

Anonymous said...

Dan Seals is more than an embarrassment. He's hopelessly out of touch with the role of a member of congress. Congressman Kirk is in the minority party and yet he was able to work in a strong bi-partisan manner to bring the revenue needed to help fund some of the most important programs and projects this district needs.

Way to go, Dan. You keep on proving your ineptness. When your handlers tell you what to say, how to say it, you just do it. And then to oppose the funding for some key programs heralded by both Senators Durbin and Obama gives idiocy a whole new definition. Let's see how Dan tries to "explain" what he meant. Seals could never deliver for our district or our state because he's mired in partisanship of the worst kind.

That other blog is strangely quiet. All the action is here, TA, because you've opened the "tent" to everyone in a respectful and open dialogue. Can't wait to see how she tries to explain what her guy meant to say in his letter to potential supporters!

I am Sparticus said...

TA,

Will Dan Seals backtrack and endorse Mark Kirk's experience and ability to deliver the district? Or will he just dig in his heels and remain opposed to the lifeblood projects in the district he wishes to represent?

Survey says...

Sparty

Team America said...

Thanks Anon 11:58. Also, let's see how (and if) Footlik is able to capitalize on it.

Between the ineptness and gaffs on the parts of both Seals and Footlik, I'd be very disappointed in my choices if I was a 10th Dem right now.

I just saw Charles Krauthammer on Fox and he made the observation that the NIE report is going to allow Iran to gain nukes because it was misunderstood and capitalized on by the left. See the real story here

When Seals starts trumpeting this report as a basis for how we can relax our guard against Iran and still support Israel, he will hopefully be exposed for a fool. Intelligent people like Kirk understand what Seals refuses to believe- Iran is out to utterly destroy Israel and will do so the first chance it gets. Footlik gets this a lot better than Seals but needs to make his message clearer. He may as well be a hawk in the primary because Seals has the doves locked up.

Team America said...

Just sauntered over to Ellen's and saw that my old friend Madame Defarge commented on the Seals e-mail, so it must be legit. Of course, she failed to notice any of the issues our readers immediately picked up on here and simply said 'Go Dan!'

What is it with Seals supporters that they will blindly say "yeah yeah" with vigorous headshaking (to simulate understanding) to whatever position Seals takes without even questioning the logic of his position, even if it flies in the fact of what the Dem elite (i.e., Durbin) stand for?

Anonymous said...

All of these emails are being lovingly saved. Keep sending Dan!!

Anonymous said...

Just an idea for the Kirk campaign, but you might think about organizing a veterans rally at Dan Seals' campaign headquarters to protest his opposition to the VA Hospital

Anonymous said...

I said it last campaign and it's being proven now. Seals repeatedly places his foot in his mouth. Last campaign no one really noticed or cared.

With Footlik hot on his heels and the Kirk campaign taking no chances, suddenly those Seals gaffs are coming to light.

I'm not surprised that the Ellen gang hasn't noticed this. They also haven't noticed Link and Couval's strong support of Seals.

Louis G. Atsaves

Vets Against Seals said...

I like Anon's idea of a veterans rally. In fact, I bet we can organize that through the blogosphere starting right now.

When: Thursday, December 27th
Noon

Where: Lake County Democratic HQ
709 North Ave
Waukegan IL 60085

What: Veterans Rally Against Dan Seals.

Calling all veterans in Lake County -- do you support the North Chicago Navy-VA Hospital? If you do, then come out to show your support for the hospital expansion, for Congressman Kirk's leadership on this issue and to protest Dan Seals' opposition to our health care needs.

Anonymous said...

Those "other folks" are just as shrill as their leader, Shrill Gill. Madame DeFarge would rubber stamp her fearless leader, so it just shows the level of competence and intellect they possess on the subject at hand. And forget the facts, they just don't matter over there. And forget that their favorite Senators favored that Bill.

What's really egregious and so out of line is the last posting under the item on the Footlik mailer. Civility is not the order of the day over there and it's not what this district has ever accepted as a standard. Mr. Seals has put his "seal" on a letter stating what he'd do as a congressman. He's now on record with those views. I can't wait to hear him try to defend them in a debate with Jay Footlik and/or with Congressman Kirk.

Doesn't Dan remind you of Charlie McCarthy and the Dummy? We KNOW who the "dummy" is....want to take a bet on who's Charlie?

i could be potus said...

I can't wait to sit in on Dan's little class over at Northwestern. Should be fun recording all the other intellectually bankrupt stuff that's sure to come out of his mouth...

(I'll be the one wearing my Kirk shirt every night Dan.)

Team America said...

POTUS- I would join you, except that: 1) we both have better things to do; 2) it would be better to take the $3K or whatever NW charges to audit a class and give it to Kirk.

Post 208 said...

Dan:

Stay in your own district where you don't have a vets hospital. Kirk got me ours and we will stick with a fellow veteran.

Oh, and get a real job.

emtae said...

If Seal's keeps talking like this, he won't be a candidate when his class begins in April.

Biggus Dickus said...

Where is Jay Footlik on this? 24 hours have passed since this broke on TA's blog and Jay remains silent. He is sitting on a gold mine and remains silent. Maybe nobody really wants to win this primary.

BD

i could be potus said...

Very true TA, but I'm hoping for a scholarship.

Team America said...

POTUS- don't you mean a "handout," not a scholarship? That's much more in line with the Seals/Dem philosophy.

Publia said...

No, POTUS wants a merit scholarship for being smart, not a hand out.

Barbara said...

When Seals debated Mark in 2006, he said impact aid was the most important issue facing him if he were elected. Now he is critical of Mark for backing the efforts of Sen. Durbin to help the kids of North Chicago, Highland Park and Glenview.

After all, Seals probably thinks none of us in the 10th District need any help since we’re all millionaires.

If Seals were elected to Congress, heaven forbid, and served his term, it would be his longest tenure of any job he has ever held.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if that veterans rally is happening on Thursday?