Saturday, February 14, 2009

From Burton Lackey to Miller Stooge

The recent Republican National Committee hearings reminded U.S. News & World Report writer Michael Barone of how the late Rep. Phil Burton (CA) used the territorial delegates--most of whose seats he created--as pawns in his power politics games in the House.

Barone Blog

The last of the seats he created before he died was the one for American Samoa, which he intended to hand his staff gofer, Eni Hunkin, on a silver platter. Hunkin even crafted language reserving the seat for a U.S. citizen (which he is) so as to exclude competition from the vast majority of Samoan politicians who are U.S. Nationals. Well, the public outcry over that tactic forced Burton to retreat and the bill was amended to make both citizens and nationals eligible to run. And, of course, it was a national, Fofo Sunia, who beat Eni and delayed his debut in the house by eight years. Fofo was a criminal who was carted off to jail his fourth term and in 1988 that opened up the seat for Eni, who has been in it ever since.

Burton was from San Francisco and, in addition to Hunkin, who went to law school in nearby Berkeley, had two local proteges among his many followers: George Miller and Nancy Pelosi. Miller followed his godfather into the House as part of the Watergate class of 1974 along with Burton's brother John, who represented an adjoining district until he quit in the early 80s as a cocaine addict. As Barone recounts, Phil Burton's wife Sala succeeded her Pall Mall chain-smoking, hard-core vodka drinking husband when he died at age 57 in 1983 and, when she herself succumbed to cancer after a brief congressional career, reportedly said on her deathbed that Phil had wanted Nancy Pelosi eventually to have his seat. And so she now does.

Anyway, the Burton brothers, Hunkin, Miller and Pelosi are all part of the Left Coast's lunatic fringe with Miller and Pelosi now exercising extraordinary power in the House. Less so, Hunkin. One would think Hunkin, who now goes by the alias Eni Faleomavaega, would be benefiting from his longstanding relationships. However, as we saw in the previous Congress, when Nancy threw him under the bus on minimum wage, that is not the case. To make matters worse, the wage issue is overseen by a House committee chaired by, who else, George Miller, who is usually described as Nancy's closest confidant in the House.

Miller tossed Faleomavaega a bone in the recent "stimulus" package by approving a study of the effect of minimum wage hikes in American Samoa and the Northern Marianas. I guess the rationale for putting it in the "stimulus" bill is that the study will produce jobs for the people conducting the study. But it is just amazing to watch Faleomavaega grovel to Miller. Just read all his effusive press releases heaping praise on his "close friend" George.

One has to wonder just how close this relationship is. You would think that, considering their personal history and their status as colleagues for the past 20 years, Eni would be able to stroll into George's office any time and sit down to discuss the minimum wage question at length. But have a look at this obviously very carefully worded language from a press statement concerning the study that found its way into the Saipan Tribune Friday the 13th:

Chairman Miller and I have briefly discussed this issue and his office has been in contact with mine regarding the significance of this study. While I have requested information from American Samoa's Chamber of Commerce, we will proceed forward with our data collection efforts which will involve the U.S. Department of Labor, the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Department of Commerce, and the Bureau of Census at the Department of Commerce.

Chairman Miller and I have briefly discussed this? Come on. Considering all that is at stake, is this the best he can do? And "his office has been in contact with mine regarding the significance of this study?" Just what the hell is that supposed to mean? Never mind. Don't hold your breath waiting for the Samoa News or the government owned TV news operation to ask any probing questions. But don't be surprised if the next increment of the wage goes into effect on the scheduled date this spring.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nhiều chị em thắc mắc những cách chăm sóc da cho bà bầu ra sao, vì khi trong thời kỳ mang thai da bắt đầu sạm đi và rạn nứt, những mẹ bầu lo lắng thai nhi bị suy dinh dưỡng nên ăn gì và những thực phẩm nào là cần thiết, bà bầu nên ăn gì vào mùa thu khi mà cái nóng đang nhẹ dịu thì có những thực phẩm nào thích hợp, bà bầu có nên ăn hồng xiêm không vì hồng xiêm có lợi cho sức khỏe nhưng ăn nhiều sẽ bị nóng, bà bầu xông có được không là thắc mắc của nhiều người, vì xông giúp giải cảm nhưng có thể ảnh hưởng đến thai nhi.