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arthur stead
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Let me preface this by saying I don't have any left wing or right wing agendas. I believe in The United States of America. But whatever your political leanings, I'm sure all of us have - at one time or another - been dumb-struck at the way our government wastes our tax dollars. Here's another such example:

One of my neighbors is a retired Navy guy named Steve. He must have a really good pension plan, because he goes on short vacations at least four times a year. He visits Baltimore to see the Mariners pre-series practice. He goes gambling in Las Vegas with his lady companion. And together they travel to many other fun destinations.

In January, Steve and his lady friend spent a couple of weeks in Hawaii. His holiday coincided with President Obama's trip over there. So before he left, my wife and I were teasing Steve about getting some pictures taken with the Prez, and sitting in on meetings to help the administration. We had a few chuckles about that.

When Steve returned from Hawaii, I asked him how his trip was. He told me: "You won't believe what happened. The airline called me two days before my departure. They said they needed my two seats." (I didn't know it, but apparently Steve always flies First Class). The airline offered him $600 to give up those seats. They said would provide him with two other seats on the same flight. But not in First Class. The substitute seats would be in Coach. Well, Steve wasn't too keen to give up that luxury of traveling First Class. So he declined the offer.

After a few minutes, the airline called again. This time, they offered him $1,500 to give up his First Class seats. But Steve still played hard-ball. He really didn't fancy sitting in Coach all the way to Hawaii. So he said he'd think about it, explaining that he'd have to speak to his companion first. Well, a little while later, the phone rang again. The next "bribe" from the airlines was amazing: two tickets to anywhere in the world, anytime he wanted to use them! Steve asked if their previous offer of $1,500 was still included, and they said yes! This time, he accepted.

On the day of his flight, he checked with the departure gate crew and they verified that the deal was still good. He said he would only do it if he and his companion would be allowed to board with the First Class passengers. While negotiating this, he asked the stewardess why they had wanted his original seats so urgently. Who were they for? It turns out that the seats were requested by a female senator from the mid-west. She apparently insisted on having those specific two seats. Not just any First Class seats, but those exact ones. Apparently whenever she flies, she always demands those two seats.

We can only imagine how much the airline must have charged the government for this preferential treatment! But that's not the worst of it. You would think there must have been some sort of national emergency, for the airline to go to all that last-minute trouble and expense. And for the senator to insist on being on that particular flight. (In those specific seats, of course).

But no. The only reason the senator was flying to Hawaii, was to attend Obama's barbecue.
Arthur Stead
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landmark
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Claire or Deb?
Good story. BTW, is it a given that this particular trip was on the taxpayer's dime?
mastermindreader
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Good question, landmark. Another tax issue, though, is whether the $1500 and the value of the tickets to any destination in the world are taxable income as far as your friend is concerned. I believe it is. (It would be hard to argue that it was a gift since it was a quid pro quo agreement between the airline and the friend, and the friend made a substantial profit.)
LobowolfXXX
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It's a rare public official who remembers that he or she is there to serve the public and not vice versa.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
balducci
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What has been described sounds to me like the treatment that any of the elite, and I do mean REALLY elite, frequent travelers get. My brother-in-law, my nephew, and one of my nieces have all received similar sorts of treatment (i.e. resulting in other people getting inconvenienced with or without getting paid off / reimbursed), and my relatives probably (of course this is a guess) fly less than the senator does.

The two tickets to anywhere in the world sounds, and is, really nice - but I suspect that benefit costs an airline a lot less than what we may think it does.
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
General_Magician
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Quote:
What has been described sounds to me like the treatment that any of the elite, and I do mean REALLY elite, frequent travelers get. My brother-in-law, my nephew, and one of my nieces have all received similar sorts of treatment (i.e. resulting in other people getting inconvenienced with or without getting paid off / reimbursed), and my relatives probably (of course this is a guess) fly less than the senator does.

The two tickets to anywhere in the world sounds, and is, really nice - but I suspect that benefit costs an airline a lot less than what we may think it does.


Of course the airlines will accomodate the senator. After all, they don't want legislation passed against them that could do serious harm to their business.

Quote:
Good question, landmark. Another tax issue, though, is whether the $1500 and the value of the tickets to any destination in the world are taxable income as far as your friend is concerned. I believe it is. (It would be hard to argue that it was a gift since it was a quid pro quo agreement between the airline and the friend, and the friend made a substantial profit.)


Personally, I think it's un-ethical that he took advantage of the situation the way he did. But why should a senator be given such preferential treatment? They should have to pay for their seats on a first come, first serve basis just like everybody else. The only exception to the rule should be in cases of state or national emergency. Also, was taxpayer dollars used for this trip? If it's for some kind of Barbecue and not really a true, legitimate official business trip, then the senator should not be traveling on the taxpayer dime. Something tells me that she was traveling on the taxpayer dime AND it wasn't really a trip for official business. If you have senators conducting themselves this way (traveling on the taxpayers dime, demanding special treatment from airlines on a trip that is not official business), then what moral authority do they have?

Demanding payment from business to add to their slush fund under the threat of having legislation passed against those businesses is also pretty unethical as well. A senator may have the legal authority to govern, but a senator's primary source of authority should not be the legal source (and a senator obviously needs to have a legal source to govern as well), but rather the moral source. Don't under-estimate the importance of senators and representatives needing not just a legal source of authority to govern, but also a moral source of authority.

Quote:
It's a rare public official who remembers that he or she is there to serve the public and not vice versa.


I agree to that statement when it comes to politicians.
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longhaired1
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Something(s) about the story just doesn't add up, including the fact that the North Shore BBQ happened on December 28th and not in January. He accepts the deal two days in advance over the phone but somehow is at the gate "negotiating"? Also, he accepted the deal on the phone, no longer had a first class ticket, and was at the gate saying he would only do it if he could board with first class. The deal was done two days prior. He no longer had a first class ticket. A stewardess (flight attendant) is at the gate and not on the plane? Presumably this discussion at the gate was well in advance of the plane boarding, why is a flight attendant at the gate dishing the dirt on a VIP customer?

I have no doubt that you are presenting the story as it was presented to you, but it has a definite fishy aroma to me.
Dannydoyle
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Wellb not to defend a politician but it sounds like personal travel not tax payer dollars. Certainly not wanting to defend a democrat but your friend was asked till they met his price. Not forced.

I am all for slamming politicians and relish in basing democratic party members. Unfortunately this seems like no harm no foul.

I thought this was going to be an outrageous pension complaint at first.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Pecan_Creek
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Whever I fly I get the same seat unless I decide to get as different one. That's just the way it works. When my flight is cancelled someone gets kicked off the next fight if it is full. The airlines say "we are overbooked" and give someone a travel voucher for their trouble. that's what the airlines do for the elite travelers. I'm not important, I just fly a lot.

But the story still sounds fake to me. Just the tone and the assuption that the government reimbursed the airlines. That was thrown in just as a barb. The airlines would eat the cost.

Hints of the overpaid govt. pensioner also are flags of a poltical spin`email planted story. What if the dude just saved and invested well all his life? He probably does have a pretty good pension. Jealous? Maybe you should have served your country as a career.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2014-02-07 07:59, Pecan_Creek wrote:
Whever I fly I get the same seat unless I decide to get as different one. That's just the way it works. When my flight is cancelled someone gets kicked off the next fight if it is full. The airlines say "we are overbooked" and give someone a travel voucher for their trouble. that's what the airlines do for the elite travelers. I'm not important, I just fly a lot.

But the story still sounds fake to me. Just the tone and the assuption that the government reimbursed the airlines. That was thrown in just as a barb. The airlines would eat the cost.

Hints of the overpaid govt. pensioner also are flags of a poltical spin`email planted story. What if the dude just saved and invested well all his life? He probably does have a pretty good pension. Jealous? Maybe you should have served your country as a career.


+1. Many many assumptions.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
balducci
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On 2014-02-07 05:25, Dannydoyle wrote:

Certainly not wanting to defend a democrat but your friend was asked till they met his price. Not forced.

I am all for slamming politicians and relish in basing democratic party members. Unfortunately this seems like no harm no foul.

Where was the senator stated to be a democrat? Smile We were just told she was a senator from the mid-west.

(How many female senators are there from the mid-west? Deb Rischer (R) from Nebraska. And there is Heidi Heitkamp (D) from North Dakota. I think that's it. Unless Missouri and Minnesota are considered mid-west.)

But anyway I agree with you that, regardless of party affiliation, this is a non-story (unless there is something more to it).
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2014-02-07 07:59, Pecan_Creek wrote:
Jealous? Maybe you should have served your country as a career.


Surely we don't need a minimum wage hike, what with servants doing so well.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
arthur stead
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Whoa there, little doggie! I didn't mean to start a political conflict. Just relaying the story as it was told to me. And I may very well be at fault for confusing terms such as "stewardess" with "flight crew", etc. Also, my timing may be off. Ever since my dog died, I don't get out much anymore. For that reason, I don't see my neighbors very often. So when I spoke to Steve, it probably wasn't immediately after his return from Hawaii. That said, I believe his story. In all my dealings with him, Steve has always been a stand-up guy. He has absolutely no reason to lie to me.

But since there are "doubters" crawling out of the woodwork, I will relate something that happened to me personally:

A couple of years ago I was flying back to Seattle from Kapital Kidvention in Washington, DC. In addition to giving two lectures, I also ran my own dealer table for 3 days and nights. So I was exhausted. Hoping to get some shut-eye on the flight home. Unfortunately, this was not to be.

On the flight, I found myself completely surrounded by twenty college age kids. Their group was comprised of about 2/3 females, and 1/3 males. These youngsters were very excited and animated for the whole journey. Their ceaseless interactions did not help my tired state. Frequently, one or two of them had loud conversations with friends who were sitting several seats away. While yelling over the heads of other passengers in this way, the words "cool", "awesome", "like", and "suck" seemed to predominate.

Very often, the youngsters in front or behind me leaned over their seats to have conversations with the ones sitting right next to me. And countless times throughout the flight, many of them kept getting up out of their seats and blocking the aisles while goofing around or flirting with each other. Thus inconveniencing "regular" passengers as well as the flight crew.

These were not bad kids ... they were quite friendly and polite to strangers. But they just didn't have a clue that their exuberance was bothering or disturbing other passengers.

I did my best to relax and give the appearance that I needed sleep. But it was to no avail. The noise level never dropped. And the constant activity never ceased.

Finally, just when we were coming in to land, I asked the girl next to me what their group was. She told me they were interns who had worked for a Washington state senator. (She did mention a name, but since I'm not particularly interested in politics, I don't recall who it was). As a 'thank you" to her interns, the senator decided to send them all to Washington DC for a week. This included historical sightseeing tours and visits to all the important government buildings, so they could personally experience how our government works. "All expenses paid," she told me when I asked.

OK, so at the time, my non-stop flight from Seattle to DC cost me $600. Multiply that by 20, and you get $12,000. I'm guessing reasonable hotel rates would have been no less than $150 a night (but probably a lot more). Let's say they doubled up, making it 10 rooms total. So $150 for 7 days is $1,050, multiplied by 10 is $10,500. Add the flight and we now have $22,500. Plus 3 meals a day for 20 college kids ... and tickets for all the sightseeing tours ... and transportation ... well, you figure that out.

I wonder who paid the bill? The senator? I doubt that very much. She probably felt entitled to submit the expense as part of her budget. Which means that Uncle Sam picked up the tab. Which in turn means, we paid for it with our tax dollars.

Now just think about it: This is just one senator's "gift" to her staff of temporary interns. How many other frivolous excursions and projects did she arrange? And what about the rest of our lawmakers? There are 100 senators in the USA. And 435 congressmen/women. How of them do the same thing? And how many other "perks" do they conjure up for themselves and their friends, families and associates?
Arthur Stead
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Pecan_Creek
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Again a lot of presupposed nonsense. Why don't you do the research and find out who paid rather than spewing inuendo.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Arthur, it is perfectly reasonable to wonder who paid the bill. And if the taxpayers did, whether it was a reasonable expenditure in the intern program.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
arthur stead
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Quote:
On 2014-02-07 14:47, Pecan_Creek wrote:
Again a lot of presupposed nonsense. Why don't you do the research and find out who paid rather than spewing inuendo.



Pecan_Creek, I am extremely sceptical about politics. Which is why I don't take sides. I was born and raised in South Africa, where abuse at the top was abominable. And, contrary to the popular rosy picture portrayed to the rest of the world, abuse has become even more rampant since the change of government.

But, since you are so convinced that I'm "spewing innuendo" (as you so eloquently put it): Why don't YOU do the research on this issue, and prove us all wrong?
Arthur Stead
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Pecan_Creek
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It doesn't work that way in America. "innocent until proven guilty" is our standard.

Have you stopped beating your wife?
arthur stead
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So you're saying you have proof that other countries do not operate that way?

And what's the wife beating thing all about?
Arthur Stead
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Pecan_Creek
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Whooosh!

Look up!

I can explian it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
tommy
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It doesn't work that way in America. "innocent until proven guilty" is our standard.

Really?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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