HIGHTOWER: Tiltrotor Madness

It's the hottest toy of the new year kids! More dazzling than an electronic whirligig, more thrilling than the latest Game Boy alien killer, it's the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor!!! Only $83 million each.

You say that's a little steep for you? Well get ready ... you're buying one anyway. In fact, you, me, and other taxpayers are expected to buy 458 of the V-22 Ospreys -- for a total tab of $38,014,000,000. The Osprey is the latest boondoggle being pushed on us by congress at the behest of Boeing and Textron -- the two Pentagon contractors that make this pricey turkey ... and that also make major campaign donations to the congress critters that keep shoveling our tax dollars into the Osprey.

The chief trick of this high-tech hybrid is that it's both a helicopter and an airplane -- it's engines tilt up so it can take-off and land like a helicopter, then they drop down to fly forward like a plane. Sounds fun, huh? Unless you were one of the four Marines killed in a test flight of the Osprey last month, or one of 19 Marines killed in another test flight eight months earlier. Even though the tiltrotor doesn't work and is deadly to fly, congress keeps throwing our money at it. Rep. Curt Weldon, a Republican in whose district much of the Osprey is built, dismisses the deaths of our Marines, saying: "Every time we've tested new planes ... we have lost lives." Hey, Curt -- we've got a seat for you on the next test flight! What a goober.

Curt got even more gooberish when the Philadelphia Inquirer raised the point that Boeing and Textron had dumped some $2 million in campaign funds on him and other Washington politicians last year. Weldon puffed up and blustered that anyone who thinks the corporations are buying congressional support for the Osprey is "dumb, naive, ignorant, and a stupid person."

This is Jim Hightower saying ... Billions of dollars and two dozen lives frittered away ... and he's calling us stupid?

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