Friday, September 09, 2005

Senator Feingold: LaFollette? Or McCarthy?

Senator Russell Feingold, Democratic senator from Wisconsin, has called for President Bush to withdraw all troops from Iraq by 31 December 2006.

Russell Feingold also knows Wisconsin’s storied history of senators. There was Robert “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, a Progressive. LaFollette is considered among the pantheon of great United States senators. Mr. Feingold would like people to think of him in this light.

Then there was Joseph “Tailgunner Joe” McCarthy. You know him as the 1950’s senator on a hunt for Communists in Washington, DC, in Hollywood, even in the army. McCarthy met his match when he went after the army.

It’s interesting that both of these senators have martial nicknames.

My grandmother went to school with Joe. She never had a kind word about him. She never mentioned, though, if she ever voted for him. She usually voted Republican and Joe ran as a Republican.

Back to Feingold. His announcement is met as a “bold, decisive move.” Well, all things considered and being relative, it’s a bold move for a senator. It also plays to the Democratic Party base. Remember Howard Dean? He had the same philosophy and the same initial burst in his campaign. Then, before you can say “ARRRRRGGGGHHHH” Dean lost the Iowa caucuses and tailspinned into political oblivion. Oh, sure, he runs the Democratic party now, but what type of position is that? And if the Dems lose more seats in 2006, he might be gone before he finishes his next “yell.”

Mr. Feingold, meanwhile, takes on an issue where he feels he is in a majority. The thing is, it’s not practical and it’s not consistent.

The impracticality of the plan is that the insurgents (really imported terrorists—and there are imported terrorists in Afghanistan as well, so don’t get started on the Iraq War making life more dangerous for Iraqis. The mass graves seem to tell me that the Iraqis weren’t much safer before the invasion) will wait out events until the US armed forces leave. Then they will step into the vacuum and take control. Meanwhile America’s credibility will be ruined. We already betrayed the Iraqi people by not taking out Saddam in 1991.

The inconsistency in this proposal is that Mr. Feingold is singling out this one area where American troops are stationed. Mr. Feingold, why not bring home the troops in Afghanistan? Or Korea? Or Europe? Why just Iraq? Hmmm? And please, no form letters from your staff. You insult me and my intelligence.

No, Mr. Feingold, you are more “Tailgunner Joe” than “Fighting Bob.” You might think you’re progressive, but you have not come up with any ideas that are in the best interests of our nation. Your bill, the McCain-Feingold bill, proved unable to keep “big money” out of politics; if anything, more money poured into politics with no restraint for what was said. Your insistence that the PATRIOT Act is wholly wrong is also unwarranted. Read what Lincoln did during the Civil War and how “unconstitutional” many of his actions were. The Union survived, our rights remain intact, and Mr. Lincoln is revered as a great president.

And now you want to betray the Iraqi people.

Haven’t the Iraqi people suffered long enough? At long last, sir, haven’t they suffered long enough?

Friday, September 02, 2005

How to lower gas prices

Here in Wisconsin gas is running about $3.25 a gallon. The Republican-led legislature has proposed suspending state gasoline taxes for the immediate future. The Democrativ governor's proposal is to lift a state law mandating a "minimum mark-up" on the price of gasoline (basically, a station owner must mark up his/her price a certain amount above what that person/company paid for the fuel). This "Minimum Mark-up" law is ostensibly to protect small operators and "Mom-and-Pop" operators from being driven out of business by large corporations.

So, we have two philosophies. One is creating a reprieve of a tax burden that benefits all (except the state coffers). The other one is willing to sacrifice small business owners to the whims of large corporations.

What do you think? Which plan is better suited for this emergency?

Or do you believe this is temporary and there is no emergency?

By the way, the state tax on gasoline? It is written into law that it goes up a certain percentage every April 1. Just like those automatic pay hikes for federal congress(wo)en and senators.

Some thoughts on what's in the news

The Wall Street Journal sends a daily e-mail which is called the "OpinionJournal Best of the Web." It is conservative in nature, often reflecting my own views. Today I want to comment further on some items they addressed.
Is Katrina Racist?
Al Sharpton showed up on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" on MSNBC last night, and the pair sounded a theme that's becoming depressingly familiar in the effort to demagogue hurricane Katrina:

Olbermann: I actually heard a commentator this afternoon--it was that Limbaugh--suggest that the issue of class and race in those who were left behind in New Orleans was irrelevant, because, as he put it, those people were not forced to live there and they weren't bused into New Orleans. And I was thinking, A, this guy is even more clueless than I thought he was, which is saying something. But, B, there are people who actually believe that. How do you respond to them? How do you explain to them what the truth is? . . .
OK, Mr. Olbermann, why waste our time? You have already stated the "truth," you have come to a conclusion--perhaps a biased conclusion? You asked leading questions of the witness (an opposing trial attorney would be all over you if you used this line of questioning in a court of law). So much for a "unobjective" approach to journalism.
Sharpton: . . . The real question is not only those that didn't get out. The question is why has it taken the government so long to get in. I feel that, if it was in another area, with another economic strata and racial makeup, that President Bush would have run out of Crawford a lotquicker and FEMA would have found its way in a lot sooner.
Then there's the "Rev." (sic) Al Sharpton who never met an incident he couldn't put a racist label on--even if he supported an alleged rape victim crying "race," then cried "race" when her story was revealed to be false. So "Rev." (sic), why didn't YOU gather supplies and lead a caravan to help the city? What moral authority do YOU have to sit in a broadcast booth and denounce the lack of action on the part of others?
The Case for Rebuilding
Yesterday we noted the case for pessimism about whether New Orleans can come back from
the Katrina catastrophe. George Friedman of the Stratfor intelligence firm argues that it must:

The Ports of South Louisiana and New Orleans, which run north and south of the city, are as important today as at any point during the history of the republic. . . .A simple way to think about the New Orleans port complex is that it is where the bulk commodities of agriculture go out to the world and the bulk commodities of industrialism come in. The commodity chain of the global food industry starts here, as does that of American industrialism. If these facilities are gone, more than the price of goods shifts: The very physical structure of the global economy would have to be reshaped. . . .New Orleans is not optional for the United States' commercial infrastructure. It is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist. With that as a given, a city will return there because the alternatives are too devastating. The harvest is coming, and that means that the port will have to be opened soon. As in Iraq, premiums will be paid to people prepared to endure the hardships of working in New Orleans. But in the end, the city will return because it has to.
You know, in 1803 our government sought to buy New Orleans because of its vital role in world trade and American commerce. We came away buying the whole of the Louisianna Purchase. I'd say New Orleans has long been a center of American and global commerce. It isn't by chance that the Civil War's end was hastened once New Orleans fell to the Union forces.
Durbin's Curious Civil Rights Views
Sen. Dick Durbin, best known for likening American soldiers to Nazis, weighs in today with a Chicago Tribune op-ed in advance of the John Roberts hearings. Mostly it's liberal boilerplate, but one assertion got our attention: "Nowhere did the Constitution expressly give Congress the authority to pass the Civil Rights Act [of 1964]."
You know, had a CONSERVATIVE or a REPUBLICAN said this, he/she would have been denounced until that person would have A) apologized, B) resigned in disgrace, and probably even C) been shaken down by "Rev." (sic) Jesse Jackson to "help" (sic) minority organizations (i.e., his own minority pockets).

Have a happy Labor Day weekend!