Saturday, December 31, 2005

Wisconsin Republicans 86 Another Traditional Value

Since the neo-con cult has taken over the Republican Party, they have abandoned many traditionally Republican values. Smaller government? Under Bush we have a hugely expanded one. Fiscal responsibility? These guys have no problem with driving us into incalculable debt. The list goes on and Wisconsin Republicans have either joined the neo-cons or have found a dark corner in which to hide.

The latest traditional value that Wisconsin Republicans are about to part with is the "local control" mantra. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Friday that several state legislators are proposing that Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport be handed over to a "regional authority." The three legislators are Republicans Jeff Stone (Greenfield), Mark Honadel (South Milwaukee), and conservative Democrat Jeff Plale (South Milwaukee). Here are a few excerpts from the Journal Sentinel report:

The bill will call for a seven-member authority, with four members appointed by the governor from the seven-county area - Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties - and three members appointed by the Milwaukee County executive from within Milwaukee County. At least two members, one named by the governor and one named by the county executive, would have to live in the suburbs near the airport: Cudahy, Oak Creek, St. Francis and South Milwaukee. But none of the appointees would have to live in the city of Milwaukee, where the airport is located.

Making this power play for Milwaukee's airport will not only 86 the idea of "local control" but will also create a whole new bureaucracy. This does not seem very conservative of them does it? And why are they not requiring at least one of the members to be a Milwaukee resident since the airport just happens to be in Milwaukee? Seems like they are using the Tommy Thompson philosophy of "stick it to Milwaukee."

In the story Jeff Stone alleges that 58% of the people that use the airport are from outside Milwaukee County. And this would be significant because why? Just because Milwaukee has assests that other people use, does that really mean that they can just start annexing those assets? I wonder if that works both ways.

The managing of the airport by Milwaukee County has largely been an acknowledged success. So what will become of Milwaukee's assets that have not been as successful? Will they create a whole new bureaucracy for each of them as well? That does not seem right and it sure doesn't seem to be a traditional Republican value.

Friday, December 30, 2005

End of the Year and Republicans Fail to Deliver the MILC

We are the dairy state right? So does this mean helping dairy farmers should be a priority? Well, not if you are a congressional Republican. Back in 2004 Congressman Mark Green and Bush made several appearances together promising to renew the MILC (Milk Income Loss Contract) program. After that election year was over, we did not hear a peep from either of them about the matter. This year we did not hear anything substantive from Mark Green until he started feeling the pressure. He tried some last minute maneuvers obtaining a letter from Speaker Dennis Hastert. The letter apparently means nothing as we are now at the end of the year and the MILC program has not been renewed.

Yesterday in an editorial, the Capital Times calls out Green for allowing the year to end without an extension of the MILC program.

Despite claims by U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Green Bay, that he had personally secured renewal of the Milk Income Loss Contract a critical safety net program for Wisconsin farmers it now appears certain that the year will end without the renewal that the Republican candidate for governor promised.


Because Green's Republican compatriots in Congress rejected a request by U.S. Rep.Dave Obey, D-Wausau, that renewal of the MILC program be included in a piece of so-called "must-pass" legislation, the 2006 defense spending bill. While U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., was able to insert new liability protections for the pharmaceutical industry into the defense bill, along with other giveaways to corporate lobbies, Frist and other Republican leaders refused to even consider including a measure that will help tens of thousands of small farmers stay in business.

For all his talk about using his influence in Washington to aid Wisconsin farmers, Green has failed to deliver.

We can also lay some blame at the feet of Congressman Paul Ryan. Herb Kohl was able to get the renewal of the MILC program included in the Senate version of the budget. Remember, he is in the minority party! Paul Ryan, member of the House Budget Committee failed to do the same. Why? Too busy cutting programs for the poor and handing more tax cuts to the rich? Maybe he doesn’t worry too much about the dairy farmers in his district until election time. Whatever the reason, Ryan, Mark Green and their fellow Republicans dropped the ball on the MILC program.

It was a WE Energies Christmas!

While looking over today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I saw a headline that reminded me of my family’s Christmas. “Gifts of Utility Bill Payments Rise, Along With Rates” it read.

Although their was no gift card that was purchased, the big gift someone got for the holiday was help in paying their WE Energies bill. Doesn’t it just make you warm and fuzzy all over? This is no deadbeat. This person works hard full-time and recently even took on other work to try and make ends meet.

Memo to all of you that don’t know what it means to struggle: It only takes one or two major events to put a working man behind for a long time.

The person in my family had a work slowdown, a family health issue, and a car accident, all in just a few months. A situation that was fairly stable turned into an exercise of robbing Peter to pay Paul. “What do you want for Christmas this year?” the family asked. “I’m behind with my WE Energies bill, could you help me pay it?” the once proud person replied. So I guess it was a Merry Christmas to the family member, who is at least caught up with THAT bill, and a Merry Christmas to WE Energies! Perhaps this kind of gift giving combined with rising rates will help them post yet another large profit next quarter.

Notice: Only Neo-Cons can use Heroes out of context

Earlier this week Jessica McBride accused Sen. Russ Feingold of taking Patrick Henry’s words “give me liberty or give me death” out of context. Here is a brief review if you missed the exchange where Russ used the famous words. In defending the current version of the Patriot Act, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Loony Bin) was quoted as saying, “none of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.” Feingold responded, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

First let me say that this McBride post was full of so much spin that it was difficult to keep track of her original point (Feingold allegedly quoting Henry out of context). McBride instructs us that Henry’s statement came as a result of the Stamp Act. Apparently McBride is upset because Patrick Henry was not specifically talking about one’s own government violating the civil rights of its own people, and this is how Feingold used it. Apparently McBride feels that WE can only quote Henry if we are talking about the Stamp Act.

The most outrageous thing about McBride’s post is that she takes quotes from Patrick Henry out of context herself to support the pre-emptive war with Iraq. Was Patrick Henry talking about a pre-emptive war against a nation that had not harmed him? No. Was he so mad at King George that he declared pre-emptive war on Spain? Nope, that would be a neo-con strategy. Yeah, someone certainly has taken Patrick Henry out of context here, and methinks she’s a conservative blogger.

Friday, December 23, 2005