Saturday, October 01, 2005

Taxpayer League: Smoking bans bad 

I'd have a much easier time believing Strom's pro-business libertarian talking points if he didn't take money from Tobacco firms. He's certainly not the healthiest guy on the block, so I can see how a smoking ban would mean little to him.

He can't seem to figure out what the role of government should be. I'm sure he has no problem with government regulation of the food and drinks he'll consume with or without an accompanying cigarette at Hennepin County bars.

On the tax issue, it seems like a libertarian would prefer the government use sin taxes to fund government since they're some of the easiest taxes to avoid by people who believe in small government. I wonder why Strom would be against this? Where is he getting his money?

Taxpayer League: Smoking bans bad: "Strom dismissed any suggestion that the league is closely allied to tobacco companies. Although tobacco interests have donated money to the league, it amounts to less than 1 percent of its revenue, he said. The league's advocacy this week was launched on behalf of smokers, bars and charitable-gambling beneficiaries, Strom said.

'This is about a private-property right and an unfair, narrow tax with a phony 'fee' label,' Strom said. 'We've been accused before of being in the pocket of the tobacco companies, from people who question your motives before they pay any attention to the argument.'

Strom pointed out that the league has criticized the health fee strongly since it was proposed last spring by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and that the opposition has been primarily based on the group's fundamental goals of 'lower taxes, more responsive government and the freedoms dear to all Americans,' he said. He acknowledged, however, that the league was 'in contact' with tobacco lobbyists working against the fee increase during the legislative session.

Strom says he is trying again to quit. 'I know it's not healthy,' he said of smoking, 'but it's not the government's role to tell me what to do or what not to do."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bill Bennett: "[Y]ou could abort every black ba ... [Media Matters] 

Wow, this is one heck of a misunderstanding of a study. Especially coming from the former Secretary of Education. Freakonomics clearly explains that abortion can be correlated with future crime rates based on the fact that most women who choose to have an abortion do so because they've decided they're not emotionally or financially capable of raising the child properly. Race was not deciding issue.

Is it possible that this is more applicable to African American women due to their lower than average income levels? Perhaps, but again, race is not the reason for the abortions.

By the way, according to William Bennett's biography posted on his radio show web site, "He is also the chairman of Americans for Victory over Terrorism, a project dedicated to sustaining and strengthening public opinion as the war on terrorism moves forward." What the heck is that? Some kind of propaganda machine?

Bill Bennett: "[Y]ou could abort every black ba ... [Media Matters]: "Addressing a caller's suggestion that the 'lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years' would be enough to preserve Social Security's solvency, radio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett dismissed such 'far-reaching, extensive extrapolations' by declaring that if 'you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.' Bennett conceded that aborting all African-American babies 'would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do,' then added again, 'but the crime rate would go down.'"

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Not about oil? 

It's hard to follow the logic of the letter to the editor posted below. The reason gasoline isn't cheaper is because:

1. We're too incompetent to get Iraq's oil production up to a normal capacity.

2. Bush has put no pressure on his friends in Saudi Arabia to increase production. In fact, he waived sactions this week on Saudi Arabia, deciding they don't need to address their sex trade issues.

3. Disturbances in oil production always raise the price of oil. Does a disturbance in Middle East oil increase the cost of extracting and refining oil in Texas? Guess who profits from this scenario?

4. Apparently, the writer has moved on to Bush's 5th or 6th talking point justifying the invasion. It's no longer about WMDs, front line of the war on terror, bringing democracy to the Middle East, avenging the attempted murder of Bush's father, or protecting Iraq's oil fields. Now it's about, "inviting an underprivileged child into the world community." Wow. I wonder why Bush didn't use that as the initial justification to Congress? They would have gone for that, right?

5. How morbid to use a death count as a comparison between two wars. I believe the comparisons to Vietnam are generally built upon parallels such as the sketchy justification for entering the war, the gradual escalation without formally declaring war, the rosy description of progress from DC while we hear the latest body count on TV every night, dwindling support from the international community, and the lack of a well-defined success goal.

Sounds like a 100% FOX News consumer to me.

Letters from readers: "Not about oil

When the war in Iraq began, there were activists in Alexandria who protested U.S. involvement by toting signs that read 'No War For Oil.' If this were a war for oil, why is gasoline over $2 per gallon? We are not colonizing Iraq to keep it for ourselves; we are inviting an underprivileged child into the world community. Someday Iraq will be a very productive member of the global economy, and our involvement there ensures that.

For those who think that this is another Vietnam, remember that during the eight years that we were involved there, there were more than 58,000 American fatalities, compared with the 1,914 who have died in Iraq.

Yes, there's still work to be done, and it would be irresponsible to bring this child into the world and leave it alone.

Duke Trana, Alexandria, Minn."

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