Wednesday, October 25, 2006

on the campaign ads

Now we know. The Billings Gazoo, this morning, showed where the money that Burns supposedly has brought to Montana has gone. His ads say it came to Montana. Actually, the bulk of it came to companies headquartered in Montana rather than to the Montana public. Yes, he got money reportedly for the Lockwood water and sewer and I'm not sure that Lockwood has ever taken advantage of it. He also got money for a new library in Bozeman while Billings was struggling to pass a tax to pay for a new library. He's also bringing Bob Dole out, I understand, to visit PAYS stockyards as if that is Billings. Who's paying for that visit? So we can take his campaign ads with a grain (maybe a sack) of salt.

Of course, both sides have errors in their ads. Burns is claiming that the Gazoo says he never "endorsed" what Tester says he did: the big sales tax. But it also said he took a look at with some interest and that should be a non-starter for him given Montanan's attitudes toward a sales tax. I would say that is about even in lying. And Tester's ads are wrong in saying that "18 years in Washington have changed Senator Burns." There was no change. Conrad is the same Conrad that went back to Washington 18 years ago, saying he would only serve two terms.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

on the Iraq "war"

I think it is time for someone to take a really rational look at the Iraq "war" in the context of language. What we would call a typical war is the head to head face offs of uniformed troops in a declared situation. Or it can be the head to head conflict of bands of people with other bands of people, whether uniformed or not. I believe that given those ideas, the situation does not seem to be a war. There are few, if any, direct fire fights between troops. Mostly it appears to be roadside bombs, suicide bombers, snipers and death squads attacking defenseless people. It seems to me that Iraq stopped being a war back when we had gained control of the country from the forces of Saddam Hussain. That war, Gulf War 2, ended at that stage. What we've been doing over there is national building. Bush and Burns both say we have to win. But what can we win? We are not fighting anything that resembles a winnable war, anymore than we did in Vietnam. What we are trying to do is keep some kind of lid on while two or more Iraqi cliques attempt to win power through killing rather than elections. Saddam did that. Will we support a strongman in an effort to regain that nation? The point is, if this is a war it is one we cannot win. Iraq may, but we are in a lose-lose situation. We can't win because there is no standard for winning, no basis for it, if you will.

on the effect of tax cuts

Cheap Denny Rehberg is reported to have said that the federal income has gone up a bunch over last year because of the federal tax cuts. Well, I want to know how different the federal income would have been without the tax cuts. Would our budget have been balanced? And Denny, you, of all people, should know that it wasn't the tax cuts that have moved the economy, but the deficits. Or didn't you study economics?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

on not being anti-taxers

At last night's meeting, one of the people supporting repeal of the public safety mill levy in Billings is report to have said, in part, "we're not anti-taxers." To him and all of them, I say: Forget it; the only rational you have is anti-tax. There is not other reason to vote on the levy again. And anti-tax is an irresponsible response, almost without exception.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

on liars and damned liars

There's a big hullabaloo in the Gazoo this a.m. about the Public Safety mill levy. The article points out how we don't have available reserves as the anti-tax people claim the city does (I use we because I am a citizen of this city), they are primarily capital assets which, if we were to sell them (my point and not the city elected and appointed leaders) we would wind up paying some private person the cost of the services plus a profit while he pays his employes a minimum wage and builds a big house in Ironwood or outside the city limits. What I don't understand about the anti-tax, anti-tax people is why they think it is all a big conspiracy and everyone is lying to them. Is that how they would do it if they were in power?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

on today's weather

We are getting what the TV predicted could be as much as an inch of rain today, the seventh of October. An inch of rain in Odtober? Back in the 14th Century when I was a kid and walked to school in 20-below weather through two feet of snow uphill both ways, I can't remember that we ever got rain in October. It seems to me that we had our first snowfall in early September and if we got any precipitation after that it was snow that then lasted, at least in the corners of the fences and the south side of gullies, into the spring. Or maybe it's just a bad memory.

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