Unilateralist Agriwelfare

Open border stirs opinions: U.S. ranchers worry about safety, prices as Canadians look to revive industry,” by Peter Harriman, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 6 February 2005.

South Dakota’s big-government leanings continue apace:

Young Canadian cattle will begin streaming back into the United States next month, and for many ranchers and dairy farmers, it’s either dangerous or about time.

On one side of the fence are U.S. ag operators and politicians who fear as many as 2 million Canadian cattle will increase the possibility of mad cow disease, knock the bottom out of livestock prices here and ruin the beef export market. The U.S. market already took one staggering hit after an imported cow from Canada was confirmed to have mad cow disease in December 2003.

Across the border, ag operators say the United States is using the fact that mad cow was discovered in Canadian beef to create an artificial trade barrier that has devastated Canada’s beef producers and damaged its dairy industry.

Of course. As one who remembers the fast-food protests because they were caught selling, horror of horrors, Australian beef, how is this surprising?

What was once widespread trust and openness between the countries’ livestock industries has hardened into disdainful stereotypes. And both sides have become entrenched in their positions, says Rick McRonald, executive director of the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association.

Bah-humbug. Under Governor Janklow we blockaded Canada. Several times. Begger-thy-neighborism is not new in this state.

“To allow this tidal wave of animals into the U.S. is going to be disastrous to South Dakota livestock producers,” says Johnson, citing a widely used USDA estimate that 2 million Canadian cattle are ready to come to the U.S. in the next year. “It potentially undermines consumer confidence in the consumption of beef, despite the fact the U.S. has the safest, highest quality beef in the world.”

Those pesky, unregulated, free-market Canadian radicals. They and their illicit drugs and their unregulated cattle market.

Logic and reason

“To say the beef isn’t safe is a real problem for us,” Davis says. “We raise cattle the same way Americans do. We follow the same rules. … But the U.S. is only one positive test from being the same as us. It’s a very risky game to play,” he says of attempts to differentiate between the safety of U.S. and Canadian beef.

are powerless against agriwelfare infantilism.

Let’s hope the Congressional leadership and President Bush stand against this.

Mike Bales’ Infantilism

Tobacco assault continues: Latest proposal: Let cities write own regulations,” by Terry Woster, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050206/NEWS04/502060343/1001, 6 February 2005.

In many ways, South Dakota’s reputation for individualism is overblown. The state was settled by two big government groups: Germans and Swedes. Swede-state Minnesota is famous for its “red’ tradition, while the state of Bismarck, North Dakota is partially socialist. Fortunately, while Germans and Swedes are very charitable to their own they are suspicious of each other, and so ethnic distrust led to South Dakota’s very small government.

Not that it can hold out forever.

PIERRE – Mike Bales started smoking at age 18. At 43, he’s trying to quit, but he doubts legislative proposals to raise the cigarette tax or limit where people may smoke would be enough to make him kick the habit.

“I just don’t see where that’s going to … do any good, really,” said Bales, of Onida. “If government wants to step in and help, they should figure out more programs that would help people like me. I really don’t think even a ban would stop it all.”

Gene McCowan of Pierre supports a ban on smoking in public places, and he said a dramatically higher tax would cause at least some smokers to quit.

I have a friend who’s trying to quit. He knows it’s bad for him, and he’s kind of looking for that extra push,” McCowan said.

What children. Impose a health mullahcracy over the state because you are a mental child. Brilliant.

I support cigarette taxes. The state clearly has an interest in reducing consumption and it is better than an income tax. But the creeping nanny-stateism is disturbing.

Janklow’s Fiscal Despotism

Janklow campaign spends $3,176,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050206/NEWS02/502060322&SearchID=73198338016217, 6 February 2005.

I’ve writen of Janklow’s despotism before. The former tribal attorney, Attorney General, Governor, Representative, and all-around dictator of the Mount Rushmore State still has his political warchest.

Former Gov. Bill Janklow spent $3,176 in the past year from a campaign account he has kept open since leaving the governor’s office at the end of 2002.

A campaign-finance report that listed the spending showed $923,365 was in the account at the end of 2004.

Like all candidates with accounts from campaigns for statewide office, Janklow had to file his annual campaign-finance report with the secretary of state.

The report shows he made campaign contributions of $250 each to state Sens. Dave Knudson and Bill Earley, both Sioux Falls Republicans; spent $353 on flowers; and made a $2,323 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Janklow resigned from the U.S. House in January 2004 after he was convicted of second-degree man-slaughter.

That he didn’t give to Thune isn’t surprising. Janklow’s allies repeatedly tried to sink now-Senator Thune during the election, and Janklow and Daschle are personal friends. But that he spent more on flowers than to any local politician means something.

South Dakota’s Constitution would allow Janklow to run for Governor again. If he runs in 2006, he would have to defeat Governor Rounds in the Republican primary, but Bill took on incumbents Abnor and Miller in primaries before. He was born in 1971, so he would still be young enough to run for Senate against Johnson in 2008 or even Governor again in 2010.

For all his faults, Bill Janklow loves South Dakota. He also loves power. And he loves to keep life interesting.

Got You Good

U.S. to Fight Terror With Terror,” The Onion, http://www.pamolson.org/OnionTerror.htm.

Iraqi Police Use Kidnappers’ Videos to Fight Crime,” by Christine Hauser, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/05/international/middleeast/05mosul.html, 5 February 2005 (from One Free Korea).

From parody…

WASHINGTON, DC—In a response to recent acts of extreme violence against Americans in Iraq and mounting criticism of U.S. military policy at home, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced the government’s new strategy of fighting terror with terror Monday.

“Look, in order to catch a rat, you gotta think like one,” Rumsfeld said in a grainy and degraded videotape message filmed at an unknown location and released to CNN Monday. “We’ve been pussy-footing around the war on terrorism for years. All that time, the answer was right in front of us: In order to wipe out terror around the globe, once and for all, we’ve gotta beat them at their own game.”

On the seven-minute tape, Rumsfeld is joined by counter-terrorist leaders Vice-President Dick Cheney and Attorney General John Ashcroft, each seated on folding chairs in front of an American flag. Ashcroft described some tactics the government currently uses—pre-dawn assaults on civilian targets and subjecting potential stateside traitors to psychological intimidation—as a “small step in the right direction.”

“It’s time to get this war over with,” Cheney said. “The philosopher Eric Hoffer said, ‘You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.’ Well, we’ve been observing, but finally we’ve started taking notes. We’ll have these terrorists running scared in no time.” Cheney urged Americans to “be on alert” in upcoming months.

To reality…

MOSUL, Iraq, Feb. 4 – In one scene, the videotape shows three kidnappers with guns and a knife, preparing to behead a helpless man who is gagged and kneeling at their feet.

In the next, it is one of the kidnappers who is in detention, his eyes wide with fear, his lips trembling, as he speaks to his interrogators.

“How do I say this?” says the kidnapper, identified as an Egyptian named Abdel-Qadir Mahmoud, holding back tears. “I am sorry for everything I have done.”

medium_iraqi_police_video.jpg

In the first week after the elections, the Iraqi Interior Ministry and the Mosul police chief are turning the tables on the insurgency here in the north by using a tactic – videotaped messages – that the insurgents have used time and again as they have terrorized the region with kidnappings and executions.

But this time the videos, which are being broadcast on a local station, carry an altogether different message, juxtaposing images of the masked killers with the cowed men they become once captured.

In another segment, after mentioning that Iraqi security forces had engaged in a gun battle, an Iraqi official says, as if making a grim public service announcement: “This is how we will treat the people beheading you.” The video then showed what appeared to be a body covered by a sheet.

But seriously, this is a great step forward.

Iraq is fighting a civil war against Ba’athist and Salafist terrorists and the Sunni Arab tribes that support them. Iraqi knows what impresses these thugs; we know what makes them think they are men. For years the world has been listening to the Ba’athi-Salafist language of violence. Now our allies have are speaking that language.

Free Iraq is the balance. A free Middle East is in the balance, and because we have bringing this freedom Americna strength is in the balance. Iraq is treating these anti-Iraqi terrorists like the non-persons they are.

Good.

French Terrorists

Defending the Holemand: Crisis and Irrelevance: War or Crime?,” by George Friedman, America’s Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and its Enemies, ppg 121-122, 2004.

The laws of war do not apply to terrorists, in part because they fall outside the Geneva Convention. As George Friedman writes

The Geneva Convention clearly didn’t apply to Al Qaeda. The Geneva Convention of 1949 states in Article 2 that fighters will be considered combatants so long as the following conditions apply:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) That of carrying arms openly;
(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war

Why? Because Europe has a history of terrorism and knew what was illegal. Friedman continues about franc tireurs — while they were indeed french terrorists, the phrase is a false cognate — it means “free shooters”

The Geneva Convention deliberately intended to exclude soldiers in disguise with hidden weapons from its protections because the framers of the Convention regarded such behavior as outside the bounds of civilized warfare. The “franc tireurs” who had carried out terrorist actions against uniformed soldiers were regarded as engaged in illegal actions under the rules of law. The phrase had originated in the Franco-Prussion War of 1871 and was specifically used by the framers of the Geneva Convention to distinguish those protected by the Convention from those who weren’t. Al Qaeda did not qualify for protection under the Geneva Convention — except those fighting openly in places like Afghanistan.

For more modern examples of Froglandish treachery, Riding Sun has the scoop.

Update: Francophonic unlawful combatants in the Great War

The officer in command of the force holding the town came, just before we started, to warn us to beware of bicyclists who might be encountered near Tirlemont.

“They are all franc-tireurs — those Belgians on wheels,” he said. “Some of them are straggling soldiers, wearing uniforms under their other clothes. They will shoot at you and trust to their bicycles to get away. We’ve caught and killed some of them, but there are still a few abroad. Take no chances with them. If I were in your place I should be ready to shoot first.”

Bush to Agriwelfare: Drop Dead

Bush Is Said to Seek Sharp Cuts in Subsidy Payments to Farmers,” by Robert Pear, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/06/politics/06budget.html, 6 February 2005 (from The Corner).

Great, great, great, great news

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 – President Bush will seek deep cuts in farm and commodity programs in his new budget and in a major policy shift will propose overall limits on subsidy payments to farmers, administration officials said Saturday.

Such limits would help reduce the federal budget deficit and would inject market forces into the farm economy, the officials said.

Mr. Bush would set a firm overall limit of $250,000 on subsidies that can now exceed $1 million in some cases.

Mr. Bush’s farm proposal found support from some people who frequently criticize his policies.

Kenneth Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy group, said the proposal would reduce payments to big agribusiness operations. The savings, he said, would ease pressure on Congress to cut conservation programs financed in the same legislation.

Agriculture Department officials said Mr. Bush’s proposals would cut federal payments to farmers by $587 million, or about 5 percent, next year and would save $5.7 billion in the coming decade. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to upstage the release of the president’s budget, scheduled for Monday.

Farm subsidies have been a major issue in global trade talks, as poor farmers in the developing world demand that the United States and other wealthy countries cut back subsidies for their domestic producers.

Efforts to cap farm payments have produced odd alliances. Fiscal conservatives like the Heritage Foundation have joined some environmental groups and family farmers in the Midwest in supporting stricter limits. Opponents include the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s largest farm organization, as well as many commodity groups and politicians of both parties from rice and cotton states.

The White House proposal is a vindication of sorts for Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who has advocated “reasonable payment limits” for three decades.

“When 10 percent of the nation’s farmers receive 60 percent of the payments, it erodes public confidence in federal farm programs,” said Mr. Grassley, who describes himself as the only family farmer in the Senate. “Unlimited farm payments have placed upward pressure on land prices and contributed to overproduction and lower commodity prices, driving many family farmers off the farm.”

But Brian M. Riedl, an economist at the Heritage Foundation, said stricter payment limits were needed because farm subsidies had become “America’s largest corporate welfare program.”

Yes! President George W. Bush: brining natural liberty for the first industry of every nation. If he can end farm welfare, it will be one of his many great achievements.