What did Smilin' Norm Coleman have to do that made him cancel his appearance at Farm Fest? The answer is here. A hint: it traditionally involves tight, white shorts.
He showed up yesterday. I have quite the story to tell when I get the time to post after work.
By 8:28 AM, at
I'm looking forward to it.
Let's not feel too sorry for the sugar beet farmers. Of all the "welfare" directed at corporate interests, the sugar beet farmers are right near the top of the list. All they'd be interested in from Norm is more government largesse.
Nobody is all bad, even Norm.
By 9:29 AM, at
Smilin' Norm isn't all bad. We've even (grudgingly) acknowledged one or two accomplishments. I tend to agree that we spend far too much on agricultural subsidies. Not a popular position in an agricultural state, to be sure.
Further, I generally support free trade. I think the labor provisions in DR-CAFTA are too weak. Basically, as long as a country attempts to enforce its own labor laws (regardless of how weak those laws are), they are in compliance with DR-CAFTA. I would prefer mandatory minimum rights for all workers for signatory countries.
Smilin' Norm took money from lobbyists on both sides, criticized CAFTA opponents, flirted with opposing CAFTA himself, proclaimed himself a free trader, then signed CAFTA only after some free trade provisions were eliminated. In short, Smilin' Norm hasn't taken a principled position on this, despite claiming that free trade is a principle he believes in.
Norm doesn't have a principled bone in his body (or thought in his head).
Interestingly enough, see Tommy Friedman's NYT column today. I'm in good company.
By 10:12 AM, at
Hey, I'm all for cutting off subsidies for sugar beet farmers....which is impressive because my late grandpa was a sugar beet farmer (as well as is my still living uncle up near Glyndon).
They have a product that isn't viable in the global market.
There are two ways to go here...either we stop subsidies and let their prices drop, or we decide that we want to keep subsidies and tarrifs and keep the money here at home.
The point here, as Hammer nicely put it, is that Smilin' Norm is an unprincipled quack who wants to have it every which way.
However, back to the beets, no poor country is going to buy our sugar because they can get it cheaper from cane.
What I would like to see from our congressmen in this state is a transition program for the utilization of sugar beets for some alternative alcohol fuel. Norm, to his credit, has started this process at the U of M. However, it doesn't cover up his lack of principles on pretty much any given issue.
Let's also not kid ourselves that other countries play fair in the sugar industry. "Free" trade is a joke and we don't want any part of it if we can't maintain some type of controls. Our farmers (and the rest of us) have the longest way to fall if the playing field was truly fair and level.
That "welfare" may turn out to be very helpful when we get to the point where cheap wage states like China designs, manufactures, and manages their own industries...who needs outsourcing when you can do it yourself for cheaper. There's not enough of us and we have far to far to fall if we were really serious about free trade.
I don't support open free trade...not with China our South America in the room. I like my quality of life and there is no way the US can afford to share it with everyone on the open market. We will lose that battle.
By 11:20 AM, at
I think there will be a growing market for fresh, organic, local produce. Not good for Monsanto, but good for actual family farmers.<< Home