The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 19, 1998 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, May 19, 1998
Page 4
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TUESDAY. MAY 19, 1993 THE SALINA JOURNAL Gjeorge B. Pyle editorial page I editor Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, (write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 ! Salina, KS j 67402 ! Fax: {785) 827-6363 i E-mail: I SJLetters® ! I j Quote of j the day •> | "Justcool it." \ U.N. • Ambassador '• Bill 5 Richardson * «on his advice to Pakistan after its neighbor and rival i India joined the pranks of nuclear * nations. BY GEORGE OPINION By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal The end of the line THE ISSUE Railroad shuns service to elevators THE ARGUMENT State transportation policy needs attention P oliticians who believe they can be elected to high positions in Kansas government by promising to dismantle Kansas government might pay a visit to some grain elevators in central and western Kansas. If, that is, they can get to them. The Central Kansas Railway has announced that it will more than double its rates to haul grain cars from elevators it now serves around Pratt, Kingman, Burdett and Jetmore. At least that was the official word. The real meaning of the statement is that the railroad won't haul grain in those areas any more. It has deliberately priced itself out of the market. By boosting the shipping charge to 23 cents a bushel, the railroad has made it cheaper to ship the grain by truck. So that is what the elevators will do. Of course, the railroad can then proceed to abandon its lines in that area, which farmers and elevator operators suspicion is the whole point. But, of course, the highways and county roads those added trucks will drive on will not be abandoned. They will have to be preserved, in many cases upgraded, to handle what will have to be a large increase in heavy, pavement- crunching traffic. It will take four trucks to carry as much grain as one rail grain car — trucks that will burn fuel, hurry to meet demand, drive through small towns and school zones and generally add to the strain on the state's already stressed-out highway system. All of this just as the Legislature completed another year without facing the need for a new state transportation plan, and just as far too many candidates are planning to seek office based on a goofball no-new-taxes pledge. The state has been in such a tax-cut frenzy for the last three years that no one has dared face the need for highway upgrades. No one has even suggested a state role in railroad service, either as a regulator or as a provider. But, as long as Kansas has wheat, pigs/cattle, airplane parts or anything else it wants to sell to the rest of the world, transportation is essential. Our leaders do us no favors by promising to save money by letting our highways go to dust. Credit will go here to the campaigner who comes up with a solution to this problem. T ESSAY Clinton puts U. S. security up for sale CHntOn'S deal With Chinese administration held back the implementation This makes Clinton the Prolife . .. . ..... of the r.orrnnt nnlinv until NTnv. K — thpHavthp rfont Clinton's deal with Chinese contributors pushed India to join the nuclear club W ASHINGTON — A president hungry for money to finance his re-election overruled the Pentagon; he sold to a Chinese Military Intelligence front the technology that defense experts argued would give Beijing the * capacity to blind our spy satellites and launch a sneak attack. How soon we have forgotten Pearl Harbor. October 1996 must have been some tense month for Democratic fund-raisers. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times had begun to expose "the Asian connection" of John Huang and Indonesia's Riady family to the Clinton campaign. $ The fix was already in to sell the satellite technology to China. Clinton had switched the licensing over to Ron Brown's anything-goes Commerce Department. Johnny Chung had paid up. Commerce's Huang had delivered money big time (though one of his illegal foreign sources had already been spotted). The boss of the satellite's builder had come through as Clinton's largest contributor. But public outrage was absent. The FBI did not read the papers and Reno Justice did not want to embarrass the president. And television news found no pictorial values in the Asian connection. Stealthily, the Clinton T VISIONS OF KANSAS WILLIAM SAFIRE The New York Times administration held back the implementation of the corrupt policy until Nov. 5 — the day the campaign ended. Now the reporting of Jeff Gerth and The Times' investigative team is putting the spotlight of pitiless publicity on the sellout of American security. We begin to see how the daughter of China's top military commander steered at least $300,000 through the Chung channel to the DNC. (Apparently Chung skimmed off a chunk and may be spilling his guts lest he have to face his Beijing friends.) We begin to learn more of the Feb. 8, 1996, visit of the arms dealer Wang Jun to the Commerce office of Ron Brown, and Wang's "coffee" meeting that day with the president, the very day that Clinton approved four Chinese launches — even as China was terrorizing Taiwan with missile tests. Clinton's explanation, which used to slyly suggest that China policy was not changed "solely" by contributors, has now switched to total ignorance: shucks, we didn't know the source of the money. But this president's DNC did not know because it wanted not to know; procedures long in place to prevent the unlawful inflow of foreign funds were uprooted by the money-hungry Clintonites. Today, two years after this sale of our security, comes the unforeseen chain reaction: As China strengthens its satellite and missile technology, a new Indian government reacts to the growing threat from its longtime Asian rival and joins the nuclear club. In turn, China feels pressed to supply its threatened ally, Pakistan, with weaponry Beijing promised us not to transfer. This makes Clinton the Proliferation Presi ; , dent. Who has helped keep this sellout of security." under wraps? In the Senate, John Glenn .wstSt; rewarded with a space flight by Clinton* ibc/ derogating the leads to China of the Thompson.: committee. Fred Thompson's warnings about ? China's plan to penetrate this White HOXise'- were then scorned by Democratic partisans; his Government Affairs Committee should;] now swarm all over this. /; o* il The House's aggressive agent of the Clinton cover-up, Henry Waxman of California, is'fir/ nally "troubled" by the prospect of dammngc evidence he prevented the Burton committe^ from finding. At least three Democratic parti-' sans who foolishly followed Waxman in bloqk-j ing the testimony of Asian witnesses may hay^ difficulty explaining their cover-up vote top even more troubled voters in their districts, i The Gerth revelations lead to more ques->i tions: Where were the chiefs of the CIA and.tlje National Security Agency, their intelligence^ so dependent on satellites, on the satellite tech- j nology sale to China? On Is anybody at Reno Justice re-examining tes,-/ timony taken by independent counsel invest^ gating corruption at Commerce before Ron;,' Brown's death? Does Brown's former claim "dead man's privilege" on notes? NSA tape overseas calls of suspect C officials? Who induced Commerce to lobby,! Clinton for control of satellite technology? •. >' And the most immediate: Will homesick'! prosecutor Charles LaBella, beholden to Ja,ne,tH Reno for his political appointment in .Saj),,] Diego, dare to offend his patron by calling for,' independent counsel? fl.,1 T<»I ucvsnuc ,^_^ • <'»M-»^ - *» l ilemember the market? David Miller is a consistent conservative GEORGE B. PYLE the Salina lounial ebelius proves that regulation need not be Hostile to business F our years ago, insurance companies in Kansas posted a new sign: The End Is Near. jAfter eons of having the office that regulated them run by a do- nothing dynasty of hopelessly gray rrfale Republicans, hiaurance companies were rocked to their core by the 1994 election of an activist Democrat —•• a mother of two who looks good in red. 'instead of dutifully filing away tl^e tons of paper- wprk insurance companies must fi}e, Kathleen Sebelius has turned the office of Kansas Insurance Commissioner into a place that really makes a difference. 'Under Sebelius, the agency goes to bat for the consumer by enforc- irig the rules, publishing consumer guides and standing up to the industry she regulates. ;Given that so much of the insurance business these days is what Sebelius calls "shedding the risk," in'stead of spreading the risk, the threat that companies might have to! serve their customers instead of their stockholders was thought to be a real disaster that no insurance would cover. But, with a little more than three weeks to the filing deadline, there seems to be no move within the cash-heavy insurance industry to bankroll anyone to run against the woman who was going to ruin their business. Has Sebelius failed to clean up the insurance industry? If the industry doesn't hate her, how much of a consumer advocate can she be? But Sebelius has not made it harder to sell honest insurance policies in Kansas. She has made it Easier. As Sebelius says to insurance companies, in a tone of irony perfected on her two teen-age sons, "Remember that open-market theory, boys?" OK, so my single source for this information is Sebelius herself. And if anyone knows different, I'd love to hear from them. But the lesson of Sebelius' first term seem clear. Wise government regulation of an industry need not hurt that industry. That is because the interests of those who intelligently provide an honest service and those who buy it need not always be at odds. Sebelius credits her popularity — or, at least, lack of overt hostility — among the people she regulates to the fact that she has worked to change laws that had drowned insurance companies, and the government, in tons of meaningless paperwork. It used to take weeks to license a new agent. Now, Sebelius says, it can be done in a day. A new company that wants to do business in Kansas can now get the needed paperwork in 100 days, compared to the three years often needed under the old, supposedly pro- industry, regime. This is good for the industry and, Sebelius says, good for the consumer. "We need companies who want to do business in this state," she said. "We need competition. It's the best rate regulator you can have." Make no mistake. Many business regulations exist, not to help the consumer, but to protect those in the business from people who might get into the business and shake things up. That's the old way that Sebelius is out to change Sebelius Monday was on her way to a meeting of insurance agents in Salina, to update them on rules that affect their business. And she wasn't shy about recalling her self-imposed ban on campaign contributions from the people she regulates. "I need," Sebelius said, "to remind them how much money they are saving." Principled conservative never changed; and now the tide has turned in his direction D avid Miller was conservative before conservative was cool. The Eudora insurance agent who is challenging Gov. Bill Graves in this summer's Republican primary followed his own drummer when the ^ two of us were students at the University of Kansas in the late 1960s. It was the era of student protest against the Vietnam War and post-adolescent liberation through drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll. And watching it all with disgust was David Miller. Miller and I were involved with KU student politics. During the 1969-70 academic year, I was student body president and appointed Miller as student government treasurer. I figured that anyone as conservative as Miller must be good with numbers. He did know how to balance a budget, but his stomach must have churned while he signed checks for programs and organizations supported by the leftist Student Senate, including the Black Student Union, a radical underground newspaper and an anti-Vietnam War veterans group. And Miller not only didn't inhale, I doubt DAVID S. AWBREY Kansas Press Association that he ever saw a marijuana joint. Acid-head hip he was not. He was the only person who wore a coat and tie to Student Senate meetings when the male sartorial standard was corduroy jeans, Sears work shirts and desert boots. Square, conservative, crew-cut straight — David Miller. Little did I know that he was the future of Kansas politics. Time travel ahead 30 years and Miller is now the most influential conservative in Kansas. Pro-life, pro-gun rights and a cultural moralist who would make Cotton Mather seem libertine, Miller was instrumental in the social conservative takeover of the Kansas Republican Party. At 48 years old, he is the chieftain of an aggressive band of younger conservatives whose intensity and self-righteousness ironically matches that of the New Left crowd at KU in the 1960s. But while some Kansas elected officials are conservative mainly out of political expediency, Miller is a true believer. He is not a careerist politician waving a constantly wet finger in the electoral winds, nor is he a political opportunist with Richter-scale instincts to detect the slightest shift in the electoral landscape. David Miller is the most authentic person I have met in more than a quarter-century as a reporter and political commentator. That statement covers thousands of politicians, from U.S. presidents to school board members. None of them has had more personal integrity than Miller, few of them have been as committed to the principles they espoused. And those qualities could lead Miller to'thejf' greatest upset in Kansas political history f -^--V victory over Graves in August's GOP primary.? Despite four years in office, Graves has, jietj to form a distinct identity among many voters. He is largely perceived as a competent adnurt, istrator and a personable, self-effacing mai' who nevertheless still seems to be a work iri- progress. His signing of the new abortion law, while claiming that it contains lawyer-Ian?? guage that effectively guts the measure; re- l , v vealed Graves as a Clinton-style politician try--" ing to appease everyone while holding firm beliefs on nothing. ~ ',„> Political leaders without a clear mission re; r semble T.S. Eliot's "hollow men" — individu-; als without a passion for anything but person- R al survival, merely advertisements for them-. 1 * selves. v i Graves has largely defined himself political 1 '* ly by what he is not: He is not a social conser vative like Miller. Even his strongest suppfarVv ers see Graves more like a Dutch boy at theiff dike holding back the flood of social conser^ % vatism than as an energized visionary leading* £ Kansas into the 21st century. IST In contrast, Miller's supporters are fervenlj ',' about their causes and trust his leadership^ * Such grass-roots loyalty might prove decisiv^j in a Republican primary where the dedication* of conservative voters could counter Graves*? high opinion poll numbers and huge financial^ resources. r For David Miller, the student who tilted'"* right on a left-leaning campus in the 1960s, .theJj times indeed have changed. •* III SBURY By G.B. TRUDEAU 1006'SFOR My muse? AR&VOU KIPPING? MCe TRY, PAL! I HAPPEN TO&J&t/THAT ING ABOUT ASPEN HOJTERTHAhl A PISTOL Rl&HT NOW.' -/. \

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