Yeah, I lean quite a bit to the right, but I know the right is not always right, and the left is not always wrong...What Dave Obey says here is all true...lot of value throughout the whole article...go Dave go!

Obey blasts Bush, Congress

Makes visit to Ashland High School
By KEVIN O'BRIEN
The Daily Press
Friday, March 24th, 2006 09:32:50 AM

If the country continues on the path it’s on, today's students can expect to live in a world with greater disparities in wealth and fewer opportunities to go on to college, U.S. Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.) told students at Ashland High School during a visit to the area Thursday.

"I've never seen a bigger disconnect between what people are talking about on Main Street and what's being talked about under the dome of the Capitol building," said Obey, who is running for re-election in November after 37 years in the House of Representatives.

While average Americans are concerned about high gas prices, health care costs and paying for higher education, Obey said Congress and the White House are more interested in giving tax breaks to wealthy individuals and oil companies.

During a trip through Ashland, Obey took time to speak with a class called American Experiences, which contains both English and social studies students.

Ashland Schools Superintendent Ken Kasinski introduced Obey and State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) to the class, calling them "two people who are really champions of public education."

Kasinski credited Obey with helping the school district establish its after-school program by securing federal funds.

"Without Obey's support, we never would have gotten that," Kasinski told the class.

Programs like these are in jeopardy, however, according to the lawmaker.

Obey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, blamed the Republican majority in Congress for contributing to a larger divide in the nation's economic classes by approving $64 billion in tax cuts for mostly rich families while cutting $58 billion in social programs.

"You see that the wealthiest one percent of families own 33 percent of the nation's wealth while the bottom 60 percent of families are struggling to hang on to 3 percent," Obey said. "I think it's a moral abomination that so many families live on table scraps while the top 1 percent ride the gravy train."

Obey drew applause from a few students when he criticized the Iraq War as one of the Bush administration's "bad decisions."

"We're in a war in Iraq, which I consider to be the dumbest war since the War of 1812," he said.

Students had the opportunity to ask Obey questions on everything from environmental protections to Sen. Russ Feingold's proposal to censure President Bush for wiretapping American citizens without Congressional approval.

When asked about what was being done to protect the water quality of Lake Superior, Obey said "very little," pointing to loosened air pollution standards in the administration's Clear Skies Act.

Obey added that the federal government was making no attempt to curb greenhouse gas emissions and said the result would be future natural disasters caused by global warming.

"New Orleans will be the norm," Obey said. "Virtually every coastal community will be underwater."

On Feingold's censure resolution, Obey said he believes Bush should be reprimanded, but he does not want to "waste time" trying to get a resolution passed in a Republican-controlled Congress.

In response, students asked him how he expected the president to be held accountable for his actions if Democrats would not support a censure.

Obey said he would rather see the Congress censured for not overseeing the presidency, which he believes has taken on too much unchecked power.

"The last time I checked, we had a president, not a king," Obey said. "Presidents are supposed to obey the law."

On the issue of accountability, Obey also noted that he was the first legislator to call for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld three years ago.

"I didn't do it because I disagree with him on the war in Iraq, which I certainly do," Obey said. "I did it because I think he's a raving incompetent."

When one student pressed him to say something positive that had come out of the federal government recently, Obey said "I don't think there have been any positive things in the last year and a half."

Jauch stepped in and noted that Obey had helped secure $1 billion more in federal funds for the Low Income Energy Assistance program for families who need help paying their heating bills.

Obey said he did not want to brag about his actions in Congress, but he did take credit for allocating more money to public education.

"We have $16 billion in the education budget that wouldn't be there if it weren't for me," Obey said. "I did that through negotiation over the years."

At the same time, however, Jauch said programs like art and music could be cut in the state of Wisconsin if state legislators succeed in adopting a constitutional amendment known as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

"We're going in the wrong direction," Jauch said. "If we get rid of the arts, we've lost who we are."