December 31, 2006
The old year ends
So many articles are written to close the book on 2006 as if life mimics college where exams end the course, you discard your notes, try to sell the text book, take a break, and start over. If life were so simple. Here are my thoughts for 12-31-06.
The story that jumped off my Sunday WSJ is an interview with Deputy Governor Susan Goodwin, the power behind closed doors in the Capitol, and the architect of term number three.
She was asked, "Are you content to stay behind the scenes?" (I'm not making this up.) Here is part of her response:
"I think I could do my job and be more public about it. [No kidding!] It is a reflection of who I am. I'm not here because of me. [Georgia Thompson might express the same sentiment about her current residence.] I don't have a very big ego. I'm not somebody who was really driven to be here, or dying to be chief of staff.
I don't need the attention.
I don't want the attention.
I don't care about the attention."
Okay. Got it. You need the attention. Now, in the spirit of Christmas, throw open the curtains.
The execution. Whenever Cheney and Bush face two choices, they almost always choose the wrong one. Impartial trial in The Hague or a fixed trial in Iraq where the world knows the U.S. calls the shots? Yup. Door number 2. Should they keep him in prison or kill him? Yup! Door number two. Should they hang him on a special holy day for Sunni Muslims or wait a week or two? Yup! Kill him on the holiday.
The NYT said, "This was the first time in modern history that a Sunni dictator was executed by a Shiite." An act that will predictably lead to more violence. And to more statements from the administration that it is not a civil war yet.
Can they deny that we just took the Shiite side in that civil war?
So, farewell '06. Thanks for some good stuff. We can try to forget the bad stuff. Time to discard the notes, sell the text, and dream about peace and publicly financed campaigns in 2007.
December 30, 2006
Saddam is dead! Long live Bush!
As one U.S. soldier in Iraq put it, "They told us they had WMDs to get us here; they told us to get Saddam and we did. What will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?"
Yes, Jr. hanged Saddam Hussein, the man his father compared to Hitler and the man the president believes threatened to kill daddy Bush. One can only imagine how he will be honored at home for getting Saddam.
So, is the war over? Can our troops come home now? Or was the hanging a meaningless gesture to show them who is the toughest guy on the block?
Little comfort to the 108 families of soldiers who died this month. Little comfort indeed to the 400,000 Iraqis who left Iraq this month.
Think of the cost. As many as 600,000 dead Iraqi civilians; millions homeless, hundreds of thousands of wounded Iraqis, $2 trillion from U.S. taxpayers, almost 3,000 dead American soldiers, and 20,000 or more U.S. soldiers with permanent injuries.
In listening to radio and reading the accounts, this is the line--"His death closes the chapter." Really? Here is what President Bush said: "The execution marks the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops. It was a fair trial." (Other non-sequitors to follow.)
The editorial page editors of MJS wrote, "A nation debases itself by stooping to the level of the killer." Add to that good thought, the debasement of our country by not giving Saddam a fair and impartial trial.
What are we becoming? I have difficulty identifying this country based on laws.
December 29, 2006
One gets it, one doesn't
Outgoing Attorney General Peggy Lautenslager gets it. As one of her final acts she issued an AG opinion that the ban on gay marriage does not prohibit employers, public or private, from providing benefits to same sex couples. Huzzah! Good for you Peg. That is what most people in the state wanted to hear. We are not a nasty people.
A few yards from her office, Governor Doyle explained why he sat in the $60,000 luxury box leased by a regulated utility, Wisconsin Public Service Corp., at a Packer game.
I'm not making this up. He told investigators he bought the tickets and went to the game because "there was a significant governmental reason for him to attend the game." He said he wanted to meet with industry members in a relaxed setting because he was working on regulatory reform legislation. Yikes! He also visted other business leaders in other boxes. (Wonder who took him around.)
He doesn't get it. People in this state don't want the governor in "relaxed" luxury boxes discussing important state business. Why, do you suppose, people got excited about the Tom DeLay-sponsored "relaxed settings" at golf outings? For heaven's sake, Jim, just go to the games and sit with the regular folks. Chances are they belong to your party. Those in the luxury boxes do not.
I can almost hear Melanie Fonder, the governor's spinner, saying our concerns are "ridiculous" and "absurd."
December 28, 2006
Two items worth noting.
First, from the mouth of the general in charge of building an Iraqi army loyal to the state not to sectarian interests. (Sort of like building an army in the midst of our civil war--one platoon headed by a Condederate, the next by a Union man.) The NYT reports he said, "This is no longer America's war in Iraq, but the Iraqi civil war which America is fighting." Wow, general, Washington can't tolerate that much truth. Don't wake Lieberman or Hillary.
Then back to Madison. WSJ reports some civil servants asked if they should be working, on state time, on the Doyle-Lawton-Sass-La Follette innaugural. As WSJ's reporter put it, "organized by a private committee and a non-profit group and underwritten by private donations" is this a political event or a state event? (Georgia Thompson might have a different perspective than Susan Goodwin.)
The Doyle spokeswoman, Melanie Fonder, had her normal and predictable response. Fonder called the questions "ridiculous."
Of course, Melanie. Why would a civil servant worry about working on politics on state time. She might ask Chuck Chvala, Scott Jensen, Brian Burke, and....oh, never mind, I forgot. Those questions are ridiculous.
P.S. The Progressive's "No Comment" section carried this gem: "Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite, Florida Republican, said, 'Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim except Tim McVeigh.'"
Speechless in Madison.
December 27, 2006
Death to Saddam!
In the effort of the Bush administration to personalize the war in Iraq, there is some really good news. Yes, we are losing the "war" but our rigged court has condemned Saddam to death within 30 days. Whoopee! Now the civil war will end, stability will return, our troops can come home, and pigs will learn how to fly.
Ramsey Clark said it best. It was not a fair trial so the appeal could not be either. Hanging Saddam will lead to more bloodshed, more death, more of everything. And, for what? A 21-year-old young man from Racine died this week in Iraq. Evan Abraham Bixby enlisted and lost his life. As we approach 3,000 deaths are we comforted that a puppet government found Saddam guilty and will now execute him? I'm not.
December 26, 2006
As of this writing, five more U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq than civilians who perished in the awful 9/11 attack. That is 2,978 announced and that exceeds 9/11 by five. Worse. No plan seems to be in place other than the so-called "surge" option, in an effort to rationalize for Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and a whole room full of arrogant neocons, their cockamamie theory of pre-emptive strikes. Yes, indeed, the "theory" destroyed Iraq, pushed our country into unbelievable debt, and has gained nothing for the future.
As the Democrats take control of Congress next week, we may find out what is going on, but not if Joe Lieberman has anything to do with it. For my money, watching the House will be much more instructive than waiting for the divided Senate.
As of next week, both parties will be judged by action or inaction in Iraq. No more finger-pointing or lectures from Lieberman. Now even Joe will have to decide which side he is on. Time for action. By then, the toll of soldiers will exceed 3,000. Bring the troops home!
December 25, 2006
Hard not to enjoy Christmas. What's not to enjoy? Good food, gifts, good memories, grandchildren, family and hope. But this year it is a little more difficult as we approach the awful milestone of 3,000 soldiers killed in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and no exit strategy. We are told to be patient. And the cost to us is now more than $353 billion. (That would translate to over 17 million four-year scholarships at public universities.)
Let your mind float. What would our county be like if $353 billion had been invested in education, health care, and veteran's benefits.
I was asked on WPR if we have a moral obligation to remain in Iraq. My response was "no," but I should have added, "And how about our moral obligation to get our soldiers home?"
Have a good Christmas.
December 24, 2006
The most charismatic candidate to grace the national scene since Bobby Kennedy woke up Sunday to this headline on the front page of the paper of record: "Testing Waters, Obama Weighs His Limitations."
The article goes on to question his readiness for the top job and uses a quote from his six-year-old daughter to boot: "Shouldn't you be the Vice president first"?
C'mon folks. What does it take to be president? Look at the credentials of George Bush--Governor of Texas, drug addiction, draft dodger, failed businessman, insider trader--is that enough? The NYT raises a question of his age--45. Would 47 be better? Would 49 be just right? How about the age of the NYT's editor? Would that be perfect?
Pardon me, but could we have a say in the matter? Or do the grand poo-bahs of the political world get to set the table so we can choose Hillary, Kerry, or Edwards and then read how they are not exciting the electorate.
I think we should try democracy. We might like it. La Follette knew that the most important elections are primaries. I don't know if Obama is the candidate, but it sure would be instructive to see him run. Are we beyond race and age? I think so. You?
Judy Robson: Senator Robson will become the first woman majority leader in the Wisconsin Senate on January 3. She outlines her goals today on our site. She has written more than a dozen articles for FightingBob.com and now she gets a chance to act on her beliefs. Good luck, Judy Robson.
December 23, 2006
What I meant to say
During the Attorney General's race, J.B. Van Hollen railed against Peg Lautenslager for bringing "frivilous law suits like one against a cranberry farmer who is allegedly polluting a lake." As you know, it turns out Van Hollen's law firm was represnting that polluting farmer. "Oops!" said Van Hollen, "I didn't know my firm was involved." Yah, sure Ole.
Did your firm know? Did they warn you? Of all the things you could say against Peg, and you and WMC said a lot, how did this case come to your attention? The DOJ has hundreds of cases. Why this one?
Now, his new deputy says, Van Hollen won't get involved in matters being handled by his former firm. Is it really his former firm? The managing partner of the firm admits they discused his probable race for AG in the Spring of 2005 so they limited him to "cases that [would not] involve the DOJ or that could go to the DOJ." And, I'm not making this up, "mostly divorce cases and criminal defense matters."
The primary was in September of 2006 and Van Hollen was in a tough battle with Paul Bucher. Van Hollen is making himself unavailable to the media, presumably so he won't have to answer tough questions. Here are a few: A) How much were you paid to handle divorce and criminal defense cases between Spring of 2005 and the primary? B) Did your compensation change after you beat Bucher? C) You say you won't be involved in matters handled by your former firm. How will you know and who will do the checking for conflicts? D) Any chance you could put this in writing?
Ah, "what tangled webs we weave..."
December 22, 2006
The NYT speculated yesterday that George W. Bush is thinking about his legacy. "Look, everybody is trying to write the history of this administration even before it's over." He then told the reporter he is reading a book on George Washington--"If they are still anlyzing No. 1, 43 ought not to worry about it."
Good news, Mr. President: Historians won't spend much time on no. 43. It is over.
Ramsey Clark will leave a legacy. He defends all sorts of people and is a credit to the legal profession. He is one of Saddam Hussein's lawyers. He described the trial as "palpably unfair and egregiously vindictive." Clark wants a fair trial. How quaint.
Fair trial? C'mon, Ramsey, if they hang Saadam, our president will have new talking points.
December 21, 2006
Are we ready for a what?
Hard to believe the focus of the corporate media is on 2008 and damned near impossible to believe the issue du jour is, are we ready for a woman? Are we ready for an African American? For heaven's sake. Are we ready for someone other than a white male? I would think after George Bush the question should be asked, "are white males disqualified for eight years" not, are we ready for Barack or Hillary.
Even NPR has fallen victim to the nonsense. Asking Hillary the other day if "America is ready for a woman president." (Forget about the absurdity of asking her that question. Could she have said "no"?) How could any rational person say "no" to that question in 2006. Yeegads!
What's the deal? Who pushes that agenda? While males, perhaps?
As Mayor Koch used to say, "paaahhhhhleeezzze."
December 20, 2006
A bigger Army?
Whoa Nelly! The Bush response to the Baker-Hamilton Report is, yup, a bigger Army! Good heavens, could someone change his meds? A bigger Army. Now, Mr. President, how will you recruit for your bigger Army? Charlie Rangel has a suggestion: a draft. Are you ready to tell your contributors, and your daughters, they are all eligible to go to Iraq, Iran, Syria or Afghanistan?
Calvin Trillin in the latest Nation magazine, concludes his comments on the Baker report:
"And recognize this as the worst of morasses,
From which we must exit, though slow as molasses,
To simply do something to cover their asses."
The ultimate in CYA is the McCain "surge," and now the Bush plan for a bigger Army. (I'll bet Hillary wishes she had thought of it first.)
Message to President Bush: Get out!
December 19, 2006
Baghdad in the dark
As Bush waits and fiddles, the NYT reports that Baghdad is without electricity most of the time and that attacks on American and Iraqi targets are at an all time high. The White House put out a statement that the president will no longer respond to questions about "winning" in Iraq. Can't blame him. Colin Powell on Face the Nation said "we are losing." We need a new program: "Face Reality."
It would appear that the American Enterprise Institute has taken the lead in support of McCain's nutty idea of a 20,000 "surge" in our troop levels. Again, Powell said it would not work and could break the Army.
As the cost of this folly approaches 3,000 soldiers killed; perhaps 650,000 Iraqi civilian deaths; $351.4 billion, we need a clear voice from Congress to bring the troops home. Listening to Hillary bobbing and weaving is not what we need. This war is over. Bush lost.
Coast Guard: Hey! They won't be shooting live machince gun fire. Now and then common sense prevails.
December 18, 2006
Could we pause for ten minutes?
Ever get the feeling that the media can only focus on elections? If not the House and Senate races of 2006, then it is the presidential race in 2008. I think the reason is that it takes no research to opine on Hillary, McCain, Barak, or Edwards. All they have to do is talk about the great middle--who is in and who is trying to get there--and the horse race speculation--Hillary vs. Condi; Hillary vs. Kerry, Edwards, Gore, you name it. Which candidate has raised the most money. And the daily tip sheet: Bayh out, Gingrich in, Gore maybe, Edwards probably. Paahhhleezze!
The sudden fixation is on "experience." Never asked is the question of why incumbency seems to ruin more people than it develops. Experience? Sitting in the Senate with 99 people who can't figure out why 47 million of our folks have no health insurance. That's experience! Or, how to duck tough questions on Meet The Press. Yup! Any potential president must know the bob and weave of Washington pols. Could a nation like ours ever elect a person who just told people the truth as he or she sees it?
I'd like ten minutes for a time out to watch the new Congress before placing my bet, energy, and hope on a candidate running in two years. In or out of Iraq? Troops home in 2007? Tax breaks for us for a change? National health care?
What's the rush?
December 17, 2006
President Bush said, "I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume." And, according to NYT columnist Maureen Dowd, Bush told Brit Hume that his presidency was "a joyful experience."
Yikes! Dowd responded with this gem: "He continues to wrap himself in muscular delusions." Example number one, "The U.S. military has helped the Iraqi people establish a constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East."
If one were responsible for a single death it could drive a normal person crazy. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz (remember him?) are responsible for more than 600,000 Iraqi deaths, the death of more than 2,900 American soldiers, the flight of 100,000 people per month out of Iraq, and our president is enjoying "a joyful presidency" and sleeping well, thanks for asking.
Now more muscular delusions? Add 20,000-30,000 more troops to walk the streets of Baghdad. Yikes again.
Two more years. How many more deaths?
December 16, 2006
Boys and Girls indeed!
Governor Doyle, fresh from a news conference where he announced a deal with Republicans to reform ethics and elections, tells us that his inaugural gala will be more like the kick-off to a third term than a celebration of the start of his second term. In my blog the other day, I listed the titles you may purchase if you want good seats and influence. For example, you can be a "Director" for a $50,000 contribution to the Boys & Girls Club, a tax exempt, 501(c)(3). In addition, the governor and lieutenant governor will fly all over the state on January 2 to celebrate. Will the Boys & Girls Clubs, who will pay for the gala, pick up the tab for the fly-around? Should be interesting.
Also, our not-so-lame-duck-governor-thinking-of-term-three will lauch a Web site that was really launched during the campaign--One Wisconsin. The funding for the site is none of your business. How do I know? I asked.
Ah, yes, ethics reform. Wonder why the People's Legislature believes there is much to be done? Like campaign finance reform.
See you at the real gala or a mini-gala in Wausau.
December 15, 2006
The departure of Donald "Rummy" Rumsfeld has been painful to watch. A symbol of the Iraqi fiasco, he had to stage a farewell fit for an outgoing hero. First a staged Q&A attended by sychophants who asked such penetrating questions as "will you write a book" and "what books did you read" as Secretary of Defense. His responses were equally absurd.
Then a secret trip to Iraq to say good-bye to troops who don't want to be there. Secret trip because it is dangerous. His trip screamed "Failure!"
Now, to make things worse, Rummy, on the way out the door says, "Send more troops." Sixty-eight percent of Americans in the most recent poll want out troops out. But, hey, what do they know?
Remember when Russ and Harkin stood alone in the Senate?
Bye, bye, Rummy. A suggestion. Tape "Fog of War" II.
Ethics reform II. As predicted, ethics reform is now hot. Let's line up for pictures. But, as the obcene fundraising to pay for the Innaugural Ball demonstrates, let's get on with real reform. Public financing. No substitute. In the interim, make it clear no one dealing with the state will be allowed to make campaign contributions. Let's go!
December 14, 2006
Wanna be a leader or a director?
Apparently the fund raising circus never stops. Jim Doyle is soliciting big bucks from corporations to pay for his innaugural party. Corporations that could not legally contribute to his campaign can now show their support by donating to the Boys & Girls Club who, in turn, will pick up the tab for the festivities. Then, believe it or not, and I'm not kidding, the Doyle campaaign and the clubs will split the net 50-50! Whoa Nelly! All this in the MJS.
in case you haave some cash sitting around, here are the categories for big donors:
$15,000 "Role Model"
$ 5,000 "Friend"
I want it all! I'd like to be a leader-director serving as as a role model, a mentor, and, last but not least, a friend. I guess I should write a check for $105,000 and reserve some good seats.
Have they no shame?
December 13, 2006
Too good to be true!
Republican Assemblyman Stephen Freese may have lost his seat but he landed on his feet in a perfect job. He has been named, and I'm not making this up, Executive Director of The Circus Museum. it doesn't get much better than this. One can only imagine his resume submitted for, again, I'm not kidding, the $75,000 per year job.
"Spent several years in a real circus called the Lobbyist's Legislature with circus master John Gard, several colleagues who dressed like convicts, and where lobbyists threw food to us from the gallery.
I believe I am a perfect person for the Circus World--when I go to work it will be "same circus, different clowns." Congratulations Circus World.
Bush losing it? Perhaps Freeze beat out pesident Bush for the Circus World job. Whatever is happening, it looks to me like our president is losing his grip. The announced delay in the new, dare we say, first, plan for Iraq suggests he cannot cope with reality.
Impeachment? A sugestion he step down? This is a crisis and our soldiers are giving their lives for "crazy king George"?
December 12, 2006
Something is terribly wrong
Two recent MJS stories tell us a great deal about our state and our country. First, Aurora St. Lukes in Milwaukee, despite an $83 million profit last year, has decided to turn away patients covered by Medicaid and Badger Care. In other words, St.Luke's no longer cares for poor people. Their spokesman, Mike Brophy, says "the patients who need the care are geting it." Of course he didn't finish the thought. They won't be "getting it" at St. Luke's in the future if they are low income. It must be embarassing for the St.Luke's bean-counters to take this action in the name of the saint who told the story of The Good Samaritan. So long good Samaritan, so long Medicaid patients, so long, so long.
Face it. The healh care delivery system is broken. The Fransiscans closed the ER at St. Michaels in Milwaukee in June to keep the 40,000 people who used it in 2005 from the hospital. Why? Because so many of our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles use the ER as the only place to get care. Why? Because 47 million Americans are without health insurance, that's why.
The next presidential race will be all about health care. The crisis has arrived at the ER doorstep and cannot be ignored.
Income Gap Widens: Catch this: "The median family income in Madison is $64,264. In Milwaukee it is $35,765" according to pro-business Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. A gap of 80%!. (You don't suppose race plays a role do you?) Add this finding to the gap in income nationally between the haves and working families, and the disproportionate tax rate for the top 1% and the rest of us, and there is an economic movement about to ignite.
Yup! Something is wrong. Terribly wrong.
December 11, 2006
A captive work force
Ten years ago, Tommy Thompson and his Department of goofey ideas, tried to sell manufacturers on using Wisconsin's growing prison population to make money. They touted our "captive work force." The prisoners would work cheap, always be on time (no traffic to worry about on our worst snow days) and they are dependable. That idea went nowhere.
Now a panel studying the problem of two-year colleges in our state has come up with an equally zaney notion. "Free tuition for a pledge to remain in Wisconsin for ten years." I'm not making this up. It was reported in the MJS today. Guess what the author of this idea, Mark O'Connell, said in justifying this plan? We would have "A captive work force" that will attract business. Perhaps the two-year colleges could merge with the Department of Corrections and we could really get into it! Lots of idle workers and hundreds, maybe thousands, of idle college graduates...what an opportunity.
Remember the movie "The Gods Must be Crazy?" Well, if you were in doubt, think about this idea. Wow!
December 10, 2006
We have lost in Iraq
Those words from Frank Rich in today's NYT. There really is no Iraq to save if one reads the daily papers. While the conservative Baker commission tries to give future Republican presidential candidates some cover, the fiasco is so bad that their cover won't last long.
The best example? John McCain, who is calling for a quick fix with another 20,000 troops. The Pentagon leaked a memo to the Washington Post estimating that it "would require several hundred thousand additional U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and a heavily armed police force" to quell the violence. Where, dear Johnny, would we find a couple hundred thousand troops? (Perhaps a Rangle-McCain ticket is the answer: "Charlie can draft'em and John can send them off to Baghdad.")
Rich quotes Chuck Hagel: "The impending disaster in Iraq is unwinding at a rate that we can't quite calibrate." In other words, only the Bush administration, the Baker Commission and 7 percent of the American people think we can "win" in Iraq.
Time to face reality. We have indeed lost in Iraq. Bring the troops home now!
December 9, 2006
Season of hope
The Cap Times reports that governor Doyle is interested in campaign and ethics reform. How refreshing! Our political system is broken, corruption is the order of the day, the public has connected the dots linking contributions to state contracts, issue groups are unregulated and they, not the candidates, frame the campaigns.
No, the governor is not pushing the only reform that will drain the swamp, the Clean Elections bill sponsored by Mark Pocan and Fred Risser, he wants ethics reform. Sort of an Emily Post guideline to ethical corruption. "Honest Graft" as Brooks Jackson called it or, as I label it, "ethical bribery."
Apparently the Pocan-Risser bill would make us too clean. What would lobbyists do? Hey! Lobbyists have feelings. If they can'tpurchase tax emptions, they would have to work at the legislative game. You know, convincing legislators instead of filling their campaign coffers. They have families to feed. Be kind!
But this is the season of hope so let us hope Governor Doyle will saddle up and lead the reform parade. Merging the Ethics and the Elections boards is sprinkling perfume on a hog. It might smell a little better but it is still a hog.
Someone should give the governor Bob La Follette's autobiography. The Doyle legacy could be a return to democracy in the La Follette tradition. Let's hope.
December 8, 2006
Looking at the body language of the Baker commission members, I see panic writ large. When a commission, filled with bi-partisan conservatives, concludes that the U.S. ought to negotiate with Syria and Iran, you know they fear a conflagration in the Middle-East. Imagine Turkey attacking the Kurds; Iran merging with Iraq; Saudi Arabia attacking Iran to protect the Sunni; Pakistan taken over by Taliban types. This is the mother of all disasters. And it could get worse. If Saudi Arabia falls into the hands of the extremists, what do we do?
Laughable is the notion of convincing Israel to, a)make peace in Palestine and b) give back the Golan Heights. "When ifs and buts become candy and nuts..." as the old saying goes. Wishing Israel would make peace is not based on thought. The idea that Israel is in any mood to alter its position because an American commission snaps its fingers, is counter-intuitive. A more likely move from Israel would be to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities and if that happens, duck and cover folks.
Why are members of the Baker commission in full panic? They know the facts. Iraq cannot be saved unless the U.S. and allies (?) do something dramatic and W. is not capable of admitting a mistake. Unless he does, nothing will save Iraq. Indeed, Lee Hamilton opines it may be too late. I think he knows it is too late.
Apology: I missed two days of Blogs and WOJB--out of state. My penance? I will read the Baker commission report.
December 4, 2006
Ah, the power of the Blog!
Yesterday I blasted John Bolton, the recess-appointed U.N. Ambassador. "Egotistical intolerance" was sited by some 64 former American ambassadors and diplomats who signed a letter asking the Senate not to confirm him. By late afternoon yesterday, Bolton gave up and announced his resignation! He didn't mention FightingBob.com, but we know. And some say blogs have no influence. Hey! Got rid of Bolton yesterday, didn't we? Look out Cheney, you may be next!
Headline in Cap Times:"Gender wage gap narrows" Yippie the father of three girls, two grandaughters, several nieces, two sisters and a working wife shouted. But I read on--"Reason? Men's pay is down." Damn. And Wisconsin is really bad. Women earned 25 percent less in 2005, worse than the 23 percent gap the year before. That is a disgrace.
The man of the year may well be Hugo Chavez. Despite millions spent by the CIA to defeat him, Chavez got 62 percent of the vote in the presidential election. "A victory of peace, a victory of love, a victory of hope," exclaimed Bush's enemy.
Let's See: Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela. While Bush is bogged down in Iraq, the left in South and Central America is winning.
Wish I had said it!
President Bush, who may, according to Frank Rich, be talking to the walls by now, will make another effort to install John Bolton as our Ambassador at the United Nations. Sixty-four former American Ambassadors and diplomats, recently "signed a letter opposing Bolton," according to Hendrik Hertzberg in his always good New Yorker column.
They oppose him for "egotistical intolerance, arrogant actions, a hard-core-go-it-alone posture that has alienated the bulk of the diplomats." Whoa Nelly! Get this nut out of there.
Ruckus Society comes to Madison: Two trainers from the Ruckus Society spent all day Saturday with 50 or so militant campaign reformers. If letters don't work, raise a ruckus!
December 3, 2006
The last days of Rummy
In The Fog of War, Robert McNamara dissembles in front of the camera. His failed policy, his arrogance and the sychophants he surrounded himself with caused millions of deaths, untold suffering, and America's first military defeat.
Today's story from NYT is that the arrogant Rummy, seeing his firing coming, finally told the truth on his last day as Secretary of Defense. Like McNamara, he fell apart at the end. His candid assessment--"In my view it is time for a major adjustment." He went on to suggest that Mr.Bush continue misleading the American people. "Whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, [tell them] the U.S. os doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course if necessary and therefore, (I'm not making this up) not 'lose.' Go minimalist."
This would be a best selling novel in the Catch-22 genre if it were not so tragic. How many have died? The best estimate is 600,000. How many homeless? more than a million. How many have left the country? Millions.
How many more deaths would be caused by Rumsfeld's new "minimilast" approach? And how about this line: "Iraqis have to pull up their socks,step up and take responsibility for their country." Had he finished the thought he might have added, "now that we have destroyed the country, it is up to them to rebuild. Our war profiteers are too busy with investigations."
Sad story. One can only imagine how the families of the almost 2,900 dead soldiers will feel when they read Rumsfeld's memo in the NYT.
December 2, 2006
While almost everyone now agrees with Russ Feingold, who agued before the invasion that a pre-emptive strike on Iraq was a mistake, the Washington Waltz plays every night on TV. It is the lack of a sense of urgency that drives me nuts and reminds me that members of Congress, with one or two exceptions, have no children on the front lines. "Let's not rush to judgment" is the order of the day. (Remember integration of schools "with all deliberate speed"?)
The Baker report is already so late that events have overtaken whatever good advice may be buried in its highly political pages. (Non-partisan? I suppose. Apolitical? Nonsense.)
So, time is passing Pelosi and Reid. By the time they gather their nerve to do something, the train will have left the station. Translation--total collapse in Iraq and big troubles in Afghanistan.
No time for caution, folks. Bring 'em home! 'tis the season.
December 1, 2006
Lead by example? C'mon!
New York Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer is nuts! The NYT reports he is proposing campaign finance and ethics reform and will live by them whether or not the legislature passes the reforms.
"We are doing that because we believe it is important to set a tone, to send a message and to lead by example." Whoa Nelly! He won't take contributions from corporate subs, will not accept more than $10,000 when $50,000 is the limit; won't accept contributions from people in his administration, and on it goes.
Wow. Are you listening Governor Doyle?. Propose ethics reform, Clean Elections, and agree to live by the proposals even if the naughty Assembly Republicans refuse to pass either or both. Lead by example. And, one of my favorites: Accept no contributions from any entity doing business with the state.
I asked Gaylord Nelson how he would clean up the system. He said, "Democrats should put down the tin cup and accept no contributions. They will lose for one or two elections and then sweep all future elections." Eliot Spitzer must be listening.