September 30, 2007
Our own Congressman David Obey, who recently published his book with an intriguing title, Raising Hell for Justice, is annoyed with the all-powerful left-wing of the Democratic Party. (Well, that's not quite true since there is no left-wing of the Democratic Party or, if there is, it is hard to find.)
Obey is mad at everyone who "raises hell" about the "plan" of Congressional Democrats to end the idiotic occupation of Iraq.
Obey, who voted to condemn MoveOn.org, was chastising MoveOn for taking on the less-than-candid General David Petraeus in a full page ad in the NYT. Obey even mused that he left the Republican Party because of Joe McCarthy. How McCarthy comes to mind in connection with the Iraqi occupation is a stretch, to put it mildly. Unless, of course, Congressional Democrats are beginning to equate criticism of the war with terrorism, today's enemy. That, David, would be McCarthyism.
Fact is the Democrats have failed to get a bill passed in the Senate to end the occupation or even to set a date certain, and the House is now being asked to provide $190 billion more for the war. Will the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee use his power to negotiate with the Republicans? For example, a demand to pass the mild reform put forward by Chuck Hagel and Jim Webb to give soldiers more time at home. Is that asking too much from Chairman David Obey? How about a date certain for withdrawal?
There is a reason polling data reveals people hold Congress in the incredible position of having less support from the people than the administration.
Time to stop posturing and raise some hell for our troops. If that is McCarthyism, so be it.
Hillary Gore? Last week Jon Stewart, who is becoming our nation's most serious reporter, showed what has been described by Frank Rich in NYT as "that laugh." It is bizarre. Stewart showed the full belly-laugh of Hillary in totally inappropriate cirumstances. Rich goes on to ask if Hillary's "flawless campaign" will flop like the Gore campaign if she is too cautious while relying on a laugh to distract from issues. All of us ask for more candor.
Would she vote to bomb Iran?
Gail Collins recounted the debate question posed last week: "Would it me appropriate for a teacher to read young children a story about a handsome prince who marries a handsome prince?" (Forget that the question was posed by Tim Russert, who wants to keep the social wedge issues front and center.) Hillary's answer is classic: "With respect to your individual children, that is such a matter of parental discretion. I think that, obviously, it is better to try to work with your children to help your children understand the many differences that are in the world and to really respect other people and the choices that other people make, and that goes far beyond sexual orientation." Whew!
And your support of the invasion of Iraq?
September 29, 2007
I try to avoid writing about sports--too much time spent with NFLPA, sports writers, and more, but the loss by the Brewers sticks in my craw.
The young Brewers have been an absolute delight all season. All season, that is, until Ned Yost lost it. Ejected from games 3 times in the final push to win the division, and suspended for one, just as this young team needed leadership, Yost, for lack of a better term, lost his mind. Yelling at umpires, ordering his pitcher to throw at the Cardinal's best player, he did everything but manage and the Brewers, following their leader, collapsed. Errors, missed opportunities, a lack of focus and the Cubs won the division.
This group of exceptional young athletes may never have this chance again. Ned Yost, according to the NYT, "in reviewing his behavior said he would not do anything differently." Whoa Nelly! Had the pitch hit Albert Pujols in the head causing brain damage, Ned Yost would be defending himself to a jury. Quite an example for the young players and, regrettably thousands of young kids who love the Brewers.
Oil: Greenspan admitted what we all knew--the Iraqi invasion was all about oil. Well, catch this: "Iraq and Turkey signed an agreement to cooperate in fighting the Kurdish separatist group P.K.K. along their shared border." Guess who just signed an oil deal. Yup, the Kurds in Iraq. And while this is happening, things are going to hell in and around Iraq. Whatever you are doing Sunday morning, watch Bill Moyer's Journal on PBS. You will get a non-Petraeus view of the tragedy we have created.
Sorry Here is the headline: "Two different Accounts of Deadly Ar Strike in Baghdad." Seven men were killed and the Iraqis say they were just outside playing a game. Not so, said the U.S., but they did say, "If some innocents were killed, we regret that."
We regret that and much more.
September 28, 2007
Childrens do learn!
How do we know? President Bush said so. The NYT reminds us that he once said, "Is our children learning?" I, for one, think he makes those mistakes on purpose to look dumber than he is. Easier to chuckle at grammatical errors as a man of the people, than explain the Blackwater fiasco. While children learn, do we?
Want to start your weekend off on the wrong foot? Joe Lieberman and Senator John Kyle are moving us toward war with Iran. By an overwhelming vote, 76-22, oddly about the same number as voted to condemn MoveOn.org, the Senate is asking the always willing State Department to brand Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization and to "combat, contain and stop Iran." Jim Webb said this vote is Dick Cheney's fondest pipe dream. Hillary voted yes; Barack missed the vote.
Any of you with kids, grandkids, brothers or sisters over the age of 15 had better start planning for the draft. Imperial America is on the march!
The D.A. in Jena is in touch with the Lord: "I firmly believe that had it not been for the direct intervention of our Lord Jesus Christ, a disaster would have occurred" during the march of tens of thousands on Jena. Thank you, Lord!
September 27, 2007
The order issued yesterday by the three-judge panel looking into charges of misconduct by Judge Annette K. Ziegler, now Justice Ziegler, was a pleasant shock. Most people thought the tap on the wrist from the Judicial Commission would be increased to a couple of taps on the wrist and perhaps a tut-tut, but the tone of the order and its breadth give hope that the Ziegler matter is far from over.
The three judges have been paying attention and they want a lot more information. Judges Ralph Adam Fine, Charles P. Dykman, and Ted E. Wedemeyer Jr. are no strangers to controversy and they have not shied from this issue. The handling of Ziegler's discipline may well be the most important matter ever to come before our Court. The reputation of our Supreme Court may be tarnished for generations if the public thinks a "white wash" has occurred.
The panel asked about the timing of Judge Ziegler's admission of mishandling of cases as a judge. Before her April election to the Supreme Court, Ziegler said there was "no scandal" regarding her handling of the bank cases" but after the election she told the Ethics Board she "improperly decided those cases."
Perhaps the eye-brow-raising query was focused on loans from the bank to family Ziegler: "Media reports have stated that Judge Ziegler and her husband have borrowed...approximately two million dollars from the bank...If the reports are true, the Commission shall tell the panel whether it knew of the loans when it agreed to the Joint Recommendation and whether it knew whether the loans were made at arm's length."
It seems clear that the Judicial Commission failed to find the facts despite the comment of the Executive Director, who said, "You can rest assured the matter was thoroughly investigated." (Yah, sure. Tell it to the judges.)
The panel of judges will also hold a public hearing on November 19--site to be determined. (I'll bet the West Bend Savings Bank's conference room would be available.)
Good for the panel. The public deserves to know the full story and the integrity of the Supreme Court demands no less.
September 26, 2007
Chuck Stoddard often cited a little known fact. In America, he said, "There are more horses asses than there are horses." The president of Columbia University, raced straight from the hair dresser to prove Chuck's point. He stood in front of students, faculty, TV cameras, and contributors to hurl insults at the president of Iran. It was a shameful performance. (Note: I have not written the obligatory "I'm no fan of Ahmadinejad" because you know that. But I am a fan of fair play and manners. If one invites a guest to one's home, it is totally inappropriate to start off telling him he "exhibits all the traits of a petty dictator" and predicting he won't have the intellectual courage to answer the questions he will face over dinner for God's sake.)
Lawyers: As a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn, so the ABA's publication, The American Lawyer, occasionally carries something of interest. In the September issue they polled 50 lawyers who have tried terrorism cases.
Q. Did the terrorism cases brought by the federal government make the U.S. safer? A. 58% No, 30% Yes; Q. Have the terrorism laws passed by Congress made the U.S. safer? A. 80% No, 14% Yes. Q.Privacy rights have been unduly compromised as a result of anti-terrorism efforts? A. 94% agree, 4% disagree; 2% are not of this world.
9 dollars 11 cents: That is the tasteless Giuliani solicitation for his campaign. Consultants use every excuse..."come celebrate Senator X's 50th birthday--bring 50 bucks..." But to use the tragedy of 9-11 as a prop for a fundraiser? What's going on in New York? The president of Columbia and Rudy in a race for the most tasteless award of 2007?
Don't forget, as you start your day, the motto of the Wisconsin Way (to cut property taxes). "Public, inclusive, fair, innovative, effective." Yikes! How about "get rid of loopholes; pay your fair share, fund our public schools, free tuition?"
September 25, 2007
Too good to pass up
We founded this Web site because there were few options for publication of progressive voices on a variety of issues. While there are more today than four years ago, we get incredibly good material from our subscribers that make us proud of FightingBob.com. We are much more than a Blog. Too good to pass up: Robert Weitzel's "The Conscience of a Conservative." His chilling account of a rape in the context of Plan B legislation is an important contribution to our understanding of the cruelty of those calling themselves conservative--that is if you have a mother, sister, aunt, wife or daughter. You might not sleep as well after reading Robert's article, but you must read it.
Chickens hire fox: man bites dog, dog dies; Blackwater will investigate itself; WEAC to join, I'm not kidding, The Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Realtors Association, Wisconsin road builders, and Wood Communications to find out how Wisconsin can reduce property taxes! All three of WEAC's partners are neocons at best. Whoa Nelly! "Dear fox: We have lost a lot of chickens lately to foxes. Can we form a coalition with your fox association to trap these killers?"
Now that WMC and the realtors have figured out how to avoid paying their fair share of taxes they have a new plan to privatize the UW-Madison campus, cut services, and promote private schools. All this under the phony label: "The Wisconsin Way. Public inclusive fair innovative effective." They say that. Really. And half-a-buck will get you a cup of coffee.
The premise? There is a crisis in Wisconsin that requires urgent attention. (One crisis they identify for us is political gridlock. Gridlock they have created!) The obvious? Those who created the high property taxes through loopholes will now try to convince us that public schools, including the wasteful UW, are the problem.
This charade will produce compelling graphics, hysterical comments about our dark future, and selected polling to bolster false options. And, of course, like the ill-fated Kettle Commission on campaign reform and the awe-inspiring PAVE Commission, this show will go on the road to "build consensus" to cut--you guessed it--public education.
Is Jim Wood doing this pro bono out of concern for our future? Rumor has it that over a million dollars is committed to hustle us. Stay tuned.
September 23, 2007
Pause for a moment
There are good lawyers, smart lawyers, but only a few deserve to be called a lawyer's lawyer. Bob Curry was a lawyer all lawyers respected. Bright, caring, ethical and fun.
Bob passed on last week at age 84. He helped guide CUNA Mutual for many years. He treated every employee with respect and did his best to encourage them to plunge into politics. As a candidate I was given the Curry courtesy. Bob stood next to me to introduce each employee to me. I have no idea about his politics but I know he was involved. And, it was clear that the employees loved him.
Well done, Bob Curry, well done.
September 22, 2007
Where to begin. "Thousands of Stanford students, faculty, and alumni are protesting the Hoover Institute's appointment" of Rummy as a "visiting fellow." Pamela Lee, a history professor, was quoted by A.P. saying, "He contradicts the fundamental standards of the university, which are order, (odd?) morality, personal honor and the rights of others."
Poor Rummy. Like O.J. he just can't catch a break.
"Bush wants $200 Billion more for Iraq," is the headline in Cap Times today. We have already spent more than $500 billion nd are spending $12 billion a month. Well, Dave Obey, tell him to jump in Lake Michigan. No money until he accepts the Webb-Hagel bill and sets a deadline to end this madness. And, Carl Levin and Senator Harry Reed, stop hiding behind the 60-vote issues and cut the funding. Last time I checked it takes 51 votes to pass a funding bill, not 60.
As for the "we must not abandon the troops" nonsense, it won't sell. Leaving our soldiers in harm's way is the ultimate abandonment.
Sally Field: Censored by Fox-no News, but live in Canada, said at the Emmys, "If the mothers ruled the world, there would be no goddamned wars in the first place." Right on, Sally.
The NYT reported that the equivalent of six Californias of ice melted in the Arctic. It may all be gone by 2030. But, hey! We have more`important issues to deal with--O.J., Britney Spears....
September 21, 2007
Hey! The Loonie is the equivalent of a dollar U.S. Yup. First time in 30 years the Canadian and American dollars are equal. I like that. More Canadian tourists and more American exports.
There are some problems with our economy but not to worry, President Bush said, and I'm not making this up, "The fundamentals of our nation's economy are strong." He also said, "Mission accomplished, we are making progress in Iraq, the surge is working, and we invaded to spread democracy not for oil."
The Euro is now at $1.40 and oil is pegged at $83.32. You can bet we will soon pay $4.00 at the pump. The economy? "Fundamentals are sound" and the moon is made out of green cheese!
Meanwhile back in the land of La Follette, the Lobbyist's legislature won't pass the budget. We need a plan. This nonsense cannot go on forever but it will unless there are consequences. No budget--no pay for these irresponsible folks.
BLACKWATER: The shoot-'em-up on Sunday was unprovoked so sayeth the Iraqi government. Bush's pals in BLACKWATER are under scrutiny for the first time. About time.
September 20, 2007
The Senate hawks-with-other-people's-kids followed their leader, Joe Lieberman, in defeating the Webb/Hagel bill that would have given soldiers as much time at home as they had spent in Iraq before being sent back into harm's way in the civil war. If Congress can't even pass that bill they might as well go home--unless, of course, Dave Obey says "no more money until Webb/Hagel becomes law." Why have the power, Dave, if you don't use it?
I think it is time for the draft. If the children and grandchildren of Lieberman's wealthy contributors had to face combat in Iraq this occupation would be a distant memory, but how convenient that poor kids are the ones serving in this neo-con war. (Ah, yes, this "war for oil." Thank you Alan Greenspan--better very, very, late than never. Maybe.)
Bring on the draft. At a minimum listen to Cindy Sheehan's Bob Fest speech. "If it is a 'voluntary' army then let the soldiers leave when they want."
September 19, 2007
Wish I had coined it
The NYT editorial commenting on Ambassador Crocker's testimony called it "happy-talk presentations." Well said. Now back to BLACKWATER. I misquoted Jeremy Scahill. There are more than 180,000 private contractors in Iraq in total. I incorrectly suggested BLACKWATER had that many. But whatever the number the Pentagon is scrambling.
In light of the BLACKWATER scandal, "The American embassy suspended all diplomatic missions outside the green zone and throughout Iraq." Why? The BLACKWATER mercenaries are grounded and, one must conclude, the American embassy doesn't have enough confidence in Iraqi security or American soldiers to travel outside the Maginot line called the green zone. Yikes!
And of course Alan Greenspan is back! Why are we in Iraq? He says because of oil. No kidding, Alan. Thanks for your help because we thought we were spreading democracy.
Tasered: Good lord, did you see the video? A student taken down during a John Kerry speech and tasered? What did Kerry do? He answered the question but did nothing to protect the student. Had Kerry walked over to the student I doubt that they would have used a taser gun. What the hell is going on?
September 18, 2007
Oh no! The truth!
Our keynote speaker the night of Bob Fest's kickoff was Jeremy Scahill. How lucky for us. Jeremy wrote BLACKWATER:The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Jeremy told us that there are more mercenaries employed by contractors, headed by BLACKWATER, than there are uniformed American soldiers.
No one asked Petraeus about this little secret. No one.
Now, because the government of Iraq has revoked their license to operate in Iraq, all hell is breaking loose. American officials are actually asking how the U.S. can survive without the protection and suggesting the Government of Iraq lacks the legal authority to expel BLACKWATER. Whoa Nelly! The government the President and the Democrats blame for lack of progress can't control the security forces that answer to no authority?
Give me a break. The Wall Street Journal said BLACKWATER may have 1,100 soldiers in Iraq. About 180,000 short of the real number, but the cat's out of the bag. If 5700 troops come home, will BLACKWATER send in replacements? Will the House Appropriations Committee pay for them?
Hey. This is getting interesting.
September 16, 2007
Could we start over?
Pulleeze! First the news came that a candidate for the State Supreme Court violated the Code of Ethics for judges and the campaign rolled on without a murmur from the Bar Association. Millions of dollars later, the Judge who said she used a "gut check" on cases involving conflicts, was elected. And, by a wide margin.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (not the Bar Association) filed charges against Judge Ziegler and in a bold move, the Wisconsin Judicial Commission issued a "reprimand." And, get this, the Judge, now Justice, promised to follow the rules while serving on the highest court in our State. Wow! Thank you Judge, thank you.
Again, the Bar Association, doing an impression of Woody Allen in "Sleepers", remained silent. Ah, but JS cartoonist Stuart Carlson spoke volumes last week showing the Judicial Commission giving a tap, tap, on the wrist of Justice Ziegler with this message: "We're being gentle. We wouldn't want to impair your ability to be tough on crime!"
The Supreme Court established a panel to review the situation and incredibly, one of the first Judges appointed to review Judge Z's action was removed when the media asked about his campaign donation to? You guessed it! Candidate Ziegler! Whoa Nelly.
Our system is on trial. WMC promises to buy one more seat to guarantee a pro-business decision every time. I'm not kidding. The Lobbyist's Legislature has ignored the call by our Chief Justice, for public financing of judicial candidates, and the smart money says the panel looking into Judge Ziegler's conduct will say "Tut, tut, no more of that, now" and be done with it. In the meanwhile, the people of Wisconsin will lose confidence in our most important branch of government.
See you on Tuesday at noon at the Capitol banging a pot for reform. Make noise but try not to wake the Bar Association.
September 15, 2007
Maybe, just maybe...
The snow-job didn't work. People are not exactly in the streets wearing party hats at the prospect that "maybe" 5,700 troops will be home for Christmas. Robert Gates, wearing his Robert McNamara suit, tells us a corner has been turned and troop reductions might be down to 100,000 by some time--by the end of 2008. Note to Gates--families of troops in Iraq need more than your public relations "hope." They want this over with.
How about BLACKWATER "troops"? Down to 180,000? Would it be asking too much of Congress to ask?
The surge, by any measure has been a failure. The people, American and Iraqi, know it; the soldiers know it; I suspect Petraeus knows it. Will the Democrats have the good sense to end the funding or is it too comfortable sitting around criticizing? This is the moment of truth for Dave Obey and Nancy Pelosi.
September 14, 2007
Oh my Gosh! He's nuts!
Einstein said, "doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity." Well, welcome to post-surge America. More of the same for now and possibly forever! His deceptions are now so obvious that not even the TV types can assert that he has a plan, a strategy, a plan B but he remains president with a quiet Congress.
In case you missed the speech, the most incredible portion was his assertion that Iraqi leaders want a Long-term agreement to work together despite polls showing that 70% of Iraqis want us to get out. You will recognize this deal--Google Korea . Yes, he will not only carry on this occupation in Iraq so he and John McCain can blame the next President for "losing Iraq," he plans on a treaty with the crumbling government of Iraq to last in perpetuity. He is nuts or he works for BP-Amoco or both.
The good news? He didn't bomb Iran.
Meanwhile, back home, some very disturbing headlines ought to sober the Congress. Crude oil is at an all time high and prices at the pump are back to $3.00 per gallon or close. instead if adding 225,000 new jobs last month, we lost 4,000."Large numbers of people are leaving the job market." I'm not kidding.
If you are planning a trip to Europe, take more money as the Euro now commands about $1.39.
Oh yes, and with adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) facing a steep increase soon, for an estimated 2 million home owners--many will lose their homes. (Many would like to pre-pay to avoid the awful interest rate hike but,guess what. Penalties were added to ARMs for pre-payment!
OK, think about it. $10 billion a month for Iraq, Haliburton and Blackwater--but 2 million Americans may lose their homes? 47 million have no health insurance? Soon gas at 4.00 per gallon?
Time for Congress to cut the funding of this illegal occupation. Now!
September 13, 2007
Where's the beef?
Recall that fast food commercial used so effectively by Walter Mondale in his debate with Gary Hart? Well, General and Ambassador, "Where's the plan?"
The Onion had the best summary of the Petraeus report: "Iraqi government officials still being assassinated, but just barely; Most U.S. soldiers wake up on time; The six guys that Cameroon sent have been awesome; By weight Americans are now the country's majority."
The effort to obfuscate is so obvious even the main streamers can no longer deny the absurdity of this farce. The plan? Protect the Iraqi oil for our big oil companies and don't leave until we succeed! Got it! That is our oil and don't you forget it!
I have yet to hear a question about the 185,000 mercenaries in Iraq and their future. Should we send all members of Congress Jeremy Scahill's book, BLACKWATER?
Suppose this crew had demonstrated a modicum of competence? But they have not. If we gave them 200,000 fresh troops, maybe the could find the billions in missing cash, but I doubt it.
Petraeus is "winging it" for the most part. He can't even tell us if the reduction of troops is one or 30,000. Bring on the A team. Please. I can hardly wait for the President's speech tonight.
Impeachment finally on the Democratic Party table. No, not Bush or Cheney. That would be too bold. Joe Wineke, State Democratic Party chair said, and I'm not making this up, "If people don't like it, (his endorsement of John Edwards) impeach me." Then to demonstrate his well thought out challenge, he said, "I'm not sure we have a process to do that, but go ahead." Whoa Nelly! He doesn't know if there is a process but--go ahead?
I'll bet the Clinton, Obama, Kucinich, and Richardson camps are chortling today.
September 12, 2007
Despite the spin
Day-one looked like a narrow public relations mini-victory for the surge proponents but it all came tumbling down on day two. Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel asked, "For what?" and Patreaus looked more stunned than anything.
Our mothers used to say "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." The Lone General and his Tonto tried, but the facts would not let them get away with another "Mission Accomplished" moment. (Recall Bush's moment--Fool me once...") The Senate looked good. On to the House that Obey and Pelosi control. They don't need a super majority to end the funding. You lead, David, and we'll follow.
Bob Fest: You were a generous crowd. The barrels were full, the merchandise flew off the shelves, and, surprise surprise, you had a lot of Lake Louie and Spotted Cow on a hot Saturday afternoon. We will be able to pay our bills!
The Los Angeles Times carried a very nice story on Bob Fest. You will enjoy it.
Storm for Reform: September 18, noon, State Street entrance of the Lobbyist's Capitol. See you there.
Joe Weineke, state Democratic Party Chair and AT&T retainer, has endorsed John Edwards. Yikes! Don't worry, he told the media, it is a personal endorsement not a Party endorsement. Whoa Nelly! Me thinks he doesn't get it.
September 11, 2007
Don't ask a barber
Jim Hightower's most memorable line among many great observations at Bob Fest was, "Don't ask a barber if you need a haircut." This wise advice in preparation for the testimony of our new "Commander-in-chief" David Petraeus and his "Tonto" Ryan Crocker. Will he ask for more? Will a barber say, "No, our hair looks just right?" C'mon.
Bob McChesney, founder of Free Press, spoke at the Bob Fest kickoff. He discussed the corporate media and the spin it gives to every story. Well, if Professor McChesney needed a case study the Bolero-like buildup to the non-Petraeus-Petraeus report is a classic. (He briefed "my chain of command but not the White House or the Pentagon." Yah, sure Ole. Me thinks you protesteth too much.)
This was a general on the mountain coming down to tell us war is good, violence is peace, death and destruction are signs of progress, and bad is good. More money, fresh troops, more time, and the General promised two things: 1.)We might make progress; 2.)This takes the heat off the Republicans running for president. Thank you chief, thank you.
What a startling performance. Not since "Mission Accomplished" and "Bring 'em on!" have we heard such misleading nonsense. And Tonto looked like he sat on a whoopee cushion throughout. (One could almost hear his inner thought: "Remember what mom said. 'sit up very straight and you will look smart.'")
PBS joined the show. Most of the news hour was devoted to The General, droning on like Ann Coulter on a sleep inducing drug. If asked a question he would fill the five minutes with non-answers. It was awful. (Would have been nice if one question had been, "President Bush said 'We're kicking ass.' Do you agree?")
Back to reality. Never in my lifetime has a Wisconsin Congressman held so much power over war or peace. David Obey, Chair of Appropriations, can end this war and join with heroes like Gaylord Nelson, Bob La Follette and J.W. Fulbright. Or he will have to take the blame for the continuation of this war and illegal occupation. By a simple decision to follow Gwen Moore's pledge--no more money for Iraq," Obey's new book, Raising Hell for Justice could be followed by Raising Hell for Peace.
Let's hope Obey stands up to the powers that be for the powers that ought to be. No more Casey Sheehans. No more.
September 10, 2007
And now? Action
The emails are streaming in following Fighting Bob Fest and most promise to take action on our theme of peace and social justice. Since our first posting of FightingBob.com, over 2.5 million people have logged into our progressive site; 7 million page views have been logged; and, perhaps the best news is that over 300 of our readers have written over 700 articles.
FightingBob.com has truly become a major voice of progressive thought. Every week,over 20,000 of you visit the site.
Bob.com was requested at the first Bob Fest, to fill a void, and every year it grows along side Bob Fest. Thousands of participants outside the reach of the Capital Times, might not have known about our annual progressive Chautauqua without FightingBob.com.
So, read, write, provide your solutions, call us to action!We invite you to write more with emphasis on solutions to the inequities in our society.
In the mean time, let's enjoy the moment. Bob Fest VI was the best ever. Between 7500 and 9,000 people are better prepared to listen to the packaged nonsense from General Petraeus and Ambassador what's his name. Bush can have his Petraeus; we had Cindy Sheehan, Jeremy Scahill, Gwen Moore, Tammy Baldwin, Laura Flanders and Jim Hightower. Message to Congress: thousands of progressives are watching to see if you have the courage to follow the people. Bring the troops home!
September 9, 2007
What a day!
The weather was perfect--Okay, if you sat in the sun for the entire time it was on the warm side--but hard to beat 75-80 with a gentle breeze. The crowd? Between 7,500 and 9,000. The level of enthusiasm was extraordinary and the speakers were inspirational.
People who had never been to Bob Fest before promised to return and they will. I was moved by the passion of the speakers and the warmth returned to them from the crowd. (The speakers, all without fee, loved Fighting Bob Fest. A reporter from the LA Times was loving it all--particularly the Raging Grannies.)
The crowd loved the poems written and read by Daniel Kuene; they sang and laughed with Peter Leidy, the Raging Grannies from Milwaukee and Madison, and the incomparable Chuck Mitchell; Hightower, never better, made them laugh and think; Cindy Sheehan brought tears to more than a few eyes; Gwen Moore and Tammy got them on their feet. The booth getting the most attention? Ron Paul's.
It was a bases loaded home run. Some clashing on the approach to the Bush team--most wanting impeachment, some wanting the focus on getting our troops home, but respectful disagreement. Disappointment in the Democratic Congressional leadership was the prevailing sentiment.
For me, it was the best ever. Bob Fest organizer Laura Boyd and her loyal band of 85 volunteers goes into the hall of fame. The outstanding volunteer is Laurene Bach who put in hundreds of hours on the graphics and any other job that needed attention.
Thank you Laura, Laurene, volunteers, breakout leaders, funders, and speakers. It was incredible. See you next year!
September 7, 2007
The kickoff is tonight, 7:00, at the Barrymore in Madison. Jeremy Scahill will lead a great panel--David Giffey, Bob McChesney, and John Nichols. Some of our speakers tomorrow will join the audience tonight. Want to know how many mercenaries we have in Iraq? See you tonight.
So far, so good. All speakers confirmed, Breakout leaders ready, weather cool and sunny; only one minor detour on Highway 12 at Sauk City. (Tried it yesterday--about seven scenic miles longer.)
Starting time--8:30 with welcoming by Tammy Baldwin.
I look forward to meeting Cindy Sheehan and buying a beer for our favorite populist, Jim Hightower. The Raging Grannies are in good voice; Peter Leidy is ready to lead you in song, and I'm anxious to hear Mike McCabe's take on the wrist slap to Judge Ziegler. (She will behave in the future!
We have great merchandise to sell, good food, lots of enthusiasm, and a goal of raising $15,000. As Peter Mckeever says, "It is free to get in but it costs you to get out." (just kidding)
See you soon.
September 6, 2007
Enough is enough!
The news from the administration would be humorous if people were not dying everyday. One commission wants to disband the entire national police operation--too corrupt to save. I'm not kidding. Another complains that the Iraqi government should spend more of the money we have given to them. (No one connects the dots--spend more in Baghdad while 2 million Americans will lose their homes because, in part, this administration won't spend enough.)
No one knows the number of mercenaries are now in Iraq or the cost. (I'm eager to hear Jeremy Scahill tomorrow`at the Barrymore on that subject.)
But listen to Bush while he paints a positive, albeit false, image of the success of the surge while the corporate media continues to pretend that the Petraeus report is his. Bush is delusional or he is deliberately lying about the conditions in Iraq. I suspect Bob Fest participants will have something to say.
Peter Leidy will introduce a new song at Bob Fest dedicated to Karl Rove and W. Calvin Trillin weighed in on Rove in the Nation:
While skirting rules that he could skirt, he
pulled off a bunch of tricks--all dirty
we note now that there was a time
When Rove reigned as the Prince of Slime.
Adieu, Karl Rove.
I'm superstitious so never mention weather for Bob Fest but Mother Nature is progressive and WPR says it will be perfect on Saturday. See you Saturday.
Participants from 40 counties will be present on Saturday.
September 5, 2007
Here we go!
Buckle your seat belt! As we gather in Baraboo on Saturday, Members of Congress will be in the process of defining and announcing their positions on the lost war in Iraq. Will they rely on the GAO report of failure or will the majority listen to Bush and his appointees? All I know for sure is that they should join us in Baraboo to hear Cindy Sheehan, Jeremy Scahill, Jim Hightower, and Laura Flanders.
As we kick-off Bob Fest at the Barrymore theater at 7 on Friday, I took another peek at Cost of War--that wonderful site that keeps up to date on the cost of Bush's folly. Thus far, $449 billion has been spent. For perspective, we could hire 7.8 million teachers for that amount. We could have provided 21.7 million four-year scholarships at public universities (or ten scholarships at Harvard).
So, let us tell the Congress how you feel.Sheehan or Petraeus? Scahill or Crocker?
See you soon.
September 4, 2007
President Bush, longing for another photo-op like the one that will live forever from the deck of the USS Lincoln--"Misssion Accomplished"--flew to a "remote desert air base, 120 miles from Baghdad" to announce, and I'm not making this up, that security in Iraq is just dandy. Yah, sure, W., and the moon is made out of green cheese.
As nutty as the so-called secret trip may appear, Bush now denies any responsibility for dismantling the Iraqi army. But Paul Bremer, the incompetent buffoon who did the deed was so incensed by Bush suggesting that Bremer did it on his own that he met with the NYT and gave the newspaper letters to and from Bush making clear that he knew the army would be dismantled.
Rummy knew, Feith knew, Wolfy knew, Bush had to know, but here is the quote from Bush in a new book: "The policy had been to keep the army intact; didn't happen." When asked how he responded when he found out, he said, in true SNL skit language, "Yeah. I can't remember. I'm sure I said, this is the policy, what happened?"
This is scary. He refuses to take any responsibility for his actions and now he is warming up to bomb Iran!
Here is my message to all presidential candidates at Bob Fest: You know now that Bush and Cheney are planning to bomb Iran. Either come out in opposition now or forget ever getting our support. Forget it!
September 3, 2007
When I read the names of the dead U.S. soldiers reported today--Butkus, 34; Nelson, 22; Scheibner, 40--the column in the September Harper's by Lewis Lapham, writing on the folly of war, came into my brain. He begins his September "Notebook" column with a memorable quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:
"I do not know what is true. I do not know the meaning of the universe. But in the midst of doubt, in the collapse of creeds, there is one thing I do not doubt...that the faith is true and adorable which leads a soldier to throw away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty, in a cause which he little understands, in a plan of campaign of which he has little notion, under tactics of which he does not see the use." (Part of is Harvard commencement address in 1895.)
Holmes was talking about the Civil War but the words remain true today. Perhaps a member of Congress will read those words aloud on the floor as Congress returns from vacation (or the rest rooms) to debate the non-Petraeus report. Remember it is not his report. It bears his name, but this Bush partisan has not resigned in protest that the White House will author the glowing report on the surge. Like Colin Powell, he will be used without complaint.
As Paul Krugman wrote, "The administration, this time relying on David Petraeus to play Colin Powell's role, has...created the perception that the "surge" is succeeding, even though there's not a shred of verifiable evidence to suggest that it is."
Ah, yes, Petraeus, listen to Holmes "in a cause he little understands" and tell us if Butkus, Nelson, and Scheibner died in vain. How many more, General, for your war?
September 2, 2007
Fighting Bob Fest Week begins
The speakers have confirmed, the volunteers are ready, the special mustard has been delivered, Mike Konopaki has designed a new t-shirt, the booths are spoken for, (all 74 of them) the hot air has blown away, so let's enjoy the week. Besides, I can't improve on the Cap Times Sunday editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal so why try? John Nichols puts the first Bob Fest in perspective. (Don't tell the Journal-Sentinel about Fighting Bob Fest. Let's surprise them.)
Here is your challenge: Bring someone to Baraboo next Saturday. Not just anybody. Bring a friend with a burning desire to demand an end to the invasion of Iraq. Someone who cares that we have 47 million people without health insurance. Bring someone who saw An Inconvenient Truth and who wants to do something about global warming.
We cannot afford the self-indulgent luxury of sitting on the sidelines. It is time for action! See you at the Barrymore Friday night 7:00 and in Baraboo on Saturday. Let us plan together.
September 1, 2007
Get a dog!
Larry Craig's downfall reminds me of the old saw, "If you need a friend in Washington, get a dog." The cruel response to his personal tragedy from his Republican pals in the Senate makes the point. No one said, "Let's talk to Larry and give him some time to deal with it." Nope. Instead it's, "Get out and don't let the door hit you."
We were asked on Joy Cardin's "Week in Review" yesterday to comment on the Craig matter and I was stumped. Yes, his hypocrisy is worthy of note but the response from his allies was even more noteworthy. Sharks in the water--demanding he leave quickly so he would not hurt them--forget his family. I'd like to read your comments.
I wish those same senators would get just as excited about the Attorney General lying under oath or the president, vice president and Condi Rice lying us into war. More than 3,700 families have been permanently injured and yet the nonsense continues.
Speaking of nonsense, how about the state budget? The only state without one. How proud we are.
Read the GuestBlog as Bill Kraus delivers a well-deserved comment on the Bradley Foundation's "fellow" Charlie Sykes.