September 30, 2009 McChesney on media Bob McChesney has done more than anyone to play the role of modern day Paul Revere in challenging journalists and alerting us to the dangers we face in a world of terrible reporting, Fox Views, and the disappearing newspaper. Tireless in his efforts to keep the Internet free from corporate control, McChensney has made the case for demanding renewed excellence from journalists, and he is clear about the dangers lurking out there in a post-newspaper world. I eagerly await the latest book by Bob and sidekick John Nichols (both of whom are FightingBob.com contributing editors).
Listen to Bob, think about Fighting Bob, and help us fill the void with your ideas. Tomorrow we have John Nichols posted and we conclude on Friday with holding our leaders accountable for torture.
Max Baucus can count? Is he certain? Baucus voted with the Republicans to kill a public option beause, he said, "I can count and we don't have 60 votes so I vote no." With help like that who needs enemies? Harkin has not given up. He said it is a bump in the path. Keep your fingers on the computer--call your congressman.
September 29, 2009 Lt. Governor Lawton
Today we post Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton's Fighting Bob Fest speech. Lawton is the first to announce her candidacy for governor and many believe she has the best chance of locking up the nomination. (We have taken the video down because of technical problems, but look for it to return soon, on the Fighting Bob Fest video page.)
September 28, 2009 Something has gone terribly wrong
It was reassuring when our problems seemed centered on Houston, as in, "Houston. We have a problem." Now it is "Democrats and progressives. We have lots of problems." Solutions? Not so many.
"Housing foreclosures up, six applicants for every job, Wall Street returns to old game with new tricks. America we have some problems, Max Baucus is still listed as a D."
Want to know how wide the gap is between the top 2 percent and the rest of us? Read on, McDuff. A favorite hotel of lobbyists in Washington understands that lobbying is tough work. While you and I would grab a cold one after traipsing around Capitol Hill, we are so out of it! The hotel has, I am not making this up because there are limits to my imagination, a "Bath Menu for the tired lobbyist." The menu says, "Our Butler drawn baths serve as an antidote to jet lag or a reward at the end of a successful business day." (You know--a secret meeting on drug prices.)
The Menu goes on. "Butler Drawn Baths are available from 9 to 9." (Notably not nine to five!) How much? A mere 50 clams plus a tip for the butler. The hotel offers four different baths but my favorite one is for the kids: "The Politically Correct Children's Bath."
"No one is too young to begin learning the art of giving back." With this bath, "Kids 12 and under can rub-a-dub-dub while saving Nemo and having a little fun in the tub." And you wonder why so many elected folks get so goofy in D.C.? How do the kids "give back"? Part of the proceeds go to the Potomac River Conservancy. How very nice! Try to imagine a butler-drawn bath while foreclosure sales are on-going! Whoa Nelly! Meanwhile, Jeremy Scahill points out that our troops are subject to electricution due to faulty plumbing in Iraq! Butler-drawn baths. Give me a break!
Our Fighting Bob Fest post today is Tammy Baldwin. Enjoy!
September 27, 2009 The Rich and the rest
Spend a day in our nation's capitol and you will recall the interview with Kevin Phillips on Bill Moyers Journal a few years ago. Moyers said, if memory serves, "The wealthy people in America declared class warfare in 1984--and they have won!" Kevin Phillips agreed, and laid the blame on the Democratic Party. He said, "It is not surprising that the Republican Party supports the wealthy--that is why the party exists. The shame is that the party of working families, the Democrats, have sold out."
When I checked into my hotel in D.C. recently, I commented to the desk person that it seemed awfully busy. "Oh, yes. So long as health care is on the agenda the lobbyists will fill this place."
Washington has thousands of well-paid lobbyists representing the very wealthy corporate interests. I mean thousands and they are spending like there is no tomorrow. Who represents the rest of us? (Okay, besides, Bernie Sanders, John Conyers, Tom Harkin, Tammy, Russ, Obey and Gwen?)
I have never experienced such universal disgust with our corrupt system. Those at the top have never lived better while homes are foreclosed in record numbers, and 18,000 people die every day because they did not receive proper health care!
We must have public funding of campaigns and we must demand universal, comprehensive, health care--not some cockamamie mandatory insurance law!
The hawks want 40,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan. I say if you want 'em, draft 'em--no deferments.
September 25, 2009 Egad!
Catch this in the NY Times today: "President Obama scored a big victory on Thursday as the Senate Finance Committee rejected a proposal..." Take a guess. What do you think would be a victory worthy of breaking out the good stuff in the White House? If you have time, before answering, watch Greg Palast's speech at Fighting Bob Fest for a tutorial.
Hint: Candidate Obama said negotiations with the pharmaceuticals would be carried on C-SPAN. But President Obama made a secret deal with the drug kings. As part of the deal, the government will not, repeat not, negotiate for lower drug prices! Whoa Nelly! Ah, an explanation: "The victory came at the expense of Senators in Mr. Obama's own party."
Baucus, Menendez and Carper voted with the GOP and against working families everywhere and thereby killed the discount. Thanks, boys!
Where did Penny Pritzker show up on Fighting Bob.com? Not at Fighting Bob Fest--that's for sure. (The Journal-Sentinel would show up at Bob Fest before the mega-millionaire Pritzker.)
No, Penny (odd name that--penny) was last heard from hosting a dinner for President Obama in Chicago. Price tag was, as I recall, $28,000 per couple (service compris). Pritzkers control the Hyatt Hotel chain. Yesterday, Hyatt fired all housekeeping help in their Boston area hotels and replaced them. The regulars earned about $14--16 per- hour and had health insurance. They were replaced by $8 per-hour workers with no insurance. Those fired with about six hours notice won't get insurance either, so I guess Penny is fair! I wonder if they will be invited to Penny's next soirée for the President.
Today we post another great Fighting Bob Fest speech by Stan Grusynski. Always a treat--much food for thought.
Kind out: Is he a Blue dog or just a conservative Democrat, or what? Well, one thing he ain't is a candidate for governor.
September 24, 2009 United Nations Model
Years ago, student governments held what they called Model U.N. Day. Students would take on the position of a country and argue as if in the General Assembly. Amazing things happened. Minds were opened. An Irish delegate would argue with the British delegate and demand release of all IRA prisoners while the British delegate would demand an end to violence as a necessary step to negotiations over prisoner release. Students had to think before speaking. The world seemed smaller--almost manageable. We couldn't wait to take over the real U.N.
The idea behind Model U.N. was obvious--if students looked at problems through other eyes, they are more likely to agree on solutions. It helped me as a student, and continues to help me today, better understand problems in the world. Is water the coming issue? Will we have "water wars" or will the U.N. step in with a peaceful alternative? Must we suffer religious wars or can tolerance coming through listening overcome prejudice?
Our Model U.N. program showed me that one must listen to other perspectives if peace is to replace war. So when I saw a picture of the real U.N. in action yesterday, with the president of Iran speaking to a nearly empty chamber, I asked if students would have walked out or would they have listened, and I'm sure it would be the latter. Listening to speaker doesn't mean support for the speaker. Walking out might embolden the speaker.
Greg Palast: A Fighting Bob Fest star entertained and informed at the Kickoff and at the Fest. You will enjoy watching his speech posted here. Then order his DVD.
Climate Change: Is it possible that the Bush administration was in denial right to the end? Yup. A startling report from the government of Vietnam will haunt you. "Vietnam Finds Itself Vulnerable if Sea Rises" is the headline. And the sea is rising. "Worst case--more than 17 million people...if the levels rise by 3 feet" would find their land submerged.
Everyone, it seems, is slowly awakening to the crisis, but not fast enough. It may be too late, but let's agree it is not too late--the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate.
September 23, 2009 Baucus-Snowe
Wow. We went to Door County for a weekend, post-Bob Fest, and returned to conclude after listening to the news that Max Baucus and Olympia Snowe must have replaced Obama and Biden. The health care debate seems to be focused on which state has the fewest people and which senator has collected the most graft from the insurance industry. Montana and Maine? Are you kidding me?!
Today we post Jim Hightower's Fighting Bob Fest speech. Jim is, of course, everyone's favorite populist, and the Baucus factor reminds me of Jim's accurate observation that some Democrats are "as weak as Canadian hot sauce."
Despite Obama's tacit support of the Baucus/insurance industry approach of mandatory profits for insurers, single payer ain't dead. The House must vote, the Senate must vote, the conference committee must reconcile, then more votes, and so your voice still counts. Wendell Potter, mentioned by the president in his speech to Congress, was on MSNBC last night. He is keeping the heat on the faux Baucus solution. Your turn.
Are You Kidding? You probably won't believe this, but here goes. Senator Bob Jauch put forward a bill to permit current legislators to name their successors in the event of a terrorist attack. Whoa Nelly! The list of subs would, of course, be kept secret. The bill would become a reality if 25 percent of the Legislature became incapacitated. Some think the entire Legislature is already incapacitated during budget debates. As if to make that point, Jauch said, before pulling the bill, "It was the best we came up with." Bad news--I believe it.
My sixth grade teacher often said, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." I think it is time to have a part-time Legislature. Give the devil a break.
Meanwhile, the legislators have not taken up impartial justice, the school-funding crisis, or over-crowded prisons. Yikes!
September 21, 2009 Obama's MacArthur?
"Blackwater is a private army and it is controlled by one person: Erik Prince, a radical right-wing Christian mega-millionaire who has served as a major bankroller of President Bush's campaigns..." Words written by Jeremy Scahill in his brilliant book, Blackwater, in which he warns of the rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army. They have changed the name but not the mission.
The goal of Prince is "to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did to the postal service." Scahill points out that the use of contractors makes it easier to begin wars and to fight them. But that was then with Bush, how about now with Obama? Well, not much has changed. There are more private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan than soldiers. To whom do they report? And why hasn't Barack stopped this nonsense?
He might start by firing General McChrystal. Remember the Korean war, called a "police action" at the time? General Douglas MacArthur, a genuine war hero in WWII, urged the Truman administration to broaden the war, use nukes on China and defeat the communist menace. Truman was furious because MacArthur kept issuing inflammatory statements to, in essence, challenge civilian control of the military. In April 1951, Truman fired the wildly popular General who returned home as a hero. (Our grade school permitted us to go to Racine to welcome MacArthur.)
MacArthur spoke to a joint session of Congress to urge Congress to follow his lead. Neither Congress nor Dwight D.Eisenhower, soon to be president, followed the mad plan of MacArthur.
I think Truman saved our democracy with that bold move.
Fast forward to McChrystal's inflammatory "leaked" memo that he had to know would be leaked. Like MacArthur, McChrystal has gone outside the chain of command to force the president of the United States to let the generals run the war, indeed the country. He said, in a move calculated to force Obama to add tens of thousands of troops, and even more private contractors, to Afghanistan. Do it my way or lose the war--and be blamed ever after for losing Afghanistan. Whoa Nelly! Fire him! He has thrown down the gauntlet.
Not surprisingly, the Washington Post reports "a divide between the military and civilian policymakers." That is exactly what McChrystal and Petraeus planned. His prediction of defeat unless the Commander-in-Chief follows his bromide, is doing to Obama what Douglas MacArthur tried to do to President Truman. HST sent the General off to retirement for trying to usurp presidential power. Obama should follow Truman.
Scahill spoke at Bob Fest about the dangers of mercenaries. If MacArthur had enjoyed a private army--we might have nuked China. Think about it as you enjoy Scahill's speech.
Healthcare: Obama is not doing the job we elected him to do. We voted for change not Max Baucus, AIG, and Goldman. Looks like he has been selling us woof tickets. Mandated insurance--pahhleezzzee.
The video posted this morning is of Wendell Potter, formerly of Cigna. He came out of the closet and is now speaking out against the Wall Street-dominated insurance industry. Take 20 minutes to watch and listen to the talk he gave at Fighting Bob Fest. He has already changed the debate. His testimony before Congress and his appearances on Bill Moyers Journal, MSNBC, and many other talk shows have awakened the Senate and the public to the public relations campaign by the insurance industry to scare people by calling single-payer coverage socialism.
Then rent Sicko by Michael Moore. Why? Potter informed the Bob Fest crowd that the industry ordered employees to ignore Moore and Sicko. Controversy would only convince more people to see it.
(Ralph Nader said years ago that there would be no more Jesse Jacksons, Naders or Steinems, because Big Business learned that ignoring "radicals" was more effective. Ralph was right. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ignores Fighting Bob Fest and speakers Tom Harkin, Greg Palast, Bernie Sanders, Tammy Baldwin, Jeremy Scahill, Wendell Potter, and the thousands who attend, but go bonkers over 3,000 tea party right wingers hurling insults.)
Walker says Sell the Zoo. Scott Walker is running for governor. I am not kidding. He thinks Milwaukee should sell Mitchell Field, the Zoo, Milwaukee County parks...close swimming pools in the summer. And he has assured us that his county should consider filing for bankruptcy. His theme? Here is a suggestion: "If I could bankrupt Milwaukee I can do it to the state." Walker admitted that selling the zoo would be like the disastrous privatization of the Public Museum. I suspect the mayoral takeover of Milwaukee's public schools would be another dream for him and nightmare for us.
Argument of the week: "There is nothing to suggest that this School District can be fixed with an elected School Board running the show." And even better, responding to their rhetorical argument that "The Mayor has no real plan," the JS editors say, "Barrett's plan is simple. Hire the best educator possible." Getting rid of the Board is their plan.
Whoa Nelly. How about the County Board, the Assembly, and the courts? Under the bus?
Where have we heard this before? "While the situation is serious, success is still achievable." Let's see. Was it Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq or Afghanistan? How about all of the above. You guessed it. Secret memo leaked to the Washington Post quotes McChrystal who warns (furrowed brow) that "Failure to gain the initiative (more troops) and reverse insurgent momentum (more troops) in the near-term risks (more troops)..." What he is saying is, "We have lost another one, but for goodness sakes do not blame the military! And don't cut and run." (Just send more troops.)
Stop this war--we cannot win. Don't believe me? Read the secret memo.
September 17, 2009 Granny D
She is something! In the hospital but seeking permission to travel to Fighting Bob Fest, our wonderful friend sent a video greeting. Please watch and listen. Quite a woman. We missed her this year, but she committed for next year. Bet on it!
Catch this: "To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing." I nominate Granny D "Radical of the Year."
Aren't you glad you don't live in Dallas? Dallas built the first so-called luxury boxes when the team moved out of Dallas and the Cotton Bowl--a stadium where kids could see games at bargaiin prices. Some players were upset and suggested the union should demand an end to these distractions. As one Rep put it, "This is not the lions and the Christians. I expect to look up one day to see thumbs up or thumbs down."
In 1966, Tex Schramm, Cowboys owner, testified before Congress that if Congress would exempt the AFL-NFL merger from antitrust attacks the teams would remain in their current cities and same stadiums. (Just kidding apparently, because Congress gave the exemption but the owners forgot the quid for the quo.)
So, the new new stadium--all $1.2 billion of it--sits in Arlington, we think. The NYT reviewer wrote, "Worse for fans, its lounges and concourses are so sprawling that I suspect more than a few spectators will get lost and miss the second-half kickoff...the vastness of the concourses can make you feel as if you are lost in an international airport terminal." But the wealthy box owners can open their windows to "feel connected to the average fan!" Whoa Nelly! Okay! Huzzah! Open the windows and connect!
Writers tell of negotiations in Congress over health care reform. With huge majorities in the Senate and House, who is negotiatinfg with whom? Send Baucus to the bullpen.
Mad as Hell?
A group of doctors who call themselves Mad as Hell Doctors is in town for a rally and discussion today. The rally is at 5:00 at State Street entrance to the Capitol. The mission? Single-payer universal health care. The visit, on the heels of Fighting Bob Fest, is right on time as Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, issued his nonsensical proposal on health care yesterday. (A misnomer--should be called Christmas Comes Early for the Insurance Industry. Santa, played by Baucus, will live a comfortable life from now on.)
Baucus looked silly as he tried to sell his insurance package from the podium. The excuse given by the darling of CIGNA, Baucus, is that he wanted a bi-partisan bill. How many GOP votes did he get? None? C'mon. Not even Snow? Where is the "Gang of Six" headed?
If you need information on the Mad as Hell doings, call Charles Uphoff at (608)835-7283.
Meanwhile, watch and listen to Kathleen Vinehout's Fighting Bob Fest speech. She hit a home run at the Fest. (Granny D's message will be posted tomorrow--not today.)
MJSon Gableman hearing: Justice Gableman, through his attorney, James Bopp--a professional and indefatigable litigator for the far-right, did the talking as Gableman declined to attend to defend himself. (I would suppose the panel will be told not to draw any conclusions based on his decision, but we at least would have enjoyed it had he appeared.)
Bopp is the part of the story the JS missed. Bopp represents, get this, the "Committee for Truth in Politics." A committee that does not believe in any restrictions on candidates including false claims. James Alexander, Executive director of the Judicial Commission, argued that the Willy-Horton-like TV spot aired to defeat Louis Butler, was more than misleading. "I don't think misleading did it--"Let's say what it is--it's a lie." (And Justice Gableman didn't show up? Called a liar and he let's Bopp respond? Whoa Nelly. He had a different childhood than I had.
Bopp didn't say if he would defend yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. Stay tuned. And, by the way, when will the majority party enact public financing of court elections?
September 15, 2009 Bernie Sanders
Senator Bernie Sanders is a great speaker and legislative strategist. He is a fighting progressive who is not afraid to tell the truth. Sanders turned on the crowd at Fighting Bob Fest and got them on their feet. (Listen to his speech, posted below and you will get on your feet too.)
Thursday we bring you another treat. "Granny D" Haddock, at 100 years, sends greetings and challenges us at the same time. A great woman. We missed her presence at Bob Fest but her spirit was there. This Fest was dedicated to Dr. Linda Farley, Gloria Berman and Midge Miller. Great women who never stooped challenging us.
Finally, former state Democratic Party chair Joe Wineke gets a job from the Doyle administration. A well-paid one at that. Joe has been rewarded with a $95,000 per-year job as the state's lead negotiator with unionized employees. Marty Beil said, "Joe has always been fair, up-front and honest..." (It was unclear in what context.) "We could have done worse," said Beil. High praise.
The news release claimed Joe had been political director for Operating Engineers Local 139 and executive director of the Construction Labor-Management Council of Greater Wisconsin. Who knew? Was he paid for those jobs while holding down the top Democratic Party job?
We raised the dough
Not only was the weather perfect, the crowd (our best estimate 9,500-10,500) was generous. Some had worried that tough times in the economy might mean empty buckets at Bob Fest, but not to worry. The nation's largest Town Hall gave more than last year! As a result, we finished in the black--no need for a bailout. Our theme, "No entry fee, but you must pay to get out" worked again. Peter McKeever added one: "Save gas; lighten your load before leaving."
We posted Health Committee Chair Tom Harkin's speech yesterday, today Mike McCabe's speech is posted just below. Sanders tomorrow. Thanks to Karen Chin.
All booths were taken as more than 60 non-profit groups rented space to push their agendas. It was a bee hive of activity. (To think our first Fest was held in that building along with Rainbow Books is quite a reminder of our growth.)
Representative Wilson yelled "lie!" at the president. How about Justice Gableman. He argues that his carefully crafted, albeit untrue, TV spot designed to defeat Louis Butler was actually true--sort of. "Butler found a loophole. Mitchell went on to molest another child," the Gableman ad said. A lie but true, said Gableman, but in any case free speech should protect him. Yah sure. A hearing will be held at 10:00 in Waukesha tomorrow. Should be interesting.
September 14, 2009 What a day!
The weather was almost perfect if a bit warm for September; the crowd came early and stayed late; the program was our best yet. I felt uplifted, inspired, and more than a little thankful for the volunteers who make Fighting Bob Fest the miracle that it is.
The corporate media, as usual, ignored us. After all, why focus on the largest town hall meeting in the country that brought between 9 and 10 thousand progressives together when they could focus on drinking in Wisconsin, a non-conference football game, Brewers, or another front-page story on Vince Lombardi? What's important? Football or health care? C'mon!
Public media--WOJB, WORT, 92.1, WYOU, Joy Cardin and Kathleen Dunn on WPR covered our speakers, and our own Fighting Bob.com will bring the video and written transcripts to thousands more to take care of spreading the word. Check out Tom Harkin's speech today. Thanks to Karen Chin, you can see and hear his important message.
More this week. Suffice to say this was our best yet, and for those who think we need action--we will get there this year.
Thank you Tom Harkin, Bernie Sanders, Tammy Baldwin, Laura Boyd, Megan Yost, John Dietz, Raging Grannies, Peter Leidy, John Matthews, Greg Palast, Jeremy Scahill, Stan Grusynski, Barbara Lawton, the Capital Times-Evjue Foundation, and everyone else who rewarded the thousands who filled every seat in the house, bought progressive mustard, t-shirts, beer mugs and fans.
Thank you, 100-year-old Doris "Grannie D" Haddock for trying to make it and for your inspiring message. Jim Hightower--you are everyone's favorite populist. Our thank you notes are just starting.
September 11, 2009 Here we go! Kick-off tonight 7:30 at the Barrymore. Jeremy Scahill and Greg Palast, Jim Hightower (to introduce the DVD Torturing America; poems by Daniel Kuene. Wendell Potter will drop in tonight and speak in the morning to Bob Fest faithful. An exciting start to a great program. (Jeremy's plane is running late so the order of the speakers might change at the Kickoff. Keep fingers crossed. Change a bit tonight.)
I will be on Joy Cardin's program this morning--just might discuss Fighting Bob Fest--LaFollette not Dylan. (Sorry to report that Rick Berg was ill and could not appear. We wish him all the best.)
About now I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. Volunteers, speakers, staff, friends--all to push this nation toward economic justice. Thank you. Now it is up to you.
Can't wait to hear Tammy, Tom Harkin, Bernie Sanders on the health care crisis. Will we get reform or a band aide? Is a weak plan better than no plan? Time to tell Congress what the "left" thinks.
When "progressive became "left" I don't know, but then I didn't notice when yellow-dog Democrats morphed into Blue Dogs. Guess I'm out of the loop.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett indicated he would accept our invitation to participate in the school "Take-over" panel on Saturday. Should be fascinating.
(Mayor Barrett changed his mind and notified us at noon that he could not attend the breakout session on the proposed takeover of MPS. Too bad--would have been fun.)
Weather forecast--beautiful but a little warm--high 70's. Speakers on the way--volunteers working like crazy at the fairground. See you at 8:45 tomorrow morning. Sauk County.
We have never advertised a speaker until a commitment was made to appear.
September 10, 2009 Start over!
If you listened to the president and then heard the Republican response you had to laugh out loud. After all the name-calling, scare tactics, disruption of town hall meetings, and refusal to reach agreement on anything, the Republican message was, in a word, startling. "Hit the delete button and "start over." As in, "I didn't mean to play the queen, could we start this hand over?" This ain't a bridge game, and no one's that stupid.
Congresseman Paul Ryan, apparently unaware that the GM closing in his district put thousands of his constituents in the "no insurance" hole, said, and I'm not kidding: "We need a fresh start on real reform." He added this mysterious comment: "A patient-centered, fiscally-responsible reform."
What is the carrot? You guessed it--"bipartisanship." Whoa Nelly. Dear Congressman, some advice: When your horse dies it is time to dismount. Bipartisanship? "When ifs and buts are candy and nuts it'll be Christmas everyday." A bipartisan Christmas? Nah.
The president quoted former health insurance executive Wendell Potter, the whistle-blower who will speak at Bob Fest on Saturday and will drop in on the Friday night kickoff at the Barrymore. Potter has been everywhere. He gives us the real story to debunk the plea of the poor insurance industry.
Notice how important we are fellow progressives called left? Without the "left" how could there be a center?
September 9, 2009 Biggest Town Hall in America Where? Baraboo; When? Saturday; time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (yes, nine to five.)
The president speaks tonight and you get your turn on Saturday in the nation's largest "town hall" meeting of all--Fighting Bob Fest. Tom Harkin, Bernie Sanders, Tammy Baldwin, whistle-blower Wendell Potter; we got it covered. This just might be the most important fight of our lifetimes. Be there.
LaFollette scholar Nancy Unger will have a lot to say given the real possibility that the arch-conservative Supreme Court may declare that restraints on corporate campaign giving are unconstitutional. Can you imagine that? Whoa Nelly. Of, by and for the corporations!
Sad News Department: Gloria Berman, Fighting Bob friend and "Raging Granny" passed away on Saturday. She will be missed by all who believe in social justice. Memorial at Olbrich Botanical Gardens Thursday at 4:00.
Cool weather--It might be chilly on Saturday so bring a jacket, a blanket and some cash.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will be invited to join the breakout on the proposed mayoral takeover of Milwaukee "public" schools.
September 8, 2009 Single-payer still the way David Himmelstein, professor of medicine at Harvard, heads Physicians for a National Health Program. He reports in NYT there are 900,000 medical personal bankruptcies annually. That means 2.4 million people will suffer from new medical bankruptcies in 2009! The answer? Bailout? Nope--"Only the single-payer plan sponsored by John Conyers and Bernard Sanders will solve the crisis. The others pretty clearly do little or nothing for medical bankruptcy." Think about it. Only single-payer will work but, hey, what does Himmelstein know? Harvard? C'mon. Max Baucus is smarter than a Harvard prof. Right?
Bob Festers will watch President Obama Wednesday and see and hear Bernie Sanders on Saturday. I am eager for the debate.
War no more. Even George Will has figured it out. We cannot win a war in Afghanistan--more troops or not. This is a colossal waste of human beings. We will leave. Of that there is little doubt, but when is problematic. We can't win, so lets go!
September 1, 2009 Thanks Tom Petri
Get this. "I am bitterly disappointed" that contract negotiations between the union and Mercury Marine have been unsuccessful. Who said that? Why our own Wisconsin Congressman Tom Petri. Maybe he thought the collective bargaining agreement had expired. But, alas, that is not so. Mercury insisted that the union open the existing contract. I'm not making this up.
Congressman Petri is not only bitterly disappointed he is "dismayed that there has not been agreement." But there is an agreement, Tom. They wanted "agreement on contract modifications." Whoa Nelly! The dismayed and bitterly disappointed congressman wanted the union to modify (nice word--"modify") the contract by freezing wages for seven years while reducing some wages immediately by 30 percent. Some modification!
C'mon Tom, that is not a "modification" of a contract, it is tearing up the written contract and demanding a deal no self-respecting union would accept--seven years of frozen wages without any guarantees. It is thinly-veiled union busting. If inflation goes up, the contract would be even worse.
Petri makes clear which side he was on. "We understand that Mercury faces significant challenges." How about the working families, Tom? How about them? No challenges facing them? You, with a six figure "contract" with great health benefits and a pension that is shamefully high lecture these workers because they expect management to keep it's word? Balderdash!
OK. I agree that Jim Doyle also seemed to blame the workers and he is a Democrat. It seems that there isn't a lot of difference between the two parties.
Why would Doyle and Petri sit on the sidelines yammering? How about pushing both sides to submit all issues to mediation and arbitration? Oh, I get it. Mercury Marine would not agree to permit neutrals in the room. Why don't Jim and Tom offer to be the mediators?
Doyle and Barrett--who wants the carrot?Another meeting between Mayor Barrett and Governor Doyle. Another closed door meeting! Subject? You guessed it. A mayoral takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools, elimination of the elected school board, appointment of the superintendent by the mayor, an end to union negotiations. Why? You can't make it up--Barrett noted that Secretary of Education Duncan might give lots of money to Milwaukee if they do to Milwaukee what he did to Chicago and Bloomberg did to New York.
One word explains it all--money. Money. Money. (Is that three words?) A Democratic mayor, a Democratic governor proposing an end to collective bargaining, elimination of the elected board...astounding! Bring in Mercury Marine to negotiate.
"Is this a private fight, or can anyone join?" -Old Irish saying