January 31, 2011
Do we have to move?
While Obama and Bill Daley inform us that Wall Street has roared back and the recession is over, I get concerned that the "nuts" calling themselves Tea Party members will literally bring down the house of cards in a month or two. There is no reason to hope that "reason" will hold sway in March as the debt ceiling issue hits Obama. None. In fact, nut-in-chief Paul Ryan, the Millionaires For Us club, or MFU, would end Medicare, end Social Security for most Americans, and take a meat clever to domestic programs, would love to give his life for the cause of Ayn Rand and John Boehner.
Don't tell MJS--Craig Gilbert is trying his best to make Ryan into a thoughtful, bright and reasonable leader. Ryan is none of the above. He is a mean-spirited ideologue who doesn't seem to care if millions of his fellow citizens lose the roof over head. Disability? "Toughen up" would be his message.
Look to Egypt for guidance of what could happen here. Ryan warns that we might become Greece or Ireland unless we rip the guts out of our social network.
Who would have imagined a true revolution covered by CNN? The talkers tell us that the Egyptians are upset because of a huge gap between the well-off and the people. (Sound familiar?) And unemployment is officially about 9 percent, but it is, according to the talkers, perhaps twice that figure. (Sound familiar?) And the talkers say that young people see no future in the Egyptian economy. (Sound familiar?) And the people think their elections were rigged. Egad! Put down that mirror!
The NY Times carries a picture of a young child whose father lost his job. "Will we have to move?" She cares a lot. Ryan doesn't care. His MFU buddies don't care.
Back to the nuts. They will refuse to increase the debt ceiling or will only raise it by a minimal amount, month-by-month, thus holding Obama hostage every month!
Harry Reid finally said something I can applaud. "Ryan doesn't know what he is talking about." But, it must be said, if he already knows that the Tea Party gang won't budge a collapse of our government could happen as quickly as it has Egypt. Think Ryan knows? Would he like to lead the collapse?
January 29, 2011
So, not much action on the job front. Walker is so busy giving away tax breaks to his corporate pals and bragging about his slogan that "Wisconsin is open for business" that he has had no time left to create permanent family supporting jobs.(I won't even remind you of the 15,000 jobs lost when Bradley Foundation sponsored Walker sent over 800 million dollars back on high speed rail!
We checked January 21 and found he was 7434 behind the average of 177 new jobs per day he must create to meet the 250,000 goal over 4 years.(permanent,family-supporting jobs. ($50,000-60,000 per year)
Add 8 days times 177 per day and he was 8850 behind! Ah, but finally a break. One source of new jobs comes from Obama's defense dept. Oshkosh Truck Co. They say they will add up to 750 more defense jobs building vehicles, assuming no defense cuts. (How will Tea-Party-Johnson vote on defense cuts?) Ouch Ron, ouch.
While Walker had nothing to do with the creation of those 750 jobs, let's give him credit. Dumb luck--so he lags behind by 8,100 new jobs today--by Monday--8,354. No time for Super Bowl governor--get moving on jobs.
I was on Joy Cardin's week in review with Dave Blaska Friday. You know Dave--always looks like someone shot his dog. Well, twice he said, "Wisconsin will be a right-to-work" (for less) state. Get ready folks.
Think about Egypt. One view--total failure of our foreign policy over 4+ decades. America is not the liberator in the streets of Cairo--we are seen as the problem.
What will Tea Partiers advocate? Invade Egypt? How about Pakistan, Yemen... It is costly to run an empire.
Listen to the cable news talkers "explain" the problem in Egypt--one reason? Sit before reading...there is a huge gap between the economic elite and the people. Mst people in Egypt earn less than $2 per day.
Just like our country. Bankers making billions while 20% of Americans were living below the poverty line in 2009.
As Charles Blow wrote in Sunday Times..."Obama failed to mention poverty or the plight of the poor" in the State of the nation speech. Blow concluded, "I want to believe that president Obama's speech omissions were oversights, and not acts of arrogance. But I'm not sure." Nor am I. How could any Democrat ignore the gap in America? Bill Daley perhaps?
Clarence, oh Clarence
There was some drama just before the State of the Union address. Would the folks in black robes show or would they, by not attending, warn this and future presidents to treat them like prima donas? Recall that last speech when a bolder president called them out for the awful, precedent-smashing, "corporations are people," Citizens United decision that will open the flood gates of corrupted money in campaign starting now.
Alito, the con man, mouthed a rebuttal--"No it won't"--but made a fool of himself. He signaled that he is, like Scalia, a partisan. Alito is, of course, the guy who conned the Democrats into confirming him to the Court.
Needless to say, Scalia The Brave--or at least brave when in robes--did not show. His student Clarence Thomas then had little choice but to follow his leader and stay at home with fellow right-wingers including Mrs. Thomas. Roberts showed but looked like a kid caught with his hand in cookie jar.
Alito is a con; Scalia a partisan; Thomas is a disgrace. The Open Letter to Thomas from Judge Leon Higginbotham November 29, 1991, came to mind.
"Candidly, Justice Thomas, I do not believe you were the most competent person to be on the Court," wrote the judge. "I wonder whether you, Justice Thomas, an African-American, will be part of the majority that will continue to retreat from protecting the rights of the poor, women, the disadvantaged, minorities and the powerless." Judge Higgenbotham's letter was a warning and a prediction. But not even Thomas's critics in 1991 could have dreamed just how much of a disgrace Thomas would become.
As we organize to reverse Citizens United to regain democracy, Clarence, Sam and Antonin will adorn the posters.
The Court has become a comedy--but one with serious consequences.
Jobs, jobs, jobs: We will bring you up to date tomorrow as Walker announced Oshkosh Corp will add as many as 757 new jobs. Not his fault, but we will give him credit. The Oshkosh company is adding the new jobs for work on contracts in the military-industrial complex.
January 27, 2011
The end is near: 9-8-7...
Craig Gilbert, a solid MJS reporter, apparently felt compelled to boost Paul Ryan, local boy who made good who was, according to Gilbert, "selected" to respond to Obama. Memorable moments in Ryan's speech include: "We have time"--pause for effect--"but not much time"! Whoa Nelly. Mother nature responded to Ryan's sky-is-falling speech with a rumbling snow and ice storm bringing the District of Columbia to a halt. (I wonder if the time of the storm counts in Ryan's world.)
To Ryan's credit, he did not define "we" when predicting the end is near. Might he have been talking about "we" as in we millionaires like Ryan? Most people thought the Ryan Road Map should be consigned to the trash can, but the mean-spirited Ryan, a/k/a "coupon man," held out some hope. Catch this: "If we act soon, people in or near retirement will be protected." He said it! As for the others? Paddle your own canoe!
Finally, in Ryan's Bachmann moment, he told us some make believe about the founders who, he said, held that "liberty requires limited government." Any footnotes? Nah! Back to school. As for MJS, C'mon!
January 26, 2011
Egad! Where to start
Let's review the State of the Union speech for a moment. ROTC is back! The president put that lump of sugar on the teaspoon of DADT. ROTC?? C'mon--how about a domestic peace corps or reduced tuition or something. ROTC? Whoa Nelly.
Then in a Scott Walker moment, Obama hollered that "we have to make America the best place on earth to do business." How about, "The US is open for business"? Our task? "We must out-innovate, out- educate, and out-build the rest of the world."
Ah, but Paul Ryan to the rescue. His performsnce makes us forget Bobby Jindal's incoherent response a couple years ago. But Ryan figured out the game just in time. He had been selected to "respond" because no one in GOP leadership has a plan so send Paul out there to take the hounding for his mean-spirited attack on the poor, the elderly and the disabled. Wonder why the GOP will collapse? About 90 percent of Americans support Social Security. Ryan? No--kill it! But kill it with a smile and an over-dose of time spent on his Tucson colleague. Say nothing about guns; say nothing about the cost of rehab for his colleague; say nothing!
Public TV's Shields and Gerson tried to be kind to Ryan. Recall your third-grade teacher after your first speech to your class. ("That was nice Paul...next time go to the bathroom before you speak.")
Michelle Bachmann rattled the GOP cage earlier in the day with a breath-taking display of historical ignorance, claiming that slavery had ended in America in Washington's time! For goodness sakes--we thought Palin was ignorant.
Ryan had a choice to make. Respond to Obama or play the role of good old boy Jindal. He chose to protect his rear and the result was that the GOP had no response to Obama. Nada. Zippo. Obama will be re-elected in two years no matter what, so let's get on with our effort to reverse Citizens United, save public radio, take on climate change. Ryan did not even mention his nutty "Road Map", one suspects at the advice of his staff.
Ryan was a one-trick pony--the end is near! I am Paul Revere. (I expected a countdown--9-8-7-6--ending with Ryan leaping into the arms of Newt.) Good lord, he suggested we could be Ireland! Them's fight'n words.
I urge the Packers to keep Ryan out of the locker room. He could put the entire team to sleep in a hurry.)If Ryan calls the plays on Super Bowl Sunday, we will miss Woody Hayes.
As for the Obama speech--at least he did not cave on Social Security. And that means, exhale--but remain alert.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited report on the 2008 financial collapse was released. Greenspan's role? "A pivotal failure to stem the flow of toxic mortgages. A prime (sub-prime?) example of negligence." Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave.
January 25, 2011
Darn! I forgot to file!
The U.S. Supreme Court is becoming a bad joke--not that we, in Wisconsin, have much to brag about, but the latest news from Scalia-land is startling even for those among us (all I suspect) who have little faith in the Supremes under Roberts.
The Koch brothers are billionaires and they funded the early Tea Party festivities. Clarence Thomas and his in-house tutor, Antonin Scalia, attended a political retreat organized by Charles Koch. All expenses were paid for by our pals at the Federalist Society. Yikes! Mrs. Thomas founded a right-wing group Liberty Central in 2009 to oppose Obama, and it received $550,000 but won't disclose who gave the "gift." NYT says it is "still unknown who" was the generous contributor. I know what you are thinking: I gave the money to Liberty Central! Wrong!
Here is Thomas' little slip of attention to detail. He did not report $700,000 paid to his wife by the way-out Heritage Foundation. Whoa Nelly!
Common Cause makes the point that both Thomas and teacher Scalia should have recused themselves from the Citizens United case that flipped 100 years of precedent and declared that corporations are like people. Why would they listen to Common Cause? Why indeed. Common Cause is just a bunch if non-corporate people.
In Wisconsin, we have Justice Prosser who was ready to be a witness for his old legislative colleauge, Scooter Jensen, even though prohibited. Prosser also told us that he would not recuse himself if WMC or, presumably the devil gave him millions to win his Court race!
NOT SINCE JAMES SENSENBRENNER FLOPPED: Wiconsin Republicans are full of themselves today. James S. was selected to give the final speech in favor of impeaching Clinton. He was awful and Clinton was spared.
Reince of MB&F law firm elected chair of the GOP after placing dagger in boss' back. Et tu, Reince?
Paul Ryan, one of our millionaires, called a "chew toy" for Democrats in the Washington Post, will respond to the State of the Union speech followed by Michelle Bachmann's response to Ryan, followed by Captain Kangaroo. Ryan, apaparently unaware of the plot to make him look like a dunce, said he was honored to have been chosen. (Wasn't that what Saddam said on the gallows? One can almost hear him--"I regrert that I have but one political life to give to Tom Coburn, Kyle, McConnell, and others.")
This rich kid will argue that almost all peope, able-bodied or disabled, should get off the dole! Privatize, kill, dismantle Social Security the nation's best program. Ryan wants to get rid of Medicare but give them a coupon to shop (at WalMart?)
Here is the good news. Republican leaders don't want a vote on this nonsense but Bernie Sanders has promised to move heaven and earth to force a vote. A vote could be the death panel for the GOP and the Mad Hatters.
See you tomorrow.
January 24, 2011
Go Pack Go!
They did it! The only publicly owned team in the NFL will play in the Super Bowl. (The NFL owners fear fan-owned teams and have amended the NFL bylaws to keep non-profit teams out of the NFL--except for the Packers, who were sort of grandfathered in. Why? Well, the obvious answer is that lying/hiding profits is tough if any team must file public tax returns. So, the Packers are America's team. There will never be another.)
Calvin Trillin does it again. What is "it"? Hitting the nail on the head in The Nation. On GOP efforts to repeal the healthcare law, he writes:
"We'll show those folks who fail to list
Conditions that may pre-exist.
We'll nix the misbegotten rule
That covers kids once out of school.
We'll show the poor who think they've scored
Some coverage they can't afford.
"Repeal!" That's on our flag writ large.
We'll show those folks who's in charge."
Tomorrow Wisconsin will be exposed as the "former progressive state" when millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan responds for the GOP to Obama's State of the Union address.
Twenty-six governors have asked permission to stop Medicade benefits for the poor and disabled. Arizona leads again, but our cruel and unusual governor will follow Arizona! Governor Brewer wants to force 250,000 childless adults out of Medicare. An additional 30,000 parents whose incomes are above 50 percent of the poverty line would also not be covered.
But there is some good news: Country club memberships will still be deductable on your tax returns in Arizona!
What is the matter with these mean-spirited folks? Instead of Brewer, I met Congressman Raul Grijalva from Arizona recently. His message is worth hearing. He co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He ain't a Paul Ryan. Follow his progress.
January 23, 2011
Welcome to Third World Milwaukee
You must read MJS today and depressing but superb analysis of infant mortality in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is worse than Bosnia, Uruguay, and Kuwait! In Wisconsin's major city, 6.9 deaths per 1,000 overall; white 5.9; blacks 13.8; Hispanic 7,4.
This is an outrage! Listen to the nonsense from the new majority in the Legislature on jobs, "open for business" bloviating; right to life nonsense. With these stats? Shame on all of us! But shame on WRTL in particular. Q. Does R-T-L care or is it only political? Is Governor Walker tuned in? I doubt it.
Keith Olbermann off the air--we are poorer as a result. One of the only voices on cable--on the left--is silenced. Welcome to Comcast-MSNBC. We miss you, Keith. Come back--somehow! We need you.
Walker jobs: Another seven days and no new jobs, so add another 1,239 to 6,195 for an updated total of 7,434 jobs needed to get back to 250,000 in four years. An average of 177 per day is needed to make the promised total. Not even one new job created!
January 22, 2011
Back in town!
Got back from vacation and went to D.C. to figure out a solution to Citizens United; "corporations are people" or "fascism is fun." Before any discussion could start, Obama lurched, dove, or swerved right. Bill Daley, JP Morgan Chase, his chief of staff would be enough to say, "We are not going to get involved in the next presidential contest." But then Obama named GE's Jeff Immelt to succeed (that dangerous lefty) Paul Volcker to chair his Council of Economic Advisers. The coup is missing only a shift in parties for Obama prior to the 2012 presidential primaries.
GE closed 29 plants in the U.S. in the last two years, elimimating 3,000 jobs. Oh well, Immelt likes the "new new" Obama. State dinner for president of China--Rich Trumpka not invited--egad!
I've asked friends to define "family supporting" jobs in salary terms. I was thinking $50-$60,000 per year for a family of four, but then the banksters corrected my assumption with the salary-bonus paydays for Wall Street. After all, Wall Street governs us so they should establish the yardstick. Compensation per employee at Goldman Sachs $397,313; JP Morgan Chase $117,266; Morgan Stanley $256,596. Is that our guide in our class-less society?
Just when it couldn't get worse, it did. Michelle Obama is working with Wal-Mart! For god's sake, Mrs. Obama.
Jeff Immelt will be charged with the responsibility to create jobs. I am not making this up! Mere coincidence one supposes that GE was permitted to sell ComCast to merge with NBC THAT VERY DAY. Since GE is good at down-sizing and creating jobs abroad, imagine the raucous laghter as champagne corks popped at GE headquarters!
Civility comes to the 7th congressional district. Sean Duffy, a goof, defeated Julie Lassa. In justifying his vote to repeal healthcare he said, "I look forward to working with my friends not only on the right but also with colleagues on the left to craft a bill that's going to work for the American people." New York Times columnist Gail Collins describes Duffy as the "progenitor of a new breed of American politicians." Read and weep--this was Obey's seat!
And rising star Paul Ryan will deliver the response for Republicans after Obama's State of Union. Keep your fingers crossed that "new, new" Obama does not cave to Ryan's call for elimination of Medicare and deep cuts in Social Security or privatization!
Let me see. I am a Democrat...why?
January 19, 2011
And would you like juice with your toast?
Former Governor Jim Doyle announced that he and his wife visited Mexico, might buy a car, and gave, get this, his "private-sector agenda" to the Wisconsin State Journal to be carried out at Foley & Lardner. Sure Jim, joining Foley is sort of like joining the Peace Corps, or continuing in office--just make it up as you go. Walker? Nah! He won't care--might think it is cute having you oppose him on policy from the comfort of the Foley den.
Jim Haney at WMC? He is retiring anyway. And who knows, when you start the fight for public financing of campaigns you can start by persuading WMC and Foley to denounce contributions to Supreme Court Justice Prosser as he gets his multi-million-dollar campaign in gear.
Let's see...Foley has about 1,000 lawyers, and if added to Foley's staff the population is greater than my home town of Burlingtin when I was in grade school. Doyle told WSJ that he wants to help the Obama health care program. Sure, Jim, but there is a problem: Who will pay Foley $500 per hour for you to help Obama-care? Why not find out? Blast Walker and J.B. for challening Obama-care in court--they should listen to you!
I can't wait to hear Jim's speech at Fighting Bob Fest or his keynote at the College Young Dems convention. Should be entertaining. Profiles in money-making.
What happens to these guys?
January 18, 2011
It isn't his father's Democratic Party
Most progressives believe that Gaylord Nelson, Madison attorney Jim Doyle, and Laurie Carlson were the main participants in the struggle to turn the conservative Democratic Party in Wisconsin into the progressive Democratic party of Wisconsin in 1948. That was to become the Party of Gaylord, Bob Kastenmier, Henry Reuss, and that was the party I chose to join.
The split came in the presidential primary of 1960. Pat Lucey supported JFK in 1960. Gaylord and most progressive Wisconsin Dems supported our third Senator, Hubert Humphrey that year, and Jim Doyle Sr. supported and managed the campaign of liberal Adlai Stevenson. The Lucey/Nelson wings did battle for years. Lucey was elected governor but quit as governor to become Ambassador to Mexico. After that Lucey supported--represented--utilities. Later he supported the son of Jim Doyle Sr. for office. Gaylord did wonders in the Senate, and Jim Doyle, father of Governor Doyle, went to the federal bench in Madison and became one of our great jurists.
Today we are told that former attorney general and governor Jim Doyle Jr. will join the conservative big-business law firm of Foley & Lardner. Foley has never been accused of featuring "progressive" clients, so in a real sense, Governor Doyle follows in the footsteps of Pat Lucey not Judge Doyle. As a lawyer at Foley, Doyle will find himself making lots of money but will almost always find himself on the "wrong" side of the issues. Too bad. Like Tony Earl who went with Quarles & Brady and led the effort to support the Crandon mine!
It is hard enough to persuade young idealists to join the Democratic Party, but the task is made nearly impossible when Democratic governors leave office and join in fighting the very progressives who supported them when they sought office. It will be the Wisconsin Club where Doyle meets clients for lunch not the Labor Temple. That's a shame.
January 9, 2011
What have we become?
The sheriff stood his ground after the shooting spree killed a federal judge and disabled a congresswoman. The sheriff said there is too much hatred in our country and suggested that Arizona is the mecca for hate-filled talk radio. I was applauding his talk. Having lived through the Kennedy, King and Malcolm X killigs, it is time to take a look. Are we aiding and abetting the unstable among us by providing guns, ammo, and a reason to kill people who disagree with them? I think so.
JOBS: Have you noted that ever since we started counting new jobs Walker has or has not created as promised there are lots of groups following this story?
Sunday's WSJ had this revealing header: "Walker hasn't said how he'll track job growth." No new jobs created Saturday, so add 177 to Friday's total of 6,018 and he is 6,195 behind. C'mon Scott!
Off for a week of vacation. Keep warm, applaud the Packers win or lose, see you in a week. If Walker does his job, he will add more than 1,200 jobs while we are gone. Good luck. If he doesn't, call Bill Daley.
January 8, 2011
If they like you, you can do no wrong!
Bill Daley is the ultimate team player. Just ask Mickey Kantor, Bill Clinton, Al From, Joe Biden. A lifetime moving between the corporate and government spheres...big time lawyer, Midwestern chair of J.P. Morgan Chase...was vice chair of a boutique investment firm...on boards of Boeing, Fannie Mae and Electronic Data Systems...Clinton's NAFTA Czar,and, according to Obama, a man who "has a deep understanding of how jobs are created and how to grow our economy..." Wow!
Son of legendary mayor, "The Boss" Daley (as if we had to be reminded of all that stuff from the 1968 Democratic Convention, the police riot, yelling at Abe Ribcoff to perform an unnatural act, Dan Rather punched in the stomach, and so it goes) is "a sometimes outspoken centrist."(Ya gotta love that line. What's that Priscella? He is too moderate?) A member of Third Way, Daley plots a more moderate course for his party. What?? His Wall Street credentials are in good standing, salary around five million.
Who really likes the choice of Bill Daley as chief of staff? None other than the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tom Donahue, who called it "a strong appointment." And Mitch McConnell said it was a good idea. If that doesn't seal the deal you must be part of the far-left-wing of the Democratic Party.
On the other hand, if you still believe that there is a difference in the parties, the McConnell and Donahue endorsements will drive you into the arms of reality.
David Axelrod loves him. Daley's brother created the Axelrod we have now when David ran Daley's second Mayoral race. Political credentials? You betcha! Ran Gore's losing campaign; campaigned for Fritz Mondale; ran Biden's losing campaign. No winners but, they love him on Wall street.
The above could be "political hack appointed," but, proclaims the NYT headline, he is a "Skilled Negotiator (Daley) to Change Tone at White House." Well, so what if he is opposed to national health care, supports the Korean-Free Trade agreement, opposes bank regulation! Hey! What will please you lefties? (Almost forgot the departing press secretary scoffing at the left--won't be satisfied until we are Canada.)
At the close of the gathering of 80 who like the progressive label, one said, "No one has mentioned the Democratic Party." Now you know why. Al From and the DLC just had the locks changed at the White House. Howard Dean, Bernie Sanders, Tom Harkin--back door only! Please.
January 7, 2011
Jobs, jobs everywhere except?
Well, now, the unemployment rate dropped in America to 9.4 percent last month. There were 130,000 new jobs added nationwide, but, apparently not even one new, permanent, family-supporting job was created in Wisconsin, the land where 250,000 new jobs were promised by the governor in four years!
So, add 177 to the total needed, on average, per day, to catch-up, and our WMC-supported governor and his Bradley foundation side-kicks are 5,841 jobs behind.
Dan Bice's MJS column this morning reads like a primer on how to avoid Wikileaks in the Assembly Democratic caucus. Rules proposed to be followed by elected Democrats? Sit befire reading, include agreement not "to disagree with one another in public" unless, get this, "we have decided to have public disagreement." Good god and Whoa Nelly--George Orwell comes to Democrats in Madison! Kill open government!
The caucus will meet in secret! (And regular old card-carrying Dems cannot be told what has been decided in Democratic caucus!) You can't make this stuff up: "What takes place in secret caucus meetings must stay in the secret caucus minutes."
And the Dems should be ever alert so they can rebuff Republican and media attempts to sow seeds of divisiveness in "our caucus."
In Washington, the Tea Party nuts are reading the Constitution aloud, in Madison the Mad Hatters are trying to rid themselves of the burden of open government. Yikes!
Late in the meeting of progressives yesterday (self-identified), the final comment to the SRO crowd: "No one has mentioned the Democratic Party." Raucus laughter followed. Now we have a hint why most Democrats in the Assembly stayed away from our progressive meeting. They were busy as beavers working on killing open government. Charm school, Bice called it.
January 6, 2011
One more chance!
Some good news to start your day. President Obama will nominate Louis Butler again--let's hope third time's a charm--for Federal Judgeship in Western District of Wisconsin. A chance for Herb Kohl to lead the Senate insiders to permit a confirmation vote. The Federal bench is awfully white--time for change.
Feingold to teachat Marquette Law School. My first reaction was very positive. Second not so enthusiastic. We need a national champion on reversal of Citizens United more than anything else. Who better than Russ Feingold? A thought for Russ: you deserve a break so take it for a semester but we need democracy more than a visiting prof at awfully conservative Marquette Law School.
No new permanent family supporting jobs created by Walker yesterday so add 177 (the number he must create every day to get to 250,000. The negative total: 5,664 + 177 for a total of 5,841 behind. (Imagine the hoopla if an announcement came that Scott Houdini Walker had created almost 6,000 jobs? Grab the party hats!
I miss Mario already:I heard one of the greatest speeches ever delivered when Mario Cuomo defined what it meant to be a Democrat. Yesterday, son of Mario sounded more like Scott Walker than daddy Cuomo. (Oh well, Walker hasn't sold Bascom Hall and Mitchell Field yet! Keep hope alive.) (The economic crisis facing all states will make it tough to persuade companies to move from one state to another. Offer a tax break if you come to Wisconsin? Minnesota or Minn. will quickly match. Then Mercury Marine or Harley will ask for offers. The race to the bottom continues with or without Mario and Son.
No, Virginia, Santa will not create jobs, reduce deficits, or fund Medicare.
Progressives to meet today. With the only entry requirement being a positive attitude in a tough electoral time, some optimists will meet at 5:00 to answer the many questions raised by Citizens United, and the Feingold defeat.
No promises no excuses.
One more for your enjoyment. "Bank of America will begin offering greater rewards" to (the poor?) No, "to its most affluent and active banking customers." And will reduce services for its most basic users." So sayeth the Washington Post. Good for the affluent I say! They need help!
January 5, 2011
Hey! No problem!
Reading the backgrounders on Walker's promise to create 250,000 jobs has been fun. The message from MJS, WSJ, Tommy Thompson, etc., is, "No big Deal!" Just don't get in the way. Walker, the Houdini of this decade, will create 250,000 permanent, family-supporting jobs without breaking a sweat. In his very first executive order he explained why we have an "economic emergency." Guess. Was it the impact of NAFTA? Was it corporations moving to low-wage states and countries? Was it part of the national financial crisis? Nope!
The Wisconsin economic emergency "was caused by years of mismanagement." It was that damned Tommy Thompson and Jim Doyle. Why didn't I think of that?
While Walker gets out the meat-axe, he was subject of discussion in the campaign to replace him as Milwaukee County Executive. One of the candidates described the state of the county as a result of Walker's "leadership, by comparing it to a jet flying at 30,000 feet with two engines on fire."
Walker the talker repeatedly broached the idea of dissolving Milwaukee County by parceling out its functions to the state and other municipalities. Wow! Imagine what he would do if ADM offers to purchase Bascom Hall or the Capitol building!
But back to the job picture. No new ones yeaterday, so add another 177 new jobs he must create. Now behind by 5,664. Remember, we decided that $44,000 is the wage to count as "family supporting job."
January 4, 2011
Oh my goodness!
Last night C-SPAN carried a horror program. It consisted of five candidates seeking to head the Republican National Committee, the job that the odd one, Michael Steele, has for now. The candidates, including Wisconsin state chair Reince Priebus, faced a two-man panel: Grover Norquist, the nut who has devoted his life to the destruction of the United States, and that guy we do not miss on PBS, Tucker Carlson. (My guess is that Glenn Beck was otherwise occupied.)
This hour could have been called "The nuts are back!" or "Why compromise is out and fanaticism is in." (If Obama mentions bipartisanship in the State of the Union he is delusional.) Next week, "Why Fascism might be fun."
These five seeking to run the Corporate Party as the presidential race heats up are truly scary. They make Palin seem like a mainstream candidate. They are the people no one would have tolerated in either political party 25 years ago. Now they run the show! They seek to prove that the inmates can run the asylum.
On the issues labeled "social agenda" we learned that not one elected Republican in Wisconsin, at any level, is pro-choice. Not one! Huzzah! And the pious comments on the sanctity of marriage from the five stiffs never got around to the Newt problem of bedside divorce. As for life starting at conception, I suspect some of them think it starts when a man and a woman discuss marriage. Get ready--they are nuts.
Asked to name the "biggest mistake the GOP has made," one candidate pursed her lips and announced that the biggest "mistake was McCain-Feingold." Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid? C'mon, how old fashioned. None of the wealthy Country Day folks in that room will need Social Security nor fear "the hazards and vicissitudes of life" as Arvonne Fraser reminds us in her superb new article on Social Security. That was the justification when Social Security passed and remains so today.
Social Security keeps those in the twilight of life out of poverty, but that sentiment was not in the room last night. No siree. Social Security, I suspect, is communism among the five. I would not be surprised if the GOP demands that all candidates renounce their social security benefits to prove they are pure.
The Bradley Foundation was sworn in as Governor of Wisconsin through surrogate Scott Walker yesterday. The first non-person to run state government.
Day one and the lights are still on! Jobs? Oh, none created yesterday--too busy busy at the ball--so add 177 to 5,487 to get the total of how far behind Scott is on meeting his pledge of 250,000 permanent, family-supporting jobs (5,664 is the number).
Poverty guidelines by the feds suggest that a family of four must earn $22,050 to stay above poverty. If anyone out there can run a family of four on $22,000, give me a call.
Well, then, what would a "family supporting" job pay? Let's get real. No family of four could live on $22,050, so let's double it to $44,100 for a family of four. Something to think about to measure Scott's march to the 250,000 goal.
Thursday at 5:00, progressives will meet at Fighting Bob headquarters a second time to discuss a game plan.
January 3, 2011
Where was Tommy?
If you listen to the Fitzgerald twins, Scott Walker or his crew, Wisconsin is a terrible place to do business; a tax hell; a regulator's dream. Did all of that happen under the Doyle administration or is a it fair to conclude Tommy was, well, not much of a pro-business governor over 14 years? (Of course, to believe that he was not in the hip pocket of WMC is to deal in fantasy.)
So, now Walker is riding the same horse. Shame on you, Wisconsin! You don't care about jobs. It is your fault because you are lazy, demanding and spoiled. No dinner tonight.
Walker claims Wisconsin is "anti-business," so we need a new brand: "Wisconsin is Open for Business." How clever, how silly. Nearly all brands are designed to cover a flaw. The flaw in Walkler's case is obvious. We are in a hole, and by sending 810 million dollars back to Washington out of spite the hole is a lot deeper than it was under Tommy or Doyle. "Wisconsin is Open for Business, but watch your step--the pothole is very deep!"
And Walker should complete the brand: "Wisconsin is open for business and closed to people with problems."
Walker has threatened to kill public employee unions, restrict BadgerCare, lower taxes, create jobs...
Remember the cartoon Underdog? "There's no need to fear: Under dog is here." January 3 is here; they don't have Jim Doyle as a target; and the job creation show is about to begin. There's no need to fear...
January 2, 2011
I try to avoid New Year's resolutions but the Wisconsin State Journal had an idea. Headlines they hope to see in 2011. Here are a few of mine:
"Obama pulls all troops out of Afghanistan"
"Walker changes mind--high speed train welcomed in Wisconsin"
"Justice Prosser agrees to turn back all contributions in Supreme Court race: Declares It is Time for an election instead of an auction"
"Wisconsin State Journal votes to become a newspaper"
Why not dream a little?
Oh, the Rose Bowl? What happens when the team experts said would win plays 60 minutes of mistake-free football? That team usually wins. If this were the World Series the Badgers would win 6 out of 7, but it ain't. Congrats to TCU and congratulations and thanks to the Badgers. A great season.
JOBS: OK, here we go. Lots of experts say Walker will easily create 250,000 new, permanent, family-supporting jobs. All he has to do is create 177 per day. At this point he has lost 1,600 jobs, so his total will be adjusted accordingly. He is 5,487 behind as of January 3, 2011.
January 1, 2011
Happy trusting new year
Poor old Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of NYC. He felt compelled to apologize to the citizens/voters for mis-managed snow plowing. He should have joined New Jersey Governor Christie at Disney World.
Bloomberg was heading a new approach to politics. "No Name" politics is what he calls his silly thought. No time for snow plowing while calling for a political snow-job. My guess is that the snow plowing for Mayor "no name" was the result of taking too much time searching for the middle of every road. Middle-roadies, I suspect, were looking for preferential treatment! Hey, Mayor, free advice: Voters want to know that their candidates stand for something! No name? Nonsense. Hightower said it best--only thing in the middle of the road is yellow stripes and dead skunks. (OK, he said it was armadillos but no one has seen one of them in New York. Jim won't mind.)
As I think about the election of 2010, the word that pops into my head is trust. We want to trust Obama as "our" president, but he made it difficult as we were dismissed as the "profesional left." Yikes!
Over the years we got excited about candidates we trusted. Mo Udall, Bobby Kennedy, MLK Jr., George McGovern, Bob Kastenmeier, Frank Thompson, Paul Wellstone, Tom Harkin, Gaylord Nelson, Dave Obey and many others.
Democrats began losing support as the Party embraced things like NAFTA and tax relief for the well-to-do. (Look to Al From and the DLC platform if you want to get some agitation.) No way could working families place trust in the DLC-dominated Party.
My hope for 2011: Out of Afghanistan; no Korean free trade treaty; Democrats who will run as democrats.
Here we go. The Scott-Walker, Mike Grebe, Charlie Sykes term of four years. Don't be surprised at how nasty he is. He rode that pony to the east wing. Keep your head down. Happy New Year!