September 29, 2011
Big country. Can't we find a nice, conservative white guy to run it?
Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Mittens Romney, Tim Pawlenty, the Donald, Rick Perry, nope! Ron Paul? Nope. All seem out of it. Gotta get a better candidate, so the Koch brothers are on a mission to find the right white guy.
Some dimwit begged him, "For the sake of my children, my grandchildren--please reconsider!" We are not waiting for Godo--it is Christie! Apparently it has been for a while. Christie is the one! Whoa Nelly. He tells us he is big on compromise. Really?
How do they like him at home in New Jersey? According to a NY Times story: He has "presided over two years of loud yelling, back and forth." He commented that one critic, "Should really be embarassed at what a jerk she is." Even a Christie suppporter said he is a "bully and a punk," and a "mean spirited, spoiled, vindictive and a cruel man."
As for ruling by compromise, try telling that whopper to the unions in New Jersey.
I think they may be back to Pawlenty.
Steve Schur passed September 26. Steve was a good man who worked hard to make this state better. He worked for the Justice Department for 30 years and became chief counsel of the Public Service Commission. A remembrance celebration will be held tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Steve and Jan's home at 1016 Sherman Ave. A good man who took his work sriously but not himself.
NICKOLAUS: She's guilty, but oh well. She didn't mean amy harm, did she? We all thought Kloppenburg would defeat David Prosser (and she might have). Whatever happened to those votes she discovered a couple of days later, Prosser will sit on the Supreme Court with a high slary and great benefits. This is nuts! There should be a new election to set the record straight.
September 28, 2011
Compromise is the answer?
Another Koch brothers' candidate, Chris Christie. This one would be president of the U.S. if the Koch boys have anything to say about it. They hold sway over governors in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. Time to step up!
Christie made a remarkable statement yesterday: "When there is a problem, you fix it." He called on leaders to lead through compromise! I am not making this up! These guys are clever. Refuse to budge--compromise--on any issue, no matter who would benefit, then condemn Obama for lack of compromise.
Karl Rove and other extremists are telling Christie, "This is your moment!" Yikes, if that doesn't scare the bejesus out of you nothing will. Christie, the bully, is popular with the nuts on the right because he hates unions, is obnoxious to people who question his policies, and he seems smarter that Perry. Most important, he likes the Kochs and they like him.
UNBELIEVABLE: A powerful Republican in the Alabama Senate refered to African-Americans as "Aborigines."
Say it ain't so, Joe: A young boy called out to "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, asking if the World Series was fixed in 1919. Well, fast forward to today's NY Times : "As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe." Oh, really? My goodness say it ain't so! One said "Corruption is ruling our country." And, "Increasingly, citizens of all ages, but particularly the young, are rejecting conventional structures like parties and trade unions in favor of a less hierarchical, more participatory system."
Wonder why? Well, ask how much a candidate for office must raise and you will know the answer. To run for governor, assuming Walker is recalled, would cost $20-40 million; to replace Herb Kohl, $35-50 million; to run for the house, $10 million.
Where does the money come from? Some from the wealthy candidates, most from special interests who want more than good government. Democracy is on life support. We had better address this crisis or get ready for fascism.
September 27, 2011
Freedom of speech?
In a string of decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has come out as the great defender of free speech for those who can afford to buy it: corporations, political action committees and right-wing extremists who argue there are no acceptable limits on political speech. Well, we could argue all day about those decisions, discuss the Fairness Doctrine, public financing of campaigns...but we had better figure out how "free' is free? Can 10 of us march on Wall Street, or do we need permission from Wall Street? If 10 becomes 20 and 20 becomes 100 are the police protecting free speech when they order us to go home and then spray pepper gas at us? Can the police believe that they can break up any demonstration, peaceful or not? Provoked or not?
Are we "free" knowing that cameras are watching us in every conceivable place? When GPS systems tell authorities where we are going in our cars? When NSA and CIA can and apparently do filter our email and listen to our phone calls?
Read the accounts of the Wall street protesters in the NY Times: "Protesters were corralled by police officers ...forcibly arrested some..." And read this: "If you take a street for a parade or protest without a permit you are subject to arrest." OK, what if permit is denied? Can you stand and sing "Solidarity Forever" at the Stock Exchange, or is that tantamount to terrorism? The wing nuts would say not to worry you can buy time on NBC to make your point in a 30-second spot. Can't afford it? Tough! Your thoughts, please.
How do we know Chris Christie is not our candidate? Republicans pushing him to run include the Koch Boys, and right-wingers close to the Manhattan Institute. One said that he is "smart, courageous a straight talker, kind of an anti-politician." She forgot to add bully, union buster, and nasty boor who takes a state plane to see his son play baseball.
Koch, Koch, Koch=Christie.
September 25, 2011
Few experiences in life match a trip to the bookstore with a grandchild. Thousands of books on thousands, possibly millions, of ideas, all within reach. With the bankruptcy of Borders, I must take my grandkids to another book store. But they liked Borders and so did I. When Canterbury books closed in Madison we felt like a friend had died. With e-books taking the place of the book store, something is missing. Picking up a book, reading the foreword or the background of the writer was a special treat. Now we can go online but it is not the same.
So I picked up This I Believe before Borders closed. Fascinating book that I would not have ordered from Amazon. Why? I don't know, but I would not have picked it up. Maybe I bought the book because of a simple promise on the cover: "Forward by Studs Terkel. Maybe it was the NPR logo. Maybe it was just the mood I was feeling. An idea popped into my head. In This I Believe thousands were asked to write on their beliefs. The mandate had some boundaries. "Frame your beliefs in positive terms. Refrain from dwelling on what you do not believe...aim for truth without accusation, patriotism without political cant, and faith beyond religious dogma."
Let's try it ourselves. We have had 10 fantastic Bob Fests and I think it is time to ask for your beliefs, your suggestions for future Fests, your positive beliefs. Ready? Give it your best shot and share with us.
Remember, you can hear and see all the speakers at Bob Fest number 10 by going to FightingBobFest.org and hitting the video button. Thanks to Karen Chin we have the luxury of listening again and again.
September 24, 2011
You probably have seen this but it is too good to pass up: "I will believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."
I missed the Fox-Google "debate" Thursday, but I've gotten lots of help from those who caught it. Apparently the mannequin moved ahead of Ranger Rick, but all in all it was a disaster for old-liberal Republicans who cling to the hope that the mad men will lose their grip on the old GOP. A Marine appeared on the big screen to praise repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the audience booed him! Put that in the same category as the audience telling the Party to let the guy in a coma die and cheering for the number of prisoners Perry executed as governor, and you find this party a disgrace to our system.
Meanwhile, happy happy days for Paul Ryan, devotee of Ayn Rand, whose mean-spirited call to kill Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is the new rage in D.C. fundraising circles. Yikes!
Michael Moore predicted on Bill Maher last night that if Obama told the country cancer is cured the GOP would holler "outrage" and "pay no attention." I think he is right.
Fighting Bob Fest generosity. Last year Bob Festers put a remarkable $14,000 in the buckets passed by volunteers. This year they put in $31,711. Pre-registration contributions were also up; almost $7,000, up from $3,000 last year. The Barrymore was standing room only for the kick-off and booths brought in $9,000. Thank you!
You gotta enjoy the Brewers division championship. Congratulations, Brewers!
September 23, 2011
Take a hike?
My parents were very proud of our country in part because the U.S. created the United Nations shortly after W.W.II. The idea of sitting down at a conference table with yesterday's enemy, to solve issues peacefully, was something to be admired. (They could not understand why we did not join the League of Nations. They maintained until they passed that had the U.S. pushed the League, W.W.II may have been avoided.) My parents liked Ike in large measure because he had seen war and he wanted peace. When I think of Ike and his farewell address that warned us of trouble ahead, I think of Bush, Cheney and McNamara. They told the American people that only war would protect us. Millions of deaths later we can declare: "Nonsense!"
Before the UN plans could be worked out, the U.S. overthrew the Iranian and Guatemalan governments because they were too far to the left and, besides, United Fruit wanted produce from a source they could depend on and we wanted Iranian oil.
Headline today: "Envoys walk out on Ahmadinejad." TV captured the backside of our envoys stomping out of the General Assembly like junior high school kids because Ahmadinejad was condemning the U.S.
C'mon folks. Take the verbal blows, grab a chair and start talking! The Iranians never overthrew our government--and we may have something in common in Middle East politics. We won't know if we show our adversaries our backsides.
September 22, 2011
One man killed. Are we safer?
Georgia executed a person who Jimmy Carter, seven out of nine so-called eye witnesses, and the NAACP all said was innocent. But the state of Georgia killed him anyway! Why does anyone support the death penalty? Beats me. It does not make us safer. It does not deter crime. So why do it? I can only speculate and choose not to. Wisconsin will soon face that issue as Bully Walker moves on with his agenda. Are you ready to fight?
In a Whoa Nelly moment, MJS reports "almost half of Milwaukee's children live below the poverty line." Half!
It is unsettling that the right-wing evangelicals support Israel to the point of accusing Obama of treason! What the hell are they talking about? Tell it to the reverend John Hagge. Talk about nuts.
Check out the video of Fighting Bob Fest speakers. Go to FightingBobFest.org and hit the video button. Great work, Karen Chin!
September 21, 2011
What's going on with Walker & John Doe?
Can't write much because I don't know much and most of the information is secret. I have been involved in only one John Doe. For you fans out there, it is a smaller version of a grand jury. I suggest you read Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today: J.B. Van Hollen's office declined to join the John Doe investigation around election time. State attorneys filed a motion to withdraw an affidavit filed by Walker aid Cindy Archer less than a week after FBI agents raided her home in Madison.
John Chisholm, Milwaukee DA, is in charge. Lots of Walker folks have apparently lost their voices. No comment, refused to comment, but in their defense witnesses are not permitted to talk publicly.
Eric McCloud is described as a "private attorney hired by the state" who has asked the court to let the state simply withdraw Archer's statement. Surprise! Eric is a partner at MB&F the governor's favorite law firm that is living well on reapportionment etc.
Much more to come but it is fair to say something does not smell right.
Q. What do the Dalai Lama and Desmund Tutu agree on? The proposed Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipe line should not be built! Bill McKibben and 1,000 activists have gone to jail to protest. Now they are supported by moral leaders. Join them. Read the full-page ad in the NY Times today--and pass it on.
The thousands of Bob Festers, as Jim Hightower calls us, were very generous on Saturday. Not only can we pay our bills--we have a head start for Fighting Bob Fest number 11. Thanks folks.
Nader in a primary? Ralph sounds like a candidate. This demands lots of discussion. Share Your thoughts,
September 20, 2011
Walk, Tommy, walk
I kept hearing between speeches at Fighting Bob Fest that Tommy Thompson would be announcing his U.S. Senate candidacy Saturday or Monday. The only thing missing was the month and year. So I called Dave Zweifel Monday afternoon to find out if Tommy was running in 2011 or 2012 or 2093. He got what we got months ago. Tommy is saddling up the white (very white) horse. Tommy is filing papers, he is filling his balloon with helium, he is raising money, he may be cashing out of the law firms that hired him in D.C. for millions--he might, he might not--but Captain Klauser is with him, he has a website, the do-nothing attorney general supports him.
Michael, Best & Friederich is undoubtedly up late at night and awake early in the morning! This is the law firm's cash cow--what will happen to poor MB&F if he runs and Walker supports another right winger? If Tommy does run, will the ideologues in the Tea Party support him? No, or so they say. But if the Koch boys support him they might purchase Dane and Milwaukee Counties for Thompson. (Oh, I almost forgot to mention the anchors for Tommy: Terry and Mary Kohler and John Gard.)
WE'RE NOT JUST BANKERS, WE'RE BUILDERS. Two full page ads in the NY Times shout that GE is imagination at work. They are builders, etc., etc. Problem is they are not patriots who build in this country to save this country. GE is a profit-maximizer and now has more manufacturing jobs outside the U.S. than it does in America. Last year they paid not one dime in taxes to our federal government. If you believe GE's "bankers" you are bonkers!
Still smiling about Fighting Bob Fest. You were very generous and put some $55,000 in the buckets. Thank you! You will be able to see and hear Bernie, Cornel, Obey, Schultz, Bravo and all others soon.
"Best one ever" were the comments from 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-year veterans of Fighting Bob Fest.
September 19, 2011
Onto the next battle
Get this. Our theme was "Class Warfare: Fight Back." Cornel West said it has been class warfare for 30 years. Bernie Sanders has been the architect of the battle as we fight back. Bernie has been preaching about class warfare for years.
Kevin Phillips and Bill Moyers said it three years ago: the super-rich declared class war in 1984 and, said Moyers, "they have won."
It is no longer radical to call it a class war the rich have started; it is simply a fact. But guess who just figured it out: Paul Ryan. He said on Fox, "Class warfare may make for really good politics but it makes rotten economics." Wake up, Paul. Wake up. We are onto your game. Charge us 15 bucks to meet with you while drinking a bottle of wine costing $300? Let them eat cake!
September 18, 2011
Fighting Bob Fest was a beauty. Good crowd (probably our biggest), great speeches, and genuine enthusiasm. The audience loved Cornel West, who plunged into the deep water. A real treat.
Bernie Sanders (talk about a tough act to follow!) was at the top of his game. He is "our" senator. He fights to protect the middle-class, takes on mergers and concentration of wealth, and lays out the progressive agenda better than anyone. As an Independent he can be critical.
Hightower wondered if it is possible that Governor Walker is worse than Governor Perry. I think it is a draw.
Thom Hartman had the audience nodding agreement. He is the best thing to hit talk radio.
More this week. I need a short break--back soon.
September 17, 2011
Last night could not have been better. Full house at the Barrymore. Today, with Hartmann, Cornel West, Bernie Sanders, Hightower, Schultz, and Bravo will top it.
By the way, the Coliseum is huge but it is comfortable. Big crowd, free parking. It will feel even better.
September 16, 2011
We have all had a surprise or two after people are elected to office. Sometimes the incumbents seem totally different than the candidates we supported. Take Scott Walker (please!). He did not promise to destroy public sector unions in his campaign, nor did he promise that he would turn Wisconsin, where collective bargaining is cherished, into a so-called Right-to-Work state. Who knew he was conspiring with the Koch boys, Ohio's governor Kasick, Michigan's Snyder, New Jersey's governor? In our wildest nightmare none of us thought we would be governed by extremists like Fitzgerald. But Walker's true colors emerged, and we responded by raising a ruckus! Thousands of you rallied, sang, marched, recalled, sat-in. We started the battle to re-take Wisconsin for the progressives. And we are on the verge now that the voters know this is a fight between those who have too much and those who have too little. It is a class war that the Walker boys almost won, but fortunately we woke up in time to stop them and turn it around. They have bigger guns but we have more soldiers.
We have been inspired by Bernie Sanders, Jim Hightower, Thom Hartmann, Tammy Baldwin, the Fab 14 (OK 13 now, but it was 14 when it counted) and by you. We adopted the theme of Class War Fight Back for this, our Fighting Bob Fest number 10, to maintain the momentum, to unmask Walker's voter suppression plot, to restore bargaining rights.
We can't stop now.
The one promise made in the campaign was that he would create 250,000 jobs! Like Nixon's secret plan to end the war, Walker had the midas touch on jobs or so he said.
Shortly after turning back $810 million to the feds because his highway-builder contributors prefer roads to high speed trains, Walker crowed that he had created thousands of jobs. No proof needed!Wisconsin "open for business" turns out to have been "monkey business."
MJS reports job losses last month in local government totaled 1,800; another 800 private sector jobs gone; unempoyment rate up to 7.9 percent. If we include all public and private sectors, the state of Walker lost a net 2,300 non-farm jobs in one month. Was this Walker's fault given his claim of success earlier this year? Nope. "We aren't immmune from what's happening nationally." Sure Scott. You betcha!
And he accused Washington of "playing politics with jobs." But not scotty! No sir. And with all those former governors running for president as Republicans bragging that they are job creators--Walker accusing Washington of playing politics with jobs should purchase a mirror for his office.
Meanwhile, his fellow Republicans/Koch boys continue to threaten the safety net. Yikes!
See you at 7:00 tonight at the Barrymore and 9:00 a.m. tomorrow at the Dane County Coliseum. As Granny D would say, "Come ready to fight back or stay home." We need you!
Pleased that for the first time the president of the AFL-CIO will join us tonight. Be at the Barrymore to welcome Phil Neuenfeldt.
September 15, 2011
Our 10th Fighting Bob Fest. We will be challenged by the audience, encouraged to fight back in the midst of Class Warfare by Bernie Sanders, Jim Hightower, Thom Hartmann, Dave Obey, Greg Palast, and eager to organize beyond Bob Fest.
As always, I get butterflies the week of the fest, but a veteran of all nine smiled and suggested "worry" is like a rocking chair--enjoyable and comfortable for awhile but you don't get anywhere.
The volunteers have been eager to leap in; we sold out all the booth space; we have received hundreds of pre-registrations; and the speakers are all coming. What would our Fest be without the Raging Grannies and Peter Leidy? (In ten years only one announced speaker canceled. Something to be proud of.)
And we should all thank this fantastic group of people who come here to instill spirit into the progressive movement. And they do it without a fee. Some on the right dismiss all this as "preaching to the choir." Maybe, but then count me as being in the choir! Many speakers have been to Bob Fest. We welcome first-time speaker Cornel West.
And our inspiration, Jim Hightower, who proves that a flower can bloom in dry soil and a progressive-populist can survive and inspire no matter what soil. This will be Jim's ninth Bob Fest appearance.
I remember the War on Poverty. We will all remember the War on the Middle Class! Two-tier wages; attempted murder of all unions--public sector first; an end to pensions with guaranteed benefits; and now all the Republicans running for president want to destroy our safety net--Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare!
Now and then we all feel overwhelmed by the mining companies, the polluters, the climate change-deniers, the elections. But I am inspired by Hightower, Sanders, Nichols, West, Obey, Ellen Bravo and Hartmann, and I am confident you will be as well.
We can't quit fighting. We have kids, grandkids, and 46.2 million brothers and sisters in poverty.
So, see you at the Barrymore Friday night at 7:00 and the Coliseum on Saturday morning at 9:00. Parking is free. So is admittance--but bring a few bucks to buy progressive mustard, Fighting Bob T-shirts, beer mugs and, need I remind you, buy a beer for the first Texan you run into. (Walker is awful but how about that Perry? He plans on being our next president! Whoa Nelly!)
September 14, 2011
Poverty? Tell them to get another job
I have forced myself to watch most of the last two on-stage performances by the Republicans who would have you believe are more qualified to lead this nation than an African-American--oops--than Obama. This latest travesty was co-sponsored by the loopy Tea Party and CNN. How CNN can justify getting into bed with the Tea Party is hard to imagine. What's next? How about PBS co-sponsoring a Democratic debate with the KKK?
A few moments remained in my brain. Number one was watching the normally cool, Ayn Rand-like libertarian
Ron Paul. He choked on the question, "Would you put an uninsured middle class person on life support to save his life?" Of course not. I guess Right to Life is only for people in the womb. It was startling.
The crowd cheered Rick Perry because he has executed more people than any living governor! Chilling.
Now to a tiny little problem the seven dwarfs (or is it six or eight?) did not touch: poverty. We are at a 52-year peak in poverty. Nearly 50 million people, 46.2 million in this land of milk and honey are living in poverty. Do these Obama haters have any concern about the impact poverty has on a child's brain development?
September 13, 2011
So sayeth the New York Times: "Pawlenty's Decision [to endorse Romney] Seen as Signal in Battle for Party's Soul."
The Supreme Court held in Citizen's United that corporations are people, so I guess I should not be surprised that the paper of record had a headline declaring that the Party has a soul!
A soul? Eric Cantor is opposed to emergency flood relief unless the money comes from other programs. A "soul"? The loudest applause in the NBC version of a "debate" came when Rick Perry bragged about the number of executions in Texas. The question was, "Do you lose sleep over the decision to execute?" (How quaint!) No, he does not. More applause. Ah, the Republican soul. Republican soul. How many thousands of Iraqis killed? How many Afghanis killed? For what? To find our soul? Whoa Nelly!
OK, here is the question. Fox is owned by Murdoch--run by extremest Roger Ailes; staffed with right-wing nuts. One would expect an all-Republican entity like Fox to co-sponsor a Republican debate with the loopy Tea Party. Wow! I was blown away. Would CNN sponsor a debate with the ACLU?
(We are a step away from debates that would exclude the Democrats.)
Wolf Blitzer as moderator? Pahleeze!
September 12, 2011
Hard to believe, but Fighting Bob Fest #10 is almost here. We have the best lineup ever to celebrate our tenth Fest. Let's look back for a few minutes and give ourselves a grade.
FightingBob.com was suggested at the first plenary session. "We need a progressive voice" said the delegates and now, nine years later, we have that voice. February 23, 2003 was the first GarveyBlog post and this is post is about number 3,000. All in all we have posted more than 4,000 blog posts, including a weekly comment from Bill Kraus. In addition, we have posted 1,300 articles by 250 authors; and 6,000 comments from readers throughout the state and beyond. You might be surprised at the number of articles we receive from outside the country.
We average 23,000 visits per week and we have had 5 million page views.
We break stories from time to time, but focus more on keeping you involved and informed.
This past year we experimented a bit by hosting a Fighting Bob North in Chippewa Falls, and it was great. We relied on Wisconsin-based speakers and it was fun and we will do it again. Why not Milwaukee? Racine, Green Bay?
As we approach the tenth anniversary, think about the future. Where are we going, and what new ideas should we take up on the 17th? Some have concluded that the time is right for a new political party--a Progressive Party? What do you think? Should we be using more radio and TV? Should Fighting Bob raise money to hire a full-time staff?
Should be lots of fun--lots of clear thinking, lots of Spotted Cow. We need your in-put. Make Fighting Bob Fest rock. We have a big hall but my advice is to arrive early.
The parking is free--call if you need help. Go about this as if our democracy depends on it, because it does.
September 11, 2011
Suddenly media folks are raising the question: Can Obama be elected again? My informal polling along with discussions with friends this past weekend suggest he is in trouble, in part because of his decision to leap to the middle of the road because "the left has no choice but to vote for him." Well, there is more to politics than voting. There is GOTV.
Peter DeFazio, Democrat from Oregon, a true progressive, told the New York Times, "In my district, the enthusiasm for him has mostly evaporated." And, "The frustrations are real," said Elijah Cummings from Maryland.
I think Obama has time to enlist the progressives, but he can't do it with namby-pambey cries for bi-partisanship when the Republicans are doing everything they can, every waking moment, to send Obama back to Harvard. It is time to fight for Social Security and Medicare. It is time to bring our troops home. It is time for leadership. I am eager to hear the speeches at Fighting Bob Fest but also to listen to thousands of progrsessives. We have a chance to change the way our country is run. Let's do it!
Stu Levitan's great quote about Bob Fest: "Best line-up since the 1927 Yankees." See you at the Barrymore on the 16th and the Dane County coliseum on Saturday the 17th.
September 10, 2011
What will persuade me?
The question is asked, "Will you support Obama in 2012?" Silly question. What other choice do we have? That line-up on stage last week pretty much answers the question. Bachmann, like nails on a blackboard, spewing nonsense, will not be the change we need. Ron Paul gets two out of 10 right--stop both wars, bring the troops home. Perry is a mean-spirited Bush-like character who thinks he was sworn to uphold the bible not the constitution!
Good for Al Gore. He took on President Obama on the Keystone XL pipeline. The answer to our climate energy and economic challenges does not lie in burning more dirty fossil fuels. The Keystone XL pipeline is an enormous mistake.
Our break out on climate change at Fighting Bob Fest will, I am confident, stir the pot. See you next Friday and Saturday!
September 9, 2011
Now you have done it Mr. President!
The NY Times calls Obama's call to cut/re-structure Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, "a significant shift." No kidding! The Times reports, "Republicans and Democrats are no longer fighting over whether to tackle the popular entitlement programs--but how to do it." Now that is where NYT is wrong. Democrats do not support Obama's call to re-structure the big 3.
I am afraid that it is time to drop all hope that Obama will fight with the GOP over our cherished safety net. The GOP will fight, Obama won't! Simple as that. Imagine yourself talking to seniors or to families with a disabled child. How would you persuade doubters who claim that there is no difference between the parties?
See you at Fighting Bob Fest next week. Is it time for a new Party? A take-over of the old Party. What do you think.
Two million-year old bones?
Poppycock! "Two-million year old bones belonging to a creature with both apelike and human traits provide clearest evidence of evolution's first major step toward modern humans...bones found in South Africa."
Such nonsense. Fake bones to fool us! All of us who support Governor Perry or Michele B. know that God created the world, including Texas, in six days and then after patting himself on the back, called for a day of rest. (We know that as NFL day or some call it church day.)
No need to run out to rewrite Texas school textbooks. If this story were true we would know it. Possibly drought, hot weather and fire would be signs.
Texas sets record for hottest summer ever! La Nina is blamed. Governor Perry doubts this explanation and calls for a month of prayer. (Just kidding.)
September 8, 2011
Wow, if that is "debate" change channels immediately. School yard banter is a better description. "My dad is tougher than your dad"; "my mother is better than yours." My...oh never mind.
I think you could sum up the silliness by concluding that the GOP-Tea Party nominee will be a former governor and we will hear ad nauseum that "I'm a better job creator than you!"
I can't recall anything of substance from the 90 minutes, but I have a concern. The GOP candidate will have a clear, albeit nutty platform to run on. The corporate media seems to have settled on Perry and they will frame the debate. Obama will not. So the GOP battle will go on and on and on but Obama, without a primary, is stuck behind a desk commenting on issues with a weak economy. As bad as they were, Obama hasn't sounded much better recently. Even Al Gore condemned Obama for the pull-back on clean air regulations.
Where are we headed? If Obama does not pull a Harry Truman and raise hell with the obstructionist Congress he better dust off his resume. The economy is in the dumpster and millions of unemployed folks will blame a timid president for the scary unemployment figures.
Notes to Obama: hire Krugman; get Tom Harkin to head your domestic program; get Elizabeth Warren in charge of consumer protection. Do something, for god's sake.
September 7, 2011
Oliver Twist or the Baraboo School District? I read the story three times and could not figure out what the the District leaders think they are doing. First the headline: "Baraboo schools cut milk in the morning." For years the Baraboo district has provided milk and a morning snack. Not anymore. Why not? They fear the state of Walkerstan will cut the funding.
The district decided to encourage students to drink water with their snack. Is this the dairy state? Whoa Nelly! Is this how we "Race to the Top"? I need not elaborate. Your thoughts please.
Did you know that the Democratic Party will hold its 2012 convention in Charlotte, North Carolina? Did you know that North Carolina has possibly the lowest wages in the country and is a so-called right-to-work state? Did you know that speaker after Democratic speaker on Labor Day proclaimed support for organized labor but no one from the Obama administration came to Madison to join the protest of Walker's ant-union plot? The Republicans have unlimited support from the Chamber of Commerce and the Democrats enjoy the support they get from labor.
Who made the decision that the Democrats will go to North Carolina? Why not Milwaukee, Chicago, Colombus, New York?
Read the excellent post today by Barbara Lawton in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the bully on the Supreme Court.
September 6, 2011
Red Adair? Superman? Batman? No, Perry
I have been anticipating a wild and reckless move to rescue Texas. It seems to be on fire. The drought has been the worst in the modern history of Texas; the governor doesn't believe in climate change--a theory that a bunch of academics rolled out, for money, but he had better get back to Austin just in case he is needed.
Worst of all, the Texas day of prayer (or was it the country's) was either a flop or God was thinking about other problems like jobs, Social Security and Medicare. But there was one piece of good news. Governor Perry high-tailed it back to Texas because of the fires.
Do you wonder what he will do? Will it be "Red Adair" Perry in a protective outfit with garden hose in hand? He did have a 20-minute Q&A before leaving and his body language made some of us wondering if he has something wrong? He scooted back and forth on a couch looking a bit dazed; or possibly suffering from his recent surgery or he may have that burning sensation associated with hemorrhoids. Whatever ails him (or should I say "Ailes" him), he is less than impressive thus far.
Speaking of Perry, his "super PAC" called "Make Us Great Again" (reminds me of Bob Kasten's "Make Us Wisconsin Again") is planning to spend $55 million to win the primary; a primary where me might be the bright one!
Be still my heart: this goof could become president. If so maybe we should all get off the Rapture and start holding prayer days!
JOBS: First they park their money in a P.O box in a foreign country so no U.S. taxes need be paid. Then they create NAFTA and lose millions of jobs. Then they allow merger after merger that allows the surviving company to lay off millions of "redundant" employees.
Then they keep the minimum wage so low it is a joke. Imagine working full time at $7.35 per hour or $15,000 and change per year. Those people have no money to spend on anything but the basics in an economy that depends on consumer spending. Yikes!
The gods must be crazy or, if not the gods then the governor of Texas is crazy. He suggested seceding--OK!
Did you wonder if the anti-Walker anger will disipate? Don't worry. Yesterday at the Madison Labor Temple hundreds gathered to renew the pledge. Biggest Labor Day crowd in recent memory. Looks good for Fighting Bob Fest.
September 5, 2011
Really? The whole country?
President Obama told victims of Hurricane Irene, "The whole country is behind you." Yah, Ole, yah. The whole country except, of course, Eric Cantor and the Tea Partiers in charge of the Republican Party. Cantor still says that in order to help victims of disasters Obama must take the money from other programs. What a cruel message.
One thinks of fire brigades when farm families joined in to put out a neighbor's barn fire. No one would even think of something that outrageous. Eric Cantor, go visit victims and then report. (Why is Ron Johnson quiet on the FEMA nonsense from Cantor?)
In July, a tremendous wind swept through forests in northern Wisconsin knocking out acres and acres of trees. Of the 130,000 acres devoted to forests, 65 percent are privately owned. Estimates are that $160 million of lumber is now on the ground, a year's supply in normal times. Scott Walker declared an emergency and he called out the National Guard to help clean up the area and help with clearing. Clearing is dangerous work, particularly where trees are hung up in the taller trees. One logger said "clearing those trees is about the most dangerous thing you can do."
Walker dances to Bill Johnson's fiddler to keep the wood supply sustainable and "keeping the mills profitable." Walker declared that this is an emergency. Since when have we determined that the National Guard should help keep a business profitable? Johnson, a Tommy Thompson pal in Hayward, said "a lot of folks lost value in their property."
In addition to clearing, the loggers are worried that all that wood coming to market will depress the price for wood. Johnson: keeping the mills profitable is a major goal! Whoa Nelly! What would Ayn Rand think about this? One is left to guess how the National Guard will help the mills, but I imagine the Guard will "donate" their labor wheras unemployed workers must simply watch as work that could bring them out of poverty goes to the National Guard. Or if there is a shortage of help the wages might increase! Can't have that now, can we.
The 724th National Guard unit will start Friday and work all September for the mills! Walker said it was "a state of emergency." I think it looks like favors for logging companies at the expense of the National Guard. What do you think, Ron Johnson, Eric Cantor, Tommy Thoompson?
Fifty-one percent. Are you kidding me?
Governor Walker's back-room advisers knew what they were doing when they told public sector unions that to be allowed to bargain, they must get certified in a secret ballot vote. To "win" certification, they must get 51 percent of all the people in the bargaining unit, voter and non-voter. In other words, an employee who does not vote is a "no" vote. If they win certification they can only negotiate over wages--and the wage level subject to bargaining? The increase in COLA--if there is no increase, no bargaining. The unions must re-certify every year--same deal--51 percent, etc.
Here is the reality. We cannot get 51 percent of all eligible voters in a race for governor, senator or president let alone have winners get 51 percent of the eligible voters. We are lucky if 10 percent of eligible voters vote in school board elections.
So,how could a union, say AFSCME, get 51 percent of all people in the bargaining unit to vote for the union when management will be whisering to the employees, "What good is the union? All they can do is get a little increase in wages--not benefits. Be smart --stay home." Suppose 25 percent of AFSCME members dislike unions in general and AFSCME in particular? The union cannot win barring a miracle. Even if the unions get 51 percent of the vote they will not qualify.
September 4, 2011
Well, I will be darned!
Turns out Justice David Prosser is our own "Joe Hill." Hill said, "Don't mourn, organize" to his followers on the way to his execution. Prosser says, "don't blame me," probably on his way to a priate club, "I stopped the governor's anti-union legislation from being declared adopted retroactively."
To be clear, it is highly unusual for members of the Supreme Court to take credit or blame for court decisions and to name names in the court proceedings. Justices can write dissents if they don't like the decision.
Prosser was, apparently, trying to justify his inexcusable hands-around-her-throat move by arguing that he was really on Justice Bradley's side on the over-turning of Judge Sumi's decision. C'mon! This gets crazier and crazier. After the altercation he wants us to believe he is a labor hero? Had he voted with the hard-liners the Walker legislation would have been effective months before the decision was published. "When ifs and buts are candy and nuts we'll have a party every day." I think I'll go with Joe Hill.
"Sit Down and Shut-up!" I never thought I would hear those words from the mouth of Senate president Mike Ellis, but sure enough, a tired Ellis said that to Fred Risser during the "debate" on the anti-union budget repair bill! Turns out that Republican conressmen, who love to say over and over that "the American people believe, sent us here, agree, oppose, are angry about..."something but during the recess very few listening sessions were held, says the NY Times. Although some are holding them for those willing to pay $15 bucks--such as Paul Ryan! Most have followed Ellis; sitdown and shut up!
Less than two weeks until Fighting Bob Fest. This year in Madison. See you there and I warn you, We are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore! Bring your signs, your songs, and your anger. See you on the 17th.
September 3, 2011
The President makes it difficult
Tom Hayden was in Madison last week and he was pushing hard to persuade his dinner companions to support Obama in 2012. Tom was using the same arguments that we have made almost every four years to persuade fellow progressives to hold nose and vote! Think about Supreme Court appointments. Can you imagine a Republican president supporting health care? You know the arguments.
We know that the vast majority of progressives will vote for Obama but that isn't the question. The question is, with voter suppression, also known as photo ID, in full swing that will cut into a huge hunk of reliable Democratic votes, can Obama win without a massive GOTV effort? I don't think so and that should worry the Democrats more than the insult to push the president's speech to Thursday.
Today began with the headline announcing that the President "Abandons A Stricter Limit on Air Pollution." The lobbyists won, Lisa Jackson lost. We lost.
Read this from NY Times: "Reaction from environmental advocates ranged from disappointment to fury...in the past month he has tentatively approved drilling in the Arctic; given an incremental green light to the 1700-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta to Texas; opened 20 million more acres of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling." Bill McKibben leading the protest against the XL pipeline at the White House where over one thousand have been arrested (including several who cheered McKibben when he spoke at Fighting Bob Fest two years ago) called the latest move "flabbergasting."
Cheering from the sidelines: Business Roundtable, Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, Eric Cantor, Satan and Beelzebub.
Now, close your eyes and imagine that you are speaking to the Sierra Club in 2012. Your mission: get thousands of young enviros to go door-to-door-every day for months in support of Obama. Tough assignment, and that is why some of us are urging the administration to stop acting like a Republican. If George Bush had approved the XL pipeline we would be screaming.
Tom Morello is coming to Madison on Labor Day on his "Justice Tour." More tomorrow but plan to be at the Barrymore on Labor Day.
September 2, 2011
And on and on and on and...
Bully Justice Gableman (or is it Justice Gableman The Bully?) is on a mission to save his mentor David Prosser. I was in the audience in the Supreme Court months ago when a young attorney stepped forward on behalf of the League of Women Voters. Before she could get started, Gableman, leaning back in his chair, demanded to know where the League gets its money. My guess is no justice has ever asked that question. No one has accused Gableman of being a legal scholar, but the approach toward the litigants was out of line. The lawyer responded, "I don't have any idea."
"Well," said The Bully, "How much time do you need to find out and report to me?"
After the investigation of the Prosser "hands on throat attack--how did that happen?" all agee that Ann Walsh Bradley did not hit Prosser. Gableman then claimed that in one of his first sessions as a new justice, Bradley walked over and hit Gableman on the head because he called the chief justice what they all call her: Shirley!
Never happened, said Bradley and Abrahamson, Rogensack, and Crooks. It would appear that Gableman is making up a story to "help" his pal Prosser. Problem for pal Gableman is that there was no meeting the day Gableman claimed he was bonked!
I think it is time to get moving on a recall of Gableman.
"It is our skills, depth and experience which make Michael Best a leading lawfirm" and the cow jumped over the moon, said the Michael Best & Friedrich (MBF) law firm spokesperson! Whoa Nelly. How about the $43,000 MBF gave Walker? Relevant? If this was an investment it was a good one for MBF: $500,000 in legal fees for work on budget repair; $59,000 for an undisclosed job; perhaps a million or more for work on gerrymandering...and on and on.
September 1, 2011
Troupis and Prosser
Once again I am reminded of Vince Lombardi after two penalties in quick succession were called against the Packers. He barked, "What the hell is going on out there?" It was not a question.
Take another glance at our state Supreme Court and I think you will ask, "what the hell is going on in there?"
Every lawyer I have talked with agrees that David Prosser should be disciplined for finding his hands on Justice Ann Walsh-Bradley's throat. But must he also recuse himself from hearing a matter where his attorney, Jim Troupis, is lead counsel? At first he said he would not recuse himself because he can remain neutral, but after the Journal Sentinel editors told him to step aside he tried to limit the damage and he sent a letter to litigants asking if they want him to recuse himself. WEAC said yes, Justice Prosser must recuse.
Troupis, the lawyer for Prosser, snapped back that he should remain on the case. Why? Some lofty notion of due process? No, Troupis said that if Prosser recuses himself, it will be costly to Troupis because clients would not hire him if they are convinced that they will automatically lose Prosser!
Wow! Isn't that the point? If hiring Troupis gains Prosser's vote then something is rotten. No litigant or counsel will expect a fair result if Prosser is part of the case.
Congratulations John Stocks: NEA president Dennis Van Roekel announced that former WEAC government relations director Stocks will be the executive director of NEA--the nation's largest union as of September 1. Stocks will direct a staff of 535 and an annual budget of $330 million.
Bob Fest is just around the corner. Remember--free parking, free admission, lots of good things to drink and eat. See you at the Coliseum.