November 30, 2011 Bucks for Bucks?
The Journal Sentinel reports that the NBA lockout has ended. But, warns the paper, this is no time to relax if you are a real fan of the Bucks. The editors of JS apparently believe that Milwaukee could lose the NBA franchise unless a new arena is built. Who would pay for a new arena? Why, of course you have guessed by now: you will! Why should the owner pay?
While the arena is structually sound as is (a gift from Jane Pettit) it is not as modern as some of the newer tax-supported arenas.
The Journal Sentinel should think about asking PolitiFact Wisconsin to anlayse the claims of the Kohlites and stadium authorities put forward to justify taxpayer building. PolitiFact is a subsidiary of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Baily. P.T. Barnum giggled that there is a sucker born every minute. We shall see.
Before making any more arguments for a tax bailout of Herb Kohl, questions should be asked such as, is it really too small? Do the Bucks remain in Milwaukee because of stadium size? Isn't the problem with the NBA the revenue sharing program? Why can the Packers have a decent shot at the Super Bowl ring while the Bucks look awful year in and year out and will never be NBA champions? Other revenue is not as good in Milwaukee as it is in Chicago.
November 29, 2011 No, not Santa, but yes, Greg Palast is coming to town
Old friend of Fighting Bob Fest and BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast is coming to Madison tomorrow, November 30, for a 7:00 fundraiser for WORT at the Barrymore. (View the Palast video recorded at Bob Fest 10 below!) Greg's new book is Vulture's Picnic. He will also discuss it with you at Dobhan restaurant from 4 to 6 on Wednesday.
Hope you can be there.
Walker setting a trap? To recall Walker, there must be 540,208 petitions signed and turned in to the GAB. The executive director of United Wisconsin, the group heading the recall effort, wisely announced that United expects to get between 600,000 and a million petitions signed and turned in to the GAB just to be safe and to provide a cushion. Okay so far, but yesterday a professor friend called to say that when he was asked to sign a recall petition he told the person soliciting that he had already signed one. That person responded "you can sign as many as you want." The professor assumed this was a dirty trick not unlike Walker in the supposed conversation with a Koch brother when "Koch" told Walker he should consider planting trouble-makers in the crowd to stir it up. (You know, agents provocateurs.)
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that GAB won't have the staff necessary to verify signatures and will not check for duplicates! Yikes! United Wisconsin announced that the petitions will not be turned in to GAB until the last day of the recall, January 17, no matter when they were signed. Whoa Nelly! That would guarantee that GAB would not have time to verify signatures or eliminate duplicates. If it is obvious to us that you can bet the ranch the Walker folks are sitting back waiting. Trap set--into court.
My professor friend was astounded at the suggestion he could sign as many as he wants. I think it is quite possible that Walker supporters are trying to get as many as possible to refuse to sign or to have thousands with duplicate signatures. The Koch boys are smart. They will demand that the petitions are signed and duplicates eliminated, or ask the court to force a count no matter how long it takes.
There is time to straighten out the GAB staff shortage and plenty of time to make it clear that "one person one petition" is the rule for Democrats. Anyone heard to say "you can sign as many as you want" should be turned in and told to play elsewhere. The key to a solid result is to play by the rules and rely on the voters to check-mate the Walker supporters who would have cried foul all the way to the Supreme Court. Wisconsin Democrats had better stay out of traps.
November 28, 2011 How cold is it going to be?
I hope the NYT is wrong when it reports that President Obama has proposed sharply cutting the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. NYT reports Maine that will get less than half the $55.6 million it received last year even though the costs are up and the number applicants is up. That spells disaster. People are planning to keep homes at 50 degrees. That is barely enough to keep pipes from freezing.
(In Bangor, the average low in January is seven degrees.) Imagine being out of work, disabled, living on Social Security or unemployed. How would you survive this winter without federal assistance? Truth is, many won't, but that is probably OK for Paul Ryan and Ron Paul. They say, "Fend for yourselves damn it. Curl up with the Fountainhead and drink hot water."
Where is the outrage? Jon Corzine can't find a billion dollars (that amount could keep Maine warm for two or three years) and the Obama administration is OK with this?
The use of pepper spray at U.C. Davis is outrageous, but how about a consumer using that weapon to win a place in line at Wal-Mart? What's next? Tasers?
Have we lost our minds? Opening stores on Thanksgiving?
Something is out of whack. But unless you spend all your income the economy will suffer. This is nuts! Some good news: the Santa trainers are trying to reduce expectations. Whoopee!
November 27, 2011 MJS has a story
I have tried to figure out why MJS's PolitiFact is so annoying, and today the light came on. Patrick Marley, a good journalist, teamed with Don Walker to write about the possible harassment complaint that might be the reason for dismissal of a Walker administration official. They pulled information together, went for Open Records, and presented an interesting story.
Had the editors gone with PolitiFact instead, it would have been a "pants on fire, half truth," cutesy piece.
Where not to live in Wisconsin? Waukesha. Why? Well, here is a report: the budget passed by the city council would raise taxes $27 dollars on a $188,000 home--the price of a few Happy Meals. The mayor went nuts. He wants no increase, so he vetoed the budget and is asking for 11 furlough days from city workers to balance the budget without a tax increase. (He is our Grover Norquist.)
He wants to make up the gap on the backs of city workers. He uses the unions he hates, as the example to be followed. His model? Private sector unions at Mercury Marine, Kohler and Harley took wage concessions, says the mayor, so the public sector unions should as well! Jaysus! This guy would eliminate unions, public and private, but before arriving at the guillotine he uses them as examples of sacrifice. Good Lord. Stay out of Waukesha! They can't even count votes.
November 26, 2011 U.C. Davis--pass the pepper
If you saw it you will never forget the scene--students, sitting, arms linked, while U.C. Davis campus police shot pepper spray directly in the faces of students and appeared to be enjoying it. Imagine the impact of that picture around the world. America's reputation took a big hit. I can hardly wait to hear the GOP presidential candidate's take on this fiasco. 9-9-9?
Chancellor Katehi is fighting to keep her job, but students and faculty are demanding her removal. Let's look at this situation and ask, What is the appropriate response? Suppose students had sprayed pepper spray in the face of the chancellor and her aids or had sneaked up behind the cops and sprayed in their eyes. What would have happened? An inquiry? Suspension? I doubt it. I think it would have been immediate expulsion, arrest and trial. I can almost hear Ann Coulter, Rush and Sykes screaming that this was a communist plot. (Or terrorism.) What's good for the goose...
One issue at Davis that got scant attention is that under Katehi, tuition almost doubled. Her salary is $400,000 per year and all the pepper spray she can eat. Lots of furloughs of administrative staff. So, in a time of economic trouble, she gets $400,000 plus benefits.
She has deplored the use of pepper spray. A little late for that canard. She claims she told the police, "no violence." Well, what is "violence" to a cop? Now we know what it means at U.C. Davis. I would wager that the cops will say they "avoided" violence by using non-lethal spray. Imagine if they had had tasers. She did not have trained police available. She should have been prepared but she was not. She must go!
Pepper Nation! A Black Friday customer used pepper spray on another customer. Whoa Nelly! "Cover me, I'm changing aisles!"
Scott Ross has put up a reward for catching petition spoilers. That seems a bit over the top. We have law enforcement personnel to catch those who would deface a petition. Speaking of Ross, he was on Here and Now and he got nervous when asked by Frederica Freyberg about the strategy of Democrats to go forward without a candidate. He defended the strategy. Was he speaking for the Party?
The question is appropriate as Mahlon Mitchell, from the fire fighters union, says he is considering a run for governor; Kathleen Falk is warming up in the bull pen; Dave Obey says he won't run if there is a primary. It gets complicated. Who controls primary or no primary? The Party does not select candidates. Bob LaFollette said the people not fellows in the back room should select the candidates.
November 25, 2011 The magic of the Wisconsin uprising
I am confident Wisconsin politics will never be the same. A trip to my home town, ultra-conservative Burlington, played a part in my prediction. More than 900 voters had already signed recall petitions as of a week ago. That is amazing! If asked, I would have said we would be doing well if 300 or 400 would sign before January 16.
There was genuine enthusiasm and, indeed, optimism, from the circulators. Burlington! Walker will lose Burlington? Amazing.
Something else has changed. My parents taught us that in the old South the wealthy told the poor whites that their enemies were blacks, and they told the blacks that the poor whites were the enemy. Then, while the poor fought each other, the wealthy took their money to the bank. In essence, the middle class and poor were told to look down not up. After all, in this land of Horatio Alger, play your cards right, work hard, and you might become wealthy. That was the dream. And when you get lucky you will be like the white land owners in the old South.
The Wisconsin uprising and the 99% drive have educated all of us, willing to listen, that the problem is not the poor or middle-income folks--nope--it is the top 1%. Lesson learned. Lookout, 1%!
Paul Krugman points out that even the 99% slogan is not accurate. (It is, in reality, the 99.9%--the top 0.1 percent---the richest one-thousandth of the population that we should nominate for the Scrooge McDuck award!)
They are not the "job creators." They are escaping their fair share of taxes. They argue for war but never join the fight. It is the story of the old South told again with a twist. Message to the middle class: Look down not up. Too bad .1ers, but it won't work. We have figured out the scheme. We don't bet on the "carny" game any longer. We want shared sacrifice and fair taxes, decent public schools, clean air and water, public transportation, and...well you get the drift, and so does Mayor Bloomberg.
November 24, 2011 Thanksgiving keeps on giving
Before I count blessings on this, the best day of the year, a couple of items.
First, can you believe that the 1985 Fishbone song played by the NBC orchestra as Michele Bachmann was introduced on Jimmy Fallon's show? The title? "Lyin' Ass B...." Bachmann is upset, and I guess we should be as well, but after the things she has said about Obama, gays, poor and people...well, toughen up, Michele! Toughen up.
Governor of Oregon does the right thing: no more executions! Wisconsin made that wise choice in about 1894. Second in the nation and proud of that record. (But friends, watch out for mean-spirited people in Walker's administration who will try to bring capital punishment back to Wisconsin!)
Thanks for reminding us. Whoa Nelly! At the so-called GOP presidential debate number 200--or was it 300?--thank you GOP for reminding us of just how bad the Bush people were by having questions asked by Wolfowitz. He is the guy who predicted Iraq would cost almost nothing; the guy who was Cheney's #1; David Addington; and Ed Meese, the Reagan AG. Truly a ship of fools.
Yikes! Now 49.1 million Americans are below the poverty line--family of four earning $24,343. Next category, says NYT, is "near poor, with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line. Whoa Nelly! But just as I was ready to holler, the Bradley Foundation's front group the Heritage Foundation decried "emotionally charged terms "poor" or "near poor" because they suggest that many of these people have sufficient household goods to be happy! I am not making this up. According to Heritage, the "typical poor household has 14 of 30 amenities." So, the poor should be happy to have a refrigerator, air conditioner, coffee maker...and other stuff. Don't you wonder how long they stay up at night coming up with crap like the "amenities" as a measure of the good life? Back to 99% vs. 1%.
Some thoughts on Thanksgiving:THANKS TO YOU, Wisconsin again leads the nation. Thanks go to all who make FightingBob.com your progressive magazine. Thanks for another great Fighting Bob Fest--volunteers, speakers, funders. Thanks. I am thankful that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon end!
Thankful we have the Waisman Center here, the Medical College in Milwaukee, and the UW research team in Madison. Imagine the hope we have now that the researchers have taken a big step toward treatment of ALS, Parkinson's and paralysis! Thank you!
Thankful for grandchildren for reminding us everyday why we fight to save the planet and struggle for social and economic justice.
Big year ahead. I think we can do it! I am proud to be on your side.
November 22, 2011 Pardon a personal celebration From the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel: "Stem cells show promise in brain." UW researchers along with researchers at the world-famous Waisman Center in Madison have "grown human embryonic stem cells into neurons that appear capable of adapting themselves to the brain...raising hopes that medicine may one day use this tool to treat Parkinson's and ALS." Hold the champagne for now, but get some good stuff ready! ------------------- We have lots of enjoyment writing the GarveyBlog every day and enjoy and appreciate the many thoughtful responses. Read today's responses for example and enjoy. Thanks, friends.
They are everywhere: Koch brothers, Bradley Foundation, Cato institute, Heritage Foundation, Scaife foundation, Club for Growth, Charlie Sykes, Mark Belling, Fox News, Clear Channel, WMC, WPRI--and its dealings with the political Science Department at UW, MacIver Institute, and on and on. Catch this: Lena Taylor's mother runs a group home and she urged people to vote, How awful! Who challenges the effort to get people in a group home to vote? A group of researchers--Mequon-based Media Trackers, a non-profit watch-dog targeting liberals. Wowsers!
While Media Trackers is goofing around with a few homeless voters, the Walker Voter Suppression efforts to cut voter turnout by the thousands continue. The official UW ID is valid for five years but it does not allow students to vote. Nope! The UW must issue two cards--one to buy beer the other to vote! Thousands of people in Wisconsin will lose the right to vote while Mequon-based Media Trackers focuses on a few African Americans! Something has gone very wrong. Test your memory: When did we lose democracy?
U.C.-Davis: Worst incident since Bull Connor turned the dogs loose in Alabama. Chancellor, trying to save her job, begs for time to "investigate." What is there to investigate? The worst!
November 21, 2011 Super Committee fails?
I say huzzah! No cuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Hell, "failure" looks like a victory to me. As Senator Kyl said, "Our Democrat friends were never able to cut Social Security and Medicaid." Well said, Kyl. And you, dear Kyl, were unable to loosen the choke-collar around your neck placed there by your pals in big business! Grover Norquist, the pompous ass, has you by the...fill in the blank.
Alan Simpson, as conservative as they come--probably to the right of Barry Goldwater--said Grover Norquist and those members of Congress who have signed his no-tax pledge are irresponsible.
Who really failed? Was it Norquist, the Republicans, the Democrats, or the people? And what is the Wisconsin connection to Norquist? Well, you guessed it: the Bradley Foundation helps fund Norquist. In return, Norquist is pushing the Bradley agenda to reduce government to the size where it can be drowned in a bathtub. Grover said that if the Dems run for office calling for new taxes "We'll crush them!" Nice talk, Grover. We are getting ready for you this time.
Since the Bradley Foundation pushes Norquist and provides all the support Charlie Sykes wants, isn't it time to focus on Bradley, Grebe and others? The Koch boys hide behind Sykes, Cato, Heritage, Club for Growth, WMC, and WPRI. Time to flush them out into the open!
OK. UC-Davis!. As my kids used to say, "Why so tense dad?" I never had much of a come-back and usually a smile appeared. Question to UC Davis: Why so tense? Are your campus police out of their minds? There is the picture of the spraying of students who are sitting, arms linked, peacefully assembling and geting sprayed for what? If you have riot police and send them into a training program for non-violence, what do they do? Is the First Amendment on the side of Bull Connor and the UC-Davis cops? Give me a break.
Reactions like Davis will alter the politics of this nation. Outrage!
November 20, 2011 The people returned to the Capitol
Button man Dennis was doing a fabulous business selling buttons. No particular charge. He says, "Give what you can." It seemed like everyone wanted a button to demand recall of Walker.
We worried that a small crowd might signal a reduction of anti-Walker mood, but that fear was unjustified as thousands were back in action almost as if the uprising of February and March had never stopped. The Wisconsin State Journal estimated crowd at 30,000. I thought it was closer to 40,000, but the key is that the enthusiasm and the commitment to get rid of Walker has, if anything, intensified.
Everyone was happy, confident, and ready for the long haul. Several grabbed me to discuss Fighting Bob Fest, who the Democratic candidate will be when Walker is recalled, and a myriad of other issues.
CANDIDATE: Lots of discussion about the Democrat who would confront Walker. If all goes according to GAB, January 16 is the end of the petition process. An election would happen quickly.
Some progressives argue that a decision must be made before the recall is finished so voters can start comparing. Some push the idea that not naming a candidate until the recall keeps the focus on Walker. Some Democrats want a nomination without a primary election. Some want a primary. (I happen to be one from that school.)
One thing is certain: the MacIver institute, Koch brothers, Bradley Foundation, will be busy as beavers pushing a positive image of Walker in slick TV spots. One estimate floating out there is that the right will put $70 million into the campaign. If so, it is irrefutable evidence that democracy is sound asleep or dead. If they put that much into the campaign it would take a small miracle to defeat Walker/Koch.
Dan Bice of MJSexposes the reach of the Bradley Foundation. Read it and wince. Bradley provides lots of money to Hudson Institute, Heritage Foundation, AEI, the Hoover institute, the voucher movement, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, Charlie Sykes and the Bradley Foundation magazine...and on and on and on.
Bradley provides lots of money to William Kristol, Grover Norquist, Pat Toomey, and Jeb Bush. The Bradleys were big supporters of the John Birch Society and they believe in corporate control of America.
Paul Gigot, George Will, and other Bradley bonus folks got $250,000 from Bradley at a Washington, D.C. dinner where Will was the emcee. No word if Will had a Mike Grebe leash attached to the head table.
Good work, Dan Bice. It's a must read!
Trouble folks, but if we get out the vote we can beat the bastards.
November 19, 2011 'It's not even about Scott Brown'
Yes, indeed, it's not even about Scott Brown...it's about: "Do you want Elizabeth Warren in the Senate?"
Who posed that question? Well, we don't know because the speaker "asked for anonymity" and the NYT agreed to conceal the speaker. Ain't it always the "anonymous" quote that makes the story?
Face it, Warren scares the bejesus out of the establishment. A new TV spot, paid for by Crossroads GPS, a front for financial industry, seeks to tie her to the Wall Street protesters. "Elizabeth Warren sides with extreme left protests...where protesters attack police, do drugs, and trash public parks." (I am not making this up.)
RECALL: Going better than expected, reports Mike Tate of the Dem Party. Seems organized and the excitement is inspiring. I have yet to meet a single Walker supporter. I guess I'm hanging out in the wrong places!
November 18, 2011 Jobs, Jobs
Walker can't get anything going on the jobs front. He reminds me of Jimmy Breslin's book The gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight. Think about it. He promised to create 250,000 new, private-sector jobs in a recession! How would Walker implement that b.s.? No problem: kill unions, cut education, cut taxes for corporations, and then businesses will flock to the Badger State. We have assumed he was talking about permanent family-supporting jobs with benefits.
To reach his goal, he must create 62,500 jobs per year, or 5,200 jobs per month. The MJS reported that October was a very bad month for Scott. Wisconsin lost 9,700 non-farm private-sector jobs. Not as bad as July, when we lost 10,800 private sector jobs.
Four months in a row, Wisconsin has lost private-sector jobs. So, add the losses to 250,000 and he had better get moving.
WAGE FREEZE: Walker announced, and the Legislators followed his call, a freeze all state workers' salaries for two years; eliminate most overtime; and that's that. Given that WSEU is no longer recognized as the union for state workers, AFSCME and other public sector unions are in no position to challenge the decision. Does Walker give a hoot that morale is at an all-time low? That services for the disabled will be cut? That public education will be damaged?
No word if Walker will donate the increase in the governor's salary to a good cause. If so, I hope he will send it to FightingBob.com or the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
Recall is going better than expected. I am now confident that if we keep the pressure on we can get the 600,000 needed. (By the way, you must sign in the presence of the circulator. But you are allowed to certify your own signature--just be sure to sign in two places--where you sign and where the circulator signs. In other words, you can print your own petition on your computer; sign in two places; and send.)
November 17, 2011 Newt, my historian!
Imagine the chutzpah of Newt to deny he lobbied Congress for Freddie Mac! No, he didn't "lobby" Freddie, he persuaded congressional Republicans to support Freddie. Historical advice. OK, he was paid $1.6 million dollars, but he was not lobbying. And if you believe that, the Tooth Fairy will put gold under your pillow.
What a pathetic group of "anybody but Romney" candidates. Good lord--throw a bean bag in the bus and put the person hit by the bag in charge.
NYT reports one in 20 American adults are on antidepressants or anxiety treatment. Look around. No wonder people are depressed!
November 16, 2011 Here we go!
Do not even think about losing this battle. Removing Walker from office is the most important issue we have faced in more than 100 years. There is great enthusiasm all over the state. But a reminder: Getting 542,000 signatures is not easy. At the same time, getting the magic number will alter state politics and will impact other states as well. Wisconsin inspired Ohio, Ohio inspired the Wisconsin recall effort, we will inspire progressives all over the country.
I can't think of a more interesting time to live in this state. Our reforms will match the La Follette reforms of a century ago.
Like many of you, I am not sure where the occupation should go next but Adbusters suggested that the protesters should declare "victory" and head indoors to strategize. Frankly that makes sense to me. No point in freezing to death to "hold the park." Spring is around the corner.
November 15, 2011 The recall-Walker movement started today...
One day it is Wall Street, then St. Louis, next Portland, Madison, Seattle, Denver and so it goes. What happens when 100 cities, then 200, face protest? What if the jails are full? Where will they be housed?
Question: If people gather, assemble, sleep in tents, all the while practicing civil disobedience, actually civil obedience, what is the justification for arrest?
November 14, 2011 Chelsea to the rescue
In keeping with corporate media's mission to provide objective coverage of presidential politics, NBC announced they have hired Chelsea Clinton to be a regular on NBC news. Whoa Nelly! Chelsea joins other objective reporters such as NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who is married to Alan Greenspan.
And, of course, what would morning be without Mika and Joe on MSNBC's Morning Joe? Or is it "Jo"? Yes, Mika is the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski. And we all laugh at FOX, "Fair and Balanced." How do we categorize NBC?
Very few friends are watching the so-called Republican debates, so it is hard to get a read on how well or how poorly the candidates are doing but some trends are obvious. If Iran does not buckle, the GOP answer is, "of course, bomb and invade." Only two oppose the military solution: crazy Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman.
Everytime I think we might be headed for peace, some general somewhere finds yet one more battle ground. Is it Pakistan? Syria? Egypt? Stay tuned.
So, what happens when the occupy movement takes over Bascom Hill? How will the Democrats respond if the occupiers confront the Democratic party at their state convention or the national convention?
The Portland confrontation offers no clear solutions.
Tomorrow the recall battle begins. One side armed with petitions and pens, the other with money. About 600,000 to go; 10,000 per day needed to reach the goal line. Not going to be easy, so volunteer to help. All hands needed!
November 12, 2011 Now, now. Hitler and Stalin?
No more seven course "menu tradizionale" lunches at the reasonable price of a $145 at one of New York's finest. Mario Batali, owner and chef might say oops! Perhaps he lost his mind in comparing bankers to Hitler and Stalin! Youser! Mario was at the absurd meeting called by Time magazine to worry about Time's person of the year. Mario said a mouthful: "I would have to say who has had the largest effect on this whole planet without us really paying attention across the board...is the entire banking industry and their disregard for the people they're supposed to be working for." Then, pointing to some of Time's "persons of the year," all of whom had an impact on the common man, 1938--Hitler; 1940 Churchill, 1941 FDR; 1942 Stalin.(Should not forget Mossadegh--the CIA threw him out of power and we still live with the consequences.)
MJS warns that voters in Wisconsin may be getting recall fatigue. Craig Gilbert reported on a WPRI poll that might lead to that conclusion, but Craig never mentioned that the poll was conducted and spun by Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI), funded by the right-wing Bradley Foundation. Hardly an objective source. How much trouble would it be to identify WPRI?
Richard Wheeler passed on as you probably read. He had more influence in the Capital than any lobbyist or most legislators. He will be missed.
Chris Matthews loves to interrupt guests on Hardball. He asks an Ann Coulter "length" question, often with many other questions buried in the longer question, and he will not allow the guest time to respond. It is annoying. Well, Matthews was on Bill Maher's show last night and he got really pissed when other guests challenged his new book on JFK and had the temerity to interrupt him. Maybe he learned something. Maybe not.
November 11, 2011 No way!
I was certain that Ronald Reagan would never be elected president of the U.S. How certain? Very certain. "C'mon," I responded whenever someone would argue that it could happen. Star of B movies, simplistic answers to tough questions, lousy governor of California..."Relax. Americans are not crazy!"
I am reminded of my feelings back then thanks to our friend UW Madison history professor emeritus Stanley Kutler, the Nixon scholar who brought the suit that resulted in release of Nixon's grand jury transcripts. No matter how I felt about Reagan's chances, double-down for Nixon! "Good lord," not Nixon! Once again my stock response was "C'mon! Nixon will not be elected. Have some faith in the American people for god's sake. Take it to the bank, Nixon will never be president of my country!"
As Governor Perry would say, "Oops!" And so, I can now proclaim that Herman Cain and Rick Perry will never be elected president. Take it to the bank! C'mon. Have some faith in the American people. What's that? Cain is in the lead? C'mon, can't fool me. As another impossible dream. George Bush, said, "Fool me once...."
Now, the bobsy twins team-up-yup. TV spots created for the all-but-forgotten Tea Party claim that the "Perry-Walker job creation plan" is far superior to Obama's. Why? Well, they have been busy as beavers creating good, family supporting jobs. And they have been successful without spending a high-speed train load of money.
This TV spot is clearly part of the Koch boys or other right-wingers' effort to pump-up Walker before the recall swings into action in a few days. You can almost hear them saying "no more Ohios!"
Ah, but as luck would have it, whoever pushed this button (Reince Priebus, perhaps?) did it just as Governor Perry's brain froze in debate. So we have frozen governor Perry trying to prop up "hello, David" Walker talking to one of the Koch boys--or so he thought. If Perry is asked about this spot my bet is he can't name Walker!
Now for the math. Walker promised to create 250,000 private sector jobs in four years. Fighting Bob tried to keep track of his record but found it is almost impossible because there is no way to quickly check the numbers the Walkerites release. The MJS and its questionable PolitiFact operation, the one that normally goes for G0P capillaries and Democratic jugular, found it was tough to accurately report. Instead the MJS has opted to just accept the numbers released by Walker! Whoa Nelly! No Pulitzer for this operation.
Even with that bummer, Walker, according to MJS, lost a net 11,600 jobs in July and August! Using the state's numbers, 30,000 new jobs have been created. (Bull feathers, list them and we will accept but verify.) But even if 30,000 new jobs had been created, what kind of jobs? Family supporting? Minimum or living wage? Benefits? Temporary or permanent jobs? Please MJS--tell us! MJS ruled that the TV spot was half-wrong! (They were in a hurry because a reporter's pants caught on fire.)
Watched The Last Mountain. Rent it!
Ohio, Mississippi, Maine and now the Keystone XL oil pipeline may be dead. If Obama wants to erase doubt about enthusiasm for his re-election from enviros...kill it now! In any event--take heart, friends. Our protests worked! (If Governor Cuomo can say, "I am government." I guess we can say, "We are protest!")
November 10, 2011 Still looking
No. I am not forgetting the Ohio, Mississippi, Arizona, and Maine voters who made us very happy Tuesday, but lots of things are happening that still deserve mention. For example Jon Corzine, Democrat-Wall Streeters, former senator and governor, has joined MF Global clients in hunting for the missing $600 million. But, like your lost pair of reading glasses, damned if they can find the money. Where would Corzine have parked $600 million/gazillion dollars? Lemme see!
Then we have college sports to think about. Who is in charge when a coach makes much more money than the university president? But, of course, the story involves a scandal that mimics that of the Catholic Church. Penn State has known about the sex scandal for years but "hid it under a bushel." They were apparently more concerned about JoPah's reputation than the well being of these kids. The officials did nothing to rescue these kids as young as ten. Nothing! A woman student held high her homemade sign: "They all knew." One of the coaches saw a 10-year-old child in the shower with a coach who was raping him. Read the coach's story: "The coach heard 'rhythmic, slapping sounds which he believed to be those of sexual activity.'" Really?
First, the bankers--or as Mary Botari calls them, the banksters. Inside Job and Margin Call tell the story of misdeeds by our banking pals. No need to review here. But look at the turmoil in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain--is there a goal in sight? Here is the NYT's view: "Only days after the Group of 20 meeting in Cannes, where president Obama and other European officials urged European officials to take bold action, they appeared frozen in past positions." Whoa Nelly. How do you suppose LeMond and other great papers are treating the news of political gridlock in this country; or the bankruptcy filing of Jefferson County, Alabama? And the possibility of other communities to join?
Spoke last night to Rock County progressives. Excellent crowd of people who want to participate. Lots of comments and questions and excitement about Ohio. Great enthusiasm for the recall of Walker, but worried we don't have a candidate to run and worried that selection of that person will take place in dark room. These progressives identify with Paul Wellstone who said he was in the "democratic wing of the Democratic Party."
Note to Mike Tate: Open the process don't close the doors.
And there is Herman Cain, who has a lawyer threatening any other women who might step forward with a tough response! Yikes. He should get out of the race, but apparently he is as hard to get rid of as an Irish house guest.
November 9, 2011 Whoopee!
Don't know how to spell it, but I recognize the feeling! Ohio--thank you--61 percent vs. 39 percent--Whoopee! Can you imagine what the celebration would have been in Koch-land had the voters gone the other way?
Scott Walker, once a right-wing hero--Koch Hall of Fame. He is now known as "political baggage." Walker will have lots of spare time this year--no one will want him around the campaign trail.
North Carolina. And another Koch defeat in Wake County, N.C., the school board election where the Koch boys were otimistic about returning segegation to schools! Too bad boys--no one wants your "good old days."
Mississippi voters got one right, too: life does not begin the moment of conception. Who would be the "conception-cops?" Mississippi said, "Hey--too far!
November 8, 2011 Let the business community educate our kids!
I was surprised to learn that Scott Walker graduated from high school. That was his last degree. He did not forget to pick up his diploma as one of his former colleagues did, he had nothing to pick up. Booted from Marquette as an undergrad, Scott opted to end his educational pursuits and he set off to make fortune and fame despite his meager credentials. (One can almost hear him saying, "I'll show those snotty bastards.") And, tip your hat to Walker, he did show those over-educated "creeps on Bascom Hill" that he is as smart as they are. Yes sir-ree-bob! Street smart!
I don't believe that a college degree is the be-all- and-end-all, but it is relevant in a discussion focused on how we go about rescuing our children from sub-par schools. Walker cuts into the bone of the University of Wisconsin when preparing the budget or deciding which institution should get hit the hardest.
He doesn't sit down with Tom Loftus, John Wiley, David Ward, Bert Grover, the Dean of Education or other bright lights. Nope. Our guy gets gobbled up by the business community before he can get to second base, even though, as Hightower might say, he was born on first base. So, our degree-less governor turns to Milwaukee business leaders for guidance: Tim Sheehy of MMAC, the Greater Milwaukee Committee; Mark Belling; and the Koch Brothers. He doesn't need a degree, he gets "briefings" from really bright people like George Will and Charlie Sykes. Yikes!
First let's discuss education reform. NO TRAINING NECESSARY! The Republicans dropped the 4-hour training requirement to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon! Lena Taylor again voted with the GOP! What's the deal? One needs 10 hours of training for a rifle. Nothing for pistols? Won't be long until we see car bumpers with the message, "Cover me: I'm changing lanes."
So, what should we look for in education from Walker the anti-intellectual? Well, surprise, surprise, the Walker-clan wants to 1.) remove the cap on the percentage of voucher school students; MMAC (code for Walker-Fitzgerald) wants, get this, a "turn-a-round district" for low-performing schools. This paradise for losers would have a separate superintendent who would report to an independent board appointed by the governor or yayor; 2.) recruit more national charter schools; 3.) have a report card for schools. In other words, privatize Milwaukee Public Schools. Let Sheehy be the judge. Let WMC and MMAC rate the schools and evaluate teachers.
In other words, reverse Brown vs. Board of Education as the right wing has pushed since 1954. Separate but equal is a myth. Cut the bull feathers!
November 7, 2011 You get what you pay for
Outsourcing services is not the answer. Take a hard look at proposals to privatize everything from schools, to hospitals for veterans, to prisons, and there is no magic bullet. Imagine the arrogant congressman from Janesville, Paul Ryan's solution! H.L. Mencken once said, "For every complex problem there is a simple solution--and it is always wrong." (Frankly, I did not realize that Mencken knew Paul Ryan.) Right on my friends, right on.
In Michigan, the state says it cannot afford the wages and benefits that unionized workers command at the veteran's home--about $20 per hour. So the state wants to cut compensation in half by hiring a corporation to care for the vet who risked life and limb for us. Part of the contract we have with veterans is that we will take care of them when they come back. Does the Secretary of Defense believe that competent, caring aides can be found to take care of vets at $10 per hour! B.S.
One vet summed it up in NYT: "Drop one less bomb overseas and pay these guys decent salaries." Now that makes a whole lot of sense.
The alternative is a draft so every young person must volunteer for war and, if injured, get the care a $10-per-hour worker provides. We should look at at the hourly rate as the starting point for analysis but rather figure out how to help the veteran, rehabilitate the prisoner, keep the good teachers, then cost it out. Same with schools. Who gives a damn if teachers make better benefits if the kids graduate, find jos, buy homes...you get it.
We must figure out what we want for our kids, our teachers, firefighters, cops and nurses. If you buy services from the low bidder you predictably get the lowest service.
November 6, 2011 Still fighting?
I woke up this morning thinking about the big battles we have been involved in. We have won some big, albeit, often temporary, battles, but lots of wars remain. Had you been asked 30 years ago, how would you have responded to this question: Name the major battles that will be resolved in 30 years, knowing what you know today.
For example, the NY Times reports that a gutsy priest will speak this weekend on the incredible ban on women as priests in the Catholic Church. Are you kidding me? The Vatican is still fighting that nonsense? The priest, a Maryknoll, who has been fighting to close the School of the Americas has received a warning from the Vatican to cease and desist or face excommunication! Whoa Nelly, Mother Church. A priest says what 72 percent of Catholics want women as priests and the Vatican thinks he is the problem? As an alter boy, I would have guessed that women would be full participants in the life of the Church. Not so, and that is a shame.
How about sex education in school, free birth control, and the enactment of ERA. No brainer! Oops! Good Lord these "old, white, men" are in the wrong century.
Those opposing sex education claim it will lead to more sex! Of course there in no evidence to support that notion, but the religious nuts don't need evidence. They have the Bible and if it is silent on these topics, well, that means they turn to Pat Robertson or some other nut for guidance.
Here are a few thoughts from Nicholas Kristof: Contraceptives no more cause sex than umbrellas cause rain. Annually there are 973,000 unintended pregnancies in America--406,000 will end in abortion.
If a woman wants to avoid pregnancy what is she to do? How about a contraceptive!
Keep on fighting, folks. Common sense will ultimately prevail. _________________________
November 5, 2011 Scavenger hunt continues
Fighting Bob has been on the Corzine-MF Global-Margin Call story all week. Corzine is now out of the picture, MF Global is in bankruptcy, 617 million dollars is still missing, and the SEC seems to be leading the scavenger hunt. Do you think Corzine is concerned about the fate of the Democratic Party or Wall Street regs?
In Wisconsin, the governor and the Koch boys are doing everything possible to defeat the recall. 1.) A Muskego Republican filed a recall petition so that Walker can start fundraising early; 2.) the attorney general ruled that two recalls must occur separately. That's right, J.B. Van Hollen says the lieutenant governor must have her own, separate recall! Idiotic--the office of lieutenant governor is joined at the hip with the governor. For example, once the primaries are over the Lt. Gov. joins the ticket of her/his gubernatorial campaign. The Lt. Gov. used to be independent of the governor but not any longer. Walker is a disaster, but you can count on the Koch brothers to pour millions into the recall campaign to prop up a not-so-bright Scott Walker.
Meanwhile, the Legislature is rushing a bill that will follow the recommendations of the Greater Milwaukee Committee to have an elected comptroller manage Milwaukee County's finances. He/she would be the CFO of the county with the end game being that GMC will privatize all of Milwaukee government. Corporate control! This nefarious plot has been pushed by GMC for months, but once Fightingbob.com exposed it they went underground. They're back!
The CFO must be an accountant or have an advanced degree in accounting or finance. Here comes privatization! Chris Abele, the current Milwaukee County Executive, likes the idea. I am not making this up!
November 4, 2011 I confess!
No, this is not about Romney or Perry, but in a way it is all about Herman Cain.
I have a confession to make. I voted for Spiro T. Agnew for Governor of Maryland. Egad! you say? My vote was right then and now.
In 1966, Agnew was the Republican nominee for governor and he ran against a right-wing Democrat, George Mahoney, whose campaign theme was "Your home is your castle-Protect It."
It was all about race and domestic violence and the silly assertion that the man was king in his home/castle. It was the rallying cry in oppoition to open housing. Spiro won, joined the Nixon team, and resigned after a bribe, but he was still better than George Mahoney.
I was jolted by this MJS headline and lede this morning: "Senate advances 'castle doctrine.' Home owners who shoot intruders..." Oh, never mind. Never thought I would say it, but Maryland is more progressive than Wisconsin today. Believe it or not, Lena Taylor, Bob Wirch and Spencer Coggs voted with all Republicans so it passed.
Shame on the Democrats who gave the Koch boys another victory. "Hello. Is Mike Tate available?" Hoo-Ha! We have concealed weapons, home-is-castle nonsense, and all sorts of other terrible legislation including ant-choice legislation that takes us back to the 1950s. The Walker extremists want to make it almost impossible for a woman to get an abortion. And on and on and on! At least she has a king in the house.
November 3, 2011 Corzine--keep looking!
Now and then friends tell me that there a big difference in being a Democrat operating on Wall Street and in Congress as opposed to being a Republican. Some are naive enough to believe that contributions from Goldman Sachs corupt Republicans but not Democrats. I have trouble with that because the sole motivation on Wall Street is profit. It doesn't seem to matter which party the guy chooses. I am also troubled when Obama or other Dems go to Wall Street for campaign money. There are no strings attached to $100 contributions from Madison, but if Chase or Citi executives give big bucks they do so to gain favors. No one gives or raises millions for good government. As Russell Long used to joke, "For $10,000 you will get more than good government."
If MF Global pops for $100,000 it won't be for tighter regulations on Wall Street.
Take Jon Corzine. He spent more than $59 million in a Senate race as a Democrat and another $60 million running for governor of New Jersey as a Democrat. Then he ran for re-election after spending about the same. He lost, as you know. So, back to Wall Street where the NYT reports that at 2 a.m. he was in his office trying desperately to save his company, MF Global. It was so much like the movie Margin Call it was eerie. Just as it looked like a deal to sell part of the company had been reached, MF couldn't find $900 million! Damn. Where did he put that near-billion dollars? Keep looking, Jon.
November 2, 2011 Dark cloud replaces ho hum Suggestion: Before reading about MF Global in the Times, go see the movie Margin Call. You will get a better feel for Wall Street's moral standards. But a caveat: If you then feel driven to join the occupiers, I deny all liability. Don't call me!
One of our fellow Democrats is in trouble. Can we help? A fundraiser perhaps? Better idea: let's do another movie/documentary, only it should feature loyal Democrats like Jon Corzine who move with grace from Wall Street to K street to Main Street. Yesterday, the Times said "ho hum" about the missing $700 million (down to $600 million today) in the Corzine case. But ho hum has been replaced and the missing millions "now cast a dark cloud over Mr. Corzine." Apparently, he failed to keep customers' money separate from the company's money--a violation of Wall Street regs. Want to bet how long it will take for the GOP in Congress to demand elimination of that reg? Will Democrats plunge in to help?
Mark Block, Herman Cain's top adviser--the guy Tommy Thompson and Jon Wilcox hired to re-elect Justice Wilcox--is in trouble and should be wearing a warning label on his blazer that says, "I am dangerous. Avoid me."
Best headline over a column all year is now Maureen Dowd's "Cain Not Able." Perry must have been high or drunk or on some medication, but his incredible performance last Friday in New Hampshire should remove him from everyone's list of people whose fingers should be on the button.
November 1, 2011 Where did I put that $700 million?
Jon Corzine once was CEO of Goldman Sachs. His net worth was close to half a billion dollars. So Corzine, bored of raising billions, decided to get into politics. Some suggest that he thought if he could run Goldman's he could run the country. How to become president? Start with the Senate, and so he did.
He ran in New Jersey and spent $59 million in the race. He won. I joked, Hell for $60 million he could have purchased the entire Senate.
Then, just a couple years into his term he ran for governor and spent another $59-60 million. He won. This would be easy. But, in a hurry to attend a function, Governor Corzine ordered his driver to go 90 m.p.h. An accident occurred. Corzine was not wearing a seatbelt and almost every bone in his body was bruised or broken.
He lost to Chris Christie and then out of office, setting aside his presidential hopes, he returned to Wall Street as an insider not a demonstrator. He had a deal with MF Global Holdings: if terminated he would get $12 million in severance. Things went badly and in a panic, Corzine made a deal to sell part of his business. The deal was all set for Monday morning but the lawyers spent all night going over the books and, wouldn't you know, $900 million was missing! They found $200 million, but that left a $700 million hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. Deal fell apart. MF filed for bankruptcy Monday around noon.
"Is this a private fight, or can anyone join?" -Old Irish saying