Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Response to a Tea Partier

Someone sent me a copy of this "Letter to the Editor" which was published on July 9, 2010 on the opinion page of the Iosco County News in East Tawas, Michigan...

I found the piece so incredibly distorted that I feel compelled to answer Mr. Huber's issues point by point (his claims will be posted in italics, my responses in bold)...

Has America become the land of special interest and the home of double standard?

Hmmm....has it? 

Lets see:

Yes, let's...

1. If we lie to the Congress, it's a felony and if the Congress lies to us its just politics;

Yes...you see, when one lies to Congress, while they are "testifying" which is done "under oath", it is a crime called "perjury"...remember, your pals impeached our LAST Democratic President over that (what bullshit do you bastards have in mind for this one?). 

On the other hand, when one is running for office, one is not bound by the laws of perjury as advertising is NOT done "under oath", and therefore they are allowed to say MANY things that are untrue...such as that they don't want to "privatize social security" when they do; that scientists studying climate change are "crazy"; that giving tax cuts to the rich stimulates jobs (when it hasn't for the past eight years); and that they are opposed to "government health care" but then they pitch a fit when their "government health care" policy doesn't kick in until 30 days after they're sworn in. 

That DOCTOR that managed to get himself elected to congress from Maryland who now can't imagine what on earth he's going to do while he waits that month for his new government insurance to kick in is a real piece of work....(http://carloz.newsvine.com/_news/2010/11/16/5474734-freshman-anti-obamacare-congressman-and-md-doesnt-understand-how-health-insurance-works-wants-his-goverment-health-care-now)  Guess what DOCTOR, there's something called "COBRA" that is for just this VERY thing...it's REALLY expensive, but as a rich doctor, I'm sure you can afford it...unlike a laid off factory worker. 

2. If we dislike a black person, we’re racist and if a black dislikes whites, it’s their 1st Amendment right;

Ummm...You're free to "dislike" whomever you want (however if you "dislike" someone based only on the color of their skin, you ARE a racist, sorry if you don't like that reality).  You are NOT, on the other hand, permitted to discriminate against someone for housing, employment, school, voting, etc. based on race regardless of what YOUR skin color is.  Hate away, but don't get upset when folks call you on your hate.  

3. The government spends millions to rehabilitate criminals and they do nothing for the victims;

Wrong...there are NUMEROUS groups out there to help victims of crimes of all sorts.  If you are unfamiliar with these victims aid/rights groups, a bit of research reveals many, here are just a couple: 

In fact, a Google search for the phrase "Aid for crime victims" pulled 418,000 hits, including separate Victim's Aid groups in each of the 50 states. 

Although it is true that due to budget cuts many of these programs are being drastically cut, like this one being cut by New York's Republican Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his allies on the New York City Council: ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/nyregion/01assault.html )

And of course the bill that would have provided health care for those who are sick from having worked at Ground Zero didn't pass, thanks to Republican opposition (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/Ground-Zero-Workers-Left-In-the-Dust-99545649.html)

...I hear Mr. Bloomberg is thinking about running for President with his pal Donald Trump (just what we need, more millionaires...or is that billionaires?...telling the poor and the middle class how WE need to sacrifice so THEY can have tax cuts).

4. In public schools you can teach that homosexuality is OK, but you better not use the word GOD in the process;

Since rational people understand that homosexuality is NOT a choice (I know *I* sure as hell don't have a choice, if you think you do...guess you must be bisexual), it would be wrong to teach otherwise in a public school...on the other hand as it is a PUBLIC school, the "separation of church and state" would prohibit discussion of "god" in this forum.  If you want your children to learn about "god" in school, there are plenty of religious schools that will do that for you, but the public schools cannot.  I understand that people of your ilk try to pretend that the United States was founded as a "Christian Nation", and that there is no such thing as the "Separation of Church and State", however the FACTS show otherwise.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
– John Adams ~ Treaty of Tripoli
5. You can kill an unborn child, but it’s wrong to execute a mass murderer;

The laws on both these issues (abortion and capital punishment) vary from state to state (in other words, it's an ACTUAL "states' rights issue", sort of like gay marriage and medical cannabis...something the Right SHOULD understand if they knew their history) and opinions on these topics are varied even among many people of common political ideologies (there are those who hold positions, both pro and con, on each of these issues on both the Left and Right).

On a purely personal level, I believe strongly in a woman's right to choose when it comes to decisions about her body and readiness (physically, emotionally, and financially) to be a mother. Ultimately the consequences of that choice are between that woman, her partner, her conscience, and her 'god'...not a decision for others to make.

As far as capital punishment is concerned, I must admit that I am somewhat torn. I can list many convicted killers who were executed and I am glad of it (Bundy, Gacy, McVeigh, etc.).  I can list many more who were NOT executed, but I wish they were (Speck, Dahmer, Manson, etc.). I can also list many who are currently sitting on death rows waiting to be killed, that I believe are innocent and should not be there (Damien Echols, Darlee Rotier, Joel Alcox, etc.). Additionally, one needs to consider the MANY people who have been exonerated by DNA evidence and have had to be released from Death Rows all around the nation (and sadly, some who have been exonerated posthumously). So although I am NOT completely opposed to capital punishment, I strongly believe that a much more rigid standard of "guilt" must be applied when death is even being considered as a potential punishment. If we are going to execute someone, a "reasonable" doubt shouldn't be good enough....there must be absolute, proven certainty...no possible "doubt" whatsoever.

6. We don’t burn books in America, we now rewrite them;

At last, an issue upon which we agree! I think that the way that the Right is changing textbooks and school curriculum in places like Texas and Kansas to put in their fairy tales like "intelligent design" and rewriting history in order to downplay the importance of certain "Founding Fathers" like Thomas Jefferson to push their Right-wing agenda is a completely horrifying trend that must be stopped!   http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html

7. We got rid of the communist and socialist threat by renaming them progressives;

This is a completely erroneous statement, and the lamest kind of ad hominem attack...I could just as easily say that we got rid of the fascist and totalitarian threat by renaming them neoconservatives. This kind of thing has no value whatsoever.

Also, to be completely honest I don't believe that the "communist and socialist threat" is all that "threatening" anyway. The United States has a number of programs that those on the right have called "socialist" for decades. Everything from public education and law enforcement through Social Security and Medicare to our public highways, unemployment, public libraries, and many other things that the bulk of the American people would not wish to give up.

8. We are unable to close our border with Mexico, but have no problem protecting the 38th parallel in Korea;

We are able to protect the 38th parallel because it is being protected on and BY forces on BOTH sides...also, as that border currently has shelling going over it, I wouldn't exactly call it "secure" (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101123/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_us_north_korea).  The Mexican border with the United States is only "protected" on one side, and poorly at that. But I honestly don't think that building walls, allowing armed vigilantes to "patrol" that border, or allowing the police to harass everyone that simply looks Hispanic (as Arizona wants to permit) is the solution either. In my opinion the solution should be more focused in cracking down on those who EMPLOY illegals.

9. If you protest against President Obama’s policies you’re a terrorist, but if you burn an American flag or George Bush in effigy it was your 1st Amendment right;

I have not heard ANYONE called a "terrorist" for protesting against President Obama's policies. I have seen people attending large tea party rallies with absolutely no problems whatsoever. I've seen those same "Tea Party" people wearing their silly costumes and carrying misspelled signs and saying ridiculous things, so I've heard them mocked and called "ignorant", but I have never heard ANYONE call them "terrorists", even when they chose to carry firearms to political rallies ("thuggish" behavior that I personally find absolutely appalling and wrong). 

 On the other hand, however, during the Bush years ALL forms of dissent were called "UnAmerican", "Treason", "Unpatriotic", and many other horrifying things...the double standard that I see from your side sickens me to levels beyond full description.

I believe it is worth noting that the stomper here was not just a "Paul supporter", he was the head of security for that event. 

10. You can have pornography on TV or the internet, but you better not put a nativity scene in a public park during Christmas;

The only way you're getting "pornography" on your TV is if you're paying for it via cable (there is no "porn" on broadcast TV).  You can, absolutely, find porn on the Internet if you look for it (and sometimes you have to pay for that too).  Either way, you are making a conscious CHOICE to view it. To try to compare being able to PURCHASE "pornography" with having PUBLIC PROPERTY used for ESTABLISHING RELIGIOUS ICONS is an absolutely ridiculous comparison. One is part of the "free enterprise system" that your side claims to be such fans of, the other is clearly unconstitutional. If you don't LIKE the Constitution, I suggest you go to a country that doesn't have one.

11. We have eliminated all criminals in America, they are now called sick people;

OK, that is just nuts...the bulk of them are still called "criminals" and, unless they have been diagnosed and found mentally ill by a jury, they're locked in prisons...not hospitals (which is where "sick people" go).  In fact, although America only has 5% of the world's population, we have almost 25% of the world's prisoners (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/world/americas/23iht-23prison.12253738.html?_r=1 ), and if the private prison industry has their way, that number will only go up.  Not only are our "criminals" locked in prisons, they also lose their right to vote, own firearms, obtain student loans, etc....especially if they had the audacity to use "drugs" that don't come from the alcohol/tobacco/pharmaceutical companies.

12. We can use human fetus for medical research, but it’s wrong to use an animal;

First, clearly you need to understand the basic biological difference between an "embryo" and a "fetus". Embryonic stem cell research is done with embryos, a cluster of cells less than eight weeks in development...most of which were created as the result of artificial insemination or other fertility treatments. If these embryos are NOT used for this useful and potentially miraculous research, they would simply be discarded. Surely, as long as this material is going to be allowed to be created (and I don't think anyone is talking about stopping fertility treatments) it's better to make use of it rather than just throw it away, which all must admit would be wasteful. A "fetus" is over 8 weeks in development and are NOT used in this research.

Again, trying to compare potentially miraculous research which could someday cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Paralysis, and other devastating/deadly conditions with torturing animals by putting hair spray or perfume in their eyes, or having schoolchildren needlessly dismember them is a flawed comparison.

13. We take money from those that work hard for it and give it to those who don't want to work;

BULLSHIT. First, I know many unemployed people who want DESPERATELY to work, I know other people who are working two (or more) jobs just trying to make ends meet and be able to support their families on the poverty wages that many companies pay, while their executives pull in multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses. I have worked for a number of very wealthy men in my life and would not classify the bulk of what they do as "hard work", they pay other people to do the "hard" work, and in most cases pay them as little as they can get away with.  The wage disparity in the country has gone from a mere gap to a massive (and growing) chasm, which seems to be JUST the way the top wage earners want it.

But the REALITY is that according to this article, entitled "Wealth, Income and Power" by a Sociology professor at the University of California, the richest Americans (those making over $10 million) get only 19% of their income as the result of "working" (wages & salaries).

I am getting SO sick of listening to millionaires and billionaires explain why they shouldn't have to pay the same marginal tax rate that they were paying during the Clinton years when the whole country was doing VERY well and there was a fiscal surplus instead of the deficits we're amassing now. (And I think SO highly of those that are stepping forward and admitting "Tax cuts for the rich don't stimulate the economy!" http://www.thenation.com/blog/156569/patriotic-millionaires-explain-tax-cuts-rich-dont-grow-economy)

I sit here and listen to the Republicans whine about how they will vote against the extension of the Middle Class tax cuts if the millionaires & billionaires don't get their giant cuts too. What the hell is wrong with these people? How greedy can a person be? I guess I will simply just never understand.  (I'm sure it's merely coincidental that 44% of the members of Congress are millionaires.)

I'm so afraid that the Democrats are going to end up giving in and giving the damn billionaires their tax cuts in order to get the Republicans to "compromise" and give the Poor and Middle Class the tax cuts we truly need. To me that is not a compromise, that's a capitulation. A compromise would be to permanently extend the tax cuts for those making under $250,000. Temporarily extend the cuts for those making between $250,000 and $1 million for two years...those over $1 million can pay 39% like they did under Clinton, starting immediately.

If I had even a FRACTION of their money, I would MORE than happily pay 39%.  Give me just one million and I will happily pay 39%...hell...I'll up the ante and pay 40%...I can live MORE than comfortably on $600,000 and I don't even need it annually...just once.

14. We all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology;

No, some of us support it all the time, however, as I pointed out in point #10, it is the RIGHT that seems to be the best at trying to ignore the parts of the Constitution that they don't like...very similar to how they follow their "bible", keep the parts you like, ignore the rest.

15. We still have freedom of speech, but only if we are politically correct;

We still have freedom of speech...no one is getting arrested or incarcerated for what they say or write. The first Amendment (which you seemed to be complaining about before, when it blocks you from establishing your religion) guarantees that you can say what you want free of GOVERNMENT persecution...it does NOT say that there will be no SOCIAL consequences for loudly spewing vastly unpopular opinions such as racial bias or homophobia. People/companies that do will often suffer consequences. They may be ridiculed, boycotted, protested, ostracized, or in some other way penalized...but as long as the GOVERNMENT isn't doing it, it has NOTHING to do with the First Amendment.

16. Parenting has been replaced with Ritalin and video games;

Ahh...another area in which I actually agree with you. I do believe that there are serious parenting issues in this country. I think that there are far too many children being diagnosed with disorders and put on drugs when what is needed is better education (especially in parenting skills, as so few people even have good examples anymore...dysfunction is the norm) and guidance/assistance for kids in trouble is more seriously needed.  But also, unlike you, I believe that indiscriminate breeding should be strongly discouraged...too many people have way too many children that they are often incapable of properly parenting...however, THAT is not a governmental problem, it's a human one.

Personally, I believe that the solution involves better control of human reproduction...which means better use of existing forms of birth control, and development of even better ones (why is there not a pill for men that makes the sperm immotile or otherwise unable to fertilize the egg?).  However, many on the Right are SO concerned about what constitutes a "baby" that they are even in favor of banning some of the most effective forms of birth control because they do not prevent conception, but rather make the womb "inhospitable" to the fertilized embryo and it is expelled.  These sickos (like my current governor-elect) consider these forms of birth control on a par with abortion and want them banned too (http://media.journalinteractive.com/documents/BirthControlAbortion.doc), which would thereby create more unwanted pregnancies and therefore more actual abortions and more unwanted children who are not able to be properly parented. 

17. The land of opportunity is now the land of handouts;

The "land of opportunity" has long been becoming the "land of oligarchy".

The concentration of wealth at the top has reached a level that has not been this out of control since 1928, just before the Great Depression. I think it's actually a miracle that the country was able to be pulled back from the edge of the cliff that the Republican policies had driven us to, but now that they have taken control again, I'm sure we'll be off the cliff in no time...then they'll probably be able to trick us into having to "sacrifice" even more while they just keep getting richer.

18. The similarity between Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill is that neither President did anything to help;

The only similarity between these two events was their geographical location. 

No, the DIFFERENCE between Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill is that one was a predicted natural disaster for which we should have been properly prepared (and have been in the past...under Clinton, FEMA ran like a well-oiled machine), the Army Corps of Engineers could have been honest about the state of disrepair of the levees that they were responsible for and the likelihood of a breech, national assistance should have been provided to assist with the evacuation of the city, especially the areas near the known weakest areas of the levees (the Ninth Ward). Had those steps been properly taken prior to Katrina's landfall, the chain of events from there would have been so different that it's impossible to even speculate what would have happened.  Instead, we got a complete lack of preparation, supplies improperly staged/dispatched while the President stayed on vacation, played golf, played guitar with country singers and then finally just flew over the disaster four days later.   

What was needed during Katrina was government intervention...drop-ins of food and water, the promised trailers, peacekeeping forces, etc...all things that our government should excel at, and has excelled at many times in the past. But instead, this time they failed miserably in every way, while the PotUS congratulated the man orchestrating the failure. 

The Gulf Oil Spill on the other hand was a man-made disaster caused by oil industry greed and republican deregulation which allowed a British oil company to drill an incredibly deep well, with concrete being improperly poured by a company previously run by our former vice President.  Unlike Bush, who waited days and then merely flew over, President Obama visited the area immediately, which the right called a "show".  He put a moritorium on deepwater drilling, which the Right got overturned.  He mobilized the Coast Guard and other government agencies at his direction to aid with the containment and clean-up, which the Right complained about.  He made BP put $20 billion in escrow to cover the claims of those whose lives had been destroyed by this horror, which the Right called "a shakedown" of the company that caused the worst oil disaster in history through cutting corners and lack of regulation while attempting to drill the deepest oil well in history.

And now the Congressman who issued that apology to BP for the alleged "shakedown" will play a large role in the regulating of the oil industry when he becomes the Chairman of the Commerce and Energy Committee when the Republicans claim majority control of the House in January. 

19.  And how do we handle a major crisis today? The government appoints a committee to determine who's at fault, then threatens them, passes a law, raises our taxes; tells us the problem is solved so they can get back to their reelection campaign.

That's a rather ridiculous oversimplification/distortion.  When a problem/crisis occurs, yes, there needs to be an investigation to determine how it happened and to put regulations into place so that it can't happen again...how else would you like problems addressed?  As for as "raises our taxes", your taxes have NOT been raised.  The majority of the stimulus (which the right tries to pretend "failed" when in actuality almost all experts agree that had it not been for that stimulus we would likely be in an even deeper economic maelstrom) came in the form of tax CUTS...not even millionaires have had their taxes raised, yet...I certainly hope that is fixed soon but I'm sure the Right will protect the interests of the rich (which is themselves) at the expense of everyone else, again...I just wish they'd stop being able to convince the bottom 90% to keep voting against our own self-interests.

What has happened to the land of the free and home of the brave?

It sold its soul to the devil...which is greed.

Wisconsin High Speed Rail

There are a lot of reasons that I oppose the position of my state's new Governor-elect to cancel Wisconsin's High Speed Rail project, many of which are spelled out in this video presentation: 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tea Party Pouting

I can't believe that someone who felt he was fit to be a United States Senator is behaving like a petulant, spoiled child who has just lost a game. Joe Miller, Tea Party candidate for Lisa Murkowski's Senate seat, who actually managed to actually defeat her in the Republican Primary by 1,600 votes back in August (with Sarah Palin's endorsement), is now showing himself to be nothing but an unfit, sore loser.

On September 17th, Senator Murkowski announced her write-in candidacy to save her job and then Miller had a rather public falling out with the State's famous, former half-term Governor, and then he had his "security" people put a reporter in handcuffs. To his apparent surprise, his poll numbers began dropping and, lo and behold, on election day the "Write In Candidates" beat him by several thousand votes.

That wasn't enough for Miller though...after all, you can't just assume that all the write-ins were for Murkowski...some people might have voted for Micky Mouse, or Harry Potter...all those 92,500 write in ballots had to be counted, of course.

On November 9th, Miller filed federal suit in which he is asking the judge to stop the State from counting ballots which have the name Murkowski misspelled. He claims that the Alaska statutes do not allow for any misspellings on write-in ballots however, others say that the "intent of the voter" is the primary deciding factor. So now, overseeing the count are lawyers and other poll-watchers for the Miller camp who are challenging every ballot in which the voter may have spelled Murkowski's name wrong (since when did voting become a spelling/penmanship test?). There are ballots that say: Murkowsi. Murkowsky. Merkowsky, Murcowski, etc., a few apparently even just say "Lisa M." and they're all being put into the challenge pile because Joe Miller can't face the reality that he LOST.

Election officials had hoped to finish the count and finalize the election by Friday, 11/12...but all the challenges being put forth by the Miller people are slowing things down dramatically...who knows when Alaska will be able to finalize this election?  I'm sure Miller plans to drag it out as long as possible...the court cases have only just begun.

I think that the officials in Alaska should just call for a new special election with both Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller listed on the ballot. After the petulant, childish way that Miller is currently behaving, I'm sure the bloodbath would be even worse than the numbers he is losing by now.

And now Floyd Brown, who was the creator of the infamous "Willie Horton" ad back in 1988 has volunteered to join the Miller campaign as well.

These people are fucking pathetic.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Who in the FUCK is Peter G. Peterson?

Have you seen these commercials...?

They started running a while ago with the one immediately below, but then on the 10th of November they began running a different, shorter spot but much more aggressively.  Here's the original...

I wanted to actually post the second (and currently being blanketed) spot, but when I tried to embed it, I got a "sorry...you don't have permission to do that" message...so I figured the next best thing would be to provide the link, so you can see that spot for yourself if you haven't seen it on television. 


In case you, like me, saw that and said "WTF?" but didn't feel like doing the research, here goes:

Disclaimer at http://www.hughjidette.com/
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation has set up this VERY elaborate (and I'm sure remarkably expensive) campaign wherein a fake "candidate" named Hugh Jidette ('huge debt'...get it?) is "running for President for 2012".  The whole thing was set up by this "foundation" in order to "raise awareness" of the national debt (because this multi-billionaire doesn't think we common folk get it).  The campaign is estimated to be costing $6 million (I don't know if that includes production of the commercials and the site, etc...I believe that may be just the media buy...but information is a bit sketchy).

Now...if you're wondering, (like I was) who the fuck is Peter G. Peterson and why is his foundation spending $6 million for this utterly ridiculous campaign...here's what I've learned so far:

The Washington-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation was established with a $1 billion (that's right, billion with a "B") personal endowment by Peter G. Peterson, who served as U.S. commerce secretary under President Richard M. Nixon. In addition to this post, he was the Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers from 1973 until 1984 when he founded the Blackstone Group. Additionally, he was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2000 to 2004. He works very closely with the Rockefeller family and their various foundations and took over David Rockefeller’s seat as Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations when Rockefeller stepped down in 1985. Peterson then remained their Chairman until “retiring” in June 30, 2007 after being named “Chairman Emeritus”. Peterson was ranked 149th on the “Forbes 400 Richest Americans” with a net worth of $2.8 billion.

But, back to the fallacious candidacy of the fictional Mr. Jidette. 

Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for the liberal advocacy group ProgressOhio, told the Daily Record that he suspects diminished Social Security coverage is a goal of the campaign. (http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20101110/UPDATES01/101110059/Who-s-Hugh-Jidette-)

"We're concerned that there appears to be a concerted effort to continue to chip away at people's Social Security in an ultimate attempt to privatize it," he said. "Contrary to their alarmist message, the Social Security Trust Fund is more solvent than most government funds, according to most studies."

That same Daily Record article further states, “Former Ohio Tax Commissioner Joanne Limbach said it's important to act while voters are energized on the issue. She said politicians too often use financial gimmicks to try to make budgets more palatable. One of the things we want to do is to try to get to reality," she said.

Though not mentioned in that article, I also think it should be noted that Ms. Limbach is also the President of the Ohio Chapter of AARP.  It's interesting that Ms. Limbach would talk about politicians using "gimmicks" to get a point across and claim that we need to "get to reality" when she is talking about the ultimate "gimmick" of a fake Presidential campaign.  What about the candidacy of the fictitious Mr. "Jidette" does she consider to be getting "to reality"?  And, incidentally, why is a President of the Ohio Chapter of The American Association for Retired Persons speaking in support of a multi-billionaire who seems to be trying to trick the people into putting their retirement into the privatized hands of his old pals on Wall Street?

According to an article in Newsweek from May 2009, that Peter Peterson supposedly wrote himself (but I’m sure someone else was likely paid to write for him), he says: (http://www.newsweek.com/2009/05/29/why-i-m-giving-away-1-billion.html)

"Ultimately, I decided to commit $1 billion to the Peter G. Peterson foundation—the vast majority of my net proceeds from Blackstone. Why so much? Kurt Vonnegut once told a story about seeing Joseph Heller at a wealthy hedge-fund manager's party at a beach house in the Hamptons. Casting his eye around the luxurious setting, Vonnegut said, "Joe, doesn't it bother you that this guy makes more in a day than you ever made from Catch-22?" "No, not really," Heller said. "I have something that he doesn't have: I know the meaning of enough." I have far more than enough.”
In an article for Newsweek (http://www.newsweek.com/2008/03/29/you-can-t-take-it-with-you.html), Mr. Peterson is credited as saying:
“We fat cats will have to pay more taxes. The government will have to spend less. Everyone will have to save more. I'm not sure if we remember how to give up something for the long-term general good. Nor do we hear calls for sacrifice from our leaders.”  ~  Peter G. Peterson, Newsweek –
Well, Mr. Peterson, I have to say I do agree with two of your assessments, you DO indeed have FAR "more than enough" and second, yes...you ARE a "fat cat" and WILL have to pay more taxes...so please, could you and your rich pals PLEASE stop whining about it? 

Back during the Clinton years, the wealthiest in this country were paying 39%...and during those years EVERYONE was doing well...the rich were doing well, the middle-class was doing well, even the poor...though not doing "well" were certainly fairing far better than they are NOW.  But the millionaires of this country "needed" a tax break and got their Republican pals to give it to them...so that 39% was dropped by Bush and his GOP cronies to 36%.  That cut, along with the two ill-advised wars that those same Republicans got us into, turned the Clinton surplus into a huge deficit...and then the bankers and Wall Street almost completely collapsed our economy (with Peterson's old friends at Lehman leading the charge). 

Now our current President wants to raise that rate back to that same 39% from the prosperous Clinton years and the Republicans (and the uber-rich that they represent, like Mr. Peterson) are whining that they don't want go to back to those rates.  And Mr. Peterson here wants to lecture the middle-class of this country how WE need to accept cuts while HE and his fellow billionaires and millionaires demand extentions of those tax breaks from our struggling system??  Hasn't the middle-class of this country been destroyed ENOUGH, Mr. Peterson?  Apparently, Mr. "I've got mine so screw the rest of you" Peterson doesn't think so. 

Yet he claims, "Nor do we hear calls for sacrifice from our leaders.”   Actually, Mr. Peterson, yes...you have...you and the others of the richest among us have been asked to sacrifice a meager 3% more...and your resounding answer seems to be a loud, whining "NO"! 

Tell you what, Mr. Peterson...I will GLADLY trade places with you...I would love to have a mere fraction of the money that you are hoarding...and if I did, I certainly wouldn't whine about having to pay 39% of it to help support the country that I truly do love.  Hell...I'll up the ante...I'd even pay 40%. 

In 1994 in “Foreign Affairs” (published by the Council on Foreign Relations) Henry Owen wrote a review of Peterson’s book entitled "Targeting the Middle Class" which unequivocally states:
"Middle-class entitlements must be slashed to stem the budget deficit, raise private investment and restore the American dream."

Mr. Peterson, the bulk of us who used to be "middle-class" but are now on the brink of poverty think that the Middle Class has been "targeted" quite enough, thank you.  We think it's YOUR turn.  Because YOU got the "American Dream"...we got the "American Nightmare"...and we'd like to wake up now, please.  Just pay the damn 3%...I think you can afford it, like you admitted, you have far more than enough.

Oh...and Mr. Peterson...I think if you're REALLY that terribly concerned about the debt, instead of wasting $6 million on a ridiculous fake "Presidential campaign", you should have just given the money to the Treasury Department to PAY DOWN the damn debt...like my (recently defeated) wonderful Senator used to do with any mid-term raises he received, as well as any surplus money left over on the operating funds he received for his Senate office.

To view some of the writings of Peter G. Peterson and really get to know this louse, visit:   http://www.foreignaffairs.com/author/peter-g-peterson


Article about Peterson from firedog lake:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's the Matter With Wisconsin??

I read an article today at commondreams.org that was originally published in the Madison, Wisconsin "Capital Times"

It started off well..."Having elected its second millionaire to the U.S. Senate and sending its most courageous and progressive congressman home, having installed a Republican governor and Republican majorities to both houses of the state Legislature, Wisconsin has in the name of a "populist" uprising put into power a party totally opposed to the best interests of those most in need of real populism and government-led defense: rural and inner-city people. In a state with a prominent progressive tradition, what happened on Nov. 2 was a tragedy," So far, I agreed with every word...but then the sentence continued, "but not a very surprising one." 

Really?  Not surprising at all?  The writer doesn't think it's at ALL surprising that the voters of the state of Wisconsin, formally so progressive that we have actually elected Socialists for Governor and other state posts (Congress, Assembly,  Secretary of State, Attorney General, etc.) as well as to the national offices of Senator and Congressmen, has this year fully turned the state over to the GOP?  Especially to turn it over to the likes of Scott "every embryo deserves a name" Walker; Rebecca "compare people to inanimate objects/animals" Kleefish; and Ron "trust me cuz I ran a business with help from my wife's rich family and government programs that I now disavow" Johnson?  And then there is the leadership/control of the state Legislature by the "Big Fitz"/"Little Fitz" brothers who can't wait to be "under Walker's wing".

A state whose motto is "Forward" but who has just taken a giant leap backward...

Well...I suppose I shouldn't find it all that "surprising" considering just how much money was dumped into this state to convince my fellow Wisconsinites that voting against their own self-interests in favor of the uber-rich in this country was the smart thing to do. 

For months leading up to the election, in addition to the spots being run by the individual campaigns (Johnson, Walker, Kleefish, etc.), we were constantly bombarded with commercials like this one...

Stop digging, indeed...

Unfortunately, our new Senator-elect doesn't even get his own side's message, as he said this in his acceptance speech when he took the Senate seat from the one of the finest Senators I've seen in my lifetime:

The article then goes on to further state, "We could blame the unleashing of conservative dollars for political advertising and the high unemployment rate, but in truth the primary responsibility must rest with a Democratic Party that has pretty much abandoned its genuine democratic, populist, progressive roots at both the federal and state level."  This is an assessment that I couldn't possibly disagree with more.  I absolutely DO blame the massive conservative dollars that were pumped into this state in order to trick the voters into believing that the self-interests of the wealthy were somehow more important than their own.  I also blame, not the Democrats...who have passed some of the most pro-populous legislation since FDR's "New Deal" (which the Right hated JUST as much, if not more) http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/, but the "Party of No" that has fought them every tiny step along the way and now vows to make it a priority to overturn all that has been accomplished.  Just like they tried to overturn/destroy Social Security and numerous other "New Deal" plans that literally helped save our country during the FIRST "Great Depression", they currently want to sabotage everything that is being done to stave off the second "Great Depression" (of their making in the first place) that is still nipping at our heels. 

During the first two years of the Obama administration, the Right was all screaming about the "bank bailouts" and blaming them on Obama.  I must admit that I also hated the bank bailouts, but I remembered that the most egregious of those bailouts...AIG...predated Obama.  That one was ALL Bush!  But the Right wanted everyone to forget that.  They blamed Obama...put it all on him.  They used the American people's anger at that bailout (and the stimulus which they kept calling "failed" even though more private sector jobs have been created thus far under Obama than the entirety of the Bush presidency) to seize back the power.   However, now that the election is over and they've managed to trick the people into giving them back the control that they abused the last time they had it...NOW that same bailout that they used to demonize Obama is publicly being credited for "saving the economy", most especially in Dubya's new book (I wish I knew who actually wrote that book, cuz lord knows it wasn't dumb-ass, inarticulate, "couldn't find a coherent sentence with a map and a flashlight", Dubya).

The Cap Times/Common Dreams article, in blaming the Democrats for not being "Progressive" enough, is missing a point that Bill Maher made recently.  Have the Democrats in Washington been perfect?  Of course not!  Am I somewhat disappointed in some of the things that they've compromised in order to get done what they have?  Absolutely!  But there is a HUGE difference between being upset at, or disappointed in, a friend who has let you down a bit and turning against that friend to support the sworn enemy that was the CAUSE of your friend disappointing you in the first place...just cuz you're a bit pissed at your friend for not resolving things fast enough.  In that regard, I agree far more with this article from the San Francisco Chronicle:  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fg%2Fa%2F2010%2F11%2F03%2Fnotes110310.DTL

On Tuesday, November 2nd 2010, the American people put the enemy back in charge.

Gods help our state and our country.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Lamentable Loss of Feingold:

In 1992, a State Senator from Wisconsin’s 27th District threw his hat into the ring, running against incumbent Republican Senator Bob Kasten (who had taken the seat from environmentalist Gaylord Nelson during the “Reagan Revolution” of 1980). He had earned the nomination by defeating millionaires Jim Moody and Joe Checota in the Democratic Primary.

As part of his grassroots campaign, Russ Feingold famously wrote his promises on his garage door:


1. I will rely on Wisconsin citizens for most of my contributions.

2. I will live in Middleton, Wisconsin. My children will go to school here and I will spend most of my time here in Wisconsin.

3. I will accept no pay raise during my six-year term in office.

4. I will hold a “Listening Session” in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties each year of my six-year term in office.

5. I will hire the majority of my Senate staff from individuals who are from Wisconsin or have Wisconsin backgrounds.

In his 1998 campaign for reelection Feingold put a self-imposed cap on his own campaign fundraising…limiting it to $3.8 million (one dollar for every Wisconsin citizen) and refused “soft money”. He also kept lobbyist groups from running pro-Feingold “issue ads”. These decisions set the tone for that election and put his Republican opponent, Mark Neumann in the position of making a show of also limiting his campaign to the same $3.8 million figure, but Neumann chose to NOT eschew the soft money. Thankfully Feingold prevailed.

In his 2004 race, after taking a good amount criticism from his party for having put his “seat at risk” in the ’98 campaign with his self-imposed funding cap, he did not set a cap this time. This decision, conversely, opened him up to accusations of “hypocrisy” from his opponent Tim Michels, as he spent almost $11 million in the campaign. However, Feingold was able to demonstrate that more than 90% of the funds came from Wisconsin residents giving an average of $60 and once again Feingold prevailed.

Until this year.

Millionaire Ron Johnson spent inordinate amounts of his own money to defeat Russ for his seat in the Senate. Millions of dollars were spent by Johnson himself, then millions more pumped into his campaign by various lobbies and PAC groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to run attack ads against Feingold.

The primary attacks on Russ focused on two areas, the first of which was that he was a “career politician”. It seems that experience is a quality to be touted in a Republican (like Tom Petri who has been our representative in the House for 31 years), but a negative to be overcome for a Democrat.
The second false claim constantly made by Johnson was saying that Russ consistently voted along the party line. This is completely untrue. I have always said that in my opinion, although I may not have always agreed with every vote Russ has cast…the one thing that I could be confident of was that he was voting in the way that he honestly believed to be the best course…not because someone was paying him to vote that way.

The following are some of the votes where Senator Feingold differed from his party line:
  • Russ was the lone Democratic vote against the Motion to dismiss the impeachment case against President Clinton in order to give the prosecution “every reasonable opportunity” to prove the guilt of the accused.
  • He also went against his party when he stood against NAFTA and other so-called “free trade” agreements.
  • Russ was the lone vote against the “Patriot Act” in 2001 (as he actually READ the bill and believed that it infringed on Civil Liberties). He has since voted against reauthorization several times as his concerns were not addressed.
  • Russ angered his party when he voted for the confirmation of John Ashcroft as Attorney General and for John Roberts for the United States Supreme Court.
  • Russ voted against TARP and the banking industry/Wall Street bailout.
  • Five days after Obama’s inauguration, Feingold and Robert Byrd were the only Democrats to vote against confirmation of Timothy Geithner to be Secretary of the Treasury.
  • He introduced a bill that bans lobbyists from giving gifts to senators and put serious controls on Senators using corporate gifts (like free use of corporate jets, etc.). Additionally, this bill blocked members of Congress and their staffers from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving office.
  • He has been lauded by advocate groups like the conservative “Citizens Against Government Waste”, “Taxpayers for Common Sense” and the “Concord Coalition” for his efforts to cut pork barrel spending…though Johnson ran ads implying that Russ was part of the pork barrel problem.
  • Senator Feingold has returned over $70,000 in mid-term pay raises (as he vowed to back on that garage door), as well as returning excess money that is budgeted for operation of his Senate office but is not used due to his notorious frugality…he has returned over $3.2 million dollars to the U. S. Treasury in this way.
Feingold was one of 28 Senators who voted against the authorization that allowed George W. Bush to invade Iraq and was the first Senator to call for troop withdrawal timetables. Additionally, his efforts in favor of veterans prompted the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers to name him 2010 “Legislator of the Year”.

Russ worked across the aisle with John McCain on campaign finance reform which instituted many of the financial restrictions that he had imposed upon himself in his 1998 campaign regarding soft money and advocacy advertising. This provision was recently overturned by the “Citizens United” ruling earlier this year. This USSC decision prompted President Obama to mention the potential repercussions this ruling would have on our elective process during the State of the Union address, to which Justice Alito, sitting in the audience, pursed his lips, shook his head and said “That’s not true.” However, watching the vast sums of money pouring into the system and taking over the recent election demonstrates quite clearly who was being more truthful on that matter.



I am grateful to Russ Feingold for the following:

His staunch opposition to
  • The Iraq War
  • Exporting American jobs overseas
  • Social Security Privatization
  • Expanded Military Spending
  • The Patriot Act
  • Prayer in Schools 
And his constant commitment to:
  • Public Education
  • Gay Marriage
  • National Health Care
  • Women’s Reproductive Freedom
  • Immigration
  • Fair Trade
  • Civil Liberties
  • And other causes of social justice


“Gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy. . .”

“The proposed ban on civil unions and marriage is a mean-spirited attempt to divide Wisconsin and I indicated that it should be defeated.” ~ Senator Russ Feingold

Ron Johnson opposed the Recovery Act, which created more than 640,000 jobs here in Wisconsin. He also supports teaching creationism in schools, is opposed to equal marriage rights and believes in the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the US military.  He is opposed to stem cell research and called scientists who attribute the climate crisis to man-made causes “crazy”.

Senator-elect Johnson, you have some VERY big shoes to fill and some very high standards to live up to…and all your money can’t buy that.


Also, apparently, even though the commercials his advocates ran on his behalf constantly referenced the old adage, "When you're in a hole, stop digging", apparently our Senator Elect NOW thinks that further "digging" is the way OUT.



Let me ask you one question…is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness? Do you think that it should?
I think you will find when your death takes its toll…
All the money you made will never buy back your soul.” ~ Bob Dylan






 “if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it.”

~ John Stuart Mill – Considerations on Representative Government, 1861






Friday, November 5, 2010

The Brothers Grim

Now that the voters of Wisconsin have voted the Republicans into power in the State, turning over the Leadership of the Senate from Leader Russ Decker (Democrat of Wausau) and Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (Democrat from Janesville) to the GOP, those leadership roles will now likely be assumed by two brothers who reside in Dodge County and have each been chairman of the Dodge County Republican Party. Scott Fitzgerald (46-R-Juneau) and Jeff Fitzgerald (44-R-Horicon).

The brothers moved to Dodge County from Chicago as students, and their father, Stephen Fitzgerald served as Dodge County Sheriff as well as a U.S. Marshall in the Western District of Wisconsin, after starting his career as a Chicago cop.

Referring to republican Governor-Elect Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald (who is called “Big Fitz” around the Capital to differentiate him from his little brother) said, "What I really hope for is that we can tuck ourselves under the governor's wing and really start working with this governor," 


New Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald also stated that the Wisconsin Senate’s first priority under his leadership will NOT be about jobs or the economy, as it seems the voters wanted, but instead will be a bill requiring voters to have to present photo ID at the polls.  Why Leader "Big Fitz" thinks that is what should be the top priority under the current circumstances, is beyond my understanding.

Senate Leader Fitzgerald’s younger brother "Little Fitz”, who will soon be the Assembly's Speaker, on the other hand is at least focusing on the voters’ priority of a jobs package. But considering that they aspire to be “under the wing” of a Governor that I find to be horrendous nightmare just waiting to happen, suffice it to say that I find the brothers Fitzgerald a bit...Grim.

Weeper of the House...

It's the hypocrisy and the double standard that gets me...

Personally, I have no problem with a person showing emotion.  I actually think that when someone does show genuine emotion, you can know that you're seeing the real them (unless they're a HELL of an actor, but let's face it, even a lot of actors aren't THAT good). 

Also, I have to admit that I myself am quite emotional (as I'm sure all who know me can attest) and I have even been known to get choked up over movies, TV shows (the West Wing especially), soap operas, news stories, heart-tugging commercials and even from hearing my favorite verse of "America the Beautiful". 

To be honest, I have to admit that in his position, I would probably have been about the same...overcome with emotion and weepy.  But in this campaign season, when a lot of GOP candidates were regularly advising their Democratic opponents to "Man Up", (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43662.html) ... I can't imagine all the horrible things that would be being said about a Democrat who broke down like this during an acceptance speech.  Things that the Right has been calling the Left for YEARS...."weak", "effeminate", "wimp", "pathetic", "crybaby", "pansy", "sissy", and "wuss" all come to mind.  I can also easily imagine words like "undignified", "humiliating", "embarassing", and "inappropriate" being used as well. 

Between Boehner's weepy speech and all the other strange events of this campaign season, I honestly can't imagine what the other side would be saying if the tables were truly reversed...

It's the hypocrisy of the Right that sickens me...

To see Mr. Boehner's voting record, visit this link:  http://www.issues2000.org/OH/John_Boehner.htm

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Woke Up in a Red State This Morning...

Not only did the Teabaggers throw my country's House of Representatives into the hands of my arch-enemy the GOP (God/Guns and Oil Party), they also seem to have stolen my state's Senate seat as well as my state house, state senate, state assembly and even local sheriffdom as well. 

My County's Sheriff-elect is a former City of Sheboygan cop who has a total obsession with rooting out the 'evil' marijuana and whose name has been associated with most police misconduct incidents that I have ever heard of.  He is so notorius that even before he was a candidate, he was the one cop on the force whose name many knew...to watch out for.

My new Governor-elect is a Teabagger who believes so strongly that "life begins at conception" that he is not only completely anti-choice (even in cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother) and against stem cell research...he is also against any form of birth control which leads to the destruction of a fertilized egg, which includes many of the more effective forms, (when it comes to women anyway...let's face it, condoms are best) since the Pill, Depo shots, and the I.U.D., all make the womb inhospitable to the fertillized egg and prevent implantation, rather than preventing fertilization from occurring. 

His Lt. Governor is a crazy woman who actually compared many of my friends to "a table, a clock or a dog" when stating her (bigoted) opinion that they shouldn't be allowed to marry.

And my new Senator-elect, a "Teabagger" named Ron Johnson who is completely unqualified for the office, but who spent a LOT of his own money (it's SO easy to be rich when one marries into big Bemis family money) in order to defeat a man whom I consider to be one of the finest Senators I've ever seen...Russ Feingold.

Ari & Senator Feingold - 2004

Ari & Russ - 2010

Mr. Johnson, like so many of the Teabaggers, refused to answer specific questions about his plans (as I'm sure he doesn't really have any, other than to derail the current administration and get a tax cut for himself and his millionaire friends/family) and I am confident that he will infuriate me on a regular basis, so I'm sure his office staff will get very used to hearing from me.

The GOP also managed to take over control of both the state Senate and the Assembly here in Wisconsin, so when our crazy new Governor tries to get his pals in control of the State House to pass some insane anti-choice act, or change the State Constitution in order to ban Gay Marriage, or to allow people to be packing a concealed gun at WalMart...I'm sure they'll be right there for him...which terrifies me.

I read an excellent article today by Bill Moyers about the influence of big money on our elective process... Money Fights Hard and it Fights Dirty...the article is subtitled "Welcome to the Plutocracy!"  Big money just bought itself a country and now will get their way, at the expense of the people who were stupid enough to vote the way they were told by billionaires, instead of in their own best interests.  :(

I've seen all this before you see (and  I was a still a republican back then, so I saw what they were doing from the inside...it's why I'm NOT a republican anymore), but I really thought that MAYBE the people had reclaimed their power when Obama got in (cuz lord knows THAT was NOT what the machine wanted!)...but no.  The Right just just spent HUGE money thanks to the recent Supreme Court verdict declaring that money equals speech and corporations are essentially people...then they ramped up their same old tactics from ’94, and we find ourselves right back where we were then.  The people had rebelled against the wishes of the money machine and put in a President that the machine hated…that they then proceeded to try to destroy…using whatever tricks were necessary. 

I wonder what they’re going to set up to impeach Obama for…

Tuesday, November 2, 2010



Though it's no longer at the front of the news, the fallout from the BP disaster isn't over...

Three interesting things all happened to coincidentally cross my TV and computer screen this morning (in addition to the election coverage which has me so sickened that I was looking for other things, to take my mind off it.  I wanted to try to forget the fact that my state is likely going to lose what I consider to be the finest Senator that I know of and that we're going to end up with people in his position and the state house that I find to be utterly repugnant.  Not to mention all the other absolute LOONS like that crazy Sharon Angle in Nevada and that utterly mad Ken Buck in Colorado, and so many others.  I can't believe that my fellow Americans are so stupid that they're letting the money machine convince them to vote against their own best interests because the Democrats didn't manage to clean up the mess the GOP made the LAST time they had power, fast enough. 

Please forgive the parenthetical tangent.)...anyway, back to the point on BP...

On MSNBC this morning, they had blurb in the scroll that said that the "number of denied BP claims rises sharply".  When I saw that, the first thing I shouted at the TV was "Of COURSE they are...BP is anticipating the reclaiming of power by their political cronies, so feel they can go back to their old greedy ways!!"  I waited for there to be more information on that, but it didn't come...so when I got online for the morning, I tried to find the news story.  In my search for it, the first thing I came up with instead was a link to a story from the BBC extolling the fact that BP has returned to profitability this quarter.  Awww....How nice for them!!  So while trying to find the story regarding the fact that BP has increased denials of claims against them by the people whose lives they ruined, I learn that they're making billions in profits again.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11671953

But the search for the initial information regarding the rise of the denial of claims continued...

The next thing I stumbled across in the search was this video: 

Watching the video, you can CLEARLY see the demarcation between the things in the dead zone and things below it.  Absolutely horrifying...but still not the story I was looking for, so back to the original search. 

Finally, I found it (should have checked MSNBC's site in the first place, since it was their scrolling blurb that set off the search at the start).  The article is entitled, "Number of denied BP claims rises sharply - 20,000 told they have no right to emergency compensationhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39956880/
One interesting quote from the piece says, "since Oct. 1, the fund has received thousands of new claims for emergency six-month payments, bringing the total to about 315,000, in an apparent rush to meet a Nov. 23 deadline. After that, residents can only file a claim for a final payment, which would be granted only if they sign away their right to sue BP."  I remember right after the bus accident, all the sharks from the insurance companies swimming around the hospital trying to get people who were still hospitalized to sign away their rights to sue for a minor compensatory amount that they (the insurance guys, not the drugged patients) knew would likely not even cover the hospital bills.  It's utterly disgusting.

So, there's a literal "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico and BP is increasing their denial of claims from the damage they caused to the Gulf residents in anticipation of their deregulating GOPals...and they've made almost 2 BILLION dollars in profits.  I'm so glad for them that they are bouncing back so nicely.  Too bad the same can't be said for the fishermen of the Gulf whose very way of life has been destroyed or for the Gulf itself with its "dead zones".

Why am I still seeing my fellow Americans buying gas from this slime?!?!

Monday, November 1, 2010

An Excellent Pre-Election Episode

Though I must admit I found the two republicans on this panel particularly irritating and  I wish I could have been there to argue several of their points with them, I think this was one of my favorite episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher ever.  If you haven't seen the whole thing, I highly recommend it.  If you have HBO/On Demand, you can easily view it there, there's also a download link (for I-tunes) for the full episode available at HBO.com.

In lieu of seeing the entire episode, I highly recommend this clip: