One unfortunate element of the night was that Guy Johnson had a "big meeting" in Shorewood, and could not attend. This was extraordinarily disappointing on many levels. Tonight's forum was important, and you can draw your own conclusions about a candidate who has another priority.
Here in southeastern Wisconsin, we often say that we like certain environmental values. Like peace and quiet in our home neighborhoods, cleaning air, and hassle free traffic patterns. There are only two things that could interrupt our veneration for these values: the Green Bay Packers and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Well, the Packers are still in preseason, but Harley-Davidson add another landmark birthday. The city celebrated by doing what it usually does-making the absurd appear usual.
Haven't the neocons destroyed our Constitution and reputation enough? You want more?! More torture of prisoners? More cages in Guantanamo? No more habeas corpus? More illegal invasions? More lies? More bombing civilians in night raids? More coddling "our" Iraqi regime that is snuggling up to Iran, our supposed enemy? More squandering of scores of billions of dollars by our "friends" in the Middle East? More American military deaths? More budget deficits? More tax breaks for oil companies? More benefits for corporations who move jobs overseas? More political sell-outs to big corporations? Less health care for Americans? Bigger handouts to pharmaceutical behemoths? More losses of international friends? More illegal wiretapping? More snooping on our private lives by the federal government? More mixing of religion and government? More of the government checking your library activities? More of the federal government inside your doctor's office on your next visit? More hundreds of billions of dollars in debt annually in the federal budget? More losses of jobs overseas? More cuts in veterans' benefits? More cuts in student loans? More government coziness with evangelical nutcases? Privatizing your Social Security to the benefit of the stock market manipulators? More disaster relief bungling? More permitted destruction of our environment? Less inspection of your food and drugs? More denial of pending environmental disasters? Refusal to recognize global warming? Federal judge selection based on political leanings? A Supreme Court farther to the Right? The overturn of Roe vs. Wade? More testing and less teaching in schools? Less support for public education? More trillions of dollars in hand-outs to our military corporations? More head-in-the-sand sex education? More homophobia? More religious mumbo-jumbo and hypocrisy in the White House? More Capitalistic Christianity? More Confederate flag mentality? More of the bomb now and try diplomacy later?
Although local liberals are out waving the banner looking for change at the national level, back on the local scene, it's business as usual -- raising your taxes. Yes, the same people who are blaming the current administration for making life worse, once again want you, the taxpayer, to go through the effort of earning money so they can take it away from you and spend it as they wish. This is the same group who have been screaming for relief to working families that they are struggling putting clothes on their kids backs, putting gas in their cars to go to work, putting food on the table, and making the mortgage payment now want to take more money from these people in the form of taxes.
The city of Milwaukee has just enacted a wheel tax. The good news is this tax is not imposed on everyone. It's only imposed on responsible citizens who own private transportation. Only on the citizens who legally register their cars. It will only be imposed on those who will pay, not who should pay, not who can pay. You can darn well bet that 13 out of 19 county supervisors will also be watching how this goes over. So look out, citizens of Milwaukee County, it's going to get a lot more expensive to live here. Also on the agenda for these 13 of 19 county supervisors is the 1% increase in the sales tax for Milwaukee County. And again, the County Board has proved that these are their only two ideas.
Not opinion, just some facts about Governor Palin...remember, not opinion, but FACTS:
She tried to get books banned from the public library that she did not like when mayor.
Calling these legislators hypocrites would be offensive to the regular hypocrites. They would need a promotion to be considered phonies. Even the First Amendment to the Constitution would not protect me from calling these people what they really need to be called. How can it be considered other than a complete betrayal of the citizens of this state for legislators to go to Madison, pass bills that will raise taxes on the citizens, and pay no taxes themselves.
When election time comes, you can darn well bet that these people will be out touting what great citizens they are. They shamelessly promote what good businesspeople they are, yet when tax time comes, they have so many losses that it exceeds their revenue. What good business sense are they portraying? Do they somehow launder all their personal expenses through their business? This somehow qualifies them for public office. Yet they take your hard-earned money and spend it as they see fit. Then want more. It's for the children. There ought to be an investigation. It's not for the children, it's for their own selfish interests. Some claim to be lawyers, and still have no income. How good of a lawyer can they be if they have absolutely no clients? I would rather take legal advice from a notary public.
As the American industrial nation was sinking deeply in the late 1920s and very early 1930s, one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history fortunately came on the scene, Franklin D. Roosevelt. By instigating social democratic changes in the U.S. he literally saved the U.S. economy. Today he is heralded for many "firsts" in our history, but too many other innovations have been forgotten. All of Western European democracies have adopted many of FDR's ideas, and France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, etc. are now flourishing economies as social democracies. And the standard of living in those countries is higher than for most Americans. Each has a universal, national health care system, and their citizens cannot imagine the gross unfairness of what we have in the U.S.
Your parents and grandparents had their lives dramatically changed for the better with the introduction of Social Security and other social innovations. Unfortunately, today we have neocons and a president who want to change this and privatize Social Security. These same right-wingers tell us the federal government cannot run things related to economics and social democracy. They seem to amazingly overlook the fact that Social Security and Medicare, two government-run programs, function smoothly at low overhead. The only problems arise when conservatives try to tweak it. And the neocons are certainly unable to do much with the American economy. Look what they have done to the mortgage industry [again], the "laissez-faire" stock market greed, and all the materialistic-grubbing capitalists who want to accumulate as much for themselves as possible, and to hell with the rest of the people. And so they continue to push for corporate welfare for themselves and begin to prey on each other. Left to their own devices, the corporate behemoths devour everything they can...EVERYTHING. The biggest welfare system in America is for corporations.
It's codespeak: "voter fraud". Everyone's concerned about it, but it's not really a real problem. It's one of those made-up unreal problems. You know how in a Hollywood western, if a guy is walking through the desert and suddenly steps in quicksand, he's up to his neck in 30 seconds? Real quicksand doesn't work that way. In fact, it doesn't really exist. You know how on television, a lawyer show shows the entire prosecution of a case from investigation to sentence within an hour? It doesn't really happen that way.
So why are Republicans really concerned with "voter fraud"? It's not because they're concerned about the rights of Democratic voters. It's because they want their votes to count more.
Everyone who is running for office this year has adopted the same slogan: change. As a grade school student soon to decide that political science would be my life's work, the teacher divided the electorate into two major classes; conservatives and liberals. Conservatives usually ran on the status quo. They like things the way they. Liberals want change. They do not like things the way they are.
Barack Obama has been campaigning with the slogan of changed since the beginning of his presidential bid. Although he has not defined, what change would mean, he wants the electorate to agree with him on one basic premise: change = good. We have 49 days to find out if we agree.
Back in 1980, a Republican-led plan to free all big business and big economic enterprises from the regulations that were put in place to protect the public were soon successful. Since the 1930s when President Franklin Roosevelt saved the U.S. from the greed and selfish over-indulgences of large corporations by putting in place safeguards and regulations, we have had a steady and successful economic growth in America. In 1980 the seeds for economic disaster were put in place. With the emergence of neo-conservatism, these regulations have been sold to the American public as limiting big business. The FDR protections were seen as holding back the engine of huge corporations. And not only FDR was demonized, but the entire spectrum of "liberal" ideas were smeared and smudged. Americans bought into the "better" ideas of the right-wing, and handed over to corporate behemoths the economic gift of regulation-free economics.
The right-wing has now shown us what this "freedom" can bring. Just as in the 1920s when Republicans ruled, big business has grabbed every handout it could get and to hell with the general public. Increasingly, the right-wing has removed public safeguards in the economic sector. And finally, with Newt Gingrich in Congress, they got most of the remaining safety nets removed. The election of George W. Bush provided the final nail in the public's coffin.
Can you imagine St. Francis packing heat? Gandhi standing hundreds of feet from a gentle buck, doe, or fawn and killing one of them with a high-powered rifle with a telescopic scope? How can that possibly be construed to be good parental guidance for the family or an example of toughness (it seems just the opposite)? All this "need" to have a gun is mixed in with conservative Christianity and out comes a strange concoction. Show me someone who NEEDS to have a gun, and I will show you someone who probably shouldn't have one. Guns may have some function in a democratic society, but being used to pump up some pseudo-tough-guy is not one of them. Guns may have some function in protecting our nation from attack, but they are not to be used to lie and then invade a sovereign nation who had no connection to 9/11. Guns may have some proper function in the 21st century, but not to provide individuals or nations with excuses to act like bullies. Guns may have some military function, but not to help recruitment by terrorists for new members because we flaunt our weaponry.
"What would Jesus do?" is a common phrase used by especially Christian fundamentalists. And then they act in direct opposition to the life of Jesus of Nazareth. One does not honor the life of the Jesus portrayed in the Bible by quoting an isolated verse to justify one's own actions. Consider the whole life of the Nazarene, and then ask what Jesus might do. It is safe to say He would not join the National Rifle Association. It is safe to say he would not be the pilot of a bomber dropping bombs on civilians 30,000 feet below.
If you've ever met Senator Alberta Darling, you probably share what my view of her was until recently -- a nice lady but not a lot of substance. However, her last attack on her opponent, State Representative Sheldon Wasserman is not only ridiculous, it's downright sleazy.
Darling is claiming that Wasserman, who by the way is an OB/GYN, is complicit in diseminating information which questions Darling's health since she is a breast cancer survivor.
And I was silly enough to believe George W. Bush was a neocon Republican. Then he goes and uses the federal budget to get all his pet projects done...going in debt to do so. I thought that was a left-wing, Socialist act. He thus raised taxes and created more of a debt than any president in the history of the U.S. A conservative Republican? Then everybody was treated equally when it came to health care, nobody could afford it. A neocon used equality? Like all past presidents who "started" wars, George W. Bush invaded a sovereign nation without cause? I was told liberals did that in the past. Wow, who knew George W. Bush was a closet left-winger?
And when greed and lies caused the banking and investment system to bring the nation to the brink of economic disaster, George W. Bush used federal government money to buy up all these corporations, and now the government is in all forms of business. Silly me, I thought that was what happened in Socialist countries. Wait til your grandkids get the tax bill!
Barely 3 weeks into the school year, and the school board in the city of Milwaukee has given up. I am presuming that the school board is made up of elected people who had been sent to Washington with the task of making the schools in Milwaukee better. No, wait. They have been elected to stay right here in Milwaukee with the task of bettering the schools. In one of the most blatant and ignorant attestations, the school board wants us to believe that they are going to dissolve the Milwaukee public school district.
What exactly are they trying to prove? Is this a left-wing example of how they intend to get the citizens to all hold hands and declare that they will joyfully pay more in taxes? Did they except the challenge and think that things would be easy? Are they going to quit their positions, yet still collect a paycheck? What do they believe is their accountability? I'd like some answers. However, I don't care that much because I do not live in Milwaukee.
How in the world could we allow a man who never held a regular job, covered up his raunchy-checkered past, was not elected by the people of the U.S., lied to us over and over and over, invaded a sovereign nation without provocation, will leave Iraq only to have it splinter apart, gave special favors to his greedy friends in corporate America, connected personally with the head of some of the sleaziest companies in America [most of which have gone belly-up], ...how could we allow this man to dismantle the greatest economic engine in the world and take away our leadership position globally?
George W. Bush has made the U.S. look like a population of greedy bumpkins.
We are in the middle of what has been called the greatest financial crisis in this country since the Great Depression. I am not sure what degree this is true. I'm not sure I want it proved either. But to solve it, Congress wants to spend 700 billion of our taxpayer dollars.
There has been a huge push for Congress to push the bill through, that will bail out financial institutions and make our economy whole again. Soon after this bailout takes place, we will once again be able to view our economy with a great deal of certainty. Or will we?
See a pattern? But it is impossible to blame it all on the conservatives and Republicans. And it is impossible to blame it all on the men and women in Congress. And it is impossible to blame it all on politicians. It is even impossible to put all the blame on corporations and greedy corporate big-wigs. Heck, it is even impossible to put all the blame on evangelicals, pentecostals, and fundamentalists [though greed and gluttony are common among their money-grubbing clergy and over-done building monstrosities]. Take a look in the mirror.
We have lionized money and material things. We have equated making money with intelligence. We have financed business and commerce in our schools and deflated the humanities and the arts. We have been hell-bent on indulgence and anti-intellectualism. If you made millions, you were smart. If you made billions, you were a genius. Meanwhile the arts were suffering, and you were thought to be useless if you were an English or history major.
There are still many voters who count themselves as "undecided" just 5 weeks before one of the most important presidential elections in our history.
Confusion over what are and are not the facts about the candidates is only made worse by some of the negative campaign ads that are running.