Sunday, December 16, 2012

Of Conscience and Cowards

Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action.
Hamlet Act III

We are told we are unsafe and our government is incapable of protecting us and is leading us to outrageous fortune. The offered solution is to arm ourselves against that sea of troubles . The question is whether that is a path to our own destruction.

All the evidence says something else. If government is unable to protect us it is because we have defunded it while sewing the weeds of chaos. The criminals are not the ones we imagine. Whether deliberately or by accident we are much more likely to shoot ourselves than an intruder, to kill our own family or neighbor or facilitate others to do it. In Connecticut the shooter was the disturbed son of a legal owner who not only failed to keep the guns secure but exposed him to them as recreational toys. He shot her in the face with one of them. Jovan Boelcher killed his girlfriend and then himself with his own gun and not at the hand of some “criminal” and in so doing became one.

Government cannot protect us from these events as long as that kind of amoral disconnect exists because they cannot protect us from ourselves. We must therefore police ourselves and those around us. The politicians who pour that poison in our ear will lead us to still more heart ache and a thousand shocks yet to come. In their insolence of office it is not arms they ask us to bear but ills which puzzle our conscience and makes cowards of us all.

We have the right to bear arms. But here lies the rub. Rights do not exist in a vacuum. At some point judgment must rule the day. We must have the courage to tell our family and friends and leaders that these outcomes are unacceptable and in so opposing it, end it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Mormon and the Ferengi

As a Mormon Mitt Romney believes that the Christian God Jahova was once a mortal man from the planet Kolob who was rewarded with god-hood for being a good Mormon man there.

All devout Mormons are to be similarly rewarded with their own planets over which they will serve as gods.

It is therefore interesting to speculate on just exactly what planet that might be.  The clues are there if you choose to see them!

Mitt Romney's earthly philosophy most closely matches that of Star Trek's Ferengi.
How do we know this?  Because he lives by the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition!

The examples are everywhere.

First, see the rules here:

Then google the web to see what statements he has made that fit to rules.  Here are a number of all to obvious examples.

#1.  Once you have their money never give it back!
Paul Ryan's plan is a path to prosperity for Mitt Romney.

#6 A Man is only worth the sum of his possessions.
"Contending that he is a self-made millionaire who earned his own fortune"
When he doesn't know a camera's rolling, the GOP candidate shows his disdain for half of America.

#10  Greed is eternal.
The reward for being a devout Mormon is godhood over your own planet.
         It is common knowledge that Mormons consistently and deliberately hide
the teachings of their religion. Their main deception is that they present themselves as simply another mainline Christian denomination who believe and worship our Creator who has revealed Himself in the Bible. 

#13 Anything worth doing is worth doing for profit!
As local and federal emergency response teams battle floodwaters in the Northeas
t, I'm reminded of a Republican presidential debate last year in which Mitt Romney criticized theFederal Emergency Management Agency.

#16  A deal is a deal - until a better one comes along.
Is GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney a strong believer in stating your posi
tion and not wavering, as he once bragged

Mitt flips on FEMA, now would keep it

Romney said he wanted to eliminate the government agency, but now he's having second thoughts

#23  There is nothing more important than your health - except for your money!
Romney said: “By the way, number one I get rid of is “Obamacare.” There are a number of things that sound good but, frankly, we just can’t afford them. And that one doesn’t sound good, and it’s not affordable, so I get rid of that one from day one; to the extent humanly possible, we get that out. We take program after program that we don’t absolutely have to have and we get rid of them.”

#34 War is good for business.
Mitt Romney’s national security advisors on Thursday defended the candidate’s pl
edge to devote 4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to the Pentagon’s base budget, pointing out that when spending on overseas conflicts is included, the nation currently is spending 4.2 percent of its GDP

#125  You can't make a deal if you're dead!
SAN DIEGO — On a stage crowded with war heroes, Mitt Romney recently praised the
sacrifice "of the great men and women of every generation who serve in our armed services." It is a sacrifice the Republican presidential candidate did not make.

#144  There is nothing wrong with charity as long as it winds up in your pocket.

Bloomberg News: Romney ‘rented’ Mormon church’s exemption to defer taxes for 15 years

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney used a loophole to “rent” the Mormon church’s tax exemption status and defer paying taxes for 15 years, according to a new report.

#221  Employees are rungs on the ladder of success.  Don't hesitate to step on them!
It all seems so abstractuntil you start talking to people. That just what we did
 when theOverpass Light Brigadevisited Bainport, IL., a protest tent-city that has been set up across from a company that is being dismantled for resettling in China. 

How many more can you find?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Orwell Comes to Manitowoc - Why I Cannot Support Jim Brey

The following is an email I sent to the Manitowoc County Democratic committee.  The specific origins of this message are less important than the fact that I have come under tremendous political pressure to drop my objections to the presence of Jim Brey in the Democratic Party and accept him as the best deal I can make to represent my values.  I do not.

[Member of the committee],
It is possible to back and forth endlessly on this subject.  Allow me to explain in a broader sense why I cannot participate in supporting Mr. Brey.

I suggest that everyone read Orwell's essay, "Notes on Nationalism".  As a professor of American History I would think it would be of particular interest to Chairman Trask.  In that essay Orwell said the following:

"By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests.
The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him. Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also — since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself — unshakeably certain of being in the right."

If you believe I am saying that I support Mr. Tittl, let me state without hesitation, that I do NOT.  He is himself a nationalist which is what the TEA Party is, a nationalist movement in its truest form.  But, in supporting Mr. Brey we are no longer Democrats.  We have become nationalists ourselves.

As someone very much closer to the historical events Mr. Orwell is noted for criticizing it should come as no surprise that I take his warnings very seriously.  I refuse to participate in the self deception that supporting the likes of Mr. Brey in any way advances the cause of true Democratic values which are my sole concern.  As Ron so aptly put it, "My values are my priority".

I would hope that you could respect that and take seriously my campaign to support and defend those values which I always believed we had in common as Democrats.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney and Walker's Rotten Fruit

An Arab proverb states, “And tomorrow there will be apricots!” It expresses cynicism in the hollow promises of politicians.

According to Mitt Romney's new TV ad “It's not working for Wisconsin....” and promises 240,000 new jobs. The choice of that slogan is strangely confusing since it is the reverse of Governor Walker's own slogan which claims that it “is working”. Just exactly what is (or is not) working seems to depend upon what the meaning of “it” is.

Is “it” the stimulus? Can't be that because Walker sent that program packing.
“It” cannot be the billions Walker yanked from public schools and local governments because that's budget cutting and budget cutting is good according to Romney & Ryan.

What quarter million jobs are we talking about? Are they the same jobs promised by Walker?
Or are they in compensation for the quarter million jobs we are on pace to lose in Walker's term?

“It” seems to mean that Wisconsin has somehow been held back by national policy. More likely “it” means that the nation is being held back by massive job losses in states like Wisconsin and New Jersey that swallowed the bitter fruit of Republican austerity.

In the 1930's John Stienbeck wrote of people starving while picking the fruit they could not afford to buy and surpluses were dumped in ditches. The great lie that threatens to starve us is the hollow promise that prosperity will be delivered by a new crop of growers who will hire more pickers if they can just be made to work a little cheaper and live a little meaner. But there are no apricots or anything else coming. The fruit of our labor has all been dumped in the ditch of corporate interests.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tax Credits and the Reality of Job Creation

This is a letter to the editor I wrote back in July and published at
I dont have the original link but Im posting it here now in order to preface some other new material on the issue of tax credits as a tool to stimulate the economy and why they do not work...

We were told we were broke. No money for schools, for cities, recycling, public works much less public employees. Amid a blizzard of misinformation and bogus budget numbers we were convinced to give up billions in state aids on the promise that teachers and public servants were the cause of it all and someone had to pay.

What it paid for was a massive tax credit program that has extended hundreds of millions to corporations promising to create jobs for cash. Plexus Corp in Appleton was given fifteen million to supposedly create 350 jobs at a cost of nearly $43,000 per job. Kohls department stores got another 62 million and they are just the latest.

Prosperity was just around the corner. All Manitowc had to do was suffer an 11% increase in the school tax. Valders now much the same with Chilton not far behind. The cities took the same hits. Then lay off dozens. Hundreds district wide.

This week Plexus announced the layoff (not hire) of 116. In making the announcement a company spokesman said that they “...made the layoffs in response to a decrease in customer orders.” Wait? Weren't we told that investment creates jobs? That tax cuts drive investment? Did we misunderstand?

It seems that customers create jobs. So says Ginger Jones, CFO of Plexus Corp. Tax credits not so much.

Unemployed public workers make poor customers. No less so the workers at Plexus who will not receive their first week's unemployment because that was cut too. So it is for the other 13,000 who lost their jobs in June. But Plexus got its 15 million and no doubt the board will reward Ms. Jones well. The employees at Kohl's hope she is a big customer there. The unemployed shop at Wal Mart.

You may also find this link interesting...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

YOU are NOT Competitive! (but we are)

When a conservative talks to you about being competitive it would be wise to look over your shoulder and make certain that he is not talking to someone else because the meaning of the word changes depending upon who they are referring to.

When the subjects are CEOs and top managers they say that these people need high salaries because we need to attract the best people to be competitive.

When the wages of ordinary workers are discussed those wages must be kept low in order to remain competitive.

So it goes with Gov. Scott Walker...

State gives bonuses despite budget deficit

Walker establishes merit raises

MADISON — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker established a program that has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in merit raises and bonuses to some state workers even as he preached cost-cutting and pushed through a law reducing most public workers' pay and eliminating their union rights.
An analysis of data The Associated Press obtained through an open records request showed Wisconsin agencies have handed out more than $765,000 in bonuses and merit raises this year to nearly 220 employees.
The awards are meant to reward stellar performance. But they come as the state faces a $143 million shortfall and after thousands of state workers took pay cuts through provisions in the collective bargaining law requiring them to contribute more to their pensions and health care.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Support Dale Schultz

The following is a letter to the editor of the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter I submitted earlier today.

Dear editor:

All too often these days politicians see their their self interest as being entwined with their party's ideology. There is the party line and it must be toed regardless of the facts. When things go wrong the blame is for the other guy even when the party overreaches and does or tries to do something so outrageous that it breaks all civil notion of public interest. Compromise is for that other guy.

Before the Legislature is Assembly Bill 486. This mining bill commits such outrages as forcing the DNR to issue the permit even if the department knows that the mine will endanger public health or safety, explicitly orders them to ignore groundwater contamination, allows the draw down of lakes and rivers from not only the mining area but anywhere in the entire region with no limits. Toxic waste can be dumped in wetlands at will. This is not specific to the Ashland site but any mine anywhere in the state now or in the future. And worse, the Walker administration will raid 40% of local impact fund to shore up their creaking budget.

Republican Senator Dale Schultz has had enough. Citing what he calls the “golden rule of this state's treasured land ethic” he has bucked his own party's land grab for Gogebic mining. Perhaps he truly believes in that ethic or perhaps he has listened to his constituents who oppose the bill by 2 to 1. It doesn't matter. That is what politicians should do and Schultz deserves the credit. But he is under tremendous pressure. He needs other Republicans to join him and we can help. Call your representatives and tell them to Support the Schultz Jauch compromise. If they refuse, ask them why compromise is a bad thing and who they see as partisan.

BREAKING! Ziegelbauer Tells the Truth! - almost

In a February 19th interview with 25th Assembly district Bob Ziegelbauer he is asked if he lost his committee chair because of his vote on abortion (as he formerly claimed).
At the time I criticized that excuse for being a misdirection.  He had in fact been fired because he was a no show for committee meetings and votes.

It seems his story has changed just a bit.  In the interview he states the following:

CT: Before you left the Democrats, they stripped you of your committee chairmanship over abortion issues?
BZ: Well yeah, it was because I didn't vote on a couple procedural motions that are supposed to be required voting -- back to that "you have to vote with us" deal. When I did that I understood fairly well that that could be the result, so I didn't go off stomping mad or anything. It was a very civilized transaction -- the speaker told me this is why and I'm taking your chairmanship and basically all I could say is OK because he had the power to do it.
Read more:

In fact the story has changed several times.  In this version he claimed it was because of a vote that he "took".

Sept. 18, 2009 | Madison – Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer (D-Manitowoc) was replaced as chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Ways and Means because of a vote he took on a state budget amendment, the nine-term lawmaker said Friday.
“It’s discipline, I was fired,” said Ziegelbauer, who frequently votes differently from the rest of his Democratic colleagues.
He said Sheridan told him the decision was made because of his vote on an amendment offered by abortion opponents during the budget debate. Ziegelbauer voted with those who wanted to overrule a decision by the body’s chairman to not consider the amendment.
The amendment from Rep. Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade) would have prohibited state Medicaid funds from going to hospitals that perform second- and third-trimester abortions.

Pants on fire?
But was it then or is it now?