Two days left in my vacation.  It has been a particularly good one.  I still have to go through my books – probably tomorrow.  Today will be spent running errands and hanging out with the kid.  Tomorrow I hope to go through my books and work on writing. 

This is one of my better vacations.  I relaxed, slept when I wanted, and wrote a lot.  Yesterday I visited with Laura.  It was a bonus to the week.  We always have such good conversations.  We talked about politics.

Politics are the most difficult topic.  Walker came out on top which was my fear when Barrett was his opponent.  I didn’t feel he was a strong enough candidate.  My fear is that he thinks that all the things he has been doing are justified.  However, he again didn’t win by a large margin which means nearly half the state does not like his policies.  I guess only time will tell if he has learned to play nice or not.  My guess would be not.

The only hope I see on the horizon is that the democrats may have won back the senate.  It seems like the count is for the democrat but the republican has asked for a recount.  We wait to see.  If the senate is democrat controlled then hopefully Walker won’t be able to ram through more of his destroying policies.

Journalistic Integrity

In our media these days we have a huge number of people calling themselves journalists.  However, I question their use of this title.  To me a journalist is someone who reports the information without bias, just giving details and information. 

Too often these days we see people commenting on the news rather than reporting it.  It very much reminds me of the era of yellow journalism which was back in the late 1800s.  Yellow journalism (for the non-history buffs) is the act of reporting from a biased point of view.

Most of our news people I think fall into this category.  They tell the story from the point of view they were hired to represent.  These reporters are not journalists.  They are commentators. 

I think it is sad that we have put so much importance on how someone looks on camera rather than on what they are reporting.  Honestly I don’t want someone to tell me their opinion.  I don’t want a news report to make me go do research.  I want it to inform me of the details so that I can form my own opinion.

Unfortunately now we are dealing with too many reporters not digging up stories because they are good stories.  We are getting reporters taking the facts and twisting them to fit their own biases.  I find this very patronizing and manipulative.  I just want the facts.  I’ll decide for myself the conclusion to draw from those facts.  Believe it or not I can think for myself.

Now we have stations on tv that spew out either all the Republican conservative rhetoric or the Democratic progressive viewpoint.  Of the two I think the worst is the Republicans at getting the information wrong but they are both guilty of it. 

The only stations I see giving a somewhat unbiased point of view are the public television shows (which I don’t watch often).  It seems like if you work for a particular network you only the point of view of that network instead of having an actual story based on facts.

Perhaps if our news outlets had some journalistic integrity, the American public could make better informed decisions.  It is a sad state of affairs when our media has slipped back into the practices of over a hundred years ago.

Core Beliefs

With all the posts on politics I’ve offended some people.  Some of these people were long standing friends.  I’m not sure whether they will continue to be my friend after this bout of political sharing.  In every day life, I’m pretty middle of the road.  I’ll vote for the candidate and how he or she represents themselves.  I don’t consider myself either Democrat or Republican.

One of the friends who disagrees with my point of view told me to explore the different beliefs of the parties and present a more balanced view.  My first thought was – it isn’t supposed to be a balanced view – this is my blog about MY opinions.  However, I like to keep an open mind and I like to listen to a lot of different perspectives.  So I thought I’d start at the heart of the beliefs. 

Here are the core beliefs of the Republican party (http://www.gop.com/index.php/issues/what_we_believe/)

What we believe
We’re fortunate to live in America
You can be what you are, and become what you are capable of becoming
Helping those around you is worthwhile
Small government is a better government for the people
You know what to do with your money better than government
Free markets keep people free
Our Armed Forces defend and protect our democracy
Now to be fair – after each of these statements on the site they have a statement of what this means to the republicans. 
Here are the core beliefs of the Democrats (http://strongdems.com/tag/core-beliefs/)
We stand for:
•Equality for all
•Strong Middle Class Jobs
•Defense of our shores
•Modern Infrastructure
•Economic Stability and Prosperity
•Energy Independence
•Environmental Protection
I look at these two lists and think – were they copying from each other the day they wrote these?  Okay there are a few differences in their wording but let’s look at these lists.
Dems – Liberty, Defense of our shores  Rep – Our Armed Forces defend and protect our democracy :  This seems pretty equal to me – not the same wording but the core ideas are there.
Dems – Community    Rep – Helping those around you is worthwhile :  Here we might be a bit further apart.  The Republicans seem to be saying that it is OK to help others… the Dems seem to be wanting you to be involved in your neighborhood and society – maybe a bit broader point but without further definition it is hard to tell.
Dems – Justice and Equality for all     Rep – You can be what you are, and become what you are capable of becoming:    Dems seem to be spewing words from the constitution – not a bad thing but how are you defining it?  Reps are just vague and here is where I have to say I take SEVERE issue with them.  They have this in their core beliefs but if you are a woman they are going to tell you what to do with your body.  If you are gay or lesbian they are going to prevent you from being married… so maybe they need a codicil on their statement.
Dems – Economic stability and prosperity     Reps – You know what to do with your money better than government:    Reps – have you seriously looked at the bankruptcy rates and the credit card debt – are you sure that Americans have a clue about money?  I think we may need a remedial course in money management all the way around… Dems – true statement and any reasonable person would read this and say “yes I agree” but what do you mean by it, how will you achieve it?  I want more details from you on this…
This leaves four principles for the Dems and three for the Reps which I can’t really match up – perhaps they decided to have things just slightly different so the teacher wouldn’t think they were cheating??? 
The Dems say they want a strong middle class and the Reps say they believe a free market keeps people free.  Economists will tell you that if the middle class is doing well the the economy is doing well.  I believe (not an expert) that most economists agree on this …  
Free market is a whole different thing.  If we look at NAFTA and other free market deals all that really did was allow companies to take jobs out of the US and move it overseas.  Now nearly everything is made overseas where there are little to no workers rights or protections..  Do you know if your clothes were made in a sweat shop?  ABC news did an interesting report where they took everything out of a house that was not made in America.  The house was nearly empty.  They then put back only made in America items.  Overall I believe (didn’t see every report) they found items that were the same cost or less that were made in the US.  The only items they didn’t find to be less expensive were the appliances – only ones still made in US are the top of the line WOLF appliance (made in WI I think).  So why are we buying foreign made goods so much?  Why aren’t we putting our neighbors to work?
The reps also say we are fortunate to live in America – yes we are.  That doesn’t mean that things are perfect here.  They also claim to believe in small government being better for the people.  A principle I agree with.  I don’t want the government regulating my womb.  I don’t want the government telling me who I can marry.  Oh wait the reps do that – maybe someone should show them their core beliefs and explain them to them so they remember that.  (That may have been slightly bitchy or all out bitchy but I’m not apologizing for the republicans)
On the other side of the aisle the dems stand for modern infrastructure, energy independence, and environmental protection.  I’d argue with this but I can’t.  I too believe if we have these things it makes our country better.  Yet I don’t want to go into debt to achieve these things.  If we go into debt though initially will it stimulate the economy enough that more revenues will be generated to cover the debt?  I don’t know – again I”m not an economist. 
Here is my thing – when we are talking about ideals.  I agree with both parties.  I like the principles of each and think they have some great core beliefs.  The problem occurs when they try to implement these beliefs.  There needs to be a strong independent spirit in our politicians.  They have to be above things like their own greed in accumulating power and money for their own aggrandizement.  Unfortunately most politicians aren’t. 
I see these beliefs and I want to weep for joy in the wonderful idealistic tone of them.  Then I look at how they have been applied.  I think at the heart of it our politicians have forgotten they are hired by the people to serve the people.  Few of them are doing a good job.  Sadly it seems to me that recent events have proven that money can buy an election.  Just look at Wisconsin.

Democracy is Dead

I was trying so hard to not post the political stuff and just give it a bit of a rest to see if things would calm down and work out.  They’ve worked out – or should I say they have been rammed through. 

It is interesting to read comments on articles.  I find that the Democrats letters and such are about compromise and working together.  The Republicans are about name calling and bullying.  I have found this to be the case with those commenting on articles – in general. 

I’m not saying that the dems are better than the republicans but it seems as if people are just not informed.  I read a comment on an article last night where the person said that teachers were all making six figures and getting multi-million dollar retirements.  It was so ridiculous and yet so sad.  Any public sector employees wages are public record – go LOOK. 

What the Republicans did last night was a travesty in the name of democracy.  I’m sure that the assembly will ram it through – they showed that with the last time they voted on this bill.  Here are my predictions for the future…

Walker will still lay off employees under the premise that is financial bill didn’t go through.  He will also implement more furlough days under this same guise.  I think when he’s done with that he will start looking at other benefits like sick time, base pay, vacation pay etc. 

I think the power plants will be sold for a rock bottom price.  I think we are going to see gas at the pumps and in our furnaces go up drastically and horribly. 

I think that he will close all the clinics that help with cancer screening for the poor.  I think we are going to see an increase in babies (no birth control) and then in abortions or worse in babies being born to people who don’t want them. 

Walker I feel is trying to put us back to the 50s.  We aren’t there and won’t go back.

In the meanwhile the unions, democrats, AFL CIO, women’s groups and whoever else gets a fancy to will sue.  It will take a while but these suits will eventually go through the courts and hopefully will win.  The sad thing is – in the long run it is tax payers who are going to pay – look at Milwaukee County.  Some of these things can’t be undone.  Some of these things will permanently change how Wisconsin is and not for the better. 


I watched the Governor’s news conference today.  He tried to convince all of us what a horrible position we are in.  He can say we are broke a million times and every time he does I think about the tax breaks he gave his cronies.  What he really said were half truths and lies.  I get that he is trying everything in his power to convince the citizens of Wisconsin that he is being truthful and trying to do what is best for Wisconsin.  He comes across as a slick used car salesman.

I watched the Democrats’ response to the Governor’s news conference.   I think they were genuine in their response.  I listened to the Republicans attempt to bully the Democrats and realized that they were doing their best to stand up to them. 

Walker says that the stimulus money was misappropriated.  Where is his proof?  I worked for the DOT and I know how careful everyone was for making sure about how the money was spent.  I know that we let (this means to put out for bid) a billion dollars worth of contracts which is twice what we normally do in a year.  We worked our asses off to get that money out to the contractors.  I’m offended that he would accuse us of spending it unwisely or erroneously. 

Walker said nothing new in his speech.  He just spewed more of the same rhetoric.  I saw Republicans yelling at Democrats because they weren’t getting their way.  It is sad that adults who are supposed to be leaders act like bullies on the playground.

Another Work Week

Today we start again with work.  The unions are calling for people to go to Madison.  It will be interesting to see how many keep showing up.  This is a furlough day for most state employees (not me) so the potential is there for a large number of employees to go to the Capitol.  There is a rock concert in support of the unions at 5 pm tonight. 

I feel like we have two very stubborn two year olds fighting over a bone.  Neither is willing to concede anything.  Yet the ones who suffer are those affected by it.  If we allow this bill to pass this Governor will have unprecedented power and the unions will be gone. 

I’m still supporting the Democrats.  I hope they stay out of the state until the Governor realizes that he has to negotiate.  Come to the table and have a discussion. 

I watched a news conference he had on line and was appalled by the stuff he was saying.  It sounded very much to me that he wanted to look at everyone’s base pay (once he rams this bill down our throats) and negotiate those down.  I’m already taking a pay cut – how much more does he want? 

He said that he wouldn’t impose furloughs but once the unions are busted he will have no one to stop him.  He said he wouldn’t lay off large numbers of people but again once the unions are gone what is to stop him?  I don’t trust him.  I think if this bill passes I could very well lose my job or end up taking a significant pay cut.

I don’t know how this will play out in the long run but hopefully we won’t have to give up our collective bargaining so we can keep some of our protection.

Go Democrats!!!

I’m not a political person – yes I know I’ve posted so much this week on the issues going on but under normal circumstances I’m just not.  I don’t vote by party lines.  I don’t discuss my votes.  I vote – every election.  I despair that our politician will ever get what is needed for our country.

Today though, I was PROUD of our state Democrat senators.  The Republicans and Governor have closed their minds and their ears to the pleas of the workers in the state.  Walker said he had 8,000 emails supporting what he is doing.  How many did he have wanting it to stop?  How many people have protested – somewhere around 50,000. 

I watched the national programs tonight – they were amusing.  They also got to the heart of the matter.  I think this is the first time I’ve heard the other side of the story.  It has been the Republicans BLASTING away at the “evil” state workers and unions. 

The overly dramatic presentation of the information was a bit much (maybe because I’m from the Midwest) but maybe that will start people thinking.  Paul Ryan is an idiot.  He accused the protesters of being violent.  I say come to Madison and see for yourself.  The Madison police had only good things to say about the protesters.  Apparently Ryan thinks the teachers are a bunch of violent radical people.  Well they are radical – they want to keep their rights.

If Walker and his cronies have their way, Wisconsin will become a state of haves and have nots.  It isn’t the state workers who have.  It will be the corporations, big business, and the politicians who have.  The workers – everyone else will be a have not.  State worker (those that don’t already have second jobs) will be looking for a second job. 

I hope the Democrats drive their point home and stick together.  They are doing what’s right and I intend to support them.


Check out these articles…