In case you are interested in the America/Europe Debate:

The Great Powers of Europe, Redefined


I think that Europe has spreading democracy right in this case.

They have proven that you can change governments with the carrot not the stick. Something Bush needs to learn.

The great Paul Krugman once again saying it better than me:

Buying Into Failure



In particular, the public hasn't been let in on two open secrets:

Privatization dissipates a large fraction of workers' contributions on fees to investment companies.
It leaves many retirees in poverty.

More than 99 percent of Social Security's revenues go toward benefits, and less than 1 percent for overhead. In Chile's system, management fees are around 20 times as high. And that's a typical number for privatized systems.

In Britain, which has had a privatized system since the days of Margaret Thatcher, alarm over the large fees charged by some investment companies eventually led government regulators to impose a "charge cap." Even so, fees continue to take a large bite out of British retirement savings.

A reasonable prediction for the real rate of return on personal accounts in the U.S. is 4 percent or less. If we introduce a system with British-level management fees, net returns to workers will be reduced by more than a quarter. Add in deep cuts in guaranteed benefits and a big increase in risk, and we're looking at a "reform" that hurts everyone except the investment industry.

Advocates insist that a privatized U.S. system can keep expenses much lower. It's true that costs will be low if investments are restricted to low-overhead index funds - that is, if government officials, not individuals, make the investment decisions.

So the Bush administration wants to scrap a retirement system that works, and can be made financially sound for generations to come with modest reforms. Instead, it wants to buy into failure, emulating systems that, when tried elsewhere, have neither saved money nor protected the elderly from poverty.

Then, go here and buy a t-shirt that will let everyone know who has it right (mine comes in on Monday):


What are we teaching our children about who to look up to?

Miller to Honor Swift Boat Vets' Group

The American Conservative Union on Thursday announced it has tapped Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., to present the "Courage Under Fire" award to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth at the Conservative Political Action Conference's Feb. 18 banquet.


Pres. Bush awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tenet, Bremer, Franks

It's the president's latest answer to criticism of his Iraq policy. Tuesday's Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients are former CIA chief George Tenet, former head of the US Authority in Iraq Paul Bremer and former CentComm Commander Tommy Franks. All three men were central to the president's policy in Iraq.

President Bush said, "These three men symbolize the nobility of public service the good character of our country and the good influence of America on the world."

Tenet has been criticized for intelligence lapses leading to the attacks on September 11th, 2001. It was Tenet who said the case for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was a slam dunk.
Bremer oversaw creation of the interim Iraqi government. His decision to disband the Iraqi army after the US invasion is widely seen as a factor in the ongoing unrest.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor.

No politics for this one, just want anyone in the blogosphere to know that the Nada's are a great band.

I am just back from my third time seeing them live.

Check them out at:




I have a solution for the Rumsfeld problem

It is no secret that I am enamored with Janeane Garofalo. So in my regular searches for new Janeane news, I found this virulent anti-Janeane site:


This site is particularly upset with Janeane because of a March 7th O'Reilly interview in which she makes some wild, unpatriotic accusations about our upcoming war with Saddam.

Some out-takes:

"Bill O'Reilly asked Garofalo, "If you are wrong... and if the United States - and they will, this is going to happen - goes in, liberates Iraq [with] people in the street, American flags, hugging our soldiers... you gonna apologize to George W. Bush?"

"Garofalo replied, "I would be so willing to say, 'I'm sorry.' I hope to God that I can be made a buffoon of, that people will say, 'You were wrong. You were a fatalist.' And I will go to the White House on my knees on cut glass and say, 'Hey, you and Thomas Friedman were right... I shouldn't have doubted you.'"

"Garofalo claims that our military - the best military the world has ever seen - will kill 100,000 Iraqi civilians in this next war."

Let's see, according to Janeane, the Iraq War will result in 100,000+ Iraqi casualties, we will not be welcomed as liberators, and the post-war will be difficult.

Now, on March 6th, 2003; Janeane Garofalo knew more about the future of the Iraq conflict than our President, out Vice-President and our Secretary of Defense.

I say, fire Rumsfeld & hire Garofalo. She'll do a better job.
Social Security Reform:

This is from MSNBC's coverage of the 'summit' today:


"As the huge Baby Boom generation reaches retirement age beginning in about 2010, Social Security faces a shortfall projected at $3.7 trillion over the next 75 years."

WOW! $3.7 trillion over 75 years, that's a lot of money!!! We better do something right away to save Social Security.


Here's my proposal:

3.7 trillion / 75 years = $49.3 billion per year

$49.3 billion / 270 million Americans = $182.72

That's right, we can save Social Security, perhaps the most successful Government program in history if each of us merely kicks in $182.72 per year.

It is not broke, do not fix it.
Sign of the times:

Steinbeck’s hometown closing all its libraries

“Unfortunately part of the $8 million solution is the $3 million library program,” Salinas City Manager David Mora said in an interview on Wednesday. “But in addition to the libraries we are not hiring police officers, we are closing recreation centers, we are making further reductions in maintenance services.”


I wonder if they could afford more property tax cuts for their wealthy. To many people say this is an expenditure problem, I say when you say you can't afford police and libraries, you have a tax collection problem.
This is sickening:

As if Rep. Petri's ties to Walgreen's through his huge ownership of stock was not conflict of interest enough, now his allies in passing the Medicare Drug rip-off are cashing in as well:


Some selected lines:

"Representative Billy Tauzin, a principal author of the new Medicare drug law, will become president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the chief lobby for brand-name drug companies, the trade group announced Wednesday."

"Drug makers said that the job was not a reward for Mr. Tauzin's (I have found that when they say something is not something, that is exactly what it is... -jef-) work on the Medicare bill, which followed the industry's specifications in many respects. The law was signed by President Bush on Dec. 8, 2003, a few weeks before a lawyer for Mr. Tauzin began talks with the drug trade group."

"Mr. Tauzin (pronounced TOE-zan) and Mr. White refused to discuss Mr. Tauzin's new salary, except to say it was comparable to the pay at other large trade associations. People at other trade groups said they believed that Mr. Tauzin would receive $2 million a year or more."

"Representative Pete Stark of California, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, said: "As a member of Congress, Billy negotiated a large payout to the pharmaceutical industry by the federal government. He's now about to receive one of the largest salaries ever paid to any advocate by an industry.""

"Mr. Tauzin wrote large parts of the new Medicare law as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and as a member of the conference committee that hashed out differences between the House and the Senate in four months of intense negotiations last year."

"The law steers clear of price controls and price regulation, which are anathema to drug companies. The law forbids the government to negotiate with drug manufacturers to secure lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. "

Why are we disillusioned with our government? This is shamefull.


I'm listening to Joe Jackson right now and the best line just came up. It's in his song 'Rant and Rave'

"Instead of using the force of example, we use the example of force."

A truer sentiment for the times......


Ralph Nader begs Micheal Moore for Money.....


Funny letter from Nader to Moore. He bags on Moore for the letter and then tells him that he can make up for his 'sin' of supporting the Democratic Party by giving Nader and his supporters money.

You're a multi-millionaire as well, Ralph......

You both can give to jef4wi here:


I'm poor.


I am not keepin it a secret that I support Jeff Rammelt for Chair of the State Party.

It looks like Ed Garvey just might agree with me:


Ed Garvey

December 11, 2004

Dems want two for one?The Wisconsin Democratic Party has many strengths, but nearly all of them reside at the county level--Price, Rusk, Douglas, Washburn, Dane and others. But the top-down, insider-ruled state party is the scourge of those who seek office.

The state party is little more than a conduit for in-state and out-of-state campaign contributions. The party does little in terms of recruitment, training and funding for non-incumbent candidates, but they love to have lots and lots of meetings. Just try to reach one of them on the phone.

It has been more than a decade since Dems picked up more legislative seats in an election cycle than they lost. Even this year, with all the enthusiasm of the presidential primary and election, the Republicans gained seats. Now the Assembly and Senate are dangerously close to being veto-proof, and that means concealed weapons, reduced services, and more.

There has been no grass-roots strategy, no involvement in battles to save our environment or to stop Wal-Mart, little tolerance of outsiders in the heady atmosphere of the state party headquarters. The closed atmosphere surrouding the governor's office is a reflection of the closed party which has been dominated for 20 years by Madison incumbents.

The anwer to this problem? Lobbyist and former legislator Joe Wineke and current chair Linda Honold will run as a team. Whoa Nelly! Where can we get the yard signs? When things are going badly, why not more of the same?