Another Thought on the CAFTA Vote

I wrote this in response to an online discussion we were having on a Yahoo group:

I just have a problem with the 15 Dems that voted for it (here, on other blogs and in the media) being the entire story.

Everyone is saying that this passing is their fault. That is the media spin - "15 Democrats pass CAFTA." This is simply not true.

The truth is:

CAFTA passed because of the HUNDREDS of Republicans that voted for it. Not the 15 Democrats.

Working families were SOLD OUT by the HUNDREDS of Republicans voting for CAFTA.

Working families were DEFENDED by the HUNDREDS of Democrats voting against CAFTA.

This fact is being lost in the spin that we are unfortunately helping to perpetuate.

My 2 cents.


Thoughts on the Labor Split and the Passage of CAFTA

I had originally prepared part of this as a comment on Oshblog, but it seems that site is down right now, so I will put it here in a larger form.

There has been a lot of talk over the last few days about how the split in labor signals the end of support for Democrats, and that 15 Dems voted for CAFTA shows we 'deserve' it.

I agree, it is shamefully that these 15 Dems voted for it. I do not know the circumstances of their districts, or their other votes, but on this one, I believe they got it wrong.

However, the overwhelming percentage of Dems voted against CAFTA, including Wisconsin's entire Democratic delegation (all of the Republicans were for it). But, there is a name for a government that requires everyone to tow the same line, and it is not democracy. I believe that our party should be evaluated as a whole, and as a whole we are the party of the working, poor and middle classes. This is undeniable.

Secondly, after the 15 minutes given for this vote, CAFTA was defeated. The Republicans kept the vote open 40+ minutes past the deadline until they had the votes to pass it. This is the same way they rammed through the Medicare prescription drug debacle.

Thirdly, solid union support for democrats is already a myth. Lets look at Tom Petri, our Republican Congress Member. He has a lifetime rating from the AFL-CIO under 30%. Many unions have ranked him a 0% recently. He not only voted for CAFTA, NAFTA, most favored for China but he co-sponsored the regulations to remove overtime from a huge section of American workers (on a side-note, we were protected from this by Gov. Jim Doyle).

Would you not agree that Petri's consistent anti-labor voting record should disqualify him from Labor's support?

But, over the years, he has received $190,000+ in funds from Labor PAC's, including:

AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Dept
Air Line Pilots Assn
Allied Pilots Assn
Amalgamated Transit Union
American Maritime Officers
American Maritime Officers Retirees Assn
Carpenters & Joiners Union
International Assn of Fire Fighters
Ironworkers Union
Laborers Union
Maintenance of Way Employees
National Air Traffic Controllers Assn
National Assn of Letter Carriers
National Assn of Postal Supervisors
National Assn of Postmasters
National Assn Retired Federal Employees
National Education Assn
National League of Postmasters
National Rural Letter Carriers Assn
Operating Engineers Union
Service Employees International Union
Transport Workers Union
United Transportation Union

Details at www.opensecrets.org

Statewide, unions have given to Ryan, Green and Sensenbrenner as well. None of these men qualify as the allies of working families.

Many of these union donors are in the new Unite to Win Coalition, many others are still AFL-CIO.

Just as the Dems need to encourage more of our members vote with us, Labor needs to focus their efforts behind candidates that will advance not, degrade Labor issues.

There needs to be a whole lot of reforming going on....

But, it is not lost. Just as the overwhelming amount of Democrats vote consistently with Labor, Labor is the Democrats greatest support base. We cannot let those who wish to work against us divide and conquer.

Remember, solidarity is the strength. For both Dems and Labor.

Petri Votes For CAFTA - 6th CD Democrats Response

CONTACT: Gordon N. Hintz

July 28, 2005

Petri Votes Against Workers, Jobs, and Constituents in Supporting CAFTA

OSHKOSH – Ignoring the negative impact on workers and farmers in his 6th Congressional District, and throughout Wisconsin, Rep. Tom Petri voted in favor of the Central American Free Trade Act (CAFTA) early Thursday morning. This vote of support comes despite the large failure of previous trade agreements to bring about the promises of new markets for businesses, workers, and farmers in Wisconsin and the rest of the United States.

“It is pretty clear there is a growing disconnect between Rep. Petri and the people he is supposed to be representing,” said Gordon Hintz, 6th CD Democratic Chair. “Who benefits under the current terms of CAFTA? Wisconsin has been devastated by the outsourcing of jobs overseas and has little in return to show for it except lower paying jobs with fewer benefits and an increased struggle for working families. This is another example of a flawed trade bill that provides few if any assurances for jobs, working conditions, and the environment.”

Since 2000, previous trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and Most Favored Nation status for China, have led to the loss of 92,000 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin. The six countries in the CAFTA have a collective buying power comparable to that of New Haven, Connecticut. Due to the limited size of their economies, these countries account for barely one percent of U.S. trade, an amount that makes it unlikely to provide much benefit to U.S. workers producing exports. This includes cheese and other agriculture exports from Wisconsin. The trade deregulation model in CAFTA primarily benefits global food corporations and pharmaceutical cartels, instead of Wisconsin's family farmers and rural communities. The proposed CAFTA agreement comes when the United States is actually projected to become a net importer of agricultural products for the first time in 45 years, a disturbing trend when combined with the increasing U.S. trade deficit.

“Trade agreements should contribute to economic growth, promote development and respect democracy in other nations, and be part of comprehensive efforts to ensure economic opportunities for U.S. workers,” said Hintz. “This agreement fails to do these things. Given the challenges facing Wisconsin’s economy, it is disappointing that Rep. Petri won’t stand up for the workers, businesses, and farmers in his own District.”

A Run Down of Pharmacists in Oshkosh That Pledge to Fill Birth Control

This letter appeared in the Oshkosh Northwestern this morning:

Not all pharmacists sign contraceptive pledge

My NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) friends and I have asked pharmacists in Oshkosh pharmacies to sign a pledge that reads: “I, (the pharmacist), am giving my personal assurance as your pharmacist that I will fill every woman’s prescription for contraception, every time. When a woman and her doctor have made the decision that a prescription for contraception is in her best interest, I respect their decision.”

Ken Bressers of Omro; Jennifer L. Villeneuve of Walgreen’s, Murdock Avenue; and James Bartelt of Schultz, Main Street, had no concerns when they signed the pledge. I personally want to thank them!

I thank Tom Ehrhardt at Aurora Pharmacy and Michael Maloney at the Kmart Pharmacy on Koeller Street who signed the pledge for themselves. Other pharmacists who would not sign it worked at Aurora on Westhaven Avenue and Bowen Street, Morton’s and Shopko on Koeller Street, Morton’s on 9th Avenue, Wal-Mart, and Walgreen’s on 9th Avenue, Koeller Avenue and Emmers Lane. They would send a patient to another pharmacy if they could not in good conscience fill the prescription. However Wal-Mart does not carry the preventative “morning after pill.”

The results indicate that Omro Pharmacy, Walgreen’s on Murdock Avenue or Schultz’s on Main Street guarantee that birth control prescriptions will be filled immediately. Tom Ehrhardt at Aurora Pharmacy and Michael Maloney at the Kmart, both on Koeller Street would be happy to fill your prescription.

If you would like to be listed as someone who would pledge to fill all birth control prescriptions, please send your name, your pharmacy’s name, address and telephone number to me at donley@athenet.net by July 31.

Corrine R. Donley Oshkosh



Some Interesting Poll Results

American voters support the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v Wade decision 65 - 30 percent, the highest level of support in two years of national polls by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

By a 61 - 32 percent margin, American voters say U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts should publicly state his position on abortion

However, most Americans must THINK they are the majority, but must FEEL left out:

A total of 83 percent of voters say "the views of the majority of Americans" should have a "great deal" or "some" influence on the Senate confirmation process. But only 35 percent of voters believe that majority views actually have any influence.

Newest on Bush and Congress:

American voters disapprove of the job President George W. Bush is doing 53 - 41 percent, his lowest approval rating since becoming President.

Voters disapprove 60 - 30 percent of the way Congress is doing its job and approve 50 - 39 percent of the way the Supreme Court is doing its job.
"The judges outscore the President and Congress on job performance," Carroll said

So much for activist judges being the problem.....

Read it all here:



Fortunate Son

Quoted in full from the New York Press:


"With supreme guts and righteousness, President Bush went into Iraq," Gov. Pataki told the Republican National Convention last August. The place erupted with applause. It was all very stirring.

Almost one year later, Pataki's son Teddy is, with supreme guts and righteousness, seeking a three-year law school deferment from the Marines, which last week commissioned the recent Yale grad as a second lieutenant.

The governor, who himself received a medical deferment during the Vietnam War because of poor eyesight, has said he hopes his son is granted the deferment. Of course he does. No doubt all the parents of New York's nearly 100 war dead also wish their children could have gotten deferments. But they couldn't. They got killed instead.

During the run-up to the invasion, Pataki was one of Bush's biggest war whores in the Northeast, taking his pro-war stump speech on the road to warn New Yorkers about the imminent threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Since the governor's support for the war has yet to waver, it is more than a little annoying to hear him publicly wishing for his son's deferral.

If the cause in Iraq is even half as important as the governor has led us to believe, then surely his son is more needed in Fallujah than in some Cambridge lecture hall. If, on the other hand, the governor no longer considers the war important enough to justify his son's immediate contribution, then he should speak up as loudly as he did in the winter of 2003. Which is it, George?


Congrats Miles & Oshkosh Community News Network

OCNN cited for journalism innovation

In a competition that drew entries from The New York Times, USA Today and the BBC, a Web-based voter education program spearheaded by the Oshkosh Community News Network has been cited as a “notable” innovation in journalism.

Read more here:


Bush & Mother Finally Admit Who They Are 'Saving' Social Security For.....

The following are quotes from a Social Security forum (invitation only) Bush put on in Atlanta:

Turning to Social Security, Bush vowed that nothing in his proposal for individual investment accounts would reduce benefits for current retirees or those close to retiring. "Seniors have nothing to worry about. ... What you should be worried about is whether your grandchildren are going to get any checks," Bush said.

"I'm here because I'm worried about our 17 grandchildren," said Barbara Bush.


Barbara Bush says we need to change Social Security because Jenna might not have enough money to retire?

I do not believe that someone with her family's income or trust fund were the reason that Social Security was created.

They are flat out admitting that they want to convert Social Security into a huge wealth transfer from the least of our citizens to the wealtiest of the elite.

They can't even hide it anymore.

One Vet's Take on the War in Iraq

Commentary from Altercation (altercation.msnbc.com) on the war.

This was written by a Vietnam Vet after listening to remarks by another vet:

I agree with Secretary Webb that students at "elite" colleges rarely made it into combat with us -- though I attended such a college before and after my service in Vietnam and knew a core of mostly scholarship students like me there who willingly served -- but I don't think those college campus protests are what brought the Vietnam war to a close. It was when the folks in the coffee shops in places like Mason City, Iowa, and Silva, North Carolina, had had enough of the war and the lies that swirled around it that the war ended. "Stopping communism in Southeast Asia" from the Secretary's speech sounds as bogus now as it did then, I'm afraid. It's like "bringing freedom to Iraq" at the point of a gun. So here we are again, placing in harm's way the same kind of courageous, conscientious young men -- and now women -- as we were so many years ago, this time urged on by men, mostly men, from our own generation who used the advantages of their class to avoid the combat you and I faced.


Another Good Cartoon

CIA Leak Case By the Numbers

Number of days after the article outing Ambassador Wilson's wife appeared that the White House required its staff to turn over evidence relating to the leak: 85

Approximate hours between then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez's advance notification to White House Chief of Staff Andy Card that he would require staff to turn over evidence relating to the case and formal notification to staff of that requirement: 12

Minimum number of times an Administration official leaked classified information about the identity of Ambassador Wilson's wife: 11

Minimum number of times after the beginning of the Justice Department's investigation that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan claimed Karl Rove was not involved: 5

Number of press conferences since evidence linking Karl Rove to the leak was made public where Press Secretary McClellan has refused to comment on the case, citing an ongoing criminal investigation: 7

Minimum number of hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate accusations against President Clinton involving the "Whitewater" case: 20

Total hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate the leak of the covert identity of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife: 0


Pentagon's 'Task Force Baghdad' Makes Up Iraqi Quotes

More of the propaganda fed us by our own government. The quotes below were in separate DOD press releases, each attributes to an unnamed Iraqi:

From Sunday:

" 'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified."

From July 13:

" 'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. 'They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.' "

They go on to note that:

In both statements, the military quoted an Iraqi calling the attackers "enemies of humanity" and vowing to "take the fight to the terrorists," the latter an expression President Bush frequently has used in speeches.

And the final word from OUR government:

Task Force Baghdad with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division released both statements.

After the media contacted officials Sunday on the similarities, the military reissued the latest release without the quote.

"Task Force Baghdad Public Affairs regrets the confusion regarding two press releases issued in support of our operations July 24," said a statement Monday.

Although not referring to the quote in Sunday's release, it said there was "a draft press release which, due to an administrative error, was mistakenly issued on behalf of the 3rd Infantry Division."

Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division, also spoke Sunday of an "administrative error."

Kent did not explain why the quote apparently was changed to apply to the latest attack.

It is past time to hold this sort of behavior accountable. I applaud CNN for reporting it. Between this and thr Rove coverage, it looks like the media may be waking up.

Let's hope so.


Email to Membership - Went Out Tonight

Fellow Dems & Friends of the Party,

As you may know, the last Friday of the month, Democrats from all over the Fox Valley converge for a scrumptious breakfast.

This month is no different, we will be meeting on Friday the 29th at 7:00 AM in our new location - B.J. Clancy's - 3341 S. Oneida St - Appleton.

Do not forget our normal business meeting - Wednesday, August 10th - 7:00PM at the Delta Family Restaurant - 515 N Sawyer St - Oshkosh.

We also have out Corn Roast upcoming, Saturday, August 27th - 1:00PM - Winnebago Community Park.

Also, please sign up for a shift at the fair, August 9th-14th. Contact me with a time you are available!

I hope to see you all as soon as possible!

As always contact me at any time!




I've played a lot of sports, and dabbled in photography (journalism major in college).

But, don't worry:

"She's fine," U.S. diving team leader Bob Rydze said. "She's moving all her limbs. She just needs a few stitches."

My Recent Letter to the Northwestern:

Bush Election of 2004 Was Neither Definitive Referendum nor Mandate

In a recent editorial, the Northwestern declared, "There already has been a national referendum on the Iraq War issue, in the presidential elections last November."

It is incorrect to declare the 2004 election of George Bush a mandate or definitive referendum, on Iraq or other issues. The facts are simple:

- Bush won nationally by the narrowest percentage margin of any sitting president in American history since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

- Bush's popular vote margin was the smallest since 1976 (except 2000, of course, when Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore). Bush also lost the popular votes of Wisconsin and Oshkosh.

- The Republicans picked up seats in Congress, but more Americans voted for Democrats nationwide (Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin received more votes than any other Democratic member of the House).

- Statewide, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, who voted against the war, received more votes than any candidate in Wisconsin history, also carrying Winnebago County and Oshkosh by wide margins.

- Locally, the 2004 Republican Assembly candidate was out polled; then lost the popular vote for 2005 DPI statewide, and in every Winnebago County voting ward but one.

The "Republican/Bush Mandate" of 2004 is a myth. The Northwestern is incorrect to characterize it as a clear mandate for Bush, the Republicans or their policies.

Also, poll after poll shows America's growing unease with the Republican leadership that has haphazardly led us to war:

- In a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll, only 46% approved of Bush's performance (49% disapproved). Only 41% of those polled called Bush "honest & straightforward."

- In another NBC/WSJ Poll, only 33% approved of the Republican Congress, and by a 47 to 40% margin, would prefer to see Democrats in control in 2006.

In both polls, Iraq was the number one issue, and the economy the second.

When you look both at the poll numbers and the numbers at the polls, you see an America split down the middle, and a Democratic Wisconsin and Oshkosh. We also see Americans nationwide experiencing severe 'buyer's remorse' over the Bush administration and its policies.

This does not a Bush mandate nor referendum make.

Are We Truly Carrying a Mercenary Army?

I think this is a real question - here are some excerpts from an insightful op-ed.

I want to start with this quote (so as not to mistake this as an attack on the soldiers):

Neither the idealism nor the patriotism of those who serve is in question here.

The rest:

THE United States now has a mercenary army. To be sure, our soldiers are hired from within the citizenry, unlike the hated Hessians whom George III recruited to fight against the American Revolutionaries. But like those Hessians, today's volunteers sign up for some mighty dangerous work largely for wages and benefits - a compensation package that may not always be commensurate with the dangers in store, as current recruiting problems testify.

Our leaders tell us that our armed forces seek only just goals, and at the end of the day will be understood as exerting a benign influence. Yet that perspective may not come so easily to those on the receiving end of that supposedly beneficent violence.

But the modern military's disjunction from American society is even more disturbing. Since the time of the ancient Greeks through the American Revolutionary War and well into the 20th century, the obligation to bear arms and the privileges of citizenship have been intimately linked. It was for the sake of that link between service and a full place in society that the founders were so invested in militias and so worried about standing armies, which Samuel Adams warned were "always dangerous to the liberties of the people."

That tradition has now been all but abandoned. A comparison with a prior generation's war illuminates the point. In World War II, the United States put some 16 million men and women into uniform. What's more, it mobilized the economic, social and psychological resources of the society down to the last factory, rail car, classroom and victory garden. World War II was a "total war." Waging it compelled the participation of all citizens and an enormous commitment of society's energies.

The implications are deeply unsettling: history's most potent military force can now be put into the field by a society that scarcely breaks a sweat when it does so. We can now wage war while putting at risk very few of our sons and daughters, none of whom is obliged to serve. Modern warfare lays no significant burdens on the larger body of citizens in whose name war is being waged.

This is not a healthy situation. It is, among other things, a standing invitation to the kind of military adventurism that the founders correctly feared was the greatest danger of standing armies - a danger made manifest in their day by the career of Napoleon Bonaparte, whom Jefferson described as having "transferred the destinies of the republic from the civil to the military arm."

Some will find it offensive to call today's armed forces a "mercenary army," but our troops are emphatically not the kind of citizen-soldiers that we fielded two generations ago - drawn from all ranks of society without respect to background or privilege or education, and mobilized on such a scale that civilian society's deep and durable consent to the resort to arms was absolutely necessary.

The life of a robust democratic society should be strenuous; it should make demands on its citizens when they are asked to engage with issues of life and death.


A Great View on the War....

During our widely separated but shared wartime years, we were led by presidents of Olympian eloquence (Roosevelt during World War II) and almost brutal bluntness (Truman during the Korean War), yet, on their own terms, they spoke with clarity, conviction and honesty about our national threats, challenges, sacrifices. And the price of peace was high.

Today, in Iraq, where nearly every dawn is lacerated by mounting carnage - local and foreign - American troops are hemorrhaging among the wounded and the dead, pawns in an unspeakable farce, for the United States of America is not at war.

Only 135,000 men and women in American uniform are fighting - volunteers, members of the National Guard, reservists. There is no draft. No threat of a uniform hangs over the citizens of a nation of nearly 300 million who, in polls, support the invasion of a remote country upon whom our government would pin guilt of 9/11 ... and then attack. An invasion that was ordered by an expertly trained but combat-innocent fighter pilot and a draft-deferred character with "other priorities" during the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile, perhaps one crucial question was omitted from those polls: "Is any member of your family uniformed and in Baghdad?"

David Douglas Duncan, who served in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1946 and who photographed the Korean and Vietnam Wars for Life magazine, is the author of "Photo Nomad."


It is a sin as a society that we grant the wealthy tax breaks while we send the poor to war.

Krugman on Jobs Moving to Canada

This carried echoes of Leach for me. I really think that we can make change here, but to do it we need to change what we think government is or should be.

As usual, Krugman says it better than I ever could. Here are some exerpts:

Toyota, Moving Northward

Modern American politics is dominated by the doctrine that government is the problem, not the solution. In practice, this doctrine translates into policies that make low taxes on the rich the highest priority, even if lack of revenue undermines basic public services. You don't have to be a liberal to realize that this is wrong-headed. Corporate leaders understand quite well that good public services are also good for business. But the political environment is so polarized these days that top executives are often afraid to speak up against conservative dogma.

But last month Toyota decided to put the new plant, which will produce RAV4 mini-S.U.V.'s, in Ontario. Explaining why it passed up financial incentives to choose a U.S. location, the company cited the quality of Ontario's work force.

What made Toyota so sensitive to labor quality issues? (...) Japanese auto companies opening plants in the Southern U.S. have been unfavorably surprised by the work force's poor level of training.

There's some bitter irony here for Alabama's governor. Just two years ago voters overwhelmingly rejected his plea for an increase in the state's rock-bottom taxes on the affluent, so that he could afford to improve the state's low-quality education system. Opponents of the tax hike convinced voters that it would cost the state jobs.

But education is only one reason Toyota chose Ontario. Canada's other big selling point is its national health insurance system, which saves auto manufacturers large sums in benefit payments compared with their costs in the United States.

Funny, isn't it? Pundits tell us that the welfare state is doomed by globalization, that programs like national health insurance have become unsustainable. But Canada's universal health insurance system is handling international competition just fine. It's our own system, which penalizes companies that treat their workers well, that's in trouble.

For now, let me just point out that treating people decently is sometimes a competitive advantage. In America, basic health insurance is a privilege; in Canada, it's a right. And in the auto industry, at least, the good jobs are heading north.