Harry’s been strangely silent

And there is a good reason. Harry has been madly getting things ready to file for Congress. As if you hadn’t figured that out from all the not so subtle clues I’ve been dropping.

I’ve got my webpage up. I haven’t formally announced yet but I will soon. I still have to choose from the fundraising software available but I’ll probably use a PayPal account.

There’s been a lot in the news I would have commented on had I not been so busy but that’s life.

Oh, the new website is (typos and all): www.welty4congress.org

Storming Washington

I’ve been very busy; too busy to post yesterday. I’ve been puttering around with a campaign website which I’ll soon be uploading. I’ve just ordered the domain name. There aren’t too many candidates named Welty, thank goodness. I just ordered a taxpayer identification number for my committee of one and yesterday put in a rush order for campaign literature. I’ve been sending a flurry of emails back and forth over its layout. Today I need to open a campaign banking account. Filing for office begins the day after July 4th. I will need to get a thousand signatures on a petition of nomination. I did it all by myself in four day in 1992. Once I start campaigning I’ll use this blog as my campaign diary.

We left Washington last week just as heavy rainstorms broke out. They flooded the national archives and many other Federal buildings as well as knocking down a 100 year old Elm on the front lawn of the White House. I probably snapped a picture of it when I was there although like everything else on the grounds it was behind bars.

Our friends emailed us about the weather we escaped. I didn’t realize just how serious it was. Amtrak had to be closed down so they couldn’t commute into the Capital. Now if I could just figure out how to storm DC like that.

A modest rebuke to the enemies of the Death Tax

Warren Buffett said this of his massive contribution to the Gates Foundation.

“Neither [late wife] Susie nor I ever thought we should pass huge amounts of money along to our children,” said Warren Buffett, who said he plans to give away his remaining stock holdings after his death but that he has “quite a bit of cash” he still plans to leave to those close to him. “Our children are great,” he told Fortune. “But I would argue that when your kids have all the advantages anyway, in terms of how they grow up and the opportunities they have for education, including what they learn at home – I would say it’s neither right nor rational to be flooding them with money.”

Buffett Gates Free Trade – to help the world’s poor

This post and the resulting discussion are interesting. They are prompted by the remarkable Warren Buffett gift of most of his vast fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. My first two reactions on hearing this were 1. How amazing that Warren doesn’t set up his own foundation to keep his name for posterity. 2. What a testament to the BMG foundation since Buffet is famous for scoping out enterprises which really work.

Since then I’ve heard other comments which minimize the significance of the contribution by comparing the Buffett fortune with all the annual giving in the US or with the amount of money the Federal Government spends and now with this post Free trade has been thrown in for comparison.

 

A dialogue

Jason wrote back in defense of Ford Bell to say:

“Except it’s not a ‘cold heart’ (as you imply that Bell has) for calling for a Vietnam-style hasty retreat“ it’s cold reality. The civil war there is going to get only worse, our very presence there is making it worse, and even the most grateful Iraqis will inevitably grow weary of us.

You ask if it’s just American soldiers’ lives Bell wants to save. I’d reckon not, but those are the lives we CAN save.”

If, as you believe, the war will get worse the longer we stay then you are right that we should leave.

If, as I believe, our short-term presence might help prevent (and that’s the best I can hope for) a civil war then we should stay.

Perhaps it was unfair of me to say that Ford Bell has a cold heart. However, to suggest that the only lives that we can save at this point are American lives is. I hope you are wrong.

Rinos

After fundamentalists took over the Republican Party they began redefining old Republicans out of it by derisively calling them Rino’s: “Republicans in name only.” In other words, what had once been perfectly respectable Republicanism was treated as heretical including such time tested libertarian ideals as keeping the government out of its citizen’s personal lives and shunning deficit spending and a reluctance to go to war where we had no business being.

As a past Rino I take heart in seeing other Republicans turn their backs, on the party or better yet, turn their horns toward the party.

Someone Replied!!??

I rarely have someone write back to one of my Reader columns so I was grateful when David wrote back to take me to task on my Ford Bell column.

Editor:
     In his 6-22 article, Harry Welty says Bush the Elder’s “greatest
achievement” was “getting America over Vietnam”, by which he must be
referring to the first Gulf War. In 1990, as Kuwait siphoned borderland oil
fields jointly owned with Iraq, Saddam Hussein was told by the U.S.
ambassador that the U.S. had “no opinion on your border disagreement with
Kuwait. The issue is not associated with America”. Then the U.S. proceeded
to drop as many bombs on Iraq as were dropped in WW2 and Vietnam combined, and, so it was said, the “Vietnam Syndrome” was cured. Hallelujah. Our motives (as always) were portrayed as straightforward and pure.
     Now Harry opposes a U.S. withdrawl from Iraq (though 80% of Iraqis
support one) because “we will make the people we meant to save pay for our mistakes”.Sorry, but we never meant to save the Iraqis from anything. Saddam was a close U.S. ally as long as he toed the line. The Bush administration doesn’t even care about saving most Americans, much less the Iraqis. We wrap our wars of empire in humanitarian lies because most Americans, like Harry, have good hearts and wouldn’t support our brutal interventions if they knew the true motives behind them. William blum’s book “Killing Hope” documents
the last 50 years of those interventions, which were far from altruistic.
     Maybe the U.N. and neighboring arab states can stop Iraq’s civil
war,but the Bush administration cannot, even if it wanted to.

              David

First, I appreciate David’s graciousness in saying that I, like most Americans, have a good heart. That’s a very good place to begin my reply and sadly its missing from most dialogue about the Iraq War.

Frankly, I have a hard time disagreeing with David on many of his points. He certainly is correct that our Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, did us no favors in all but giving Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait. At the time I thought ending the butchery in the Bosnian Wars was of greater importance but, as I’m sure David would be quick to agree, there just wasn’t any oil in Yugoslavia.

I would add that my characterization of the first Bush’s “greatest achievement” was intended, but failed to convey, some irony. If beating back a third rate bully was an achievement for America, big whoop. The only other legacy I can quickly remember from Bush’s presidency was his promise to “read my lips” on tax increases and his subsequent embarrassment when his lips turned out to  have been lying. This legacy has turned Republicans into manic anti-tax legislators who have left the nation with a 10 trillion dollar deficit.

Although in retrospect the first George Bush looks like a genius compared to the son I campaigned against him and voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 after I gave up on Ross Perot. I was even quoted in a front page story in the DNT as supporting Clinton.

Most importantly David gives far too much credence to the polls which tell us that 80% of Iraqis want us to leave. That would be virtually all the Shiite and Sunni population. (The Kurds are grateful to us) The poll numbers are correct but there is an important proviso. Few Iraqies want us to leave so hastily that an all-out war breaks out. Yes, they want us to leave. Yes, they think our invasion has been a disaster. Yes, they shed no tears when an American dies. But No, they do not want a civil war.

If we can leave in six months with some kind of stability then I’ll be happy to have us leave. If we can do it in three months that would be better yet. I just think this is too soon. While I have some sympathy for David’s call to witdraw I have no sympathy for the pliant Republican Congressmen who went along with the war but who are now demanding that Iraqis take over their own defense. That’s a little like setting two pit bulls against each other and then telling the fleas riding on their backs to make it stop. 

Blog Spam

Out of bed at 5AM on a Saturday. I thought I might go swimming but with the scent of hot steaming blueberry buckle in the air I decided otherwise. Today it will be calories not laps.

I checked my website statistics. They are holding their own and it looks like Snowbizz will end the month averaging a thousand hits a day. I have found that the blog is being invaded not only by readers but by spam. Somehow the spammers have figured out how to insert links to their pages by replying to blog posts. I’ll have to go back to my old posts and start marking them as closed for discussion. What a pain!

It will be a beautiful day so Claudia may put me to work. It will be recompense for the buckle. That’s OK. I need to fix my compost box. I’ll have to shovel a ton of black gold out of it first and then shovel it back in when I’m finished. That’ll be fun – kind of like deleting spam only back breaking.

Kelm anecdote

One man who looms large in the story of Don Boyd is Thomas Kelm a cat who always seems to have landed on his feet. The subject of numerous unflattering stories during his days as Gov. Anderson’s Chief of Staff he seems now to be the stuff of legends. Last week in his Budgeteer Column, Ralph Doty slipped in a little anedcote about the fellow. A sample:

“On the day the bill was scheduled for a final vote, Gov. Wendell Anderson let loose his lobbyists, led by his chief of staff, Tom Kelm, a tall, robust man who, to folks less than 6 feet tall, looked like the giant in “Jack and the Beanstalk.” He was skilled at intimidating even the toughest lawmakers.”

We’re not all in this (neighborhood) together

I just read this Wash Post story that was reprinted in the DNT yesterday. Its one more bit of evidence of the division of our nation into rich and poor. Now it seems that middle class suburbs – the kind that baby boomers all remember from their youth – are disappearing. Those of us who are being sheltered by Republicans from the dreaded “death tax” are all moving behind gated barriers to exclusive neighborhoods. Those remaining in the middle class have to decide if and when they can jump accross an ever growing abyss to keep up with the quickly retreating Jones and while leaving the title loan and lotto dependent poor behind.

Minnesota Secretary of State

After I visited my Mother I headed over to the State Capitol to get information from our Secretary of State about elections. Behind the counter were Ben and Jenny who cheerfully gave me helpful information. I snapped a picture of Jenny as she hauled away several recent years of election results which were on their way to clutter up the files of the State Historical Society. Ben snapped a picture of me in front of an American flag.
Jenny's Files

These are good people. You should file for office and then you could meet them too.

Picking up where I left off

Every time I leave Duluth I have to return and resume. Some projects will have another day’s delay as I’m driving to the Twin Cities today and delivering friends to the Airport where they will fly off to Europe. I’d hoped to take my daughter to lunch but she’ll be working. I will visit my Mother to see how she’s doing. That’s always a tough for me because she barely recognizes me but even so she still has a wry sense of humor hidden in the clutter that is her mind. And she likes to sing:Huts it raw sittin on the rittle raw……… I might remind her of some favorites like “You are my sunshine.”

It should be sunny and warm and I’m going clad in shorts. I’ll stop off at the Sectetary of State’s office while I’m down there. Hope they’ll take me seriously even if I’m not wearing a suit.

Master of the Senate

One thing I like about air travel is that it gives me a good excuse to read. Today, on the way home from DC, I got three more chapters of Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate read. I’ve only got through 130 pages but already i can see why it got the Pulitizer just like the first book in Caro’s series.

I’d highly recommend the very short introduction to anyone who doesn’t know what Jim Crow America was all about. The first three chapters are a wonderful history of the United State’s Senate. Its far better than anything I’ve ever read about the Congress to explain how it works in theory and in practice. I may not get a good chance to continue reading it again until I jet off to our family’s California reunion a month from now.

Hard to believe that such a crude man as Lyndon Johnson would be the person who through force of will and ambition would be the principal architect in helping the nation finally live up to its original ideals.

The Hilton

We’ll be leaving shortly. We stayed at the Hilton on Connecticut where I’ve been told John Hinkley tried to take out Ronald Reagan. I must have walked past the spot a dozen times on my way to the subway although I understand its been landscaped since the assassination attempt. History is everywhere here.

I’ve had crab cakes here four times. Someone else told me they are in season. MMMMM! Wonderful, but don’t eat them with any sauces. They have a terrific, subtle, flavor that should be savored as is.

Halfway through our stay our toilet bowl filled up disconcertingly with hot steaming water. The first time I noticed I thought it was nice of the Hilton to have heated seats. Thanks Paris.