You can't fire me -- I quit.
I first put up a blog on February 15, 2003. It was on a Salon platform -- I had to pay $30 a year or something for the privilege. It was mostly about Bush and the Stupid War on Iraq, leading up to the 2004 election. Alternately called Mike Plaisted's Anti-War Blog, Stop Bush in '04, Bush Surrogate Watch and Mondo Media, it was a casual writing exercise that literally nobody read. Just like Plaisted Writes, it was long-form essays -- I could never manage to do the short-hit things, pointing to videos or other interesting pages (for that, no one beats the brilliant Illusory Tenant). After the excruciating 2004 election of Junior Bush (not a re-election -- don't get me started), I didn't even bother to sum up after the returns were in. The last post on Mondo Media was a eulogy for Hunter S. Thompson, of which I am still somewhat proud.
I started Plaisted Writes (pretty lamely) on New Years Day, 2006. Eventually, I hooked into some decent vibe on the governor's race that year. In 2007, I was fairly well-read by a small but influential readership on the disgusting, racist campaign of Michael Gableman against my friend and far-superior Justice, Louis Butler. I wrote the most posts in 2008, leading up to the election of President Barack Obama.
Following the pattern of becoming dormant after presidential elections, my posts since then have been sporadic, at best. There may be various personal, business and interest-level reasons for this, but I have really lost my writing mojo, apparently, and couldn't even get much up for the disastrous mid-terms that slammed into our nation and state yesterday.
Not that there weren't enough outrages from mainstream talk-radio and the increasingly-appalling Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to write about. For instance, a new low was reached for only paper in town last Sunday with their ridiculous endorsement of Scott Walker for governor. Really, Journal Sentinel? Did you look at the comparison of the two candidates on the issues you ran the next day and realize that -- except for your support of the school "choice" scam -- Walker disagrees with your editorial board positions on everything, from stem-cell research to Badger Care?
The relentless pummelling of the truth by the now-dominant right-wing media has simply worn the electorate down. Now that they have played a major role in bringing Republican rule to every inch of Wisconsin state government, we'll really see what a state-controlled, sock-puppet media looks like. The hours of free advertising that Walker, Johnson and the rest of the Republicans benefited from during the campaign on talk-radio will be followed by hours of support, excuse-making and undue-glorification once they take over the Capitol.
And, you know what? They can have it. There is something about power in Washington and Madison that is important enough to Republicans that they will do anything to get it and keep it. They are driven not by the naive, stupid people in funny hats that populate their astro-turf tea party events; but rather by wealthy polluters and money manipulators in the dark back rooms of country clubs. All of these bastards on the radio and on right-wing blogs are very well-paid for their work, one way or another. There is no way we can compete. With redistricting coming up, they will unmercifully use their power to institutionalize their permanent rule. Our goose -- and, more importantly, the goose of the needy, the sick, the environment, our individual rights (yes -- our Freedom) and good government -- is cooked.
With this blog, I hoped to serve as a small antidote to the garbage spewed on mainstream talk-radio and the Journal Sentinel. I'm not going to pretend to have an impact anymore. Some of this failure is my own lack of capacity these days to write consistently and often enough to build an ongoing argument, as I managed to do in fits-and-starts in the past. But much of it is also because the right-wing has a steamroller that they are not ashamed to use to mow down everything and everyone in their path. I don't mind the headaches sometimes, for a good cause and if there is a chance of moving the needle, but otherwise I'd rather not keep banging my head against the wall.
The dream of progressive government in Wisconsin is dead for now and it's not looking so good in Washington, either. Government in Wisconsin will now be a subsidiary of RepubliCorps, run by and for elite millionaires and other powerful interests. As a result, the community that I serve as a criminal defense lawyer will necessarily expand, as public-service jobs are lost, public education is destroyed, health care is denied and regulations are abandoned. I'll deal with the carnage one client at a time, as the underclass falls further from the ranks of a straight society that has turned their backs on them. As long as Walker keeps his hands off the excellent public defender system in Wisconsin, I'll have plenty to do.
I know this blog has been appreciated by many people I respect enourmously. As my production fell off in recent years, they would come up to me in the Courthouse and elsewhere and ask when the next post was coming. I really enjoyed at least the sense of getting my nose under the tent and having even a slight impact on the political discourse. I hope those who liked what I did here understand.
I am, at heart, a writer and I think a pretty good one at times. I'll build another blog at some point, I'm sure. But, for now, I'll save my thoughts in quick hits for my Facebook friends (you can be too, if you just ask). When I do build a new page, I'll announce it here.
Other than that, I'm out. Good luck, Wisconsin. We're going to need it.