Sunday, March 29, 2015

The High Price Of Bigotry The Walker Edition

When Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Right to Bigotry law on Friday, he set off of a firestorm he hadn't expected. The blow back has been fierce, with people, companies and other entities pulling out of the state or threatening to do so. The biggest of which - so far - has been from Angie's List, which is pulling out of a $40 million, 1,000-job expansion that they had planned for Indiana.

What Pence also did was take the heat off of Scott Walker, his bigotry and its high cost:
The State of Wisconsin's unsuccessful court battle to prevent gay marriage will cost taxpayers more than $1 million, under an agreement released Friday.

State Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican, and attorneys for eight gay and lesbian couples reached the agreement after the couples successfully sued to overturn the state's 2006 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The couples were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which sought $1.25 million to cover its costs because the couples prevailed in their lawsuit. Ultimately, the ACLU will receive nearly $1.1 million, under the stipulation released Friday.

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia who believes bans like Wisconsin's are unconstitutional, said that he wasn't surprised at the cost to state taxpayers and that it could have been worse. Gov. Scott Walker, one of the defendants, and then-Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, both Republicans, opposed the same-sex plaintiffs at every level of the federal court system, he said.

"The state never seemed to appreciate how much taxpayer money is expended on this type of litigation in which it was pretty clear from the outset that Wisconsin was going to lose," Tobias said.
The article does not include the cost to taxpayers for the state's attorneys to fight this quixotic battle, the court costs, the loss in work hours for the scores of people that testified, etc., which would raise the cost easily over $2 million.

At least there's a chance that Pence will have to pay for his hatred politically. The only thing that Walker will have to face is the grumblings of some rabid, foam-at-the-mouth, uber conservatives that are mad that he gave up so soon.

WI Supreme Court Won't Hear Arguments Regarding John Doe



At the beginning of the month, I reported that the Wisconsin Supreme Court was taking the unusual steps of considering making the oral arguments regarding the upcoming John Doe hearings secret. The John Doe investigation is regarding the illegal collaboration between Scott Walker, his campaign and dark money special interest groups such as Wisconsin Club for Growth.

On Friday, the Supreme Court went from unusual to disturbingly bizarre by deciding that they won't hear any oral arguments (emphasis mine):
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday it would not hear arguments — in secret or in public — as it considers whether to allow an investigation to continue that has looked into whether Gov. Scott Walker's campaign illegally worked with conservative groups in recall elections.

"The prospect of oral argument creates severe tension between important and conflicting priorities," the court wrote, citing the long tradition of open courts and the secrecy of the John Doe.

Instead, the court will decide the matter based on hundreds of pages of briefs that have been filed in the cases, mostly in secret, because the court also rejected a special prosecutor's argument that the secrecy genie has already largely escaped the bottle.

The investigation has been stalled for more than a year, and the court's decision is expected to determine whether it can be revived or shut down for good. Its ruling will likely come by this summer, just as the Republican governor ramps up an expected bid for the presidency.
The Court also ruled against allowing the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from intervening in the hearings, locking down the secrecy even more.

The Court claims that oral arguments would cause conflict between open courts and the secrecy of the Doe investigation. In reality, the conflict for them is between upholding the law and their indebtedness to the very same special interests involved in the cases.

The fact is that the Wisconsin Supreme Court shouldn't even be issuing orders regarding these cases at all.

As previously reported, four of the seven justices on the bench have received heavy support from these dark money special interest groups. So heavy that the special interest groups spent three out of every four dollars in the elections of David Prosser alone.

The United States Supreme Court has already ruled that judges and justices need to recuse themselves "when an interested party’s spending had a “disproportionate influence” in a case that was “pending or imminent.”'

It is more than obvious that this ruling would apply to the four corporate justice on the state supreme court. Why these justices are committing these injustices - and getting away with it - is beyond understanding.

Indianapolis - A Great Place To Be A Bigot

Here's a couple of short videos from my home away from home, Crooks and Liars, which are too funny not to share:




Why Isn't Wisconsin Reporter Reporting The News?

Media Matters called out the propagandist group Wisconsin Reporter for not reporting on Scott Walker's latest scandal:
Mired in conflicts of interest, Watchdog.org's Wisconsin Reporter has remained silent as new information emerges concerning Governor Scott Walker's (R-WI) role in a potential pay-to-play scandal. The site, which echoed defendants calling the investigation a "witch hunt," has previously defended Walker from the allegations of campaign finance violations in over 150 articles.

The Wisconsin Reporter has been a staunch defender of Walker against allegations of wrongdoing stemming from the "John Doe" investigations, the protected state probes into Walker's campaign practices and possible illegal campaign coordination. Since January 1 of this year, the Reporter has published 19 articles either defending Walker or denouncing the validity of the investigations.The Reporter's website includes a special series on the "John Doe" investigations titled "Wisconsin's Secret War," which currently has 186 total entries.

But the Wisconsin Reporter has been silent as evidence reportedly leaked from the very investigation it has covered so heavily revealed potential instances of pay-to-play between a local business man and the Walker administration.

At issue is over $1.5 million in donations made in 2012 to the Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCG), a group that defended the Governor during his 2012 recall election and is directed by Walker's campaign advisor, Yahoo News' Michael Isikoff reported on March 23. The donations were made by hardware store franchise owner John Menard Jr. According to Isikoff, in the years after Walker survived that recall election, Menard's business has benefited from "up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs."

Before the evidence of Menard's donation to WCG became public, the Reporter defended Eric O'Keefe, director of the WCG, against allegations that he and the WCG improperly coordinated with Walker. In multiple articles the Reporter gave O'Keefe and the WCG a platform to deny wrongdoing and undermine the investigation by calling it a "witch hunt." While prosecutors have not commented on the case to the site, O'Keefe told the Reporter, "From its inception, this was a scam, a political pursuit." In an attempt to undermine the case, the Reporter highlighted the growing cost of the investigation, questioned the independence of the chief justice hearing the case, and promoted counter investigations into the prosecution.

The Reporter has not yet mentioned Menard's donation and subsequent tax breaks, a major development in the story that made national headlines. Their silence on the story highlights the conflicts of interest that surround the outlet's reporting on Walker and the "John Doe" investigations.
Long time readers of Cog Dis won't be surprised by Wisconsin Reporter's lack of reporting. After all, they are Walker supporters:
So now, thanks to Kittle's intemperance, we have learned that Wisconsin Reporter is just a small part of a larger right wing echo chamber, all of which is headed up by the Koch-funded Franklin Center for Public and Government Integrity. On top of that, this echo chamber is tied in with and, at least partially, controlled by two people with direct ties to Walker's campaign.

Instead of calling themselves investigative reporters, Wisconsin Reporter, and Walker's campaign, should be investigated by the authorities for their questionable campaign-related contributions and activities, since Walker never claimed their work as an in-kind contribution.

And there is no way that any established, serious news source should be allowing them to put up their political propaganda as anything but that, with a warning that any resemblance between their spin narratives and a credible news source is purely coincidental.

Angela Walker: Milwaukee All Star

It's nice to see my friend, Angela Walker, get the recognition she so richly deserves:
Earlier this week, OnMilwaukee.com posted an article featuring 13 Milwaukeeans working to improve the city's social and economic inequalities.

Angela Walker, who was born and raised in Milwaukee, was one of the people highlighted in the article, in part, because of her commitment to activism and her work at Wisconsin Jobs Now.

She also served as a bus driver for 14 years and ran for sheriff against David Clarke, receiving an impressive 67,000 votes. Angela is engaged in her community, a huge supporter of libraries and works tirelessly to promote public education, fair law enforcement and more.

"Everyday people who resist injustice where they are and believe in the dignity of all communities are my inspiration," she says.
I'm very proud to call Angela a friend and am honored to have her on our side.

Wisconsin Badgers And The Final Four

By now, the gentle reader has probably heard that the Wisconsin Badgers have made it to the Final Four in the NCAA championships.  Good for them.

Personally, I'm not a basketball fan and have no interest in their success or lack thereof.  If they win the whole deal, great! If they lose their next game, I won't be upset.

That said, I am glad that the Badgers our doing well, not only for the reason of state pride,  but because I love the thought that WTMJ-AM is losing all the revenue and rankings that come along with the Badgers' success.

Even though I don't see it happening, I would love it if the Badger boycotted the Final Four, which is being held in Indiana, which just passed the Right to Bigotry law.  I hope that they at least come out wearing rainbow jerseys, just to make a statement.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Another Top Aide To Boss Abele Bails On Him

The rats keep fleeing the sinking ship:
The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is proud to announce the hiring of Brendan Conway as its new Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.

In this role, Conway manages the Marketing team and oversees MCTS’ customer communication efforts. He will also help develop strategies to insure a cohesive brand and message across departments, while overseeing public relations and social media efforts to build MCTS’ brand and managing advertising campaigns to maintain and increase ridership. Conway reports directly to Dan Boehm, Managing Director of MCTS.

“I’m excited to have Brendan on our team; his energy, experience, ideas and fresh perspective will help us continue to move MCTS back to a ‘Best in Class’ transit system,” Boehm said.

Conway comes to Milwaukee County Transit after serving three years as Director of Communications for Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. In that role he served as spokesperson for County Executive Chris Abele and helped drive communication efforts around County Executive Abele’s key initiatives, including improvements to parks, public safety and transit, as well as mental health reform and additional support and programs for veterans.  Prior to working for Milwaukee County, Conway spent 14 years as an award winning broadcast journalist, including eight-and-a-half years at WISN-TV in Milwaukee.
Hiring Conway is a surprising move by MCTS, especially given the way he has been trashing them in an effort to advance Boss Abele's efforts to privatize the entire system. It is also a surprising hire, given that only a handful of corporate Democrats even like the arrogant, adolescent Conway.

Perhaps MCTS thought that by hiring Abele's boy, they are buying some protection from Abele.  More likely they just hired a mole that will try to destroy them from the inside.

This move does leave another burning question though.

Now who will write Deanna Alexander's press releases for her?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wistful Wiggy

By Jeff Simpson

As Zach at Blogging Blue pointed out recently, Waukesha's own Jim Wigderson recently tweeted about the unarmed African American teenager that was recently shot in Madison.


james wigderson @jwigderson
If Tony Robinson was put away for the time armed robbery should get, he might be alive today. But some people don't want to hear that.
Wisconsin incarcerates more black men than any other state in the country and that is not enough for Wigderson.   

Then I realized with Wiggy it is not about incarcerating more African Americans, its much more than that.   Wiggy was rolling James Causey's facebook page when he saw Mr. Causey ripped on Wiggy's hero - George Zimmerman

 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist James Causey continues the newspaper’s pursuit of a quality, civilized debate on the issues confronting our country:
While Wiggy has a deep jealousy of anyone who writes for JSonline, he also sems to have his week made when an unarmed African American gets shot.

Wiggy was the last hold out and supporter of Wild Bill Kramer and now he is the last cheerleader of George Zimmerman. 

No wonder his only forum  is Charlie Sykes' White Wisconsin.  


Ladies and Gentlemen, your Wisconsin Republican Party!    Is this really who we want running our state?


Image result for james wigderson


What They Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

Meet Kirsten Kukowski, the communications director for Scott Walker's presidential bid:


As the gentle reader can see from her Twitter profile, she is rather proud of her work.

Except for one thing, she doesn't know where she works apparently.

She claims that she is working for @OurAmericanRevival.  I'm not sure what that is, but it's not Walker's campaign's Twitter account, even though Kukowski does follow it:


To add to the irony, Walker's campaign's Twitter account is actually @OurRevival, which, at the time of this writing, Kukowski apparently doesn't follow.

Apparently, Walker uses the same hiring guidelines that Fox News does - young, blonde and incompetent.

As a tip to Kukowski, keep your resume updated.  Walker has a tendency for throwing staff under the campaign bus for stuff like that.

Does Walker Even Know Where He Stands On Immigration Anymore?



At the beginning of March, Scott Walker boldly flip-flopped on his stance towards immigration:
Walker: "I believe there's a way that you can do that. First and foremost, you've got to secure that border or none of these plans make any sense."

Wallace: "But it's a little bit slippery here. Back when you were the Milwaukee County Executive, you actually supported the Kennedy-McCain comprehensive immigration plan. Are you basically saying that as part of a comprehensive plan — tough enforcement, E-Verify — the 11 million people already here pay penalty, they get citizenship?"

Walker: No, I'm not talking about amnesty. And the reason for that is, over time —

Wallace: "But you said you supported it."

Walker: "And my view has changed. I'm flat-out saying it. Candidates can say that. Sometimes they don't. I'm saying my view has —

Wallace: "So you've changed from 2013?"

Walker: "Absolutely. I look at the problems we've experienced for the last few years. I've talked to governors on the border and others out there. I've talked to people all across America. And the concern I have is that we need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a legal immigration system that works, and part of doing that is putting the onus on employers. Give them E-Verify and the tools to do that, but I don't think you do it through amnesty."
It now appears that he has done yet another flip-flop on the issue:
Just one day before Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is set to tour the Texas-Mexico border with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the Wall Street Journal's Reid Epstein reports the governor indicated yet another shift in his immigration stance.

[...]

According to Epstein's report, Walker told New Hampshire Republicans at a private dinner that he would support allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States and eventually become eligible for citizenship.

The article cites "three people present" at the dinner as confirmation of the governor's remarks.
Walker's inconsistency and complete turnarounds - depending on who he is talking to and what day of the week it is - is quickly becoming a sore spot with many conservatives who are questioning if they can trust Walker on any issue.

Walker's campaign spokeswoman, of course, denies the account and says that he has switched his position any more times than he has already switched it.

By now, I don't know that anyone can tell if it is true or not. Hell, I'm not even sure that Walker even knows where he stands on the issue anymore.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Scott Walker's Katrina Moment

On Tuesday, terror struck Wisconsin.

A white supremacist skinhead, Steven Timothy Snyder, robbed a bank in Wausaukee, Wisconsin. He also stole a car from one of the bank tellers.

After fleeing the scene of the crime, Snyder decided to switch cars. In his search of a new car to steal, he shot and killed Tom Christ, a 59-year-old, hard working, family man.

Snyder's crime spree ended in a shootout with police, in which he killed Wisconsin State Trooper Trevor Casper. Snyder was shot and killed by police.

Casper was a 21 year old trooper who graduated from the academy just three months ago and was on his first day of doing solo patrol:
Wisconsin State Patrol command staff members say Trooper Trevor Casper followed procedure to a tee as he approached what became a deadly situation near Fond du Lac.

Authorities say Casper, 21, was following Steven Snyder of Michigan, a bank robbery suspect who was also possibly a murder suspect, along Highway 41 to a Pick 'n Save parking lot in Fond du Lac. Casper had been contacting other officers who were arriving to the scene before a shootout took place between him and Snyder.

Lieutenant Colonel Brian Rahn referred to Casper's actions before the exchange of gunfire as "textbook" law enforcement practice.

"I can tell you no other law enforcement officers were injured," said Rahn. "As far as the gunfire to other vehicles, I can tell you I'm not sure what other vehicles would have been struck by gunfire."

"I did see Trooper Casper fall to the ground," Captain Anthony Burrell says, fighting back emotion.

Authorities say officers on the scene administered life-saving procedures to Casper after he was shot, but he eventually died at an area hospital.
Governor Scott Walker had his staff issue a terse and impersonal statement the next day and on Thursday, he ordered flags at half staff for Trooper Casper and a soldier from Wisconsin that had also died.

One thing Walker couldn't or wouldn't do was tear himself away from the campaign trail to honor Casper or comfort his family. Instead, Walker continued pandering to the rich and ultra-conservatives, making stops for a private meeting with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday and taking in a photo op in Texas on Friday.

It reminds one of George Walker Bush, who felt that it was more important to party it up with John McCain than to worry about the folks in New Orleans who died or were left homeless from Hurricane Katrina, although obviously not on the same scale.

The fact that Walker would put his political aspirations before honoring the ultimate sacrifice made by a public servant in the line of duty should tell you all you need to know about what kind of person he is.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Van Wanggaard Knows The Room

By Jeff Simpson

Van Wanggaard is an ex-cop and he knows how to read people.  When you have that kind of training and you spend everyday with the Republican thugs in the Wisconsin legislature, what do you do?

Carry a gun of course!

MADISON — A Wisconsin state senator says he brought a concealed gun to a committee hearing.
Van Wanggaard, a Racine Republican and a former police officer, is chairman of the Senate judiciary committee

Working with Senator Vukmir and Lasee on a daily basis will make anyone want to protect themselves.

Walkergate: Walker Sinks Further Into Dark Money Pit



Last year, court documents revealed that prosecutors said that Scott Walker was at the heart of a "criminal scheme," in which he, his campaign and top lieutenants were trying to skirt campaign finance and election laws. The gist of the scheme was that Walker would help raise funds for conservative groups, especially Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCfG), which would use that money to help advance his campaign. (Walker has admitted that he had solicited funds for WCfG, but denies any knowledge of it in the next breath.)

A couple of months after this, it was revealed that a mining company, Gogebic Taconite, had donated $700,000 to WCfG. In return, Walker reduced environmental protections by signing into law a bill that was written by the mining company.

Now, Michael Isikoff, writing for Yahoo News, has come out with a blockbuster report showing that the mining company wasn't the only one in Walker's pay for play scheme:
John Menard Jr. is widely known as the richest man in Wisconsin. A tough-minded, staunchly conservative 75-year-old billionaire, he owns a highly profitable chain of hardware stores throughout the Midwest. He’s also famously publicity-shy — rarely speaking in public or giving interviews.

So a little more than three years ago, when Menard wanted to back Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — and help advance his pro-business agenda — he found the perfect way to do so without attracting any attention: He wrote more than $1.5 million in checks to a pro-Walker political advocacy group that pledged to keep its donors secret, three sources directly familiar with the transactions told Yahoo News.

Menard’s previously unreported six-figure contributions to the Wisconsin Club for Growth — a group that spent heavily to defend Walker during a bitter 2012 recall election — seem to have paid off for the businessman and his company. In the past two years, Menard’s company has been awarded up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs, according to state records.

And in his five years in office, Walker’s appointees have sharply scaled back enforcement actions by the state Department of Natural Resources — a top Menard priority. The agency had repeatedly clashed with Menard and his company under previous governors over citations for violating state environmental laws and had levied a $1.7 million fine against Menard personally, as well as his company, for illegally dumping hazardous wastes.
Walker's spokeswoman, of course, denied that Walker had anything to do with this bit of quid pro corruption (emphasis mine):
Laurel Patrick, Walker’s press secretary, strongly denied that the governor had provided any special favors for Menard and said Walker was “not involved” in the decision to award his firm tax credits, which were approved by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for expansions of existing facilities in order to create jobs. (She also noted that Menard’s firm had been awarded $1.5 million in tax credits in 2006 under Democratic Gov. James Doyle. State records show these were reduced to $1 million when the company failed to meet its full job-creation requirements.)

Patrick declined, however, to respond to any questions about the Menard contributions. Citing a “pending legal” investigation into Wisconsin Club for Growth fundraising that will be argued next month before the state Supreme Court, AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Walker’s political organization, Our American Revival, said she also could not answer any questions about the Menard donations, including whether the governor had solicited them, was aware of them or had ever discussed state business with Menard.
Oopsie! Perhaps Patrick forgot that Walker is the Chairman of the WEDC.

Walker created the WEDC for exactly this type of pay for play, despite the repeated warnings that these quasi-private/public schemes never end up well. In an ominous move, Walker want's to take away legislative oversight of WEDC and have it completely under his control and run by his political appointees. Methinks that the above stories gives us a clearer understanding why Walker would want this.

While it is good that Walker's corruption is finally having the light of day shown on it, it comes as nothing new to us in Wisconsin, where Walker has a long history of this sort of unethical and illegal behaviors. As I noted then, the only surprise is that Walker hasn't gotten any better at concealing his corruption. Then again, he's always been a slow learner.

It is also worth noting that lawsuits regarding the John Doe probe is scheduled to be heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court later this year. Four of the seven justices have had extensive help from WCfG, which, according the Supreme Court of the United States, is grounds for them to recuse themselves. That said, given the prevalent and pervasive corruption that Walker and his dark money supporters have foisted upon the state, I wouldn't hold my breath for them to do the right thing either.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

US Democrats Move Towards $12 Per Hour Minimum Wage

Well, at least some people in the Democratic Party is on the ball with the minimum wage issue:
The U.S. Senate’s Democrats, under prodding from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., are moving toward supporting a $12-an-hour national minimum wage, higher than the $10.10 plan put forward by President Obama.

An increase in the federal $7.25 an hour minimum wage — a level set by the bipartisan Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 — has been blocked from a vote by Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The $10.10-an-hour proposal is one we advanced two years ago this summer,” Murray said in an interview. “We were looking at where we should be, had that passed, and where we should be going with wages in this country.

“I know from my own experience, when you pay a livable wage people have increased buying power and can take care of their families’ needs. Businesses get more income and succeed. It is good for everyone.”

The proposals for a higher minimum wage may be stalled in Congress, but a tighter labor market has caused major retailers to increase wages for their lowest paid employees.

Wal-Mart announced last month that it will hike minimum pay to $9 an hour starting in April, and to $10 an hour a year from now, a move expected to boost paychecks for 500,000 of its 1.3 million “associates.”
That's a helluva lot better than the $10.10 proposed by Obama and other Republicrats.  At least the $12.00 per hour would put most people above the poverty line.

Further down the article, it shows why Scott Walker and his Teapublican allies are really out of the loop on this issue:
In 2014, voters in four Republican-controlled states — Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — all voted to raise state minimum wages.

The highest-ever purchasing value of the federal minimum wage was 47 years ago. At $1.60 an hour the 1968 minimum wage was equivalent to $10.88 in 2014 dollars. Purchasing power has been in decline over the past three decades.
The gentle reader will remember that Walker said that he didn't think that the minimum wage serves a purpose.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Assembly JFC Dems Stand Up For The Elderly And The Disabled

Last Friday, I, and scores of others, spoke to the Joint Finance Committee against Scott Walker's plan to privatize and decimate the long term support programs for the frail elderly and people with disabilities.

So it was with great pleasure to see that at least two committee members, Representatives Chris Taylor and Gordon Hintz, were not only listening to us, but are willing to fight for this.  The following is a joint press release from Taylor and Hintz:
Prior to the Joint Committee on Finance’s  (JFC) hearing in Rice Lake, the Democratic members of the JFC called for removal of budget provisions that would dismantle Wisconsin’s successful long-term care system.  Governor Walker’s proposal would replace it with a statewide model, likely run by out-of-state corporate insurance companies and without competitive bid requirements for contracts.  Following their request for removal of these changes, Representatives Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) and Chris Taylor (D-Madison) released the following statement:

“The Republicans' dismantling of Wisconsin’s long term care system is throwing Wisconsin families into crisis,” Rep. Taylor said.  “Families served by Wisconsin’s long-term care system want to be treated with dignity and respect, and instead feel surprised and sabotaged.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  Republicans need to take these changes out of the budget today.”

“Over the last week I have heard from hundreds of families that count on IRIS and FamilyCare for the support they need to be healthy and successful,” Rep. Hintz said.  “We are being asked to adopt a plan that has no details other than dismantling our existing long-term care system.  More than 50,000 Wisconsin families are served by our long-term care programs fear what this means for their loved ones.  This change has no business in the budget, and needs to be removed immediately to avoid any further harm and uncertainty."

Wisconsin’s current long-term care system has been a national model, based on years of trust, accountability, and work built by local stakeholder input. Currently, IRIS and Family Care allow people with a disability and the elderly to choose the type of in-home health services that best meet their needs, through regional providers or self-directed care. These changes were never discussed before they were introduced in the budget and have been met with strong opposition from families who were blindsided by the proposal.  DHS Secretary Rhoades has stated that she was also unaware of the proposal before it was included in the budget.
I thank and commend Representatives Taylor and Hintz for doing the right thing on this issue.

I just hope that their Republican counterparts realize that Walker has put them firmly on Wisconsin's version of the third rail and that they have the common sense to get off of it before it's too late for our state's most vulnerable citizens and for their own careers.

The $2,000,000 Man

By Jeff Simpson

They say crime pays, but apparently being a career politician really really pays.  

Scott Walker, without a college degree and never having met a payroll or even spent a day in the private sector is worth a whopping $2,000,000.   





Since Mr. Walker is a multi millionaire and career politician, every single dollar he is worth has come from the taxpayers of Wisconsin.     Now he is repaying us by traveling he country on our dime.  

Not bad work if you can get it.    

By the way, average teacher salary in Wisconsin is $52,000/yr.   Which means if they did not spend a nickel, they would reach Mr. Walker's net worth after forty years of working.  

 



There is a Sucker Born Every Minute


Image result for charlie sykes

By Jeff Simpson

"There's a sucker born every minute" is a phrase most likely spoken by David Hannum, in criticism of both P. T. Barnum, an American showman of the mid 1800s, and his customers. The phrase is often credited to Barnum himself. It means "Many people are gullible, and we can expect this to continue."

Or maybe a better quote would be

 A Fool and his money are soon parted.  

 Thrice married Charlie Sykes has for some reason, been given access to the states biggest radio waves to have a show every morning full of BS.   If that is not enough, he has also been granted access to the television airwaves every Sunday for a completely unwatchable "news" show.

But wait there is more:

If you are not getting enough of hearing how amazing Scott Walker is, and if you are too lazy to actually look for blogs on your own on the internet, you can subscribe to Charlie Sykes White Wisconsin website for the low price of $9.99/month.

 Where at anytime you can read the regurgitated babblings of James Wigderson, Kevin Binversie amd various reprints of mediatrackkkers ramblings.    An added bonus if you hurry and subscribe today, is you can read about Rebecca Kleefisch's thoughts on the EPA and the Obama Administration.  Riveting reading.

But wait there is more.

You can also buy tickets for Insight 2015 where Charlie Sykes will charge you to sit in an audience and listen to him gush with YOUR elected officials.   You of course will not really be allowed access to your elected officials(Scott Walker and David Clarke are scheduled to attend) just listen to Charlie throw them softball questions and hammer on Democrats.  

(edit note:  For those scoring at home, we are paying Scott Walker's security detail, and the only way we can actually access our elected Governor is by buying a ticket to Charlie Sykes event to see him from a distance.  Shouldn't it be illegal to have to pay to see elected officials?)  

I have to hand it to Charlie, he knows how to rile up the masses and part people from their money.  Well at least the true kool aid drinkers anyway.

I wonder if he is related to Pastor Creflo Dollar?




Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tell Me Again About The Honest Right

State Representative Robin "Popcorn Balls" Von is claiming that he received this letter in the mail:


If this is real, it is in very poor showing.  There should be no need for violence when we have not exhausted all of the nonviolent means.

James Wigderson, who considers himself to be a professional writer, jumped on this, blaming the letter on the "peaceful left."  Unfortunately, Wiggy follows his usual pattern of making things up out of thin air, provides no evidence that the letter came from a lefty.

Perhaps Wiggy didn't want to tell his readers that the so-called Right to Work bill isn't popular with Republicans or Democrats.  After all, why shock them out of the repetitive lies of the right wing echo chamber he is part of.

While there are an increasing number of veterans that are on the left, especially as they realize that it is the Republicans that are screwing them over by cutting and denying their benefits. But somehow, I just don't see a group of former SEALS or Rangers turning liberal.

Also, the horrific spelling is more reminiscent of the signs held up at Tea Party rallies than anything a thinking person would create.

But hey, I could be wrong.  Perhaps Wiggy is aware that is was signed by Soul Man Sam the former SEAL.  Or perhaps by Hippie Harry the former Ranger.

Or it could be maybe, just maybe, Wiggy is making things up again because he's got nothing else to go on.


Sen. Kathleen Vinehout Speaks Out On DPW Chair Race

As I sat through the Joint Finance Committee's budget listening session on Friday, I could not help but reflect on how we got to the point where people were begging the state legislature not to use our children and our most vulnerable citizens as chattel on an auctioning block, where workers rights were a thing of the past, where people are afraid for their future.

During my day, I had a chance to briefly meet and observe State Representative Chris Taylor in action.  I've always been a fan of hers and came away from the day even more impressed with her.  I still can't help but wonder what the results would have been if Mike Tate and his fellow big money sycophants hadn't manipulated the situation and clearing the field for Mary Burke.

True, Taylor isn't a millionaire like Burke, but that turned out to be a non-factor when Burke decided to withhold her cash anyway.  But Taylor has something that Burke cannot buy - popularity.  I still believe that Taylor - or someone like her - would have been able to do what Tate and his hand-picked candidate failed miserably at - turning out the vote.

Over the weekend, I was alerted by several readers and friends of Senator Kathleen Vinehout's interview with Wisconsin Eye.  Vinehout spoke about the problems with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and what she saw as the solution for these problems:



While I don't necessarily agree with her endorsement of Martha Lanning, I do agree with her that the Party needs to invert itself and let the people control its direction instead of a handful of corporate Democrats.  It's at about the 14:55 mark where she really nails it, where she is discussing Tate's heir apparent, Jason Rae:
"He represents the corporatization of the Democratic Party.  He represents the power of money to control what I believe is the power of the people.  The party of the people, the little guy, that guy is not represented."
She's hit the nail right on the head with that.  When you have people like Tate and Rae praising and supporting the likes of Boss Abele, who are about as unDemocratic as they come, you are going to lose the people and keep losing elections.

If Rae wins the DPW chair, the Democrats will have conceded the state for the rest of the decade, if not longer.  The Democrats cannot beat the Republicans by being Republican Lite, which Tate has made the Party into and which Rae would only continue.  And even if the Democrats win, the people that they promote, like Abele, well, you might as well have the Republicans anyway.

As I wrote above, I'm not too sure about Lanning.  The shady way they manipulated her entry into the race raises red flags for me.  That's is as sketchy as the way Tate tried to set it up for Rae.

If I had a voice in the matter (I don't because I won't join a group that supports those who attack me and my union brothers and sisters), I would say that the ticket of Jeff Smith and Stephanie Deena Findley is the most interesting and the most desirable for the Party.  This ticket can connect the urban and rural members, as well as help address the poor treatment that women and minorities have received from the Party elite.

ADDENDUM: I just learned that Findley had hitched herself with the education privatization vultures.

My recommendation is now the Working Families Party.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Education Privatization Group Uses Children As Props At Budget Hearing

On Friday, I and about a thousand other people took the day off to spend it at Alverno College where the state's Joint Finance Committee was holding their second day of public listening session.  When I arrived at about 11 am, the crowd was so big that it led out of the building all the way to the street.

As people trickled out of the building, they would let people in in small groups.  It took about an hour to get in the door and registered to speak. Even with all of these people, it was very calm and orderly.  I don't believe that it had anything to do with the score of police officers that were present. It is just that the citizens continued to be the adults in the room.

This left Alberta Darling with nothing to gripe about except that people would show their pleasure and displeasure by holding up different colored sheets of papers.  And after Darling insulted the citizenry, saying that they were being rude for this, people started admonishing her for her childish complaint.

The topics that people addressed to the committee were pretty much the same as the previous hearing at the first hearing, such as the cuts to the UW system, to public schools, laws that would damage the environment and the privatization of long term care for the elderly and disabled.

Even though it was spring break, there was a considerable presence from UW students that stayed in Wisconsin to address the proposed cuts to their schools. They pointed out that the cuts would make the schools less attractive to students and increase the brain drain that Wisconsin is going through.

Senior citizens, people with disabilities and their caretakers shared the importance of programs like Family Care and IRIS, which are the only things keeping these vulnerable citizens from being forced out of their own homes and into nursing homes.

There were many representatives from several school districts that came prepared with the actual numbers on how damaging the proposed cuts to public schools would be.  They were outnumbered by outraged parents that came to fight for their children's schools.  One of the best comments was a parent who said that they had made their choice, and that their choice was public schools:
"We have made our choice and we choose the public schools," Suarez Flint said. "Public education is not failing. You are failing public education."
Big business was represented too.

Members of the MMAC were there to plug for the hundreds of millions to build a new arena in Milwaukee, claiming that it was a "quality of life" issue.  This was met with derision and comments by the group pushing for actual quality of life issues like a decent education system or the programs that help our most vulnerable citizens.

Another corporate faction that was present were the parties that wanted to privatize so many important programs in the state.  One example would be that there were no less than three major for-profit insurance companies that were salivating over the chance to get a no bid contract for the $3 billion meant to help the disabled and the elderly.

The education corporate vultures were also present and were the ones that pulled a rather tasteless stunt.  They pulled out scores of children from school to push for Walker's agenda of privatizing the public education system:

Image courtesy of Sen. Chris Larson

As State Senator Chris Larson points out on his Facebook page, can you imagine what the reaction would be if the Milwaukee Public Schools pulled kids out of class to pander to the committee for more money?  The right wing squawkers and propagandists would be foaming at the mouth for weeks in their faux outrage.  It would undoubtedly make it to the national level as Faux News, Drudge and Breitbart all clutched their pearls and fell back on their fainting couches at the abuse of tax dollars.

Yeah, but even though the brainwashing education of these children are also being funded by taxpayers, don't hold your breath for any of the right wingers to say even one word about this.  That would require integrity and intellectual honesty, things that they are clearly lacking.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wisconsin Reporter Solicits Riots

By Jeff Simpson

As everyone probably knows by now, an unarmed African American kid was recently shot and killed by a Madison police officer.   Thanks to the amazing Chris Taylor, there is currently an independent investigation going on to see what exactly happened and why.  

We do not have the full information on what happened yet.  The only thing we know for certain is that Anthony Robinson, was unarmed and is no longer with us.   Starting from the night that Mr. Robinson was shot, there have been peaceful protests.  Protests involving, community, clergy, students, children, family, etc...   All have been very peaceful.   Even Mr. Robinson's family has called for peaceful protests

The family of an unarmed biracial 19-year-old killed by police in Madison, Wisconsin, is pushing for peaceful protests online and in the streets.
"Our hands are stained with the blood of my nephew, and we are all left to deal with the aftermath," Turin Carter, the teen's uncle, told reporters on Monday.
Carter stressed that his family wasn't anti-police, but said Tony Robinson's death "highlights a universal problem with law enforcement and how its procedures have been carried out ... specifically as it pertains to the systematic targeting of young black males."
But he said the problem goes beyond the chants of "black lives matter" that have already been used at protests over the case.
"I encourage everybody to show support regardless of race because this is truly a universal issue. ... We don't want to stop at just 'black lives matter,' because all lives matter," he said.
There was even a conscious effort to establish that Madison is not Ferguson

 "We're looking beyond Ferguson. And we're also looking at our community to make sure that we are proactive in a way, that what has happened in New York, what happened in Ferguson, won't happen here," African American Council of Churches President Bishop Harold Rayford said.
 That there are responsible peaceful protests yet again in Madison is not sitting very well with the Michael Grebe funded propaganda machine called Wisconsin Reporter.   So they decided to step in to fan the flames.    


‘Young, Gifted & Black’ looks to turn Madison into next Ferguson

By   /   March 20, 2015  /   11 Comments

Seriously, the first time that violence in these protests was mentioned was the hard core right wing Waukesha based propaganda machine and their gopher - Matt Kittle.  

Matt Kittle, Michael Grebe, Eric O'Keefe, Scott Walker, et al, would like nothing better than than to have race riots erupt in "liberal" Madison.   This is what they are doing in front of the scenes, I hate to think of what they are doing behind the scenes.    

Full disclosure, my wife took our 12 yar old son to a candle light vigil on the Sunday after the shooting.   There were many children there. zero threats of violence, but lots of prayers, speeches, hugs and tears.   

It is sad that this is what the right wing in Wisconsin has become.  It is sad that stoking fear, and hatred is what Wisconsin Reporter thrives off of.  

It is time for this BS to end.  

Please send a message to MD Kittle of No More race baiting, fear, hatred and inert racism.  




Thursday, March 19, 2015

Santorum Speaks to the Republican Base

This is Rick Santorum.

Rick Santorum was brought to WI, during the last election as a headliner by Americans for Prosperity and Luke Hilgemann, in their defending the American Dream summit. 


On Saturday, March 24, Americans for Prosperity Foundation-Wisconsin will host the Wisconsin Defending the American Dream Summit.

AFP Foundation-Wisconsin is proud to announce presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Senator Ron Johnson, and Congressman Paul Ryan will speak at the Defending the American Dream Summit.
This is who Rick Santorum is:


That Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin feature Mr. Santorum as a "conservative" speaker and that Paul Ryan and Ron Johnson enjoy sharing the stage with him, tells you what you need to know about them.  

Its only post racial America when we hold people accountable for their racism.  

*Edit note - This speech was not given at the AFP-WI summit, but shortly before it.    Santorum was still allowed to speak.   

Mair Today, Gone Tomorrow

On Monday, Scott Walker hired Liz Mair to help with his presidential campaign:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's political action committee has hired prominent Republican strategist Liz Mair to lead online communication efforts, CNN Politics has learned, taking yet another step toward building a team for what is expected to become a presidential campaign later this year.

Mair's political consulting firm will advise on social media and blogger outreach for Walker's PAC, Our American Revival, by providing input on digital strategy and messaging, Mair told CNN on Monday. She'll be joined by associates Brittany Cover and Dan Blum.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Mair had the audacity to have issued a few tweets that were critical of Iowan Republicans. She also had the gall to see the common sense in President Obama's amnesty program.

Iowan Republicans clutched their pearls and swooned back on their fainting couches, demanding that Walker rid himself of this awful woman.

By the end of the day, Walker boldly appeased the Iowan Republicans and threw Mair under the campaign bus and got her to resign.

Walker has already been slammed by other conservatives for his cowardly actions:
I see from the Associated Press that Liz Mair has resigned from Governor Walker’s campaign. Given Liz’s work history, I will put it to you this way — Team Walker has botched this. There’s just no way Liz Mair resigned with it being her idea. I haven’t talked to her yet, but there’s just no way. So instead of Walker owning this, he’s passed the ball and made a staffer off herself. That’s unfortunate and plays into the “not ready for prime time” theme already developing around Team Walker. At least it is early.
The fact that Walker is willing to throw an aide under the bus at the first sign of trouble is nothing new.

In 2013, when Steve Krieser, his then deputy secretary of transportation, put up a racist rant on Facebook, Walker quickly sent him packing.  That in itself wouldn't be unusual except for the fact that Walker has been known to tolerate a lot of racism from his staffers and has not fired them for their inappropriate comments. Instead, he would offer non-apology apologies.

An even more glaring example is Taylor Palmisano, Walker's campaign's former deputy finance director.  Palmisano's crime was agreeing to let Walker put her name on the infamous Black Friday fundraising email, in which Walker told people not to buy Christmas presents for their children.  Instead, Walker suggested, parents should just give their money to his campaign.

By the time this story was making national and international news, Walker "suddenly" learned of some racist tweets that Palmisano had made three years before he even hired her.  This was his official excuse for throwing her under the campaign bus.

The fact that Walker continues to have these issues with his staff after all these years and all these problems, it would make any sane person question Walker's decision making skills.  That's not a very good quality for a presidential wannabe.

But then again, when have Republicans have been known for picking high quality candidates?

The Obama Fact Check

Every Gun Has A History. Let's Not Repeat It.

This is a very powerful video about gun safety - as in are you really safer with one:



Source

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Scott Walker's Anemic Job Numbers

Todd Milewski at Cap Times has the final tally for jobs created under Scott Walker's first term.  Needless to say, he did not reach his goal of 250,000 jobs:
It has been apparent for some time that Wisconsin was not going to reach the 250,000 new private sector jobs that Gov. Scott Walker pledged in his 2010 campaign.

Jobs figures for January that were released Tuesday complete the cycle on Walker's first term and shows how far the state fell short.

Wisconsin reported 2,460,000 private-sector jobs in preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates for January, a gain of 137,400 over January 2011.

That's just under 55 percent of the way to Walker's goal.
I would argue that Walker's job numbers aren't even that good.

If you add up the jobs that were created in the first six months of Walker's terms, which were created before any of Walker's policies or his budget kicked in, it comes to about 23,000. These are the jobs that were created thanks to the the policies and budget of Jim Doyle.

So in reality, Walker created only about 114,000 jobs, or about 46% of his goal.

But even giving the benefit of the doubt to Walker and going with Milewski's numbers, Wisconsin still lagged far behind the rest of the Midwest and behind the nation:


There is no way an honest person could argue that Walker's agenda is working, because it is undeniably not.

The O'Keefe Factor

By Jeff Simpson

Remember last year when some version of the Wisconsin Republican party had the late Andrew Breitbardt's little Gilligan - the despicable James O'Keefe come here and attack long time Republican Senator Mike Ellis?

See Senator Ellis, was not fully on board with the unlimited expansion of vouchers.

In Wisconsin we have seen that you do NOT cross Scott Jensen and that the Republicans will go to any lengths necessary to make sure no Republican dare have an independent thought or want to represent their district.

Hence they called in O'Keefe.

In case you had not heard of James O'Keefe before, he made news recently.

 A former employee says conservative activist James O’Keefe tried to instigate anti-police sentiment among protesters through the use of a mole, the New York Postreported.The former director of operations for Project Veritas, Richard Valdes, said O’Keefe planned to send an unidentified Muslim man working for him to infiltrate a group of demonstrators in January. Neither the protest he was supposed to join nor the location have been identified.
The man was also allegedly given a script to recite at meetings, in which he would say, “Sometimes, I wish I could just kill some of these cops. Don’t you just wish we could have one of the cops right here in the middle of our group?”
However, the man reportedly emailed both Valdes and O’Keefe that month and refused the assignment.
“I will not say words that will jeopardize my entity, especially when they involve an illegal act of ‘murdering police,’” he wrote.
Valdes told the Post that O’Keefe subsequently fired him for “being unwilling to strong-arm the guy to do his dirty work.”

What a great guy the Republicans have hired and brought to our state.   Also kind of puts  the "we thought about adding violence to the peaceful protests" line by Scott Walker into perspective, doesn't it?




John Doe joins Scott Walker's presidential campaign

The original John Doe investigation into Scott Walker and his staff, commonly referred to as Walkergate, resulted in six people close to Walker being convicted on assorted crimes.

One of the most prominent of those arrested and convicted was Kelly Rindfleisch, who Walker hired to be his deputy chief of staff while he was Milwaukee County Executive. Based on the emails and other court documents, Rindfleisch's primary responsibility was to do fundraising for Walker and Brett Davis, who Walker wanted to be his lieutenant governor.

Rindfleisch was convicted of misconduct in office in a plea deal. Even though her sentence was a slap on the wrist, she immediately appealed her conviction. When she lost her appeal, she appealed it to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has now also rejected her appeal:
The state Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive.

Kelly Rindfleisch, who was convicted of misconduct in office for doing campaign work while at her county government job, had appealed her conviction to the state's highest court in December.

The move came after a state appeals court upheld her conviction in November, when a three-judge panel rejected her argument in a 2-1 decision.

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied her petition. Justice David Prosser did not participate.
This decision has significance on several different levels.

First, it means that Rindfleisch will finally have to pay her debt to society for her crimes and have to serve her six-month jail sentence and three years of probation. She will be the third person convicted out of the Walkergate investigation that will have spent time behind bars.

Secondly, despite his protests to the contrary, Walker knew full well about the secret email system and the illegal activities his staff were conducting. Hell, he was directing them.

Thirdly, it should be noted that Walker knew that this would be damaging to him, which led him and his friends to fund Rindfleisch's legal defense.

Fourth, the fact that Walker had the audacity of a dope in attacking Hillary Clinton over her supposed email scandal shows just what a hypocrite and weasel Walker really is.

Fifth, it is interesting in itself that the Supreme Court chose not to even hear the matter, especially since Rindfleisch's defense was that the scope of the investigation was too broad. This is the same argument being used in the John Doe cases that the Supreme Court will be hearing later this year.

In the same sense, it is worth noting that Justice David Prosser did not participate in the decision. While it could be that he was on vacation or out practicing his choke holds, it could also be that Prosser is tied in with Rindfleisch. We do know that Prosser had questionable activities happening on his most recent reelection.

With all the other gaffes and missteps that have been plaguing Walker and his campaign, the last thing he wanted was to have this reminder of the corruption he oversaw popping up. Personally, I don't think that it could happen to a more deserving person.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

While everyone is out celebrating and believing that being passed out drunk before mid-afternoon makes them Irish (it doesn't, that's condescending and no one appreciates it) please take time to read this wonderful article from The Zinn Education Project about Ireland's real history during the potato famine. The famine is one of the driving forces behind mass Irish immigration to the United State's in the 1840's (my own family included) and it still haunts Ireland to this day.

Just remember while you're all out having fun today, that 200 years ago, my family was met by signs like this hanging in businesses all over America.

Okay, just promise you'll bastardize us in 200 years!

Slainte!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Scott Walker's Mini-Me

What if I told you that there was a politician in Wisconsin that gave one of his political insiders a massive raise for cutting services to the most vulnerable citizens?  And what if I told you the same politician not only refused to give rank and file raises that were owed to them but cut their pay for the fourth straight year?  And what if I told you that said politician could get away with it because he had laws passed that removed any accountability to the public?

You'd probably think that I was talking about Scott Walker.  And that would be a pretty good guess because walker has done that very thing.

But in this instance, I am referring to Walker's Mini-Me, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
In a year of planned pay increases for several hundred Milwaukee County employees, Department of Health and Human Services Director Hector Colón received the biggest bump of all with a nearly 39% raise in 2015.

The $48,682 raise lifted his salary to $175,000 a year.

That is on top of the 1% increase — equal to $1,250 — Colón received with all other county employees in April of last year.

There was no overall pay hike for all of the county's 4,000 or so employees this year.
Think about that for a minute.

 One county department head is making more money than a United States Representative.

Abele is able to get away with this because of Act 14.  Act 14 is the law he had written and introduced by his personally-owned state representative, Joe Sanfelippo, in order to decimate the county's representative government and consolidate power into his own hands.

County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic brings up valid concerns about the raise and its appropriateness:
County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic criticized Abele for giving those two appointees raises without informing the public or reporting the new salaries to the board. "It seems secretive," she said.

"These types of extreme salary increases have potential pension impacts as well," Dimitrijevic said. "Another reason for a full, public vetting."

Act 14, a 2013 law that cut the County Board's authority, bars the board from a role in approving raises for top county managers, according to county attorney Paul Bargren.

Dimitrijevic specifically questioned how Abele could justify a 39% boost to Colón just a few months after the administration and board debated cuts in funding to homeless shelters and indigent burials, and the closing of public pools.
As one might expect, Abele used weasel speak to try to justify his largess:
Colón has not had a merit raise in more than three years he has held the job, and the department's Behavioral Health Division ended 2014 with a multimillion surplus, instead of a perennial deficit, according to Abele. "That's money we can put back into services," he said.

After more than a decade of calls for reforms of county mental health services, with a goal of shifting patients out of institutions to community programs for care, Colón has accomplished much of the reform agenda, Abele said.
We saw that what Abele's reforms brought about - vulnerable citizens getting insufficient support and services which have led to people being maimed and even people dying.

It is more than ironic that Abele boasts of these "savings" that can be "put back into services."  Not only is Abele cutting services, but the $50,000 could have been used to hire a front line worker that, y'know, actually provides those services Abele pretends to be so concerned about.

Abele's line about Colón not getting a merit raise in three years is just plain insulting.

Not only have county workers been denied their raises for the past four years, they have had their take home pay cut each of those years due to Abele's draconian cuts, making him actually worse than Walker in that regard.

On top of all that, thanks to the diligence of AFSCME, 60% of the county work force is finally eligible for step increase this year (and trust me, they are no where near 39% increases), for the first time in years.  But Abele is refusing to give them out, claiming that the county is broke.  Keep in mind that the county has had surpluses in the tens of millions of dollars each year, much of which comes off of the backs of the same workers he won't give raises to now.

As the Democratic Party of Wisconsin starts their debate on who should be the next leader of the party and try to find a way to beat Walker and his Republican allies, perhaps they would be wise to listen to their own members, and realize they won't win as long as they continue to cling to this Walker wannabe.

Rick Esenberg - Man of the People

By Jeff Simpson

Rick Esenberg, using the Purple Wisconsin forum, recently wrote about the "lack of candor" of certain people who were fighting the recent wage theft bill that the Republicans in Wisconsin quickly rammed through the legislature.

However, Mr. Esenberg had the unmitigated gall to write the following:

But no one paid me to be there either and I am a public interest lawyer and legal scholar who goes where the evidence leads me. I truly believe that and try to conduct myself accordingly.

Seriously Mr. Esenberg wrote that.  Apparently legal ethics does not transfer over to statewide blogs.

Lets break this down.

*  But no one paid me to be there either

That is actually flat our lie.  As "executive director" of W.I.L.L., which is amazingly classified as a "non-profit", Mr. Esenberg makes a minimum of $210,000/yr.  For those scoring at home, that is more than four average teachers salaries combined.  

Let's also not forget who is paying this exorbitant - Michael Grebe.  Scott Walker's campaign manager is also the man funder of W.I.L.L. (Mr. Esenberg refuses to reveal other funders).  Does anyone really think that Mr. Walker's campaign manager did not want his well funded political gopher groups there at the forefront of the battle to pass the Diane Hendricks bill?  


 *  I am a public interest lawyer and legal scholar who goes where the evidence leads me.

Mr. Esenberg recently sued the Kenosha School district using new union boss Kristy laCroix as a prop.   Thanks to Ms. LaCroix's step father, he was voted a huge settlement of public education tax dollars to be split between himself and Ms. LaCroix.  

Feeling empowered, and well funded by Mr. Grebe, he also grabbed a new tool - David Blaska, and sued the Madison Metropolitan School District because they actually sat down at the table and negotiated with the Madison Teachers to agree on a new contract(while ACT10 was stayed).   

They were incensed that MTI was able to negotiate a .025% raise for its members.  Yes you read that right .025%.  After two years of wage freeze, now teachers in madison will be getting about a $60 salary increase for the year.   

Apparently, the "evidence led" to Mr. $210,000 yearly non profit director. who lives in Milwaukee to find that unacceptable in Madison.    

Mr. Public Interest lawyer, felt it was in the public's interest to force MMSD into court where they will spend a needless few thousand dollars, and win in the end.   

 I truly believe that and try to conduct myself accordingly.

If that what it takes you to tell yourself to sleep at night, so be it.  However we have show that you have a high propensity to mislead if not flat out lie.


It amazes me that David Haynes would allow such misleading and dishonest tripe in his newspaper.



 Image result for rick esenberg