Monday, February 28, 2011

Hey, David Haynes And The MJS Editorial Board, Some Apologies Are In Order

The most recent oped piece from the  Editorial Board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has them singing a whole different tune than they have in the past two and a half weeks.  They are finally saying that there are some serious problems with Scott Walker's "Budget Disrepair Bill" and that it shouldn't pass in it's current form:
But no matter how deep the budget hole, Walker and his Republican allies in the Legislature were wrong to try to bust public-employee unions. Workers have a fundamental right to organize, even when it's inconvenient for the rest of us.

Walker's proposals would require an annual vote of members to recertify their union, ban governments from automatically deducting union dues from paychecks and allow public employees to opt out of paying dues and still remain members of a bargaining unit. Unions could negotiate wages but only up to the rate of inflation. That's not negotiating; it's dictating.< Even worse, the bill would apply the new rules unevenly. Police officers, firefighters, sheriff's deputies and state troopers would be exempt. With big cuts coming in state aid, municipalities must control labor costs, but exempting police and fire departments makes that nearly impossible. In Milwaukee, 65% of salaries and benefits flow to those two budget lines. The more radical of Walker's collective bargaining proposals should be killed. The others should cover all unions. Proposals that amount to policy should be stripped out. These include a provision to allow the Department of Administration to sell heating, cooling and power plants without bids and another that would give broad rule-making authority for the Medicaid program to the Department of Health Services. The bill also might imperil federal transit funding for some communities. A fix is needed for that as well.
They're still a far cry from being responsible to the community they are supposed to be advocating for, but it is still better than what they have written in the past.

When the would-be king issued his power-grabbing edict, the MJS Editorial Board thought it was "the right fight."  If anything, they argued that in some aspects, Walker did not go far enough.

They really should be apologizing to their readers for not taking a serious look at the bill before spouting off on how wonderful it is, especially when it's not wonderful at all.

And speaking of taking a serious look at the bill, it took the MJS Editorial Board more than two weeks to figure out that the bill might not be so good after all.  But they, like many Wisconsinites, wouldn't have had the time to actually look at the bill and see it in all of hits horror, if it weren't for the courageous and selfless acts of   the fourteen Democratic Senators that took off with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and fled to another state, all in order to slow things down and give us the chance to look at the thing.

However, the Editorial Board didn't see it that way.  They accused the Wisconsin 14 of having "a tantrum."  In a editorial piece that is so snarky, one would think that Patrick McIlheran had once again had snuck around and gotten unsupervised access to a keyboard, they went over the line in insulting some of the heroes of this whole unfortunate time.

Now that they've had a time to look at the bill because these men and women left town and slowed everything  down, they should not only apologize for their inappropriate sniping, but actually express their gratitude for the Senators' sacrifice.

On a side note, it's been two weeks since I've cancelled my subscription to the paper.  I thought it would be a major upset in my life.  I'm finding that I hardly even miss it.  And then the paper prints dreck like this and wonders why their circulations numbers are dropping almost as fast as Walker's approval numbers...

I Thought Sundays Without Football Were Supposed To Be Uneventful

Now that we are three weeks removed from the Superbowl, I thought Sundays would be quieter times and a chance to actually relax.  Maybe they are for most of the country, but they sure aren't here in Wisconsin.

First thing was Scott Walker's appearance on Meet the Press.  Sadly, it looked like their researchers didn't do a very complete job, and David Gregory was unable to nail Walker down on several lies.

For example, Walker was mewling about collective bargaining, saying that it kept him from getting meaningful concessions from the unions, when the reality is that he never even made a proposal to the unions for them to accept or, making his point a false argument.

Another doozy was that he was against lay offs.  During the campaign, he was regularly boasting about ridding Milwaukee County of 20% of the workforce and laughing about laying off almost 200 workers.

On the upside, Gregory did hit Walker on the fact that he was refusing the concessions that the was seeking.  He also called Walker out on some of his foolishness when he thought he was talking with David Koch.  Unbelievably, on national TV, Walker admitted he considered putting operatives among the peaceful protesters to act as agitators in an effort to discredit them.

In fact, Walker's people expected him to do so poorly that they made quick arrangements for him to have th full half hour of the Charlie Sykes' Incite program in an effort to do damage control.

Things calmed down for a few hours, but then picked up rapidly in the afternoon.  Walker and his administration, kowtowing to his radical supporters, reported that they were going to clear everyone out of the Capitol by 4 pm, so that they could "clean" the building.

This was a blatant attempt to violate the protesters' First Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Assemble.  If they can clean a hospital without moving everyone out, there is no reason why they couldn't do so at the Capitol, especially after Walker also admitted to a national audience that the protesters were very cooperative.

As the time came closer, several hundred police officers and firefighters came to stand with the protesters, as they said they would last night.  They knew right from wrong, and true to their oaths, they stood up for what was right.  Many of those present or observing from afar pointed out that Walker should know he is in trouble when the police and firefighters were willing to get arrested along with the protesters.

Four o'clock came and went and nothing happened.  Several protesters decided to leave and did so in their usual peaceful manner.  More than one stated that they thanked the police officers on their way out, and the police, even the ones that came to arrest them, actually thanked the demonstrators for coming out and standing up for the people.

Things were building up in tension as the live streaming videos coming from inside the Capitol abruptly ended. Some speculated that the feeds were cut off by Walker's people, but an equally likely scenario is that they simply overloaded with the rapidly growing number of people hopping on them.

After a few hours, it was announced that the protesters that were inside the building would be allowed to stay, since they were not breaking any laws and were being cooperative with the cleaning crews.

The people won this battle.  They actually won, which I don't think many people expected.

Almost as sweet as the victory, was the reaction of the right wingers.  Many of them were apoplectic and I thought Charlie Sykes might break a blood vessel, judging from his tweets.  James Wigderson called for the firing of Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs.

However, seeing how the order for the protesters to be forcibly removed came from Walker's administration, it is much more likely that Walker and/or his people backed off fearing the PR disaster that it would be for them.  Then again, one of the the police officers that joined the protesters, claimed that it was the level-headed law enforcement professionals that were "running the show", and that is why peace was maintained.

Either way, it is egg on Walker's face. And just after he got done cleaning it off from the eggs he got splattered with in his morning's adventures.

But Walker's day was still spiraling down.

First, an anonymous online activist group decided that they were going to get involved and temporarily disabled the website for Americans for (Kochs') Prosperity.

At about the same time, Twitter came alive with the rumor that Republican Republican Senator Dale Schultz (R. Richland Center) has come to reason and would be voting against Walker's bill.

Just two more and the bill could finally be put to its well deserved end and our elected leaders can get back to the jobs they were elected for, which is to create jobs.

This Week's Solidarity Events In Milwaukee

Things just keep rocking in the free world, doesn't it?

For my AFSCME brothers and sisters, there will be canvassing and phone banking in an effort to get Republican senators to actually listen to the majority, which is not two multi-billionaire brothers, and do the will of the people.  One of the main targets is Alberta Darling.  Believe it or not, Darling used to be sensible and much more moderate, even having worked for Planned Parenthood at one time.

There are four events scheduled, at least at this moment:

  • Monday, February 28 - Rally for Workers' Rights at Howell Ave and Puetz Road in Oak Creek, 4-6 pm
  • Tuesday, March 1 - Rally for Workers' Rights at Oakland Ave and Locust St, 4-6 pm
  • Wednesday, March 2 - Rally for Workers' Rights at the corner of KK and Lincoln Ave, 4-5:30 pm
  • Wednesday, March 2 - Pre-Town Hall Meeting Rally at Serb Hall, 51st and Oklahoma Ave, 6-7 pm
  • Wednesday, March 2 - Workers' Rights Town Hall Meeting, Serb Hall, 7-8 pm
  • Thursday, March 3 - Rally for Workers' Rights at Water St and Wisconsin Ave., 4-6 pm

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Cookie

Ripped from the Internets:
An unionized public sector worker, a Tea Party member and a Koch brother were sitting around a table.  In the middle of the table was a plate with a dozen cookies on it.  The Koch brother reaches across and takes eleven of the cookies, then turns to the Tea Party member and says, "Look out for that union thug, he wants a part of your cookie."

Breaking News: Walker Lands Endorsement Contract

In a breaking news story, it was recently learned that Koch Industries, manufacturers of products such as Angel Soft, Quilted Northern and Soft'N'Gentle toilet paper has bought out competitor Scotties®.

To promote their new product, they have hired Governor Scott Walker to be their public spokesman.  In their anticipated advertising push, they've decided to immediately incorporate Walker into their newest product:

Their slogan will be: "Scottie Bath Tissues, it's also good for writing crappy bills on."

Doesn't That Idiot Have Caller ID?!

From the twitterverse:

Best line: "Well, Koch Industries can't produce enough Angel Soft(TM) to clean this shit up!"

Did Christopher Thomas Die In Vain?

Owen Robinson, in his usual foaming-at-the-mouth union-bashing mode, went after the Shorewood School District because they would rather act like adults as opposed to our emotionally stunted, temper tantrum throwing excuse for a governor.

In the comment thread of said union-bashing post, Robinson wrote this:
If it sucks so bad, quit. If we can’t replace you with comparable talent, compensation will have to rise. That’s how it works. If you don’t quit, then I have to assume that your compensation is adequate for the services you provide.
This caused something to click in my mind.  It exemplified what was wrong with Walker's Budget Disrepair Bill, why the right cannot understand why it is wrong, and the full impact this bill could have on our lives.

You see, I've seen this happen before.  And it's not pretty.

In the early and mid 1990s, Governor Tommy Thompson had a bad habit of regularly underfunding different mandated services and programs, especially those in Milwaukee County.  Thus, the county operated child welfare system (read foster care) was underfunded and children's civil rights were being denied. Three different independent audits came up with the result that all of the foster care system was grossly underfunded.

Thompson and the Republicans disagreed and said it was mismanagement by county officials.They said that they could do it better.

As a result, in 1996, Alberta Darling was again spearheading some real bad legislation.

As part of that year's budget, she introduced a small clause that caused big problems.  That clause was that the State of Wisconsin would take over the child welfare system of any county with a population of over 500,000 people.

Because of this clause, the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare was created.

In 1998, they took over.  However, when they took over, they only kept one part, dividing the rest amongst the county and three different private agencies.  That meant there were now five different agencies doing the work that one used to do, and the price tag to the tax payer went up by almost half again of what it was.

Even though showing the best records in performance, the state had pushed Milwaukee County out of the way and privatized the whole system, with the small part they controlled as the only exception.  It should be noted that the only agency that was still one of the originals was La Causa.

During the next decade, there were problems galore.  One of the biggest issues was the staff turnover amongst the front line case workers.  Even as recently as two years ago, turnover rates among workers were at unacceptably high numbers:
According to the report, the bureau started 2008 with 179 ongoing case managers. By December, 105 had left. That would seem to mean the turnover was 59%.
The reason for this turnover was that instead of investing the money into workers or services, the private agencies were more concerned with their profit margin and paying extravagant salaries to their executives. With low pay, high case loads and no support, workers were quick to look for and find other lines of work.

The only thing that slowed this down was by increasing the money paid to the workers.  But in order for this to happen, instead of demanding that the executives lower their pay or that they stop buying $9,000 conference tables, the state, led again by Darling's efforts, just threw more tax money at them.  Even with the increase in pay, turnovers are still at a high rate.

As a result of these turnovers, the foster children were the ones paying a price greater than the tax payers. They would have a new worker even as often as every month.  This new workers, unfamiliar with the system, the laws around foster care, or even the scope of their job, were often overwhelmed and things kept falling apart.

Eventually, as anyone who was watching this debacle unfold could've told you would happen, the system finally had one tragedy too many occur.  Because of the way the system was set up, Christopher Thomas died due to severe injuries suffered at the hands of his abusive aunt.

The lesson that the Republicans failed to learn from Christopher's death, as well as the deaths of the other children that the system failed, is that government simply cannot be operated like a business.

Businesses provide a service or produce a product with one goal: to make a profit.  A government exist simply to provide a public service for the common good, whether it is law enforcement, fighting fires, taking care of the ill, the elderly, the disables or abused children.

When you try to combine those two mentalities, profit margins take precedence and people...real people...suffer for it.  And that is not acceptable.

Yes, it is important to keep costs down as much as possible.  Workers need to understand they have to take that into consideration when negotiating their contracts.  But if you take away that right (and yes, Owen, it is a right), then you set yourself up to have a system that is guaranteed to fail, and fail at a cost far, far greater than any money you might have saved in your stinginess.

If you don't like the contract that the government agreed to on your behalf, the answer is simple. Don't elect that person again.

Of course, then again, if you aren't happy with the cost of the government employees' benefits, that too can be fixed.  Reinstate regulations on the health care industry and you will control the out of control escalation of the health care costs.  Likewise, don't elect people that cause Great Recessions, like George Bush, and the pension funding would not be an issue either.

There are solutions to the problems we are facing as a state, but taking away people's rights, not to mention the other atrocities that are in the disrepair bill, is not only not a solution, but will actually make the problems worse.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It Figures

The first time in I don't know how long, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is publishing a sensible editorial.

Of course, it wasn't written by anyone in-house.

Even Reagan Was Smarter Than Walker

Come on, GOP, kill the bill. Do it for the Gipper!

To Protect And To Serve

Those words refer, of course, to the public, and not an unqualified despot wannabe.  Here is a video taken today of a member of the Wisconsin police union, telling Walker who they work for:

"Mr. Walker, we know who you work for."



Friday, February 25, 2011

Didja Hear The One About The Weasel That Walked Into The Restaurant...

...and got booed out of the place?

Unfortunately, the self-proclaimed freedom fighters who are against small businesses running their places as they see fit and against the freedom of speech have been calling and making obscene and threatening phone calls, forcing the blogger who broke the story to take it down:
Come looking for an article about Scott Walker being booted from a Madison restaurant? Yes, you came to the right place, but at the request of the restaurant owner due to abusive phone calls, the article has been hidden for the time being. 
This raises a wonderful point. Why should a restaurant owner be afraid to refuse service to any person? Would the same people have started calling that restaurant and making threats if the person they asked to leave was Black? Muslim? Democrat? No. No they would not. 
For those of you who know which restaurant it is, please, at the request of the owner, do not share this information. Not only are they getting TONS of supporter phone calls, but very nasty and threatening ones as well. This is their place of business, and as with any business they have the right to refuse service to anyone. When I have talked again with the owner, the content may be visible once more but while you are waiting, please discuss what YOU think about being able to refuse service to ANYONE, even if that someone is a government official.
And the same thugs that can't respect anyone who might have the audacity to appreciate their independence and freedoms are the same ones that can't understand why people are rising against their efforts to oppress them.

Sad for them, really.

Scott Walker: Veto The Bill Or Forever Be Known As A Liar And Hypocrite!

The atrocity comically known as the Budget Repair Bill was passed late in the night by the Wisconsin Assembly, in what could very well be an illegal vote, as that not all members were given the opportunity to vote.

Before that, it was passed by the Joint Finance Committee, again late into the night.

Less than a year ago, Scott Walker, still the gubernatorial candidate, made a stance against such late night law making:
Last week, when the Assembly pulled two all-nighters, lawmakers became an easy target of critics who said that late-night lawmaking is not the way to do the state's business.
One of those who criticized the practice was Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker, who said he would sign legislation as governor that would forbid the Legislature from voting after 10 p.m. and before 9 a.m.
Given Walker's opposition to such late night theatrics, he must veto this bill or forever be known as a liar and a hypocrite.  And that will be just one more nail in the recall election ballot box.

Signs Of The Times

Swiped from Twitter:

MJS: Too Little, Too Late

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Editorial Board decides to tackle Scott Walker's Kochgate in Friday's editorial.  It is a rarity indeed as that they actually call their hero out on his despicable behavior, or to be more accurate, almost criticizes him:
"Koch" at one point said he thought about "planting some troublemakers" in the massive crowds protesting Walker's bill. Walker demurred - but not because that would be wrong, a modern version of a Nixon dirty trick. "We thought about that," Walker said. He declined the offer because the "ruckus" might put pressure on him to give in . 
As the call wound down, "Koch" suggested he'd jet Walker off to California "and really show you a good time." 
"All right," the governor said. "That would be outstanding."
Actually, it would be unethical. 
And then Walker signed off with a breezy, "Thanks a million!" 
Which, unfortunately, may have been the most revealing statement of all.
Wow some might cheer them on for confronting Walker's boorish behavior, I would think it's more of a case of too little, too late.

Don't forget that the paper has been carrying Walker's water around for him for years now. As county executive, every time something when wrong the paper would help make excuses for him.

 It culminated last fall when they endorsed him to be governor, saying he was tough and had the right kind of experience.  They supported his attack on public sector workers.  Not just once, but twice.  They supported his attack on the Democratic Senators that did the only thing left to them to give the people a chance to see what was in this atrocity and organize to stop it.

It was ignorant stances like these and their shoddy reporting that led me to the decision to stop subscribing to that rag.  Ironically, one of their young representatives called me earlier in the evening asking why I stopped taking the paper and if they could somehow convince me to come back.

I told the young lady that the paper already wasn't worth what I was paying for, and that the price hike they want it clinched that it wasn't.  I also told her that the quality was substandard and not worth any price.

And that was before I saw the editorial.  I would have told her that they are also plagiarists, having stolen from what I wrote the night before and using it as the last two lines of their oped piece..

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Is It Live Or Is It Memorex?

So, Scott Walker goes on to have his daily appetite suppressant of having a press conference at the dinner hour (I always thought the idea was to have them so they made the news not be ignored because of the news).  In his finite wisdom, he again rattles his little hatchet, warning that if the world doesn't capitulate to the Kochs' his demands, he was going to make sure that thousands of public workers on every level of government were going to get laid off.

It's worthy to note that he is up to 12,000 workers getting to feel his mighty hatchet, when just a couple of days ago it was under 6,000.  Personally, I'm hoping that it goes on long enough for him to hit one billion.

But as I saw this, it reminded me of an incident of the not too distant past, when Walker was county executive, and he wanted something really bad from the County Board:
Today, JSOnline reported that Scott Walker did not just admit to using lay offs* as a malicious manipulative tool, but actually bragged and joked about it
This is completely reprehensible. 
Walker actually issued lay off notices to 180 workers last week due to a sudden fiscal crisis which was the direct result of his administration’s incompetence. As the County Board scrambled for ways to fix the problem that Walker and his staff created, he issued a statement rescinding the notices. He made a grandiose statement on how nice it was to be able to work together with the County Board to resolve this problem. 
And now it turns out he was lying about the lay offs all along, and that it was just his malicious way to try to manipulate the County Board. 
Most of us, especially in this rough economic stretch, has either been laid off or at least furloughed, at some time or another. I don’t know many people that would say it was fun to be laid off and having to instantly worry about how to make all the bills, much less what to do about health insurance and other stressors that go with being unemployed or underemployed.
For Walker to just unfeelingly take 180 people, their families and the clients that rely on the services that these workers provide and so malevolently manipulate them in order to score some cheap political points is inexcusable.
Is Walker simply using this as a manipulative tool to get what he wants, since his temper tantrums obviously didn't work?  If so, this will fail as well.  It does remind me a lot of a little kid threatening to hold his breath in order to get his way.

Fortunately for the state, among the Wisconsin Fourteen is Senator Chris Larson, recently of the Milwaukee County Board.  He is almost as savvy to the way of Walker as I am, and he is full aware that one simply cannot trust anything that Walker says or does.

The other factor that Senator Larson and I each have in common is that we both know that even if Walker did get his way, there is no guarantee that he still ins't going to lay off those thousands of workers.  So where's the incentive to budge an inch?  Why should they give up anything if it won't help save any jobs?

The only thing that Walker said that you can believe is that he doesn't want to lay anyone off.  Not because he is a compassionate man, because he's not.  He's a manipulative weasel that knows laying anyone off is about the only thing that could make him even more unpopular.  There is so much instability in our economy and he has refused to do anything to create even one job that wasn't crony-related that people are more volatile than ever before.

The Brawler also touched base on this with the best line of the day:
Scott Walker makes threats of layoffs like he makes calls to Charlie Sykes: all the time.
But it is really disappointing that Walker has apparently plateaued on his learning curve. It's like he's not even trying anymore to come up with some new trick.

First Up To Go Down, Alberta Darling

State Senator Alberta Darling has been lock-stepping with Scott Walker and her Republican allies regarding this godforsaken Budget Disrepair Bull.  She is actually excited about the prospect of destroying her constituents' rights to make a decent salary or wage and to be safe at their workplace.  Darling as also worked on make less and less services available to everyone. This is especially alarming considering her role in the Milwaukee Bureau of Child Welfare.

There are no less than two different groups that have appeared to wish to have the honors of being the ones to give her the opportunity to spend more time on the golf course.

One group is smaller and has a rudimentary website up.  There are some interesting comments that people have left for the senator, since she also appears to feel she is above having to respond to her constituents.

The second group appears to only have a facebook page, but also have many more people as well as appears to be much more organized.  They claim to be already in the process of filing the necessary paperwork for a recall and will be holding their first meeting and signature gathering later in this week.

For Darling to be recalled, they will need to gather more than 20,000 valid signatures plus some to cover any invalid signatures.  They will also have to do it withing 60 days.  A formidable challenge without a doubt.  However, it should also be noted that Darling barely eked out her last election over  the Representative Sheldon Wasserman, MD.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Dan Bice reports that Dr. Wasserman is anxious and ready for a second try to unseat her.  Now that Darling has sealed her own fate, I don't even think she'll come close to having a chance.

The first meeting for the Committee to Recall Alberta Darling will be held this Saturday, February 26th, at the Shorewood Public Library, which is located at 3920 North Murray Avenue.  The meeting will be from 12 noon until 1 pm.

For more information, see their Facebook page.

We start taking back our state here and now!

Walker Delivers His Own Punch Line

At the very end of his conversation with the phony David Koch, Walker says good-bye with this line:
WALKER: Well, thanks a million.  
Can you say, "Freudian slip?"  I thought you could.

WisKochsin Is Open For Bu$ine$$

By now, I'm pretty sure almost everyone in the free world has already heard the news of the day, which is that some guy pretending to be David Koch, half of the infamous Koch Brothers, the real life version of Pinky and the Brain, called up Scott Walker, a guy who is pretending to be the governor of Wisconsin.

And hilarity followed.

In case you did miss it, the recording is 20 minutes long, and is broken in two parts.  Some good soul converted them to YouTube (please excuse the title of the videos):

The good folks at One Wisconsin Now was also kind enough to transcribe the entire conversation. Their transcription is here.

Many things can be gleaned from this, most of which has been picked up by various bloggers and media sources.

The most obvious, which the unions are rightfully pouncing on, is that Walker is a liar.  For the entire duration since he introduced his reprehensible and destructive bill, he's been claiming it's not union-busting, but it's strictly to fix the budget. He betrays himself with his braggadocio, comparing himself to Reagan firing the air traffic controllers and taking credit for starting a new world order.

But everyone already knew that this was all about union-busting, so this is just more confirmation of old news.

There is also the fact that Walker revealed himself to be utterly untrustworthy, by describing how he would set a trap for the Fab 14, the Democratic Senators that took on the harsh burden of leaving their friends, families and loved ones behind and hightailing it out of the state to slow this monster down, giving the people of the state to see what a big steaming pile of you-know-what this really is.

Walker further shows his depravity by admitting he considered sending in plants among the peaceful demonstrators to behave badly and try to give these teachers, nurses, firefighters and cops a bad name.  Obviously, even Walker realizes that his overreaching power grab is becoming increasingly unpopular and is willing to do anything to sabotage the people of Wisconsin, just to appease his benefactors, like the Koch Brothers.

But, as I've been pointing out for years now, Walker is a weasel, and most of the state has come to the same realization.  Again, this is just more confirmation of something we already knew.

But there are two examples that I've seen only touched on briefly, which I believe to be more important than the union bashing  or the weasel-like qualities which Walker displays.

One comes at the end of the conversation, when the pseudo-Koch tells Walker that he would reward him for being a good little lackey and Walker readily agrees:
KOCH:  Ha, ha, ha.  Well, I’ll tell you what Scott once you crush these bastards, I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.

WALKER:  All right that would be outstanding.  Thanks for all the support in helping us to move
the cause forward.  And we appreciate it and we’re uh, doing it, the just and right thing for the
right reason and it’s all about getting our freedoms back.
That reminds me of the time during the campaign where Walker let a land developer fly him to Florida so he could collect donations from the road builders.

The other, bigger concern lies when Walker was politicking and collaborating with someone he thought was a very generous campaign donor:
KOCH:  Yeah.  Now what else can we do for you down there?

WALKER:  Well, the biggest thing would be and your guy on the ground probably seeing this is
the well, two things.  One, our members originally got freaked out by all the bodies here, I told them an interesting story, when I was first elected County Executive, in Milwaukee of all Places,
the first budget I put through was pretty bold, aggressive, the union went nuts on my and got all
sorts of grief, but a couple of weeks later I’m at a Veteran’s Day parade and I’m going down the line and usually unless you’re a veteran, or, ya know, when you’re marching with a veteran’s
group politicians all get (tape skip) applause but nobody get’s up.  I come down the lie 40, 50
people in a row hands up, thumbs up, you know, cheering, screaming, yelling, way to go, hang in
there Walker and then after about 40-50 people like that there’s a guy flipping me off.

KOCH:  (inaudible) 
Walker: This goes on, you know, 40-50, ***(tape skip), the people who know it’s right will cheer you, applaud you, they’ll run through a wall for you, and the people that don’t like ya, they’re going to flip you off.  But stop worrying about, ya know, them because the other day there were 70,000 probably about 2/3rds were against the bill, 1/3 were for. 70,000 people at the Capitol all week there’s been, ya know 15-30,000 a day but I remind all our lawmakers that there’s 5 and a half million people in this state and just because a bunch of guys who can jump off of work because their union rules doesn’t mean that the rest of the people in your district are with them. So one thing for your question is the more groups that are encouraging people not just to show up but call lawmakers and tell them to hang firm with the governor the better, because the more they get that reassurance, the easier it is for them to vote yes.

KOCH:  Right, right. 
WALKER: The other thing is more long term and that is after this, um, you know, the coming
days and weeks and months ahead, particularly in some of these more swing areas, a lot of these
guys are gonna need, they don’t necessarily need ads for them but they ‘re going to need a
message out reinforcing why this was a good thing to do for the economy a good thing to do for
the state so the extent that message is out over and over again, that’s obviously, that’s obviously
a good thing.

KOCH:  Right, right.  We’ll back you anyway we can.  But uh, what we’re thinking about the
crowds was, a, was planting some troublemakers.
This exchange could fall under a number of violations.  He was politicking and soliciting help in the governor's office using government equipment, which is a major no-no.  Mother Jones also points out that there could be a problem with him collaborating with a campaign donor, which could end up with possible legal troubles for Walker.

Like the other points, this again, is just another reaffirmation of a problem we've been aware off.  There is the ongoing John Doe investigation into Walker's county staffers and his campaign for illegal campaign practices.
Walker has also been the recipient of one of the largest fines handed down in Wisconsin history.

Walker's popularity was already dropping like a rock before this story hit the news or the Internet.  This is only guaranteed to knock it down farther.  Many people who voted for him are expressing voter's remorse.  It is understandable that they would do that.  It's has to be hard to support someone who is turning out to be a egomaniacal , maleficent and corrupt person.

At the very least, this incident should be investigated by an independent source.  At this level, I can only imagine that would mean the federal government would need to do the investigation.

It is time that Walker gets realistic and loses the fantasy that he's some sort of presidential possibility.  The truth is Walker has to choose whether he is going to do things the easy way or the hard way.  He can keep fighting to suppress our rights, violate our natural areas and autonomy,  and face a likely recall early next year.  Or he could group up and actually start working with people, instead of trying to intimidate them.

The choice is up to him.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I, For One, Did Not See That Coming

It's pretty well documented everywhere to the ends of the cyberverse and back again that Scott Walker is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers.

What even I didn't see coming was that the Koch Brothers established a lobbying group that sit just across from Capitol Square.  The article also shows the tight relationship between the Koch Brothers, their front group, Americans for Prosperity and Walker:
The billionaire brothers whose political action committee gave Gov. Scott Walker $43,000 and helped fund a multi-million dollar attack ad campaign against his opponent during the 2010 gubernatorial election have quietly opened a lobbying office in Madison just off the Capitol Square. 
Charles and David Koch, who co-own Koch Industries Inc. and whose combined worth is estimated at $43 billion, have been recently tied with Walker's push to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers. The two have long backed conservative causes and groups including Americans for Prosperity, which organized the Tea Party rally Saturday in support of Walker's plan to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights and recently launched the Stand with Scott Walker website.
Now the connection between the three has been well known for years.  And it would make sense for the Koch-heads to make sure that there investment comes to fruition.

What does surprise me is that Walker made them rent a place and just not set up shop in his office.  After all, they helped buy it for him.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

O Hypocrisy, Scott Walker Be Thy Name!

Gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker wouldn't like Governor Scott Walker very much.  Everything that Candidate Walker stood for is exactly the opposite of what Governor Walker is proposing to do in his so-called "Budget Repair Bill."

Candidate Walker said that he opposed President Obama's health care reform because it was a government run system.  He would often ask who would want a bureaucrat making their health care decisions:
We must make quality, affordable health care available to hardworking families through market-based solutions like competition, transparency, and tax incentives - not Canadian style programs that put bureaucrats in charge of personal health care decisions. You should be able to choose your doctor, not have government make that decision for you.
However, Governor Walker wants to take complete control of Medicare, Family Care, Senior Care and Badger Care and have the authority to make unilateral decisions on who gets coverage and who doesn't and how much coverage they get if they are deem worthy.  Governor Walker doesn't just want a bureaucrat to make people's medical choices for them, he wants to be THE bureaucrat that makes those choices.

While running for governor, Candidate Walker blasted Governor Jim Doyle for signing a no-bid contract with Talgo to come to Wisconsin and build and maintain the high speed rail.  But within weeks of taking his vow of office, Governor Scott Walker introduced his Budget Repair Bill, he included a part about selling all of the state-owned power plants in a no-bid contract..

As a candidate, Scott Walker sang praises of the free market system, saying that he would remove a lot of the regulations to help businesses thrive in such a system.  However, Governor Walker said that he would put artificial government controls on the system by limiting public employees to only be able to negotiate their salaries, and then have it capped at the rate of interest.  Governor Walker never has explained how limiting how much money a person can earn is in accordance to free market principles.

Candidate Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive while campaigning.  As county executive, he structured his last two budgets with the goal of making himself look as good as possible regardless of  who might get hurt in the process.  In his 2011 County Budget, he created a "saving" of $6.8 million by wiping out a payment to the State of Wisconsin which was required for Badger Care Plus program.  He said that it was no longer owed.  But Governor Walker, in his proposal, included sending $6.8 million dollars to Milwaukee County to whittle down the massive deficit he wrote into the budget.  Apparently it was required after all.

Candidate Walker made one of the themes of his brown bag gimmick the line that "Smaller government is better government."  He also criticized Governor Doyle for not downsizing the number of state workers.  Something changed from then to now, because apparently there is the absolutely perfect number of state, county and municipal employees, because (or so he claims), he doesn't really want to lay anyone off (emphasis mine):
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," the Republican governor said 5,000 to 6,000 state employees and 5,000 to 6,000 local government staff could lose their jobs if they resist changes in their benefits plans. 
"I don't want a single person laid off in the public nor in the private sector, and that's why this is a much better alternative than losing jobs," he said.
And last, but not least, Candidate Walker said that he would create 250,000 jobs as governor.  Unfortunately, Governor Walker has not only failed to carry through with that promise, he's actually been driving the jobs we do have to other states, most notably to Illinois.                      

However, in the sake of fairness, there is one commonality between Candidate Walker and Governor Walker.  That would be that every move they've made is to be of the greatest benefit to his benefactors, the Koch Brothers.                                                                                                                                        

Monday, February 21, 2011

President's Day: A Most Timely Holiday

Today is President's Day, a day set aside to honor some of the great presidents this country we've had.  Tomorrow is actually George Washington's birthday, but this day includes Abraham Lincoln's birthday, which was February 12th.

But I wonder if the conservatives actually remember why these men are great or if they are just providing jingoistic lip service when they praise them.

Washington, as everyone knows, was not only our first president, but also was the general that fought and won the Revolutionary War, when our freedom from England's rule.  The spark of the war was the oppressive rule of King George III who ruled from afar without listening to a word the colonialists had to say.

I find it most ironic that they would praise Washington for fighting for our rights, but then belittle the nurses, the teachers, the police officers, the firefighters, the social workers, the doctors, the plow drivers, the bus drivers and all the other workers, from both the public and private sectors, who are standing up in Madison and every other town in the state to protest and fight against the theft of our rights.

Likewise, they'll praise Lincoln, who led the Union through the Civil War and enacted the Emancipation Proclamation.

However, they do not realize their absurdity in belittling the fourteen Democratic state senators who took off for parts unknown in an effort to stall or even prevent this unjust bill from being passed. It is to wonder if they know or even care that Lincoln did the same very thing, but in an even more dramatic fashion:
Indeed, 170 years before the Wisconsin Democrats fled Madison to deny a quorum, then-state Rep.Abraham Lincoln was fleeing the capitol in Springfield, IL — via a window, no less — to do the same in an attempt to save the State Bank of Illinois:
[Democrats] agreed to allow [the bank] to suspend its obligation to exchange its paper money for specie, but only for the remainder of the legislative session.

That’s when Lincoln determined to keep the legislature in session in order to buy precious time for the bank to find a way to survive, and that’s how he jumped into the national limelight on December 5, 1840. On that date, the Democrats proposed an early adjournment, knowing this would bring a speedy end to the State Bank. The Whigs tried to counter by leaving the capitol building before the vote, but the doors were locked. That’s when Lincoln made his move. He headed for the second story, opened a window and jumped to the ground!
No, I don't expect them to put these things together. That would be too much to hope for.

Rallying Milwaukee Style

AFSCME will be starting their President's Day rally early, while still in Milwaukee.

The rally is in tandem with the Hunger Task Force.  It starts at 9:30 am to 10:15 am at the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, located at 633 S. Hawley Rd.

If you can't make it there, but are taking the bus to the Madison rallies, you can drop off your food donations at the bus stops.

One Republican Governor Gets It -- Almost

Rick Snyder, the Republican governor for the Great State of Michigan, almost gets it:
Amid days of protest in Wisconsin over legislation to limit collective bargaining, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said he won't "pick fights" with the state's employee unions.
"We're going to go negotiate with our unions in a collective-bargaining fashion to achieve goals," the Republican governor said in an interview. "It's not picking fights. It's about getting people to come together and say here are the facts, here are the common-ground solutions."
The article goes on to say that Snyder is looking for cuts in employee health benefits, especially those for retirees.  Which is why I said he almost gets it.

Snyder, like every other elected official, regardless of party, claims that a bulk of their budgetary problems stem from the cost of health care.  But every single one of them wants to take it out on the workers, even though they have nothing to do with the price of health care, but not one single politician that I'm aware of (with the exception of President Obama and the late Senator Ted Kennedy) actually wants to do anything to fix the real problem, the cost of the health care.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scott Walker: The One Man Death Panel

Scott Walker wants, as part of his Budget Disrepair Bill, take over all of the Medical Assistance programs.

Does anyone really want or trust Walker to make life or death decisions for them?

The Backward Walker

Here is a video of Barry Weber, a Milwaukee teacher* who wrote the song "The Backward Walker," performing it outside the Capitol Building:

More on this can be found at Milwaukee County First.

*Heh, Jay Bullock isn't the only singing teacher in Milwaukee after all.

Nobody's Governor But The Koch Brother's

It appears that the multi-billionaire Koch Brothers, who are the ATMs for Americans for Prosperity and other right wing front groups, are also proud possessors of their very own governor:

According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker's gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was his campaign's second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from housing and realtor groups in Wisconsin. The Koch's PAC also helped Walker via a familiar and much-used political maneuver designed to allow donors to skirt campaign finance limits. The PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker ended up beating Barrett by 5 points. The Koch money, no doubt, helped greatly.

Rick Ungar of Forbes picks up on this and smells a rat (actually, it should be a weasel).  He finds a Think Progress article which explains why the Koch Brothers are so interested in our great state:

Why are the Koch Brothers so interested in Wisconsin? They are a major business player in the state.

This from Think Progress:
Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant:

Officials at Georgia-Pacific said the company is laying off 158 workers its Day Street plant because out-of-date equipment at the facility is being replaced with newer, more-efficient equipment. The company said much of the new, papermaking equipment will be automated. [...] Malach tells FOX 11 that the layoffs are not because of a drop in demand. In fact, Malach said demand is high for the bath tissue and napkins manufactured at the plant.

You really have to wonder how long it will take for Tea Party devotees to realize just how badly they are being used.
This leads to a question or two. Does Scott Walker call them "Master" while he genuflects in front of them? And did the Koch Brothers keep their receipt?

Walker's Home Town Sides With Workers

In case you weren't aware or had forgotten, Scott Walker is not a Wisconsinite.  He was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

And apparently the old adage about not being able to go home again holds true.  Walker's home town is holding a rally to support Wisconsin's workers as we fight to defend and maintain our rights and freedoms from the overreaching Walker:

And if anyone in this country would know the dangers involved in what Walker wants to do to us, it is Colorado Springs, who have already been struggling with their own austerity measures for years:
This tax-averse city is about to learn what it looks and feels like when budget cuts slash services most Americans consider part of the urban fabric. 
More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops — dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled. 
The parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter. 
Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once every two weeks. If that. 
Water cutbacks mean most parks will be dead, brown turf by July; the flower and fertilizer budget is zero. 
City recreation centers, indoor and outdoor pools, and a handful of museums will close for good March 31 unless they find private funding to stay open. Buses no longer run on evenings and weekends. The city won't pay for any street paving, relying instead on a regional authority that can meet only about 10 percent of the need.
Is it 2012 yet?

Governor Walker: The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Illinois

Little did anyone know that on November 2, 2011, when, by the slimmest of margins, the voters of Wisconsin got duped into electing Scott Walker as governor, that this would be the game winning ticket for Illinois.

Even before getting elected, Walker gave the state to the south a huge gift of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs by refusing to allow Wisconsin to be part of the future.

When Illinois decided to address their budget woes head on and gave a hike to their taxes, Walker thought he was in the clear and that jobs would be fleeing to Wisconsin.  Despite having his Lieutenant Govern waste her time playing telemarketer, the only business that left Illinois due to the taxes was Jimmy John's and they moved to Florida, which is, of course, the exact opposite direction from here and about as far as you can get from Wisconsin.

Walker then decided to alienate one of the fastest growing markets by screwing with the wind power companies.    Illinois jumped on the chance and started wooing them to their state.  As he was ticking off this market, Walker thought he'd pander to on of his wealthy campaign donors by given him special permission to pave over some wetland so they could get the Pro Bass Shop to open up a store.  What Walker didn't do was his homework and so didn't know that this company was very ecofriendly and wasn't about to build on wetlands.

Now, we are into one full week of the most amazing show of democracy as tens of thousands of people gather in Madison each and every day to protest Walker's overreach of trying to take away our rights.  The outrageous proposal by Walker, and the overwhelming response to this threat from within, is awe inspiring to those of us who love our freedom.  But at the same time, this can be unsettling to businesses.

Walker and his acolytes have told us for months that businesses crave consistency and security in knowing what to expect..  Having daily demonstrations that have garnered national and international attention is not very stable or settling.  And again, Illinois is ready to jump in and take advantage of Walker's blundering by showing that his state, which Walker had once mocked, is doing just fine and doesn't have all the unrest that Wisconsin does:
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is again thanking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for his contributions to Illinois’ economic rebound. 
“I must say, I really did not expect Governor Walker to work this hard to make Illinois look so good. Once again, I’d like to thank Governor Walker for his ongoing efforts to market Illinois as a great place to live and work,” Cullerton said. “First he let everyone know how much lower our tax rates are than his, now he's focusing on how much more stable Illinois is than the chaotic Wisconsin he's created. I can’t wait to hear how he’ll help us next.” 
The Illinois Senate President issued his comments upon learning that Wisconsin Senate Democrats had sought refuge in Illinois in an effort to get the Wisconsin governor to reconsider his heavy-handed ultimatums and efforts to strip public sector employees of workplace rights and protections. 
Cullerton welcomed his Wisconsin colleagues to Illinois and hoped they’d enjoy their stay in stable, low-tax Illinois, where even with the recent tax increases the rates are lower than in Wisconsin. The Senate President also thanked Walker for the added and unexpected economic boost. 
“He’s even helping our tourism.  What can’t Governor Walker do for Illinois?” said Cullerton
Since his election, Walker has worked tirelessly to bring jobs to Illinois and promote its economic stability. 
“When Scott Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs, I mistakenly assumed he meant in Wisconsin,” Cullerton said. “He’s certainly turning out to be a great neighbor.”
It's not only Illinois that is watching the unfolding Walker-created chaos.  Local business leaders are also watching and taking a much more distanced approach to Walker than they have in the past:
The deciding factor though is how much pressure the business community puts on Governor Walker to settle. Business leaders fear that the protests will embolden union members to fight back harder against concession and lockout threats. As Wisconsin based labor organizer Andy Gussert told me the other day, “Thank you Scott Walker! If we were given a million dollars, there is no way we could have taught so many kids about solidarity, labor organizing, and the power of the people when they unite”. 
As a result of the protests, the business community is finding itself on the defensive. Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce President Tim Sheehy would not commit to giving support to strip collective bargaining from public employees in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio. Sheehy said, “so I think it’s fair to discuss the narrowing of collective bargaining. Whether we throw it out or not is not something we’ve taken a position on.”
To be fair, while monitoring the twitter feeds that were coming out of today's events, one would have seen that one business is enjoying a strong surge from the current events.  Ian's Pizza is receiving orders from Egypt, yes, Egypt, asking them to make and deliver pizzas to the people  who are fighting to maintain the freedoms that our forebears earned through hard-fought battles.  I saw another business that closed its doors to the public, but is making more money by being open for protesters only.  Another eatery, the name which escapes me, sent out a tweet of thanks, saying this has been the busiest they've been in 16 years of operation.

With Walker's ham-fisted way of dealing with things, it isn't any wonder that 65% of the people are against his power grab.  The only people that do approve of Walker's management style all live in Illinois.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Workers Always Have And Always Will Have The "Solid" Advantage

Today, there will be two rallies in Ground Zero Wisconsin, otherwise know as Madison.

On one side will be the tens of thousands of teachers, nurses, social workers, police, firefighters, correction officers, clerks, secretaries, foresters, and other workers who have been there for six days now in peaceful protests of Scott Walker's tyrannical moves to suppress their rights.

On the other side will be a few thousand people, being sponsored by the multi-billionaire Koch Brothers and their neoconservative front groups like the wholly misnamed Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works.

But whatever goes down today will only be an event in a long, long historical chain of similar events.

In the 13th century, the barons rebelled against King John of England and eventually forced him to sign the Magna Carta, in which he conceded some of his power to the barony.

Fast forward five hundred years and you will find it repeated.  This time, instead of wealthy barons, it was colonial patriots, who were sickened by not having the right to have a voice in how they could live their lives. They gathered in Boston Harbor, in the definitive act of civil disobedience, dumped a boatload of tea into the water.

Contrary to how the modern day Tea Parties have bastardized the event, it was not about the taxes.  Money was important then, as it is now, but it was the secondary issue.  The real issue behind the real Boston Tea Party was that they were being forced to live under a monarchy with no voice in how they should be allowed to live their lives.

This was repeated in France just a few years later, when the people rose up against the tyrannical and harsh rule of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.  While the people suffered in abject poverty, the unfeeling king and queen enjoyed a  lavish lifestyle. Finding this system of the real haves versus the have-nots to be intolerable, the haves became the has-beens.

Back in the United States, we see how the fight for basic rights and freedoms continued throughout the history of this country.  There was the Civil War, which was fought so that a whole entire race could be delivered out of slavery.  There was the Suffragette Movement, in which middle class women fought for their voice and the right to vote.  There was the Civil Rights Movements, with great leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, which fought for minorities to be treated as equals to the ruling white population.

Another great movement, one with Scott Walker and his well-heeled endorsers would much rather have us all forget, is the labor movement.  Our forefathers in the labor movement fought for, and even died for, basic human rights in the work place.  They struggled and strove to win the things that people take for granted today.  Things like weekends off; eight hour work days; child labor laws; wages able to support a person and their family;  sick time; vacations; and safe work environments, just to name a very few of the rights they have won for all of us.

Which brings us back to today.

The Koch Brothers are channeling tens of thousands of dollars in an effort to raise a counter protest at the capital today. (Take a moment to appreciate the irony: They are using the union-won weekend to go protest against the unions.)

They are fighting for what comes to a few pennies per person, the solidarity movement is fighting for their and our rights.

The big-money special interests behind the Tea Parties are fighting for control of the state, the solidarity movement is fighting for their and our freedoms.

The Teahadists want to tear public employees and their families down, the solidarity movement wants to lift everyone up, even if it means that the millionaires don't make quite as many more millions as they might have otherwise.

As I finish this post, it appears that the Tea Party is pooping out already.  The Twitter feeds say that that the people fighting for the working families, for our rights and our respect outnumbered the special interest-supported groups by as much as 10-1.  The Teahadists are slinking back already while those fighting for our respect and our rights are preparing for going well into next week.

While the Teahadists have every right to be angry and scared if their money situations are like most peoples, they should not be doing the bidding of the uber-rich by tearing into their neighbors and even their family members.  They should be joining the unionists and middle-classers and demanding from Walker and his billionaire backers that they be allowed the same opportunities to have a good life.

The truth is, as history has shown time and time again, the only good tea is solidarity.

Walker's Attempt At Citizen Supression Is Less Than Popular .,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

We Ask America recently did an automated poll.  They asked the people of Wisconsin what they thought of Scott Walker's "Budget Repair Bill."  As you can see from this chart, a majority of the people feel that it's goes too far and are against it:

Yet Walker still likes to pretend he has the majority.  The man is remarkably resistant to reality.  Of course, he has to have some major defense mechanisms to be that anti-social and still sleep at night.

Friday, February 18, 2011


From the one and only xoff:

JeffAStone: I stand with @GovWalker and am in Madison waiting to vote for his fiscal responsibility bill. 
TRANSLATION: Jeff Stone's nose is so far up Walker's rear end he can't see that this union-busting will not play well in Milwaukee County, where he hopes to be elected county exec in 6 weeks.

A Most Remarkable Photo

Via Emily Mills' Twitter feed, a photo that should put it all into perspective for all but the most idiotic ideologues, like Scott Walker:

Walker Brings His "A" Game For Defense

It certainly seems that the state Republicans, including Scott Walker, is starting to feel the heat and their sweat is showing.

First, we get the geographically-challenged Ron Johnson, who apparently cannot tell the difference between a tall, poised African American President and a short, balding weasel Governor:
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson offered a ringing defense of Scott Walker today, saying in a statement, “I am incredibly proud of the leadership and the courage that Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Members of Wisconsin’s State Assembly and Senate are showing against incredible opposition. Not only is Governor Walker leading the state of Wisconsin, but he is also leading the nation.”
To help RoJo out, here is a little pointer for him. This is Scott Walker and this is the leader of the country.

But old RoJo isn't the only one that is a bit confused.

We also had Paul "You're holding the map upside down" Ryan.  His came out with something even funnier than RoJo's:
As to today's protests, Ryan says, "'s like Cairo has moved to Madison these days."
If the working men and woman are like the protests in Egypt, that must mean that even Ryan thinks that Walker is a little Mini-me of Hosni Mubarak.

Walker doesn't do himself any favors.  First he has to go and calm the Assembly Republicans, who apparently had started listening to the people instead of Walker's ideology.

Then he tried to convince the public that he still had the popular support:
He said the vast majority of some 8,000 e-mails his office received Thursday were supportive of his position to require state workers to contribute more toward health care and pensions.
First, you'll notice that he only referred to the concessions, which many of the union members already said that they'd be willing to talk about. What he does not mention at all is the part which is the cause of the protests, and that his attempt to strip the workers of their rights.  Secondly, 8,000 doesn't even equal one day's attendance of the protests at the capitol, not to mention all the other protests that have been occurring around the state.  And even he offered that not all of those 8,000 have been supportive.

But you can't really blame Walker for getting nervous.

First off, he's having his face rubbed into the fact that his ill-advised power grab and attempt to attack the very rights and freedoms of people is not as popular as he had hoped and that he should compromise would be like an act of failure in his ideological and egomaniacal mind.

Secondly. it's got to be more than a bit nerve racking to realize that you are on the wrong side of both God's secular and clerical teams.

But if this is the best he can come up with, he should be willing to actually behave like an adult by early next week.

Walker Gets His Cheese Moved

In my last post, I pointed out how Scott Walker was an international embarrassment.

It only makes sense that he is a national joke.

A cheese peddler in San Francisco is mocking Walker by offering a discount to any Wisconsin cheese maker that comes out in solidarity with the working men and women of Wisconsin.

This is just another example of how people are recognizing that Walker is anti-Wisconsin.  In fact, about the only thing that could compare is when the Green Bay Packers came out to point out how he is against our great state and its traditions and values.

I just wonder if I could get a cut of the deal if I hooked up the San Fran cheesemonger with the Union Star Cheese Factory..

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Scott Walker: Now An International Embarrassment

Thanks to Scott Walker, the whole world has taken note of Walker's attempt at setting himself up to be a two-bit despot:
Wisconsin is at the cutting edge of that transformation. Under its Tea Party-favoured new Republican governor, Scott Walker, and with a state legislature that recently flipped from blue to red (that is, from Democratic control to Republican), it is pushing a rightwing agenda that is shocking to American progressives. First up an astonishing attack on unions. As part of spending cuts ostensibly aimed at digging Wisconsin out of a budgetary mess, Walker wants to brutally strip-mine state workers' benefits and pensions. He has also launched a full-frontal attack on the collective bargaining rights of 175,000 state and local employees, allowing workers instead to negotiate only over salary. It is a shocking attempt at union-busting that has caused outrage – and scores of demonstrations across the state. 
Yet, in the face of that, Walker threatened to call out the state's national guard. But union-busting is only the beginning. 
Walker is also aiming at a massive extension of power over the state's health programmes, covering more than 1 million residents. Cuts are likely to aim at nursing homes, medical care for children and prescriptions for the elderly, among other targets. Walker and the Republicans also plan changes to Wisconsin's electoral laws: scrapping voter registration on election day;and tightening photo ID rules. Traditionally, such measures hit at Democratic-supporting low-income groups, students, minorities and the elderly. Now they have power, Walker and the Republicans want to cement it. 
Then, there is the rejection of federal funds in a time of crippling austerity. In line with the Tea Party's philosophy that government help should mostly be avoided on principle, Wisconsin has now given back $23m in funds aimed at expanding high-speed internet service. The excuse was that it came with too many contractual strings. But that sum pales to the $810m Wisconsin lost when it decided it did not want the federal government to build a high-speed rail line in the state. The money then went to other, more grateful, states instead.
On the bright side, if there is one when our own Idiot Mean Dada Walker is causing international embarrassment, Chris Walker of Political Heat makes it big time when he is the source for the second link in this story.

Is Walker's Attack On The Unions A Decoy Maneuver?

What Walker and WISGOP wants to do to working families is nothing less than sinful.

But that is small potatoes compared to Walker's real war - which he is going to wage on the poor, the elderly and the disabled.

See Milwaukee County First for the details.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keep Your Rally Caps On, My Brothers And Sisters

This just in from AFSCME:

In the past two days we have had tens of thousands of public employees come to Madison to fight against the budget repair bill which aims to destroy our rights. Join us tomorrow, Thursday the 17th or Friday the 18th to Rally in the Capitol!!! We will be holding rallies in Madison for the next two days to fight this radical legislation which will strip away the rights of workers. Teachers, janitors, firefighters, equipment operators, steelworkers and independent citizens of all types have come together to say, “Enough is enough!” Join us to fight back! 
You can take a bus from your home city to meet us at Madison.  Buses will run according to this schedule:  
Want to drive?

You can park at the East Town Mall in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods and take the shuttle! Join us to keep up this historical rally running 48 hours strong to defeat Scott Walker’s anti-jobs legislation aimed at public employees. Let’s keep it going for another 48! 

The Crisis Is A Lie!

From the CapTimes:
In fact, like just about every other state in the country, Wisconsin is managing in a weak economy. The difference is that Wisconsin is managing better -- or at least it had been managing better until Walker took over. Despite shortfalls in revenue following the economic downturn that hit its peak with the Bush-era stock market collapse, the state has balanced budgets, maintained basic services and high-quality schools, and kept employment and business development steadier than the rest of the country. It has managed so well, in fact, that the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released a memo detailing how the state will end the 2009-2011 budget biennium with a budget surplus.
In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state’s budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.
To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the “crisis” would not exist.
Can't say that I'm that surprised.  He did the same nonsense at county executive.

Reactions To The (Tues)Day That Was: Resistance Is Not Futile!

First and foremost, congratulations to one of my dearest friends, Jason Haas, for making it to the general elections.  (BTW, Jason, yes, I will, but snickerdoodles are non-negotiable.)

Congratulations are also in order for the other people I wanted to make it to fight for another day and did: Eyon Biddle, Christopher Lipscomb and Joanne Kloppenburg.

In fact, the only real downer of the elections is that my favored candidate for county executive, Jim Sullivan, fell just a few points short of making the cut.  I thank Jim for putting himself out there again and wish him the best in whatever path his life leads him down.

As for the county executive race, I will have to see what I'll do.

I know that there is no way I will ever be able to support Jeff Stone, whose stated objective is to finish off the destruction that Scott Walker started.  He's already shown that he is more than willing to oppress the minorities, poor people and college kids.  He's also shown that he doesn't give a damn about quality of services, the workers or the people that depend on those services.  I can only hope that he decides to continue to be Walker's puppet and goes along with the misnamed "budget repair bill," which would only ensure his loss in the general election.

That said, I'm still unsold about Chris Abele.  He hasn't come out with many clear intentions for the county, and the ones that he has come up with aren't worth they paper they're written on.  As I noted last night, many people that I respect have thrown their support behind Abele, but I don't know what they see that I can't.  Hopefully, I'll have another chance to meet with Abele and see if he can allay my concerns.

Otherwise, I may just have to run as a write in candidate. (Note: For the uptight wingers, that is called humor.)

But the elections were only the secondary story of the day.

The big, huge and epic story was how at least 15,000 Wisconsinites made the trek from all corners of our great state to Madison, to fight for our rights and freedoms.  These people were from all walks of life: AFSCME, the Big Green, was rocking the house; SEIU was there as well; AFL-CIO was rallying like a BOSS (excuse the pun); WEAC was schooling the legislature; students came to fight for their futures, advocates for the disabled and the elderly were there to make their voices heard.

Municipal leaders from around the state made their concerns heard.  The Eau Claire City Council held a special session this evening and voted unanimously to issue a resolution opposing the attack on Wisconsin's working families.

Another highlight of the day is when past and present members of America's Team, the Green Bay Packers, took a stand along side their union brothers and sisters:
We know that it is team work on and off the field that makes the Packers and Wisconsin great.  As a publicly owned team we wouldn’t have been able to win the Super Bowl without the support of our fans.
It is the same dedication of our public workers every day that makes Wisconsin run. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families.  But now in an unprecedented political attack Governor Walker is trying to take away their right to have a voice and bargain at work. 
The right to negotiate wages and benefits is a fundamental underpinning of our middle class.   When workers join together it serves as a check on corporate power and helps ALL workers by raising community standards.  Wisconsin’s long standing tradition of allowing public sector workers to have a voice on the job has worked for the state since the 1930s.  It has created greater consistency in the relationship between labor and management and a shared approach to public work. 
These public workers are Wisconsin’s champions every single day and we urge the Governor and the State Legislature to not take away their rights.
Perhaps the most savory moment of these dark times is the way the Republicans are reacting to this real grassroots groundswell of anger as people demand to be respected and to be allowed to have the rights and freedoms that are theirs.

Some are simply besides themselves with contempt of the working men and women of this state; the students who want the best education, not the most profitable for some company; vulnerable citizens are terrified of having their health care coverage or the services they depend on for survival being cut off.  Their arrogance and elitism practically drips off of them as much as their offensive colognes and perfumes.

Others are struck with disbelief that the people would actually want to live their own lives and don't need the not so benevolent overlord telling them what they will be allowed or not allowed to have.  They don't understand that you can kick people only so far before they will turn on you and defend themselves.

Yet others are befuddled that their lies and misleading statements are no longer working on the populace.  Others are even more stunned that some people recognize the fact that money is not the end all be all in their lives.

Even as I write this, there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of people waiting their turn to speak in front of the Joint Financial Committee.  Chairman Robin Vos (R-Feudal plantation) is trying to deny people their legal right to be heard.  Fortunately, Senator Lena Taylor is there to defend democracy and is keeping him in check.

Don't forget to make your voice heard.  If you can't make it to Madison.  Call and/or email  your representative and/or  senator and tell them to respect the will of the people and to respect Wisconsin working men and women.