Thursday, June 30, 2011

In Solidarity We Train

A show of support and an important message from Wendy Strout, Executive Director of Emerge Wisconsin:
In February, when Scott Walker openly declared his war on Wisconsin's working families, Emerge Wisconsin released the following solidarity statement:

Emerge Wisconsin Stands in Solidarity with Organized Labor

As over 175,000 nurses, teachers, emergency responders, state municipal and local workers lose their rights to collectively bargain today, Emerge Wisconsin stands in solidarity with organized labor. We vow to continue fighting right alongside working families across Wisconsin to take our state back from the tyranny of Walker, the Fitzgeralds and their rubber stampers.

In Solidarity and in response to both the attacks on Wisconsin and the motivation of Democratic women across the state stepping up to say "I can do better; I want to be part of taking Wisconsin back," Emerge has moved our training up to start this September 2011 instead of January 2012, our regular start date.

Our application process opens up THIS Friday, July 1st and will remain open until July 29th.

If you are a Democratic woman or know a Democratic woman ready to take our state back by running for office, please contact us. Or on July 1st, go to our website ( and look for the application online. Whether she is interested in running for state or local office, Emerge wants to train the Democratic women who are ready to take back our state!

In Solidarity,
Wendy Strout
Executive Director

Walker Channels His Inner Marie Antoinette

We all know what a screw up Walker was as county executive. Now that he's governor, he's really fudging thing up.

This time, he's willing to cost the state millions of dollars just so he can screw over the poor.

What a guy!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More Proof That Supreme Court Decision Was Political, Not Judicial

Ten days ago, when the Supreme Court of Wisconsin made their rush decision regarding the union busting bill, many people thought they did so in a most inappropriate fashion. As I wrote at the time:
Now word as come out that the "Supreme Court" of Wisconsin has, without apparent deliberation or research of the law, has ruled the open meetings laws to be invalid and that our elected officials (or at least the Republican ones) are above the law and don't need to adhere to the laws that they themselves had passed. Needless to say, WMC spent tons of money in making sure that Annette Ziegler, Michael Gableman and David Prosser were on the bench, just so that they could shred the Constitution and the law books and make irresponsible decisions like this one.
Indeed, as Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson also pointed out:
Justice Shirley Abrahamson accused the majority of reaching a hasty decision that’s light on legal analysis, opening them up to the unnecessary charge that they “reached a pre-determined conclusion not based on the facts and the law, which undermines the majority's ultimate decision.”

Abrahamson agreed in her opinion that the the challenge to the legislation raises fundamental constitutional questions. But she did not join the majority opinion because she believes the court should follow its own rules and the constitution in such a case. Thus, she believes the case should have followed the normal appeal route rather than the court taking original jurisdiction and issuing a decision that gives the case “short shrift.”
As if prescient of this, it was also widely pointed out that Prosser had made the statement during the campaign that he would be the perfect compliment, or rubber stamp, to the Walker administration.

Now there's even more reason to suspect the Supreme Court's supreme folly.

In the wake of the scandal arising from David Prosser's alleged assault on his colleague, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, the right in their desperation, has also given us the clue.

For example, Cindy Kilkenny points out a commercial for Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson from when she ran for re-election a couple of years ago.  In the commercial, as Cindy clearly demonstrates, is an appearance of Judge Maryann Sumi, who had initially and properly ruled that the union-busting, economy-killing bill was passed illegally and thus was null and void.

So now, apparently without consulting case history or of applicable case law, Prosser not only joined his colleagues in issuing a predetermined ruling, but also wrote his own opinion on the case, in which he took absolute glee in his diatribe against Judge Sumi.  His opinion it was so harshly written, it sent a tingle down Charlie Sykes' leg and he couldn't stop talking about it for days.

In other words, he fed his misogyny in a fit of temper aimed at Judge Sumi and indirectly at Chief Justice Abrahamson (whom he has a special hatred for) in retaliation against perceived wrongs caused by female authority figures.  At the same time, he was able to appease the Koch Brothers and WMC, who paid a lot of money for him to retain his seat on the Supreme Court.

Between the obvious corruption and the physical assault on another Justice, Prosser is unfit for the bench at any level and needs to be removed, either of his own volition or through actions of the other Justices or, lastly, through recall.

Furthermore, his ruling on the union busting bill should be vacated, since it's obvious that it was not based on the law or the Constitution, but on his political alliances and his own personal flaws.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Prosser: A Good Writer And An Even Temperament - Redux

Everyone in Wisconsin is playing the newest fad in games: Clue - The Wisconsin Supreme Court Edition.

David Prosser displaying the proper hand
position for a one-handed choke hold.
It all started when the story was finally brought out that Justice Ann Walsh Bradley accused her fellow Justice David Prosser of choking her. What earned her his wrath and alleged attempt of dispensing corporeal-bordering-on-capital punishment was telling him to leave her chambers.

Prosser immediately denied it and said he would not comment further on it.

Bradley Walsh reaffirmed her allegation and it also came out that she had told Prosser to do something about his anger control problems.

Somewhere in this, Christian Schneider, indirectly paid Koch Corp employee, earned his nickname of Atomic Pantload, when he came up with this fantasy tale of Bradley Walsh being the aggressor and trying to rush Prosser, who was merely defending himself by going for her trachea.

But there is more than a few problems with this tale of the magi.

First, as noted above, going for the trachea is not considered a defensive maneuver.  It is an act of hostility.

Two, it is a textbook example of a batterer's excuse-making.

Three, Prosser has a long history of being both a misogynist and having a temper problem.  No matter how well the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel might tell us that Prosser is "a good writer," the facts are overwhelming against Prosser on whether he has an even temperament.

Four, even has he complains of the media citing anonymous sources, he himself cites anonymous justices.  Apparently anonymous justices are worth ten time just your average run of the mill anonymous source.  Secondly, I wonder why he's not naming names.

If it was one of the more law abiding justices, like even Chief Justice Abrahamson herself, you know he would be naming them immediately to support his story and show what "a crazed woman" Bradley Walsh really is.

So that leaves the conservative justices.  It could be Michael Gableman, whose claim to fame is by winning  his election by violating judicial ethic rules and flat out lying about his opponent.  Or it could be Annette Ziegler, famed for her start on the bench under a cloud of admitted ethics violations herself.

To sum it up, Mr. Pantload's story is so full of holes and inconsistencies, it might make an interesting Perry Mason episode, but that's about as close to reality it would ever get.

In this particular game, the only proper answer can be: "It was Prosser, in the chamber, with a choke hold."

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Budget Betting Window Is Now Open

Scott Walker has now signed what he calls a "balanced budget", which supposedly doesn't raise taxes.

But it's not as popular as the squawking heads on the right would have us believe.

Representative Peter Barca gives it to Walker and his miserable budget without hesitation.

But not even a day old yet, much less enacted yet, the growing numbers of lies contained in Walker's budget statement is being well documented.

Knowing Walker as well as I do, I am now opening the betting window for what day his "balanced budget" is found not to be as wonderful as he and his cohorts are trying to make us believe.  In fact, I am betting that he will do exactly the same that he did when he was Milwaukee County Executive and call a fiscal emergency (regardless if whether it's real or not) and use that as an excuse to do mass privatization of all County services.  And with the State so vulnerable to exploitation under his maladministration, it's really only a matter of time until he does the same thing to the state.

Milwaukee County Should Be Exempt From Budget Disrepair Bill

As reported in the local paper, Milwaukee County unionized employees voted on an eleventh hour Tentative Agreement.  The paper reports it passed with 89% approval, which, to be perfectly honest, surprises me, since the contract is just a hair's width wide short of the damage Scott Walker's budget balancing gimmick would do.

The current Tentative Agreement could save the county as much as $20 million if the Board accepts it. But it has many hurdles to cover in just two days to get it done.

Chairman Lee Holloway would have to refer it to Finance and Audit and to the Personnel Committees. then there would have to be a specially called meeting of the Board on the whole. But Holloway has been miffed with the unions, blaming them for the state's take over of the Income Maintenance Program, even though it was Walker who shorted the department staff and the Board that turned a blind eye when it happened.

The Finance and Audit Committee is headed by Supervisor Johnny Thomas who has shown a history of dragging his feet.  And the Personnel Committee is headed by rabidly anti-union Joe Sanfelippo, who is hell bent on preserving the bad faith bargaining the county has been found guilty of for the last three years.

Then it would have to get to Abele's desk and be signed. All of that has to be done before the end of the day Tuesday.

It seems like a long shot to me that this will get done.

If the Board fails to act in a timely fashion, or if they reject it outright, then the County falls prey to Walker's economy-destroying bill.  This will actually save the county about $6 millions less than the proposed contract would save the tax payers.

But if I was in charge of AFSCME, I would have a labor attorney looking into whether Milwaukee County's unions should be exempt from the union-busting law.

The reason for that is that Milwaukee County's unions, most notably AFSCME, never had a chance that every other county and municipality had at gaining a contract to protect them from Walker's ideological attack on them.  After all, it was Walker, along with his allies on the County Board that has sabotaged every attempt at setting a contract.  AFSCME has the ruling from the Wisconsin Employment Relations Committee clearing stating that the County was blatantly committing bad faith bargaining. And as noted earlier, it seems that the current heads of the pertinent committees are following the same course of folly.

If AFSCME never had the same chance to successfully negotiate a contract due directly to the actions or non-actions of the county's part, it shouldn't fall on the unions (and the tax payers, but I repeat myself) to be doubly damned for the failure of a few county supervisors or the former county executive. Until the matter of bad faith bargaining is cleared up, then the old laws should remain in effect.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Scott Walker's New Brown Bag Movement

Not quite the movement he imagined, I'm quite sure:

I can't wait until we get to take his lunch, the one he stole from us originally, and eat his sammiches in front of him.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grigsby: Walker Sure Knows How To Pick Them

State Representative Tamara Gregsby issues the following press release regarding Scott Walker's apparent inability to pick a suitable place where to hold his budgetary showboating:
Grigsby Comments on Tragic Irony of New Budget Signing Location

GOP celebrates budget assault at location that relies on programs they slashed

Madison – As ranking Assembly Democrat on the Joint Finance Committee, State Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) expressed a sense of surprise over the newly chosen location for Gov. Walker’s signing of the Republican Budget. Following the rushed cancellation of the original signing event’s location, Grigsby stated her relief that the Republican governor opted not to sign his budgetary attack on working families at the site of a convicted felon, tax cheat and campaign contributor. At the same time, she wondered why the Walker Administration would move to a venue that relies on the very training programs gutted by the Republican’s budget.
“While the Republicans celebrate their attack on working families, they are gutting the programs needed to grow Fox Valley Metal-Tech, the site of their festivities,” said Rep. Grigsby. “A quick look at Fox Valley Metal-Tech’s website shows they currently have job openings for new welders. It’s unfortunate that Republicans rubberstamped the Walker Budget and cut more than $3.6 million in funding for Fox Valley Technical College, the place where workers would get the vital skills to fill those jobs.”

While nearly 10,000 citizens remain unemployed and in search of work in Wisconsin, welding positions remain vacant throughout the state due to a lack of training programs. In rubberstamping Gov. Walker’s request to gut the Wisconsin Technical College System, Republicans eliminated one-third of the system’s state aid, a cut that totals nearly $72 million. Grigsby noted that Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee proposed additional funding in order to train workers for high-demand jobs, such as welding.

Republicans opposed this thoughtful measure.

“At this point, the GOP may wish to consider signing this budget abomination in one of the secret tunnels they’ve been using to escape public scrutiny all session,” Grigsby said. “Perhaps this is the only way to hide this shameful budget from further embarrassment.”
Is it any wonder why so many people are developing political crushes on her?

Just What I Needed To End Another Week In Paradise

So after pulling yet another day of overtime, I come home tired and ready for the weekend.  But when I come home, I find that there are cops all around our apartment building.  I joked with a couple of the officers as I pulled into the driveway, just thinking about getting in and relaxing, and not as much why there police there.

As I pulled into the parking lot, a lot of the neighbors were outside.  Some were grilling out, but most were standing around chatting.  As I went to get the stuff out of my car, one of the neighbors called out to me, asking me if I had heard "the news."

My first thought was Scott Walker's faux pas of the day, when it turned out he had been planning his traditional budget showboating at a private business which turned out to be owned by a convicted felon.

But that wasn't "the news" to which my neighbor referred.  It turned out to be the story of the man killed in Brookfield a couple of days ago.  It was rather shocking to find out that another one of our neighbors is accused of being a murderer to say the least.

As I absorbed and digested this new information, a couple three thoughts kept coming up.

One was "Holy #%#!! I live next door to a murderer!"

Another was how many lives these two affected with their unthinking, callous act of brutality.  Not only the victim and his family, but they also affected her husband, family and neighbors.  My neighbor not only shocked everyone in the building, but he has also effectively abandoned his elderly father who lived with him and depended on him.

The third thought was that even with something so alarming as finding out that the big burly guy who was your neighbor is an accused murderer, I still feel no desire or need to carry a gun.  After all, it would have been useless to me.  And if this recent admission to the Waukesha Bar Bell Hotel could kill a person so gruesomely, imagine what he would have done if killing had already been made so much easier by the ignoramuses in Madison, like Alberta Darling or Scott Walker.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Newspeak: Wisconsin Style

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.[2]”

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them....To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.[2]” ----George Orwelle, "1984"
Doublethink, and George Orwelle's other concept, Newspeak, is alive and well in Wisconsin.

In just the last few months, there are multiple examples of these concepts raising it rearing its ugly head with the aid of Scott Walker and his GOP allies in the state legislature, although in truth, it's been around much, much longer.

The longest running example of this propaganda machine, which predates Walker's administration by decades, is, of course, talk radio. You have a rogue's gallery of lying parasites like Charlie Sykes, Mark Belling and Vicki McKenna, who take big corporate dollars just to argue for and endlessly repeat the things that the GOP (Grand Oligarchy Party) want the listeners to believe.  Their offenses are so many and so frequent that even a multiple-author blogsite can't keep up with all of them.  Only the fact that they are part of the corporate media keeps them from being investigated for their blatant lies and in-kind political donations which never seem to get reported.

But in more recent history, things have gotten much worse and more egregious than ever before, making Richard Nixon look like a choir boy.

You have Steve Smith, CEO and President of Journal Communications, who has his place in all of the major business groups like MMAC, not only "reporting" the news, but trying to control it.  One of the most glaring examples were the repeated editorials and articles blasting the people's choice to have paid sick days in Milwaukee, but failing to mention his own involvement in having the people's voice and will crush under the self-serving corporate interest which Smith took part of.  Then again, it's nothing new for Smith to make huge profits even as he is taking away the livelihood of many people.

Another example may be occurring in Northern Wisconsin, where well-moneyed special interests, in this case, the Cline Group and WMC, who are pushing for a major relaxation in environmental protection laws so they can make some serious profits by raping the ground without restraint, as reported by the impeccable Emily Mills  What Ms. Mills does not report in her column is that there is an unconfirmed story that the Cline Group has bought out the local paper there, The Daily Press. After buying the paper, they removed the editor and a reporter, both of whom were openly skeptical of the deregulation being proposed, and replaced them with a new editor from a Minnesota mining town that the company already has great influence in.

Nothing like having the corporations which should be the subject of series of articles actually controlling what is published and what gets swept under the rug.

To help out the corporate media, or Newspeak, in being able to control the message and promote their own peculiar version of Doublethink, the state legislature and Walker's administration is being blatant in their attempts to control and limit the news which escapes from Madison.

There has been the ongoing legal battle between the people of Wisconsin and the Walker administration regarding access to the Capitol Building in Madison.  When the people took over "Our House," Walker's administration acted to violate state law and restrict access to the building.  Only after the majority of the damage has been done by Walker and his pals have they conceded to follow the law which they've broken for months.

However, for those months where they were in violation of the law, they tried to limit how much information the people themselves were able to get out by banning recording equipment, not allowing people to text or tweet things from inside the legislative chambers and other similar acts you would normally associate with other totalitarian governments like in North Korea, China, or the Middle Eastern nations.

Another glaring example is the proposal to put severe restrictions on accessibility to officials' economic interest statements.  The obvious reason for this is to protect Republican legislators who are facing recalls, like Senator Rob Cowles (R-Sin City), who has invested a lot of money in the adult entertainment industry, to put it politely.

And if information that the ruling regime does not think the public needs to know does see the light of day, rest assured that they will try to control that as well, by digging up what ever they can about the ones that dare to utter unapproved messages, no matter what extremes they need to take to do their smear work.

The best way to sum the current state of the state-run corporate media (or would it be more accurate to say the corporate-ran state-run corporate media?) would be from part of the introduction of the Outer Limits:
There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure...
Is it any wonder that a growing number of people, including myself, are relying on each other instead of the media to stay informed on what is really going on in our once and future great state? It truly is a sad statement that we can no longer rely on the formerly proud and prestigious field of journalism.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Republicans, Tea Partiers Commit Violence At The Capitol

Well, here's a story you won't ever hear on Faux News or squawk radio.

Former state Senator Dave Zien and two of this thug teahadist buddies went to Madison to advocate for the new gun law.  While at the Capitol, they decided to sully its reverent halls by bringing the first acts of physical aggression and violence since the protests started four months ago:
A participant in the daily, non-violent Solidarity Sing Along at the state Capitol suffered a broken tooth when he was punched in the face by one of two men who were draping a "Don't Tread on Me" flag over the heads of singers, the leader of the sing-along said.

State Department of Administration spokeswoman Carla Vigue said the singer who was punched, Michael J. Dickman of Madison, saw the two men draping the flag over others and came over and grabbed it. Dickman was cited by Capitol Police for disorderly conduct, she said.

Henry C. Rahr of Green Bay was arrested on a tentative charge of battery, and another man holding the flag, Eugene C. German, of Shorewood, Minn., also was cited for disorderly conduct, Vigue said.

Rahr was released from the Dane County Jail after posting $650 on the tentative battery and disorderly conduct charges, according to jail records.
So much for their lies of being for peace or even for the people. They only want two things: money and power. And they are willing to go to any extreme to get either of those things.

But there are a few other things to point out besides the abhorrent and inexcusable behavior of these two-bit thugs.

One thing I haven't seen reported anywhere but at Blue Cheddar is that Zien himself proves to be a horrible role model by being aggressive, verbal abusive and threatening to the solidarity singers.  Why is afraid of singers singing about things like solidarity, mutual support and making one's way through life should be threatening to anyone, but there it is.

Then there is the details of the assault that Rahr committed as written in the first hand witness accounting of the deplorable act of unnecessary violence, via First Draft:
Just as they were draping their flag across my face, a member of the sing along came over, told the men to stop it, and pulled their flag down. instantly, the shorter tea partier grabbed this guy in a headlock and punched him in the mouth which resulted in a broken tooth. The guy who got punched did not initiate any physical force against either of the tea partiers holding the flag, he just was grabbing and trying to pull down their flag, never touching either of the men until he was trying to get himself free from the headlock. Some more sing along people came over and tried to break up the fight. moments later the police came upstairs to assess the situation. Several eyewitnesses including myself gave statements to the police and everyone who was involved in the assault.
It should be also noted that one of the aggressors, Eugene C. German, is from Minnesota. And here Scott Walker was feigning concern about it being the unions who were going to bring in out of state people to cause mayhem. Either Walker has secretly joined the unions or he's just a flaming hypocrite.

I have also heard that German may be a gun dealer, which leads to another question.  If these yahoos are willing to resort to such violence because someone was singing or because someone tried to prevent them from accosting another person, are they really examples of  someone you would want to be in possession of a firearm? Instead of just a simple battery, it could have easily escalated into a bloodbath.

Lastly, I have yet to hear Walker, or either of the Fitzgerald boys, or any other Republican of note to condemn this act of violence. I would take it as to mean that they condone such behavior.  Like we needed yet another reason to recall the lot of them than they think they can now go and suppress free speech through physical intimidation and/or assault.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Disingenuous Walker Lies Disingenuously

In one short article appearing on JSOnline, Scott Walker tells two whopping doozies of lies.  (Of course, staying true to their fine journalistic failings, the paper never bothered questioning Walker on either one of them.)

Doozie number one is that people are tired of the recalls, even though they haven't even happened yet. Sounds like he's willing to through his fellow Republicans under the bus in order to save his own butt from the recall machine:
Gov. Scott Walker says the upcoming recall elections are an “inconvenience” and a “distraction” to most Wisconsinites.

“People are ready to move on,” Walker said in an interview after an appearance in Washington, D.C. “And I don’t just mean one party or another. I think just in general. The average citizen in Wisconsin I talk to, it’s like they’ve had it … They want us to be talking about jobs. They want us to be focused on that … And so having another political campaign -- it’s going to happen, it’s not like they can avoid it. But it’s not something they’re particularly interested in.”

Walker said that “when I talk to people, if that issue comes up, they’re like, ‘Can’t that just be over? ‘”
The problem for Walker glib falsehood is that it's, well, a glib falsehood.

Less than a month ago, the most recent poll shows just the opposite of what Walker's trying to feed people:
Voters split evenly in February at 48% on the question of recalling Walker but now the needle has moved towards bare majority support for removing him early from office. 50% say they would support a recall to 47% who are opposed. That Walker's disapproval is 54% but the support for recall is only 50% shows there are still some voters who dislike him but wouldn't go so far as to support removing him from office, but there aren't many.
Things aren't looking so good for Republican senators either:
And the implications of this finding are probably limited for the upcoming State Senate recall elections but by a 50-42 margin voters in the state would rather have the Democrats in control of that body than the Republicans.
Walker follows up doozie of a lie number one hard with the second one, in which he claims that he's never said anything but glowing things about teachers. Oopsie, not quite:

Um yeah, saying that the teachers are just thugs on a leash and that no one likes them isn't exactly a warm fuzzy, much less a glowing recommendation.

But I would point out how careful Walker was to parse his words and say that he was "saying great things about teachers."

We all know that actions speak louder than words. And Walker's actions has been even less heart-warming than his calling them not just thugs but unpopular ones to boot.

He wants to cut their pay by nearly 20% and take away their rights.  And that's just for beginners.  He also wants to do away with responsible, public education and put the teachers (whatever number stays in the field) to work for for-profit mercenary private schools who's concern is not educating the children but profiting off of them.  Then when the kids don't have a decent education, they can drop out at the age of 14 to work in the mines or the sweats shops, or worse.

Yeah, Walker's idea of utopia is one only a sociopath could appreciate. Is it any wonder he's feeling a bit antsy about the upcoming recalls, both the senators' and then, later on, his own?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yoo Hoo, Alberta! Some People Want To Speak With You!

Wouldn't it be nice if Alberta Darling took a little time away from authoring the most malicious budget in state history to actually sit down and listen to her constituents for a change?

Yeah, I wouldn't hold my breath for her to do that either. She needs to be sent packing to the nearest golf course so that a responsible adult, like Sandy Pasch, can do the job she won't.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part IV

Yet another sign of the Walker budget at work before it's even signed, much less implemented:
A Wausau-based bank is cutting more than 20 jobs as the stagnant residential and commercial loan markets continue to take their economic toll.

River Valley Bank President and CEO Steve Anderson said Tuesday that lenders, customer service representatives and support staff members were among the people laid off from 14 branches. Other positions eliminated already were vacant, and bank officials have decided to not fill them.

"Revenues were slow and declining and expenses weren't, and we had to make that business decision," Anderson said.
Can you even begin to imagine the hell we're going to be in when the full brunt of Walker's budget kicks in? And to top it off, he's dinking around with the unemployment benefits. I'm sure it'll great consolation to you as you see your hungry children that some rich fat cat got a nice tax break just because they donated to Walker's campaign.

Shocking Video Of Japanese Tsunami

From an email, here is a video taken of the tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year.  Be advised that besides the fearsome destructive power of the water, towards the end of the video, you can see people literally running for their very lives, trying to help others and getting swept into the roaring water full of debris:

via Yahoo News

Blog Roll Addition

I just added Monologues of Dissent to my blogroll and suggest that you go check it out.

Not only is a fellow dissident, but also quite clever, including this poster for the #weeunion folks:

Reminder: Emerge WI Is Holding Two Events This Week

Got this in the inbox a while back, but it's still very timely:
Dear Chris,

Yesterday, Wisconsin's citizens marched in Madison to protest this draconian and devastating budget that Walker and his Republican cronies have put forward. At the same time, the fate of collective bargaining was decided by the Supreme Court.

The Republicans are so desperate to pass this devastating budget that they called an extraordinary session to ram it through. The women of Emerge are also marching and rallying in Madison and active across the state working to take back Wisconsin. Emerge is also training the women who will help take back Wisconsin and fix what the Republicans have broken.

Wondering what you can do?

Join us in taking back Wisconsin. There is still time to sponsor our Madison and Milwaukee events and support our work to Take Back Wisconsin.

In July, Emerge will graduate our 2011 Class, which has learned firsthand the importance of democracy and the need for more Democratic women in office. In July, we will also be accepting applications for our 2012 class, which we have moved up from January 2012 to September 2011 so we can train those women who want to be part of taking back Wisconsin next fall.

Join us in Madison or Milwaukee or both to help Emerge take back our state!

Madison Event:
Tuesday, June 21, 5:30 - 7 PM
Argus Bar and Grill, 123 East Main Street
To Sponsor or RSVP, Click Here

Milwaukee Event
Thursday, June 23, 5:30 - 7 PM
BYO Studio, 2246 S. Kinnickinnic Ave
To Sponsor or RSVP, Click Here

Please join us and fight back against Walker by joining us as we work to Take Back Wisconsin!

In Solidarity,

Wendy Strout
Executive Director
Show up and learn about the exciting things they are doing. And you'll never know who else might show up.

And when you go, tell Wendy that I sent you.

Koch Brothers' Front Group Gears Up For Recalls

Wisconsin Gazette is reporting that the Koch brothers' front group, Americans for (Koch's) Prosperity has started to do phone banking on behalf of the Republican candidates..

They also go on to point out again why the Kochs are so concerned right now:
Koch, who gave Scott Walker’s (pictured) gubernatorial campaign $43,000 in direct contributions and funneled much more to Walker and other Wisconsin GOP candidates in 2010 through various groups, expects to receive millions of dollars worth of no-bid Wisconsin government contracts for his Koch Industries. Koch Industries is also in line to gain ownership of vital resources currently held by the state.

A key component of Koch’s strategy is incapacitating state agencies so they will be unable to provide services that Koch industries can then come in and perform at a profit. The elimination of collective bargaining rights for government unions in Wisconsin was part of Koch’s strategy to achieve this aim.

But if Democrats retake control of the state Senate through this summer’s recall elections, it could interrupt Koch’s agenda. That’s why Americans for Prosperity is gearing up to spend millions of dollars defending GOP senators in the state through phone banks, campaign ads and any other tactic that Koch’s money can buy.
We all know this is going to be a long, hard slog to take back our state. Then we still have the arduous, almost Herculean task of cleaning up and fixing what they have ruined. It's a scary proposition to be sure, but it's nothing compared to what will happen if we don't succeed in taking Wisconsin back and putting things to right.

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part III

Wow! Things are really picking up in Wisconsin thanks to Walker's budget, which hasn't even been enacted yet.

This bit of good news: Unemployment is up again!
Wisconsin's unemployment rate ticked up slightly in May as the state added just 900 private sector jobs last month as the pace of hiring cooled.

Figures released by the Department of Workforce Development Thursday showed the jobless rate increasing to 7.4 percent in May. It was 7.3 percent in April and 8.5 percent a year ago.
The article goes on to say that there has been an overall increase in jobs in Wisconsin, but points out that these are mostly in service jobs, like McDonald's and other part-time, minimum wage jobs, and not the family supporting jobs that we desperately need.

Scott Walker's job plan is the equivalent of corporate slavery. Just the type of thing Wisconsinites fought and died to get rid of a hundred years ago.

No wonder he is so desperate to try to kill of the unions. He just can't allow people to be independent and self-sustaining. Then he couldn't control them for his corporate masters.

Local Bloggers Get National Recognition

Netroots Nation is holding their yearly event this weekend in Minnesota. During this event, I received an email from one of the speakers with a bit of flattering, and humbling, news.  The email is from Tracey Conaty, AFSCME Director of New Media and Rapid Response. Her email follows and is slightly edited for blogging purposes:
Hi Chris:

I had the honor of starting off the opening Netroots Nation keynote session last night and was further honored by getting to recognize your efforts and that of the whole cheddarsphere. Remarks are below.

In solidarity,

Tracey Conaty
AFSCME Assistant Director of New Media and Rapid Response

From the school bus driver in Portland Maine who gets kids to school safely while getting by on $25,000 year. From the environmental scientist in Portland, Oregon making sure the drinking water is safe. From the home care workers in Baltimore barely making a living wage while caring for the elderly and disabled so that they can live at home with dignity and independence. From the retired human services worker here in Florida surviving on a $19,000 a year pension while watching Bill O'Reilly, Chris Christie and Rick Scott– to name a few -- vilify and scapegoat them as fat cat penioners.

From all AFSCME's 1.6 million members and our President Gerald McEntee and Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders, I say: Hello Netroots Nation!

My name is Trace Conaty, I am the Director of New Media for AFSCME -- The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. This is our third year proudly sponsoring Netroots Nation.

What a year it's been. There will be much talk in the next few days about the brazen and extreme attacks on workers this year. Make no mistake, we at AFSCME are clear: We would not have been able to push back as hard and effectively as we have without the power of the netroots. In Wisconsin for example, the Cheddarshpere, including Blue Cheddar, Illusory Tenant, Dane 101, Uppity Wisconsin -- and AFSCME members Cognitive Dissidence and Blogging Blue -- were telling the story of these attacks long before anyone else -- and in turn helping to galvanize the uprising that is now in 122nd day. In Ohio the fight back is just as vibrant. Indeed, the folks at We Are Ohio want you to know that they will be making a major announcement tomorrow. They want you to text OH to 225568so you can hear the news first.

This is not a new struggle. In 1968 Martin Luther King travelled to Memphis, TN to march in solidarity with AFSCME sanitation workers who were striking to win recognition as a union -- and as human beings. Their pro-test signs said it simply: "I am a man." These workers had no union, no vacation, no benefits, no pensions, no overtime.

The following is a short video – with song especially done by Aaron Neville -- about how that struggle continues today. A Main Street Movement in Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan and across the country is underway as working people fight back against attacks on their rights -- and for jobs that provide a living wage and decent quality of life.

We are proud and honored to be joined together as allies with you in this struggle. Thank you.
It then included a link to this video:

And if that wasn't kind enough, I also saw this tweet from Melissa Ryan, digital community organizer extraordinaire:

I keep telling myself that I am not doing this for the recognition, but I would be a liar if I said it wasn't nice to receive.

Thank you to Tracey Conaty and Lee Saunders for the recognition.

And congratulations to my friends at Blogging Blue and Blue Cheddar. I am honored to be counted among you.

Adding Collusion To The Corruption

Some days, it is just an impossible feat for a rational mind to understand how Wisconsin's Republicans can even think they are anywhere still close to representing the people of Wisconsin.

It seems like we can't go a day without another example of corruption from their side raises its ugly head from the miasma they're swimming in.

Take*, for example, our not so supreme Supreme Court. Apparently the Republicans weren't happy with having the majority bought and paid for by the likes of WMC and the Koch Brothers.  They also weren't happy with just having them making an uninformed, dishonest and predetermined decision based on ideology and not the law.

Now they can add collusion to the ongoing list why the whole lot of them needs to be removed from their respective offices:
Four Republican legislators met with Sheboygan County department heads Monday as part of monthly sessions involving state and local officials.

After the meeting, county corporation counsel Carl Buesing briefed other county attorneys across the state on information pertaining to the collective bargaining bill’s inclusion of employee contributions to their pension and health care.

“This Monday morning we met and were assured that the Supreme Court was going to rule by Wednesday and that that legislature was going to clean up all the loose ends,” Buesing wrote in the email.
If you wondering why they would do this, besides the simple fact that this is one of the most unscrupulous lot you could find, well the article explains that as well:
“If the legislature had to fold the collective bargaining package again into the state budget, that would re-inflame the passions of February and March,” Common Cause executive director Jay Heck said. Legislative consideration of the collective bargaining bill drew thousands of protesters to the capitol in those months. Heck said as separate branches of government, it was expected the court would act independently of any legislative deadlines.
So what now? Again, back to the article:
Heck of the government watchdog group told WKOW27 News the possibility an assurance was given about a pending state Supreme Court decision requires more answers.

“There needs to be a full explanation by the speaker, the supreme court spokesperson or the justices themselves to make it clear, that there wasn’t coordination on this matter.”
And any investigation into this needs to be done by a non-state agency, preferably on the federal level and one that cannot be unduly influenced or coerced by Scott Walker and his bully boys.

After all, we already know that they are not above political retaliation.

*Insert your own "Take our Supreme Court...please." joke here.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Drinking Liberally: Another Rock Star Edition

This coming Monday, June 20, will be the next rendition of the one and only, accept no imitations, Drinking Liberally.*

This time around, the special guest will be State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa.

Also, Zach Wisniewski will be there. He's a big thing around these parts, y'know.

It will be at its new home, Transfer Pizzeria, located at 101 W. Mitchell St.

The festivities start at 7 pm.

Hope to see you there.

* Rumor has it that muttmutt will be buying the first three rounds.

Congratulations To Ruth Hana

Ruth Hana, former county worker, is still devoted to making her community a better place.

She's collected one million cans and counting for charity.

More at Milwaukee County First.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Lack Of Fact, Lack of Reason"

Brendan Fischer, legal fellow at PRWatch, analyzed and broke down the highly questionable and irregular act of the Koch-sponsored majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Here is an excerpt, but do read the whole thing:
"Many people would likely find it puzzling," Justice Crooks writes in dissent, that "we, the highest court in the state, cannot simply order up whatever information is needed." But because of the unusual procedural posture, "those boxes of documents, transcripts and evidence that we ordinarily review were not made available to us."

Justice Abrahamson, also dissenting, wrote that "faced with no record, [the four justices in the majority] conjure their own facts -- something this court should never do, regardless of whether it is exercising appellate or original jurisdiction ... The ready availability of a direct appeal by aggrieved parties makes this all the more puzzling," Justice Crooks wrote. "I am convinced that these significant issues should be addressed through a direct appeal, which would allow this court to more fully resolve, with the benefit of a complete record, the complex legal and factual issues at stake."

The lack of factual background tainted the Court's decision and constitutional interpretation. Nothing prevented the Court from waiting to accept a direct appeal, and to make a careful decision based on a complete evidentiary record. But with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald threatening to insert collective bargaining into the budget if the Court did not act before the end of Tuesday, the court rushed an order with minimal factual background.

According to Justice Crooks, "those who would rush to judgment on these matters are essentially taking the position that getting this opinion out is more important than doing it right and getting it right." Indeed, that is what happened. In its rush to issue an opinion, the conservative majority overreached, issuing a problematic constitutional interpretation and violating its own judicial principles in the process.
Read it all and allow yourself to feel the rage. Then join in the fight to take Wisconsin back, while there's still a Wisconsin to take back.

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part II

Not even enacted yet, we can see Walker's budget already having an impact (emphasis mine):
Hamilton said expansion didn't make sense for them right now with the city's current economic situation. He cited the 360 jobs lost at the NewPage Whiting paper mill last February and many people in the Stevens Point area who will face reduced incomes as a result of the state's budget repair bill.

Hamilton said the Supreme Bean will continue its operation in Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital. Despite several relocation offers from other building owners in town, Hamilton said reopening in a new location doesn't make sense right now.

"Who wouldn't want a 22-year business occupying their space?" Hamilton asked. "Apparently, not the Children's Museum."
I, along with every other sentient being, have been pointing out that Walker's plan will drive businesses into the ground and bring our economic recovery to a grinding halt and hurt a lot of private citizens. This is just the beginning of the pain, folks.

Barca On Walker's Anti-Working Family Budget

From Rep. Peter Barca's press release:
State Assembly rubberstamps Gov. Walker’s budget that attacks working Wisconsin families
MADISON – Upon passage of the biennial state budget on a party-line vote, Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) released the following statement:
“Gov. Walker’s vision for Wisconsin was rubberstamped by Assembly Republicans today. That vision, unfortunately, will permanently hurt the middle class. They grabbed taxpayer money from our public schools and gave it to private voucher schools. They cut job training opportunities at technical colleges. They raised college tuition while lowering student aid. And they raised taxes on Wisconsin seniors who are struggling to remain in their homes.

“This budget desecrates our proud Wisconsin tradition of supporting our middle-class – the backbone of our state.

“In this budget, Republicans also increased spending by $1.1 billion, spent $411 million from raided funds, hiked fees by $111 million, increased borrowing to kick an even bigger can even farther down the road and raised taxes by $70 million on working families and senior citizens.
“Every one of these actions represents a broken promise by the Republicans.
“It is a strong, vibrant middle class that made America an economic powerhouse and the envy of the world. Attacking Wisconsin’s working families, while spending billions on special interest giveaways and corporate tax loopholes, permanently harms Wisconsin’s citizens, economy and our future. Democrats will not rest until we can restore the rights, values and opportunities that Wisconsin’s working families deserve.”
You can also find Rep. Tamara Grigsby's response at Milwaukee County First.

The Fight For Freedom Continues - Without Koch Interference

The unions, and by that I mean just about every union in the state, has filed a federal lawsuit against the unconstitutional, freedom-stripping Budget Disrepair Bill, just like I had said they would.

There are two key things to note about this action.

One, the unions were smart enough to file it directly in federal court.  With the way the Koch Court worded their ruling, it was obviously a threat to any Wisconsin judge against ordering an injunction, despite the legality or appropriateness of doing so.  By taking it to the federal level, they are able to avoid and eliminate the Koch Court's interference of justice.

Secondly, the lawsuit only seeks to restore the freedoms that Scott Walker and WISGOP would take away from the citizens, especially the working families of Wisconsin and has nothing to do with the money, as pointed out in the SEIU press release regarding the lawuit:
It is a violation of the U.S. Constitution for a legislature to discriminate among classes of public employees, much less to reward political allies, while punishing political opponents. Scott Walker’s actions are purely political and it is distressing that the Wisconsin Supreme Court would allow public employees to be used as sacrificial lambs.

The lawsuit seeks to enjoin some, but not all, of the provisions of the Budget Repair Bill.

“Working and middle class families in Wisconsin have long been on the record accepting substantial economic cuts. In fact, we are not seeking to enjoin the significant pension and health insurance contribution requirements imposed by the Budget Repair Bill. However, we will not tolerate continued attacks on basic rights. We are committed to preserving our rights to bargain and freely associate,” Palmer concluded.
The AFL-CIO emphasizes the same point on their blog.

This, of course, blows the hell out of the argument the right wing has been trying to fool people with, claiming that the unions are only after their "entitlements" or that the public sector workers were unwilling to "make a reasonable contribution" to their benefits.

If it weren't for the seriousness of the issue, where the unions have been forced to fight not just for the rights of their workers, but even for the rights of those who are constantly attacking them for doing so, I would be having great amusement watching the right wing's collective heads exploding as they realize that they stand a very real chance of having expended all their political clout for nothing.

Finally, since the unions have shown the savvy to file in federal court, one hopes that they will also build their case on another federal case in which they have already shown that it is illegal to take away the right of collective bargaining.

A Correction: I Was Wrong About Wisconsin Supreme Court

In my last post, I wrote this about the Supreme Court of Wisconsin:
Now word as come out that the "Supreme Court" of Wisconsin has, without apparent deliberation or research of the law, has ruled the open meetings laws to be invalid and that our elected officials (or at least the Republican ones) are above the law and don't need to adhere to the laws that they themselves had passed. Needless to say, WMC spent tons of money in making sure that Annette Ziegler, Michael Gableman and David Prosser were on the bench, just so that they could shred the Constitution and the law books and make irresponsible decisions like this one.
This turned out to be rather shoddy reporting on my part, and for this I apologize.

The truth is, it's much, much worse than what I had reported.

First of all, the corruption was easy to spot, as former Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske points out:
Former Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske said Wednesday that she found Tuesday's high-court decision on the collective bargaining law disconcerting.

The court, which ruled 4-3, to reinstate the collective bargaining law left the perception that the decision was partisan because of the timing, she said.

"They had five hours of oral argument and issued a complicated decision within a week," Geske said in a telephone interview. "They didn't use their usual process."

Geske, a distinguished professor of law at Marquette University's Law School, is also a former justice. She served on the state's high court from 1993-'98.

The court, she said, is always faced with cases that both sides want action on quickly. But the role of the court is to take the case, analyze it thoroughly, review prior case law and render a decision.

"You want to establish the law for the future," Geske said. "Cases always are urgent. But the court always takes its time."

Instead, the court acted on the day the Legislature was prepared to vote again on the collective-bargaining law. The court issued its decision late Tuesday afternoon.
The "coincidences" of the timing of the ruling as well as how the Republicans "knew" that the Supreme Court was going to rule the way it did raised suspicions among more people than just Geske, and thus come amazing and horrifying things were found.

First of all, if the gentle reader would remember, there was a very despicable and irresponsible anti-Joanna Kloppenburg advertisement flooding the air waves. Said advertisement was paid for by a group called "Citizens for a Strong America" which turned out to be just another of the myriad and sordid front groups for the Koch brothers.

But Prosser isn't the only one who received the blessings of the Koch brothers. Michael Gableman received nearly $7,000 from the Koch brothers' PAC:

Likewise, Annette Ziegler received nearly $9,000 in the same manner:

But Prosser's connection to the Koch brothers doesn't just end with a commercial.

Brian Schimming, who used to be Prosser's chief of staff when Prosser was in the state assembly, and was the director of Prosser's recount team, and is first vice chair of WISGOP, also has a history of being a lobbyist for the Koch brothers (along with some other interesting names like Steve Foti and George Petak).

Along with Schimming, Ray Carey, who was a legislative aide to Prosser, is currently a lobbyist for the Kochs.

We can't do anything about Prosser for the the moment. But perhaps it's time to seriously consider recalling Gableman and Ziegler along with Scott Walker in the next round of recalls.  It's time and beyond that we return to our roots and make WisKochsin back into Wisconsin!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Corruption Of Wisconsin Is Complete -- Or Is it?

If you love Wisconsin, love your freedom, or want a thriving, healthy economy, things look grim indeed.

It would appear that the corruption of Wisconsin is now complete.

We have an uneducated, inept and unethical governor who managed to gain his seat through the massive expenditure of people like the Koch brothers, the road builders, WMC, and other big money special interests. Even though his campaign was about creating jobs, he has done everything but that.  His biggest claim to fame thus far is getting busted out by a blogger as being a kowtowing serf to the Koch brothers.

The Republican legislature, also sponsored by Big Corporation money, actually makes Walker look like a piker by taking his malevolence and expanding it, passing laws which can only be generously described as legalized prejudice and bigotry.  While they claim that the budget that they crafted resolves the alleged deficit and doesn't raise taxes, nonpartisan groups have repeatedly shown this to be patently false.  It spends more money than before and raises taxes and fees on working families and on the poor.  To add further insult to injury, the legislature has taken these higher taxes and fees and used it to suppress or even eliminate the rights of these very same people.

Now word as come out that the "Supreme Court" of Wisconsin has, without apparent deliberation or research of the law, has ruled the open meetings laws to be invalid and that our elected officials (or at least the Republican ones) are above the law and don't need to adhere to the laws that they themselves had passed.  Needless to say, WMC spent tons of money in making sure that Annette Ziegler, Michael Gableman and David Prosser were on the bench, just so that they could shred the Constitution and the law books and make irresponsible decisions like this one.

As a result, it would appear that the Republicans and conservatives of all three branches of the government have assaulted and insulted the state and its citizens in almost every aspect of imaginable.  They have stripped the working class of their very rights and their livelihoods, trashed environmental protections, raised taxes and fees on those least able to afford it while giving magnanimous rewards to their campaign donors (read Big Business), attacked the rights of women, attacked the rights of gays, attacked the rights of minorities and almost every other atrocity to our freedoms and our values.

As I said, it appears that the corruption of the state is complete.

However, the fight is not over. Far from it.

There are still tens of thousands of people pouring into Madison to make our collective voices heard.

There are tens or thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people actively involved in recalling those that have violated all sense of decency and abused the authority of their office.  And that is only the first wave.

People are still anxiously and eagerly waiting for winter to return so that they may finish the job in recalling Scott Walker and the rest of the corrupt senators, as well as work to flip the Assembly as well as the Senate.  There are even some looking at removing WMC's justices and replacing them with justices that love the law and justice.

The "ruling" from the Supreme Court can, I believe (note: I am not a lawyer), be brought back for reconsideration, since it is so blatantly and egregiously out of line with what the law says. Furthermore, at least two separate actions have already been filed against the content of the law, and many more lawsuits are expected, even as early as today, regarding every aspect of this law, from the content to the way it was passed.

And to further strengthen one's heart and one's resolve, it would appear that part of the road to recovery has already been paved for us, with a very powerful ruling that would find the union-busting, rights-stripping, economy-trashing bill itself to be illegal:
In 1935, when Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (also known as the NLRA, or the Wagner Act), it recognized the direct relationship between the inequality of bargaining power of workers and corporations and the recurrent business depressions. That is, by depressing wage rates and the purchasing power of wage earners, the economy fell into depression. The law therefore recognized as policy of the United States the encouragement of collective bargaining.

While the NLRA covered US employees in private employment, the law protecting collective bargaining in both the public and private sectors has developed since 1935 to cover all workers "without distinction."
In summary, while it might very well appear that Big Corporation and their corrupt puppets have won once and for all, that is as far as from the truth one can get and not become a de facto Republican. The union busting bill will be postponed from be enacted or enforced by dint of the lawsuits against it. And even if they try to illegally enforce it like they did with the restrictions to the Capitol Building, the unions are prepared for such a contingency and it will be only a temporary hardship as we continue to take back our state and put mature, responsible and accountable officials in the place of the corrupt ones now misrepresenting themselves as leaders.

So, if some conservative comes up to you to gloat about their "victory," just smile politely, agree with them that the war is all but over, and keep smiling in your knowledge that while the war may indeed soon be over, its not in the way they think it is.  The only real accomplishment that Walker, the WISGOP legislature and the Supreme Court have done is making their recalls all the easier to accomplish.

Who Do You Trust? The Election Game Show

Dominique Paul Noth of Milwaukee Labor Press shows his witty side in this humorous but simultaneously enraging look at the games the Republicans continue to play with our electoral system.  Here's an excerpt, but be sure to read the whole thing, especially to the end:
We understand, don’t we folks? So let’s just say you’re over 75. Well, Gladys, you’ll be happy to know that in the US, 75 is the typical age of a US poll worker. What’s that? Folks, Gladys HAS been a poll worker! Bet you itch to go back next year now that photo ID is here, right? What’s that, Gladys, speak up? Folks, get this, she says she definitely can’t wait to be one of those people who look at your photo ID, look back up at you, look down again and look up again and again to make sure you are who you say you are before she allows you to vote and lets others in line move forward. Talk about homeland security! Applause

But she’s also been an election official, right Gladys? She represented the Republican Party for the Ozaukee County Board of Canvassers in the recent Prosser-Kloppenburg race for the Supreme Court. OOOH-Applause Sign.

Well, Gladys, that loyalty is going to win you major prizes here on Who Do You Trust. First and most important, you’re getting to pretend to be a Democrat for a month! Turn on Cheer Sign

Yes, Gladys, you’ve volunteered to be the Pretend Dem in the Senate District 8 race to force the real Democrat, Sandy Pasch, to compete with you first. That gives her actual opponent, incumbent Alberta Darling, whose campaigns you have long worked for and given money to, an extra month to get ready. That’s more time to raise money, more time to hope voters forget how central Darling has been in passing that hateful Walker budget, more time to figure out what to say to Pasch’s stern arguments.

And if you’re willing to make this sacrifice, Gladys, to enter your twilight years to the hoots of laughter from disbelieving citizens, we’re ready to help with big prizes. We registered a Friends of Gladys Huber group with the state to help you raise money and gather the 400 to 800 signatures you need to force a Democrat primary race July 12.

Yes, Gladys, while it took almost 30,000 signatures of District 8 citizens to set up the recall against Darling, it only takes a few hundred to get you on the ballot. Isn’t democracy wonderful! Applause Sign

Reflect on what you’re doing for Walker and our beloved motherland -- you’re seeking to delay the real election to mid-August, when many voters will go on vacation and some might forget how badly the budget bill has stung their children and communities. You’ve made a mockery of the genuine voter anger and Democratic discipline that brought about the recall. You may need those paid Friends when it’s all over, but you’ve given Alberta Darling the only chance she has to survive. What a sweetheart!

The Walker Budget Is Already Working!

The Walker budget is already having its intended consequences, putting small businesses out of work in favor of the the larger campaign donors companies:
For Schaffitzel, a driver for Burns Bus, it was a typical late-spring afternoon route, except for one thing: When school ends today, so does Burns Bus.

A small family-owned school bus company, Burns Bus has held a contract for student transportation with the Edgerton School District since 1946, when founders Paul and Bill Burns started the Edgerton company.

But this spring, Burns lost the contract. The district, which has seen declines in revenues in recent years, opted to instead hire Riteway Bus Service, estimating the change would save about $140,000 a year.

Riteway has a fleet of 500 school buses statewide, and its client list includes 25 school districts. By comparison, Burns has 18 buses, about 30 employees and just one client—Edgerton School District.

The lost contract spells the end of Burns' 65-year run.
I'm sure Walker and his WISGOP allies are so pleased with themselves.

PolitiFarce Part V: PolitiFail

The controversial PolitiFact in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has done it again.

I would like to draw the gentle reader's attention to this story they did during the campaign, slamming Joanne Kloppenburg for accusing the incumbent and corrupt David Prosser of prejudging cases.  They got their undies in a bundle and gave Kloppenburg the dreaded "Pants on Fire" rating for this claim.

But when the WMC bought and paid for Supreme Court ruled that the state legislation doesn't have to follow the laws of the state, they were proven incorrect - again.  Or to cite Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson on this suspicious decision (emphasis mine):
Justice Shirley Abrahamson accused the majority of reaching a hasty decision that’s light on legal analysis, opening them up to the unnecessary charge that they “reached a pre-determined conclusion not based on the facts and the law, which undermines the majority's ultimate decision.”
Of course, we already knew that they were incorrect because Prosser himself told us during the campaign that he would be the "perfect compliment" to Scott Walker's maladministration.

With PolitiFail, er, PolitiFact distorting the truth so much that they could have direct bearings on elections and ergo our freedom, is it any wonder that the Wisconsin Democratic Party won't even waste the breath to talk to them anymore?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Because Guns Create Jobs, Right?

Do you remember Scott Walker and his Republican allies in the legislature saying their number one focus was to create jobs? Neither do they.

Instead, they are passing their extremist social engineering agenda which, today, included concealed carry legislation. Obviously, this creates no jobs unless you count the vacancies left by the victims of this careless and socially irresponsible law.

Steve Jagler at did a real reporter's work and reached out to numerous business leaders in the Milwaukee area to get their take on the concealed carry legislation.  Unsurprisingly, the far greater majority of the job creators thought it was a bad idea. Jagler lists several of the responses in his column, but my personal favorite it this one:
H. Carl Mueller, president of Mueller Communications Inc., Milwaukee, said his company will not permit concealed weapons on the premises. “We already carry concealed weapons. We believe the pen is mightier than the sword, and we all carry pens. As for firearms, I asked the staff,and no one is interested in carrying concealed firearms. We will consider putting a sign on our door telling anyone who wishes to enter that we do not permit and firearms to be brought into our offices – concealed or otherwise. We also hope we won’t need such a sign.”
Sadly, the pro-gun doofuses of the blogging world, like Owen and Daddio, will never be able to figure out this simple concepts.

Sean Duffy Can't Make It In The Real World - Wisconsin

Sean "Pretty Boy" Duffy's main claim to fame is still his appearance in the reality TV show "The Real World."  It is becoming rather apparent though, that despite his reality TV show background, it did not come anywhere near to helping him deal in the real world in Wisconsin.

The first inkling came last week when Laura Hauser-Menting, Co-Chair of the Portage County Democrats issued this press release remarking on how Duffy was avoiding her county like the plague:
With media reports indicating that redistricting plans are well under way, Republican Congressman Sean Duffy appears to be hinting at Portage County's fate. According to his own website, he has held no town hall meetings in Portage County - the 7th District's third most populous county -- while making two stops each in next door Wood and Marathon Counties (,

"I'm disappointed in Congressman Duffy," said Laura Hauser-Menting, Co-Chair of the Portage County Democrats. "After his promises to be accessible, I expected to see Duffy in Portage County quite often. There's been a lot of speculation here the past few months that Duffy would play backroom politics to chop our Democratic-leaning County out of his district, but I continue to hope I'm wrong and urge Congressman Duffy to keep central Wisconsin together where it belongs -- in the 7th District."

Portage County Democrats have long been proud to be in the 7th District and the County itself is a part of the Wausau television market that is based in next door Marathon County. In fact, Portage County, as well as Marathon and Wood Counties, have been part of the same district for 100 years. They have been together as part of the 7th District since the 1930-31 redistricting, but also for 20 years prior (going back to 1910-11), together in what was then known as the 8th District.

During the century since, the District has sent members of both parties to Congress including former Secretary of Defense Mel Laird (R) and Dave Obey (D). Last fall, Portage County supported the Democratic candidate over Duffy by a margin of 14,582 to 12,355 votes.
Now, with Republicans in solid control of the State Capitol, many local Democrats have worried that Duffy and Republican legislators might try to gerrymander the 7th District to protect Duffy by taking Democratic-leaning Portage County out of its traditional home.

"We get much of our news from Wausau TV stations, so being separated from the rest of central Wisconsin will have a lasting detrimental impact on our community. In that respect, my hope is simply that our County will remain where it has always been," concluded Hauser-Menting.
Unfortunately, it appears that her premonitions are correct.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that WISGOP has indeed gone ahead and done a redistricting plan with no feedback whatsoever from the Democrats or the local counties, cities and towns that will be affected. And the sole purpose of doing this chicanery and dishonest method of redistricting is to pull Duffy's bacon out of the fire:
Republicans are taking aggressive steps to protect House freshman Sean Duffy under a draft redistricting plan that hasn’t been released to the public but is circulating among Wisconsin members of Congress.

The plan goes to significant lengths to make Duffy’s marginally Democratic seat more Republican, according to a map provided by a Democratic source and whose main features were confirmed by sources in both parties. (You can find the map here).

Arguably his party’s most vulnerable House incumbent, Duffy represents the Seventh congressional district in northern Wisconsin, previously held by Democrat Dave Obey.

The plan would carve out a Democratic chunk of central Wisconsin (including the cities of Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids) and shift it from Duffy’s seat to Democrat Ron Kind’s western Wisconsin district.

The result: Duffy would “lose” one of the most Democratic counties in the state, Portage, while gaining the fastest-growing Republican county in the state, St. Croix.

Members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation discussed the map behind closed doors Monday evening. GOP House member Paul Ryan took the lead among his colleagues in crafting it, according to sources.
Duffy only won his election due to the strong anti-Democratic rage that occurred in 2010, which is appearing more and more like a fluke than a movement, and not because he was so wildly popular. To make things worse for himself, Duffy didn't make himself any friends when he told his constituents that he was struggling on his six figure income.

Because of Duffy's weakness as a re-electable politician, Paul Ryan apparently felt the need to be as corrupt as the other Republicans in the state.

From Walker and his pay for play way of ruling, the continuously law breaking Republican legislators and the corrupt and bought Supreme Court.and now even the Republican federal representatives being corrupt, we are going to have a lot of work to do to clean up this state from the stain they are leaving on it.

And as for their dishonest and unethical way of dealing with the redistricting business, don't expect that to fly too well.  In Milwaukee County alone there is quite the uproar when the County Board tried to do the redistricting without consulting with the local leaders. Imagine the outrage that could occur from 72 counties not being consulted and the Republicans trying to ram this through.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sanfelippo Likes To Spend Your Dough

Milwaukee County Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo apparently feels that now that Scott Walker is making an ass out of himself and trying to ruin the state, it's his job to act the fool and continue to try to ruin the county.

Sanfelippo, all by himself, as managed to throw away at least another $160,000 for nothing more than ideological demogaguery.  

Sanfelippo needs to dip into his piggy bank and pay the county back for the money he just squandered with his folly.

The man needs to go before he causes any more damage.

WISGOP Attack On WiscNet The "Height Of Irony"

In a kiss up to the telecom lobby and all of their big money, the state Republicans have made the most illogical and irrational decision to all but destroy WiscNet, the UW operated network which supplies internet service to 75% of the state's public schools and 95% of the public libraries.

Once the Republicans are through trashing the system, these systems will have to likely pay two to three times what they are currently paying for it.

In another flash of brilliance, this stunt by the GOP will force the state to return $39 million in federal funds.  I'm not an expert in that particular field, but I would imagine that $39 million could have been put to use to create quite a few jobs.

This favor for the telecom lobby is so far out there that even tech journals are picking up on the story and shredding the GOP payback to shreds. While the whole article is fact filled and can cause severe rage at their folly, the most notable section is this part at the end:
"It would be the height of irony if sections 23-26 of the University Omnibus legislation were passed, as those provisions would prohibit the University from being directly involved in proving out further developments of innovations in the Internet that it helped create," he wrote. "This would deny the University the ability to participate in the innovation cycle that created the market for commercial providers (including those who support the 11th hour insertion of sections 23-26) to provide their services in the first place."

As for WiscNet's Lois, he seemed cautiously optimistic, at least on Saturday. "The legislators have heard the WiscNet community. They've said 'you can't do this to us'," he explained. "We're trying to come up with a reasonable compromise."

UW's Lewis thinks that most of those section paragraphs could disappear, save language forcing a return of the grants. This would force the layoff of personnel already involved in rolling out broadband to those four areas.

"This thing is entirely inappropriate," Lewis declared. "If our slogan is 'Wisconsin is open for business,' we're going in the wrong direction."

Recall Darling Movement Gaining Speed

Coming off the amazing feat of collecting 30,000 signatures to recall Senator Alberta Darling (R-the nearest 19th hole), the recall movement continues to steamroll, gaining more and more momentum.

In accordance with their growing momentum, the group has since revamped their website into a new, crisper version.

They have also started their own diary on Daily Kos.

They also have some other tricks up their collective sleeve.  Be sure to be part of the action and donate your time and if you have a few bucks to spare, please donate them to help the cause.

A state senator's seat is a terrible thing to waste, and that is exactly what it is happening every minute that Darling occupies it.

Will There Be A Fake Republican Candidate After All?

The talk of the state for the last several days is how the Republicans, in an act of final desperation, have decided to put in fake Democratic candidates in the recall elections.  The powers of WISGOP obviously have no confidence in their own current seat holders' ability to retain those seats and now are doing anything, no matter how unethical or unpopular, they can think of to delay and possibly defer the inevitable.

The group We Are Wisconsin made some sort of, well, frankly, idiotic statement saying that the Democratic Party should follow suit and do the same sort of unethical behavior. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the Democrats have stated that they will not be stooping to the level of the Republicans.

However, from what I have learned in the past few days, it appears that there might be a fake Republican candidate after all.  The truly ironic part of this is that it appears the Republicans themselves are going to be the ones putting up this sham Republican.

It's no secret that Tim Sullivan, CEO of Bucyrus International, has been floating the idea of running for a political office. The one most often associated with his name is to fill US Senator Herb Kohl's seat after he retires.  However, Sullivan has been very coy about whether he would run as a Democrat or as a Republican.

I have heard that Sullivan is being shopped around with the Republicans in an effort to shore up support for his proposed run for office.  Likewise, I have heard that in an effort to give him Republican cred, Sullivan has been pushing for the mining bill that WMC wants, even though the bill doesn't exist yet.

In support of this information, Scott Walker recently has been tweeting up his praises and the "super job" Sullivan has done with Bucyrus:

To further add to this is the fact that Walker has named Sullivan to be the Council Chair to his Wisconsin Council on Workforce Investment.  Sullivan's grand idea so far for this council is to have job training funds be tied into having the companies force local communities to adhere to their idea of education curricula, so that it is better suited to the businesses' needs.

All of this makes Sullivan sound like a Republican's Republican, doesn't it?

But not so fast there, kids.

It appears that Walker is trying to hustle the members of his own party as he tries to push Sullivan on them.

After all, it was Sullivan who sang the praises of former US Senator Russ Feingold for his help in clearing the red tape obstacles for Bucyrus to get a huge contract settled, in defiance to Reince Priebus.

It was also Sullivan who advocated for the much maligned KRM plan as well as the transit authority for Southeastern Wisconsin, both of which have proven to be anathema to Republicans.

And it was Sullivan that not only pushed for an increase in the sales tax for the transit system, but even hosted a press conference, which included then Governor Jim Doyle, to push for the higher taxes.

It, of course, has yet to be seen if the Republicans will accept Sullivan the business magnate, member of the MMAC and shill for WMC or if they will shy away from Sullivan the pro-rail, pro-mass transit, and tax hike advocate.

Whether they warm up to Sullivan or not will be interesting to watch to say the least.  But even more intriguing will be to see how the Republicans react to Walker when and if they figure out that he pulled the fake Republican candidate stunt on them.