Saturday, December 31, 2011

And The Predictable Result Of CCW Happens

You just knew something like this was going to happen when Scott Walker and the Republicans rammed through the unwanted concealed carry law:
After a Kia Rio cut off a semitrailer truck Tuesday traveling north on Interstate 94 near College Ave., the truck driver flashed his brights at the Kia, whose driver then pointed a handgun back at the truck. The truck driver and his passenger then called 911 to report the incident, and gave the Kia's plate number.

Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies pulled Manning over near I-43 and Brown Deer Road and found two loaded handguns in the car, a .45 and a 9mm. When told he was under arrest, Manning told a deputy he was acting in self-defense because the other driver was using the truck as a weapon.

The complaint states that Manning had a concealed carry permits from Indiana and Arizona, either of which makes it legal for him to carry weapons in Wisconsin.

While being booked at the jail, Manning -- who was still wearing a holster -- told other inmates that he was being tailgated by a semi, and that if the trucker hadn't backed off, "I would have put four rounds right in the engine block."
This has nothing to do with self-protection. It's all about intimidation and bullying, the only things left in the Republican repertoire.

I'm just waiting for Owen Robinson to tell us that this is "awesome".

Raiders Of The Lost Archives

This is 13 minutes long, but absolutely riveting:

From the source:
Montrealer Stoo of StooTV spent the past two years meticulously splicing scenes from 30 different classic fims spanning over half a century to recreate the intro to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and then put together this shot-by-shot comparison.

Because, really — what else is there to do in Canada?

Walker's Monona Grove Lie Exposed!

About a month ago, Scott Walker's campaign ran his third commercial to try to defend his destruction of the state's education system. This time it involved another teacher, named Jeff Knutson, from Monona Grove:

Did I hear him correctly? Teachers not laid off? Class sizes not growing? How much did this guy drink before he made the commercial?

We already know that 3,400 education staff members were laid off and that, yes, class sizes did go up. Just like we know that programs got cut despite Walker's claims to the contrary.

But the real kicker is things aren't so rosy in Knutson's own district is in a world of hurt. And this isn't me saying, but Knutson's own boss, Craig Gerlach, the superintendent for Monona Grove saying so very clearly:

And it's not just Gerlach saying it, but superintendents from all over the state.

Plain and simple, Walker and his budget are disasters for this state. Is it any wonder that people from all walks of life and from all along the political spectrum have been eagerly circulating and signing his recall petition?

H/T Jud Lounsbury

The Truth About Paul Ryan

Now that you've seen the truth, go to Rob Zerban's website and see how you can help. We've had more than enough of Ryan's nonsense and it's time to swing the country around where the people run the country, not the corporate puppets.

The Tea Party Explained

'Nuff said.

Meet Ciara Matthews, Walker's New Campaign Spokeswoman

Preparing for his inevitable recall, Scott Walker has started hiring his new campaign staff. At least in one area, it is an apparent downgrade.

In his gubernatorial run, Walker had hired a woman named Jill Bader, who's claim to fame was sending out racist tweets, and otherwise embarrassing the campaign. (I wouldn't be surprised in the least if her name resurfaces when Walkergate cracks open.)

Walker's new spokesman is Ciara Matthews. Her claim to fame, thus far, is being the spokeswoman for Sharron Angle, the Nevadan Tea Party candidate that managed to blow a huge lead over Harry Reid, one of the top three most hated Democrats in the nation, following only President Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

Some of the highlights from the Angle meltdown includes when Angle told a group of Latino students that some of them look Asian and called herself the "first Asian legislator" in Nevada. Another highlight is when Matthews was forced to admit that both Angle, who is strongly anti-government, and Angle's husband were benefiting from government-run health care programs. And one of my favorites, after some news crews dared to ask Angle some questions which she handled quite poorly, Matthews banned the news agencies from events for the campaign.

On her own, Matthews can also be rather "entertaining."

Check out this video in which she appeared against the spokesman for Harry Reid's campaign"

She doesn't comport herself well at all, does she? Judging from her Twitter account, she still hasn't learned any social skills, which could make the upcoming election fun to say the least.

In summary, Matthews has been caught out telling lies, standing up with racist and hypocritical candidates, and hates people who challenges her version of reality. Sounds like the perfect fit for Walker, doesn't it?

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part LIII

Scott Walker says the state is flat broke and doesn't have the money to pay it's employees.

Walker said that his budget, which took hundreds of millions of dollars out of the economy and concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy campaign donors, would miraculously create jobs, lots of them.

The reality is because of his stagnating the economy, our job market is much, much worse than the rest of the nations and the state's economic activity is dead last in the entire nation.

But the real kicker is that if it wasn't for Walker's failure, we'd have had a massive inflow of money which would have made things a great deal better here:
The Wisconsin Budget Project today released a report showing that since Republicans have taken control of state government, Wisconsin has lost out on $1.3 billion in federal funds.

"It's troubling to see how much federal money was left on the table at a time when Wisconsin needs every dollar it can get," says Jon Peacock, research director for the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, which initiated the budget project. "State officials maintain that they didn't have the necessary funds to draw down the federal money, but that doesn't make much sense when you consider that the Legislature found some $200 million in tax breaks to hand out to corporations."

The biggest chunk of federal money turned down by the state was the more than $800 million grant for a high-speed rail system connecting Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago and the Twin Cities, which Gov. Scott Walker turned down even before he took office.
There is no defending this kind of malfeasance. Walker and his ilk have to go before he bankrupts us all.

The Wreck That Is Scott Fitzgerald

Lori Compas is the woman who is heading up the recall effort against State Senator Scott Fitzgerald. Look at this video in which she confronts Fitzgerald:

There are three main things to take away from this.

One, just like his hero Scott Walker, Fitzgerald is whining that tax dollars aren't being used to do his political campaign work.

Two, he refuses to retract the lies that he is sending out in his campaign literature about the recall volunteers.

Three, he refuses to condemn the harassment that Ms. Compas and her volunteers are receiving from his thuggish supporters.

What a craven little turd this miscreant is, that he is perfectly fine with his people harassing and trying to intimidate a woman.

He is simply not even worthy of being called a man, much less holding any sort of office or authority.

H/T Jeff Simpson

Walker Adds Insult To Injury For State Correction Officers

When Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, part of his areas of jurisdiction within the county was the House of Correction.  However, his myopic adherence to a destructive ideology prevented him from doing a very good job of it.

Due to Walker's inability to budget his way out of brown paper bag, the House of Correction suffered from many problems.  Most of these problems stemmed from the fact that Walker refused to adequately staff the facility.  This chronic understaffing led to many problems including a large number of escapes, higher worker turnover rates, an increase in injuries to correction officers and inmates alike, and despite Walker's insistence that he was saving money, excessively high overtime expenses.  Needless to say, morale was at an all time low:
So now you have officers that are working 12 to 16 hours a day, six to seven days a week, week in and week out. Officers are getting so burnt out that they are purposely disrespecting superior officers, or violating other policies, just so they can get suspended and have a day off. (This also adds to the shortage of officers, and causes even more forced overtime for the others.) 
When you have people working these many hours, without a day off or even enough time to do more than catch five hours a sleep before going back to work on a daily basis, mistakes are going to happen. People aren't as alert or as careful as they should be, especially in a prison setting. 
The chronic fatigue, the inability for officers to see their families, and the increasing risk of injury has caused an all time low in morale. This is exasperated when they have people threatening their job security with talk of privatization.
Things got so bad that the facility got very low marks from a federal audit looking at all of the problems Walker had created.  Things were so far gone that the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisor felt compelled to take the HOC away from Walker and put it under the oversight of the Sheriff's Office.

Fast forward five years and it quickly becomes apparent that Walker has learned absolutely nothing from his previous mistakes.  In less than a year, he is making a shambles of the state's correctional system.

Due to his punitive Act 10, Walker has inspired a higher number of retirements than has been seen by the state before.  And because of the poor way he treats public employees, they are having a very difficult time filling the empty positions.  And even when they do find someone to try the job, they do not have the experience of the officers they're replacing.

On top of that, Walker's push to repeal the early release program has only made things worse.  Recently, four officers at the Dodge Correctional Institute were injured.  The inmates no longer have a reason to be on good behavior and are taking out their frustration on anger on the only people available to them, the correction officers:
“With changes in sentence structure due to Truth in Sentencing laws and the recent repeal of Act 28 (a provision that allows for the early release of some inmates), many inmates feel they have no options,” said Phil Briski, union president at DCI. “The inmate that left one of our officers with serious injuries said he had no hope of getting out of prison and was going to assault a staff member no matter where he was (incarcerated). They’re stuck in here for longer periods of time, and we’re the ones who are going to pay for it.” 
Briski thinks the low incidence of uprisings in Wisconsin correctional institutions over the years has been due to a highly trained, experienced staff. 
“With the contempt that’s been shown to us, people don’t care as much. They figure there’s no benefit to being above average,” Briski said. “Things are going to slip, and there’s going to be mistakes made due to the turnover in staff, overcrowding of prisons and the legislature’s failure to deal with the issues.”
I wonder what how a federal auditor would rate DCI now, even with less than a year of Walker's misguided policies.

But just when it appeared that morale among the correction officers couldn't get any worse, Walker adds insult to the injuries they've already suffered.

Through his Secretary of Corrections, Gary H. Hamblin, Walker has released a new set of rules over the work place.  All of them are aimed at further breaking the unions and, apparently, the spirits of the correction officers.

Some of the new rules were to be expected, such as limiting the ability of the unions to defend it's members against frivolous complaints or ensuring work place safety is being enforced.

But others are nothing more than the punitive actions of an insecure bully.  One of the more ridiculous changes is the removal of the union bulletin boards:
All union material on bulletin boards should be removed and returned to union representatives.Keys to the bulletin boards should be returned to management (Regional Chief, Superintendent,Warden, etc.), however, I am requiring each DOC work site to have at least one Employee Services Board. The current union bulletin boards may be repurposed as Employee Services Boards (if one does not exist) or used as general use boards.
o Material posted on the bulletin boards will be reviewed by management, but most information will be permitted, including notices of union meetings outside of DOC work spaces. Material deemed inappropriate will be removed. Individual work sites may determine their review or approval process for posting material
Despite this statement, correction officers are having to take down ALL union related materials. Per an email I received from a correction officer, these threatening things include plaques and certificates from the community, groups such as the Boys and Girls Club, thanking the union local for their support.  Another thing that Walker's administration is frightened of is a sign saying "Correctional Staff Support Workers Rights."

I have news for Walker and Secretary Hamblin - if you're scared of such innocuous items, you've already lost the battle and are now only fomenting the resistance of more and more people.

Another peculiar rule they decided to enforce is the abolishing of "paid professional days or training days."  It is curious how they expect the correction officers to maintain required standards of ongoing training and certification if they do not allow time for such trainings to take place.

Earlier in this piece, I said that it appeared that Walker learned nothing from his mistakes as county executive.  I may have to retract that statement.  Given these course of events, plus the impending doom when the current budget implodes, Walker apparently did learn something from his previous mistakes.

He has shown a marked improvement in efficiency, as evidenced by the fact that he is making even bigger mistakes at an even faster pace than he did as county executive.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pewter Gryphon Receives Well-Earned Accolades

A quilt that honors all of
Diane's interests and
Two weeks ago, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin put out a video celebrating the grassroots groundswell which has become the move to recall Scott Walker.  At the time of the showing, I noted that one of #wiunion's own heroes, Diane Echelberger, aka The Pewter Gryphon, had a cameo appearance in the video.  I went on to explain what a special woman Diane is and how she has given and continues to give Wisconsin her all.  Only thing is, I unintentionally gave her short shrift in exactly how amazing she is.

Graeme Zielinski, Communications Director for DPW, saw what I had written about Diane and felt that she deserved some sort of recognition.  Or as he later quoted to me:

"I'm a man of faith. And, with apologies to my non-religious friends, I believe that the Holy Spirit is alive among us. Clearly, she has been given breath by the Holy Spirit to do what she did over her remarkable life. This is a humble woman whose example we should exalt and which should humble those that exalt themselves."

And exalt her they did.

Steve and Ryan at DPW worked with Senator Jon Erpenbach and two of Diane's closest friends, Mariah Clark and Sarah Zepnick, in order to quickly arrange an opportunity to give Diane the credit she is due.

From left: Senator Jon Erpenbach, Sarah Zepnick,
Diane (Pewter Gryphon) and Mariah Clark.
On Thursday, Senator Erpenbach spent the better part of an hour with Diane, Mariah and Sarah.  During the visit, he presented her with a plaque of recognition from the Committee to Recall Scott Walker.  Even more impressive, at least to me, was an official Citation by the Senate* recognizing Diane for her "more than 30 years fighting for and upholding the values, interests and traditions of the State of Wisconsin and its residents."**

All of the people I've spoken with expressed how moved they were by the event and how wonderful Diane is.

I'll let Steve Potter tell you the story of how wonderful and truly remarkable Diane is.

I want to take this time to publicly thank Graeme, Steve, and Ryan for their hard work in organizing this so quickly and making it a beautiful event.

I also want to thank Mariah and Sarah for all the support and friendship they have given to Diane, as well as to me.

I also commend Senator Erpenbach for taking the time during the hectic holiday season to present this honor to Diane and doing it with such poise and dignity and compassion.

But most of all, I'd like to congratulate and thank Diane for all she has done for this state.  She truly is an inspiration for us all.

*Diane's Citation:
Diane's Citation

**It may be inappropriate, but I can't help but snicker at something that Mariah pointed out to me.  Diane's citation was signed by Republican Senator Mike Ellis, President of the Senate.  I wonder how Scott Walker feels about him endorsing a Citation honoring one of the most active volunteers in the recall efforts.

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part LII

Scott Walker's trashing of the economy continues to have its consequences for the working families of Wisconsin.  Thirty more people are losing their jobs:
Whitefield Industrial Coatings, a company that specializes in the sandblasting and painting of industrial metal parts, will close its Oshkosh plant early next year, it was announced late Thursday afternoon. 
Officials at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development in Madison said 30 employees will be affected by Whitefield’s plans to close the plant at 2800 N. Main St. in February. Company officials were not immediately available for comment.
How much more of this can we take? Walker needs to go and the sooner he's gone, the sooner the healing can begin.

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part LI

In an ongoing, seemingly endless, saga of the senseless and avoidable loss of jobs in Walker's Wisconsin comes yet another report of even more jobs lost:
Sheboygan Falls-based Richardson Industries Inc. has notified the state Department of Workforce Development that it will shutter its truss manufacturing plant in De Pere and lay off 18 employees there.
The company, which operates retail furniture, building products and yacht interiors divisions, will begin laying off employees Feb. 17, according to its notification to the state earlier this month.

The article goes on to say that the company would make wood products used in construction, like tresses.  Sadly, due to Walker's budget and policy decisions, the state's economy is tanking fast and people don't have the money to buy or build new houses, which hurt companies like this.

And before some Walker apologist says that it's "only 18 jobs," which is relatively small, except for the people who are losing their jobs and their families who relied on them to keep them housed and fed.

State Reps Ask Feds To Delay Possible Train Wreck

Last week, I reported about Scott Walker flaunting his corruption by having a model of a Wisconsin and Southern Railroad train going around the holiday tree in the State Capitol.  W&S is operated by William E. Gardner, the first person to be charged and convicted in the ongoing John Doe investigation into Walker and his campaign, commonly known as Walkergate.

As I reported then, W&S was being sold to a company called Watco Transportation Services, who actually brag about how their biggest customer is Koch Industries.

Because of the questions regarding the railroad and it's corrupt president and his ties to Walker, five state representatives - Brett Hulsey, Fred Clark, Louis Molepske, Kelda Helen Roys and Terese Berceau - have written a letter to the federal government's Surface Transportation Board to delay the sale of the railroad for sixty days while certain questions regarding the sale is investigated:
This 60 day delay would give legislators and the public time to explore these questions:
1. Would Wisconsin farmers, manufacturers, and rail shippers be hurt by a change in a rail carrier as they were with the sale of the Wisconsin Central line?
2. Is the buyer willing and able to work with state and local officials to improve
freight and restore passenger train service to many parts of Wisconsin?
3. Could the State of Wisconsin get a better deal on the more than $60 million
taxpayers have invested in train tracks with a more open bidding process like an
RFI for sale?
4. Is this sale a political payback for illegal campaign contributions made to the
Governor by WSOR officials?
As Hulsey points out, the state has invested $60 million into the rail system that W&S enjoys. They need to be responsible advocates for the tax payers by making quite certain that their investment is protected.

The question which should be most closely examined is the fourth one.

Given the things that we have learned about the way Walker and the Koch Brothers operate, it would be all too conceivable that the purchase of the railroad would include a large reward for Gardner.  You know, for taking one for the team, so to speak.

Likewise, the sale could very well be a way for the Koch Brothers and Walker to remove a potential problem.  While it's true that Gardner already admitted to the crime and was sentenced, what's to say that he doesn't know more than what he's already said?  Given the amount of people from that company that have been given immunity in the Walkergate investigation, it's not hard to imagine that Gardner might know more than he's said so far.

For these reasons as well as the other ones listed in the Representatives' letter, the feds should grant the delay for at least 60 days and conduct a full investigation.  It's a shame innocent people could be adversely impacted by the delay, but due to the level of corruption in this administration, it really is the only way to keep the tax payers safe.

And my commendations to the Representatives for standing up for the people of Wisconsin, as they have been doing all along.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Whose House? Our House!" by Tom Kastle

The following is a video featuring the music of my good friend, Tom Kastle, a seafaring troubadour:

I understand that Tom has also written a couple other songs stemming from the protests and other events of Fitzwalkerstan, including one about the corporate media.

I certainly hope he puts them to video soon, so I can post those too!

Wisconsin's 2011 Top Ten

State Senator Julie Lassa sent out a fundraising email blast today.  It stood out to me due to the fact that she included her Top Ten high low lights of the past year in Fitzwalkerstan. Here they are:
2011 is quickly drawing to a close and what a year it has been here in Wisconsin. For many of us it is hard to recognize the state that we love since Republicans took control of the legislature and the governor's mansion in January.

In looking back at the past year, I thought I would put together a list of Top 10 Highlights, or in this case, a Top Ten list of Lowlights for 2011.

10. Gov. Scott Walker tells fake "David Koch" caller that he thought about placing troublemakers into peaceful crowd of men, women and children protesting his so called "budget repair" bill.

9. A top republican staffer admits in federal court sworn deposition that GOP used ten years of election data to redraw legislative and congressional district lines but it was not meant to favor GOP in elections.

8. While saying that Wisconsin is broke, Republicans manage to scratch together $2.3 billion for tax giveaways to big corporations.

7. Still asserting their "no tax increase" pledge Republicans raise taxes on middle class families and seniors by nearly $70 million. (Shhh don't tell Grover Norquist or maybe his pledge only matters if it involves the top 1%).

6. Republicans honor Veterans by giving $2 million for storage space at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum while cutting $2 million from low income and homeless veterans assistance programs.

5. Republican leaders decide that the state's Open Meetings Law doesn't apply to a hastily called dark of night meeting where they vote to end workers' rights. Shockingly Justice Prosser and a GOP dominated Wisconsin Supreme Court decide that lawmakers don't have to follow the law.

4. Governor Walker and majority of Republicans gleefully end 50 years of workers' rights while chanting the state is broke. Please see #8.

3. Republicans claimed to have made education a priority. They cut nearly $2 billion from K-12 public schools and higher education while at the same time giving $40 million more to private voucher schools. Apparently they only made private education a priority.

2. Governor Walker decides to eliminate health insurance coverage for 50,000 to 65,000 men, women and children.

1. While Gov. Walker and the GOP focus like a laser on jobs, Wisconsin has the dubious honor in leading the nation in lost jobs in November, making it the fifth straight month of job losses.

Unfortunately with so many lowlights in the State of Wisconsin this year, it was hard to decide which ones should make the Top 10 list. This is especially true when it comes to the state's strict new Voter ID law, new laws to favor powerful special interests over consumers in court and allowing a mining company to write a mining deregulation bill.
They are good points, although I don't know that I would have put them in quite that same order. For example, I think the Koch phone call really shows Walker lack of ethics and thus should be much higher up the list.

Wisconsin's Favorite Game: Do You Know Where Your Governor Is?

Thursday is the day that the court case of Scott Walker vs GAB is being heard in Waukesha County (and you wondered why Walker had that law changed!). But Scott Walker won't be there.

The state's economy is dead last in the nation and the state is losing more jobs than any other. But on Thursday, Walker won't be in Madison working on finding ways to really fix the problems which he created.

Facing sure recall stemming from an amazing upswell of grassroots groups who are refusing to allow him to continue to ruin their state, Walker won't be taking time to talk to the people of Wisconsin.

Nope, he won't be at any of these places

So where will Dearest Leader be?

Well, in the morning, he will be getting smarmy with Morning Joe.

Then he will be jetting off to sunny California:
Controversial Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be the guest of honor at a Thursday fundraiser in Newport Beach hosted by county Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh and the GOP’s 400 Club. The event is free and open to members of the club, which costs $100 to join.
Poor guy apparently can't find any support in Wisconsin, so he is forced to seek the comfort of large, gratuitous donations from the arms of people on the other side of the country.

Either that or he just never gave a fig about the people of Wisconsin, which we already knew, didn't we?

Who do you know wants to sign a recall petition?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This Machine Kills Fascists

I am very much honored and very much humbled right now.

For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter, might not be aware that I've been having serious computer problems for the past several weeks.  My computer is one that I had gotten from my dad some five or so years ago, and he had it for at least four years before that.  When he bought it, it was state of the art at that time.

But after all these years, the machine was getting old and not working as well.  It was pretty slow and unreliable.  But by far, the worst part was that it wasn't the electrical aspect, but the actual physical components  which were failing.  Most notably, the power button was stuck, effectively keeping me from turning the thing off for fear it wouldn't start again.

This put me in a real dilemma.  Because of a number of factors, including losing nearly $5,000 due to Scott Walker's illegal furloughs, the legal costs of defending myself against the slanderous actions of Walker's henchman, and now Act 10, I was simply strapped for cash and could not afford to get a new computer.

I was distraught because I was afraid that my computer would eventually just give out and then my voice would be effectively silenced, at least until spring when and if I got a big enough tax refund to buy a new one.  My despair deepened when I learned that a couple of prominent lefty bloggers were hanging up their keyboards.

Then my friends of #wiunion stepped in to help.

People started to donate money to help me buy a new computer.  And not just other bloggers or public employees either.  These were people from all walks of life, from not only all corners of the state, but even from around the country, donated to the cause.  Those that were in similar straits as I found myself, did what they could by spreading the word, encouraging and asking for others to help me help #wiunion in the battle to take back our state.

Last week, I hit the amount I thought that would get me a decent machine.  That was fortunate timing, since the one I was looking at also went on sale.

I picked it up last night and spent most of the night and most of today getting it set up.

I am most grateful to the kind souls who helped me, whether it was sparing what few dollars they had, or spreading the word of my plight, or offering me a few kind words of support and encouragement.

I am also most mindful that this isn't my computer.  Nor shall it every be.  It took a lot of people to help make this happen.  This is their computer as much as mine.  The machine that I'm typing away again, in much greater splendor that I thought I'd ever know, is the People's Computer.  It is of the people, by the people, for the people.

And with that in mind, it is now my task to use it to the best of my ability in the People's efforts to take this state and this country back from those who intend it harm through their callousness and their greed.

Each person that helped said the same thing.   They told me that they appreciated my work and the information that I help get out.  They said that they wanted me to continue to help with the fight and thus did not want my voice silenced.

They gave me this great gift with a purposeful intent, and so they gave me something very important to do that very thing.

They gave me this machine.

And this machine kills fascists.

Let's do this!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Walker Expresses Remorse About Koch Call - But For What?

Over the weekend, the Appleton Post-Crescent ran an article stemming from an interview with Scott Walker. In said article, Walker reportedly expressed remorse about the infamous phone call he had from whom he thought was David Koch:
Asked about the now-infamous Feb. 22 call with a prankster pretending to be billionaire David Koch, Walker was also uncharacteristically remorseful, agreeing with a friend who has said that Walker "felt badly that he did something so stupid."

"Accurate summary," Walker said. "It was stupid."
This would lead one to believe he was sorry he made the comments that he made, or how he, while in a government building on a government phone during work hours had solicited "Koch" for help in the recall elections, admitted he considered using plants in the protests to give the protesters a bad name or any of the other unethical things he said that day.

But no, that's not what he is sorry for:
The call, Walker said, "diverted attention from a debate that needed to be focused on the facts and instead got off into this hysteria and everything."

In the call, Walker boasted about his national media appearances, referred to his plan regarding collective bargaining as dropping a bomb, and admitted he had thought about but rejected the idea of planting troublemakers in the protest crowds.

Walker said his comments during this call "were not inconsistent with anything else I said" in other contexts. But "just the fact that I was duped … that I would go off and talk about stuff like that, yeah, it was stupid."
All those unethical and illegal things, he's OK with that.

He's only sorry it wasn't the real David Koch and that he got caught showing his corruption in such a blatant and egregious manner.

The man is utterly asocial and amoral. He has no conscience to speak of if his only regret is getting found out.

It is no wonder that the recall petitioners have already collected over 600,000 signatures with three weeks to go. It is also no wonder that there is an extensive John Doe investigation going on into the way he runs his campaign or his administration.

The only wonder is which one will catch up to him first.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Germans Know Something Walker Does Not

That something is that the unions are not the enemy:
There are “two overlapping sets of institutions” in Germany that guarantee high wages and good working conditions for autoworkers. The first is IG Metall, the country’s equivalent of the United Automobile Workers. Virtually all Germany’s car workers are members, and though they have the right to strike, they “hardly use it, because there is an elaborate system of conflict resolution that regularly is used to come to some sort of compromise that is acceptable to all parties,” according to Horst Mund, an IG Metall executive. The second institution is the German constitution, which allows for “works councils” in every factory, where management and employees work together on matters like shop floor conditions and work life. Mund says this guarantees cooperation, “where you don’t always wear your management pin or your union pin.”
But then again, Walker isn't interested in what's best for the state, just what's the most profitable for his campaign donors.

Walker Sneaks in Holiday Visit to National Sociopath

Scott Walker must not have been proud of it, but he did it any how.

According to the Sheboygan Press and others, Walker snuck into a party hosted by Grover Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform. The name, as in the case of most conservative groups, is a misnomer as the recent payroll tax debacle proved.

Apparently this is something Scooter has to do, because he has the bulk of the population breathing down his neck through the recall process, and he needs to raise money -- lot's of it -- to run disingenuous commercials. These include the latest in which he and his family are serving at a soup kitchen (with the recipients of his charity hidden out of the camera shot), and his wife telling us later in the spirit of the holiday season to forget all the chicanery and just move on.

But yet he must not be comfortable about it and Walker failed to tell any of us that he was doing his duty by making this stop to pay homage to the person who has done more damage to this country and certainly the middle class than the Germans or Japanese threatened to do in World War II.

Walker, who likes to pride himself as being the soul of virtue doesn't feel that his comings and goings should be brought to our collective attention, especially when it comes to seeing someone as reviled as Grover Norquist. Yet, according to the Sheboygan Press article, the detested (among right wingers) Jim Doyle was very transparent about his trips.

Walker, on the other hand, seems to feel that our employers -- us -- don't deserve the right to find out. Maybe Scott never learned this in the private sector since he hasn't spent meaningful time in it, but leave work without letting your boss know is usually grounds for a write-up. Leave work to spend time with someone who threatens the well-being of the organization and that's grounds for dismissal.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Joyeux Noel, tout le monde!

I'm going to be away from the keyboards for a couple, three days to celebrate the holiday at the castle.  I wish everyone a very merry and a safe holiday weekend!

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part L

Does Scott Walker really think he is kidding anyone with his ads trying to say his ideological attack on Wisconsin is a good thing? Two hundred people in Two Rivers are the latest to feel the real impact of Walker's budget:
Thermo Fisher Scientific announced Wednesday it will close its downtown Two Rivers wood plant, resulting in the loss of about 190 jobs.

"For the last several years, the future of the company here in Two Rivers has been like a dark cloud hanging low," City Manager Greg Buckley said. "And (Wednesday) the bad news came. I don't think it surprised anybody."

In October, Thermo Fisher announced plans to close its Two Rivers steel cabinetry manufacturing plant on Columbus Street by the end of the year and move production to facilities in Texas and Mexico. The company said at the time that no decisions had been made about the wood plant.
So as you're at your family gatherings and holiday parties, make sure you have your recall petitions with you. Walker simply has got to go, as in twelve months ago.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: 75 Years of AFSCME

Happy anniversary to all by brothers and sisters:

It's rather alarming how Scott Walker and his ilk have taken this country so far back in such a short time. It will take a long time to correct the wrongs that they have done and to fix the damage they have caused.

Fighting Back

A look at how far we've come since the wholesale attack on the working men and women of this country:

And that's just the beginning!

Walkergate: The Christmas Train Wreck

A few weeks ago, Scott Walker made a big stink about putting a Christmas tree up in the rotunda, even though this has happened every year with every other governor.  Walker was hoping to get some positive attention from his base by making some phony stand about defending Christmas.  That's not surprising in itself, since Walker loves to showboat and is desperate to look good as the recall forces are not even slowing down (latest count is over 600,000 signatures!).

Walker might have been better just doing it quietly though.  It has now brought some attention he's not going to want.

Around the base of the tree, Walker had a toy train set set up.  This caught the attention of the editorial board of the Cap Times, which used it, and the anniversary of the death of high speed rail coming to Wisconsin, to hammer home the point that Walker was an idiot for killing the train, and subsequently, all of the jobs and the boost to the state's economy.

While those erudite editors are absolutely correct, and I agree fully with them, they had an even bigger story right under their noses, in my humble opinion.

I would have you, gentle reader, take a close look at the picture they have accompanying their piece:

Photo courtesy of Larry Tamiso, via The Cap Times

The editorial board already pointed out the little decal of Walker's derision-worthy slogan of Wisconsin being supposedly open for business.

I would point out the logo on the left of the picture - the one that has a "W" and a "S" with what looks like an inverted "T" over them.

No, that does not stand for "Walker, Scott."

That logo, my friends, is the one for Wisconsin and Southern Railroad.

The president and CEO of Wisconsin and Southern Railroad was William E. Gardner.  Gardner is the first person to have been charged and convicted in relation to the ongoing John Doe investigation, commonly referred to as Walkergate, which is looking into Scott Walker and his campaign for illegal activities.

Gardner was convicted of making illegal campaign donations, to the tune of $70,000, using the railroads money, laundered through family members and employees.

Incidentally, if the gentle reader was not aware, Wisconsin and Southern is in the process of being sold to a Kansas-based company named Watco Transportation Services.  And the folks at Watco are mighty proud of the fact that their biggest customer is Koch Industries.  The folks at Watco deny that there is any kind of correlation, which must be true, since no one connected to the Koch Brothers or Walker has ever lied to the public, right?

Almost every Wisconsinite is well aware that Walker is every bit the arrogant and pompous ass, but it is simply beyond the pale for him to have a replica of a Wisconsin and Southern Railroad, a company whose CEO was convicted of making illegal and excessive donations to his campaign, set up in the middle of the People's House, the state Capitol Building.  He is making a mockery of the justice system, the election laws and of this historic building.

That train needs to be removed immediately!

Then Walker, who has done nothing but embarrass the state in front of the world as he blatantly flaunts his corruption, can take the next train out of the state and stay gone.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kleefisch's Imaging, Messaging Problem

A while ago, Rebecca Kleefisch thought she'd throw her two cents in in defense of her willing participation in the assault of the working men and women of Wisconsin.

So she made one of her kitschy videos.

The keen-eyed John Foust, master of parody and scourge of right wing bloggers (he's been banned from more right wing blogs than anyone else that I'm aware of - they just can't compete with his wit or skills at debate) pointed out something to me.

Between 24 and 30 seconds into the video, Kleefisch is messing around with a few of her bank books and check books.  Look closely at the bank book laying on the table, which I've screencapped:

John points out that the logo is that of the Educator's Credit Union.  Apparently teacher's aren't good enough in Kleefisch's arrogant, elitist eyes to be paid a decent salary or be treated with respect, but she is more than all right with using their credit union.

John goes on in his missive:
Oh! Volunteer cross guards! Why didn't I think of that? That'll solve
the budget problems! So our only two choices are volunteers or unionized
crossing guards... Hmm, I wonder if most school districts have part-time,
non-unionized but paid crossing guards. Oh, they do!

Why do I get the impression that Kleefisch hasn't organized a bake sale,
never mind organized volunteers willing to patrol intersections at 6:45 a.m.
in January in Wisconsin.
The only thing I could possibly add to that is that I would find it hard to believe that Kleefisch is even able to organize her own thoughts, much less anything of as significant as a bake sale .

Jeff Fitzgerald's Lead Balloon

During the hostile takeover of Wisconsin, Jeff Fitzgerald has behaved just like what he is - that pesky little brother that can't think for himself and follows everything the older kids do.

And when little Jeffy finally comes up with his own  idea - abolishing the GAB and replacing it with a politicized panel - it shows why he should keep his mouth shut.  As for his idea, that went over like a lead balloon, as it should have.

The truly remarkable is that this cartoonish oaf thinks he is somehow qualified to be a US Senator.  He's not even qualified to shovel out the kennels at the dog shelter.

Is Walker Going After UW Again?

I have had some disturbing information forwarded to me this evening, which I believe will require close monitoring from the people of #wiunion and the media.

The following is part of an email which was forwarded to me dealing with possible massive cuts in funding to the UW system (emphasis theirs):
We have just learned that Governor Walker will send his lapse message to the Joint Finance Committee this Friday, December 23, 2011. If the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) doesn’t act by January 3, the UW System will face a $65 million budget cut on top of the $250 million cut that we received in the budget. This will be the biggest cut in UW history.

Now is the time to act. President Reilly has asked all UW System employees to call or email your legislator and ask them in your own words to help the UW System in any way they can. We can’t stop the whole lapse, but even a small reduction would help.
A second email indicated that the JFC would not be meeting over the holidays and that the "UW System" does not believe anything official would happen over the holiday season.

I wouldn't be so sure. As Milwaukee County Executive, it was not uncommon for Scott Walker to declare a "fiscal emergency" even when there wasn't one, in order to unilaterally pull whatever shenanigans he had in mind. He was further enabled to do so by a very slanted media in Milwaukee who would repeat his nonsense unquestioningly and ignore the unions and the liberal members of the board who were crying foul.

As governor, he might not even have to take the step of declaring any sort of emergency, since he has a rubber stamp legislature controlled by the Republicans, who are as corrupt as he is. He could just order something to be done and his cronies in the legislature would turn a blind eye to it. Furthermore, while he cannot hide all of his chicanery from all of the state's media, it is my personal opinion that even the most diligent reporters don't fully appreciate the level of skulduggery and chicanery of which Walker is capable.

The following is a set of lists, which were in the emails, of the impact that that the UW ssytem could feel if this action is allowed to happen:
12 ways the lapse could hurt everyone served by UW-Extension
1. Program staff who support education for small business and entrepreneurs may be laid off, which will reduce the ability to develop needed programs and make it harder for small businesses to create jobs.
2. Small business development centers may not be able to hire the counselors they need to help small business and entrepreneurs grow jobs.
3. Small business development centers may have to reduce their programs for small business and classes for entrepreneurs.
4. Continuing education outreach efforts may be curtailed, which will mean fewer degrees awarded in Wisconsin and fewer opportunities for nontraditional and minority students to get an education. This has been a key strategy to improving Wisconsin’s economic competitiveness.
5. The development of online and technology based instruction will be delayed. These programs prepare students for high demand jobs in the emerging economy.
6. UW-Extension county office staff positions will be left vacant, which reduces service to agriculture, families and local governments.
7. There may be more use of short term UW-Extension staff in multiple-county coverage, which will reduce their availability to serve local needs.
8. Cuts funding for researchers and faculty at UW campuses, which will delay research needed by Wisconsin agriculture and business to stay competitive.
9. Delays needed equipment and software maintenance at Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio, which may result in reduced reliability.
10. The provision of statewide video conferencing services will be slowed, which may result in higher costs for travel and staff time.
11. Web development positions will be left vacant, which will delay online programming development that is important to younger audiences.
12. Wisconsin Public Television will delay the launch of the successor program to In Wisconsin which was recently discontinued. Other programming will also be deferred.

12 ways the lapse could hurt everyone served by UW Colleges
1. Class sections may be cut, which could make it more difficult for students to complete their course requirements. Students would face a longer time in school, higher costs and higher risk of dropping out.
2. Reduced tutoring services would damage student learning and retention.
3. Cutting library acquisitions of periodicals and online databases would cause long-term harm to the ability of teachers to teach and students to learn.
4. Technology infrastructure upgrades to the telephone system and network servers would be delayed, resulting in a backlog of work and higher costs in the future.
5. Technology upgrades in student computer labs and the library would be postponed, reducing student access to technology-based learning and possible higher costs to catch up in the future.
6. Hiring of academic support positions could be delayed. This would damage recruitment and retention efforts, and would inevitably affect enrollment.
7. Professional development funding for faculty could be cut, which would make it more difficult to retain faculty because we cannot reinvest in their professional and technical knowledge.
8. Needed laboratory modernization would be cut or delayed. Delaying replacement of laboratory technology and equipment hurts student learning opportunities and stifles innovation.
9. Development of high-demand new courses, such as GIS (geographical information system), would be delayed. GIS is a high-demand area and the course is needed to serve students and employers.
10. Campus newspapers could be eliminated, closing off an important area of learning, instruction, and employment for students.
11. Needed student services and custodian positions would remain unfilled, thus reducing services to students.
12. New course development would be delayed. Course development helps keep up with innovation, meets evolving student needs, and responds to local demands.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Larson Recall - Epic FAIL

Humorous short report by Michael Horne, now writing for Milwaukee Magazine, on the brilliance of those that would try to recall State Senator Chris Larson:
When 14 Wisconsin Senate Democrats left the state last February to deprive it of a quorum, all but one was in peril of being recalled. The exception was Chris Larson, who had taken his seat just weeks before, and was therefore ineligible. Now that he has served a year and can be recalled, there seems to be no movement afoot to do so. “I was expecting a recall,” he said. “But when a group tried to get organized, I noticed they spelled my name wrong, and thought that was a good omen.”

You mean they spelled “Larson” as “Larsen”?

“No," he said, "They spelled 'Chris' as 'Crhis.'”
No words if said group was CRG, but it woulnd't surprise me one bit.

Walker's Anti-Worker, Anti-Justice Administration

Over a decade ago, when Beloit Corporation shuttered it's doors, it broke its promise to workers to give them a week's worth of pay for each year they worked as a severance package.  Instead each worker got two weeks, whether they worked two years or thirty-two years.

The state sued the company regarding this and lost, but the Department of Justice was ready to appeal.

Scott Walker quickly put a stop to that:
Some former employees got the news Tuesday that there will be no further appeals in the case.

Dan Morris, who worked for Beloit Corp. for more than 26 years, was disappointed by the news.

"What really bothers me is the Department of Justice felt pretty strong about it (an appeal for the settlement). But when I asked the Department of Workforce Development why they didn't want this, I was told they had spent enough time on this and it was, ‘sorry, but you have to move on'," Morris said.

An email sent to Morris and other former Beloit Corp. workers from Assistant Attorney General Richard Moriarty indicated it was a Department of Workforce Development decision not to move forward.

"DWD has decided not to appeal. As a result, we will close our file here at DOJ," Moriarty's email stated. "DWD will communicate with the affected workers informing them of this decision. ... Ultimately, we obtained some recovery for the workers, through the settlement with the Beloit bankruptcy estate. Those at DOJ who worked on this case over the years (with several having retired in the interim) wish that we could have obtained the full recovery to which the workers were entitled."
Just another example of Walker putting corporate donors before the people whom he's supposed to represent.

He's got to go, the sooner the better.


Tuesday evening, after work, I went to a local hospital to visit a friend, Steven P. Senski (known as @spsenski on teh Twitter), a member of #wiunion and one of the wittiest of the Twitterati, who had a very serious medical event happen. It was one of those type of things that is almost always fatal and my friend is very fortunate to be alive, even though the doctors don't know the full extent of the damage or how much he'll be able to recover. However, my Steven refused to be dismayed and expressed confidence that with some hard work and good therapy, he would fully recover in time.

As I entered his room, it was obvious that I was not the only life he has touched as he had several red heart balloons and one of the rare Wisconsin palm trees in his room already.

We had an excellent visit filled with laughter and deep discussion of the events of Wisconsin's political climate, especially the recall.

After I left, it struck me how truly amazing my friend was. Not only did he survive what could have easily been a fatal medical event, but he was doing better than one could expect. On top of that, while he was completely honest with the challenges he is facing, he also expressed a strong level of optimism that he would get better.

I later tweeted that I was glad that I visited him and that like #wiunion, his spirit was indomitable.

Reflecting on that, I realized how true that was. Not just for him, but for all of #wiunion.

I already told you about Diane who, even though terminally ill, was still giving it her all to help bring the state back onto the path back to recovery.

There is BattiestGrrl who, even though having problems finding a job in Walker's dismal economy, has thrown herself fully into the recall process and became a representative of #wiunion to the world.

But the indomitable spirit of #wiunion as a whole has been present, and obviously so, for the ten months.

When Walker and his allies in the legislature started their wholesale assault on the good people of Wisconsin, #wiunion gathered by the tens of thousands to call foul on their misdeeds.

When they tried to prevent the people from entering the People's House, they still came in. And then refused to leave, sleeping there night after night, laying claim to what was theirs and letting the usurpers know that they wouldn't be able to take it without a fight.

When Walker and his cronies were finally able to force them out of the Capitol at night, they slept outside, on the ground, even though it was still the lingering end of winter and very cold.

During the summer recalls, even while the Republicans were trying to throw every dirty trick in the book, from running fake candidates to trying to change the rules, the people stay focused and got two of them out of office.

Even now, during the recall of Walker himself, he and his supporters, in their desperation, have resorted to physical violence, trying to disenfranchise petition signers and all other sorts of skulduggery, the people have done as they always have. They have maintained control of themselves, stayed on the high road and are getting the job done.

The most recent, and perhaps the best example of this indomitable spirit is the Solidarity Singers.

Walker tried to take away their First Amendment rights of free speech and to peacefully assemble. Why? Because the singers had the audacity to gather every day at lunch time and - brace yourself - sing!

Oh the nerve! Those thugs!

Anyway, on the first day that Walker's infringement of the people's rights were to occur, not only did the singers show up, they came in even larger numbers, without one of his stinking permits, in open defiance of Walker's latest attempt at tyranny.

And they sang beautifully.

And they sang beautifully, because like all of #wiunion, they are indomitable.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part XLIX

We already know that Wisconsin had its fifth straight month of job loss in November when the state lost 14,600 jobs. We now know that comparatively speaking, Walker has led the nation for the second straight month in lost jobs:
In November, 13 states recorded statistically significant changes in employment, 7 of which were increases. The largest over-the-month statistically significant job gains occurred in New York (+29,500), South Carolina (+16,600), Georgia (+13,000), and Tennessee (+9,600). The largest over-the-month statistically significant declines in employment occurred in Wisconsin (-14,600) and Minnesota (-13,700).
Realizing he could not blame President Obama since the rest of the nation has been gaining jobs, Walker has found a new scapegoat - the methodology.

Yep, that would be the same methodology that Walker thought was just dandy when he claimed gaining 2,648% of the jobs gains last June. I'll let Representative Peter Barca say it:
"The United States as a whole has been adding jobs for 14 months. Last month the majority of states added jobs, while Wisconsin continued to hemorrhage jobs as it has since the budget – Gov. Walker’s economic plan – passed.

"For the second month in a row, Wisconsin led the nation in job losses. And the latest response from the governor and his administration has been to complain about the methodology.

"Other states continue to benefit from ongoing national job gains. Unfortunately, instead of regaining ground that's been lost every month since passage of this Governor's economic plan, Wisconsin lost another 14,600 jobs in November.

"The monthly figures were used by the governor to boast at a press conference in June when they showed gains, primarily in tourism, before his budget passed. Since that plan took effect in July, the numbers have fallen every month.

"It is time for restoring our state's leadership in education and job training to become a higher priority than time devoted to fundraising and legislation written by and for special interests."

2012 Leaders In The Law

The Wisconsin Law Journal has announced their 2012 Leaders in the Law.  Their announcement includes this preface on how the honorees were chosen:
The Wisconsin Law Journal has named its 2012 Leaders in the Law. The attorneys and judges selected have demonstrated their outstanding leadership, vision and legal expertise in Wisconsin’s law community. Honorees were chosen based on a wide variety of achievement criteria, including outstanding leadership, vision and legal expertise.
Scrolling down the list of honorees, two names jump out at me.

One is Attorney Michael Maistelman of Maistelman and Associates. Maistelman has a long history of expertise in Wisconsin election laws. Among his many successes, Maistelman was the legal representation in the charges against former State Senator Dan Kapanke, who had repeatedly willfully failed to follow election laws regarding campaign finances and open records request. It is Maistelman's expertise in election laws that led me to consult with him about the ongoing move by Scott Walker and his cronies to try to force the Government Accountability Board to use tax dollars to do his political work. And in the interest of full disclosure, it was Maistelman who ably represented me when the disreputable and misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government launched their false and libelous attack in a futile effort to discredit me.

The other name is that of the Honorable Maryann Sumi of Dane County Circuit Court who had correctly ruled that the Republicans violated the open meeting law when they tried to ram through the malicious and punitive Act 10 bill.

It should also be pointed out that absent from this list of honorees is Rick Esenberg, infamous for his rather selective and, at times, misleading interpretations of the law.

Also missing his Justice Michael Gableman, who has recently been found out for violating judicial ethics during his hearing regarding other judicial ethics violations.

Reports are that at the time this list was released, Justice David "Rubber Stamp" Prosser was in another fit of rage and was heard to yell, "I'm gonna choke the [redacted] for not putting me in there!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Abele Fundraiser: Not For The Commoners

I received an invitation to a fundraiser for Chris Abele today.  Check it out and see if you notice what I noticed:

Did you see it? They're charging $50 per person just to get in the door! Then you can spend two hours eating pate de foie gras and drinking champagne while they shove nominations petitions at you to sign.

I guess that's one way to keep out the riff raff.

But at $50 a head, I doubt that you'll find many county workers there.  Especially when one considers that in just over a week, Abele will be taking $400 to $500 out of their checks each week and is refusing to pay them for the furlough days they were illegally forced to take.

No, you won't see many county workers there at all.  But you might find some workers there.  Most likely the ones that have benefited from his nepotism or or from his cronyism.

That gives me a great idea for what could be Abele's campaign slogan:
"Just like Scott Walker -- Only Worse!"
I think that could catch on quickly.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Walker's Newest Enforcer - A Karl Rove Protege

Scott Walker just can't stop giving us new reasons to recall him, can he?

Now it's the surrogate daughter of Bush's Brain (emphasis mine):
Madison blogger Joe Vittie broke the story on about Jocelyn Webster, the person Walker hired as the public face defending the rules. Webster cut her teeth with Rove’s notorious Office of Political Affairs in the George W. Bush Administration. A congressional investigation of the activities of that office yielded allegations -- including specific allegations against Webster -- that Rove’s team was involved in partisan campaigning on the public dime, a claim also leveled at aides of her newest boss during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive.
And yes, it gets worse. Wait until you meet his campaign communications director.

Rep. Clark Calls Out Walker

From the inbox, with no further comment necessary:

Rep. Clark calls on Gov. Walker to focus on jobs, not fundraising
Thousands look for work while the governor works on raising money
MADISON – On the same day we learned that Wisconsin lost another 14,600 jobs in November, Gov. Walker announced that he had raised more than $5 million toward an expected recall election next year. Today, Rep. Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) called on the governor to devote more time working on creating family-supporting jobs rather than fundraising for himself.

“If Gov. Walker spent nearly as much time focusing on jobs for Wisconsin’s struggling families as he does on raising money, we would be leading the nation in job creation,” Rep. Clark said. “Instead, Wisconsin has lost jobs five months in a row – every month since the governor signed his regressive budget – and has the worst economic outlook in the country.”

Since the budget was signed, Wisconsin has lost 34,900 jobs, while the nation as a whole has added 661,000 jobs during the same period. In fact, a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia shows that the economic conditions in Wisconsin are the worst of any state.

“Any sports team with a losing record like Wisconsin has on losing jobs would be looking for a new coach,” Rep. Clark said. “The people of Wisconsin are tired of the governor's excuses and broken promises on jobs. That’s why they are working to recall him.”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Recall - With Special Appearance by @PewterGryphon

The DPW just released a new video commemorating the recall of Scott Walker and the progress that has been made so far.  The footage was shot on Saturday, November 19, just days after the recall started:

It's a moving video alright.

But for the people of #wiunion, it is especially meaningful.

Around the 40 second mark, there is a shot of a woman in a wheelchair. The woman's name is Diane, but on Twitter, she is @pewtergryphon.

Sadly, Diane is terminally ill. But that has not kept her from helping fight the good fight. Whether it's getting to the rally, with the help of her friends, to sign a petition and join her voice to the hundreds of thousands of other Wisconsinites that know what Walker is doing is wrong, or sitting in her hospice room retweeting posts and helping get the information out, she is still in the thick of things. (By the way Diane, thanks for the retweets today!)

When I realized that I was seeing Diane in the video, I immediately tweeted it, making sure that I pointed out that she was in it. Literally within seconds, it was favorited and/or retweeted a dozen times. But that is just the way we roll. We pick each other up when we're down and celebrate with each other when the news is good.

And that is why Walker, even with all of his out-of-state big money, will still be removed from office. He's not fighting special interests, he's fighting for them. He's fighting against the good people of Wisconsin, people like Diane and her friends. And trust me, we stick together like only family can.

Every day, our resolve grows even stronger while Walker and his allies grow even more desperate.

We will do this!

We'll do it for Diane.

We'll do it for ourselves.

We'll do it for all of Wisconsin.

There are still over three weeks to go. You can help Diane put Wisconsin back to rights by volunteering by clicking here.

The Supreme Court Race To The Bottom

It wasn't enough that Annette Ziegler embarrassed the Supreme Court by coming in under a cloud of ethics problems.

It wasn't enough that Michael Gableman broke judicial ethics by running a blatantly false and racist commercial against sitting Justice Louis Butler.

It wasn't enough that David Prosser, winner of the mystery votes game of Waukesha County, then proceeded to fantasize that he was in the game of Clue. (It was Prosser with the choke hold in the chamber.)

Gableman has to again bring disgrace to the Supreme Court.  This time he violated ethics rules by accepting thousands of dollars worth of free legal advise during his first ethics violation hearing.  On top of that, Gableman never bothered to recuse himself from cases involving the donating law firm (which should be charged too).

Of course, the Republicans are completely silent about the matter, and it is a Democrat that has to lead the call for this matter to be investigated.

If there is a bright side to this most latest stain the Republicans have brought upon our state, it's that alleged legal expert and admitted Bradley Foundation beneficiary  Rick Esenberg is getting a healthy helping of crow to eat.

Walker's Leash Is A Long One

The first batch of campaign finance numbers are in for the Walker recall.  They portray a very telling picture of exactly who Walker is representing, and let me tell you this, it's not the people of Wisconsin.

With a tip of the hat to Scot Ross and the good folks at One Wisconsin Now for doing the ciphering for us, here's how it breaks down:

Walker/RPW raked in $5.7 million.
United Wisconsin/DPW took in $1.48 million.

Walker/RPW had 46% ($2.6.35 million) come from outside of Wisconsin.
United Wisconsin/DPW had only 27% ($408,000) come from outside of Wisconsin.

In other words, Walker and the RPW took in $2.27 million dollars of out of state money (read: Koch Brothers) more than the recall effort.

Just as telling is who some of the other people that Walker got the money from, including $250,000 from swiftboater Bob Perry, $205,500 from Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein who are beneficiaries of Walker's pay-for-play style of leadership (and I use the term leadership very loosely) and $20,000 from H. Ross "Sucking Sound" Perot, nationally known nut job.

I'm not sure which end of the Walker's leash is scarier.

Yet Walker still expects us to believe it's the people of Wisconsin that are the outside agitators.

It's been so long since Walker has told the truth about anything, I don't know if he even knows what the truth is anymore.

Recall Walker Poster - New and Improved!

One of my faithful readers, "Raven," saw a problem with a "Recall Walker" picture that I was using. So he took it upon himself to improve it:

Thus quoth the Raven:
Chris, on your November 10th CogDis blog, you had a nice "RECALL" poster, 400 x 300 jpg, but blown up to any larger size the color disruption was too visible for use. I've taken the time to clean it up and re-save the picture as a png, so it can be used in your website -- or blown up for a poster or T-shirt without color disruption. Also, I've fixed the eyes so they look like the real-life Scott Walker's (wink!).... Enjoy! -- Raven.
As for me, I don't think I'll be printing it out. Those googly-weasel-eyes seem to follow a person. Too spooky!

Corporate Media, PolitiFact And The Big Lie

In my previous post, I pointed out the big lie that Walker and his supporters told as they rob public sector workers blind.

Later in the same article which I had cited, the author points explains how the corporate media furthers the lie for Walker:
Gov. Walker says that he wants them to "contribute more" via deductions from their paychecks. But since the workers already contribute 100 percent of the money going to the pension plan the real issue is changing the accounting for this to reduce cash wages.

Once the state has settled on the compensation package for its workers then how the cash flows is merely accounting for how the costs are divvied up. If the workers got higher cash pay and diverted all of the pension contributions from their pay it would be the same amount compared to having the state pay directly into the pension funds.

By falsely describing the situation the governor has sought to create the issue as one of the workers getting a favor. The Club for Growth, in broadcast ads, blatantly lies by saying "state workers haven't had to sacrifice. They pay next to nothing for their pensions."

We expect ideological marketing organizations to shade the truth and even outright lie, as the Club for Growth has done. But journalists are supposed to check the facts, not adopt lies as truths.
Even PolitiFact doesn't escape, since they are really just another cog in the corporate media's machine anyway:

Here are some other examples of inaccurate reporting of the issue, followed by a critique and a simple solution.
  • Todd Richmond of the Associated Press reported on Feb. 20 that the governor wants state workers "to contribute more to health care and pension costs." Richmond has repeatedly used variations of that phrase.
  • On Feb. 18, Michael Cooper and Katherine Q. Seelye of The New York Times reported that the legislation sponsored by Gov. Walker would "require workers to contribute more to their pension and health care plans."
  • Jane Ford-Stewart of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel' s on-line community news service reported Feb. 22 on "an effort by Gov. Scott Walker to get state employees to contribute more toward their health insurance and pensions so that the costs are more in line with contributions by workers in the private sector."
  • has a Wisconsin operation and it was also among those that got it wrong – 100 percent dead wrong -- because it assumed the facts as stated by Gov. Walker and failed to question the underlying premise. Further, contrived assumptions make it is easy for the perpetrators of the misrepresentation to point to data that support a false claim, something Politifact missed entirely, on at least two occasions, in proclaiming false statements to be true.
Given how many journalists rely on Politifact to check political assertions, instead of doing their own research, this is, by far, the inaccuracy likely to have the greatest (or most damaging effect) on subsequent reporting. (Examples of Politifact's inaccurate assessments can be found here and also here.)
And then they wonder why their circulation and profits are down. Even more incredulous, the paper thinks that people will pay to see their tripe online. All they'll do if they try that is open the door for a real news source to move in to the area - which would not be a bad thing, come to think of it.

Walker's Other Big Lie

We already know that Scott Walker is lying through his weasel teeth when he claims that he campaigned on busting the unions.

Now we know why Walker didn't campaign on this.  It was an even bigger lie.

Via Rick Ungar at Forbes, one can find the true story behind the benefits public sector workers are getting:
Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin' s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

How can that be? Because the "contributions" consist of money that employees chose to take as deferred wages – as pensions when they retire – rather than take immediately in cash. The same is true with the health care plan. If this were not so a serious crime would be taking place, the gift of public funds rather than payment for services.

Thus, state workers are not being asked to simply "contribute more" to Wisconsin' s retirement system (or as the argument goes, "pay their fair share" of retirement costs as do employees in Wisconsin' s private sector who still have pensions and health insurance). They are being asked to accept a cut in their salaries so that the state of Wisconsin can use the money to fill the hole left by tax cuts and reduced audits of corporations in Wisconsin.
The author goes on to say that Walker's stunt is a pay cut to the public sector worker.

I'd say a more accurate description would be that he is stealing from the workers and giving the money to his cronies and campaign donors.

The man simply has to be removed from office and I, for one, don't want to wait for him to be indicted in the ongoing Walkergate investigation.

The Crazy Nasty-A$$ Scott Walker

WARNING: The following video is NOT safe for work, young children or selectively-outraged Republicans:

I am not responsible for cleaning or replacing your monitor either.

Grassroots Rally To Recall!

From the inbox:

Grassroots Rally To Recall!

Join Wisconsin 14 Senator Chris Larson, President of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Mahlon
Mitchell, Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, DPW Chair Mike Tate, and other surprise guests!


Thursday, December 22,  from 6:30 to 8:30 PM


American Serb Hall, 5101 W. Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee


A grassroots rally celebrating how far we've come, and firing us up for the work ahead.

Please bring a non-perishable food item or new, unwrapped toy to benefit the needy
who have already been exceptionally hard-hit by Scott Walker's anti-worker
budget this season.

Get ready to rally in the final three weeks of the Recall Season!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Paul Bearers

On so many levels the GOP presidential race has provided a ton of rollicking entertainment. It helps take our minds off of how dangerous many of this corral of clowns really are.

Something fascinating is happening, and that is it has become Ron Paul's turn to float to the top of the pack in the fervent hope that someone who could beat Romney now that Newt's pizza sized warts that appear, disappear and reappear based on the GOP's willingness to see them.

After all, if you follow the right wing blogs they are working hard to create a pure beyond belief conservative GOP that they worry about being stuck with Mitt. He is so chameleon that, as Will Durst put it about Bill Clinton, if you threw him into a multicolored room he would explode.

Ron Paul is definitely the fan favorite among the GOP, because as an old man he holds views that those in the party all remember back when they were college sophomores. Let's face it. Ron Paul is a libertarian and libertarians are really Republicans that like to do dope.

The problem however for the party is that the current crop of sophomores will be combing Music Man Land to drum up caucus goers during their semester break. And the way the caucuses work it takes activists to deliver the caucus votes. The ads only fluff up the GOP Iowans, but it takes real bodies to deliver the win.

The rapidly deflating Newt balloon is floating only with ads, and there is a good chance that next month he could end up lagging the pack on the way to New Hampshire.

So Dr. Paul could stroll out of the Iowa with a plurality of caucus votes. The legs propelling the Paul campaign have a strong belief in their candidate, and winning Iowa will pump their hopes, while simultaneously stoke the fears of the rest of the part.

For the GOP, Paul was to serve one function and that was to spice up the debates. Now Paul's run would no longer be a cute side show, but a threat to the "serious" wing (try to wrap your brain around that one) of the party should it go anywhere.

But the Paulites will not cease, desist, and take their orders like good little Republicans. And when that happens, things get ugly. FOX is already going after Paul and if this crusade rolls along all the rest of the GOP leadership will look to get rid of this nuisance -- With Extreme Prejudice.

Worse, the Paul bandwagon runs on very little fuel and they could take this all the way to the convention, where the campaign will undoubtedly get rolled by the party, as they hold their collective noses and nominate Mitt.

Here's where it gets interesting. Ron Paul is claiming he supports the party, but he doesn't have too many runs left in him and his supporters know that. They would more than likely beg and plead Dr. Paul to run third party.

Of course this wouldn't be the first time a Texan put a Democratic president back in the White House.