Brian Sikma of Media Trackers and Christian Schneider at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel each put in their entry as they told utterly false and reprehensible stories regarding the alleged beating of a GOP operative. That story, as the gentle reader already knows, proved to be a hoax.
Sikma falsely claimed that he had verified the story and swore up and down that it was true. He also included the libel that Philip Frank, the partner of Representative-Elect Mark Pocan, had been involved in the fake beating.
Schneider, not to be outdone by Sikma, claimed to have interviewed the phony victim, and when found out, started telling lie upon lie in trying to cover up his own liability for libel.
Sikma and Schneider need to step aside for another late entry, Aaron Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is well known for telling some tall tales, such as how he "knew" that no one from Scott Walker's county executive office was doing anything illegal or unethical.
On Wednesday, Rodriguez published a post on his blog with the paper*, mewling about what teahadists mewl about most, taxes. In this post, he was carping about how the Milwaukee County Board was likely to raise taxes. But then he issued a stunningly bold lie about the benefits Milwaukee County employees receive:
If a good health insurance plan is analogous to a Cadillac, then the Board just gave themselves a Bentley. For Milwaukee County workers on the family insurance plan -- which includes most supervisors -- the maximum out of pocket cost in 2013 is $50. That's not a typo. Fifty dollars will cover their pay in deductibles, tests, and screenings all year.Whoa! Only $50 out of pocket for the entire year for health care? Wow! I didn't know I had it so good.
My mistake must have been that I went by the benefit description put out by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's administration:
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And God help the employee that has a medical crisis. There are county employees that are not receiving necessary surgeries and other medical treatments because, thanks to Abele and the County Board cutting their pay and increasing the costs of the deductibles and copays, they are now insurance poor. This means even though they have the insurance, they can't afford to use it until it becomes a crisis. And even then, they could easily face bankruptcy.
Now, I grant that the gentle reader is probably wondering how this lie is anywhere close to the slanderous lies told by Sikma and Schneider.
Well, it's because Rodriguez adds a new ingredient to his calumny - hypocrisy.
Leading up to this past spring's elections, Rodriguez wrote not just one, not just two, but three blog posts praising Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
But just three short months before he started to praise Abele, Rodriguez was bewailing the fact that Abele was going to cut the funding for the Milwaukee County Paramedic program. (It never bothered him that Scott Walker would try the same thing year after year.) Rodriguez, a paramedic himself, when he is not practicing calumny or pushing for school choice, was lamenting that this could lead to layoffs for his fellow paramedics. After lashing out at me for not riding to the rescue fast enough, Rodriguez wrote this:
The Milwaukee County Paramedic Program - ranked #2 in the nation in cardiac arrest resuscitation - is now on Abele's chopping block. Although Abele is sounding the fiscal alarm, defunding the Paramedic Program creates somewhat of a dilemma for the County Executive. The last thing Abele needs during campaign season is a controversy. You can count on the fire community bristling to the threat and don't discount the growing bipartisan support on the County Board. This is gearing up to be a big fight. If Abele isn't careful, he may find himself embroiled in a controversy that could make his tenure short-lived.Oddly, when the Board voted to restore half of the $3 million Abele had cut, he attacked them for raising taxes.
In his post on Wednesday, Rodriguez again attacked the Board, with most of his vitriol aimed at Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, for raising taxes. He claimed it was so they could give themselves raises.
The fact is that much of the tax hike was due to enhancing public safety, including the paramedic program he values:
Veto 14 (1A036, Item 6) overridden 16-2 (No: Sanfelippo, Schmitt), increasing the Emergency Medical Services (paramedics) subsidy paid to specific Milwaukee County municipalities by $500,000 to $2,000,000.Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. It takes some brass to complain about people doing what you want them to do.
It's one thing to commit calumny by telling such outright and ridiculous lies like Rodriguez does. But to add that level of hypocrisy to it vaults him to the position as one of the top contenders for Calumnist of the Year.
And even if Rodriguez doesn't win, he might get the consolation prize of either working for Media Trackers, Wisconsin Reporter or some other propagandist agency where journalistic integrity is not required. Or maybe even a spokesman for Scott Walker administration, where honesty is considered a liability.
*Given the paper's propensity to try to scrub their site of these sorts of false reports, I have already taken a screen shot of Rodriguez' post.