Saturday, June 30, 2012

Romneycare vs. Obamacare: Who's The Real Taxer?

My colleague Jeff Simpson already pointed to the fact that the Affordable Care Act was based on what Mitt Romney did as governor in Massachusetts.

Now that it's been shown to pass legal muster, the teahadists and the Republicans, but I repeat myself, are screaming like stuck pigs that ACA, or Obamacare if you must, is a TAX! The biggest one EVAH!

But then again, there's this interesting tidbit regarding the difference in tax hikes in Romneycare vs. Obamacare which should get their heads exploding all over again:
And the Obama campaign is quick to point out that while Romney and other Republicans are accusing the president of enacting a huge tax increase, the penalties under Romneycare are bigger than under Obamacare. According to a study from the Center for Health Law and Economics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, forwarded to Salon by the Obama campaign, the differences are huge. An adult over the age of 27 who makes more than 300 percent of the poverty line (about $37,000 a year) and chooses not to purchase health insurance would pay at least $695 in penalties under Obamcare. Under Romneycare, that same person would pay at least $1,530 in penalties.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who helped design both Romneycare and Obamacare, said today on a conference call organized by the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund that Obama’s penalty will affect only a tiny portion of Americans. “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that about one percent of the population will end up paying this penalty. This not a broad new tax on the middle class. It is trivial. It is four, the CBO estimates it is $4 billion in revenues from this penalty. That is trivial relative to the almost $100 billion that you would get in [subsidies], once it’s phased in, in new tax credits to individuals to buy health insurance. So this is on net this an enormous tax cut for the middle class. This is not a tax increase,” he explained.

In the USA Today op-ed, Romney said his plan was affordable and reasonable. So if Obamacare’s penalties are even more modest, then the claim that it’s a huge tax increase rings a bit hollow.
Don't you just hate it when the truth gets in the way of their propaganda?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Robbing Peter To Pay Peter

I've covered the whole issue of Scott Walker, while Milwaukee County Executive, making use of illegal furlough days against county employees, such as myself, in order to cement his image as an anti-union, anti-worker teahadist and as a dress rehearsal for Act 10.

But now I will flesh it out a little more and give the gentle reader an update which really shows Walker's depravity.

To make a long story short, while crafting the 2010 county budget, Walker illegally installed concessions from workers for higher contributions to health care costs and to start paying twice for pension benefits.  It was repeatedly pointed out by county board members and staff that this was illegal, since he never even sat down to try to reach these concessions, much less actually achieve them.  Inexplicably, even though they knew it to be illegal, the county board went along with the illegal budget.

Before people were even recovered from their 2010 New Year's hangovers, Walker then used this artificially constructed budget hole to declare a fiscal emergency and implemented 12 furlough days for all workers except for deputies.  A few months later, he said it was not enough, and jumped it up to 26 days for some workers, including myself.  Due to his ineptness, he even ended up giving the previously spared deputies eight days of furlough.

But Walker's furloughs had unintended consequences.

One was that many county workers would have to put in overtime to make up for the work missed during their furloughs and/or to cover for coworkers who were on furlough.  Thus any savings Walker might have claimed from his attack on workers were negated by the skyrocketing amounts of overtime.  Many county workers were able to work enough overtime to make up for the lost day of pay and then some.  It was more like working a 4-40 schedule (40 hours in 4 days).

Furthermore, when the unions grieved the excessive furlough days, it was found that there wasn't really a deficit at all, or at least not one which required emergency actions.

The unions ended up taking their complaint to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC), which ruled in favor of the unions.  They said the county needed to immediately cease and desist from the implementing the illegal furlough days and to repay the workers.  To give the county incentive to address this issue sooner rather than later, WERC also ordered the county pay 12% interest, compounded daily.

Despite the high interest, the county chose to appeal the decision.  And appeal it some more.  And then one more time.

After losing in court hearing after court hearing, the county finally conceded that they will need to pay the workers back for Walker's campaign stunt.

But then came a twist to the story:
It wasn't all bad budget news for the county. Supervisors found out they had an $11.5 million surplus from 2011 and - even more surprising - county Comptroller Scott Manske had stashed away millions more in case the county lost a case over back pay.

"I'm glad you squirreled away $4.1 million, but there should have been some disclosure of it," said Supervisor Theo Lipscomb.

Manske said he quietly accounted for the payment, informing his bosses but making no public statement because the county hadn't yet decided whether to appeal an arbitrator's ruling, upheld in circuit court. The ruling said the county had to pay workers $4.1 million for furlough days illegally imposed as an emergency measure in 2010 by then-County Executive Scott Walker.
Having suddenly found this "windfall" the Milwaukee County Board voted on Thursday to pay back the workers for the illegal furloughs from 2010.  The estimated cost is over $4 million.  Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has already issued a statement saying that he believes this should be paid out and is expected to sign it.


The only thing left is for the county comptroller to get direction from the court on what date the interest should be considered to start accruing so he can figure out the payments.  Reports say that the average payout will be $2,600 per worker, plus interest.

So all is good, right?

Wrong.

There are a few issues still at hand.  One is that this pay out is only for 2010.  Workers still had to take another 13 furlough days in 2011.  The cost of that pay out is over $1 million plus interest.  There has been mixed messages on whether the county has any intention of paying these days out.  This will probably result in yet another series of court cases adding even more cost to Walker's folly.

The other issue is that the surplus money which the county had suddenly found came from the county imposing the pay cuts allowed by Act 10 and then some.  (These pay cuts are so severe that they have made some Milwaukee County workers eligible for financial support from the government.  So much for the Republican meme that government workers are living high on the hog.)

In other words, the county is using the workers' own money to pay them back for the money which was illegally taken in 2010.  How lovely of them!

I still think they should go after the person who caused the mess they're left to clean up and sue Walker, his campaign and all of his henchmen who were campaigning on county time.  But that would require political courage, something which is very scarce in Milwaukee lately.

And to top it all off, some of the extra money that is being taken from the workers is going to pay off some of the debt that Walker racked up in order to present the misleading image of being a fiscal genius.  We get to pay for Walker's campaign many times over!  Funny, but I don't recall offering to make any donations.

And before any conservatives think that this is a good deal, remember, your taxes still went up and you're getting less bang for your buck.  On top of that, this whole sordid affair is having the same effect on a local level that Act 10 is having on the state level.  The reduced money being injected into the local economy is only serving to keep unemployment higher than it should be and causing businesses to falter.

To sum it all up, Walker's "money saving" furloughs didn't save any money, since the workers earned it all back and then some in the form of overtime.  But because of the illegality of Walker's actions, the county taxpayers accrued additional costs in the form of repeated court costs and the interest which was accumulating at a rate of about $35,000 per month.  Walker's fiscal "frugality" turns out to be more expensive than if he didn't do anything.

Meanwhile, workers were put unnecessarily into dire fiscal straits, some losing their homes and some facing bankruptcy.  The kicker is that the money was there all along. Walker just didn't want to allow the workers to have it and so he basically stole it.

Yet people bought into Walker's antics and thought that, even as they are being driven into the poor house, they were coming out ahead.  Go figure.

And for all the bellyaching the county board did about Walker's maleficent behaviors and current Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's grandiose statements and campaign promises saying he wasn't going to be like Walker, they sure are acting a lot like him.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Get To Know Laura Hauser-Menting

You can get to know Laura Hauser-Menting, candidate for the 71st Assembly Candidate, via her interview with Wisconsin Eye

I think it's also very awesome that the interviewer refers to my write up of this fantastic woman!

You Mad, Bro?

For one of the more extreme reactions to the ruling allowing everyone to have Affordable Healthcare, one has to go no further than our own Polk County GOP:

C'mon, people. Allowing poor people to get affordable health care insurance isn't the end of the world.

Or is that Republicans really hate it when people get more rights instead of less?

A Great Day for Tommy and Mitt!!!

Today, the Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions of  "Obamacare".  While some on the riight are upset, this is a big day for two of the more prominent politicians on the right.

First off republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  President Obama's signature healthcare legislation(Obamacare) is modeled after the very successful Romneycare in Massachusetts that was really Mitt Romney's only professional success. 

In her opinion of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made note of Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care law as a reason why the individual mandate was constitutional.

While Ginsburg was a part of the majority opinion, she had differing reasons as to why the mandate was constitutional. The rest of the justices found that under the Commerce Clause, the mandate requiring all U.S. citizens to buy health insurance was not valid. They upheld it as a tax.

Ginsburg, however, said it should have been upheld under the Commerce Clause, and explained how Congress followed Massachusetts' lead in preventing only sick people from signing up for health insurance:



Secondly, this is also good news for republican Senate hopeful Tommy G Thompson, who has long supported the individual mandate and has had nothing but good things to say about Romneycare.  


Good job guys the Supreme Court just re-affirmed your signature accomplishment!

Here is President Obama  sharing the good news with Mitt and Tommy:



Americans For (Middle Class) Poverty is at it Again.

Today is the day we are supposed to get the Obamacare ruling from the Supreme Court.  Most people realize it is a foregone conclusion that the radical right wing political wing on the Supreme Court will vote to overturn it.

It is such a foregone conclusion that Americans for (Middle Class) Poverty, led by the vermin Tim Phillips, is holding a "we are happy 26 million people will no longer have health care " rally in Walkersha today.

 
What:  Hands Off My Health Care Rally

Where:  Country Springs Resort, Ballroom – 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee

When:  Thursday, June 28th, 6:30pm

Join Vicki McKenna, the 10th Amendment Center’s Michael Boldin, Sen. Leah Vukmir, Rep. Bill Kramer(no word if he will be packing) and your fellow patriots to learn about the Supreme Court’s decision on the President’s Healthcare Law.

We are holding a Hands Off My Health Care rally in Waukesha in response to the Supreme Court Decision on the President’s health care takeover.

This is one of the most important rulings in our nation’s history but our work doesn’t end here.  Our nation needs health care reform that utilizes open markets and isn’t dictated to us by unelected bureaucrats.

Micheal Boldin will be joining us from the Tenth Amendment Center to help us understand the decision and how we can take action to create the change we need.

Ok now sit down and follow along.   Americans for Prosperity(AFP), is going to hold a rally tonight to celebrate the (probable)end of Obamacare,  while also supporting Mitt Romney for president, yet Obamacare is basically modeled after the health care reform (Romneycare) that Governor Romney passed when he was Governor of Massachusetts.   One of the things that the right wing is so very upset about, is that there is an individual mandate that everyone have insurance that the republicans came up with in the 90's when Hillary Clinton was trying to reform health care.   The individual mandate has been supported across the right wing spectrum from Newt Gingrich to Tommy Thompson,


Now because this came from President Obama and the republicans have made it their only mission to make sure he fails, then no one on the right supports an individual mandate anymore.

Let's try and wrap up this in terms of AFP.   They adamantly oppose President Obama's Obamacare, while they support Mitt Romney and pretend that Romneycare does not exist.   They were for the individual before they were against it and now they are holding a rally on a foregone court decision touting the end of what they were for before they were against.


Confusing isnt it?   And they want to be taken seriously?

PS:  more on the Supreme Court ruling when it comes!

I am glad to admit that I was wrong!!   The Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare!  

The Supreme Court upheld President Obama's health care law today in a splintered, complex opinion that gives Obama a major election-year victory.

Basically. the justices said that the individual mandate -- the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine -- is constitutional as a tax.

Chief Justice John Roberts -- a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush -- provided the key vote to preserve the landmark health care law, which figures to be a major issue in Obama's re-election bid against Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

Complete ruling here!

The Walker Budget Keeps On Working! Part CXIX

Scott Walker's budget has caused such a recessionary effect on the state's economy that it's killing the Miracle Mile:
Ma & Pa’s Grocery Express, a longtime centerpiece of Fond du Lac’s Miracle Mile, is closing its doors.

The gas station and convenience store at 506 S. Main St. stopped pumping gas and selling lottery tickets on Wednesday, although the store itself remained open. Owner Mitch Miles told The Reporter that he anticipates closing the store portion and going out of business early next week, probably on Tuesday.

Miles said he did everything he could to keep the icon of the Miracle Mile alive, pouring everything he had into the business.

[...]

The store has a national reputation for being a lucky site for the lottery. Since 1994, it has sold about 30 big winning lottery tickets. Tourists were known to stop for tickets, and it wasn’t uncommon to see lines snaked around the store when the jackpot was high.

He recently made the painful decision to close. Miles said he has about 18 employees.
Tell me again how "It's working!" With people still losing jobs and businesses still closing left and right, I keep forgetting.

Walkergate: The Return Of The Universal Immunity Defense

The other day, I pointed out that there were upcoming attractions in regards to the criminal case against Kelly Rindfleisch.

Indeed, there's been a relative flurry of action going on in the case. As noted in the above link,the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office is seeking permission to introduce even more of Rindfleisch's emails to provide "necessary context" and "complete the story behind the workday contacts in the charged counts."

Meanwhile, Rindfleisch's attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, has again filed a motion to have the case dismissed. His motion is based on two things.

One, he is citing the theory of universal immunity, in that the immunity Rindfleisch was granted during the caucus scandals should transcend time and be inclusive for all criminal behaviors.  He's tried this before, and I didn't think much of it then:
The defense with the highest comical effect, although I'm sure it was not intentional, is the one that Rindfleisch's attorney is presenting.

The first attempt to was to try to get the case dismissed outright, stating that it was improper for the complaint to include testimony that Rindfleisch had given years ago during the caucus trials.  In other words, they were trying to argue that the immunity granted all that time ago was unlimited in time and scope - an universal immunity, if you will.

While I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the Internet, I find this laughable. The immunity that was granted was indeed to protect her from incriminating herself...for the caucus scandals. It was not meant to cover her for any other misdeeds she might do years later. 
The answer to this was already given in the DA's response to Tim Russell's motion to suppress evidence. Russell's attorney, Dennis Krueger, argued that the Walkergate investigation exceeded it's authority in its scope.  However, ADA Bruce Landgraf pointed out that the investigation followed the crime and that the investigation was under the auspices of an overseeing judge, in this case, the Honorable Neal P. Nettesheim.

Starting on the bottom of page 2 of the state's response:
The John Doe proceeding at issue here was commenced in May 2010. It was initiated pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes §968.26 (2009) That statute provides in relevant part:
(1) If a district attorney requests a judge to convene a proceeding to determine whether a crime has been committed in the court's jurisdiction, the judge shall convene a proceeding described under sub.(3)and shall subpoena and examine any witnesses the district attorney identifies.

***

(3) The extent to which the judge might proceed in an examination under sub.(1) or (2)is within the judge's discretion. The examination may be adjourned and may be secret...
The same would hold true for material evidence as well.

In other words, as long as the judge finds the request permissible, it will be allowed to happen. The only way that the DA would be able to ensure gathering all of the evidence is to collect all the emails for a specific time frame and then go through it.

A strong example would be from the Rindfleisch transcripts filed earlier this year. The email servers might not have thought a discussion of who was taking care of Rindfleisch's pets would be relevant to the case, but the DA's Office was able to use that to show that she was committing fraud by using the pretense of moving to Milwaukee County so that Walker could hire her to work in his office and do the campaign work he wanted her to do.

If I can see through Gimbel's arguments and rebut them, I'm sure that ADA Landgraf or whoever is handling this case will be able to do so with even more aplomb.

In summary, I don't think that Gimbel's gambit will work anymore than his failed attempt to have the venue changed to Columbia County.  But he is doing what he is supposed in offering the best defense he can for her.  It's not his fault that Rindfleisch was so blatant in her misdeeds that there is such a pile of evidence against her.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Prosser Fails To Recuse All His Colleagues

David "Chokehold" Prosser has asked each and every one of his fellow Justices to recuse themselves from any potential disciplinary hearing regarding his verbal abuse of Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and his vulgar physical attack against Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

Justice Patrick Crooks denied Prosser's motion and will be reading when and if the case gets that far:

I have given careful consideration to Justice David T. Prosser's motion for my recusal from participation in the judicial disciplinary proceedings against him, Case No. 2012AP566-J.  Initially, I concluded that this recusal motion was premature because the judicial discipline statutes, Wis. Stat. § 757.81 through § 757.99 (2009-10), do not require this court to act at this stage in the proceedings.  Nevertheless, I have decided that I now want to issue my decision on Justice Prosser's recusal motion.

I conclude that the legal rule known as the “Rule of Necessity,” as well as the duty to sit on cases, requires me to remain on this case.  After considering all of the arguments raised by Justice Prosser's recusal motion, I further conclude that Wis. Stat. § 757.19(2)(b) and (g), and SCR 60.04(4) do not require me to recuse in this matter.
I hear Prosser is all choked up about Crooks' ruling.

Republican Honesty

It is so rare that when it happens it needs to be applauded!   Both of these rare moments of candor happened this week and both have a Wisconsin interest to them.

The first happened in Pennsylvania, where Republican House Leader Mike Turzai (R-PA)put into words what everyone knew to be true any way.  The Voter ID laws spreading throughout the country are intended for one purpose, and one purpose only - suppress democratic voters.  

“We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years,” said Turzai in a speech to committee members Saturday. He mentioned the law among a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature.

“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

Yes Mitt Romney's it is not Mitt Romney's policies, ideas, charm, message that will win the state of Pennsylvania, it is their newest Voter ID law.   Isn't that special!  For those scoring at home, how many cases of Voter Fraud in Pennsylvania?   ZERO.ZERO!

The second case of republican honesty came from one of the places you would least expect it - Scott Walker! 

First off a little background, scott Walker was recently the subject of a recall and after $40 million dollars, in campaign advertising, he was able to retain his seat, after well over a million Wisconsinites voted to remove Mr. Walker, here is what he had to say in accepting victory.

A day after becoming the country's first governor to win a recall election, a triumphant Scott Walker told his Cabinet Wednesday to put their energy into creating jobs and said he was taking steps to improve bipartisanship.

"We're going to spend the remainder of this term focused like a laser beam on creating jobs," he said to the Cabinet.
Unfortunately for the people who actually live in Wisconsin, this was NOT the truth.  This was a flat out lie.  The truth came today in an interview that he gave POLITICO:   To Walkers credit there were a few truths.

The Wisconsin governor, who does not rule out running for president in 2016 after winning his June recall election, wants to help elect as many GOP candidates as possible in 2012. He’s told Mitt Romney’s campaign that he will travel anywhere the presidential candidate thinks he can help. Walker plans to forcefully fundraise for the Republican Governors Association, which spent around $15 million supporting his last two campaigns. And the governor sketched out plans during a Monday interview to support a batch of candidates this year in the Badger State.

So what is missing from that paragraph?  (Hint it starts with J and ends with OBS).   Walker who was going to focus on jobs like a laser beam will instead out putting Wisconsinites back to work on the backburner, while he travels the country  trying to get republicans elected (which is apparently more important than people in Wisconsin working.  As Capper says - but wait there's more:

“Certainly political capital-slash-celebrity attention, whatever you want to call it, certainly is part of the reason why I’ve been reaching out to CEOs,” he said. “There’s a lot of folks who probably would have taken a call from me before but are even more inclined now and are interested in what we’re doing because of all the attention.”

Yes not only has his ego grown tremendously, he thinks he can just call up any ole Koch if he wants.  

Finally he gets a chance to tell us exactly how he feels about helping create jobs here in WI (under scott walker we are dead last in the country in job creation), lets let him explain it as clear as can be:


“The nice thing in Wisconsin’s case is pretty much from now until the end of the year there is no legislative action,” Walker said. “Lawmakers don’t come back officially until January.”

Let's see they adjourned in April and are now done until January, yet they get paid a full time salary and cadillac benefits...at least this gives our legislature more time to complain about the high cost of teacher salaries, when they only work 9 months a year!  Yet again no J-O-B-S! 

To Summarize, a republican elected official let us know that Voter ID laws are BS and only in the books to suppress democratic voters and Scott Walker could not care less about Wisconsin and Wisconsinites he has bigger fish to fry!  

PS: GO read Capper's take on this also!!!








Walkergate: The Leak-Proof Investigation

For months, Scott Walker's apologists and other employees of the Koch Brothers/Bradley Foundation/Sam Adams Alliance have done their darnedest in an effort to impugn the good name of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and to smear the fine men and women in his office who work diligently to see that justice is served. They have accused them of all sorts of tawdry, and utterly false, transgressions ranging from having a bias to questioning their professionalism to committing the illegal act of violating secrecy orders by "leaking" information.

They have even gone so far as trying to smear the Honorable Neal P. Nettesheim, the judge who is presiding over the Walkergate investigation.

Things had gotten so far out of hand that some of the most prestigious names in Wisconsin legal circles - including, but not limited to, Retired Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, retired Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann and former Kenosha County District Attorney Robert Jambois - penned a letter condemning these false attacks and smear jobs.

But the attacks continued, not because the slanderers had valid points, but because they were - and still are - afraid that their shooting star, Scott Walker, is truly a corrupt bastard and will face the consequences of all of his illegal activities.

Every time a new piece of information came out, radio squawkers like Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner and Vicki McKenna would squawk about the "leaks" and saying that the investigation was "leaking like a sieve."  They never offered any proof to support their allegations of illegal conduct.  Instead, they relied on the axiom that if you tell a lie big enough and often enough, people will believe it.

After I wrote about the Russell Revelations, another round of accusations of leaks sprung up.

Let's take a look at these "leaks", shall we?

First of all, most of the information that has been reported comes from public records, like the number or criminal charges and other documents filed with the courts during the indictment and legal proceedings for the six people already charged and/or convicted.

But these are, by far, not the only sources of information.

From Marie Rohde's article on WisPolitics.com, we see that a lot of information came from Darlene Wink's attorney:

In response to Russell’s claim about the John Doe investigation being "not-so-secret," Landgraf also notes that while his office has been accused of leaking secret information, it was actually lawyers for defendants who contacted members of the media, at least once with Russell’s approval.

The motion also cites an email sent by John Hiller, Walker’s former campaign treasurer who headed up the guv's transition team in late 2010.

The motion reprints an email Hiller sent Walker on Sept. 26, 2010. In it he outlined a story that would appear the following Monday regarding the investigation. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Dan Bice, according to the email, said the story would focus on a railroad owner’s illegal campaign donations and was not a “blockbuster.”

Hiller said Bice also indicated that he got much of his information from Chris Weismueller, a lawyer representing Darlene Wink, a former county employee of Walker's who has pleaded guilty to doing campaign work on county time.

Bice said there was "nothing nefarious" in the sourcing for the story and that all of Weismueller's comments were on the record.

As for Hiller, Bice said Hiller contacted him after he called Walker for comment.
It's not surprising that Wesimueller would be talking.  He was between a rock and a hard place in trying to defend his client.  He took the approach of "Yeah, but look at what those guys did," in an effort to make his client appear innocence, or at least not as guilty as the other defendants.

We also see that Tim Russell's lawyers have been giving away information..  As I posted in the article about Russell's Revelations, one of his attorney's Michael Maistelman sent an email to squawk radio personality Charlie Sykes:



Rick Esenberg dismissed this email because Maistelman "heard" about some "gossip" that this was going to go down. (By the way, Mr. Esenberg, that bit of "gossip," as you quaintly put it, could have been a very educated guess based on my first article about Kelly Rindfleisch, which I wrote the day before the email and five days before Rindlfeisch and Wink were arrested.)

Again, that Maistelman would tweak Sykes about this should not be a surprise.  While Maistelman is a very competent attorney and represents clients from all over the political spectrum, he is also a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.  If he learned of something, say from a very popular liberal blog, he is going to naturally try to share that information with as many sources as possible.
John Chisholm
image courtesy of
Labor Press

We also need to keep in mind that, while there is a secrecy order associated with John Doe investigations, such as Walkergate, this only applies to the person's testimony, per se.  Since Maistelman never represented Wink or Rindfleisch, nor was present during their participation in the investigation, he is not bound by the secrecy order regarding them.

The real outrage with that aspect of the story is that Sykes continued to tell his fabricated and conflated complaints of there being so many "leaks."

And then there is Maistelman's colleague, Dennis Krueger. Krueger was the one that released the information, with Russell's permission, which showed that Walker was stonewalling the Walkergate investigation from the outset, refusing to release information to the DA's Office.

Krueger has a history of being overzealous in his cases, as evidenced in his participation in the criminal case against former Green Bay Packer tight end Mark Chmura:
Earlier in the day, Boyle tried to raise questions of misconduct when he questioned an assistant prosecutor.

Waukesha County Assistant District Attorney Dennis Krueger, who was removed from Chmura's case last month so he could testify as a witness, said that he moved parts of a defense exhibit and he has watched parts of other testimony on television in alleged violation of a court order.

"I am offended," Boyle told the judge, after a heated cross-examination. "I think it goes to his motive, his bias and his involvement."

Bucher told the judge that Krueger had done nothing wrong.

"Mr. Boyle feels he has the right to trash anyone's reputation in the defense of his client. He's playing for the cameras," Bucher said.

"Let's bring it down a notch, both of you," Gempeler said.

Krueger was a prosecutor assigned to Chmura's case, but Gempeler removed him from the team so that he could testify about a meeting with key defense witness Michael Kleber.

Krueger testified that he and Bucher never coerced Kleber, a high school football star who attended the post-prom party, to change his original statement.
However, one can hardly accuse Krueger of playing partisan politics with his release of information. After all, when Krueger made an unsuccessful run for Waukesha County District Attorney, his release announcing his filing of papers included an endorsement by - wait for it - Scott Walker.

As the gentle reader can clearly see, there have been no "leaks" from this investigation.  A lot of the information has been gathered from public documents such as the criminal charges, subsequent motions and the grants of immunity, which by law has to be made public. Much of the information also comes from the lawyers themselves, with the expressed permission of their clients, in an effort to try to manipulate the outcomes for their clients.  Finally, the rest of the information comes from common knowledge and good old-fashion investigative reporting.

The only leaks involved with theWalkergate investigation involves the ones in the arguments that there are any leaks in the first place.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Good, The Bad And The Truly Incredulous

Last night, I wrote about the facts revealed by two motions filed by Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf in regards to motions to dismiss and suppress charges against Tim Russell.

Today, the rest of the world caught up to the gentle reader and made their reports, with mixed results.

Marie Rohde, writing for WisPolitics.com, did a very able job in her report and covered all the basis. This is what a news article should look like.

Steve Schultze at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel didn't do nearly as well as Rohde with his original minimalist article.  He then beefed it up and made it better, probably due to Aunt Bee showing him up by linking to my post, but failed to do a lot of follow through questions regarding Sykes' knowledge of the source of the information.

Furthermore, there is this:

In another disclosure in Landgraf's court filing, a copy of a letter to Russell's lawyer is included that says Milwaukee County Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo gave a statement to prosecutors. Russell had sought that and numerous other documents from prosecutors to help prepare his defense. 
Sanfelippo said Tuesday that he was an Operation Freedom board member and that he had volunteered serving food at the event.
What Schultze doesn't report, and maybe isn't even aware of, is that Kelly Rindfleisch had been observed in Sanfelippo's office a number of times, discussing campaign issues and other political topics.  This is, of course, a very distinct no-no.  It is illegal to do political work in a government office.

Then there is Rick Esenberg, who takes money from the Bradley Foundation and works hand in hand with Citizens for a Responsible Government, and yet considers himself to be a credible resource. He takes his leave of absence from reality with this:

This would make him a recipient of a leak - not its source.  There is no evidence that that he was under any legal obligation not to pass it along. Who the initial source was - and whether there was a leak that violated a secrecy order - remains unknown. And that is the more critical question.
Nor does the e-mail establish that Sykes was being “hypocritical” for complaining of leaks from the Doe. To the contrary, it substantiated his complaints, even as it did not reveal the original source.
The September 26, 2010 e-mail from John HIller to then County Executive Walker is no more illuminating. Apparently Hiller found out that Dan Bice was writing a story, talked with him about the story and reported on the conversation to Walker. In the course of the e-mail, Hiller says that Bice told him that he got "much" of his "information" from one of Darlene Wink's attorneys who send him an e-mail defending her. But what that "information" was and whether revealing it would have violated a secrecy order is not revealed. (Indeed, if the lawyer had breached secrecy, he would have almost certainly asked Bice for confidentiality which he obviously did not. If he had, Bice would hardly have identified him to Hiller.)
I don't even know where to go with this. You can't argue against insanity.  Not only does Esenberg fabricate things, he totally misconstrues what is there and tries to make it fit into his own skewed sense of reality.  Then again, I have already pointed out that people have a hard time dealing with reality when it conflicts with their own ill-formed perceptions.  Esenberg has thrown full in with Walker and cannot accept the fact yet that he was wrong.

But I eagerly await Esenberg's essay on how photos of the Earth show that it's flat.

Walker Gets One Out Of Three Correct (Which Is Actually Good For Him)

Scott Walker did an interview for a rah-rah article on Politico.

Right off the bat, he gets one major thing wrong:
The Wisconsin governor, who does not rule out running for president in 2016 after winning his June recall election, wants to help elect as many GOP candidates as possible in 2012. He’s told Mitt Romney’s campaign that he will travel anywhere the presidential candidate thinks he can help. Walker plans to forcefully fundraise for the Republican Governors Association, which spent around $15 million supporting his last two campaigns. And the governor sketched out plans during a Monday interview to support a batch of candidates this year in the Badger State.

“I have not made any plans for the future, and my wife would kill me if I announced anything before that,” he said.

Asked about 2016, he added: “I’m not announcing for anything.”
Well, OK, I'll give him half credit for this. He's not ruling out running for president because John Doe will rule that out for him. Felons can't hold office.

And he's probably not making any plans because he doesn't know what will happen with the federal and state charges that are coming his way.

But on this one, I completely and utterly hope he is correct:
“I’d like now and into the future to play a bigger role not only in Wisconsin and the Midwest, but nationally,” he said. “I’d like to have an impact.”
Yes, indeed. Can you imagine how much fun it will be to have Walker tied in closely with Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and any other number of Republican politicians and causes when he gets arraigned and indicted for all of his illegal activities?

They'll be tripping over themselves to get away from Walker. Furthermore, all the national attention will come pouring in, but with a different point of view, and it will rapidly become self-evident that Walker's - and the Republican's - agenda isn't working as more people find themselves unemployed, underemployed and underpaid. As things continue to fall apart, and Walker is facing charges that will make Blago look like a saint, it could set the Republicans, and the powers behind them back by fifty years.

But Walker really, really tells his biggest lie of all time towards the end of the article (emphasis mine):
Walker stresses that his office initiated the investigation while he was still a county executive. He said he got upset when he saw Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, level criticisms that he says have been debunked during a post-recall appearance on CBS.

“They’ll repeat the same things over and over, no matter how many times they’re proven wrong,” Walker said. “It’s just one of those ridiculous things…Most people who comment on it don’t know anything about the particulars.”
Walker please.

Why Does Paul Ryan Incite So Much Violence?

In yet another example of republican thugs, we have another version. This time its more from the hate right radio along with an approval from Iowa republican congressman Tom Latham.

A quick set up, recently a group of nuns have been following Paul Ryan (R-Wall St.)  around , explaining what most of us already know, that the Paul Ryan Budget is immoral.   These nuns, known as nuns on the bus, have been some of the most visible.  They even recently made a stop in Janesville, WI telling the people of Ryan's own hometown, that what paul ryan is doing is neither moral nor Catholic Doctrine.  

As is typical, when someone speaks ill of Pink slip Paul Ryan, the right wing hate radio and right wing "think tanks"(term used loosely) like Heritage and cato hit the airwaves fighting back.   So it was no surprise when right wing hate radio shock jock Jan Mickelson from Iowa called for someone to "==tol whip the nuns". 

“There’s a bus full of nuns headed towards Washington to lobby against the Ryan plan,” radio host Jan Mickelson told Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) last week. “Do you guys, do you have any power to pull the nuns on the bus over and pistol whip them?

“They say he is evil, they say he is fake Catholic,” he added. “They’re the ones that threw the first punch.”

If anyone has spent five minutes listening to local hate talkers Vicki Mckenna or Charlie Sykes then you would NOT be surprised about this.   However what was interesting (and inexcusable) was that he  were talking to Iowa republican congressman Tom Latham, who got himself a good kick out of that one! 

Transcripts here:

MICKELSON: There’s a bus full of nuns headed towards Washington to lobby against
the Ryan plan. Do you guys, do you have any power to pull the “Nuns on the Bus” over and “pistol whip” them?

Republican Congressman Tom LATHAM: It’s always fun to be on your show. [Laughter]

Yes nothing funnier than pistol whipping a bus load of nuns.  God Bless.  

This on the heels of Oklahoma republican congressman John Sullivan  who recently advocated shooting democrats as the best way to pass paul ryans budget.  

As of today, Paul Ryan has not commented on either story and Congressmen Sullivan and Latham have yet to apologize.  

Here is their twitter feed contact information.

twitter :  @reppaulryan @tomlatham @USRepSullivan  

Let's fill up their twitter feed and let them know that these actions are UNacceptable. 




Walkergate: Upcoming Attractions!

Possibly more dirt coming out from the Kelly Rindfleisch trial?
Filed; -Motion to Introduce Other Acts Evidence Pursuant To Wis. Stat. 904.04(2) or Alternatively to Amend the Information to Include Uncharged Counts Alleged in Complaint; -Memorandum in To Introduce Other Acts Evidence Pursuant to Wis. Stat. 904.04(2) or Alternatively to Amend the Information to Include Uncharged Counts Alleged in Complaint; -Offer of Proof - Other Act Evidence.

Walkergate: The Russell Revelations

On January 5, 2012, in the dark hour of 6 am, Tim Russell, a long time aide, staffer and very close friend to Scott Walker, was arrested in his home and transported to the Milwaukee County Courthouse, where he was charged with embezzling money from a veterans fund and two different political campaigns.

Since that day, Russell has gone through at least three attorneys, the most recent being Dennis Krueger, an attorney at the Maistelman & Associates Law Firm.  Michael Maistelman has also represented him throughout the investigation as well.

Tim Russell, being always so
helpful to Scott Walker
About a month ago, as reported by Cory Liebmann, Attorney Krueger filed motions with the court asking that the criminal charges be summarily dismissed..  Krueger went on to say if the court would not dismiss the charges, the majority of the evidence should be suppressed.  The rationales that Krueger offered were, to be blunt, ridiculous.  Krueger complained of a supposed lack of a speedy trial, that the charges exceeded the scope of the John Doe process, and other such silliness.

At the time, I pointed out the ridiculousness of it all.

Recently, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf filed two motions to respond to those filed by Krueger.  Today, WisPolitics.com made them publicly available.  And they are doozies.

In his response to the motion to suppress the evidence, Landgraf does, in my opinion, a very able destruction of the defense's arguments.  He explains the process of a John Doe investigation as well as points out how the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office has gone above and beyond those standards to protect the integrity of the process as well as their case against Russell.

There are a few things to take away from this besides a better understanding of the John Doe process.

One is that when Walker had his Chief of Staff, Tom Nardelli, go to the DA, they cited Kevin Kavanaugh as the suspect (top of page 5).  It was only after the investigation started did Russell's alleged crimes come to light.  Call me conspiratorial, but I believe that there is a strong possibility that they tried to set up Kavanaugh as the fall guy, not realizing that the John Doe could take such leaps and bounds to ensnare them all in its investigation.

Another thing is that the Walkergate investigation has had its scope enlarged at least seven times, one for each new trail that came up during the investigation.  This is much larger than anyone might have thought.

The third thing, and perhaps the biggest from this document, can be found on page 12. Specifically, Russell is still being investigated for misconduct in office related to all of the illegal campaigning he was doing and directing others, like Darlene Wink, to do.

This is extremely significant when one considers the fact that it appears Russell is already running into financial problems stemming from the legal costs he has accrued and continues to accrue during the investigation and subsequent charging.  He most likely could not afford to defend against even more charges. This must be weighing heavily on his mind as he ponders trying to strike a plea agreement.

As interesting as the above-mentioned response is, Landgraf's response to the motion to dismiss is veritable gold mine producing some very large nuggets.

The first nugget comes on page 4, in which Attorney Krueger is offering the opening to reach some sort of plea deal:

click to embiggen


I have written a number of times already, and do so again now, that Russell would be a fool not to try to get a plea bargain.  The DA has a pretty solid case against him on the embezzlement charges and would have as close to a legal slam dunk as humanly possible if they were to charge him with a number of misconduct in office charges.  Furthermore, Walker has made it very clear that he is throwing Russell under the campaign bus and will not be giving him financial aid, much less a pardon.

Landgraf's motion also makes mention that they took six computers from Russell's home when they raided it, as well as more than 14,000 documents.  And that is before they found the Mystery Dumpster'O'Fun!  That would seem to be a tremendous amount of evidence for a judge or jury to ponder and would show what a strong case they have against Russell.  Again, I would refer Russell to the paragraph immediately above regarding the wisdom behind a plea deal.

I should point out that the plea deal might be out of reach for Russell now.  Landgraf has expressed that he feels that Krueger's motions put a large hindrance in any further progress in reaching an agreement.  Russell might be able to salvage something yet, but that would only be if he's got something that would be of real interest to the DA, such as being willing to testify against Scott Walker or someone even higher up on the political food chain, such as Reince Priebus.

I'm sure that the gentle reader has heard radio squawkers like Charlie Sykes or the propagandist groups like MacIver or Media Trackers, screeching endlessly about all the "leaks" in the investigation.  It was part of their ongoing campaign to try to discredit the DA and his office.

For Sykes, at least, it shows that there is no limit to his hypocrisy and dishonesty:

click to embiggen

Even though Sykes knew damn well that it was Walker's cronies and acolytes turning on him, Sykes continued to push the false line attacking and accusing the DA's Office of leaking information, all in order to defend Walker and his campaign during the recall.  A complaint really needs to be filed not only with the FCC, but with the GAB and possibly the DA as well for Sykes' and Journal Broadcasting's illegal campaign contributions.

But Sykes, the loathsome toad that he is, is not the biggest liar out there.  That honor belongs to --- wait for it ---  Scott Walker!  As I always say, when it comes to Scott Walker, there's more, there's always more.

On page 15, there is this rare double nugget:

click to embiggen

Despite Walker's repeated claims early on that he knew nothing but what he read in the paper, it is obvious that he was fully aware of what was happening in the John Doe long before the first charges were ever issued.  In fact, this email was sent almost two months before the 2010 election.  Hiller, who was still his campaign treasurer at that time, was filling him on the raid on Wink's home,  who the John Doe Judge was, that more subpoenas were about to be issued and that railroad tycoon William Gardner was about to be criminally charged.


This would explain the reports that I was hearing that Walker and his campaign were terrified that this information, as well as the raid on his own office on November 1- the very day before the election - would get out before he could be sworn into office and before he could set into motion his agenda to destroy the unions and pillage the state.

But there are also another interesting tidbit in that email from Hiller.

He points out that, even at these early stages of the investigation, that the FBI was involved.  While not absolutely confirming it, it does give credence to the reports that Walker might be facing federal charges in the relatively near future.

As a final point, the Landgraf responses show that Russell has been all over the place in regards to his defense strategy.  He's been through a number of attorneys and has repeatedly shown indecisiveness on how to proceed.  It is this indecisiveness that may have sabotaged any chance he had at reaching a plea bargain with the state.  This flies in the face of statements made by Walker apologists about some staff members being "overzealous" in their support of Walker and his campaign.

Russell, who was giving marching orders to Wink and others, was not a leader.  He was only relaying and following orders issued from someone above him.  Without having those directives now, he can't find his way out of a brown paper bag.

And I believe we all can figure out who was the person giving those orders.

The (Republican) Goonies - 2012 Version

WPR recently came out with a study stating that members of Congress speak at a level befitting a Sophomore in High School (A drop off of a full grade level in the last 6 years(hello "tea party")).

Woodall is part of the large freshman class that came into Congress in 2010 — many of them backed by the Tea Party movement. Sunlight's Drutman says this infusion of new members looks to be part of the reason for the overall grade-level decline.

"Particularly among the newest members of Congress, as you move out from the center and toward either end of the political spectrum, the grade level goes down, and that pattern is particularly pronounced on the right," he says.

Of the 10 members speaking at the lowest grade level, all but two are freshmen, and every one is a Republican.

Then Bill Maher, in one of his best "new rules" segments, started out with a 14 year old right wing talk show host and had this to say about the current republican party:

 "I'm not trying to slam these kids, because being an asshole is totally understandable when you're fourteen," Maher says. "But my point is to Republican adults. When 14-year old boys sound exactly like you do... maybe you should rethink the shit that's coming out of your mouth."

Full Segment here:




So like The Goonies of the 1980's,  the current republican party are like a bunch of uneducated teenagers who got a treasure map(their elected seats) and are doing their best to cash in!!  

Despicable.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Paul Ryan Wants to be VP!!!

We told you about the retreat this past weekend where potential VP candidates met and interviewed with the billionaires who are running the republican party.   Now we find out Paul Ryan wants to be Vice President so badly, he attempted to bribe his way in. 


A federal fundraising account associated with Ryan gave Romney’s campaign $10,000 in late May, according to a recent report filed with campaign finance regulators.The political action committee established by Ryan, known as the Prosperity PAC, made the dual $5,000 donations on May 29.

We will see if Mr. Fiscal Conservative Paul Ryan (R- Wall St.) made a good investment or if he threw away his PAC  money the way he has made a career of throwing away our tax money!

Eric Hovde - Dumb Ass!

Washington DC resident and Wisconsin Senate hopeful Eric Hovde, had a busy week last week.  First he whined about too many stories in the press about the poor, then he lied about what he said, then he fundraised off of what he said then he semi apologized about what he said finally he let everyone know it didnt matter what he said because he was a true American hero.   Lots to pack in one week. 

Unfortunately for the people of Wisconsin, there was no tipping point when it came to Hovde's dumb remarks.   He felt the need to trump them at the end of the week.  Is Hovde just an intellectual light weight fraud or is he just attempting to court the far right extreme voters and knows the crazier he sounds the better he does?

 These remarks came from Friday, during his "I did not really mean sob story tour".  Try and keep up, he tends to talk in circles.  

First he pulls his best Joe McCarthy and calls Tammy Baldwin a communist:

 "I fundamentally disagree with Tammy on almost everything. She has a more liberal voting record than almost anybody in Congress," he told The Hill in a recent interview. "Her philosophy has its roots in Marxism, communism, socialism, extreme liberalism — she calls it progressivism — versus mine, which is rooted in free-market conservatism."

Ignoring the fact that Marxism, communism, socialism, extreme liberalism and progressivism are all completely different ideologies, it seems that is a bit too complicated for Hovde.   He then goes on to give a very honest self assessment:

 "I frankly keep being amazed by the lack of maturity and lack of intelligence of those in the political world," he said, ripping politicians and the media(and talking about himself).
Not dizzy enough from this conversation, Hovde kept the conversation spinning, first he starts out telling us yet again what a hero to the underprivileged that he is:

 "You’re talking about a guy who’s had a [charity] foundation for 14-plus years, who has built homeless shelters around the globe, founded food pantries, meals on wheels. ... Anyone who wants to criticize me for being insensitive to the poor, I’ll put my record up against any Arianna Huffingtons'."

Hovde's campaign released on Wednesday a challenge to debate Huffington on who'd done more for charitable causes. He's given more than $10 million to charitable causes in recent years.
Of course Hovde nor his campaign "want" to talk about it*(unless he is giving interviews to anyone who will listen, giving speeches or if he could possibly debate anyone who will about how much he gives to charity).

  "I pray and hope they bring this up because it’ll drag them into a discussion I’d love to have. I don’t go out and talk about my charity because as a person of faith I don’t think I need to go out and promote that stuff.
Another thing is do NOT mess with him or he will beat you up, he lifts weights!! 

"I’m 6 foot three, weigh 225 and have been lifting and taking martial arts my whole life."
Hovde also apparently loves the taste of his own foot as everytime he opens his mouth he keeps inserting it, however that has yet to stop him, here is explaining why he lives in Washington DC, apparently because Mr. family values stole another man's wife:

 if not for his step-daughter, would have moved back long ago."Her father’s in D.C. and would never stand for us moving," he said.
 Finally on a follow up to their story, The Hill points out that the Hovde campaign took issue with the headline.   You be the judge:

From the Hovde campaign:

 "It is a misleading headline," said a Hovde spokesman. "Eric never called her a Communist. He was characterizing her liberal philosophy and vision which, if you look at her dismal record in Congress, is pretty accurate."
 Once more the quote:

"I fundamentally disagree with Tammy on almost everything. She has a more liberal voting record than almost anybody in Congress," he told The Hill in a recent interview. "Her philosophy has its roots in Marxism, communism, socialism, extreme liberalism — she calls it progressivism — versus mine, which is rooted in free-market conservatism."

Once more Eric hovde didnt say what we know he said but because he looked bad he did not say it.....that is all we need is one more no nothing representative who refuses to ever take personal responsibility for anything that they do!  

Once again....throw Tammy Baldwin some money and support since she is the only adult running in this race!!!!   











Republican Voters - Do What You Are Told!

Mitt Romney is and you should also!    The republican party had a weekend retreat in Utah where they got their biggest donors together with potential VP picks.  

Here is a picture of Mitt being shuttled in to the weekend meetings as a prop:


The purpose of the meeting was for the multi-billionaires and "bundlers" to decide who they wanted Mit to pick as his Vice Presidential running mate.

The three-day retreat in Park City - a town that boasts top-notch ski slopes and plays host to the Sundance Film Festival each year - brought together a crowd estimated at more than 700 people for socializing, issue panels and a campaign briefing by top Romney aides.

David Reinke, a donor from western Colorado, described the retreat as "quite comfortable and invigorating."
"I've found everybody to be quite approachable in and in quite high spirits," he said. A number of donors echoed the excitement and confidence among campaign staff and contributors that the election was going well.

Donors paid for their own flights to the area as well as their hotels, said Larry Conti, the guest of a top Romney contributor who asked not to be named.

After policy meetings and a reception at the nearby Utah Olympic Park on Friday, participants rose early Saturday morning for a speech by Arizona Sen. John McCain, who ran for president in 2008; a panel on "Innovation in America" featuring Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, Sen. John Thune, Rep. Paul Ryan and Home Depot founder and financier Ken Langone; a "media insight" discussion that included operatives Karl Rove and Mary Matalin; and a campaign briefing with Romney's top aides. On Sunday, the group is scheduled for a golf outing in nearby Heber City.

A weekend retreat in private, with a bunch of multi billionaires telling the elected republican officials exactly where what and how they will be running the presidential election and what the policies they must push are.  Sounds like a typical weekend for Paul Ryan (R- Wall St.).   Janesville and the first district of Wisconsin,  has never held paul's weekend interest, unless it is to march in a parade pretending he cares yet showing contempt to any who would talk to him




 
Do not pretend, that you(if your donations are under $500,000) that you have ever had any hand in policy making for the republican party. For that matter neither does Mitt.  he has so desperately wanted to be president for so long, and they sure tried to run someone else but could not find anyone who was not insane, to beat him.     

Secondly, notice who was missing from the VP cattle call weekend.   Guys like Marco Rubio, Allen West, Michelle Bachman, etc... In a blatant diss of the far right "tea party" they did not invite any of the far right, ethically challenged loons, the master of the republican arty did not want these crazy bundlers and inherited billionaires to " fall in love" with one of the crazies and paint themselves into a corner.   They figured it is better to give them a list of people they can choose from instead of running a crazy like Sarah Palin that scares the voters of this country!

Stay tuned more fun to follow and let us hope they pick Paul Ryan!   


The Hypocrisy of Sheriff David Clarke

David Clarke loves to go on talk radio and trash other elected officials and civic leaders about their "lack" of taking personal responsibility.  He also loves to go to teahadist rallies touting smaller government and cutting spending.

But while Clarke likes to talk the talk, he doesn't like to walk the walk.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bob Donovan: Boot Licker, Admitted Failure

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan is a blogger fodder machine.  He just can't keep his mouth shut and ends up putting his foot squarely into it.

His latest reaffirmation of this fact is a press release regarding the controversial reporting by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which appears to be on a witch hunt for Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn.

In said release, Donovan says the following:
First, I was somewhat taken aback by the negative comments directed toward the Journal Sentinel by some of my colleagues. I find myself in somewhat uncharted waters defending the Journal Sentinel, but what’s right is right. I shouldn’t have to point out that had it not been for the Journal Sentinel’s investigation, we would not have been sitting there yesterday in the first place discussing admitted failures, errors, and shortcomings of our crime reporting procedures. On the other hand, the Journal Sentinel has been criticized for not doing a thorough enough investigation – yet the only way that can be accomplished is by gaining access to the very information they’ve been denied.

Because we seem to be up to our necks in the discussion of audits – from the police department to the Fire and Police Commission to the Comptroller to the FBI – please allow me to comment first on the FBI audit. Until very recently, I was not aware of this audit, and quite frankly I am having difficulty finding anyone who was aware of it. It seems to have been Milwaukee’s best kept secret. Yet in the Chief’s own testimony he requested it almost two years ago. Yet to the best of my knowledge, no public mention of concerns (which must have existed) regarding the validity of crime reports (which led to the audit request) was ever brought forward. In my mind, there are still questions that remain as to the scope and intensity of this audit. Since it’s been described as a periodic audit encompassing more than several jurisdictions, one can easily assume it is of a more cursory nature.
In the first paragraph, he's trying to curry favor by undercutting his fellow aldermen and alderwomen, who called out the corporate media for their false reporting. This in itself isn't surprising since Donovan is a media hound who loves to hear the sound of his own voice.  The conservative paper loves to give him attention since he espouses the same values they're trying to promote.

The irony is that while Donovan is whining about the not knowing about the internal audit that Chief Flynn had asked for two years ago, he fails to mention that until this past spring, he was the Chair of the Public Safety Committee.  Which again makes one wonder what he was doing all that time - sleeping?


Coggs Building Reopens Monday

From Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele:
The Milwaukee County Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center, 1220 W. Vliet St, will be open on Monday, June 25, 2012.

Employees should report at their normal hours and clients are welcome to return. The doors on Vliet street and the rear employee entrance will not be open. The public and employees should use the entrance on 13th street to enter the building and exit through the doors on 12th and 13th streets.

The building was closed for three days last week while crews cleaned up smoke and soot from a large fire at a nearby building. Milwaukee County Risk Management has been on site since the beginning, monitoring the clean-up. Tests show the building is safe and ready to reopen.

If any employees believe they are experiencing health related issues as a result of this incident, please seek medical attention with the medical provider of your choice and report this to your manager.
If you have business at the Coggs Building, please be careful. The clean up from the smoke damage might be done, but the clean up from the water damage will take weeks or even months. There will be a lot of mess and debris, so watch your step.

Meanwhile, At MCF

Just a reminder, especially for readers from the Milwaukee County area, I've been getting back to addressing issues over at Milwaukee County First.

This past few days, we've looked at:

Abele playing games with residency rules

That the county is willing to throw working men and women under the bus so developers can make their millions.  It's almost like Walker never left!

And budgetary déjà vu  - cut services and gouge the workers, claim a surplus, then claim a deficit for the next year so you can  cut more services and gouge the workers again.

Are You A Fascist?

Gee, this certainly describes a certain governor we all know and dislike:
2. You believe in the rule of the few, election rigging, political decisions being made by a select group of officials behind closed doors, embrace the informal and unregulated exercise of political power, arbitrary deprivation of civil liberties, and little tolerance for meaningful opposition.

4. You use the media as a political propaganda machine to target a specific audience and to push your agenda on others. You make sure the media demonizes your opponents and takes your side on nearly every issue. You use your propaganda machine to play on the fears of others.

6. You are driven to indoctrinate others into your way of thinking. So much so, that you try to re-write history, change the way school children are taught and you brainwash the ignorant. You use your propaganda machine as a tool to achieve this.

7. You fear and demonize intelligent people who have a higher education because they are the ones who can thwart your effort to brainwash people. You then attempt to prevent others from achieving a higher education because you want the people as ignorant as possible so you can convince them that your way is the right way.

9. You disrespect women and think their place is in the home. You believe women are weak and cannot do things that men do. You believe that sexual harassment or assault is no big deal and that the only thing women are good for is cooking meals and having babies.

10. You strongly align yourself with corporations and you support corporate money and influence in government. You despise government regulations that keep corporations honest because you believe everything should be controlled by the free market and that corporations should be allowed to do whatever they please.

13. You absolutely despise unions. To you and those like you, labor unions represent the empowerment of workers. Since you believe corporations can do whatever they want, you see organized labor as a threat because they fight for higher wages, health care, safety regulations, less hours, vacations, sick days, and holidays off. This obviously threatens the amount of money corporations can give to you and your cause so you brand unions as proponents of socialism and make laws that severely weaken them so that corporations can have a cheap, mindless labor force.

14. You are obsessed with crime and a major supporter of punishing those who commit crimes. So much so, that you don’t care about the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ You are proud of executing people and aren’t bothered if an innocent person is killed. You seek to make harsher laws, especially laws that target specific groups of people such as immigrants, women, and people of color. You also oppose Miranda rights and using humane interrogation tactics and you seek to undermine the independent judiciary.

15. You believe every election should go your way and to reach that goal, you push voting laws that disenfranchise those who traditionally vote for opponents such as people of color, the elderly, college students, and the poor. You even stoop to fixing elections in some cases and complain when your opponents challenge the vote counts.

16. You believe in rewarding your friends with positions when you gain power and you reward those who support you with government contracts and money, especially corporations. You also do your best to aid your supporters in any way you can, such as repealing undesirable pieces of legislation and regulations. You often have something to gain financially from this.

17. You create scapegoats to blame when problems arise. Whether it’s communists, liberals, minorities, homosexuals, the poor, or non-Christians, one thing is for certain. You and your propaganda tool will blame each and every one of those groups for bad things that happen even if you were the cause of the problems in the first place.
He becomes more like Nixon every time you look at him.