Wednesday, June 21, 2017

American Exceptionalism?

By Jeff Simpson



For those of us old enough to remember 1994, Attorney General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, was forced to resign by Bill Clinton, for answering the following question honestly:

In 1994, she was invited to speak at a United Nations conference on AIDS. She was asked whether it would be appropriate to promote masturbation as a means of preventing young people from engaging in riskier forms of sexual activity, and she replied, "I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught."[citation needed] This remark caused great controversy and resulted in Elders losing the support of the White House. White House chief of staff Leon Panettaremarked, "There have been too many areas where the President does not agree with her views. This is just one too many."[1] In December 1994, Dr. Elders was forced to resign by President Clinton.[1][13][14] 
The honest answer, that people masturbate as part of their sexuality, was too much for the folks in Washington D.C. to handle!  Apparently they were not aware of Cyndi Lauper ten years earlier!

Fast forward now to present day, and it appears there is nothing that can be said by a politician that anyone seems to care about.   Well a Republican politician anyway.

In an era where we elected a pussy grabbing, philandering, reality tv "star" as President, we have lowered the bar so low, that it is impossible to get under it.

We have GOP Congressman, accusing a former President of being a serial killer, others in the GOP giddy over a GOP Congressman getting shot, an elected GOP rep, sent a letter to the boss of one of his detractors in an effort to punish her for criticizing him, that poor children in schools  be forced to weep floors to earn lunch, believes men should not have to pay for prenatal care, says that single mothers are a form of child abuse,  a 300 lb white Congressman complained that Michelle Obama's butt was too big,  a GOP candidate beat up a reporter the night before an election and not only won, but people all over the country sent him hundreds of thousands, you get the idea....

In a special election in Georgia, GOP Karen Handel, let us know that she thinks it should be illegal for LGBTQ people to adopt children.



American exceptionalism?   Is this the best we can do? Is this who we are?  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kim Jong-Kittle!

By Jeff Simpson

In a tragic story this week, University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who was recently a political prisoner in North Korea, was released to his parents custody.  The tragedy though, was when he was released, he was brain dead and was released so his parents could watch him die.

He was returned to the US last Tuesday, with North Korea saying it was on humanitarian grounds.
North Korea said he had been in a coma for a year after contracting botulism but his family say he was subjected to "awful torturous mistreatment".
A team of US doctors have also disputed North Korea's version of events.   

What was the reason that Mr. Wambier was in prison to begin with in North Korea?  Was he CIA? a Spy?  What crime could Mr. Warmbier, have committed against the totalitarian,crazy dictatorship of North Korea that would lead to torture?

 Otto Warmbier, 22, was serving 15 years hard labour, accused of attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.

Mr, Warmbier, grabbed a poster off a wall, to take home and display in his dorm room.  That "crime" turned out to be punishable by death.

Then I realized that this story sounded familiar.  I remembered the story of April Smith. April Smith is a Milwaukee area teacher, who in the summer, at a county fair, after a couple drinks, ripped up a Scott Walker (propaganda) sign.

While it is just a piece of cardboard, she was (probabky rightly so) given a disorderly conduct ticket.  Which basically amounts too, you should not have done that, pay us some money and let's all move on.

Well for our right wing friends, that was not enough.    Local "media member" Matt Kittle, following along the lines of  Kim Jong-un, had decided that a simple ticket was not enough,.   Mr. Kittle wanted blood.  Kittle, working for right wing blog watchdog,org at the time, wrote no less than 7 columns, over three years, to make sure that Ms. Smith paid the ultimate price.  

Kittle put so much pressure on, that Ms. Smith actually was suspended from her job(which had nothing to do with her actions), for months while this incident was "investigated" .  I would equate it to 15 years of hard labour but being a kindergarten teacher was harder labour than anyone in the system could sentence her too.  

However the mental and fiscal torture on Ms. Smith, was very real.

Luckily, after a considerable amount of time, with Ms. Smith on paid leave, she was reinstated.  

A quick note, where is Matt Kittle now?  After Watchdog canned him  he took advantage of Wingnut welfare and is now working for MacIver "news" service!  

Apparently, being ideologically aligned with Kim Jong-un was appealing to Brett Healy!  

Is this really the society we want to live in?

One where our so called media works hard to make sure anyone who would disagree with a far right wing agenda would be punished and punished severely.



Monday, June 19, 2017

He's In! Randy Bryce To Take On And Take Out Lyin' Ryan!



Well, we did it, my friends!

We called upon Randy Bryce to step up and serve his country one more time by running to repeal and replace Lyin' Ryan, and he heard us.

Not only did he hear us, he heeded our words and has entered the race!

It will be the hard hat versus the silk stockings, the working man against the corporate puppet.

If one goes to Randy's website and read his bio, the gentle reader will see what I have been saying is true. He's a strong advocate for veterans, for kids and for the working class.

But let me tell you two personal stories on why I support Randy.

I have known Randy for years and have gotten to know him fairly well. We both were delegates to the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and we were both fortunate enough to have served on the executive board of that esteemed group.

A banquet hall/restaurant in Milwaukee, Serb Hall, was famous for their Friday fish fries. The Labor Council would hold their monthly meetings there because it was also a union shop.

Five years ago, they went through a management change and the new management was most definitely anti-union. They were bound and determined to bust the union there, no matter how many labor laws they had to violate in doing so.

Randy and I then came up with one of the most unique ways ever heard of to take a stand for our union brothers and sisters that worked there. Instead of what one might have expected, we did not hold protests outside the building. We did not carry picket signs or yelled chants.

Instead, we encouraged people to go to Serb Hall every Friday for the fish fry. But when they did, we asked people to ask for a table served by union waitstaff. Every Friday for months and months, Randy was there to support his brothers and sisters. And every Friday, when he went to pay his bill, he would make sure to write on the bill that it was paid for with union dollars in support of union workers.

But that is who Randy is in a nutshell. He is a generous, giving man who doesn't hesitate to take any action needed to fight for what is right, regardless of what union or even if it's not union related.

Then, two years ago, my father passed away after a long illness. The problem was that my dad was a hoarder and we faced a daunting, Herculean task of cleaning the house out. This task was made even more challenging by the fact that I had broke my arm on the first day of cleaning. Randy did not hesitate to drive the 25 miles from his house to my dad's and help us work on cleaning the house out.

Again, that is who Randy is. And that is exactly the kind of person we need in Washington, DC, to represent us. Someone who will listen, someone who genuinely cares, and someone who will not rest until the job is done.

And that is why I am proud as hell to support Randy and endorse him for Congress.

If you wish to follow Randy in the social media, you can follow him on Twitter at @IronStache or on Facebook at his official page.

If you are able and willing to support Randy financially, his donation page can be found here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Paul Ryan's Vulnerability Grows, As Does The Republicans'



Lyin' Paul Ryan's popularity continues to fall into a sinkhole.

There's RyanCare (or Trumpcare, if you prefer) in which 24 million people will be put in harm's way so that Ryan can give huge tax breaks to the already filthy rich. He wants to give away the nation's natural resources for fun and profit, the environment be damned! He's waging war against women, minorities, workers - well, basically anyone and everyone who isn't a rich, white man that donates generously to him.

Then he refuses to meet with the people he is supposed to be representing. He doesn't hold town halls, he doesn't accept phone calls and he ignores emails. Even worse, he unconstitutionally denies even allowing the people to air their grievances by refusing to accept petitions.

And now, we see that 300 good paying jobs are being lost to Canada has Ryan and the other Republicans had their little political tantrum over the Export/Import Bank. As they shut the bank down for five months, Canada swept in and stole GE and all those jobs.

According to a poll done last month by Public Policy Polling, Ryan has only a 43% approval rating and a 51% disapproval rating. More significantly, Ryan is losing by two points to "Someone New." by a 48-46 score.

As Ryan continues to snuggle up to Trump, you can safely bet his numbers will continue to drop like a rock.

That is why it is so important that we are successful in drafting Randy Bryce to take him on.

In an opinion piece, Alan Talaga makes an interesting speculation about a possible Bryce - Ryan match up:
The combination of a good Democratic challenger, national voting trends and the increased exposure of the speakership add up to spell trouble for Ryan. Bryce doesn’t even need a lot of financial support from the national Democratic Party to get his campaign started. Bryce will be able to raise money by focusing on small, online donations.

[...]

That’s a drop in the bucket compared to what it will take to battle the sitting speaker. But it shows how eager people are to unseat Ryan. They are willing to throw a Subaru’s worth toward a candidate with no chance. If Bryce can show that he’s a viable candidate, he’ll be able to raise small funds from a nationwide coalition of those who see Ryan as a spineless lackey willing to put our democracy in peril in order to slash the social safety net.

While Bryce’s candidacy doesn’t have to cost Democrats much, it could end up costing the Republicans a lot. Ryan is an incredibly effective fundraiser for his party. That’s largely because he hasn’t had to worry about campaigning in his own district. If Bryce can get close to Ryan in the polls, it forces Ryan to spend time in the 1st District shoring up support. Every time Ryan has to attend a pancake breakfast in Elkhorn or a rally in Beloit, it hurts Republican efforts to hold on to their House majority.

Similarly, firing up Democratic voters in the 1st to come out against Ryan could reverberate throughout the state. The vast majority of new voters who come out to support Bryce will vote for Governor Walker’s challenger and to re-elect U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. As we’ve seen time and again in Wisconsin, a handful of voters can make a seismic impact on election results.

Like I said, we've been working hard to draft Randy to take on this daunting task.

The good news is that sources tell me that an announcement will be coming real soon. Better yet, it looks like Randy has heard our collective voice and will get in it. This alone already has Ryan and the right wing corporate media getting their undies in a bundle:
House Speaker Paul Ryan, for the first time since entering Congress, may next year face a Democratic opponent who has a professionally managed campaign and the prospect of significant financial backing.

Randy Bryce, a local labor activist, is preparing a campaign launch in the coming weeks to challenge the Wisconsin House seat and has enlisted staff members including Bill Hyers, a Barack Obama alumnus who ran upset campaigns for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.).

In an interview, Mr. Bryce said he would seek to tether Mr. Ryan to President Donald Trump and argue that their effort to dismantle large parts of the Affordable Care Act has hurt working people in the district.

“They’re handcuffed together,” Mr. Bryce said. “People are having buyer’s remorse and they’re seeing what’s going on. Trump made a lot of promises that I can see why working people would support, but now they’re waking up.”
Get your checkbooks and credit cards ready, gently readers. Those of us in Wisconsin, make sure you have some comfortable shoes. It looks like if we are going to finally get rid of Lyin' Ryan, after 18 years of him feeding at the government trough, we are all going to work together to get it done.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Clarke Declines Job That Was Never Offered



One month ago, David Clarke made the big announcement that he had accepted a job with Trump's Department of Homeland Security and would leave Milwaukee once and for all by the end of June. However, Homeland Security was quick to state that no such announcement was made:
As time grew on, speculation that Clarke was never offered the job grew. On Friday, three days after Clarke met with Trump's staff to grovel for the position, Homeland Security repeated themselves:
But when Clarke put out the news of his appointment on his own last month, it quickly drew a rebuke in an agency tweet that said "no such announcement" had been made. Agency spokeswoman Jenny Burke repeated the language of the tweet almost word for word Friday.

"The position mentioned is a secretarial appointment. Such senior positions are announced by the department when made official by the secretary," Burke said in an email. "No such announcement with regard to the Office of Partnership and Engagement has been made."
:Late Saturday, the Washington Post broke the news that Clarke has turned down the job he was never officially offered:

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke has withdrawn his name from consideration for an assistant secretary position at the Department of Homeland Security, an adviser to Clarke confirmed to The Washington Post on Saturday.
"Late Friday, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. formally notified Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly that he had rescinded his acceptance of the agency’s offer to join DHS as an assistant secretary," said Craig Peterson, an adviser to Clarke. "Sheriff Clarke is 100 percent committed to the success of President Trump and believes his skills could be better utilized to promote the president’s agenda in a more aggressive role."

[...]

"The sheriff is reviewing options inside and outside of government," Peterson said. "Sheriff Clarke told Secretary Kelly he is very appreciative of the tremendous opportunity the secretary was offering, and expressed his support for the secretary and the agency."
I would take that to mean that Clarke is now putting his hope on getting a paid gig at Fox News and/or becoming a professional speaker at right wing nut job events.

If that falls through as well, Clarke is up for reelection next year, although he has yet to announce whether he will or not. But Clarke is probably kissing all the ass he can at Fox News because he has dwindling chances at being reelected.

Clarke's approval rating in Milwaukee has dropped all the way down to 31%. Adding to his misery is that he has lost a lot of his dark money supporters, both in Wisconsin and across the country, due to his fanatical Trumpism.

On top of that, Clarke would be facing a formidable opponent, Earnell Lucas. Lucas used to be a ranking officer with the Milwaukee Police Department before becoming the Supervisor of Security for Major League Baseball. (Except for the Cubbies winning the pennant last year, there's been no acts of terror at a baseball game.) Lucas is already receiving a lot of support from Democrats and independents.

In the meantime, please say a prayer for us in Milwaukee. We're gonna need all the help we can get.

Milwaukee - Sixth Worst City In The Nation



It may take a village to raise a child but it takes only three corporate stooges to ruin a city.

According to a new report, Milwaukee is ranked as the sixth worst city to live in in the nation:
6. Milwaukee. According to 247wallst.com, the area has a population of 600,154 people, a poverty rate of nearly 27 percent and median home value of $114,000.
This is not surprising.

First we have Scott Walker and his fellow Republican meat puppets that have been passing just about every anti-Milwaukee piece of legislation they can think of. They are doing everything that they can to keep the poor - especially the minorities - in financial slavery. This leads to the high crime rates and high poverty levels.

Then we have Boss Abele, Milwaukee County Executioner, who is too busy giving away all of the county's assets to actually do anything to help the poor. You see, in Abele's myopic world view, helping multibillionaires from New York build a plutocratic playground and building an ivory tower on the lakefront is much more important and requires all of his concentration. He doesn't have time to do trivial things, like finding someone to head the Office on African American Affairs.

Then we have Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett is a very nice and personable fellow and sometimes, as a city leader, he even gets something right. But his concentration is improperly focused on building a streetcar downtown as opposed to helping the other 599,000 Milwaukeeans.

 Making the streetcar appear even more of a folly is that the fact that Barrett, Abele and their apologists are saying we need it for all the millennials living and working downtown - even though millennials are fleeing the city because they are too worried about arenas and street cars to do anything about the lack of good paying jobs. If anything, it seems that the extreme right wingers like Walker and Abele are doing everything they can to make sure jobs don't come here and we lose the ones we do have.

For the umpteenth time, we need to put the people first by creating good paying jobs and improving education by doing away with charter schools and giving it back to the kids.  If we can get these issues on the upswing, crime and other social woes will drop like Trump's approval ratings.  Furthermore, there would be more than enough money for their dalliances.  But if we don't, well, we are the sixth worst city already.

Republican Hypocrisy On Parade


For many long years, we got to see Republicans and their supporters show their true nature - being bullies.  There are countless pictures of them hanging President Barack Obama in effigy. There have been all the baseless accusations against Hillary Clinton and chants to "Lock her up!" There have been intimidation and smear tactics against your average citizens that dared to ask questions or tell truth to power. The list goes on and on.

One of the poster children for this bullying is Greg Gianforte, a Republican in Montana, who didn't like a question a reporter was asking. So Gianforte picked the reporter up and body slammed him to the ground.

Gianforte then told lie after lie, denying and then minimizing, the incident.  He went on to win the special election he was running in.

Even now, Gianforte is fighting a judge's order that he be booked like the criminal he is, afraid that political opponents might use his mugshot against him.

Then this past week, the unthinkable happened to the Republicans.  An idiot (legally) got his hands on some guns and went on a shooting spree in Arlington, hitting five people, including fellow Republican Representative Steve Scalise.

So how did the Republicans and their irresponsible rhetoric, laws and behaviors act?  Did they pass responsible gun control laws?  Did they apologize for all of the behaviors they helped provoke against women, against minorities, against Muslims and against the left?

HELL NO!

Instead of acting like mature adults, they reaffirmed their bully personalities by now and only now saying that there needs to be more civility in political discourse.

Let's look at Macho Man Gianforte now:
But he is eager to put the episode behind him, and he is now adding his voice to the growing chorus calling for better political discourse.

Gianforte said there is an obligation for members of Congress to ratchet down the vitriol in politics, especially after this week’s shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise during a Republican congressional baseball practice by a man who volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ Democratic presidential campaign.

“I believe that good things can come out of bad,” he said. “It’s important to make sure we reach out to all parties and hear their voice. I think the other parties have an obligation, as well, to be respectful and in that dialogue.”
The hypocrisy! It burns!

It is unsurprising though.  This is what bullies do.

So the next questions is how long will this new found call for civility last?

Answer: It has already ended.

Republicans are still eager to push through Ryancare, which will harm more than 24 million people.  This is not the behavior of a civilized group.  It is the behavior of a bunch of petty, hypocritical, hate-filled bullies.

People, we can - we must! - do better than this.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jesse Kremer Needs An Intervention

By Jeff Simpson 



Poor Jesse Kremer, he just keeps talking and talking and talking.   Kremer has spent his time in the Wisconsin Assembly on taxpayer dollars focusing on where kids in high school pee.  told us that there was no racism in the United States until President Obama was elected, and blamed Hollywood and the media for the shooting of a Congressman yesterday.  

Kremer continued his crazy recently, by telling us it is a fact that the earth is only 6000 years old.   As if those things were not all indicative of someone who needs an intervention, yesterday, Mr,. Kremer posted this on his Facebook page:

Jesse for Wisconsin: Mark Dawson God created the world, God will take it away, you and I will go to heaven or hell... yes, God can make a donkey talk.
June 9 at 7:57am
Umm Jesse you might want to sit down for this one.  

It was actually Eddie Murphy that made the Donkey talk and it was made possible by Dreamworks.   


Seriously I hope that Jesse Kremer's loved ones intervene and get him the help he so clearly needs!  




Trump Stumps For A Chump On Taxpayers' Dime



Even though Scott Walker and Donald Trump displayed a lot of animosity towards each other in the presidential campaign, Trump came to Wisconsin on Tuesday to help Walker in a fundraiser for his gubernatorial bid in 2018. As the gentle reader might imagine, it was not an event aimed at the common working person:



It is reported that Walker raised $1 million from the event but you could never tell that by listening to Trump:
Trump told guests the event raised $1.5 million for Walker’s next gubernatorial campaign in 2018, according to one attendee. However, that figure was not confirmed.

“That sounded high and seemed to grow throughout the night,” the source said. “It was definitely over a million.”
But don't worry, Trump didn't spend a dime of his own money to come for the event. Instead, he stuck taxpayers with the bill by making it an "official visit" by stopping at the Waukesha County Technical College to promote a job training program.

Odd thing about that is that has been one of Walker's major talking points for years, claiming that it would create all these good paying jobs. However, despite all of Walker's crowing about this plan, 2016 was the worst year for job creation as long as Walker has been governor:
Wisconsin added just 11,590 private sector jobs in 2016, good for a growth rate of 0.5 percent according to data released Friday by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Those numbers mark the slowest job growth of any year since Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) took office, and is based on data that comes from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).

Gov. Walker has referred to the QCEW numbers as the most accurate data available in the past, because it is based on survey of 96 percent of all employers in the state.

Contributing to the slower growth in 2016 was a decline in manufacturing jobs. Wisconsin suffered a loss of 3,776 jobs in the state's second-largest industry.
On top of that, the average salary had dropped another 0.6%, shrinking the middle class even further. Walker tried to explain it all away by blaming the workers, claiming that they are all unqualified. In reality, many workers are qualified for the jobs, but don't want to do them for a fraction of the going market wages.

Trump also bragged that Wisconsin may soon see bigly news as a "major manufacturer of electronics was considering opening a plant in Wisconsin. Good news, right?

Not so much in reality (emphasis mine):
A Taiwanese company that assembles Apple’s iPhones and other electronics is considering building a plant in Wisconsin that could employ thousands of people and give Gov. Scott Walker a huge political boost as he prepares to run for re-election.

A person with direct knowledge of the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the state is in talks with Foxconn. At least one other upper Midwest state, Michigan, is also pursuing the plant.

President Donald Trump alluded to negotiations with an unspecified company during a visit to Milwaukee on Tuesday, saying Walker might get “a very happy surprise very soon.” Trump said “we were negotiating with a major, major incredible manufacturer of phones and computers and televisions.”

Foxconn assembles smartphones and other devices for Apple, Sony, Blackberry and other brands — mostly in China, where its plants employ about 1 million people. It has been the subject of complaints for years about its labor practices and worker suicides at plants in China that manufacture Apple products.
They sound nice. Who wouldn't want a job that will drive you to suicide?

I wonder if, at some time during the day, Walker and Trump had a chance for a nice chat about how to deal with major investigations into their corruption and how to legalize said corruption?

One other point that stood out about the day. Sheriff David Clarke, who was one of Trump's loudest supporters and who claimed to be taking a job in Trump's Homeland Security (even though it's never been confirmed) was no where to be seen during the day. Even Clarke's twitter account was oddly silent for the last two days? Could it be that Clarke's big mouth cost him the job offer and now his fee fees are hurt? Or could it be that Clarke was just lying his ass off all along? Or did Walker and/or Trump tell him not to bother showing up? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Will Wisconsin's Future Children Receive an Equal Education?



Progress with the state budget is at a standoff in the Capitol. Behind closed doors, leaders are talking details and trying to find votes.

Openly, legislative leaders point to a lack of agreement on public education. They say no progress can happen until they round up necessary votes for the education portion of the budget. Privately, some GOP lawmakers are also angling to spend money on a big change to business personal property taxes. However, changes to taxes could take away money promised to schools.

Image result for public education in wisconsinEducation is the largest part of the general fund budget (the portion of our budget paid for with mostly income and sales tax). Local school funding is made up of a combination of state aid and local property taxes. The two sources of money interact a bit like a teeter-totter – as one source drops (state aid), the other source goes up (property taxes). For example, property taxes go up school districts pass referenda to fund needs left unserved by declining state aid.

Wisconsin pays for schools through an Equalized Aid formula, which is meant to equalize resources to children no matter where they live in the state. The idea of equal opportunity for children regardless of their zip code is deeply rooted in our state. Principles enshrined in Wisconsin’s Constitution include public education as a state function that is free with reasonable equality of education opportunities for all children and without excessive reliance on property taxes. Lawmakers must grapple with meeting those principles.

Under the Governor’s proposal, school funding through equalized aid would be lower in the 2018-19 school year than it was thirteen years prior. The effect of these decisions will intensify the inequalities schoolchildren across Wisconsin face.

Lawmakers admit the state’s way of funding schools is broken. Nevertheless, legislative leaders appear poised to ignore the need to change the formula. Instead, Governor Walker’s budget proposal increases state money to local schools but allocates that aid outside the funding formula. Thus, the wealthy suburban districts get the same amount of new money per student as the poor rural or inner city districts. The Governor also proposed adding to property tax credits, which lowers property taxes in a way that benefits wealthier districts.

Recently, Assembly Republicans released their own education-funding plan that lowers the Governor’s aid proposal and eliminates any increases in Sparsity Aid, which is targeted at rural schools.

Wisconsin is changing and these changes are reflected in our schoolchildren’s needs. Child poverty is rising. In a recent ten-year period, poverty (measured by the federal definition of eligibility for free and reduced lunch) more than doubled. The number of students with special education and multi-lingual needs also increased. In addition, rising property values, declining enrollment and low income in rural areas combine to create a crisis for rural schools.

These realities make the argument for changes in our equalized aid formula. State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers recognized these needs years ago and proposed new ways to pay for schools. State legislative leaders rejected these changes and instead expanded state funded private school programs.

Current school funding proposals add up to a future that is increasingly unequal. Lawmakers must address the real problems facing today’s children and teachers. We must ask the hard questions that underlie decisions about money and schools. Should a child, born into a poor family, an inner-city neighborhood or a rural country home, or born with a special need face fewer opportunities in his or her public school?

More money in tax credits and the failure to acknowledge the changing needs of our students creates a more unequal experience for children around our state. This problem is solvable. But the path majority lawmakers appear to be following takes us deeper into the woods of inequity.

Hanging in the balance is the answer to the question; will future children across the state receive an equal education?


(A big thanks to Russ Kava, senior analyst with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and his colleagues for their recent papers related to school budget decisions. This column used many details from their work. The conclusions are mine).

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trump Tower In Trumptown

By Jeff Simpson



The incredible hold, The Donald has on his followers is awe-inspiring.   As he say, he can shoot someone on 5th avenue and not lose a single fan(except maybe the person he shoots).


We know he mocked a disabled reporter, but we see why he did not lose any support for that, because he mocks his own supporters blind faith, and they eat it up.

"Thank you sir, May I have another" takes on a whole new meaning.  While we were worried that America was entering a new Gilded Age, the reality is we are now knee deep in the midst of the John Blutarsky age!

How are we raising children and citizens, to not question someone who brags that they can commit murder and not lose a single voter?   Could the "Strict Constitutionalists" not be so strict and  so Constitutional after all?

It is not like we are following The Donald blindly because of his strong faith, since he does not even know what his faith is.

From behind his desk on the 26th floor, Trump faced the Celtic cross at the top of the steeple of Johnston's church, located a block south on Fifth Avenue. When Johnston pointed it out to Trump, the President-elect responded by marveling at the thick glass on the windows of his office -- bulletproof panels installed after the election.
It was clear that Trump was still preoccupied with his November victory, and pleased with his performance with one constituency in particular.
"I did very, very well with evangelicals in the polls," Trump interjected in the middle of the conversation -- previously unreported comments that were described to me by both pastors.
They gently reminded Trump that neither of them was an evangelical.
"Well, what are you then?" Trump asked.
They explained they were mainline Protestants, the same Christian tradition in which Trump, a self-described Presbyterian, was raised and claims membership. Like many mainline pastors, they told the President-elect, they lead diverse congregations.
Trump nodded along, then posed another question to the two men: "But you're all Christians?"
"Yes, we're all Christians."
Yet when at his rallies, he asks for loyalty pledges, his followers are very willing to oblige.

Nein!

They not only oblige they completely degrade themselves in the process!


It amazes me that, in the year 2016, people were so upset that we had an African American president that they would compromise their values, and what our Country was founded on to make the White House, white again.

But wait! There is more!

It is not bad enough that rallies filled with hundreds of white people pledge their allegiance to Hair Trump, but his whole Cabinet, in their first Cabinet meeting, completely disparaged themselves!

The point of a Cabinet meeting under normal circumstances is to catch up on what is going on in the country and work on solutions to problems.   The point of a Trump cabinet meeting is to pledge loyalty and tell him how amazing he is!  

Truth is scarier than fiction!

The person at the front of the line was, The Donald's Chief of Staff,  Wisconsin's own Reince Priebus!



Apparently Reince Priebus is doing performance art, and recreating the Robert Downey character of Julian from Less than Zero.


To be fair, addiction can be a very hard thing to overcome!

My only advice to Reince is, when he sees Steve Bannon buying Flavor-Aid in bulk, stay away!  The aftertaste is deadly!

To all of our "tea party" friends on the right, please never speak again of your Love of our country and Patriotic tendencies!  




Monday, June 12, 2017

Former GOP Rep Bob Inglis Calls Out Lyin' Ryan



Lyin' Paul Ryan has made it abundantly clear that there isn't anything Trump could do that would make him take a stand against him. The latest example is the fact that Ryan has said that he would not consider impeaching Trump for obstructing justice. To dig himself even deeper into the hole, Ryan tried to rationalize his indefensible stands by lying, of course, claiming they wouldn't impeach a Democratic president for doing the same thing. Never mind that they did try to oust Bill Clinton for lying about a blow job and countless hours investigation Hillary Clinton over nothing.

That was too much for former Representative Bob Ingils (R-S.C.) who called Ryan out on his lies and for putting ideology and party before the country:
Former GOP Rep. Bob Inglis (S.C.) says that Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) claim that Republicans wouldn't be examining impeachment proceedings against a Democratic commander in chief accused of the same things as President Trump “isn’t true.”

A few Democrats — though none in leadership — have said Trump should be impeached over his handling of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but have met with Republican opposition to such a course of action. Ryan has said his caucus still wouldn't be pursuing impeachment the situation were reversed.

“You know this isn’t true,” Inglis tweeted at Ryan alongside The Hill’s article about Ryan’s remarks. “You know they would be inquiring into impeachment if this were a D.”
Of course Ryan doesn't want to get rid of Trump. Trump is a useful patsy for Ryan. As Ryan gets as close as he's ever been to achieving his lifelong goals of gutting Medicare and Social Security, extreme poor shaming and even more massive tax cuts for the rich, he needs Trump to sign off on them and then take the fall for them.

But all is not lost. If we can put the pressure on Ryan with the upcoming elections, we may stave him long enough to be able to repeal and replace Ryan. And the person who can do that is Randy Bryce, but he needs to hear from all of us to encourage him to take on the task of defeating Ryan and doing the heavy lifting of working to start repairing and rebuilding this country. (Who better to get for rebuilding a nation than one that knows how to build great things, like an Ironworker?) Please show your support to draft Randy Bryce by going to the Facebook page or letting him know via Twitter at @IronStache.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dear GOP, It’s Not Working

By Chris Taylor 


MADISON – Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel released the following article, “Job creation slowed sharply in Wisconsin in 2016, raising questions and worries” outlining the latest jaw-dropping data on the decline of wages and jobs in Wisconsin in 2016.  Disturbing trends from the latest data include an overall decrease in private sector wages in Wisconsin, with manufacturing wages plunging 5.3%, in addition to Wisconsin having the worst job creation performance since the 2008-09 recession.  Wisconsin has consistently lagged behind the national average in terms of manufacturing job growth, sitting at 1.4 percent, compared to 2.1 percent nationally.
 
In 2011, Governor Walker and legislative Republicans enacted the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit (MAC), the largest corporate tax giveaway in Wisconsin history that does not require the creation of one single job and allows companies to outsource jobs while still receiving a tax windfall.  Under the MAC, 88 percent of the multimillion dollar giveaway goes to people making more than $500,000, with 11 multi-millionaires making more than $30 million each receiving nearly $22 million in tax funds. MAC has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than originally promised by GOP lawmakers and is expected to cost $654 million over the next two years.

“Sadly, this most recent data, considered the ‘gold standard’ for evaluating job creation, demonstrates what we have known all along – MAC does not work.  Large conservative special interest groups like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce will tell you otherwise, but it’s because their large corporate clients stand to make millions, if not billions, from this tax giveaway.  Look at the data – it doesn’t lie.  Millionaires don’t have to create one single job and can outsource jobs and still get millions,” Taylor commented. 

Earlier this year, Taylor joined over half of her Assembly Democratic colleagues in introducing progressive tax reform legislation that provides substantial, targeted tax relief to middle class families and ensures that millionaires and big corporations pay their fair share.  The proposed tax cut is specifically targeted to individuals making less than $60,000/year and families making less than $100,000/year.  The proposal includes the elimination of MAC.

“Millionaires and corporate CEO’s aren’t better than the rest of us and it’s time my Republican colleagues stopped mistreating Wisconsin families.  We deserve better.  This legislation has been sitting in the Ways and Means Committee for the last two months and given these job and wage numbers – now is the time for this legislation to receive a public hearing,” Taylor concluded.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

We Must Create an Economy that Works for Everyone

By Chris Taylor



Tax breaks for the most wealthy continue to be the Republican Party’s central economic plan.  TrumpCare contains $600 billion in tax cuts for America’s wealthiest.  Speaker Vos and the Assembly Republican Caucus recently introduced a transportation proposal that would institute a flat income tax in Wisconsin, cutting taxes for millionaires by 50 percent. 

Wisconsin Republicans slipped the biggest corporate tax giveaway in Wisconsin’s history, the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit (MAC), into the 2011-2013 budget at the very last minute.  Designed to nearly eliminate state tax responsibility of manufacturers and big agricultural producers, the MAC is projected to cost $654 million over the next two years.  However, businesses don’t have to create one job to get it, and, in fact, they can outsource jobs and still claim this credit. 

No surprise, the MAC largely benefits Wisconsin’s wealthy, with 88 percent of this money going to individuals making more than $500,000 annually.  Eleven multi-millionaires who make more than $30 million each, will receive $22 million in tax breaks.  Despite initial promises of a modest tax cut, in the first seven years since is enactment, MAC has cost Wisconsin taxpayers $805 million dollars more than they originally promised and with less than optimal results.

Despite the massive wage infusion this tax gives to the most-wealthy, it isn’t trickling down to bump up the wages of most working people.  Just last week, we learned that overall, private sector wage growth has decreased, with manufacturing wages plunging 5.3 percent. And despite the full implementation of this giveaway, Wisconsin still lost 3,777 manufacturing jobs between 2015 and 2016 and had the worst job creation performance since the recession in 2008-2009.   

Earlier this year, I joined several of my Democratic colleagues in introducing a middle class tax cut proposal, Assembly Bill 200.  This bill puts money into the pockets of working people most hard hit with declining wages by focusing tax relief on  individuals making between $12,000 and $60,000/year and families making between $20,000 and $100,000/year.  A family of four earning $45,000 would receive $607 in additional income.  This is especially needed given, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, middle income people spend the greatest percentage of their income in local and state tax payments.  And a Pew Charitable Trust study found that the number of Wisconsin middle income families is declining faster than any state in the nation.

We pay for this investment in Wisconsin’s middle class by eliminating MAC and creating a fifth tax bracket for individuals earning more than $500,000 and couples making more than $1 million.  It probably is no surprise that this group pays the lowest percentage of their income in local and state taxes.

Our proposal reflects the opinions of the majority of Americans who believe that large corporations and wealthy families should have to pay their fair share.


The MAC is a prime example of Republican policy makers ignoring the need to invest in the working families of our state who are suffering from declining wages.  Until most working people receive a bump up in wages, our economy will only work for those at the top.  What we really should be creating is an economy that works for everyone. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

RyanCare = Pay More, Get Less

Chris Taylor 



MADISON – With nearly 23 million people on the verge of losing health insurance and Republican leadership invisible and unavailable to the public, members of the Women’s Health Workgroup are holding a health care town hall meeting in Speaker Ryan’s home district later today.  Members of the Workgroup, composed of Democrats in the Assembly and Senate, will be traveling to Kenosha to meet with the same residents that Paul Ryan seems to forget he represents, and to talk about the uncertainty of health care in Wisconsin and the real challenges Wisconsin families are facing.

  
“Everywhere I go in Kenosha, I continuously hear from my constituents about the unavailability and inaccessibility of our Republican elected leaders.  From ‘invite-only’ events to staged press conferences –Wisconsin’s Republican leadership does not seem interested in hearing from the people they are elected to represent,” Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha) said.

  
The GOP’s health plan, which contains fat tax breaks for the wealthy and opens the door to families losing commonsense protections like pre-existing health condition coverage, would eliminate health insurance for thousands of people in Speaker Ryan’s district.  Under RyanCare, millions of Americans will be paying more in health care to get less in coverage.


“Our Republican federal officials are fast-tracking sweeping changes to our health care system without the vetting and thought that should be given to policy that has life and death impacts on Wisconsin families.  Families are scared and they should be.  One in four Wisconsinites have a pre-existing health condition – will it continue to be covered under their health insurance? Wisconsin families deserve better than this uncertainty,” said State Senator and Women’s Health Workgroup Co-Chair LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee).


“Let’s be clear, while our Republican federal delegation is failing Wisconsin families, Governor Walker, Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald, are playing the same games.  We have an opportunity at the state level to step up to the plate and be the adults in the room while Congress sits in gridlock.  Sadly, we’ve just seen more of the same partisanship and playing politics instead of working to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for Wisconsin’s families,” State Representative and Women’s Health Workgroup Co-Chair Chris Taylor (D-Madison) said.


The town hall will also highlight the disproportionate impacts being felt by women under Speaker Ryan’s health care bill.  This comes on the heels of years of legislation passed in Wisconsin by Walker and legislative Republicans to insert themselves into the exam room with women and their physicians during very personal and private health care decisions.







Office of Representative Chris Taylor

PO Box 8953

Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-5342

Twitter.com/christaylorwi


Facebook.com/representative.taylor

Presidential Tea and Mr. Sprinkles

By Jeff Simpson

One thing we have known, especially us here in Wisconsin, is that Republicans have an incessant NEED to be in power but have no real interest in actually governing.  

In Wisconsin, we have a first hand seat to that with our Governor who loves being in charge, but will do anything to not have to be in Wisconsin and actually govern.  

I continue to be amazed, why we as a society, allow our politicians to do this.  Then we elected The Donald and he turned this abhorrent behavior up to an 11.

The Donald's campaign promise of "so much winning" has failed pretty much from the first second he took office. It is starting to take a toll on The Donald.  He was able to sign a record number of executive orders as he first took office. For those of you scoring at home, when an African American man signs an executive order it is UnConsititutional and when a Republican signs one it is cause for celebration.

However, the executive orders have slowed down and now he wants to sign major legislation.  The problem is, the GOP do not want to pass major legislation and send it to him.   Take AHCA for example.,  They needed to pass it through the house, where the furthest right and most reactionary members are to appease their base.   Then it goes to the Senate but no way will Senators take access to healthcare away from 24 million people so that bill will never see the President's Donald's desk.

In lieu of signing actual bills, the Donald needs an ego stroke so he does the next best thing.  Signs fake bills.   The guy who whines about #fakenews, actually set up a fake bill signing so he could get his ego stroked.

Donald Trump, a fan of spectacles and spotlights, has a habit of signing executive orders that don’t actually do anything. The president likes to appear before cameras and give the appearance of work, but in nearly every instance, Trump’s “accomplishments” are little more than political theater.
Yesterday, however, offered a rather extreme example of the phenomenon. The president announced his support for privatizing America’s system of air-traffic control, and as the New York Times reported, the decision was accompanied by a rather ridiculous White House display.
At an East Room event that was choreographed like the elaborate ceremonies for enacting major legislation, Mr. Trump signed a memo and letter to Congress outlining his principles for overhauling the nation’s air traffic control system. He handed out pens to lawmakers who had been invited to attend, and reveled in several rounds of applause.
But Mr. Trump’s announcement did not have any binding effect….

The "leader of the free world" three months into his presidency, has to hold fake bill signings so he can have a bunch of members of his own party applaud him.    To make matters worse, there is a room full of white Republicans more than willing to stroke his ego for this sham of a photo op.    To make it even worse, there is "lyin" Ted Cruz, whose wife was attacked by the Donald in the primary, standing there with the biggest grin of all!  

The Donald even gave out commemorative pens for this fake occasion.

If this does not give you pause to be scared a little for the future of our country, then you do not understand history.  

Everyone in this photo should be ashamed!  

The Donald is becoming a fake President by pulling childish stunts like this!  

Just to correct the record, CogDis is still efforting to see if The Donald's good friends - Mr. Sprinkles and Foofy Woogums were in attendance for this event, or if tea was served!