Saturday, February 28, 2015

Scott Walker's ISIS moment; he just got his first uncomfortable but well deserved belly laugh.

The nation is getting to see the real Scott Walker. His neatly managed media friends and overly rehearsed memorized talking points that played so well in the state, are now playing second fiddle to Walker's massive ego trip into presidential politics. 

While low information voters don't hear the dictatorial authoritarian leanings spilling out of Walker's mouth daily, others have found it to be a gold mine for humorous parody. One of the most surprising came from the conservative Journal Sentinel editorial board the other day. You can read that below the cartoon here, that may have hit a little too close to home when it comes to Walker's foreign policy thinking:

























I was going to offer up an excerpt of the Journal Sentinel's David Haynes piece, but was all too good to pass up:
I already feel safer knowing that Gov. Scott Walker might soon be in charge of tracking down ISIS. As the governor bragged Thursday to the Conservative Political Action Conference"I want a commander-in-chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threats from radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up on American soil. We need a leader with that kind of confidence. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world."

Indeed. The governor has all but conquered a host of Wisconsin acronyms — AFSCME, WEAC, IBEW, UAW and MTEA. Why not ISIS?

And he won't have to concern himself with loud protesters — not over there. No First Amendment. No free speech. No right to assemble. Walker's experience in Wisconsin is more transferrable to the world stage than it might at first appear. As the governor has shown, if you want to defeat an enemy, you must first...Take away his right to collectively bargain.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of ISIS, meet Marty Beil, head of the once-powerful Wisconsin State Employees Union.

Walker has stood against Big Government in Wisconsin, a quality that plays well in the fight against ISIS. The citizens of the Islamic State have gotten used to the absence of services and a safety net; they'll certainly never miss a high-speed train or a federal match for Medicaid.

As he regains territory lost to the Islamic State group, Walker can cut property taxes, offer generous tax credits for political supporters and "return tax dollars to the hardworking people" of Syria and Iraq.

We may be about to learn if supply side economics works when there is no supply.

Walker also can apply the clever ministrations of "divide and conquer" — a political strategy as old as the cradle of civilization itself. In Wisconsin, Walker targeted most public employee unions during the Act 10 fight four years ago but left alone the unions that supported him.

In the Levant, he could cut deals with other terrorist groups — let them keep their Cadillac health care benefits as long as they donate to the Wisconsin Club for Growth and back the efforts of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce to open the region to mining. (If the neocons had been a bit more clever, they would have nixed George W. Bush's disastrous Iraq plan 12 years ago and put the Wisconsin Club for Growth or WMC in charge. No laws against a campaign coordinating with an outside group over there. And no one has ever heard of "John Doe.")

Other Walker initiatives could be cut-and-pasted from Badgerland to ISIS-controlled territories: Once in charge, Walker could impress the importance of one person, one vote. No more purple fingers. State-issued IDs for all. And no voting on weekends.

Of course, some Walker-like initiatives already are in place in areas controlled by the Islamic State. Concealed carry, for example, the "castle doctrine" and big cuts in aid to local schools, governments and universities.

But I'll bet they've never thought of offering voucher schools for all, or asking the few remaining, cowering professors to "teach one more class."

So look out, ISIS, Scott Walker is coming for you. And he's bringing his own version of The Wisconsin Idea.


Jobs Plan Failure again: Walker's big bet on Mining...Gone!!!

One of Scott Walker's major jobs plans hinged on the iron Ore mine in northern Wisconsin. The debate was brutal:
jsonoline: The Wisconsin Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy organization, (said this about) Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) for his efforts to alter proposed mining regulations: "Let’s get straight to the point: If the opportunity for iron mining, more than a billion dollars in private-sector investment, and thousands of quality jobs in mining, manufacturing, and ancillary businesses that would last for decades, go swirling down the drain in Wisconsin, you can chalk up the entire fiasco to the efforts of one man: State Senator Dale W. Schultz, R (for RINO), Richland Center."Schultz retired, and can't be blamed this time, or anytime. 
But like everything else Walker touches, those jobs never materialized either. Excuse my mixed metaphors, but Walker's pathetic batting average has resulted in a few Hail Mary passes that include right-to-work and doing away with prevailing wages.

And when Gogebic Taconite mining lobbyist Bob Seitz left to become executive assistant on the Public Service Commission, we kind of knew something was terribly wrong.
Gogebic Taconite said Friday afternoon that it was closing its office in Hurley after concluding that the expanse of wetlands at the site made the prospects of constructing a massive iron ore mine unfeasible. "We are not pounding the final nail in the coffin," said Bill Williams, president of the company. "But we don't want to leave false hopes with people up here."
Goodbye to those wildly inaccurate predictions... 
...700 mining jobs ... spinoff employment of more than 2,800, according to the company's economic estimates. 
Even G-Tac couldn't ignore the obvious:
Williams said the forested hillside that runs along Highway 77 contained far more wetlands than the company had anticipated. That posed major problems because wetlands generally must be avoided. 

"But there is probably still a subculture at the DNR, for lack of a better word, that is green," Williams said.
Yuck, "green." Or at least that's the impression I got from the governors office:
Walker's spokeswoman, Laurel Patrick, said in a statement: "It's unfortunate that the federal requirements for mitigating wetlands make it cost-prohibitive for Gogebic.
Yea, too bad Walker isn't president...uh oh.

Video: Republican Sen. Fitzgerald admits RTW will lower wages, not raise them as claimed.

Let's say I was surprised, even impressed that the press core asked all the right questions for once. Unfortunately, it's moments like the one below that end up on the cutting room floor so to speak.

Spotlighting the failure of supply side economics pushed by Scott Walker and the plundering pirates under the Capitol dome - business tax cuts, tort reform, deregulation - reporters focused on Sen. Scott Fitzgerald's word salad avoidance of clearly admitting right-to-work and repeal of the prevailing wage rules will lower wages, period. That will save money, all the while taking money out of peoples pockets and the general revenue fund.

The video is an example of what happens when Republicans have to answer an actual followup question, and another, and another, instead of changing the subject. We get the truth:
February 25, 2015 - Immediately after the Wisconsin State Senate passed SB 44, a so-called Right-to-Work bill, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald held a press conference. When arguing for the bill on the floor Fitzgerald claimed that the bill would open the door to more job creation, but at the press conference he admitted that the effects would be to depress wages and "take pressure off the transportation fund."
How long will we be living out this delusional ideology?



Intentional Deception: There are times when I think Republicans just don't know enough about an issue to manage it well or provide a solution. There are also times I think they're just lazy, and don't want to work. After watching Fitzgerald answer the reporters questions? It's all a grand deception!

Killing Consumer Demand and Jobs: This negatively impacts consumer demand, reduces take home pay, and lowers discretionary spending. It doesn't just lower our standard of living even more, but cuts general revenue, resulting in more spending cuts in the future.

Did you ever live down the street from the stinkiest family in the neighborhood? I did, but I didn't have to move in with them. Well, it looks like that option is off the table now.

Walker is taking Wisconsin away from us!!!

This downward spiral, where we see spending cuts that never seems to catch up to the losses in revenue, is turning Wisconsin into something I don’t even recognize anymore. Sadly, this seemingly endless slide still hasn’t caught the attention of conservative voters statewide.

Wisconsin’s supposed problem with high taxes and excessive spending is only true if you think living in Texas, Mississippi or Arkansas would be nirvana; while other states offer choices that would make any conservative orgasm, Walkerites would much rather take the state away from the rest of us. Seriously, who does that?

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau came right out and said so too, when they warned that even with the massive cuts to the UW, state parks, DNR scientists, etc., spending is still up, meaning more cuts are on the way:
Gov. Scott Walker's $68.4 billion budget proposal would … increase state spending over the next two fiscal years, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Under the governor's proposal, general-fund spending would increase by 3.2 percent, while overall spending from all funding sources would decrease by 2.4 percent in the 2015-17 biennium.
Expect the same draconian cuts in the next biennial budget. I'll be honest, this time around I didn't they they had anything left to cut, and wow, was I wrong.

On a positive note, I also love it when articles allow for guys like me to embed their interactive graphs in our own blog posts. Here's the LFB's analysis:

Walker gets media cover for ISIS=Wisconsin Protesters comparison, but only briefly.

John Dickerson, Slate's chief political correspondent, took the word of Scott Walker’s campaign spinners, and threw up another media wall of protection for our Teflon governor.
Walker said he was taken out of context, and he was. This is reductionist and it’s a logical fallacy, but it’s not a comparison. The logical fallacy is that strength in one category can be transferred to another. Walker was arguing that since he had done one hard thing, he could offer the same internal strength to do another hard thing. 
Yikes, just when we thought everybody else and Gov. Rick Perry finally got it right, the media offered Walker a way out.

Not so Fast: But thanks to University of Wisconsin’s own Joan Walsh, at Salon, the media appeasers got it wrong again:
It turns out CPAC wasn’t the first time Walker has tried his “standing up to unions means I can whip ISIS” line. He made a similar argument at the New York event where Rudy Giuliani upstaged him by claiming President Obama doesn’t love America. 

According to Larry Kudlow, an event co-sponsor:
"Walker argued that when Reagan fired the PATCO air-traffic controllers over their illegal strike, he was sending a message of toughness to Democrats and unions at home as well as our Soviet enemies abroad. Similarly, Walker believes his stance against unions in Wisconsin would be a signal of toughness to Islamic jihadists and Russia’s Vladimir Putin."
If Kudlow is correct, that undermines Walker’s claim that he was merely citing the protests as an example of a “difficult situation” he’s faced. He thinks somehow ISIS in Iraq and Syria will be cowed by his battles on the steps of the Capitol in Madison.

Walker is already complaining that this is another “gotcha” moment . As Digby reminds us, the Urban Dictionary aptly defines a “gotcha” question as one Sarah Palin is too dumb to answer. Claiming fighting protesters prepared you to fight ISIS when asked about fighting terror? That’s an answer even Palin might have been too smart to give.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Media false equivalency; Walker's ISIS comparison to protesting Wisconsinites not the same as a simple sign at rally.

Scott Walker won't apologize for insulting protesting Wisconsinites and comparing them to ISIS, that's for sure.

So the media instead is insinuating the union leaders should apologize for a random accusatory sign seen at protest rallies, like calling Walker a terrorist. Sorry, not buying it.

A random individuals opinion on a sign does not compare to Walker. He likened protesters, Wisconsinites exercising their 1st Amendment rights, to ISIS.

Since when does a protesters, with no power, apologize to a guy who could crush him like an ant and make his life a living hell (he's already doing that).

It's almost surreal watching the media pressure those getting trampled by Scott Walker to apologize. They absolutely mad!!!

The Journal Sentinel's Patrick Marley's whole article titled "Terrorist rhetoric has emerged before among Walker, adversaries" made the following point:
Betsy Kippers, president of the teachers union Wisconsin Education Association Council, also decried Walker's remark. "It's disgusting that Governor Walker would compare everyday heroes — educators — to international terrorists," her statement said. "It shows the depths he will sink to in order to promote his own self-interest."

But the roles have at times been reversed. About 2,000 people showed up at the Capitol on Wednesday … Yon Yonsen … quietly stood near the Senate chamber for hours holding a giant photo of Walker that was labeled "Domestic Terrorist.
The roles can never be reversed. A regular citizen is not equal to a governor. WKOW's Greg Neumann suggested the same thing at the end of this clip:


Governor Walker himself has been compared to terrorists and even Adolf Hitler by union protesters in the past. 27 news asked the union leader who appeared with Yackel Friday if she should denounce those actions as well. “We have never done that - nor will we ever. Thank you,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, with Wisconsin AFL-CIO.

To be clear, Bloomingdale was saying her union never brought those signs, but she also refused to answer whether she would denounce those actions by others.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Scott Walker compared Protesting Wisconsinites to ISIS!!!! It was no mistake.

This is the most amazing blunder yet by Scott Walker, who is apparently getting the whole Reagan/Air traffic controllers confrontation wrong, very wrong. Walker thinks Reagan's tough stand against the air traffic controllers union sent a strong message to the Soviet Union, that he would not be intimidated.

So of course, Walker tried to imitated Reagan when he ignored the hundreds of thousands of protesters back in 2011 at the state Capitol. Did that send a strong message to...ISIS? In Walker's mind, yes.



There’s just no way to describe what Walker said that doesn't sound scary:
CNN: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says his home-state battles against labor unions prepare him to take on terrorism -- but he denies he's comparing the two.
In context, Walker was talking about ISIS and terrorism:
Walker drew attention at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday with his response to a question about how he'd handle ISIS, and the "radical Islamic terrorism" he condemned during his speech.

"If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the globe,"
Again and again, the media keeps getting wrong:
Walker told reporters he wasn't making a direct comparison.
"You all will misconstrue things the way you see fit," he said, "but I think it's pretty clear, that's the closest thing I have in terms of handling a difficult situation, not that there's any parallel between the two."
And I loved this reference to Walker's supposed "leadership ability," which is looking kind of comical, and very authoritarian:
Walker spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski underscored Walker's explanation later, saying the comment was intended to highlight his leadership capabilities.
Just the opposite really. Yes, it's that gotcha media, like the conservative National Review's honest opinion:
That is a terrible response. First, taking on a bunch of protesters is not comparably difficult to taking on a Caliphate with sympathizers and terrorists around the globe, and saying so suggests Walker doesn't quite understand the complexity of the challenge from ISIS and its allied groups. Secondly, it is insulting to the protesters, a group I take no pleasure in defending. The protesters in Wisconsin, so furiously angry over Walker’s reforms and disruptive to the procedures of passing laws, earned plenty of legitimate criticism. But they’re not ISIS. They’re not beheading innocent people. They’re Americans, and as much as we may find their ideas, worldview, and perspective spectacularly wrongheaded, they don’t deserve to be compared to murderous terrorists. 
And the liberal response:
The Democratic National Committee highlighting it, as well. "If Scott Walker thinks that it's appropriate to compare working people speaking up for their rights to brutal terrorists, then he is even less qualified to be president than I thought. Maybe he should go back to punting," DNC spokesman Mo Elleithee said.
Facebook and Twitter lit up with parody pictures describing what our authoritarian leader must have meant. Also, here's  the full ISIS question and Walker answer:




Right-to-Work Questions Stump Republicans, prove they're full of S**t!

Democratic Sen. Bob Wirch stumped Republican Scott Fitzgerald when he compared paying dues to Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, to paying dues to a company union. Fitzgerald had nothing. Which tells you one thing; RTW was meant to starve unions, and their support for the Democratic Party. That's it.

Don't forget this moment. It's important in the big picture, and proves GOP policy is driven by the desire to kill the opposition party's source of funding, not manage the government. This time, the private sector businesses got in the way of "big government corporate interests." Video courtesy of the Devil's Advocates Radio program:



Dumb Ron Johnson Stumped too!!! The Devil's Advocates radio show asked Johnson the one question that nobody seemed to be asking, and it was driving me crazy; Job seekers aren't forced to work at a union shop, so why don't they just look for a job somewhere else? It's like someone who doesn't like the pay, benefits or hours? That's freedom and liberty isn't it? 

Johnson didn't just bale abruptly, he fumbled It's really a classic answer - "Freedom:"
Devil's Advocate: "How does that analogy hold up sir?"

Dumb Ron Johnson: "I'm not sure it's a perfect analogy. But again, I'm...in general, I'm for FREEDOM. And the other point to make is, this is a state issue."

Puntttttt!!!! Sorry Ron, choosing not to work at a union shop is FREEDOM. 

Net Neutrality Wins. Consumers win.

Finally, those of us who get their telephone service via the internet can rest easy, now that it's considered a UTILITY!!! Because that's what it is.
PC World: The FCC has voted to approve new net neutrality rules by reclassifying broadband as a regulated public utility, over the objections of the commission’s Republican members and large broadband providers.

The commission voted 3-2; to prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic and from offering paid traffic prioritization services. The commission’s vote on the new rules prompted loud applause from the audience at the FCC meeting, although FCC staff said the agency will forbear from applying about 700 traditional telecom rules, such as price regulation and forced sharing of networks with competitors.

The order applies net neutrality regulations to mobile, as well as fixed, broadband providers.
Upside down Republicans are saying that "no rules"…are rules. Of course they use that same logic “deregulating” business by regulating consumers instead.
Wheeler defended the rules, saying free expression on the Internet is too important “to be left without rules and without a referee on the field.” He also disputed critics who say the net neutrality rules amount to regulation of the Internet.

“This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech,” he said. “They both stand for the same concept.”

Dozens of digital rights and consumer groups applauded the FCC’s decision. The vote “preserves the ethos of permissionless innovation that’s always been at the heart of the Internet,” Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, said in a video shown during the FCC meeting.
The dumbest argument that makes my head hurt? That the big cable monopolies will stop investing and innovating. I’m sure they’ll just sit there stewing over this for decades, letting everything fall apart, right? With that attitude, competitors will have a field day overtaking these gluttonous bullies.  
Each of the five commissioners spoke and the Republicans delivered a scathing critique of the order as overly broad, vague and unnecessary. Ajit Pai, a Republican commissioner, said the rules were government meddling in a vibrant, competitive market and were likely to deter investment, undermine innovation and ultimately harm consumers. “The Internet is not broken,” Mr. Pai said. “There is no problem to solve.”
It wasn't broken yet. Republicans never think ahead.

Republican Senate RTW hearing a charade, passes bill anyway.

WKOW's Greg Neumann caught a few embarrassing moments that any normal party would be ashamed of, but not the ramrodding Republicans. Passing right-to-work without one Democratic vote is okay, passing the Affordable Care Act without one Republican vote is bad. Got it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Congratulations Republicans, voter integrity...getting worse!!!

From Brad Blog:




















Well, bad news --- of a sort. This year's new Election Integrity Project report [PDF] is now out. It takes into account the 2014 mid-term elections in the U.S. and more elections in a number of additional countries. It appears the U.S. has fallen a few pegs from it's 26th place ranking in last year's report [emphasis in the original]...
[C]ontests in the United States scored the worst performance among any long-established democracy. Hence the 2012 Presidential elections was ranked 42nd worldwide, while the 2014 mid-term Congressional races was ranked 45th, similar to Colombia and Bulgaria. One reason is that experts expressed growing concern over US electoral laws and processes of voter registration, both areas of heated partisan debate.

Oh, that's what Slick Scott Walker was saying about not dealing with right-to-work...

On top of his embarrassingly long string of non-answers, Scott Walker is now offering this convoluted explanation about his disinterest in right-to-work...according to jsonline's Dan Bice:
The famous Walker shrug.
Gov Scott Walker said Tuesday that his May 2012 pledge to "do everything in my power" to block right to work legislation was intended to apply only to his first term -- a statement that he didn't make explicit at the time.
Of course that's what he meant. The scariest part of this? His backers love this line of flip floppy bullshit.

It's also a game and source of Walker pride:
"I didn't denounce any of my support (for RTW) in the past. You all asked me 100 different questions to see if I would, and I didn't," Walker said.

Democratic Senators Chris Larson and Bob Wirch accuse Right-to-Work Corporate Cowards for hiding from the public.

State Senator Chris Larson confronted Steve Nass about "not seeing a single person that hasn't gotten money from the Bradley Foundation." That money provides cover for the donors pushing right-to-work. Nass defended anonymous Big Businesses, saying they were fearful of blowback, boycotts and retaliation by those unhappy with the legislation. But Larson and Sen. Bob Wirch said that was nothing new to them as legislators, so RTW cowards should stop hiding behind their front groups.

All of the business owners who appeared at the hearing speaking out against RTW put their names and companies on the line as well. Wirch reminded Nass how Republicans exacted their own retaliation against the Capitol protesters with regulations, arrests and fines. Nass had no comeback.



The massive protests in 2011 were blowback for Act 10, but Walker framed that uprising as intimidation. Public dissent, a 1st Amendment right, is now defined as intimidation.

the Bradley Foundation?
One of the country's largest and most influential right-wing foundations, the Bradley Foundation is known for ... providing funding for a host of right-wing organizations, Bradley President/CEO Michael W. Grebe contributes to publications and "academic" research aimed at legitimizing far-right policy positions ... private school vouchers, faith-based social services, welfare reform … and a strong belief in personal responsibility." 

GOP Myth Busted: Party of Law and Order? Not so much...

The fact that it's unconstitutional isn't the point I guess...


Unable to govern and fund DHS, pathetic Republicans blame the media for blaming them.

The spotlight is now on Dumb Ron Johnson, who's chairmanship of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, is a miserable failure right out of the gate.

This incompetence fear monger is now shifting his own inability to fund DHS onto the media; because they can't handle the truth. The Republicans all-or-nothing style of governing will never pass bills, fund agencies or solve problems. Their passionate hatred of "dreamers," and lust to deport those they see as a threat to their party dominance at the polls, has never been more obvious.

Now if only they can delegitimize the media...
Why is the media blaming the
Republicans for everything?
The Hill: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is criticizing the “mainstream media” for pushing blame for a potential Department of Homeland Security shutdown onto the GOP.

“Let’s face it, the mainstream media is not exactly on Republicans’ side, so they always blame us,” he said (on)“Morning Joe.” “But in this case, I think we don’t shoulder the blame here, because it’s President Obama that picked this fight; it’s Democrats in the Senate that are blocking a bill on the floor of the Senate.”
That's right, when Democrats do anything that clashes with Republican orthodoxy, they're the ones picking the fight, and not the other way around. The chosen party, with God on their "freedom and liberty" loving side, has always had that higher calling. The traitorous Democrats, even during this great economic recovery (except for wages the GOP won't increase) are the enemy.



Senate Hearing ignores opposition to Right-to-Work by Private Businesses!!!

Right-to-work hit the fan today at the state Capitol. About 2000 protesters turned out to "intimidation" Governor Walker, hoping he would give in to their demands. Leaders don't back down though.

Like when he's been caught in a lie. Upfront with Mike Gousha dug this golden moment up:



The next clip from All in with Chris Hayes is a must see for everyone, especially Democrats...everywhere. The Progressive's Ruth Conniff said what every Democrats should say every time they get in front of a camera or microphone. We need to tell voters what the Republicans have done and why. This is how we change minds, go on the offensive, and give voters a reason to vote for Democrats. Memorize it:



Here's a detailed look at the local coverage from WISC and WKOW:



One of the most hard hitting speeches came from 34 year old Paul Christensen, owner of H&H Construction, who as a Republican voter, is unhappy to see his party interfering with his own personal choices and business decisions. The big takeaway? Unions that now pay for extensive training and apprenticeships will now be paid for by taxpayers:



Hearing Abruptly Ends: Our brave Big Government Republicans decided they'd had enough, and appeared to suddenly fabricate a union threat to disrupt the hearing, ending it abruptly. That left an angry room full of speakers who waited all day for their chance to address their senators. Again, these are all private businesses coming out against RTW:
At 6:20 p.m. Nass ended the hearing, saying union members had threatened to disrupt the hearing. Dozens of people who had been waiting all day to speak leapt to their feet, shouting profanities at the Republicans.

The committee chair, Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said he was concerned a planned protest would become unsafe. Nass cited an article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel saying union groups planned to peacefully protest the end of testimony at 7 p.m., calling that a credible threat to the safety of the people at the hearing.


Mixing in the crowd of protesters, right-to-work proponent Republican Rep. Samantha Kerkman shook hands and enjoyed her time in the rotunda. And in the hearing today, Dr. Gordon Lafer of the Economic Policy Institute made his case:



Here's Big Ed Schultz and John Nichols:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When the Wealthy are in charge…the looting begins. The Illinois Lesson unfolding!

I couldn't let this story go without bringing it to everyone’s attention first.
   
Illinois voters were happy to elect their new millionaire Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, to help straighten out their fiscal mess. His solution? Stuffing his pockets with self-serving  tax cuts while completely disabling the middle class and poor with massive cuts. This is a shocking wake-up call.

Being a Wisconsinite, I didn't know Illinois' a big taxation problem - it wasn't progressive. Huffington Post:
The wealthy have rigged the economic rules of the gamer … rules found in the Illinois State Constitution. When the state constitution was rewritten in the 1970's, the wealthy organized to insert a provision preventing State Government from having progressive income tax rates. They wanted to keep their own share of taxes low, and to shrink state revenue in general by requiring that if tax rates go up for them, they have to go up for ordinary people as well.
Currently, there is no plan to change the Constitution to a progressive tax system, so…:
Illinois' new GOP Governor, Bruce Rauner, will personally receive a $750,000 per year tax cut as a result of his decision not to continue the state's temporary 1.25% income tax surcharge that expired last year. His taxes were cut by an amount equal to the annual income of 14 families of four making the median income.

Rauner, who made $61 million in 2013 - or $29,000 per hour - is one of a small group of multi-millionaire speculators who would directly benefit enormously from lower state tax rates.
Rauner is rich, and has little sympathy for the poor. His budget proposal is so inhumane and brutal I had to pass this story along to you. This is our austere, fascist future, and we’re getting an early preview:
None of this seems to bother Rauner one bit … Rauner's new state budget promises draconian cuts in services that benefit the middle class and the poor. Rauner proposed six billion dollars in cuts for state spending on universities, health care, local governments and pensions for state employees:
1. Limiting eligibility for Department of Aging Community Care Programs.2. Cutting health care benefits for homecare workers.3. Slashing funding for the Department of Children and Family Services.4. Eliminating all Department of Children and Family services for youths 18-21.5. Reducing payments to facilities for children on ventilators, supportive living facilities and children with severe mental illness.6. Cutting Medicaid spending by 1.5 billion – including 735 million in cuts to hospitals serving Medicaid patients.7. Eliminating assistance to families with Hemophilia.8. Freezing intakes on childcare for children over 6. Increasing childcare copays for working parents.9. Eliminating State funding for specific organizations providing: - Services for people with disabilities - Services to children with autism - Services to homeless young people - Advanced placement classes - After school programs - Agricultural education - Arts and foreign language programs - Parent mentoring - Safe Schools initiatives10. Cuts to breast and cervical cancer programs.11. And a 31.5% cut to higher education.
Seems that the state can't afford more childcare for working parents, but it can afford huge tax cuts for the very rich.
Exhibit A folks. This is what will spread nationwide, from career politicians like Scott Walker to millionaires like Governor Bruce Rauner. And voters are going along for the ride. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Scott Walker is now attacking conservative talk radio topics and their outraged "Stand with Walker" followers.

It was almost surreal.

Today's Washington Post column by conservative Kathleen Parker seemed to suggest that much of right wing media talk is nothing but a collection of mindless garbage, and Gov. Scott Walker was trying to rise above it. Silly, but an interesting idea.

Which brings me to Buzzfeed's "How Scott Walker thinks about the Media." 
Wisconsin’s governor understands how the media works, as he illustrates in a new book, End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun!), by Fox News contributors and long-time conservative writers, Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham.
These two right wing shills offer up the perfect example of projection:
"...expose how the Left exploits fake outrage to silence their political opponents--in public, on social media, at work, and even in their own homes."
Can they be so unaware of their own mean spirited schemes? So Walker offered up his own scheme against the tens of thousands of protesters who were all I assume "exploiting fake outrage" around the state Capitol:
“At the height of the [anti-budget] union protests, when we were approaching 100,000 protesters at and around the Capitol, I finally got wise,” Walker tells Ham and Benson in an interview for the book. “I started holding press conferences at 5:00 because I knew that if I kept it concise, local television and some national outlets would cover it live. So I had an unfiltered way to talk to the state for about 10 minutes.”

“On one particular day, they were louder than they’d ever been, and a reporter asked me if those people had a right to be heard. And I said that they had every right to be heard, but that I wasn't going to let tens of thousands of people — and some were bused and flown in from other states — drown out the voices of millions of people around Wisconsin who elected me to do exactly what I was doing.”
So much for protecting the minority. Walker is currently raising campaign cash vilifying and belittling the 4th estate - the press - an important move if he wants to take complete dictatorial control in 2016:
click to enlarge
“To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he said. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”
Walker is bashing conservative base voters, who live and breathe this stuff. See the picture of topics to the right. 

Conservative radio host Vicki McKenna is one of the few talkers feeding her Facebook page with every possible right wing outrage. It also contradicts Walker’s latest con that Republicans don't care about this stuff:
After being asked whether he believed President Obama is a Christian. “I’ve never asked him that,” Walker told the Washington Post. “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?” But inside that analysis, Walker also said he did not know whether the president is a Christian
Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post had a great response:
“Well, of course he doesn't ‘know,’ but everyone knows what Obama has said. He’s a Christian. I’m no less inclined to believe the president when he says he’s a Christian than I am to believe Walker when he says he’s one. If either man is a fake Christian, he has plenty of company, the fact of which makes very little difference to most Americans.

Confused? Republicans argue Right-to-Work will Raise Wages and end up creating more Unions.

How do you know Republicans are lying about the benefits of right-to-work?

After listening to primary winner Republican Duey Stroebel on WPR this morning, I was struck by his reasoning.

He's telling us right-to-work will raise wages - which they oppose, and increase unionization - which they also oppose.

Think about it, businesses are telling Republicans they're ready and willing to move to Wisconsin once right-to-work is in place, because I can only assume, they can't wait to pay their employees more and become union shops.

They also expect us to believe that if unions do a really great job serving their members, conservative employees will gladly pay their union dues, instead of freeloading off everyone else on principle.

And finally, shouldn't conservative jobs seekers go elsewhere if they get an offer from a union shop? After all, isn't that what Republicans say we should do when we don't like the offered wages and benefits? No ones forcing us to work at a union shop. Just wondering.

Here's Republican Duey Stroebel, replacing Glenn Grothman, who makes all the above points:



Under the Iron Fist of Scott Walker: "He’s slick: Fast-talking, confident, and dishonest" - Author and Republican John Dean

Since the media has decided not to make the miserable record of Republican governors an issue in their run for president, then how about their rightwing authoritarian driven policies? Come on, isn't becoming a dictatorship scary enough to garner a few headlines? 

Since Scott Walker is in the spotlight, I thought a little primer on his authoritarian style of governing is in order. Walker's shocking vilification of teachers and protesting Wisconsinites is only just scratching the surface. He detests protesters so much that he decided to require a fee and license to exercise their 1st Amendment right, arresting and fining those speaking out against his policies in the Capitol rotunda without permission. A court just struct that down as unconstitutional. 

Here's a compilation of video clips and audio that together, painted a frightening picture of an America under Scott Walker. The massive crowds filling the streets...ignored. Below the video, Republican and author John Dean's actual analysis of Scott Walker, who he couldn't help but notice him way back in 2012. 



Politico just wrote about this not to be forgotten moment:
One of his low points came in 2011 when he carried on a phone conversation with a liberal blogger impersonating one of the billionaire Koch brothers. When the blogger suggested infiltrating the anti-Walker crowd with “troublemakers,” the governor nonchalantly responded: “We thought about that.”
Here's John Dean's jaw dropping look and warning about Scott Walker, from April 6, 2012:
My focus here is on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who strikes some who have written to me as a distinctively prototypical authoritarian politician; what social science has labeled as a “double high” authoritarian; and the type of person which I described in my book as a conservative without conscience. There is another type of authoritarian. Social scientists labeled these people “Double Highs.” They simply see the world as a place where they are always in charge.  I worked for and with a number of Double Highs at the Nixon White House, from the president on down through his senior staff.  But based on what I found, there is little doubt in my mind that Scott Walker is a classic authoritarian.

Opposition To Equality … There are many examples of Walker’s harsh and uncaring treatment of those whom he does not believe to be entitled to equality.  None is more glaring than his intolerance of gays and lesbians … as Governor, he has worked to end Wisconsin’s recognition of the rights of same-sex couples. He fired the law firm defending the state’s domestic-partnership law.  And he appointed a woman to the state’s Labor and Industry Review Commission who believes that gays can be harassed in the workplace.

One attorney familiar with Walker’s thinking states, “Everything that Governor Walker is doing is ideological; I don’t see that his administration has any particular respect for the law per se.”

Desirous Of Personal Power. Scott Walker has been seeking personal power his entire life, and has never stopped reaching for it.  By age 7, Walker had formed a “Jesus USA” club, which was a mix of his father’s Baptist ministry and his attraction to patriotism.  By age 8, he had undertaken a door-to-door fundraising campaign to take charge of purchasing a flag for the village hall of his small Iowa town. At Marquette, he was elected to the student senate, and twice sought but failed to get elected president of the student body.  He ran for the Wisconsin State Assembly the same year that he lost his bid to be student president at Marquette, losing the Assembly race as well.

As governor, Walker sought to remove civil service jobs, in order to make them political appointments, and thus subject to his control.  Most strikingly, he has sought to undercut the public-employee unions so that he would not have to deal with them, thus increasing his power. He has increased his personal power over some fifteen state agencies … move to break public employee unions is his most notorious personal power play.  Walker’s push … was done in about as authoritarian a fashion as you will ever see, outside of a dictatorship. Part of Act 10 has already been struck down by a federal judge.

Walker’s amorality is conspicuous.  It is found in his history of ethics violations and the record of his lying … his Marquette University days, when the college newspaper called him “unfit” for student office. Later, in the Assembly (in 2005), Walker would earn the distinction of receiving the second-highest fine for an ethics violation in Wisconsin history. With respect to 44 statements that Politifacts examined, Walker was found to have been truthful only on six occasions.  The fact that 38 statements were pants-on-fire false, false, mostly false, or half-truths is stark evidence of amorality.

I watched a video of a Walker speech at the Goldwater Institute.  He’s slick: Fast-talking, confident, and dishonest—I watched him distort facts with which I was familiar.  And indeed, the most striking … his views on crime and punishment. As a member of the Wisconsin Assembly, in 1996 Walker was the moving force behind the building of a 500-bed “Supermax” prison, which he claimed worked better than normal facilities; others had doubts.  Also, when state officials sought a 200-bed unit, Walker insisted on more than doubling the request. Another instance of Walker’s punitive aggressiveness can be found in an example from 1997, when Walker pushed legislation that eliminated all parole, while increasing maximum criminal sentences by fifty percent.  Walker also pushed for draconian legislation that would send juvenile offenders to adult prisons at age 15, although his colleagues in the Assembly rejected this excessively harsh approach. These, too, are examples of classic authoritarian behavior at work.

Scott Walker is Mr. Conventional.  He has long been an active member of a fundamentalist church. He wears conservative, off-the-rack clothing. His hair is always closely trimmed, and his manner polite and pleasant. (I cannot find a single radical right-wing position that Walker rejects.)

I have only sketched in digest terms the reporting I found on Scott Walker’s political career.  To me, it is clear that Wisconsin has a double high authoritarian governor, a conservative without conscience.  If I lived in Wisconsin, I would be uncomfortable with this man, whom I find more Nixonian than even Richard Nixon himself (the authoritarian leader with whom I was, and am, so very familiar).

Please understand that these authoritarian leaders and their followers are not necessarily bad people.  To the contrary, I have many friends who fall into this group, who are wonderful people. But none of my double high authoritarian friends are suited to serve as governor of any state … Democracy and democratic institutions do not function well with dogmatic, unbending authoritarian leaders … and as Bob Altemeyer’s work has shown, they can be dangerous to democracy.

Hopefully, one or more social scientists or political psychologists in Wisconsin, where there are many, will step forward and tell the people of Wisconsin more about what they have on their hands, with Scott Walker as their governor. The June 5, 2012 election is a true opportunity to discourage another leader who is a conservative without conscience.  Altemeyer estimates that about twenty-five percent of the population has, in varying degrees, the disposition to follow a double high authoritarian, many blindly or simply because it assuages their fears.  And, of course, these are aggressive followers who can attract others who are unaware of the nature of the person they are electing, thus enabling an authoritarian leader like Walker to gain ever-growing control. Good luck, Wisconsin.