Monday, February 28, 2011

Barrett Wins!! New Poll Flips 2010 Election Results.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett would be governor if the election were held today, in what looks like a massive case of voter "buyers" remorse. 
(Reuters) - Wisconsin voters would narrowly favor Governor Scott Walker's Democratic opponent if the November, 2010 election were repeated, according to partial poll results released (by) Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina on Monday. 
Walker won the November 2, 2010 election 52 to 46 percent for Democrat Tom Barrett, with the remainder of the vote to minor candidates … if the election were replayed now, the result would be almost exactly flipped, with Democrat Tom Barrett getting 52 percent and Walker 45 percent, with four percent not sure. 
The shift in voter sentiment away from Walker was attributed to households with at least one union member, the polling group said. Those surveyed were also asked how they voted in the November election and 47 percent said for Walker and 47 percent for Barrett.

Justice Clarence and Ginni Thomas, the Tea Party "Court" Jesters.

After seeing this video clip of Justice Thomas, I almost fell of the chair. Is it really alright for an "impartial" justice to talk like a tea party protester? Jonathan Turley was also appalled in his comments below. 


Jonathan Turley: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has reportedly unleashed an attack on his critics for his violations of disclosure laws and alleged conflicts of interest. He warned law students that these critics are “undermining” the Court and endangering the country by weakening core institutions. As one of those critics, I am flabbergasted by Thomas’ remarks which show an implied disregard that seems to have now reached open contempt for certain principles of judicial ethics. There is not a hint of concern for his own conduct and how it has undermined the Supreme Court as an institution. This weekend at a Federalist Society event, Thomas insisted that his wife Ginny is being attacked because she believes in the same thing as he does and that they “are focused on defending liberty.”
That appears to be his defense for years of filing false disclosure forms that effectively hid hundreds of thousands of dollars of salary from conservative organizations. Thomas clearly holds an imperial view of the Court. He has previously objected to those who would presume to criticize those in charge of their institutions. In (his) remarks, Thomas strikes a perfectly messianic note, warning the students that critics “seem bent on undermining” the Court. 
Frankly, it is a spin that borders on the delusional. Thomas and some of his colleagues are destroying a long tradition of neutrality of justices by pandering to their ideological base. He clearly confuses the justices with the institution itself — treating himself as the personification of the rule of law. Ironically, this is precisely the problem that I have described in the advent of the celebrity justice. 
What is even more distressing is that Thomas would choose this forum to address these complaints rather than answer the formal inquiries regarding his disclosure violations.

State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald's Bully Tactic on grotesque display, unprofessional and without a doubt, a temper tantrum.

There is no better spokesperson for labor and the middle class than State Sen. Lena Taylor, and here she does her best to talk over the rude filibuster tactic of Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, who went ballistic when she challenged his authority. This guy is in control? God help us all.

One more thing; I really don't think voters gave Republicans the power to do anything they wanted, whether vengeful or draconian, without public input or at least a lengthy debate. Frederica Freyberg, Here and Now:

Walker Exposed as Manipulator and Governor. Tom Barrett Speaks.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett could have been the more adult Governor, one not blinded by pure ideology and an oligarch, and someone who wouldn't have tried to trick the opposition party to pass legislation. Barrett also exposes the GOP plan as a diversion tactic, focusing like a laser on collective bargaining, all the while slipping draconian power to Walker and shedding Wisconsinites from Medicaid, and massive cuts to fund education that will result in teacher firings. No one could spell it out clearer than Barrett, on Mike Gousha's Upfront program:



How bad is Walker's deception? JOEL McNALLY: 
To its credit, The Capital Times led the way among local media in pointing out Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in his last budget faced double the $3 billion budget deficit Walker anticipates and closed it without tearing apart state employment, dismantling public education, or raising income or sales taxes. 
Anyone who says Walker is merely doing what he said he would do during his election campaign and what voters elected him to do is absolutely wrong. 
We remember Walker’s election campaign. He campaigned on apparently hollow cliches about creating “jobs, jobs and more jobs.” So far, Walker hasn’t created a single job.
Walker definitely did not tell voters that within days of taking office he would threaten to lay off more than 10,000 state workers and rewrite state laws to gut the pay and rights of any public employee lucky enough to still have a job.
 
It was Walker’s opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who kept pointing out that because of all the tax cuts Walker was promising to corporations and the wealthy, voters should “hang onto their hats” when Walker started slashing the budget to pay for his tax giveaways. Sure enough, the first bills Walker passed were for tax breaks for corporations and wealthy individuals with health savings accounts totaling $140 million. 
Some media continue to repeat Walker’s dishonest assertion his proposal would still allow public employees to bargain on wages. It wouldn’t. Public employees wouldn’t be permitted to bargain for raises any higher than the rate of inflation. What’s to bargain? Do you want your pay nudged up by the inflation rate or not?

Elected to create jobs for Americans, Republican have Successfully Changed the subject, Propose huge job losses.

Jobs, what jobs? Amazing!! Bloomberg is reporting:
House Republicans’ $61 billion budget-cutting plan would cost 700,000 jobs, according to a report likely to inflame the debate over the U.S. government deficit. The measure would reduce real economic growth this year by 0.5 percentage points and by 0.2 percentage points next year, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2012, said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics.  
Last week, Goldman Sachs said the House budget plan would shave between 1.5 and 2 percentage points off economic growth during the second and third quarters of this year.
Unlike the rigid ideological agenda pushed by Republicans, the real world economic underpinnings are constantly changing.
Zandi said the proposed spending cuts would come at a particularly inopportune time because the economy is under new pressure from rising oil prices. 
Maybe they’ve been too busy taking Koch brothers phone calls to notice. 

The Gov. Scott Walker ad we missed...?

This fictionalized Gov. Scott Walker ad is a wonder to behold, and so honest. Described as "  our country’s most famous self-immolating politician is mashed up with our most famous self-immolating TV and film star (Charlie Sheen)." From Movieline:

According to Conservative Pollster, low information Americans favor unions and collective bargaining, but disapprove of fleeing Democrats. Huh? Let's call it what it is, a filibuster.

If the voters actually knew what they were talking about, they would not want to see the Democrats return, since that would guarantee the elimination of collective bargaining. The bill would pass. So it’s apparent voters in the poll below don’t really understand the issue.
Washington Examiner: Two-thirds of a national survey respondents disapprove of the decision by 14 Wisconsin state senate Democrats to flee the state and thereby deny the Republican majority in the body the quorum required to act on Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposals. "Half of America’s voters favor public sector unions for government workers, but they strongly oppose the tactic by Wisconsin state senators to flee their state to prevent a vote that would limit the rights of such unions," said Rasmussen Reports.

This was just 70,000 at the Capitol on Saturday?

Senators Grothman and Darling aren't listening to the voters. They're not only proud of it, they think the protesters are outrageous.

Two things: The WKOW TV anchor first said, "Some projected the capitol clearing would lead to chaos and arrests, THAT didn't happen...." then a few breaths later, "Meanwhile Republican legislators are responding to the chaos downtown...."

Is there any serious thought put behind the words we hear from our news anchors? The one Republican that did respond, our new media whore Sen. Glenn Grothman, voiced what many Republicans are thinking in this phone interview about the crowds allowed to stay overnight in the capitol.


Grothman: "In my 17 years as a legislator, we've never had anybody, except for this group, claim they had to be at the building at 2 in the morning in order to make their case. Um, I...it does seem well, not all opponents of the bill are this outrageous. They seem to have collected the most outrageous group of supporters I could ever imagine on an issue.
This from an elected official who couldn't get enough of the disruptive tea party protesters at town halls. Democrats had to listen to THEM, but Republicans don't have to listen to the half million workers, families and students who showed up over the last two weeks. Outrageous?

This goes double for State Sen. Alberta Darling. A group of citizens gathered to organize a recall of Sen. Darling. They said Darling ISN'T LISTENING TO THEIR CONCERNS....! She responded this way:



Darling: "For this issue, it makes me say in my mind I'm gonna do what I think is right, and that is a test of my integrity and my mettle..."
If only Democrats had said that about health care reform and the public option.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Labor Bashing a Boon to Wisconsin's business image? Paul Jadin, Walker's economic development administrator apparently thinks so.


Vilifying workers as lazy entitled benefactors of unreasonable wages and benefits is one hell of state image for attracting business. Oh yeah, where are all the jobs created so far by Gov. Scott Walker? No really, where? 
Although not as crazy long as the promise of a balanced budget by Paul Ryan, 50 frigging years, the jobs will come sometime in the "futureeeeeeee." In this case, I guess any news is good news the Walker debacle? 
jsonline: Protests in Madison that have drawn the nation's attention could be a boon to Wisconsin's business image, the newly named state commerce secretary said Friday. 
"We will be one of the few states effectively addressing its budget problems and therefore more receptive to the needs of business," said Paul Jadin, who will lead economic development efforts in Gov. Scott Walker's new administration.
Oh, and that image world wide of the labor movements energized Americans protesting outside the capitol?
 Jadin says he watches the protests from the window of his new office. "The way Wisconsin is perceived is based on what happens in the capital, what laws are passed," Jadin said.
Another words, go screw yourself people, we won. What happened to the tea party proclamation: "You're not listening to us," when they represented an even smaller number of citizens?

Olbermann's Blog...

Take a look, he's back:

Don’t believe in more Stimulus Money to the States? Slash Spending…investing?

The “Constitutional” conservatives vision of America is about to unfold. Think they'll find a way to blame the Democrats?
APDeep spending cuts by state and local governments pose a growing threat to an economy that is already grappling with high unemployment, depressed home prices and the surging cost of oil. 
Lawmakers at state capitols and city halls are slashing jobs and programs … the cuts are coming at a price — weaker growth at the national level. 
The clearest sign to date was a report Friday on U.S. gross domestic product for the final three months of 2010. The government lowered its growth estimate, pointing to larger-than-expected cuts by state and local governments. The report suggested that worsening state budget problems could hold back the recovery by putting more people out of work and reducing consumer spending. 
Across the country, governors and lawmakers are proposing broad cutbacks — lowering fees paid to nursing homes in Florida, reducing health insurance subsidies for lower-income Pennsylvanians, closing prisons in New York state and scaling back programs for elderly and disabled Californians. 
"The massive financial problems at the state and local levels have and will continue to restrain growth," said economist Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.
Naroff is soft peddling what is really about to happen. The pain will be catastrophically real.

The Republican Economic and Jobs Message is All Wrong!!!

The solution to the economic crisis is simple and shouldn’t be political. The poor and middle class conservative isn’t entirely wrong about taxes, job insecurity in the private sector, and unaffordable health care premiums. But instead of fighting to keep more of their money in their tax bracket, they’ve been tricked into fighting for the wealth-fare class, whose sources of income and tax breaks are on a completely different level.

Remove from the equation that Democrats don’t mind paying their fair share of taxes, and Republicans don’t believe that any tax is fair. That’s an ideological difference.

But the goal of the poor and middle class liberal and conservative is the same; low taxes, reigning in health care costs and job security/decent wages. Instead of defending tax breaks unique to the top 5 percent of income earners, whose entire income over $106,500 is exempt from the Social Security tax, lower dividend income tax etc., we could level the playing field by instituting a tax increase to make up for that disparity. Which leads me to Robert Reich’s article warning Democrats that if they can’t form a coherent message filled with facts and the truth, Republicans will convince us all we don’t deserve to be paid much more than minimum wage and we’re lucky just to be working.
You can’t fight something with nothing. But as long as Democrats refuse to talk about the almost unprecedented buildup of income, wealth, and power at the top – and the refusal of the super-rich to pay their fair share of the nation’s bills – Republicans will convince people it’s all about government and unions. The Republican message is bloated government is responsible for the lousy economy that most people continue to experience. Cut the bloat and jobs and wages will return. 
Nothing could be further from the truth, but for some reason Obama and the Democrats aren’t responding with the truth.  
The truth is that while the proximate cause of America’s economic plunge was Wall Street’s excesses leading up to the crash of 2008, its underlying cause — and the reason the economy continues to be lousy for most Americans — is so much income and wealth have been going to the very top that the vast majority no longer has the purchasing power to lift the economy out of its doldrums. They’re not going to the malls (high-end retailers are booming but Wal-Mart’s sales are down). 
The truth is if the super-rich paid their fair share of taxes, government wouldn’t be broke. If Governor Scott Walker hadn’t handed out tax breaks to corporations and the well-off, Wisconsin wouldn’t be in a budget crisis. If Washington hadn’t extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich, eviscerated the estate tax, and created loopholes for private-equity and hedge-fund managers, the federal budget wouldn’t look nearly as bad … And if America had higher marginal tax rates and more tax brackets at the top – for those raking in $1 million, $5 million, $15 million a year – the budget would look even better. 
We wouldn’t be firing teachers or slashing Medicaid or hurting the most vulnerable members of our society. We wouldn’t be in a tizzy over Social Security. We’d slow the rise in healthcare costs but we wouldn’t cut Medicare. We’d cut defense spending and lop off subsidies to giant agribusinesses … but we wouldn’t view the government as our national nemesis. 
These are the truths that Democrats must start telling, and soon. Otherwise the Republican shakedown may well succeed. 

Van Jones on Saturday's 50 State Protest for Labor Rights




(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of demonstrators were expected to take to the streets of the Wisconsin state Capitol later on Saturday as protests against a Republican plan to curb the power of public sector unions entered their third weekend. 
Labor groups also planned for large demonstrations in every state capital in the nation on Saturday to show solidarity with Wisconsin in fighting the proposal they see as trying to break the union movement. 
Organizers and law enforcement were expecting another huge turnout in Madison, rivaling the estimated crowd of 50,000 last Saturday which was the largest protest since the demonstrations began. 
But demonstrators will have to brave frigid temperatures in Madison, where the high is forecast to reach only 19 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday.

Republicans Create Surreal War Between Middle Class Have's and Have not's. Amazing!!!

One common theme you hear from conservatives; I've got it bad, and so should you. Check out the jsonline article below at the battle created by Republicans between average income earners, directing attention away from corporate money and the wealthy. Do these guys know how to sell chaos?
Milwaukee Public Schools psychologist Jessica Coyle was in tears after reading a cousin's Facebook post calling public employees "whores and a bunch of other nasty things," according to her husband, David, an MPS history teacher. "What made matters worse was that her godmother 'liked' the comment," Coyle told a reporter. 
"My wife sent a message to say, 'Hey, remember me, your family member, I am a public employee and I am not a whore.' Her intention was for the cousin to say, 'Oops, sorry, I forgot,' or something along those lines. He didn't. He only said, 'That is how I feel, you can defriend me if you want.' " 
The couple couldn't believe how the governor's proposed budget-repair bill was playing out in the virtual community of Facebook, David Coyle said. 
Daryle Wooley of Elkhorn posted on Facebook that the senators should either return or be fired. Within hours, responses came flooding in from Facebook friends around the country, "including some people who were very close to me," Wooley recalled. "I couldn't believe the tone." 
He responded to critics, explaining that he had to cash in his IRA and take out a second mortgage on his house just to keep his cast limestone manufacturing business afloat. He told them: "This is the real world. You don't understand pain. If my wife wouldn't have gotten a new job, my health insurance would have gone away. I'm down from 33 employees to three." 
"Three weeks ago, we were all one happy family with the Packers," Wooley said. "And now we're all at each other's throats. This is ripping us apart. It's sad." Richard Ginkowski, an assistant district attorney in Kenosha, said "The discussion by one friend was that we're all parasites, leeches on society, overpaid and incompetent," said Ginkowski, a 30-year prosecutor whose wife, a schoolteacher, also is a public employee.

When Socialists Took over Milwaukee's Government.


An amazing chunk of history our schools will never teach is featured below, originally presented on WPT.

The 8 Hour Day Uprising and the Bay View Six Shooting.


Leveling deadly fire on labor protesters, six died including a 12 year old boy and a neighbor. 

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach with the latest, and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer could teach Walker a few managerial lessons.

Here's the latest from Rachel Maddow and State Sen. Jon Erpenbach on the Walker protest.



Want to know how bad Republican Gov. Scott Walker is? Take a look at the contrasting styles between Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Fmr. Nev. State Sen. Sue Lowden. Schweitzer comes across as the great manager, and Lowden is pushing the phony discussion vilifying public workers all because they have jobs while many Nevadans don't. Who's the grown-up, and who's the one worried about what other people have?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Walker Booed, asked to leave Downtown Tavern.


UPDATE TO THE UPDATE 2 pm: Now there is an attempt to portray the incident as phony, a prank. Was it? Probably not. The typical right wing ploy would be to muddy the waters. Yet for a restaurant that would most likely see a huge thankful crowd showing up at its door, the employee did seem clueless. But then they are after all, a half block from the capitol. Not a long journey to stop by and thank the owner. But listen for yourself to the supposed damning audio (above) by the employee who "accidentally" put the phone on speaker. No one ever says they made the whole thing up. A Google search turned up the Washington Post, confirming the story appeared in a column or comment. 





UPDATE 9 am: Mymindstain blogger Naomi Houser posted this request from The M******t, who asked that the story be withdrawn after receiving threats, along with an overload of encouragement:
 For those of you who know which restaurant it is, please, at the request of the owner, do not share this information. Not only are they getting TONS of supporter phone calls, but very nasty and threatening ones as well. This is their place of business, and as with any business they have the right to refuse service to anyone.

Another hero is born:
Mymindstain: Scott Walker Asked to Leave Local Restaurant 
You know you're not well liked when you are asked to leave a local tavern because people boo-ing at you causes an upset, but this is exactly what happened to Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker on Friday the 18th of February. 
The M*****T in Madison, WI confirms that on Friday night, Patrick S*****ey (one of the owners) politely asked Scott Walker to leave the establishment when other customers began boo-ing him. A bartender at The M****t said that, "his presence was causing a disturbance to the other customers and management asked him to leave." 
Above is a hyperlink to the restaurant's website. I spoke to a bartender there just before posting this article. If you'd like to give them a call to say thank you, I am sure they wouldn't mind or give your patronage and thanks in person the next time you are in Madison.

Walker is going after patients in nursing homes next...Ghoul??

Not only is Gov. Scott Walker about to execute 1500 public employees to force the Democratic 14 to return to the legislature, but he’s now threatening to delay money to nursing homes. Would I kid you?

Walker has no bounds when it comes to exercising the power of big government.
Capitol Times: Gov. Scott Walker turned up the heat on Democratic senators who have left the state rather than vote on his bill by warning Thursday that their actions could force the state to delay payments for patients in nursing homes. 
A press statement … claims that if the budget repair bill is not soon passed,  “the state will no longer be able to pay providers or vendors.” 
The statement triggered a furious response from an advocacy group.  “The Walker Administration is now using the 1.2 million individuals enrolled in BadgerCare and Medicaid as political hostages,”  says Bobby Peterson, executive director of ABC for Health in a press release. “The Walker Administration should stop scaring and threatening the people that need health care coverage in Wisconsin. Health care should be a right NOT a bargaining chip!!”
Walker’s brutal extremism hasn’t gone unnoticed by at least one major media player:
U.S. News: But the power grab Walker is seeking in his budget goes well beyond his effort to transform himself from state employer to ruler. As Tom Friedman reports in an alarming column in Friday’s New York Times, Walker is also trying to remove the competitive bidding process for sale of state public utility plants. For a governor purportedly committed to cost-cutting, that effort is mind-boggling. The point of competitive bidding is to get the best price for the seller, Wisconsin. The budget measure Walker wants would also, Friedman reports, allow him to make cuts in healthcare for low-income families without going through the normal legislative process. 

Republicans Stalled over Voter ID Costs.

While everyone chanted and beat the drums in the capitol rotunda, supporting collective bargaining, I was watching democracy slip away as the Senate debated one of the most restrictive voter ID bills in the nation.


Student ID’s are still not a part of Republican bill attacking our right to vote, and won’t be now. Fighting fraud or another agenda...?

State Senators tried to get around the absence of the 14 Democratic legislators, by removing the fiscal aspects of the restrictive voter ID bill, but couldn’t. How sad.
Wisconsin Radio Network: The Wisconsin Senate stopped short of a final vote Thursday on legislation which would require citizens show photo identification on order to exercise their right to vote in Wisconsin elections. Senator Joe Liebham said removing the fiscal aspect of the bill to allow a vote without Democrats present would have raised a constitutional issue – creating a poll tax. 
“In the bill is the requirement that you need to have an ID, and if we removed the fiscal aspect of providing free IDs it could have opened up that question of not allowing individuals to get free IDs, therefore creating a poll tax,” said the Sheboygan Republican.
The bill has been amended to include passports, photo ID issued by tribal governments and naturalization papers as acceptable forms of identification. 
 
Liebham said the cost of the bill, primarily for issuing free ID to those who cannot afford it, should be about one to one and a-half million dollars. 

David Cay Johnston: "Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin's pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers."

David Cay Johnston opened my eyes today with information I should have been given via a union representative or any public employee. Knowing the media the way I do, I also understand how little time reporters have to cover a story, even in the age of 24/7 news. But that’s not an excuse.

The other night Rachel Maddow eviscerated PolitiFact for not being factual. Her argument; just because “fact” was in your name, doesn’t mean it’s true. The problem is, facts don't capture your imagination like making a wildly inaccurate statement.

So what about public employee benefits? How much extra money are taxpayers on the hook for when it comes to public employee benefits? ZERO. Doh!!! Check it out:

Economic nonsense is being reported as fact in most of the news reports on the Wisconsin dispute, the product of a breakdown of skepticism among journalists multiplied by their lack of understanding of basic economic principles. Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to "contribute more" to their pension and health insurance plans. 
Accepting Gov. Walker's assertions as fact, and failing to check, created the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not.
Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin's pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers. How can that be? Because the "contributions" consist of money that employees chose to take as deferred wages – as pensions when they retire – rather than take immediately in cash. The same is true with the health care plan.  
 
Thus, state workers are not being asked to simply "contribute more" (or as the argument goes, "pay their fair share” … They are being asked to accept a cut in their salaries so that the state of Wisconsin can use the money to fill the hole left by tax cuts and reduced audits of corporations in Wisconsin.  
The question journalists should be asking is "who contributes" to the state of Wisconsin's pension and health care plans. 
The fact is that all of the money going into these plans belongs to the workers because it is part of the compensation … all of the compensation they have bargained for is part of their pay and thus only the workers contribute to the pension plan. This is an indisputable fact. From the Associated Press and The New York Times to Wisconsin's biggest newspaper, and every broadcast report I have heard reporters again and again and again have written as fact what is nonsense.  
The workers currently pay 100 percent from their compensation package, but a portion of it is deducted from their paychecks and a portion of it goes directly to the pension plan.
One correct way to describe this is that the governor "wants to further reduce the cash wages that state workers currently take home in their paychecks." Most state workers already divert 5 percent of their cash wages to the pension plan, an official state website shows
 
By falsely describing the situation the governor has sought to create the issue as one of the workers getting a favor. The Club for Growth, in broadcast ads, blatantly lies by saying "state workers haven't had to sacrifice. They pay next to nothing for their pensions." But journalists are supposed to check the facts, not adopt lies as truths. 

UPDATE: I should have remembered the following TAXPAYER subsidized benefit for the PRIVATE SECTOR, a huge cost conservatives are NOT complaining about right now.  Hat tip to Rocknetroots:

In fact it is private sector employers who are feeding at the taxpayer trough in order to pay for a large portion of their employees health care costs. 
Here's why. Have you given thought to who really pays a major portion of a private sector worker's health care package? Taxpayers do! That's right. In the form of a $2,500 tax credit for individuals and about a $5,500 tax credit for families that the employer picks up annually from the good ol' U.S. government. What has the private sector done to earn or negotiate for this often unnoticed government "entitlement?" Absolutely nothing! Why, they didn't even do community service to work for the tax credits. So, a large portion of private sector benefits are actually subsidized - not earned. While the public sector compensation packages are negotiated earnings - not subsidized. 
If we really wanted to cut state and federal government deficits, we should instead be eliminating the health care tax credits employers like Koch Industries pick up from U.S. taxpayers for each of their employees. 


Little Bogdan, the Magnetic Boy...

MSNBC:
A 7-year-old Serbian boy named Bogdan is making international news for an apparently paranormal (though not terribly useful) ability.


According to several sources including MSNBC and The Daily Mail, Bogdan is magnetic. Household objects such as spoons, knives and forks cling to his skin with almost supernatural ease. The idea that a person could generate a strong magnetic field is bizarre, but what’s even stranger is that other things stick to him too, such as small plates, small flat glass objects and even a remote control.


Drive Angry 3D ad on YouTube great eye candy


Roger Ebert wrote this about...
..."Drive Angry 3D" opens with a muscle car racing across a burning bridge out of Hell, while we hear a famous 12-letter word used three or four times. So right away we know where we're at. Here is an exercise in deliberate vulgarity, gross excess, and the pornography of violence, not to forget garden variety pornography. You get your money's worth. 
A movie review should determine what a movie hoped to achieve, and whether it succeeded. The ambition of "Drive Angry 3D" is to make a grind house B movie so jaw-droppingly excessive that even Quentin Tarantino might send flowers. It succeeds. I can't say I enjoyed it. But I can appreciate it. It offends every standard of taste except bad. But it is well made.
You've got to see the "3D" Drive Angry ad. It's not embedable so click this link. It works, even though it's not really 3D. 

Walker's words to "David Koch" now in Citizen Action of Wisconsin radio ad.


This is a great pro-active strike against the Walker administrations autocratic government vision over the people. Citizen Action of Wisconsin gets the Walker word out, literally:


Governor Walker's Sociopathic Viral Plan to Institute Disaster Capitalism.

Rortybomb had this great summation of our situation in Wisconsin. Love the graphic:
Tim Fernholz wrote an excellent article in the National Journal about the “bait and switch” of Governor Walker’s Wisconsin plan. Fernholz points out that the short-term deficit problem can be covered by debt restructuring, and that the big pieces of the bill that relate to dismantling public sector unions, control over Medicaid and creating a no-bid energy asset sale process are not directly budget related. 
There’s a three-prong approach in Governor Walker’s plan that highlights a blueprint for conservative governorship after the 2010 election. The first is breaking public sector unions and public sector workers generally. The second is streamlining benefits away from legislative authority, especially for health care and in fighting the Health Care Reform Act. The third is the selling of public assets to private interests under firesale and crony capitalist situations. 
What I found most interesting about the 20 minutes phone call between Governor Walker and a prankster claiming to be David Koch (transcript) is this:
KOCH: You’re the first domino. 
WALKER: Yep. This is our moment…I had all my cabinet over to the residence for dinner. Talked about what we were going to do, how we were going to do it, we had already kind of doped plans up, but it was kind of a last hurrah, before we dropped the bomb and I stood up and I pulled out a, a picture of Ronald Reagan and I said you know this may seem a little melodramatic but …when he fired the air traffic controllers and uh I said to me that moment was more important than just for labor relations and or even the federal budget, that was the first crack in the Berlin Wall and the fall of Communism because from that point forward the soviets and the communists knew that Ronald Regan wasn’t a pushover…
Firing the air traffic controllers brought down the Soviet Union? When the true believers get together and talk openly, they don’t talk about this being about the budget, or getting innovative school practices in place, or whatever. It’s about showing their enemies that they mean business and aren’t pushovers. He believes that by smashing one you can smash them all. And he believes he is the first domino to move. 
Other states won’t need unions to fight. Notice Providence, Rhode Island firing all of their teachers, to selectively rehire them later. This is how ground out our elites want to see the labor contract.

Here are a few elements of "creative destruction" included in the Walker budget plan. See more at Think Progress:
1. ELIMINATING MEDICAID: The Budget Repair Bill includes a little-known provision that would put complete control of the state’s Medicaid program, known as BadgerCare, in the hands of the state’s ultra-conservative Health and Human Services Secretary Dennis Smith. Smith would have the authority to “to override state Medicaid laws as [he] sees fit and institute sweeping changes” including reducing benefits and limiting eligibility. Ironically, during the 1990s it was Republicans, especially former Gov. and Bush HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who helped develop BadgerCare into one of the country’s most innovative and generous Medicaid programs. A decade later, a new generation of radical Republicans is hoping to destroy one of Wisconsin’s “success stories.” 
2. POWER PLANT PRIVATIZATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEGLECT: The same budget bill calls for a rapid no-bid “firesale” of all state-owned power plants. One progressive blogger called the proposal “a highlight reel of all of the tomahawk dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism” and suggested that the provision will open the way for large, politically connected corporations, like Koch Industries, to buy up the state’s power plants on the cheap. 

Fox News site Headline not so Subtly Reveals Intent of Walker Budget. Any Questions?

Republican Lawmakers Shorten Hours, Access to Capitol. Welcome to BIG Government Rule by "Small Government" Republicans? My Head Hurts.

Even though Wisconsin is open for business and corporate phone calls, the Walker administration has decide to close down the capitol earlier to a disenfranchised public. Welcome to the power of "big government," the enemy of conservatism? I know, we're in an economic emergency, so to hell with what they said before...whatever that was.  
WSJ: Police in the Wisconsin state Capitol plan to begin removing air mattresses and other various other items used by protesters who've been camping out for more than a week on Friday afternoon. 
At 4 p.m. Friday, police will begin restricting access to the Capitol, according to a flier circulated by police … "Friday sleeping area restrictions" include no sleeping on the second, third and fourth floors, meaning protesters may still be allowed to camp out on the ground floor of the building. 
Lawmakers approved a rule change this week clearing the way for Capitol police to close down the statehouse and end the biggest rally in recent memory … The new rule ends public hearings by 6 p.m. as well. With no public hearing and no session, there is no reason to keep the building open.
Big government Republicans are closing off access to employers, US!!! The dictates of one party rule, a bad thing once according to many constitutional conservatives, relies on the fear of citizen protesters actually exercising their Constitutional rights:
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, even called the situation a "powder keg."
Excluding the smaller number of tea party protesters from a year ago, it’s hard for Republican lawmakers to imagine being accountable or responsive to the massive numbers of 60’s style protesters in liberal Madison, where this is standard operating procedure. That according to Scott Walker in his phone call with "David Koch." Never mind that they’re protesting outside the STATE CAPITOL. Perhaps they would like them to gather in the East Towne Mall’s parking lot?   
"Have you ever gone to work and had to fight huge crowds, loud chants and constant drumming?" said State Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester. "You expect a certain amount of decorum here, but that's not what has gone on the past few weeks."
Decorum? Closing down the capitol, offering up non-negotiable bills? Cutting off debate? Union busting? The new shorter legislative hours really means only one thing:
"Making them leave is just another example of the Republicans trying to silence the people," said State Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee. 

Koch Brothers won't back off, Claim Economic Freedom from Unions Results in Higher Wages, Benefit Society. Really?






Don't believe Koch Industries. Have incomes really gone up for Americans? Has society benefited open free markets? Check out the charts and stats here. Who would you believe? According to the Koch brothers, yes, so sit down and shut up. 

TPM: Koch Industries executives are reacting to the prank call pulled on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) this week, where a blogger got through to the governor by posing as David Koch. In an interview with National Review Online: 
Richard Fink says the Koch brothers will not "back off."  "We will not step back at all. We firmly believe that economic freedom has benefited the overwhelming majority of society, including workers, who earn higher wages when you have open and free markets. When government grows as it has with the Bush and Obama administrations, that is what destroys prosperity."



Republicans Ram Through Budget bill on Voice Vote in Seconds. One Party Dictatorial Government?

Blue Cheddar picked up on this article from the New York Times:

“…Debate had gone on for 60 hours and 15 Democrats were still waiting to speak when the vote started around 1 a.m. Friday. Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, opened the roll and closed it within seconds. 
Democrats looked around, bewildered. Only 13 of the 38 Democratic members managed to vote in time. 
Republicans immediately marched out of the chamber in single file. The Democrats rushed at them, pumping their fists and shouting “Shame!” and “Cowards!” 
The Republicans walked past them without responding. 
Democrats left the chamber stunned. The protesters greeted them with a thundering chant of “Thank you!” Some Democrats teared up. Others hugged. 
“What a terrible, terrible day for Wisconsin,” said Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee. “I am incensed. I am shocked.”…”

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scott Walker, on state grounds and on public time, appears to have solicited campaign funds.

Gov. Scott Walker is in big trouble after he took the prank call from "David Koch," maybe. Events like these have a tendency to fade away quickly if the victim is a Republican, but this time, maybe not.

Not only should someone investigate the allegation that Walker and other lawmakers talked about sending a trouble maker into the crowd of demonstrators, but it appears Walker asked for help getting his message out during that conversation, a request for monetary help:

campaignmoney.org: National campaign finance watchdog Public Campaign Action Fund sent a letter to the Dane County (WI) District Attorney and Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) today urging that they open concurrent investigations into Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-Wisc.) possible double violations of state campaign finance and ethics statutes. The letter is in response to yesterday’s release of a taped phone call between Gov. Walker and a person he thought was out-of-state, billionaire campaign donor David Koch. 
The group asked the District Attorney and GAB to look at two questions: 
1) Did Gov. Walker illegally solicit political expenditures for independent spending to benefit Republican Senators from swing districts? 
2) Did Gov. Walker illegally solicit donations from the state capitol using state resources? 
“Governor Walker, while on state grounds supposedly doing his job, thought he was speaking to out-of-state billionaire David Koch, and over the course of that conversation he asked Koch to spend money to help Republican Senators from electorally vulnerable districts,” said David Donnelly, national campaigns director for Public Campaign Action Fund … No one should be above the law. Governor Walker’s conduct in this reported conversation indicates he does not believe the Wisconsin campaign finance statutes or ethics rules apply to him.  We strongly urge you to open an investigation...” 
Public Campaign Action Fund works to hold politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations. 

Sen. Fitzgerald's manufactured excuse on sending trouble makers into the crowd, "We talked about AFL-CIO individuals..."

Was that the best thing he could come up with? It didn't take long for the Republicans to come up with the most ridiculous excuse ever, to explain Gov. Walker's admission they talked about possibly trying to cause a clash of protesters. Lawrence O'Donnell asked point blank about sending trouble makers into the crowd, "is that something you discussed with the governor?"
Fitzgerald: "We talked about AFL-CIO individuals that might be in Wisconsin on Saturday, that uh, that may use those types of tactics to get some of the protesers agitated and some arrests. So, I'm not sure exactly if the governor was referring to the AFL-CIO..."
O'Donnell interrupted and play the Walker audio clip:



Fitzgerald: "Lawrence, that doesn't make no sense, we're trying to keep a lid on it here."

The Latest Protest at the capitol video...lots of signs..

Walker Damaged? Conservatives laugh it off.

I just talked with my conservative friend in Milwaukee, and wondered why he didn't bring up Gov. Scott Walker's "David Koch" punking. 

He said he laughed, and shook his head. That's it? Wasn't he concerned about what Walker said?

"It's funny," he said.

Move along, I guess, there's nothing to see here....

Fox News Misinforms again: Disputes No Teacher Tenure in Wisconsin, state patrol after Dems again. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach takes on spin.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach took on the Fox News spin machine, on attack mode, and shook off a host of ridiculous questions. Apparently, an award winning first year teacher lost her job, due to "tenure," which doesn't apply in Wisconsin. The Fox host did her best to ignore the facts, stressing the state patrol searching missing legislators homes so they could take them in...again. How sensational. 

 


Panelist for Gov. Walker's plan okay with taking whatever employer dishes out.


Channel 3000 WISC TV had an in studio panel react to one of the governors speech and got the kind of reaction you'd expect from both sides. One thing; the conservative panelist here complains that the private sector doesn't have all the union protections and he's just doing fine. Really?

Wages and gone down in the last decade, job security is out the window, the country has shed 8 million jobs since the crash...and he's doing well? In fact, he claims he doesn't want the ability to negotiate wages and benefits, essentially saying whatever the employer wants to give, that's it. 

I remember hearing a conservative caller on the radio emphatically stand up for a corporations ability to call the shots, saying whatever they offer, that's what you should get. 

Serfdom is here, and conservatives have convinced themselves corporate power is inevitable. After all, we need the jobs. 

The conservative supporter of Walker ignores the impact doing away with collective bargaining would have on our classrooms.  

Job Creating Corporations given keys to Republican states, asks workers to make concessions.


Middle class and poor Americans are sacrificing wages and benefits so "job creating" wealthy CEO's and corporations can comfortably exist. We are so desperate for work, that we will give up everything to lure companies to our state and local communities. Something is dramatically out of whack.  

MSNBC's Cenk Uygur breaks it down with Katrina Vanden Heuvel:


Gov. Mitch Daniels thinks unions "kill the American dream for everyone else."


Mark Belling hates our teachers. I bet he loves Gov. Walker's conversation with Buffalo Beast.


Conservative Milwaukee radio blatherer Mark Belling has this amazing image of our teachers, based on their attempt to preserve collective bargaining. "Absolute lunatics...most of them are not good people, most of them are not fair minded, most of them don't care about the children, most of them are sickening union thug type money grubbing jerks who couldn't care less about the public good." 

Of course, Democrats are the ones who constantly complain about, and hate America. From Sly in the Morning on WTDY 1670.

Democratic State Sen. Tim Carpenter Politely Writes a letter to the governor.


With a few minutes of time on his hands State Sen. Tim Carpenter decided to write a letter to the media hungry Governor, Scott Walker. He sums up the sleezy and ethically vacuous style of the states disciplinary father figure. Wispolitics via Rocknetroots
State Sen. Tim Carpenter:  At a historic moment in our State’s history, brought on by your refusal to compromise with elected officials regarding the elimination of worker’s rights, you still refuse to talk with Democratic legislators.  However, you apparently have no problem taking a phone call from “Mr. Koch” and to:   
• Discuss your strategy to lay off public workers to seek partisan advantage to pass
your agenda;
 
• Discuss your plan to lure Democratic legislators to the Capitol on the pretext of
negotiation, but then state that you would never actually negotiate; 
 
• Discuss your plan to use the pretext of negotiation to get a quorum for legislative
fiscal action that Republicans so far have not been able to do;
 
• Discuss that you considered the “planting” of paid  troublemakers into the
peaceful protests at our Capitol; and to
 
• Give your enthusiastic acceptance to an offer from  “Koch” to fly you out on a
vacation to show you a “good time” once you “crush  these bastards.” 
Your response was “That would be outstanding…”  Given that Koch’s businesses could reap vast rewards with the ‘no bid’ sale of the Wisconsin’s power plants that you propose in your budget repair bill, this response is severely troubling