Saturday, April 30, 2011

Only Republicans would Exploit the Massive Power of State Government like Snyder, Walker, Kassich, Scott, Christie...

I've been amazed at the lack of analysis over Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's policy of economic martial law. Here's the first and only look at it's constitutionality that I've run across:

Slate: Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, according to his critics, is not merely misguided. He is un-American. Snyder's plan to take over financially troubled cities and appoint unelected "emergency managers" to run them "is the same kind of flagrantly undemocratic 'emergency rule' used by military dictators," wrote a blogger on DailyKos. Rachel Maddow warned her viewers that if Snyder has his way, popular sovereignty at the local level will come to an end: Doesn't matter who you voted for in Michigan. Doesn't matter who you elected. Your elected local government can be dismissed at will. The emergency person sent in by the Rick Snyder administration could recommend that a school district be absorbed into another school district. That emergency person is also granted power specifically to disincorporate or dissolve entire city governments.

These critics may have a political point. But they have no legal argument.

There is no constitutional right to local self-government in the United States. In 1907, the Supreme Court decided, in Hunter v. Pittsburgh, that under the Constitution local governments are nothing more than "convenient agencies for exercising … such powers as may be entrusted to them" by the state. As a result, "the state may modify or withdraw all such power, may take without compensation such property, hold it for itself, or vest it with other agencies, expand or contract the territorial area, unite the whole or part of it with another municipality, repeal the charter and destroy the corporation … with or without the consent of the citizens, or even against their protest."

In other words, how local government is organized is up to state law, and the remedy to amend these state laws is the political process. As William Rehnquist wrote in the 1978 case Holt Civic Club v. Tuscaloosa, which upheld Alabama's decision to give cities extraterritorial jurisdiction over nearby settlements, the "authority to make those judgments resides in the state legislature." Citizens who dislike the existing arrangement, he wrote, "are free to urge their proposals to that body. "As far as the Constitution is concerned, a state could dissolve all of its local governments and run everything from the state capital.

(Before) Snyder's "Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act," … Michigan has declared seven local financial emergencies since 1990.

So the new law isn't a radically new or unprecedented affront to local democracy. This doesn't mean that the new law is justified. It just goes to show that there's nothing un-American about a good old-fashioned power grab. And the only remedy the Constitution provides for that is for citizens to voice their disapproval of state leadership at the ballot box in the next election.

Like I've written in the title, it could only be the conservative authoritarian that would exploit the state governments ability to rule over all. As much as I've followed politics these many years, this statewide takeover never once even occurred to me, a big government liberal.

Republicans Tearing Down Reality: Down the Rabbit Hole Logic, and “Muddying the Waters” on Big Oil Subsidies.

I don’t even know where to start on this one:
WKOW: Republicans are calling President Barack Obama's call to end tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies a ploy to introduce a tax increase that they say would end up costing jobs.
Huh? The tax increase aside (are they hallucinating?), with Big Oil and the help of Wall Street speculators raking in obscene global profits on $4 a gallon gas at the pump, stopping tax payer assistance to these companies would...cost jobs?
Remember when prices were at $2.95 a gallon, and Republicans criticized Obama’s cap and trade proposal as a job killer because it would increase prices at the pump, among other things? Have Big Oil and speculators been criticized by the Republicans for KILLING JOBS? NO!
Obama's call for oil company tax breaks to end comes as these companies are raking in booming profits, and while gas prices are surging toward record highs.
Stepping through the looking glass, Oklahoma Rep. Jim Lankford “muddied the waters” with this:
In the weekly GOP radio and Internet address, Congressman Lankford says that Obama's plan will "hurt the everyday consumer of energy" in addition to putting jobs at risk.
Good god!!! Who’s this stupid?

Say it over and over again; Obama's $4 pump prices are hurting consumers….

The Media Enablers: Why the “right” is never quite wrong. The Party of Economic Martial Law Advances.

Here are a few examples, just today, that prove my point; this is why really bad government policy favoring wealthy business interests continues to win favor among voters.
Wsj: “He deserves credit for the courage he has shown on the budget,” said Charles Franklin, UW-Madison political science professor.
Franklin’s “deserves credit” comment is cartoonish, part of the pundit media praise that has long since been lampooned as vacuously absurd. These piles of "stinking praise" have been dispelled by the brutally cold hard draconian facts.

I still can’t get over this bizarre commentary:
Wsj: …the Dane County Young Republicans take state Rep. Brett Hulsey to task for a message he left on his Facebook page … (about) a recent visit to the Oklahoma City memorial site … (where he stated) “It was very moving and a strong reminder of why we fight those who attack public servants. They attack all Americans and the core value of American: freedom.” 
The Young Republicans read that as an unfair slam on Gov. Walker … comparing Walker to the bomber, Timothy McVeigh … (writing) “By the way, you know who else totally enjoyed visiting the Oklahoma City Bombing memorial? Hitler.”
Reporters Clay Barbour and Mary Spicuzza’s response? After complementing the Young Republicans for its sarcastic tone, with an outlandish comparison to the Daily Show, they wrote:  
No matter which side you come at this from, we here at On the Capitol think it’s more proof that hyperbole is getting people into trouble these days.
That’s right, criticizing anti-government conservative who bombed the Federal building (or flew a plane into an IRS building in protest), is “hyperbole.” Brett Hulsey’s comment is the same as the Young Republicans obtuse “Hitler” jab (which I still can't figure out).

What part of Hulsey’s comment opened itself up to parody is the real question?

And finally, Sen. Ron Johnson is still going unchallenged in the media, even after dumb ass comments like this:

Oil is a GLOBAL MARKET, it won't lower the local pump price. It only adds to Big Oils bottom line, at our expense. 

The media enablers have moved us ever so much closer to the abyss. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Russ Feingold on The Colbert Report...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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Ryan Listening Sessions Still Turning out Angry Crowd for the Randian Sociopath.

The Ryandian "Path to Corporate Prosperity" tour isn't making many people any happier, but at least some are getting to tell the congressman that. TMJ4 and CBS 58:

tmj4: In Greenfield 600 showed up to listen and occasionally debate the Congressman ... Ryan has held more than 500 listening session in his career, but they are usually not this big or feisty. 
"Let me make a point," said Steve Jozefczyk as some booed him. 
Ryan repeated his plan … Ryan called on more people who disagreed with him, especially on taxes. 
"If you reduce the rate for top earners by 10% to 25% you have that much less to help with the problem," said one man in the audience. 
"The top one percent of wage earners get almost all the tax deductions, "said Ryan. "If you shrink or take away these tax shelters you can lower the tax rates for everybody."
That still doesn't make sense, no matter how many times he says it; Ryan takes away tax shelters that the middle class use as well, but then negates the tax gain, by lowering the tax bracket by 10 percent. That’s not deficit reduction. But there's more:
Ryan clicked through his slides until he found a chart showing that tax rates have little impact on revenues and the real revenue driver is economic growth. 
When rates are too high, he told the largely disbelieving crowd, people hide their income and don't invest and businesses can't compete with foreign rivals. 
"You'll shut down the economy if you just keep trying to whack up tax rates," Ryan insisted. 
Teacher Kathleen MacAvaney, 48, was among those who didn't buy it. She told Ryan that he's forgetting his roots and asked him to consider a plan presented by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party that protects social programs while making deeper inroads into the debt. 
"When we were growing up both of us lost a father. Both of us had mothers who took Social Security benefits to help our families get through a very difficult time," she said as her notes trembled in her hands. 
"I am afraid that the safety net is getting too many holes cut in it for our next generation."
 At each of the meetings Ryan held across his Wisconsin district Thursday morning and early afternoon, Ryan asked "how many of you are 55 years of age of older?"
After the vast majority of the crowd raised his hand, Ryan assured them "this budget does not affect your Medicare benefits." 
Not everyone was satisfied. "What about my son?" one man asked. "I'm 54!" shouted another.

Conservative Activist Justice David Prosser's Ever Expanding Lies about the Election.

You can't make this stuff up. Well, maybe you can if you're Justice David Prosser. The tangled web we now know as the supreme court justice race, is looking even more suspicious now. Whether it will have any effect on the voting results is up in the air, but what it does suggest is even more troubling; that conservative activist Justice David Prosser is lying.

WTDY's Sly laid it out clearly in the clip below, edited for time, where Prosser's own comments at different times contradict each other. A possible secret Gov. Scott Walker meeting room, recorded Prosser comments where he said he was at the Capitol, but then wasn' really is an amazing story pieced together well by Sly. Where you once might have thought there was no story, there is now.

Here's the WKOW News, Tony Galli report used by Sly:

Wisconsin Grocers Association wants to post pro-Walker signs in stores to protest illegal signs, on store products.

The anti-Walker stickers are so far just a rumor. And if these mysterious stickers find their way into grocery stores, they are also considered a form of vandalism. To fight this phantom sticker campaign, the Wisconsin Grocers Association has come up with an excuse to exploit the situation.

Think about it. This is nothing more than a reason to post political, pro-Walker warning signs all over Wisconsin stores for everyone to see, while at the same time banning anti-Walker protest stickers from those same stores claiming they’re illegal. Pretty clever isn’t it? 
(AP)   The Wisconsin Grocers Association is warning its members to be on the lookout for opponents of Gov. Scott Walker who are planning to deface some products in grocery stores on May 1.  Walker opponents have urged consumers to boycott companies that have donated to the governor's campaign.
Although no group has stepped forward to claim they are behind the proposed sticker protest, the WGA is playing up their role as victim, with what is essentially pro-Walker anti-union campaign of store “notices.” This is not about vandalism, or their concern over a few possible political stickers. It a vilification of the "phantom liberal."  
The grocers group has created a sign for stores to post alerting people that placing stickers on products in stores is illegal.
This is free publicity, pure and simple. But has the media bought into it? Not WLUK:

No signs should be posted. NONE. Violators should be subject to the law. It’s that simple.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Professional Recall outfit from out of state suspicious, can't be trusted says local group. Won't merge signatures.

This amazing turn of events says a lot about the Republican efforts to recall local a few Democrats.
WSJ: Organizers of a locally based recall effort against Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, announced Thursday they will not merge their signatures with a Utah-based recall effort and that, consequently, their effort is dead. Jeff Horn of DeForest, the lead organizer of the local recall effort, said the local effort came up 268 signatures short
The group could legally merge its signatures with a still-open effort to recall Miller by the American Recall Coalition, an offshoot of Americans Against Immigration Amnesty in Salt Lake City. But Horn said he's become increasingly suspicious of the motives of the Utah group's leader, Dan Baltes, and wants nothing to do with him or his organization.
You won’t believe the kind of guy the Republican Party brought in to do their dirty work.
The Greater Phoenix Tea Party recently accused Baltes of running a scam in which he promised to bring in conservative commentator Glenn Beck in exchange for $350 VIP tickets but never delivered. Last week, Deseret News, a Salt Lake City newspaper, reported Baltes spent 10 years in the Idaho prison system from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s for grand theft, forgery and writing bad checks. 
Horn said he's concerned that Baltes' interest in trying to recall Miller and other Democratic state senators was merely a scheme to get donations. "We really question his values and integrity," Horn said. 
Horn, in his dealings with the Utah-based coalition, said he learned the group has "very few" local volunteers or signatures.
Horn should be compliment for staying clear of this out of state thief. 

Liberal Radio host Nicole Sandler explains arrest at Rep. Allen West town hall. To West, dissent is "a distraction."

MSNBC's Cenk Uygur interviews radio host Nichol Sandler, who was asked to leave a Rep. Allen West "listening session," and subsequently arrested. In a bit of a twist, the audience is the one told to listen. Sandler was arrested for not leaving fast enough.

With West's former military experience and strict disciplinarian demeanor, he's the picture perfect authoritarian lawmaker. If you're lucky, he'll read you question sometime during his presentation.

But West's toss the liberal bums out tactic worked so well with Sandler, that's it's now part of his traveling sideshow. Watch with amazement:

Here's a great list of movie releases and dates, with a short description....

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Ryan opponent Rob Zerban interview on MSNBC.

Candidate Rob Zerban (zer-bon) makes his network debut appearance with The Nation's Chris Hayes on MSNBC. Zerban's early entry run against Randian Paul Ryan will give him a chance to sharpen his on air skills a bit, with none stop reasons to beat his opponent, and solicit support from across the state and  nation. Paul Ryan's "Path to Corporate Prosperity" is filled with built in talking points made for a Democratic challenger. (hint, search this blog with Ryan's name, lots of material)

My bet is in three months or less, Zerban will be ready for the endless media coverage only a Ryan opponent could garner. Enjoy.

State Employee Recognition Week coming, DOA's Mike Huebsch offers congrats to crushed state union workers.

Sly did it again! Nailed the hypocrites dictating policy in the state Capitol. Would you believe "State employee recognition Week?" This is so outlandishly bizarre, how can it not assault your sense of decency. It's like these conservative ghouls just want to rub their newly obtained work place power in the faces of their employees. Sly in the Morning goes after the administration, comparing them to Nazi's. As "Sly's Office" puts it:
"A state worker sent me a memo that he received from the governor's office that talks about Walker's plan to show appreciation for state workers next week. Walker wants agency managers to plan something special for their employees to thank them for their hard work and as a way to boost morale."

One caller mentions this at the end of the clip: The gate sign at the Dachau, Germany concentration camp...The German phrase “ARBEIT MACHT FREI” was on the gate...The phrase translates into “WORK SETS YOU FREE.” 

Work without union representation has set public employees free I guess. Free from the chains that are; higher wages and benefits. Now we can all suffer, together. Check out the whole clip here, the version above is shortened.

Turn EMS over to for profit ambulance companies?

Every party has a court jester, even the Democrats. Our party straddling ConservaDems have also bought into the privatization hoodoo. It's so unfair to deny a profit made from accident victims in our society.
A Milwaukee alderman called Thursday for studying a major overhaul of the city's Fire Department, including the prospects for hiring private companies to deliver both emergency medical service and fire service, or consolidating operations with the suburbs and county. 
"We're living with a 1970s solution for how we provide fire protection," Ald. Terry Witkowski said at a City Hall news conference. 
He said the city needs to find a way to provide "the same level of service, the same degree of safety, but at lower cost." Asked whether he had discussed the study with the firefighters' union, Witkowski said he had learned the quickest way to kill one of your own ideas was to "go to the enemy first." 
He questioned whether the city's four ambulance companies could provide the same emergency medical service at a lower cost.

Walker throws away possible creation of 103,000 jobs and $13 billion in economic activity by politicizing “high speed rail” to conservative voters.

Sure the following report was in part prepared by a group that advocated high speed rail, but the projected advantages of building a system in Wisconsin are worth considering again, even if the numbers here are on the high side.
Wispolitics: Transportation advocates, workers and state leaders released a report today entitled “The Economic Impacts of High Speed Rail: Transforming the Midwest” showing that expanding passenger train service in Wisconsin and the Midwest can create 103,000 jobs and $13.8 billion of economic activity in the region. 
“The communities I represent rely on a freight rail network that provides an essential connection for rural manufacturers that support thousands of jobs,” said Rep. Fred Clark (D-Baraboo). “Communities like Wisconsin Dells and Portage would benefit directly and immediately from an enhancement of our passenger rail system.  
The report was prepared by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association by AECOM and the Economic Development Research Group, Inc., and sponsored by Siemens. The report showed that the Midwest is the fifth largest economy in the world, only behind China, Germany, France and Japan, but lacks the freight and passenger train infrastructure to compete.

Robert Reich: “The Wageless Recover.” Are any of the Republican Governors and DC lawmakers aware of this?

More bad news for the frustrated and angry middle class family.

The most significant economic news from the first quarter of 2011 is the decline in real wages. That’s unusual in a recovery, to say the least. But it’s easily explained this time around. In order to keep the jobs they have, millions of Americans are accepting shrinking paychecks. If they’ve been fired, the only way they can land a new job is to accept even smaller ones. 
The wage squeeze is putting most households in a double bind. Before the recession, they’d been able to pay the bills because they had two paychecks. Now, they’re likely to have one-and-a half, or just one, and it’s shrinking. 
Add to this the continuing decline in the value of the biggest asset most people own – their homes – and what do you get? Consumers who won’t and can’t buy enough to keep the economy going. That spells recession.

State Employee Recognition Week coming, DOA's Mike Huebsch offers congrats to crushed state union workers.

Can you believe this? WTDY's Sly in the Morning said he received a memo from a state employee...more coming.....

Ryan Challenger, Rob Zerban, gets an early start, offers viable alternative to "road to Ryan" policies.

Paul Ryan challenger Rob Zerban (zer-bon) appeared on WTDY's Sly in the Morning, adding hope where there once was none. Not only is it refreshing to have an articulate former business man running against Ryan, but a comfort to see a candidate this early in the election season.

You can hear the whole interview at Sly's Office.

Concealed carry bill should include access to Capitol building, for safety's sake!!!

What an amazing contradiction; the Capitol is still in lock down, despite a court order to return it to normal, because frightened state Republican lawmakers are worried about their safety:
WSJ:…at least one fixture of the winter protests remains: heightened security. Metal detectors and law enforcement still flank the hallways of the Capitol's only two open entrances. Six other ground level entrances have been closed for weeks, and protests are now limited to the rotunda's ground floor, although demonstrators can move about the building when not protesting ... Although the protests have largely stopped … a spokesman for the state DOA would give no indication this week when the added security might be eased.
How unsafe are the conditions in and around the Capitol for these Republican victims of their own extremism?:
Dianne Wiegel (a protester) said she had to wait in line for 20 minutes as police checked a group of children through security Thursday. Wiegel said. "One cop I talked to before said as long as Walker feels threatened in here, they're going to keep it that way."
Wouldn’t Walker feel much safer, just like the public would enjoying a family outing in our local restaurants and bars, knowing paranoid hobbyists will be walking around with load assault weapons?
According to Madison officials, legislators in the Assembly and Senate are now drafting a (concealed carry) bill ... anticipates a bill be will be drafted in the next couple weeks, and … Sen. Pam Galloway, R-Wausau, is working on it.  
Let’s hope we can safely open up every level of the Capitol again to pro-labor rallies, knowing concealed carry hobbyists will have our back if something goes terribly wrong, like illegally posting a sign over the balcony.   

Watch the Accident; Birther Orly Taitz onto new conspiracies...

This was great stuff. Lawrence O'Donnell tries like hell to keep Orly Taitz on subject, only to get some bizarre new scheme.

The best line; After O'Donnell realizes Taitz is just using his show to promote her latest spin, he says, "This is not where you come to do your madness." 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Republicans yawn, as dozens speak out against Voter ID, and the hypocrites against a recount now want Dane County.

With so many turning out to speak out against the Republican legislatures push to pass a strict voter ID bill, you would think they would give a little, or shelve it for another time. But apparently, WE'RE NOT them.

This is a done deal. They already know what they want, and are just going through the motions. Despite not including the state university issued ID in the bill, which is outright crazy, you can kind of see where this whole thing is going.  
WKOW: Dozens turned out to the Capitol Wednesday to voice their concerns over legislation that would require voters to show ID at the polls.

What a bunch of hypocrites! After listening all week to conservative talk radio hosts whine that they wouldn’t have called for a Supreme Court recount, believing that it was an honest mistake in Waukesha, the story has now changed. Amazing.
jsonline: The Republican National Lawyers Association, which blasted the recount requested by Kloppenburg (has now) called instead for an investigation into “potentially massive fraud that occurred in Dane County.” 
The group alleged that, “In some precincts in the liberal City of Madison of Dane County, as many as 40% of voters only voted for judge – an extremely high number that is not seen even in Presidential election years.” E-mailers and bloggers have also alleged that more than 10,000 people in Dane County implausibly voted only in the judicial race and in no other contest on the ballot. Some have described these as “over-votes” or an “over-count.”    
On closer inspection, the claims about Dane County discrepancies and “over-votes” appear to be either flatly wrong or wildly exaggerated. Does this mean that 10,691 people in Dane County voted “only” in the court race, as some have claimed?   
Actually, no.  Some people who voted for Supreme Court but skipped the county executive race could have voted in the Madison mayor’s race or other contests on the ballot. Nor do we know how many of those court-only voters voted for Kloppenburg and how many voted for her opponent, Justice David Prosser. 

Tea Party Nation's Judson Phillips and Arizona State Sen. Steve Smith Still Birthers.

Chris Matthews is at his best ripping these dumber than doorknob tea party conservatives pushing the birther BS. You'll notice that neither Tea Party Nations Judson Phillips or Arizona State Sen. Steve Smith who co-sponsor a birther bill, think clearly or rationally.

It's time to call these mook's out on their hallucinations, like Matthews.

Anti-Walker sticker protest advises you to read the product label.

One of the great protest idea's yet, and cutting right to the boycott chase, are anti-Walker stickers placed directly on products made by Walker supporter businesses.

Coming to a store shelf near you on May 1st; Johnsonville Brats (These Brats bust unions), Coors Beer (labor rights flow away like a mountain stream), and Angel Soft Toilet Paper (too objectionable for TV).

But why limit it to May 1st? Anytime...? Fox6now:

Guess what, the official Obama birth certificate isn't enough...World Net Daily Editor is just like his web site, crazy.

MSNBC's Cenk Uygur toys with World Net Daily's editor and idiot, Joseph Farah, who could not look more insane. Claims the birth certificate has to be examined and determined to be real, and still doesn't deal with constitutional right to be president. Media Matters Eric Boehlert throws in a few good one as well.

Now Obama isn't smart enough to be president of Harvard's Law Review!! Race Baiting 101.

Chris Matthews had this timely, and outrageous conversation, with Pat Buchanan on the question of Obama's intelligence. How did an average student do all that? Affirmative action!:

Republican Cancels "Listening Session" at Car Dealer after threats of Boycott.

Just how tone deaf do businesses have to be not to know how poisonous the Walker administration has made between labor and their employers? One car dealer has found out despite being a minor player. This is what happens when you support one of our middle class Republican attackers.
Superiortelegram: Fallout from the political turmoil surrounding Gov. Scott Walker's administration has prompted an Eau Claire car dealership to slam the brakes on an offer to host a listening session for a newly elected Republican Assemblyman. 
State Rep. Warren Petryk, R-Eleva, announced Tuesday he has canceled a listening session that had been scheduled for Monday at Ken Vance Motors in Eau Claire.
The cancellation came about after the dealership received a half-dozen or so calls from local residents, including some longtime customers, suggesting they no longer would do business with the company because of its support for Walker and the GOP, said owner Ken Vance.
Vance acknowledged he donated $500 to the Walker campaign but noted that he also contributed $250 to his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and has been a strong supporter of U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse. "This thing is getting so out of hand with these blacklists and so on," Jason Vance said. "To be put on a list like that over $500 and not have the information out there that Ken also gave money to Tom Barrett is ridiculous. It's borderline blackmail. "I've never seen a political environment as toxic as this one," Jason Vance said. "It's too bad."
And who created this toxic political environment? Businesses have to know they not only need customers to make a profit, they also need their communities for support and employees. 

The Reason Why We Have Medicare, in the words of Pres. Johnson.

Rep. John Boehner admits in the clip below, that Ryan's plan lets the private sector handle Medicare. Now we know. But remember too why Medicare was created in the first place, and the words of President Lyndon Johnson who details those reasons-Ed Schultz:

More on the "Peoples Budget," from the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Here's Ezra Klein on the some of the details of the Peoples Budget:

Federal Judge who Struck Down Gay Marriage Ban in California, Gay!! Should have recused himself? Huh!

Opponents of California's same sex marriage law have decided to attack the Federal Judge who ruled in favor of the law, claiming because he's gay, he should not have taken the case. Radio host Michael Smerconish points out how ridiculous their case is, with a half dozen examples of other situations that would preclude other judges, and would pretty much destroy our judicial system. 

Radio Host Nicole Sandler Arrested at Listening Session, for asking Tea Party Authoritarian Rep. Allen West a tough question.

Rep. Allen West is nothing short of scary. Past comments:
Colorlines: West cited the movies “300” and “The Last Samurai” while instructing a conservative women’s group on their role in society, which he said is to raise strong men. “We need you to come in and lock shields, and strengthen up the men who are going to fight for you. To let these other women know on the other side — these planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women that have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient.” He blamed “the events that are occurring all across Africa and the Middle East” on the “joke” and weakness of Obama’s presidency.
At a“listening session,” West valiantly fought off public dissent by not…listening.  For Republicans, not listening is a badge of honor, and a defiant "stick to your guns" attitude that plays up the authoritarian character of the party. For instance, West arrogantly told the crowd in the video below, there are three things he must have; 
“That is my honor, that is my character, and that is my integrity. And there are people who don’t want to face the truth.”

The tea party and Republicans are keepers of "the truth," which means they don't have to compromise, or listen to the other side. Talk radio host Nicole Sandler, who regularly fills in for Randi Rhodes, was arrested at a "Tea Party" session West held in Fort Lauderdale, for asking a question. From BradBlog
As reported by the Palm Peach Post today: The meeting marked the first time hecklers disrupted one of [West's] presentations, the first time an audience member got arrested (liberal radio talker and Air America alum Nicole Sandler) and the first time West passed up direct questions from the audience in favor of written ones. West said the new format wasn’t an attempt to dodge tough questions.
He's right there. He wants to dodge all questions, those that question his authority. It's so...tea party.

Run, Ryan, Run!!! Security concerns? Apparently Ryan's not familiar with public dissent, accountability.

No one wants to say it, but Rep. Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" is bringing out larger, angrier crowds than Obama's Affordable Care Act. Funny it's never mentioned.

It also takes a brave conservative to appear at a public "listening session" in front of a large crowd of angry citizens. Sure they were looking to victimize another Republican with a public tongue lashing, but what about the issues? No wonder conservatives feel so picked on.

Ryan's runs from Kenosha threat!!!

Rep. Paul Ryan's disappointing appearance in Kenosha created a public relations problem for Ryan. He had to explain why so many people were unhappy. Suddenly, Ryan ran from the scene in fear for his safety, conveniently leaving that question unanswered. WTMJ4:

TMJ4 set up an interview with Ryan following the meeting, but it was scrapped by staffers and police over a security concern. The congressman changed the door where he planned to exit and left in a different vehicle than the one than he arrived in. “There were just definitely some loud hecklers who came that gave the police a little concern,” Ryan told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter by phone. Ryan insists the hurried exit should not be “blown out of proportion.” 
The threatening crowd of seniors were too much for Ryan:

Protesters waited for Congressman Paul Ryan outside a listening session, many of them were seniors, holding preprinted signs that read ‘Hands Off My Medicare."
Grandma's against Walker pictured

Only second hand clothing for Foster kids? All part of Republican vision of America.

Dickensian is too kind a word to use for the current crop of authoritarian Republican sociopaths, especially those empowered in the state of Michigan.

The following is so unimaginable, especially coming from a fellow human being in a country like the United States, that I think at this point the message is pretty clear where Republicans want to take our country.

His explanation? “I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.” 
Under his plan, foster children would receive gift cards that could only be used at places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill and other second hand clothing stores. 
Michigan League for Human Services, executive director Gilda Jacobs, had this to say:
“Honestly, I was flabbergasted,” Jacobs says. “I really couldn’t believe this. Because I think, gosh, is this where we’ve gone in this state?
Casswell says the plan will save the state money, though it isn’t clear how much the state spends on clothing for foster children or how much could be saved this way.
Thank god for a suggestion from a constituent, that altered the plan:
A proposal by Hillsdale County Republican Sen. Bruce Caswell has been amended. After a suggestion from a constituent, he plans to draft an amendment to the proposal that would direct the state to work with major retailers to create a gift card program 
What a big heart. Can you imagine stores trying to configure their system computers to accept these cards? Not likely.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ryan's Hope...he gets out of the state in one piece. Tour riling up disillusioned conservative voters.

Paul Ryan's tour through Wisconsin is turning out huge angry crowds. Here are a few of the latest video clips:


Here's the local coverage from Milwaukee TV stations Fox 6 and CBS 58, although oddly, they don't show the listening session comments:

Here's Rachel Maddow's take on the listening session, with lots of ticked off voter questions. Good stuff:

Here's Big Ed with John Nichols, along with a number of longer citizen questions. It's fun to watch the passion and energy level Schultz puts into this issue, so I've included a bit more of his commentary:

Republican Party Official: We "can fight the Medicare issue to a tie, by MUDDYING THE WATERS."

Ed Schultz takes on the listening session protests nation wide, by showing some great video clips, and asking the right questions. The surprising

Scooter was a bad liar, Rove exposed Plame-James Stewart, author "Tangled Webs"

James Stewart lays into Scooter Libby in this great interview from Lawrence O'Donnell, explaining so much of what happened behind the scenes, and who was really responsible for exposing Valarie Plame.

Republican Party of Wisconsin accuses Democrats of "tricking," "harassing," "intimidating," "confusing" recall signers into denial. Fire their writers.

Here's the next "big whopper" from the Republican Party of Wisconsin: 
The Democrat Party of Wisconsin is using a fraudulent tactic to harass and intimidate constituents … targeted for harassment people who signed recall petitions against Senator Hansen … using a fake phone number and caller ID that showed up on phones as “Bay Care Aurora,” a well-known Green Bay area medical center … they were told they were speaking with a Democrat Party of Wisconsin operative, and were questioned about signing a petition to recall Hansen. 
First the caller ID is correct, not fake as claimed in the press release. I actually called Bay Care Aurora. The number is an inactive one at the medical center. So right away, WISGOP is lying. Here’s where it gets insanely...dumb (the best word I could come up with):
“It’s disgusting that the Dems would use a fake call from a hospital to trick people into answering their phones – only so they could harass and intimidate them into saying they did not sign a recall petition,” said Mark Jefferson, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. 
Can we really trick and harass recall signers into…denial? Really? It's that easy? But the cheesy story line didn’t stop there:
“People who received that call may have feared the worst – an unexpected call from a hospital can bring terrible news about a loved one. The Democrats’ intent was obviously to confuse and upset people, hoping they would be disoriented and easily tricked into saying they had not signed a recall petition. 
Did anyone know Republican could be so easily tricked and disoriented into recanting their participation in recalling a Democrat? I called my very conservative gun toting friend in Milwaukee and asked him if he would deny ever signing a recall petition for a Democrat. His first reaction; "I wouldn't tell you." His second reaction, "Are you kidding." 
Dave Hansen’s political career may be coming to an end because he fled to Illinois, but that doesn’t excuse this cruel, desperate tactic.”
Here’s their proof, a photo at their web site of what they claim is a fake caller ID name and phone number. 

To be honest, I too received an intimidating call by someone who said they were an operative of WISGOP, who forced me to deny I ever was a liberal, and denounce Capitol protesters as thugs. I've got proof. Here's the fake caller ID and number:


Audience Shrugged at Atlas Shrugged

The Gary Cooper movie "Fountainhead" had a screenplay written by Ayn Rand, which made the film a direct extension of her twisted vision of a dystopian anti-society. Many years later and a growing anti-government movement of low information tea partiers, parroting the corporate influenced dialog of our time, an updated Ayn Rand picture is emerging that deifies her place in history.

The first installment of "Atlas Shrugged," the movie, garnered an audience that pretty much reflected the actual size of the tea party movement. It was small and it failed.    
 As Mario Piperni described in his blog:
Any bets we’ll never get to see a Part 2 or 3?  A trashy novel written by a delusional author turned into a film described by one critic as “an eye-rollingly clumsy amble through a Middle Earth of Monopolists” leads to a $3 million return on a $20 million investment.  Perfect.  I guess the base is too concerned about unseen birth certificates to find the time to view a movie based on a book which carries the tagline “Screw everyone but ME! All that counts is making money.”
NOTE for tea party "readers" seeing this post, her name is pronounced "eye-n."

Short Sighted Republicans again Sabotage Job Creation with Cuts to Patent Office. China is doing just the opposite!!

President Obama wanted to increase funding to the Patent Office, which would have spurred on the “job creators.” But tea party Republicans made sure that didn’t happen, with their typically short sighted fiscal policy, and talking point driven agenda.
A series of Continuing Resolutions that funded the government on a limited basis … was ultimately signed into law.  When the dust had settled the United States Patent and Trademark Office (lost) $100 million.  That lead to the Office … announcing severe austerity measures. Washington's policy-makers appear oblivious to the importance of intellectual property and the historical role that the patent system plays in the nation's economy. 
jsonline: "There is no great surprise why we are having a jobless recovery," said Eugene Quinn, a Washington, D.C.-area patent attorney and author of the blog. 
Agency director David Kappos has warn(ed) that the congressional action will cause a "catastrophic" setback for American innovation, competitiveness and job creation. 
Paul Michel, a retired chief justice that handles patent cases noted that small companies and start-ups create the bulk of new jobs in the U.S. economy, and those are the entities hardest hit by a dysfunctional patent office. Michel said, "they are holding back new companies, new technologies and new jobs." 
While Beijing invests heavily in China's patent system … Congress effectively has helped itself to funds that belong to garage entrepreneurs, start-ups and inventors, Michel said Monday … now has a backlog of more than 1.2 million applications awaiting a final decision - nearly tripled from about 10 years ago. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rep. Sean Duffy's, You're "Listening to me Session" Backfires. People with Information Fight Back.

Americans United for Change are running ads in Milwaukee and Wausau, taking a shot at Rep. Sean Duffy and Paul Ryan.  According to the press release, the "Ryan-Duffy Plan to replaces Medicare with Ever-Shrinking Private Vouchers, Slash Medicaid Funds Leaving 205,987 Wisconsin Citizens Without Care to Pay for Trillions of Dollars in New Tax Giveaways for Big Corporations."

Pretty tough stuff, and part of an almost unheard of new offensive by...Democrats and their supporters.


Not only is Sean Duffy finding out that "facts are stubborn things," but other Republicans have quit holding town halls all together.

In the clip below Duffy reminds a smarter constituent, not your usual tea party zombie, that "when you have your town hall, you can stand up and give your presentation." Who's listening to who? Rachel Maddow:

Sean Duffy is a deer in headlights: In this clip Duffy stutters and stammers after a simple audience member statement of fact. Is this what an informed voter looks like? Watch Duffy sputter;
"First of all, it's premium support, its not a voucher. The bottom line is if we do nothing...if we do can all say...listen I may come and tell you this is all fine and's all going to work ...and you know you can get it...and I know...any young people here...."
OMG! Better still, is Duffy really this stupid? Duffy needs to turn in his rookie card.

For purists, here's the full revealing clip showing public concern over outsourcing jobs, trickle down, along with Medicare:

Observing Walker and the Republican Legislature attack Labor is like watching sausage made, it ain't pretty and you get to eat a Johnsonville Brat.

Now’s the time to stay clear of Brat Fest this year, and send a regretful message to Johnsville Sausage, that protecting worker rights is just as important as any charitable cause. To do whatever it takes, as is the case with Ralph Stayer's huge contribution, is to undermine labor:
A WisPolitics check of campaign finance reports: Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, raised $83,854 … His largest donor was Ralph Stayer of Johnsonville Sausage, who gave him $15,000.
Check out his past record of support, and how his latest contribution dwarfs his other efforts:

What a nasty Dickensian crank. Never again Johnsonville. But there is an alternative brat fest. WMTV:

Alternative Brat Fest will be a one day event held on May 29th.

Sheboygan and Kewaunee County Mulling Sales Tax Increase, site Walker's Big Government fiscal Restrictions on Local Officials.

While the Republican administration has decided to take a machete to the state services and employee pay, it's not exactly balancing the budgets of local governments. The chaotic austere economic scatter-shot approach is leading to a number of unintended consequences. Like sales tax increases: 
BusinessWeek: Faced with mounting costs and potential cuts in state aid, officials in two eastern Wisconsin counties are considering new countywide sales taxes ... officials in both Kewaunee and Sheboygan counties acknowledge the political risks ... But with county budgets being squeezed by Gov. Scott Walker's attempts to reduce government spending, some county officials are willing to consider it. 
Mark O'Connell, executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association, said "They might not have any choice."  
Sixty-two out of 72 counties in Wisconsin already collect a half-cent sales tax.
Kewaunee County Administrator Ed Dorner said the deficit is the result of Walker's proposed cuts, employee wage and benefit increases, the rising cost of fuel and other needs, and state-imposed limits on property taxes.

For critics, the answer is no. Karen Kinstetter, a former Kewaunee County Board member, has started a recall effort for board members who support the idea. "They are so far detached from their constituents, it is unbelievable," she said.
Of course, Kinstetter must not have gotten the Gov. Walker memo he recently dictated to the Wisconsin Radio Network:
Walker says in the past lawmakers have faced recall elections after instances of misconduct in office and not over a single vote. 
“At some point if you have a recall after every vote, you could have those continuously, one-after-another-after-another and it makes it very hard in a Republic for things to get done.”
But the same rules don’t really apply to the Republican Party. That rule; having it both ways. 

While Walker kills Wind Energy, 77 percent of Wisconsinites want expansion, even if it means higher electric bills.

Again, Gov. Walker is doing just the opposite! The will of the people just another empty GOP slogan. 
FDLreporter: A poll of Wisconsin residents finds strong support for increasing the use of wind energy, even if doing so would raise electricity bills several dollars per month.
The Wisconsin Public Radio poll released Friday shows that 77 percent of respondents want to see the state invest more in wind energy. Reasons included decreasing the nation's reliance on foreign oil and helping the environment.
A majority, 69 percent, wouldn't mind eight to 10 wind-energy machines being placed close to where they live, and 79 percent favor placing the machines offshore in Lake Michigan.

Voucher schools now want more money, way more. But I thought we could get the same education for half the price?

The Journal Sentinel article below, by columnist Patrick McIlheran who describes himself as “generally a right-wing guy,” tries make the case for dramatically increasing voucher amounts, as a way of making the idea more palatable in the future. It's a set up, basically, planting the seed of thought early and often.
Part of making that case includes praising their worst enemy of all, European countries! Their national voucher plans. What is often missing from these pro-voucher arguments is the one element that makes the European plans work; their plans include a NATIONAL curriculum and a NATIONAL standardized test.

Funny how that never comes up? The point is, private schools are now pushing for much higher amounts of taxpayer subsidies. Some would call that profit taking, and some would call that an open admission that education really does cost that much. It would also contradict the idea that teachers are paid too much.
In Sunday's Journal Sentinel, I write about the fantastic bargain Wisconsin taxpayers are getting -- and may be at risk of losing. 
The bargain is what we spend when a family takes its school aid in the form of a voucher to a private school in Milwaukee's choice program. Taxpayers shell out $6,442 per child, about 45% as much as the $14,183 per-child cost in the Milwaukee Public Schools … The question is how much longer that can go on. Choice schools cannot charge poor families any more than the voucher, but researchers with the five-year study of school choice report that 82% of such schools have higher per-pupil costs. 
The voucher just isn't enough to run a school, said the University of Arkansas' Brian Kisida, one of the researchers: "How can you hire the best people on half the money?" He said that if he had Gov. Scott Walker's ear, he'd tell him to keep the rule requiring state tests, flawed as they are, and to raise the grant.
A few readers comments indicate they're starting to catch on to the scam:
"So, the lower cost of choice schools, the thing you have been trumpeting as the raison d'être for expanding the program away from public schools, is according to your own writing an artificially low number? Not enough to run a school on, and a number so low that teachers cannot be paid a reasonable wage. It is not hard to see the writing on the wall. If Wisconsin transitions to choice schools per the conservative/Walker plan, it would not take long for choice school costs to come up to par with public school costs. 'How can you hire the best people on half the money?"
"Wow. I hadn't thought of that."-Governor Scott Walker.
Or this interesting frame:
"School Choice via Vouchers is another one of those unfunded NEW Republican entitlement program similar to GWB Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Now the advocates of Vouchers want to expand this unfunded entitlement program. Eliminate the caps, make it statewide, and raise the income limits so the middle class can jump in to. Not for the poor anymore but really for the churches. Once you break down the barrier of church and state both the church and the state will suffer."