Monday, October 31, 2011

More Tax Increases on the way for Poor by "No Tax" Pledge Republican Class Warriors.

Not only did Republicans recently raise taxes by reducing the Earned Income Tax Credit, all the while Congressional Republicans began pushing for a flat tax that would raise taxes on low income earners who don’t pay federal taxes, state legislators are now looking to raise taxes again for many by doing away with access to the Homestead Tax Credit. Last year some 250,000 claims cost the state about $120 million.
CapTimes: There is no age restriction on the Homestead program, which provides on average about $500 in savings for low-income tax filers.

"We hate poor people," an angry Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, protested at that time. "We kick them when they're down. They will never have the chance to thrive." The effort to reduce tax breaks for low-income people follows a report last week from the Institute for Wisconsin's Future showing that four of the largest companies in the state paid no corporate incomes taxes here since 2000.

This class warfare by the poor has got to stop.

Ooop! There is Global Warming.

It looks like a "few" blindly ideological global warming skeptics had their eyes opened today. They will of course, still not believe our godless scientific research. 
WaPo/Bloomberg: A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly.

The study of the world’s surface temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. He was spurred to action because of “Climategate,” a British scandal involving hacked emails of scientists.

He said he went even further back, studying readings from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. His ultimate finding of a warming world, to be presented at a conference Monday, is no different from what mainstream climate scientists have been saying for decades. One-quarter of the $600,000 to do the research came from the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a major funder of skeptic groups and the tea party. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, run a large privately held company involved in oil and other industries, producing sizable greenhouse gas emissions. “Greenhouse gases could have a disastrous impact on the world,” he said. Still, he contends that threat is not as proven as the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it is. 

A Must Read on Health Care in the U.S., and Europe's Supposed "Repressive" Higher Taxes.

Take a look at these health care facts from the other industrialized countries. It's funny how this simple information in never summed up like Dr. David Edelberg has done here, originally posted at MoneyedPoliticians. The idea that higher taxes in Europe are repressive, when those same taxes free up so much time and money, is the saddest part of the conservative lie and promise of “liberty and freedom."
Both the UK and Canada have single-payer systems, what might be called “Medicare for all” here in the US. Physicians and hospitals bill the government for professional services. Their fees (which no doctor on earth is ever happy with, no matter what country or which system) are determined in advance and regularly renegotiated. At least in Canada and the UK everyone–prime minister to cab driver–is equally covered, with the option of self-funded add-ons.

The healthcare systems in France, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries are even better. France and Germany are rated by the World Health Organization as #1 and #2 in the world respectively for effective health care delivery. The US is #37, beating out Slovenia. In these highly rated systems, doctors are in private practice (not government employees) and submit their bills to nonprofit government-regulated regional insurance companies. The companies are genuine nonprofits and the salaries of the employees and management are determined by the government, as are the fees paid to doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. These systems save incredible amounts of money because everyone’s health records are available in an online network. But what really makes the European system so superior to ours is that no one is in health care to make a profit. Citizens expect their doctors and hospitals to be fairly paid, but there are no outside investors, venture capitalists, hedge funds, or shareholders whose interests come before those of the patient.

To Europeans, the very existence of an insurance company like UnitedHealth Group is a source of shock and amazement. UnitedHealth Group is the master of health care for profit. In 2004, United’s CEO William McGuire (an MD, woefully enough), received compensation of $125 million, obtained, you may be sure, by tens of thousands of denials.

I’m going to close with a quote from an exchange I found in the provocative new book Europe’s Promise … After some escalating irritation between Americans and Europeans about “who has the better system,” a man from Denmark entered the conversation:
“I am a teacher, and so is my wife. We have together a yearly income of $120,000. We have raised four kids; one has finished his free college education and the others will be heading to college. Besides free education, they will each receive $660 a month from the state for expenses. I myself was operated on for my shoulder last week, free of course, and will be receiving full salary during my absence from work…We have saved $100,000 in the bank and have a summer cottage worth $200,000. Our apartment is $850 a month including heat. We have also a pension plan that will guarantee 75% of our present salary from the day we retire until our deaths. We pay 42% of our income into taxes and for that we get comprehensive social security, free education for our children, free health care, and full pension. All that with a 37 hour work week, twenty holidays and a guaranteed six-week paid vacation every year. We use this vacation time to travel and this year have been to Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands. Yes, it is surely hard to live in Europe.”

Cain's Wisconsin Campaign Aides Flaunt Campaign and Federal Tax Laws.

Mr. 9-9-9 Flim Flam, meet Mr. Really Crooked. 

Herman Cain may soon have a big problem, thanks to two operatives from Wisconsin, who may have broken federal tax and campaign laws. 
jsonline-Dan Bice: Herman Cain's two top campaign aides ran a private Wisconsin-based corporation that helped the GOP presidential candidate get his fledgling campaign off the ground by originally footing the bill for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for such items as iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa and Las Vegas - something that might breach federal tax and campaign law, according to sources and documents. Internal financial records obtained by No Quarter show that Prosperity USA said it was owed about $40,000 by the Cain campaign for a variety of items in February and March.

Prosperity USA was owned and run by Wisconsin political operatives Mark Block and Linda Hansen, Cain's current chief of staff and deputy chief of staff, respectively.

Election law experts say the transactions raise a host of questions for the private organization, which billed itself as a tax-exempt nonprofit, and the Cain team. "If the records accurately reflect what occurred, this is way out of bounds," said a Washington, D.C.-based election lawyer who advises many Republican candidates and conservative groups on campaign issues.

Michael Maistelman, a Wisconsin campaign attorney, agreed. "The number of questionable and possibly illegal transactions conducted on behalf of Herman Cain is staggering."

Block … is best known in the state for his role as campaign manager (and being) Accused of election law violations, Block settled the case by agreeing to pay a $15,000 fine and to stay out of Wisconsin politics for three years. Block ran the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit cofounded by the conservative Koch brothers. It was through Americans for Prosperity that Block met Cain and encouraged him to run for national office. 
This exciting offer was included in my email update from Newsmax. What it means exactly, I couldn't tell you. A backward Mitch McConnell watch would work. A Boehner and Cantor watch too. But Obama?

The video shows the watch...running...backward. Exciting isn't it?

Dumb Ron Johnson's Millionaires Senate Club Just doesn't get Occupy Wall Street Crowd.

Is it okay to just admit that you are so disconnected from your constituents that you don't understand what they're unhappy about? Like Occupy Wall Street. 
Patch: Freshman Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson visited the River Channel studio in Hudson on Saturday morning to meet with members of the local media. It's been almost a year since Johnson defeated Democrat Russ Feingold to become our senator. This was his first meeting with the local media since the election.

Whew, Walker and Kleefisch got their raises just in time!

While everyone else took huge hits on their government paychecks, Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch got raises. So did a few others. Guess that'll make up for the higher benefits contributions, and then some. 

CapTimes: Before Scott Walker was sworn into office as governor in January, he managed to get the state to turn back federal funds to expand high-speed rail in Wisconsin and the Legislature to vote against approval of 18-month-old state union contracts.

But while these positions were vocalized on the grounds they would save money for a state that was "broke," Walker did not take any action to turn down a pay increase set to take effect when he took office.

The pay increases for the state's six constitutional offices, approved by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in 2009, increased the next governor's salary by 5 percent, allowing Walker to earn $144,423, compared to Doyle's $137,092.

Tim Lundquist, a spokesman with the state Department of Administration, in an email (said) "If elected officials wish to do so, they can return the increase, or any amount of their paycheck for that matter, to the state." Walker didn't. Neither did the other five constitutional officers, either those re-elected or those first elected to office by Jan. 1.

Consequently, on Jan. 1, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen went from earning $133,033 to $140,147. Besides Walker, newly elected officers Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and State Treasurer Kurt Schuller are receiving the higher salaries. Kleefisch earns $76,261, up from $72,394; and Schuller earns 68,556, up from $65,079.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This is the Occupy Movement....

From D.C. Douglas:

Sunday Night Football UFO Video Viral....

I don't know why I'm fascinated with this video, but it's so slickly done, that I edited all the best parts for this short "siting."

The Racist Cain ad gets a media pass.

I've watch coverage of the racist ad below put out by the Cain campaign, and thought at least someone would say what it is, with no luck.

The fact that Herman Cain can perpetuate black stereotypes, and show an outspoken black liberal get beat up, is so outrageously racist and disconnected from reality that I'm stunned no ones brought it up.

Rep. Paul Ryan exposed!

Loved the way the national media is picking up on Rep. Paul Ryan's continued tirade of absurdities. From The Washington Monthly and Steve Benen
I’d hoped to be first to the scene on this one, but Yglesias beat me to it. It’s a fun story anyway, though.

An alert reader passed along the latest fundraising pitch from the Republican National Committee, ostensibly sent by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The lede is a stunner.

But putting that aside, a Paul Ryan letter sent by the RNC is concerned that “the net for the poor is coming apart at the seams and no one in Washington seems to care”?

You’ve. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

Ryan is the one swinging the machete at the safety net precisely because he doesn’t care. Put it this way: there’s only one party in Washington trying to slash spending on unemployment aid, student loans, food stamps, and job training, and I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the Democrats.

That said, if the RNC believes concern for the safety net is likely to appeal to Republican donors, it’s probably safe to say the Occupy movement has already changed the national conversation in rather fundamental ways. 
Here's a compilation of clips that assume higher taxes on the wealthy won't work, despite facts to the contrary;

Opposition increasing for Affordable Care Act, except for what it does. Amazing.

State Cuts to Public Employees Feeds Unemployment Rate, Lack of Economic Spending.

I went on a little trip to Green Bay and Door County, and had a chance to read through a free copy of the Wall Street Journal. Besides the obvious right wing slant of the editorial section, the actual stories often tell a completely different story about the economy. Especially when it comes to the word "certainty."

It’s won't be a big surprise when history looks back and wonders why Republicans answered the Great Recession with massive reductions in pubic employment and wage reductions, instead of counting on their salaries as a way to boost local economies and create consumer certainty. Tax increases were off the table on the wealthy, who by the way, didn’t create jobs and still haven’t.

But what about business “uncertainty?” Republicans have reminded us endlessly how their uncertainty is killing us. It’s been the biggest lie.
WSJ: A spurt of spending by businesses on equipment and software, which surged 17.4% in the period, signaled companies aren't paralyzed by uncertainty. Spending by consumers also climbed … If consumers cut back on spending—which constitutes about 70% of economic activity—it would hurt growth.

But this really hit me:
Amid an uneven recovery, companies have been more willing to spend on equipment than on people. Rich Gimmel, president of the Louisville, Ky., equipment maker (said) sales are coming from businesses that want to replace old equipment rather than expand. “It's more of a begrudging, 'Demand may come back but I'm not sure how sustainable it's going to be, so I'm going to spend just enough to keep up.' "

The the reason for the slow job growth...
But budget cuts by state and local governments signal more gloom for employment as well as economic growth. State and local governments subtracted 0.16 of a percentage point from growth last quarter. The government of Maryland's Baltimore County is offering employees early retirement packages in a bid to trim 200 jobs. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wall Street, Corporate CEO's will never get it.

I found this bizarre point of view in the conservative rag of choice:
Wall Street Journals, John Bussey: Let's stipulate that the demonstrators have a fuzzy agenda. It's a smorgasbord of gripes ranging from income inequality to poor housing to executive pay … But what about one of the group's chief beefs: that business is falling short of its social responsibility, including creating jobs at home? 

The following is either something your inner moral and ethical value system will reject or find warm and fuzzily cruel:
Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate economist, blasted the very idea of corporate social responsibility four decades ago, calling it a "fundamentally subversive doctrine." Speaking for many capitalists then and now, he said, "there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game."

Companies shouldn't spend profits on unrelated job creation or social causes. Pronouncements about corporate social responsibility, he added, are the indulgence of "pontificating executives" who are "incredibly shortsighted and muddleheaded in matters that are outside their businesses." And that indulgence can lead to inefficient markets.

That’s right, corporate do-gooders are “pontificating executives” and “shortsighted and muddleheaded,” not the greedy selfish. By the way, that indulgence in the past worked well for communities and the companies that supported them. Inefficiencies? Bull. Friedman’s failed theory (Great Recession), has some corporate executives devising a better idea:
What then to make of Howard Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, who in a letter earlier this month to fellow business leaders asked them to help "get Americans back to work and our economy growing again." He described Starbucks's own growth and hiring plans and announced a $5 million donation by the Starbucks Foundation to a group that helps finance local businesses. He's calling the program "Create Jobs for USA.” Schultz elbowed aside Mr. Friedman's triumph of profit: "Companies that hold on to the old-school, singular view of limiting their responsibilities to making a profit will not only discover it is a shallow goal but an unsustainable one," the post on the Harvard Business Review website read. "Values increasingly drive consumer and employee loyalties. Money and talent will follow those companies whose values are compatible."

That’s why conservatives don’t get it, and never will. That’s why Friedman is quoted today. But Schultz isn’t a lone:
A group of CEOs and executives from large companies, including Exxon, Cisco and McDonald's, echo Mr. Schultz's view … John Mackey, co-chief executive of Whole Foods, wrote: "From an investor's perspective, the purpose of the business is to maximize profits. But that's not the purpose for other stakeholders—for customers, employees, suppliers and the community. Each of those groups will define the purpose of the business in terms of its own needs and desires, and each perspective is valid and legitimate."

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Except to….
William Frezza, a Boston-based venture capitalist and fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute: “Businesses give back to society every day by pleasing their customers and employing their employees. There's nothing business owes other than selling the best product at the best price."

Washington 13-year-old Boy Shoots Dad

The teenage boy, who is accused of shooting his father Jimmy Asher in the back of the head with a .17-caliber bolt-action rifle, earlier told detectives the Sunday night shooting was an accident, police say.

But prosecutors say that doesn't match evidence that they are gathering.
At least they're charging the boy in juvenile court. Too bad he doesn't have the same lawyers as this lady.

Since hindsight is 20/20, it's easy to say the boy shouldn't have been allowed access to the gun, but how does that work as a general rule? Are 13-year-olds, generally speaking, not mature enough or responsible enough to handle guns safely?  Should safe storage at home be required by law?

Even some of the staunchest gun-rights supporters like Robert Farago say unless you have a gun on your person in the home, it should be locked up.  His motives are first to be able to fight off those
home invaders who might burst through the door at any moment, an idea which I love to make fun of, and only secondarily to keep guns out of the wrong hands.  But the truth is, I prefer his way to what many others do.

What's your opinion? Do you have any sympathy for the young shooter?  Wasn't the deck stacked against him, abusive dad, gun availability, society which teaches that gun violence is the answer?

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wisconsin to look like third world nation. Thank you Scott Walker!!

Is it possible conservative citizen posse’s will converge on the Capitol protecting their frightened beer drenched Republican lawmakers? What else could explain the flip from locking down the Capitol from peaceful protesters, to allowing assault rifles strapped to the backs of a law abiding whack jobs.
jsonline: Whether in the state Capitol's great rotunda or the dull line at the Division of Motor Vehicles, the public will soon be able to carry concealed guns in most state buildings … unclear Friday whether the new law and state policy would allow people to openly carry pistols and long guns such as rifles and shotguns in state buildings. Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said in a statement. "Individuals with licenses are law-abiding citizens.

I’ve long held that the one with a gun will win the debate every time, empowering the phony outrage by conservative zealots to push their constitutional rights into your forehead with the barrel of a gun.

Am I wrong?
Dana Brueck, a spokeswoman for Van Hollen and the state Department of Justice, made clear, "They can carry concealed or openly as the law does not limit to only concealed carry. And they can carry a long gun or handgun," Brueck said.
Deputy secretary of the Department of Administration Chris Schoenherr said, during massive labor demonstrations last spring, the Walker administration put metal detectors in the state Capitol to screen for weapons. Schoenherr said he didn't anticipate returning to that policy, though he didn't rule it out.

You know something is really nuts when Scott Suder likes it:
 Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) Friday praised the action by the Walker administration. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

1 percents wealth refutes Ryan's claim poor and middle class promoting class warfare.

One thing you'll notice about Rep. Paul Ryan, he's chucked the numbers and is now sticking to the official GOP/Koch brothers talking points. Tax cuts for "job creators" is a plan? It's so much smoke and mirrors. And Ryan's response to Elizabeth Warren is "upside down," ironically his words, because it really doesn't have anything to do with what she was talking about.

"Punitive tax hikes on jobs creators." Like in the 50's and 60's when taxes on the wealthy were above 90 percent? Funny, no one stopped working or were discouraged from trying to create wealth. Ryan and his fellow Republicans will surely get the lie of the year award for this one.

I just wish the press would stop humoring them.

Ed Schultz and Alan Grayson chime in:

Drug Testing the Unemployed shows a disregard for the Constitution, and Authoritarian Streak in Republican Party

It goes without saying, but just in case you didn’t know, the current conservative movement in this country is highly authoritarian. They are into one party rule. Cafeteria constitutionalists, they are devoted to their own single minded interpretation, which brings us to this single moment of clarity:
WSJ: You gotta wonder why they even tried.

Lawmakers Monday stripped a provision from an unemployment bill that would suspend benefits for applicants who skip or fail a drug test.

On that same day a federal court in Florida put a law that required drug tests for welfare recipients on hold pending the resolution of a lawsuit claiming that the requirement is unconstitutional.

"The Court concludes that preliminarily enjoining what appears likely to be deemed to be an unconstitutional intrusion on the Fourth Amendment rights of (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) applicants serves the public interest and outweighs whatever minimal harm a preliminary injunction might visit upon the state," a U.S. District Court in Orlando wrote.

DNR Proposes Loosening Regulation to create....Certainty! Had enough of this Republican lunacy yet?

Note in the story below a large crowd showed up…in opposition? In support of…? Guess that would tell the reader something someone pushing lose environmental regulations doesn’t want us to know. Ya think? But the absurdity of it all is also acknowledged in the crowd’s reaction at this recent DNR hearing to the use of “kinder and gentler.”
WSJ: At the beginning of a crowded and lengthy hearing Wednesday, State Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, defended his proposal to streamline the process used to issue permits at state Department of Natural Resources as a way to make the agency "kinder and gentler."

The comment drew derisive laughter from opponents of the bill which, in turn, drew a rebuke and a smack of the gavel from State Rep. Jeffrey Mursau, R-Crivitz, chairman of the Assembly's Natural Resources Committee and co-author of the bill.

We must have order, achtung! Opposition to absurdly weak arguments like that will not be tolerated. Public input would be limited as well, because…well…there might be public opposition?
"Why limit public input?" asked State Rep. Molepske, Jr., D-Stevens Point, of Kedzie. "Because there are lots of people who say no to everything," Kedzie responded.

Ironic. Like Congressional Republicans? Oh, I forgot, that's alright. Upside down and inside out the insane goal below for streamlining environmental protection has too make you scratch your head, when you think that DNR employees would essentially be saying, fire us:
Al Shea, director of the DNR's Office of Business Support, said many of the ideas in the bill came from DNR employees and that the streamlined permitting process would help the agency do its work with fewer employees.

Oh, and don’t forget the one big word that fits every effort pushed by Republicans:
"The changes ... increase regulatory certainty…”

Built on one big lie, this is what passes for right wing brilliance...

My conservative friend sent me this bullshit cartoon as a way of making his intellectually challenged point: 

I guess the poor and middle class don't pay 15 percent payroll tax the rich don't, property taxes, state sales taxes, gas taxes. I better look into how they did that. 

Democratic State Rep. Cory Mason's Tweets tell the whole story...

State Rep. Cory Mason got a sweet spot on Rachel Maddow show for his tweeting skills during the very special Scott Walker jobs session at the Capitol that had little to do with jobs.

Just amazing.

Occupy Oakland and Atlanta Turns Violent.

Violence escalated over the Occupy protesters in Oakland and Atlanta, dramatically changing what was a peaceful Constitutionally protected protest against government policy and the extreme wealth disparity represented by Wall Street, to major social unrest.

Ed Schultz has the video clips of the brutality and State Sen. Vincent Fort who was arrested for peacefully sitting down with the 99 percenters. One thing these violent outbreaks have in common? Over the top policing of the demonstrations, just like they did in Wisconsin at the Capitol.

Walker administration worried Affordable Care Act will hurt the profits of a few insurers.

I hope you’re sitting down, this one will take your breath away:

jsonline: The state's insurance regulator wants to exempt health insurance companies from the new federal requirement that they spend 80% of premiums on medical care. In his request, Commissioner Ted Nickel contends that requiring health insurers to spend 80 cents of every dollar on medical care could force some companies to exit the market, potentially harming consumers.

Wipe the tear from your eye’s now. My god, is he kidding? Insurers are that close to insolvency? You know what, let them leave the market, that’s what it’s all about. Someone would love to take their place. And it only effects 6 of 24 companies. What a hardship.
Health insurers that don't meet the threshold would have to pay rebates to their customers.

I don't know why voters don’t see who’s working on their behalf, like Democratic Rep. Jon Richards:
Rep. Richards (D-Milwaukee) was quick to criticize Nickel and Gov. Scott Walker's administration for putting insurance companies' interests ahead of consumers. "During these times when we are trying to reduce health care costs, we should be siding with consumers," Richards said.

In fact that 80 percent number no big deal to the other insurers. But profiting from the sick and healthy is really what health care is all about, isn't it?:
Nickel, the insurance commissioner, has a different outlook. "It is clear that health insurers participating in the Wisconsin market face numerous obstacles in meeting the required 80% (medical-loss ratio)." In his letter, Nickel also cited the potential effect on insurance agent commissions.
Really? Nickel is worried about the insurance agent’s commission. Shame?
But Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, said "They are just obsessed with the idea that these insurance companies are somehow on fragile ground."

I’m surprised Nichol's didn’t use the “certainty” excuse, something you’ll never find in a real free market.

Americans for Prosperity use Fake Wisconsinites in ad showing how happy we are with Walker.

Whew, after all those protests and civil unrest over Gov. Scott Walker's extremist agenda, I thought the sky would have fallen...

That's the message in the out-of-state Koch brothers ad that further meddles in Wisconsin's business with a fake happy family relieved Walker was right. Are the Koch's really this grotesque? Rachel Maddow:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Republicans Goof Again!! New Gerrymandered Districts won't help them in Recall Elections...unless they change it Now.

District gerrymandering didn’t do the trick? Hey, we only want to be fair, really.

So just to be fair and clear up any confusion, the reckless Republican legislators who couldn’t shoot straight would like to change the new district now, before any possible recall election gets underway.

After all, the old districts haven’t flipped yet making them conservative strongholds in future elections.

But they’re not doing that…

jsonline: The new maps generally favor Republicans. By holding recall elections in the old districts, Democrats would have an advantage as they try to flip one seat in the Senate to take control of that chamber.
Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere), a member of the Senate Transportation and Elections Committee, said he favored changing the law to put the new set of maps in effect now. That would clear up some confusion, create some new issues and give Republicans the upper hand in recall elections. "It's just plain confusing," Lasee said. He added that making the new maps effective now - instead of in November 2012 - would "clarify things."

What a crook.

Guns in the Gallery!!!

The state constitution allows cameras and signs in the Capitol and Assembly gallery. Yet protesters are being arrested all the time for exercising their right to video tape their representatives in action, and carry signs. Now state legislators are allowing guns in the Assembly gallery. And claim people won't be able to use them there either. Good luck with that too.
The public will be able to carry guns into most parts of the state Capitol … guns would be allowed on the Assembly floor and in the Assembly viewing galleries … That would mean the public could bring guns into the viewing galleries but would still have to adhere to other existing rules, including one that bars the use of still cameras and video cameras.

Guns good, cameras bad:
jsonline; On Tuesday, a dozen people were removed from the Assembly galleries and arrested for videotaping proceedings and holding up signs.

Vos said he did not see a contradiction in allowing guns in the galleries while banning the use of cameras. He said people could bring both guns and cameras into the galleries, but couldn't use either.

"You can have a gun in the gallery, but you can't shoot," he said. "People who carry concealed can come in my office, I don't care," said Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester).

Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) said, "I don't think there should be weapons in the Capitol," Miller said. "People should be able to enter public buildings and feel safe. . . . There's children who come in the building, for Pete's sake."

Walker Resorts to Violence, Arrests on Road to Recall.

The war has started, declared at the Capitol by the Walker administration, brought on by the arrests of protesters in the Assembly gallery. This is a confrontation the administration wants to start now, just in time for the upcoming recall election, all in the hopes of painting the demonstrators as thugs, lawbreakers and vandals. The authoritarian takeover of out state is now in high gear.

Republicans are sick sons-of-bitches.
jsonline: A dozen protesters were removed from the Assembly gallery and cited Tuesday after filming legislative proceedings and holding up signs.
Three of them – Thi Le, Jeremy Ryan and CJ Terrell – were jailed for bail jumping and remain there now, according to the Dane County Jail. They were also cited for disorderly conduct. The bail jumping citations stem from an earlier round of filming in the Assembly galleries. The three were to follow state administrative rules as a condition of their bail, but they are fighting that requirement because they contend the rules are unconstitutional.
Also Tuesday, nine others were arrested and cited for disorderly conduct, according to Deputy Administration Secretary Chris Schoenherr.
Lawmakers do not allow citizens to hold up signs and film or photograph the Assembly from the galleries. Protesters have been challenging those policies by holding up small signs, taping signs to their shirts or filming proceedings in recent months. Unlike earlier protests this year, the many of the recent actions have often been conducted quietly.
On Tuesday, Assembly Democrats tried to hold a vote on a resolution encouraging "each individual’s peaceful expression of his or her views in the Assembly gallery." Republicans refused to take it up on a 57-35 vote

Passing in NO PASSING ZONES approved 93-0 in State Assembly. Is that madness?

No passing zones prevent head-on collisions. They're created when oncoming traffic isn't visible enough to risk passing another vehicle and allowing time to return to your lane. So...

What am I missing here?
AP: The state Assembly has approved a bill that would allow cars and trucks to go around bicycles and other slow-moving vehicles in no-passing zones. The bipartisan measure permits a vehicle in a no-passing zone to pass any other vehicle, including a bicycle, that's traveling at less than half the speed limit. The Assembly passed the bill 93-0. It goes next to the state Senate.

As much as I’ve hated getting behind huge farm combines and maintenance utility vehicles, can we really just pass these vehicles and bikes on roads with no visibility ahead –that’s why there are no passing zones- and think everything is going to be alright? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bachmann on those who can't afford health care: "That's just the way it is."

Unlike the 2010 election season, when we didn't know what the tea party and Republican politicians stood for, the GOP collection of misfits are almost giving us too much information. Thankfully.

Arrogance and the promise of power have made this crop of hard line Dickensian's brutally honest, in a sadistic sorta way.

Michele Bachmann shows us her cool inhumane "I'm a monster" side.
Bachmann: "We will always have people in this country, through hardship, through no fault of their own, who won't be able to afford health insurance. That's just the way it is."  
She also doesn't know that rising hospital costs covering the uninsured is one reason insurance premiums keep going up. To her, hospitals are swimming in extra money.

Legacy and privilege ignored in the affirmative action policies of college admissions.

Having just hosted the racist Virginia think tank against affirmative action of any kind, the Center for Equal Opportunity, I thought this perspective on "legacy admissions" was just as important. Keli Goff:

It's the provocative question that polite people don't like to ask in the presence of their friends of different races. Who really has it tougher? Black person A or white person B or Asian person C, Latino person D or multi-racial person E? ... we also acknowledge that there are endless qualifiers to that question. When the word "unless" enters the equation, it makes it easier for people to argue that the equation itself should not exist. Welcome to the 2011 debate over affirmative action.

Let me state this for the record: I don't believe that I should receive an opportunity for a job or admission into an institution of higher learning over someone more qualified simply due to the color of my skin, and wouldn't want to. By the same token I wouldn't want to lose a job or admission to an institution of higher learning due to factors equally beyond my control, such as my last name or my class status, yet that kind of missed opportunity happens to people like me all of the time. (To clarify, by "people like me" I mean those of us who were not born wealthy, well connected and fabulous.)

Correction: Wealth Tax is not a tax increase on small businesses.

Ed Schultz tells Sen. Mitch McConnell why:

A look at life after Collective Bargaining and Unions...

Ed Schultz played the video below of a city council meeting that showed more than a dysfunctional bunch of elected right wingers.

More than the subject matter about fire fighter equipment, this is what happens when you take away unions and collective bargaining. Instead of thoughtful consideration of the issues based on recommendations by those professionals in the field, like fire fighters, police and teachers, we're going to see political mudslinging by officials with ideological axes to grind and draconian cuts based on complete ignorance.

This is exactly what we're getting thanks to Scott Walker and the Fitzgerald's. This is appalling.

Perry's Flat Tax Plan a Give-a-way to the Rich. Surprised?

Frum Forum is a conservative news site that posts thoughtful points of view that won’t make you roll your eyes or see red. Many times it’s written without the reckless BS bandied about by the Republican Tea Party.  

That’s why this scathing assessment of Rick Perry’s idiotic flat tax plan should be taken seriously. It's really just a lower tax option for the rich, while everyone else stays on the old tax system.
Rick Perry’s proposal to make his flat-rate tax plan optional seems like a political master-stroke … Nice as this sounds, however, it actually undermines the simplification that is supposed to come from a flat tax.

The Perry Plan, by its very nature, actually increases compliance costs. Everybody will have to fill out two complete tax returns: one under the current system, the another under Perry’s new system.  (They’ll only file whichever one shows the lower liability.) Base broadening, the crux of Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax reform, is also absent: nobody who avoids all (or almost all) taxes today will have to pay them. Not a single individual or corporation that gets off without taxes today will pay a penny more.

The plan also seems unlikely to do much for investment. Although lower taxes, all other things being equal, will encourage more investment, the flat corporate rate of 20 percent is actually only a smidgen lower than the median “effective” rate of 22 percent that PricewaterhouseCoopers found in its extensive international comparison of corporate tax structures. Most business enterprises won’t see a big enough cut in taxes to consider the U.S. a much better place to invest.

The only real winners under the Perry plan seem to be very high income individuals who earn $700,000 per year and up and therefore have most of their income taxed at the 38 percent rate. They’ll end up a lot better off. The rest of the world–including most businesses–don’t really get much at all out of Perry’s plan.

Taking back's not what they said it was!!

The whole idea of taking back a list of normal words vilified by the far right wing can't be bad. 

Check out the video here selling the life saving legislation known on the right as...Obamacare.

The Hill: Supporters of the healthcare reform law launched a new campaign Monday to reclaim the term “ObamaCare” and highlight the law’s benefits.

Two Colorado-based groups created the website “thanks Obamacare,” which outlines provisions such as the ban on insurers discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. There’s also a “thanks, Obamacare” Twitter account. “ 'ObamaCare' has been turned into a pretty dirty word,” said Serena Woods, director of Strategic Engagement at the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, which helped create the new campaign. Woods said there's no reason to run away from the law's policies or the "ObamaCare" moniker.

Occupy Maine protesters target of terrorism bombing.

With an endless stream of threats against Occupy Maine protesters, the "prankish" bomb thrown into a tent was just another example of conservative thuggery and terrorism, But lazy umemployed people should blame themselves for all the terrorism brought about by their socialist life style. 

You can be sure if this happened at a tea party demonstration we would never had heard the end of it. 

PORTLAND Herald Press: Occupy Maine protesters say Sunday morning's attack with a chemical explosive has left them with a mixture of anxiety and resolve. "We are more motivated to keep doing what we're doing," said Stephanie Wilburn, of Portland, who was sitting near where the chemical mixture in a Gatorade bottle was tossed at 4 a.m. Sunday. "They have heard us and we're making a difference."

Wilburn said she was startled and briefly lost hearing in her left ear when the device exploded beneath a table about 10 feet away. Wilburn's hearing returned and police said no injuries were reported … the bomb was thrown into the camp’s kitchen, a tarped area where food is cooked and served. Protest organizers said the explosion lifted a large table about a foot off the ground.

Witnesses said a silver car had been circling before the attack, its occupants shouting things like "Get a job" and "You communist." They believe someone from that car threw the device, according to a statement from Occupy Maine.

Sgt. Glen McGary said the homemade bomb, which consisted of chemicals poured into a plastic Gatorade container could have caused serious injury. Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said today that detectives don't necessarily believe Occupy Maine was the sole target because another device was set off elsewhere that night.

A statement from the group said many campers fear another attack.

The Myth of "UNCERTAINTY." It's a Republican marketing campaign for more reckless deregulation and tax cuts.

The title says it all...along with the article below by Dr. Jan Eberly, Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy:

Treasury: Last week at a Senate hearing Secretary Geithner said, “I'm very sympathetic to the argument you want to be careful to get the rules better and smarter, but I don’t think there's good evidence in support of the proposition that it's regulatory burden or uncertainty that's causing the economy to grow more slowly than any of us would like.”

Economists from across the political spectrum have the same conclusion.  Bruce Bartlett, a senior advisor in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, said that “no hard evidence” has been offered … And in a recent Wall Street Journal survey of economists, 65 percent of respondents concluded that a lack of demand, not government policy, was the main impediment to increased hiring.

Nonetheless, two commonly repeated misconceptions are that uncertainty created by proposed regulations is holding back business investment and hiring and that the overall burden of existing regulations is so high that firms have reduced their hiring.

In recent surveys, business owners and economists do not list regulation as the main problem facing their business, nor do they blame regulation for job cuts:

In the September survey of small business owners by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, more than twice as many respondents cited poor sales (29.6 percent) as their largest problem than cite regulation (13.9 percent).

In an August survey of economists by the National Association for Business Economics, 80 percent of respondents described the current regulatory environment as “good” for American businesses and the overall economy.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than three-tenths of 1 percent of mass lay-offs in the second quarter of this year were due to government regulations or intervention. [2]

First Responders apparently not the Responsibility of the Federal Government.

The Senate Republicans filibustered Obama's attempt to put fire fighters, police and teachers back to work, by saying it smelled too much like another failed "bailout." Of course the bailouts were actual loans that have, in many cases, been paid back. It was never just given away, without any accountability, and was successful at preventing another great depression. 

Sen. Mitch McConnell said it was a states issue. But was it really?
"The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) ran this television ads in several states in support of $35 billion in funding to help pay for staffing at fire and police departments across the country as well as at schools — that includes $1 billion in funding to protect firefighters' jobs. The IAFF estimates that 15,000 firefighter and paramedic jobs have been lost or are threatened due to lack of funds.

Here's what Republicans fought against funding:

Here's Sen. McConnell and Obama's back and forth on the issue:

Democrats and Labor Jobs Meeting; "Enough is enough...we're talking about survival."

This recent jobs meeting held by Democratic legislators and union labor groups, missed by the major news outlets, showcases the energy level and populist issues at the center of the recall effort against Scott Walker.  

Patch: Members of pro-labor groups and area citizens attended the meeting to discuss their concerns with state Democratic Legislators: Sen. Bob Wirch, of Kenosha, Rep. Peter Baca, of Kenosha, Rep. Corey Mason, of Racine, and Rep. Rob Turner.

Ron Thomas, Secretary of Racine County AFL/CIO Labor Council, rattled off a series of percentages that perplexed a room full of people attending (the) "jobs hearing" held at the Roma Lodge Monday night.

The numbers, he said, are the percentage of children in poverty in 17 Racine Unified Schools. A few people in the room let out a gasp. "We need to stand up and say, 'Enough is enough,'" Thomas said. As 39 speakers blasted the decisions made by Republican lawmakers, the political rhetoric fueled the need for recall elections. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rep. Robin Vos’ Pay to Play Lawsuit Protection Plan for Business Donors

Nothing says criminal behavior like the following pay-to-play open and shut case. And if you think for one second that attorney’s fees set at three times the amount is fair, after seeing the figure below, than you’ve just given this craven act of bribery a pass.

These sick sociopathic Republicans probably do sleep better at night knowing they’ve got crass conservatives like David Lynch around to lip off to Democratic lawmakers. Who would buy a car from this guy anyway? Add another one to the list that includes Johnsonville Brats.
jsonline: Republicans in the Legislature are trying to pass a bill to cap attorney fees that can be awarded in response to a case in which a firm owned by a GOP donor had to pay more than $150,000 in legal costs.

The legal fees were included in a settlement after a man who bought a car from John Lynch Pontiac-Chevrolet alleged he had to pay nearly $5,000 for repairs he never approved. In response, Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington) has written a bill that would limit the amount of attorney fees that could be paid in such cases to three times the amount that is disputed in a case. In the Lynch case, the attorney fees would have been limited to $15,000 because the case centered on $5,000 in repairs.

The Burlington dealership is owned by David Lynch, a Vos constituent who has made 36 contributions to Republicans totaling $10,650 since 2008. He gave nothing to Democrats during that time.

Here it comes, that over used clichéd reason for selling out to business;
Vos says the limits would provide certainty for businesses. 

In a free market, there is no certainty. But you won’t believe the arrogance of the living stereotype of a car salesman:
A hearing on the bill last week was at times testy, with David Lynch saying he was an average guy who got an unfair deal because Kaskin hired a "super attorney.""You've got to encourage guys like me who want to do it right, not give 'attaboys' to attorneys who beat the system," he told lawmakers.

But Democrats on the Assembly Judiciary and Ethics Committee said Lynch was the one to blame for his firm's situation. "You deserve what you get if you don't obey the law," Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) said. "Had you complied with the consumer protection law, you wouldn't have had to pay one dollar in attorney fees."

Lynch responded: "You are one sad sack, sir."

Good-bye John Lynch Chevrolet. This would be one of the first laws to repeal.

Admit it, Public Education is on its way out. Voters have turned on teachers, education.

Teachers, principals and school boards are warning that Wisconsin is on its way to deeper cuts in education, even if we're graced with a mild economic recovery. Not only are teachers at the mercy of politically elected ideologues with a possible ax to grind with public education, the current set of tools won't be enough to sustain our schools in the coming years.

It's all part of a plan by Republicans to set public education up for a fall, claiming they did all they could but the schools still failed. Private schools in fact, according to current research, will most likely be worse. And with the tea party movement admitting their goal is to destroy public education, with no voter outrage over their plans, there's nothing that will stop the inevitable. Like the video and story below:

Here’s what is about to happen in Wisconsin if we don’t head off this downward spiral by balancing the legislature or governor in the next year.
Huffington Post: Educators are bracing for a tough reality: more tough times are likely ahead.

Even in a best-case scenario it won't be until 2013 or later when districts see budget levels return to pre-recession levels … That means more cuts and layoffs are likely ahead. Already, an estimated 294,000 jobs in the education sector have been lost since 2008, including those in higher education. Budget cuts and teacher layoffs have forced the school to cut some P.E. classes, reduce library hours and eliminate small literacy classes for struggling readers and Spanish for sixth- and seventh-graders. Principal Josh Keene says he's worried whether class sizes will jump from around 25 to 35 or 40.

Obama included $30 billion in his $447 billion jobs creation package to save teachers' jobs. The Senate rejected the jobs package as well as a separate measure focused on saving the jobs of teachers and emergency responders. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said the plan resembles "bailouts" that haven't proven to work and only perpetuate economic problems.

But bailouts have worked, the stimulus has worked and McConnell perpetuated a lie to make a point, a lie that not even the reporter disputed in the article like I just did. 

Thompson claims elections create business uncertainty...meaning...?

You’ll love this. According to Senate hopeful Tommy Thompson, recalls will tear apart an already torn apart state electorate, and businesses don’t like the uncertainty of recall elections, because they won’t know who’s going to be in office, and they won’t know what tax policy will be in place.

If any of that were true, businesses would run and hide every two years when we have elections. He’s also insinuating businesses only want to be in a permanent Republican state. That's certainty.  

Now hear this; Republicans have dramatically overplayed the “job creator” BS? I was watching Hardball, and Republican strategist John Feehery claimed a flat tax was a job creator. Good god, really!
Here’s Tommy….
WSAU-Former Governor Tommy Thompson says the rash of recall elections creates a political instability that’s harmful to Wisconsin. The Republican U-S Senate hopeful tells the Wisconsin Radio Network that recalls are not only tearing state residents apart – they’re also creating uncertainty which holds back economic development. Thompson says new investors could be scared away by the uncertainty over which lawmakers will be in office – and what kind of tax policies they might promote.

The solution; compromise and reasonable legislation. Tommy Thompson may make a great GOP candidate though, considering he’s has no idea why Wisconsinites were protesting in the first place.
He says recall organizers are acting like quote, “kids on a playground,” striking back only because they didn’t win in last fall’s elections.

Idiot. Oh, and don’t forget the “jobs.”
And Thompson says it’s wasting money that could have been used to create new jobs.

Department of Workforce Development can't keep Walker Appointees. What, no jobs?

Scott Walker promised jobs in a near jobless recovery, and got elected based on that promise. The same can be said for the Republican legislature. No jobs and rising unemployment numbers.

Walker gets a big fat F. He's failing (thanks to his fellow Republican in Congress). And things aren’t looking up.

The Department of Workforce Development is spinning its wheels and going nowhere. This is bad news for Scott Walker, who can’t keep appointees in the department.
Biztimes: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker today made his third appointment in nine months to the position of Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development. Today, the governor’s office received Scott Baumbach’s resignation letter and announced that former DWD Deputy Secretary and Department of Transportation Executive Assistant, Reggie Newson has been appointed Secretary of DWD. Baumbach resigned after being in the position just four months. He replaced Walker's first appointee, Manny Perez, who resigned in May after only five months at the post.

It should be no surprise business isn't looking to expand or relocate if demand for their service or product is none existent. No jobs!!! Voters wanted the kind of change that created jobs. It didn't happen, and the only jobs created in Walker's first 6 months were those put in place under Gov. Doyle.
Baumbach’s departure comes three days after an economic forecast by Walker's own administration predicted that Wisconsin will fall far short of adding the 250,000 new private-sector jobs by 2015 that the governor promised as a key part of his successful election campaign. The state’s unemployment rate has risen from 7.4 percent when Walker took office in January to 7.8 percent.

Again, we knew jobs were almost nonexistent, but Walker promised his policies would create jobs and attract business. It's not happening. No jobs but a dramatic ideological change in state policy. Empty promises coupled with no jobs…and a recall election to end the Walker mistake. 

Here's WKOW 27 News:

Government Health Care Rationing of Medicaid is Here.

As we get nearer to universal health care, the warnings of health care rationing by Republicans is now something they themselves are promoting. The Democratic standout is Hawaii, with the shortest proposed stays each year. Go figure. USA Today:

A growing number of states are sharply limiting hospital stays under Medicaid to as few as 10 days a year to control rising costs of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Advocates for the needy and hospital executives say the moves will restrict access to care, force hospitals to absorb more costs and lead to higher charges for privately insured patients. States defend the actions as a way to balance budgets hammered by the economic downturn and the end of billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds this summer that had helped prop up Medicaid, financed jointly by states and the federal government. Arizona, which last year stopped covering certain transplants for several months, plans to limit adult Medicaid recipients to 25 days of hospital coverage a year, starting as soon as the end of October. Hawaii plans to cut Medicaid coverage to 10 days a year in April, the fewest of any state.

In an ironically outrageous twist:
Private health insurers generally don't limit hospital coverage, according to America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.

All of this means we're about to see bigger increases in medical costs and insurance premium hikes, not because of health care reform, but because of rationing.
Hospitals won't discharge or refuse to admit patients who medically need to be there, said Peter Wertheim, spokesman for the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. "Hospitals will get stuck with the bill," he said. 

Recall, Repeal and Replace should be the Democratic call to arms.

Have you noticed, Democrats haven’t publically stated their intentions to repeal any of the highly unpopular changes made by the Republican legislature? What the hell are they waiting for?

The point is; Recall, Repeal and Replace!!!

Helping in that cause is Scott Walker’s new website, where he features a list of everything that will be repealed once the Democrats are voted in. Legislators would be wise to put in place an easy to understand plan that puts Wisconsin back on firm footing, all the while always stressing the repeal of everything they’ve gutted since their power grab. Citizens wanted jobs, not a completely privatized government controlled by special interests.
Channel3000: Gov. Scott Walker has launched a new website touting the results of changes he pushed this year, including his proposal taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most state workers. The website launched Monday comes less than a month before his opponents say they will start a petition drive to force a recall election next year.

Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate accuses Walker of using taxpayer money to launch what he calls a campaign website.

Walker said he created the website at to provide information…
…blah, blah, blah.

Recall, repeal and replace. Check out the "campaign" rhetoric Walker is using on the taxpayer dime:
Welcome to our website. This has been a year of historic change in Wisconsin. Facing a $3.6 Billion deficit, Governor Scott Walker and state lawmakers got to work making the hard decisions to get the state's finances back on track.  Their reforms gave local governments and school districts the tools they so badly needed to balance their own budgets without raising taxes.

Change can be hard.  As one school board member and small business owner recently told us, "It's not easy doing what you think is right."

Doing what you "think" is right is different from doing the right thing. If we used Walker’s line of thinking, then doing what nobody wants done is the only way to govern.  It also says you’re above criticism, because hell, what do they know? 

Court won't Dismiss Challenge to Redistricting.

Well, what do you know, the Republican redistricting plan is serious enough for the courts to continue a pubic challenge:
Channel3000: A three-judge panel in Milwaukee has refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's new legislative and congressional districts. A group of Wisconsin voters filed a federal lawsuit in June seeking to block the new boundaries. They argued nearly 300,000 people won't be able to vote in state Senate races next year because they now live in different districts.

The state Justice Department asked the judges to dismiss the case, but the judges ruled Friday the voters have standing to sue and their allegations are serious enough to justify continuing the case.

Taking Christianity Back from the Wealthy Elitist Religious Right with 13 Blasphemies.

13 Blasphemies is a parody book and site that takes aim at the ridiculous argument that liberals are anti-religious and bad Christians. The religious right's positions are ripe for parody:

Here's a sample of author S.R. Smith's web site:
The evil minions of the Liberal Socialist Media Cartel have hacked into every on-line publication of the Holy Bible and replaced the sacred words of Jesus Christ with blasphemy after blasphemy to support the Godless, freedom-hating Jihad that is their Liberal Agenda.

They removed every single one of Christ's many teachings about the evils of Gay Marriage, and electronically injected a bunch of mamby-pamby Liberal nonsense like:

“Love thy neighbor as thyself”

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.

Pocket Constitution Republicans seek to destroy and subvert Judicial Branch of government.

I’ve made the argument before that it seems amazing that that the judicial branch of our government, the Supreme Court, could outright negate laws passed by the other co-equal legislative branch.

But I’m also not sure change is needed. If anything, a debate on the issue of the Supreme Court’s power would be a healthy one. But that debate could also open the door for politicization and a constitutional crisis. Take the following article as a harbinger of things to come, and the chaos and destabilization of our country for purely political purposes. Sadly, conservative voters don’t see the same red flags as others.
NY Times: Gov. Rick Perry of Texas favors term limits for Supreme Court justices. Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas say they would forbid the court from deciding cases concerning same-sex marriage. Newt Gingrich and former Senator Rick Santorum want to abolish the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, calling it a “rogue” court that is “consistently radical.”

Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake, a research and advocacy group that seeks to protect judicial independence said, “They sound populist, but the proposal is to make courts answer to politicians and interest groups.”

Mitt Romney dismissed the idea “I’m not looking to create a constitutional crisis.” But his rivals have shown no such reluctance in attacking a federal court system in which their side has achieved significant victories.

The Supreme Court delivered the presidency to George W. Bush, interpreted the Second Amendment to guarantee an individual right to bear arms and allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections. And many Republicans are looking to the Supreme Court for vindication in the political battle with President Obama over his health care overhaul.

The Republican candidates have focused their anger at court rulings on social issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and the role of religion in public life. Those issues hold the potential to fire up the party’s base and to provide crucial support in the primaries.

In February, Mr. Santorum told a Tea Party group in South Carolina that he would “sign a bill tomorrow to eliminate the Ninth Circuit,” adding: “That court is rogue. It’s a pox on the western part of our country.”