Saturday, November 30, 2013

Walker, the "Candidate of Polarization"'s so much easier with One Party Rule!

Gee, governing is a breeze. It's easy for Walker to sit back, travel and keep his promises with one party rule. What a challenge. How does he do it? Forget about this divided government thing the GOP insisted was needed under Democratic majorities.

And that's what Walker is pushing. He wants a dominant political juggernaut that "leads" by force, making unpopular changes that marginalizes anyone who isn't a believer. Gerrymandering, big money campaign propaganda and voters who have been shut out of the process is already a reality in Wisconsin. I'm living it.  

Ezra Klein, who's observations are usually on the mark, was stunned by what he heard.
Ezra Klein writes in The Washington Post's Wonkblog ... that Gov. Scott Walker is the "candidate of polarization."

Some of Klein's observations from attending a Walker meeting with reporters last week:Walker did something amazing at this breakfast. He did something I've never seen a presidential aspirant do. When asked about the gridlock and polarization in Washington, he refused to say he could bring the two parties together. Instead, he made the case for unified government. 
"For years, the conventional wisdom was that Americans want divided government. I think they've seen in the last few years that that's not necessarily a good thing. Instead of checks and balances you get a lot of gridlock."
Nor did Walker try to spin his record in Wisconsin as a model of coming together to get things done. 
"What we learned in Wisconsin ... was that if you want to get big, bold reform done in your state you need a team to help you do that. So in our case everything switched from Democratic control to Republican control in 2010 and that empowered us to go out and make reforms that would've been much more difficult without those changes."
All this leaves Walker attempting something very unusual: Running as the candidate of polarization. His pitch isn't that he can bring the two sides together but that he can persuade the public to kick the other side out of office. 
"Voters think people in Washington fight for the sake of fighting. Voters don't mind fighters, but they want them to be fighting for them."
 My previous post, a shorter version of this story last week, is here.

Walker's ObamaCare? Veterans Drivers License Site Failure.

While Scott Walker trashes website problems, he ignores his own Veterans Driver’s License website problems and incompetence.

It took the Associated Press, no liberal leaning media source, to expose the ugly underbelly of another Gov. Scott Walker failure.

Like the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation he chairs, Walker’s special attention to detail   

Where have we heard the following complaints below?
Rapids Tribune: Wisconsin military veterans are excited about a special new driver’s
license, but the state’s rollout of the honorary license program is drawing complaints of glitches and miscues … a driver’s license marked “Veteran” to help them earn discounts and other perks in their daily lives … But some veterans seeking certification have been confused by the state’s website, and others have been unable to get help through an overloaded toll-free telephone line.
Walker’s ObamaCare?
As a result, veterans have sought assistance from their county veteran’s service officers, who say they were enlisted to clean up the state’s mess without adequate warning. “We’re not happy campers,” said Brown County veterans service officer Jerry Polus. “It’s really driving us crazy.” Polus said his office is fielding 12 to 15 calls a day from local veterans who need help. State officials initially didn’t provide any guidance about how the counties should approach the driver’s license program, he added. “We were just kind of blindsided,” he said. Wisconsin is home to more than 400,000 veterans. 

The website initially did not specify what documents veterans must submit to obtain certification of their military status … Many who instead tried the toll-free phone number have been unable to get through, because the call center has been overwhelmed by an average of nearly 300 calls a day — more than the state expected.
Is the media holding Walker’s feet to the fire…are you kidding? “It’s too soon to tell?”
Asked if the state mishandled the program’s rollout, Marschman said it is too soon to tell, because driver’s licenses are not scheduled to be issued until Monday. “I don’t think we’re there yet,” she said.

Dane County veterans service spokesman Gregory Kolaske said some veterans have been confused that they must go to one state agency for certification and then another agency for the driver’s license. Saying that veterans are calling him, too, for help, Kolaske said the state should have developed a simpler process. “It’s not laid out very well,” he said. “No one knows how to get to it.” 

Wisconsin Congressmen throw the environment and water safety away for Big Oil in jaw dropping votes!!!

Protests over hydraulic fracking is forcing many countries all over the world to ban it the process. And in countries that allow it, certain BTEX chemicals have been banned.

But while the rest of the world listens to their concerned citizens and consider public safety, Republicans in the U.S. are throwing caution to the wind with little or no media notice. We're distracted by Scott Walker's book or the malfunctioning website.
We've got local GOP problems too!
If ever there was a time for throwing the GOP bums out of congress, now would appear to be that  moment, before it’s to late…literally.

Bar Federal Regulation on Fracking: Jaw dropping votes by Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, and Ribble could endanger the safety of drinking water in major regions of the U.S., and run counter to the concerns of other industrialized countries around the world. This is really scary stuff. Roll Call WSJ:
Hydraulic fracturing rules: Members voted, 235-187, to bar federal regulation on federal and tribal lands of the underground energy-extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking.’ A yes vote was to send the bill (HR 2728) to the Senate … Voting yes: Paul Ryan, R-1; James Sensenbrenner, R-5; Tom Petri, R-6; Sean Duffy, R-7; Reid Ribble, R-8.
Public Secrecy on Fracking Chemicals: If that wasn't bad enough, our irresponsible big oil Republican lackey’s soundly rejected the Democratic efforts to at least warn the public about which chemicals are being used around their water supplies:
‘Fracking’ chemicals disclosure: Members defeated, 188-232, a motion by Democrats to require public disclosures about hydraulic-fracturing operations on federal and non-federal lands, including the identity of chemicals used in the ‘fracking’ process. A yes vote backed the motion … Voting no: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble.
Natural Gas Pipeline Permits Given if process is too long: And while they were at it, Wisconsin representatives decided to put everyone in danger around the proposed new and potentially dangerous natural gas pipelines, by giving permits anyway, if the government takes too much time. We've seen similar legislation in Wisconsin:
Expedited pipeline permits: The House on Thursday passed, 252-165, a bill to set statutory deadlines for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other agencies to act on applications for building natural gas pipelines. A yes vote was to pass HR 1900 over arguments it could cause unsafe construction and environmental harm. Voting yes: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble.
Democratic motion to give local communities a voice: If that weren't bad enough, our congressmen beat back local objections in the pipeline approval process. Who’s the big government party?
Pipeline safety, siting: The House on Thursday defeated, 180-233, a bid by Democrats to delay HR 1900 until federal regulators have certified it would not result in the building of unsafe pipelines or deny communities a voice in the siting of new pipelines within their boundaries. A yes vote was to adopt the Democratic motion. Voting no: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dumb Ron Johnson struggling to come up with new, more ridiculous reasons to hate the Affordable Care Act for Businesses.

After you read this latest in a long list of whiny complaints by Dumb Ron Johnson, ask yourself; has there ever been a more negative politician from Wisconsin? While Johnson says “ObamaCare” will hurt small businesses, he claims the one year delay from the marketplace will hurt them. Huh?
What does the dummy say?
Johnson Comments on Latest Sign of Obama Administration Incompetence: "The delay of online enrollment for small businesses is yet another example of this administration's ineptitude and the damage Obamacare is inflicting on job-creating small businesses.

Walker Authority in bed with polluting "job creating" Mining Company.

Wisconsin Republicans really know how to pick em. No blowback, no questions, no nothing. 
jsonline: Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams has been implicated in a legal proceeding in Spain, where Williams formerly worked, in which managers of a large copper mine are accused of violating environmental laws in their handling of groundwater from the mining site.

Gogebic is proposing to construct a $1.5 billion iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties. Earlier this month, the Seville Ministry of Justice rejected an appeal from the managers of Cobre Las Cruces, an open pit mine in southern Spain that environmentalists said had been violating environmental laws. 

With the rejection of their appeal, the managers of the mine face possible criminal charges over the way they removed groundwater that exposed local ground water supplies to elevated levels of arsenic, according to the Spanish ministry.

Republican Voters in Wisconsin don't mind paying for Wal-Mart employee Health Care and Food Stamps.

It's true that Republican voters in Wisconsin don't mind corporate welfare, as long as they keep hearing from their leaders that government is getting smaller. That's all they care about. Government is even bigger and more intrusive under Republicans, but that's another story.

Yet many conservatives also don't like giving their hard earned money to the "takers," food stamp recipients and Medicaid freeloaders. Oddly, they've been doing just that for decades without ever saying a word.
Salon: A report from the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce estimates that employees from an individual Wal-Mart super store in Wisconsin may cost taxpayers anywhere from $904,542 to $1,744,590 in public assistance benefits annually.
The next step for Republicans is to start cutting that corporate safety net for low wage workers. Step-by-step, we are becoming a third world nation. Along with economic blackmail, Wal-Mart might just win:
In a Washington Post Op-Ed titled “The D.C. Council Has Forced Our Hand,” Wal-Mart regional manager Alex Barron penned the corporation’s intention to close three of six planned superstores if the council voted and passed the bill that would raise D.C.’s minimum wage to $12.50 per hour.

Choose Life License Plate funds going to John Doe Target "Choose Life Wisconsin!"

The Walker Authority is fully behind the so called "pro-life" groups that are surprisingly quiet on the pro-life health care for all movement. The rampant cronyism fostered by our statewide one party Republican authority is unapologetic now, even after getting caught trying to slip $500,000 to a Koch brothers pro-hunting outdoors front group. 

The GOP's next payoff is going to the anti-abortion/anti-gay lobbyist group Choose Life Wisconsin, who's latest scheme is to profit from a "Choose Life" license plate. It's a blatant payoff because Republicans will reject outright the Democratic proposal for a plate supporting Planned Parenthood. From WKOW:

If the Democrats were smart, they raise hell over the GOP's position. To give you an idea of just how blatant this gift is to Choose Life Wisconsin's Julaine Appling, the story below has the details: 
Shepherd Express: The Republican-dominated state Assembly voted to allow the sale of “Choose Life” license plates to fund spurious crisis pregnancy centers that aim to persuade women not to even think about getting an abortion. There’s more to the story, of course.

The conduit between license-buyers and the centers is the nonprofit group Choose Life Wisconsin Inc., which is registered to Wisconsin Family Action’s Julaine Appling.

During the Doyle years, Appling’s group was the main driver of the constitutional ban on gay marriage. Wisconsin Family Action even went to the state Supreme Court earlier this year to argue against the state’s domestic partnership registry, saying it’s too close to marriage for its liking. But that’s not all.

Wisconsin Family Action appeared in last week’s Wall Street Journal report on the new John Doe investigation. Seems that Appling’s group is among the 29 conservative issue groups that are being scrutinized by special prosecutor Francis Schmitz.

During the 2011 recalls, the Wisconsin chapter of the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity sent out phony absentee ballot applications. Why were they phony? The return address was Wisconsin Family Action’s offices, although Appling denied having anything to do with them.

The Center for Media and Democracy noted that 90% of Wisconsin Family Action’s $1 million in grants in 2011 came from the phony issue group Citizens for a Strong America. Citizens for a Strong America, in turn, received almost all of its funding from the deep-pocketed Wisconsin Club for Growth.

Which other group received funding from Citizens for a Strong America? The dubious United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, which also sent out phony absentee ballot applications during the 2011 recalls, although it didn’t send them to Wisconsin Family Action’s offices. (They went to a dead post office box.) Earlier this year, United Sportsmen received a $500,000 grant from the Republican-led Legislature in a late-night vote on the state budget but lost it when its political and Koch connections were revealed.

Now, like United Sportsmen, Wisconsin Family Action’s Appling is set to receive boatloads of Republican-enabled money into her new nonprofit group.

Surprise! Walker book title biggest lie.

As I've mentioned before, when Republicans brag about courage and principles, they’re really saying: We know what’s best, you won’t like it, so shut up.  We've got our principles.
It’s a familiar comment riding the very rightwing authoritarian wave spearheaded by the tea party.

So the quote below isn't just rhetoric, it’s a real warning to the public :  
Gov. Scott Walker: “We don’t need to change our principles. What we need is more courage.”
Wisconsin, a blue state once, has seen firsthand the authoritarian behavior of our one party Republican majority. Led by Scott Walker, the right wing did everything it could to erase, one-by-one, policies favored by the Democratic Party. It was like nearly half the state suddenly didn't count anymore. Protesters were vilified, intimidated with death threats, and marginalized as a nuisance. Since the courts in Dane County were too liberal, Republicans passed a law allowing for statewide judge shopping in known conservative areas.

But Scott Walker said he has courage and leadership. It takes real courage and leadership not having to deal with the input and objections of an opposition. What a brave man.

Walker’s ghost written book, much like magical legislation authored by ALEC passing out of the Capitol, is a decidedly one sided view and revisionist screed meant to fabricate success around abject failure.

I thought the review below posted at Amazon hit the mark, highlighting Walker’s actual behavior during the protests that many outside of Wisconsin never heard about.
The Walker "Bubble" Wrapped Followers Reviews
By Kimi Ishikawa on November 24, 2013: Hmpf. Unintimidated? This is a governor who is afraid to show his face in Wisconsin's state house. He enters and departs through underground tunnels. In 2011 he posted private guards (who impersonated police officers) in the parking garages surrounding the Capitol at the other end of the tunnels. He only appears in the Capitol Rotunda to light the Christmas tree (then he dashes off, leaving his wife alone to finish the event), and to attend the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial (where he is shamed by keynote speakers).

Unintimidated? This is the governor who lined up the National Guard to protect him … Unintimidated? This is the governor who had Administrative rules rewritten because of the "emergency" of peaceful citizens gathering during the non-business noon hour to sing (at the Capitol). He is afraid of singers. Unintimidated? He holds most major press conferences about Wisconsin out of state. He even attempted to hold State of the State addresses at a private firm so he could exclude his detractors. When forced to hold them at the Capitol, he stacks the gallery with his invitees and allows less than 10 seats for the general public. He had his book release in New York because he was too afraid to have it in Wisconsin. Unintimidated? Laughable title. As fictional as the rest of this book.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Philly Fed says Wisconsin Slipped to #28 in Economic Growth.

Check this out from Uppity Wisconsin. Now what Scotty?

Walker trying to appeal to Democrats? Yes, with Top Ten List Bashing Liberals: "That's not me saying this is my belief, but pointing out a light moment..." Real funny.

The more Scott Walker talks, the worse things are beginning to sound.

His book is a gift that just keeps on giving. Walker promises we'll "understand" the reasons for his dictatorial behavior, and as the title states, not blame him for repeating a top ten list of liberal stereotypes you'd see on late night shows like Letterman or Leno. Walker's right up there with them.

This is just a part of Capitol City Sunday, airing tomorrow on WKOW:

Right Wing Lunacy: Is John Doe 2 a witch-hunt? And even if Laws were Broken, "what of it?"

“Phineas T.” Blaska is such a wonderfully partisan caricature. His analysis is fun to laugh at, and almost too easy to pick apart. His public radio appearances are filled with scattershot ideas that have no relationship to each other. It would be amazing if it weren't so hard to listen to. 

Lawbreaking Conservative Principles and John Doe 2: In the larger context, we have Republican politicians promising to nominate good “nonpartisan” conservative judges, sheriffs and AG’s. There’s really nothing like the purity of conservatism.

The Democratic side is different: They've filled government with socialists, Nazi's, and commies, hell bent on controlling everything including big gulps? Get your gun. 

In one fell swoop, David Blaska compared Democrats to Putin's Russia and district leaders in Nazi Germany. Would I kid you....
InBusiness: Pre-dawn raids on private homes. Imprisonment until the suspect “talks.” Orders to empty your pockets to see what we can find. No, not Putin’s Russia. Wisconsin’s speech gauleiters are convinced that someone, somewhere might be committing political speech without jumping through the authorities’ hoops. That is the essence of John Doe 2. The secret investigation is pursuing conservative campaign fundraising. 
Now you know why these teabillies carry guns, right? Blustery Blaska even put a nonsensical list together blaming “Democrats” for hunting down innocent, wealthy and helplessly powerful billionaires.

Blaska poses the conspiracy theory that John Doe 2 is politically motivated. 
Is it mere coincidence that the judge at the center of the secret investigation, a former Democrat(ic) district attorney and appointee of Jim Doyle, signed the recall petition against Gov. Scott Walker? Or that the chief investigator posted a Walker recall sign in his front yard, and 43 staffers in the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office, which conducted John Doe 1 and the current investigation, signed Walker recall petitions.
Or this upside down, chicken/egg mind numbing stupidity:
This is a fishing expedition that presumes guilt until proven innocent.
 This investigation is punitive. It has conducted pre-dawn raids on private homes (as the Wall Street Journal reported) as if hostages were being held or bombs manufactured. It follows the heavy footsteps of John Doe 1…
What head is hurting. John Doe 1 resulted in 6 convictions. That was a witch-hunt?

Finally, I love it when Republicans rationalize breaking the law. And with brilliant reasons like: “What of it?”
The conspiracy to commit free speech: What is John Doe 2 hoping to find? Evidence of coordination between the Walker recall campaign and so-called third-party issue groups. By law, they are supposed to keep at arm’s length. If there was communication, what of it? What voter was denied the legal right to vote? What candidate was forced off the ballot? What issue went undebated? The heavy breathers on the left should pray that no convictions result. The assault on free political speech and freedom of association — so central to the First Amendment — is ripe for reversal at the nation’s high court. 
Blaska, like all Republicans, would love sending everything to the conservative activist Supreme Court. Getting a partisan stamp of judicial approval calms them.

And why is Blaska writing for InBusiness online?

Walker complains of Massive Protests and Death Threats, but ignores the public message; he went too far.

I am so tired of Scott Walker's redirection play in media interviews where he describes the death threats to him, his family and other legislators as just heated personalized rhetoric. He's always dismissing his "divide and conquer" policies.

Besides never giving one example of anyone spending time in prison for their supposed death threat, Walker shifts away from the real reason for all the threats: His inability to moderate policy base on the public's reaction. Isn't that a symptom of going too far?  Isn't that how, sadly, extreme politicians are held in check in a democratic republic? How blindly ideological do you have to be to ignore the death threats, recalls and massive protests? That simple checks and balances approach is a relic of the past.

On WPR's Joy Cardin Show, Walker explains how it wasn't what he said, but the unions rhetoric that stirred things up around the Capitol. That's a complete lie, or proof Walker is that far out of touch with what actually happened. In reality, the unions were just as caught off guard by the massive public response and support they received.

Again, the massive protests, the recalls and even the death threats were just so many red flags that should have told the majority party they went way too far. Audio:

Believe it or not, Walker directly compared the protests around the Capitol to the Gabby Giffords shooting. That event scared the daylights out him and the Republican majority, despite the fact liberals weren't the ones threatening "Second Amendment Remedies." Instead, the party of righteousness under Scott Walker doubled down on security. Walker claims he tried to tone things down, but in reality, tried to protect concealed carry legislation from being affected.

In fact, Walker's reaction to blame "liberals" was eerily similar to this response by Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation:
Judson Phillips described Jared Loughner as a "liberal lunatic"  "The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and the left's attack on the Tea Party movement," described the shooter as "a leftist lunatic" and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik as a "leftist sheriff" who "was one of the first to start in on the liberal attack." Phillips urged tea party supporters to blame liberals for the attack on centrist Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona ... as a means of defending the tea party movement's recent electoral gains.
The fact that Walker gaves rambling responses to listener questions told us more in a few minutes than anything we'll ever read in his published attempt at revisionist history. I wonder if he mentioned the death threats against the opponents of his authority? Thom Hartmann talked with DPW's Graeme Zalienski about that and more:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Who the Hell thinks Scott Walker is a Moderate?

John Nichols’ Don’t Be Fooled: Scott Walker Is No Reformer played right into my recent screen capture of a headline in the Wisconsin State Journal. Yes, the media campaign is on to define Scott Walker as a moderate and easy going guy with Midwestern sensibilities. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Moderate? Walker’s trick to distance him from everything he actually stands for is obvious, but missed by the media; Walker downplays the extreme legislation coming out of the legislature, because it just isn't on his radar...he’s just not thinking about that stuff.

And then he gives it the governors signature. Poor guy, the reluctant governor.

Here’s Nichols nice attempt to get the national media up to speed on the real Walker, from The Nation:
Of all the “compelling potential standard-bearers” for the party, argues Washington Postcolumnist Marc Thiessen, “none is better positioned to energize the conservative grassroots while winning the center than Scott Walker.” Thiessen imagines Walker “as an across-the-board, unflinching, full-spectrum conservative” with an ability to appeal “to persuadable, reform-minded, results-oriented independents.”

That may be what Walker says. But that’s not the assessment of state Senator Dale Schultz, a Republican who has worked with Walker for two decades and who enthusiastically backed Walker in 2010 … the senator said (Walker) veered—on everything from school funding to academic freedom to tax policy to local control—into territory that was “way too extreme” … criticized Walker for “passing up an opportunity to show independent leadership. No amount of rhetoric or sloganeering will cover up the influence of an out of state billionaire funded and driven agenda,” declared Schultz. “This is not the Wisconsin agenda I’ve fought for over 30 years, and it’s not the Wisconsin agenda I hear from people as I travel around my district and across the state.”

Walker ripped the Democrat he hopes to run against in 2016—Hillary Clinton—for her long record of public service. “She’s been a product of Washington for decades.”

And what of Walker? The governor conveniently forgot to mention that he began his own political career at age 22 and has, since then, run twenty-three years primary and general election campaigns in twenty-three years—making him one of the most determined careerists in American politics.

Governors Refusing Medicaid Expansion just Fine with Hospital Closings, Loss of 5,000 jobs…blame Affordable Care Act

You can just hear low information conservative voters blaming “ObamaCare” for closing hospitals and killing 5,000 jobs all over the country, instead of blaming the Republicans governors who were well aware of the possibility when they turned down Medicaid expansion.

Heck, the hospitals said it would happen. In Wisconsin, Scott Walker will actually spend up to $73 million to subsidize hospitals for uncompensated losses. That's taxpayer money. His zombie followers probably don’t even know their footing the bill because of Walker.

So big surprise today in Bloomberg News:
At least five public hospitals closed this year and many more are scaling back services, mostly in states where Medicaid wasn’t expanded. Hospitals have dismissed at least 5,000 employees across the country since June, mostly in states that haven’t expanded the joint state-federal Medicaid health program for the poor as anticipated under the U.S. health overhaul known as Obamacare … medical care would be balanced by more low-income patients being covered by Medicaid. 

Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, said governors who chose not to expand Medicaid are to blame for the hospital closures. The administration “strongly encourages” states to expand Medicaid, which would “dramatically reduce the amount of unpaid bills that hospitals are left with,” Peters said in an e-mail.
Remember the ACA would pay 100 percent of Medicaid expansion for three years, phasing down to 90 percent after that. Yet some governors are still using the “the price tag is too high” in the dystopian future they foresee a GOP congress and president repeal the ACA.
Georgia’s Republican Governor, Nathan Deal, has said the state can’t afford to expand Medicaid. Even though the federal government says it will initially cover the costs, the price tag will be too high in the future, he said.
Losing 5,000 Jobs, Jobs, Jobs …thanks Republicans. Is Sen. Mitch McConnell blissfully ignorant of the losses?
WaPo: Mitch McConnell was pressed on the Medicaid expansion — which is responsible for 85 percent of new signups in Kentucky — and on the benefits the law will extend to people. He didn’t have a very good answer. The Courier-Journal reported it this way:
McConnell took umbrage at the argument that the numbers in Kentucky add up to a successful program.

“Well look, if I went out here on the street today [and said], ‘You guys want free health care?’ I expect you’d have a lot of signups,” he said. “People signing up for something that is free” is the only thing about Obamacare in Kentucky that could be considered successful.
Yes, people will make sure they live in poverty to get "free health care." 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Recall Blacklist surfaces in John Doe Probe of Walker...Again!!!

My response? SO WHAT? 

The witch hunt for "Democrats" gets big play by Jason Stein, Patrick Marley and Dan Bice. Did they have to brand Buffalo and Pepin County Judge James Duvall as an evil "Democrat," or someone that signed what is now Scott Walker's Recall Blacklist. Do these reporters know they're giving conservatives an excuse to use the recall petition or even someones political belief as a reason to string em up? 
James J. Duvall of Alma, a Buffalo and Pepin County Circuit judge who also serves as the chief judge for the Seventh Judicial District of the state, signed the petition to launch a recall election against Walker on Nov. 27, 2011.

It's unclear whether Duvall has any significant role in the John Doe investigation — his part may just hinge on his position as chief judge of his district. But he is one of several judges named in a recent appellate action seeking to block the probe from continuing. 

Duvall, a former Democratic district attorney of Buffalo County, was appointed to the bench by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in 2005 and has been elected twice since then. 
The horror of just being a Democrat nowadays.

Just as appalling is the Journal Sentinel reporters suggestion that it's odd that only conservatives are being targeted by the probe. That would be like saying your average investor should be investigated and computers confiscated because Bernie Madoff got caught. It doesn't make any sense, and it's incredible these reporters are pushing this bizarre false equivalence. 

Scott Walker Tantrum: He Blew up the Exchanges and Walked Away so No One could have them. Now he says "I told you so?"

Scott Walker is proving government is bad...under Walker!!!

Walker really screwed things up. And this time, I’m not talking about high speed rail.

If the information I gleaned from the Kaiser Foundation is even close to being accurate, then Walker has some big time explaining to do. Yes, under that calm demeanor, hides a real asshole.

It appears Wisconsin put together a workable health care exchange under Gov. Jim Doyle. All the work was done and the state was given federal money to get it running.
Under former-Governor Jim Doyle (D), Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services had investigated the information technology necessary for a state-run exchange and based on insight from over 40 healthcare stakeholders, created an exchange prototype to simulate eligibility determinations and the consumer enrollment process. The prototype was launched in December 2010, with much of the functionality required of an exchange website. Wisconsin received a federal Exchange Planning grant of $1 million in September 2010... 
And because we were so far ahead setting up exchanges, we were given:
...a federal Early Innovator grant of $37.7 million in February (2011).
But Walker wanted to use that exchange for the “Office of Free Market Health Care,” where insurers could fill the campaign coffers of Walker and fellow Republicans with the excess profits made selling completely useless junk policies to the unsuspecting public.
In 2011, Walker had issued an executive order to create the Office of Free Market Health Care to develop a plan for a Wisconsin health benefit exchange; however, almost a year later he closed the Office (because) exchange establishment legislation failed to pass at the end of the 2012 legislative session. 
Here’s what Walker did to sabotage all the money, time, and work done by the state:
Wisconsin planned to use the Early Innovator grant to refine their exchange prototype into a single portal through which residents could access subsidized and non-subsidized health care and other state-based programs. In January 2012, the Governor announced the state would be returning the Early Innovator grant funding. After initial efforts to develop a state-based health insurance exchange, Governor Walker announced in July 2012, he would not take any action to implement federal health reform until after the November elections.
Wisconsin was this close to a fully functional exchange, but Walker abandoned all of it. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Media backs Big Money Conservative efforts to Crush Legal System over John Doe Investigation.

A troubling sign that the media is now on board with the radical right should send a shudder through the state. The media is calmly accepting the inevitable, and siding with who they perceive to be on the winning side. Just in time for the midterms too. Do we even have an ethical compass anymore?
jsonline:…prosecutors had launched a second John Doe investigation into the recall elections. The response from the right has been swift and aggressive. Those targeted by this probe are bringing in heavyweight lawyers from around the country … These lawyers have gone to court to try to throw up roadblocks to the prosecution and perhaps even derail the entire case … And conservative websites have published leaked details of the probe and launched direct attacks on the prosecutors.
We’re now cheering an attempt to uncover illegal activity?
Some in Wisconsin's legal community like this high-stakes approach. "It's better than lying down in the middle of the street and waiting for the truck to run over you," said a prominent Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer.
But is it possible the Democrats, without the massive funding machine on the right, might not have done anything wrong? 
The Journal Sentinel has not turned up any Democratic candidates or liberal interest groups involved in the recall elections that have been contacted by John Doe prosecutors.
The Journal Sentinel doesn't remind readers how the Republicans broke the law by violating the secrecy rules:
Walker allies have shown that by going on the offensive, they can use the secrecy rules to their advantage. "These fishing expeditions that have so far produced almost nothing in the way of substantial criminal behavior are getting tough to take," said a veteran Wisconsin Republican.
Of course the first John Doe “fishing expedition” ended up convicting six Scott Walker acquaintances. And unlike the infallible "nonpartisan" right wing lawyers, liberals are tainted with political bias:
Talk show host Charlie Sykes said many conservatives believe the first John Doe probe was tainted by political bias.
Finally, conservative operatives are even boasting that big money will crush our legal system:
There's even a sense among some Republican insiders that … (the) five Wisconsin district attorneys may be over-matched. "Remember that they (prosecutors) are taking on not just millionaires but billionaires," said a GOP source.
Any questions about our rightwing authoritarian one party takeover?

Walker suffering from his own Medical Bankruptcy: Not helping or saving people....

It's hard to argue with the following reasons other very conservative Governors gave for expanding Medicaid. None of the reasons made sense to our sociopathic Governor, Scott Walker:
Cap Times: While Gov. Scott Walker is holding up his decision to reject Medicaid funding as evidence he foresaw the incompetence that has so far defined the Obamacare rollout, other governors who accepted the money are insisting it was the right decision.

“It’s going to save lives,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich defiantly told the New York Times. “It’s going to help people, and you tell me what’s more important than that.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder … pointed out that accepting the Medicaid expansion would prevent his state from spending hundreds of millions of dollars from its own treasury. “What’s less expensive: Going to a primary-care physician and getting a physical and getting ongoing treatment, or relying on a crisis environment in an ER,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
Walker wants to adopt Paul Ryan's plan to block grant Medicaid money to the states, That idea would cut participation dramatically. So the governors who expanded Medicaid would have to make very painful cuts. Walker made sure Wisconsin had already pared those numbers down ahead of time.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Walker didn't create One new job in Manufacturing over the last year. We are the Lone Red State Failure in the Midwest.

Think about it: Republicans have all their job creation schemes working their magic in Wisconsin right now, and what have we got to show for it? ZERO manufacturing jobs in the last year.

Remember when optimistic CEO’s cooed over Walker’s gifts and subservience, giving him grand promises just to please this delusional little man, the career politician. He also described himself as a small business owner when he became governor, tasked with turning the state around.  

Except tax cuts, tort reform and more tax cuts didn't have anything to do with increasing consumer demand. But wages are lower in here, and slashing public employee take home pay didn't help much either. As chairman, he's mismanaged the public/private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. 

Walker’s “divide and conquer” philosophy secured lots of government jobs for Republican politicians, but failed everybody else. The Conservative Capitol Clubhouse can ride their terms out in comfort passing big government social engineering programs targeting women’s health.  

Here's the big successes record:
jsonline: Wisconsin added 23,968 private-sector jobs — none of them in the crucial manufacturing sector — in the 12 months that ended in June, the state reported Thursday, while a separate report showed the state's unemployment rate improved to its best level since 2008.

"I'm really surprised by the lack of job growth in manufacturing," said Abdur Chowdhury, economics professor at Marquette University. "That is a key factor for Wisconsin's recovery. The manufacturing sector generally provides good pay, especially for the three-quarters of state workers without four-year college degrees."
Reality has a way of bring a few people down to earth. Yea, right. 
A new round of numbers show the pace of job creation in Wisconsin slowing by 37 percent for the one-year period ending in June — not good news politically for Gov. Scott Walker or for those looking for work. The 23,986 jobs added over the period ending in June 2013 is down nearly 40 percent from the June 2010 to June 2011 period, when Wisconsin added 39,909 private sector jobs. 

Walker confirms, One Party Authoritarian control gets “big bold reform done,” his way.

How easy is it to lead a one party dictatorship? Just ask Scott Walker, he’ll tell you:
"If you want to get big bold reform done ... you need a team to help you do that," the Washington Post quoted Walker saying.
With the kind of majority rule Walker's had here in Wisconsin, the Democratic Party is no longer relevant or tolerated. Protesters are considered outsiders, thugs, and vandals, who never reflected the "majority" of Wisconsinites. After one million recall signatures, and hundreds of thousands of protesters turned out at the Capitol opposing the his agenda, Walker was unimpressed and dismissive. 
Cap Times: At a breakfast in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the  Christian Science Monitor, the gov knocked the idea of divided government — different parties controlling different branches.
"Conventional wisdom," Walker said, "is that Americans prefer divided government. I think they've seen the last few years that that's not necessarily a good thing. Instead of sufficient checks and balances, what that's gotten is a lot of gridlock," Walker said.

"If you want to get big bold reform done ... you need a team to help you do that."
Ezra Klein wrote this observation:
All this leaves Walker attempting something very unusual: Running as the candidate of polarization. His pitch isn't that he can bring the two sides together but that he can persuade the public to kick the other side out of office. "Voters think people in Washington fight for the sake of fighting," he said. "Voters don't mind fighters, but they want them to be fighting for them."

Mary Burke on WEDC, BadgerCare, Affordable Care Act, and Restoring Collective Bargaining.

Here's are what I think were the highlights of Mary Burke's latest interview, this time with WPT's Here and Now's Frederica Freyberg. I especially liked her comments about starting WEDC at the wrong time, and Walker turning down the opportunity to get our own federal taxes back with the expansion of Medicaid. When you think of it, common sense stuff:

Burke covered a few other issues, and you can see it all here. Below is the campaign fund raising letter I received:

Walker's Latest Con on Insurance Subsidies off the Exchanges.

Devious and slick, Scott Walker has a plan do dissolve the Affordable Care Act's exchanges in the most casual, unnoticeable way. His simple suggestion? Give subsidies to insurers off the exchanges, because they would also have to meet the same strict standards as those providers on the exchanges.

Listen to Dan Schwartzer, Deputy Insurance Commissioner of Wisconsin, explain the plan with Here and Now's Frederica Freyberg:

Sneaky. Here's why that will not only bring down the exchanges, but all the reforms that have controlled cost and held premium increases to its lowest level ever.
1. The exchanges/marketplaces offer one stop shopping. It's all there, where you can easily comparison shop between insurers plans.

2. Your application information is available to each insurer on the exchange. Off the exchange, you'll have to make out a new application every time, a complicated and time consuming exercise. Plus, the possibility of fraud, or having your medical history stolen, is increased dramatically every time you hand it out.

3. Price. The state negotiates with insurers for the best price. It's been done in every state run exchange. That won't be done off the exchanges, period. And that's what brings down the entire Affordable Care Act. Every innovation, every change brought about by "ObamaCare" disappears. What will reappear are insurance premiums through the roof, even with the requirement that 80 percent of the premium go to health care. No negotiations downward. Insurers will also be able to make up for covering preexisting conditions too.
And that's why offering subsidies off the exchange is not only a taxpayer gift to insurers and a total waste of money, but also incredibly deceitful. And coincidentally, it's just a few short steps away from the Ryan plan.

Democratic Party vs Republican Tea Party: Who Wins the Common Sense/History War?

More sloganeering and more austerity: The idea that the right wing is all about small government, is nothing more than a marketing campaign of big government authoritarians seeking one party rule. They've tethered "freedom" to the ridiculous, like buying Big Gulps, junk insurance policies, scaring people with open carry weapons, and voting regulations the size of a phone book that'll double in size each and every year. 

But as we've seen from our recent past, conservatism not only doesn't work, it's a crutch for a generation of insecure adults acting like spoiled children. But that's how I would describe it. The following is a more wonkish analysis that hits the mark. Try this one on for size:
WaPo: Conservatives are trying out a new slogan to influence the ongoing budget negotiations: “Spend One Dollar Less.” As reported by National Review’s Jonathan Strong, twenty major conservative leaders all signed a letter stating that “If Washington wants to take on more debt… isn’t it fair that they at least be forced to spend One Dollar Less next year than they’re spending this year?”
But guess what, it doesn't make much sense. It’s pure ideology:
It’s worth noting to gauge the size of government spending you need to reference the actual size of the economy. Every year there is some amount of growth and inflation in the economy … when actually being analyzed, are usually conveyed as a percentage of GDP. The government provides services … as the country grows in population the government should also expand to keep the level of services constant. The U.S. population has increased, with 2.25 million new people in 2011.

Over the next decade the federal government is expected spend about 22 percent of GDP. Should that number grow or shrink as we get richer as a country? This is a fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives.

Democratic Plan: As the sociologist Lane Kenworthy, author of the forthcoming Social Democratic America, notes, it’s a historical fact that as countries have grown richer, they have spent more on social insurance. As we become richer we value security and insurance more and we are willing to spend more on it. We do this as individuals, and we do this as a country as well. Insurance mitigates against bad luck, including the bad luck of being born in poverty.

Conservatives would counter that, as we grow richer, there are more opportunities to provide security privately, without the use of government.
We already know how things have played out so...:
The last decade hasn't been too kind to the latter vision of how prosperity will evolve. The serious market income gains have been concentrated in the top 1 percent of Americans, who in turn use it to fuel luxury spending competitions rather than run private welfare states. As MSNBC’s Ned Resnikoff reports, private food banks are terrified of the sequester (which cut The Emergency Food Assistance Program that helps food banks) and recent food stamp cuts, because they can’t offset that austerity with private charity. Economic insecurity has increased … Any sensible politics that evolve out of this situation will involve government spending to increase with the times.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Arrogance: Walker uses Jedi Mind Trick, says "War on Women" line won't work on him.

The line "war on women" won't work on our authoritarian little sociopath, how could it. Or so decrees this ego inflated leader of all men, Scott Walker.

It's no accident Scott Walker feels invincible, the way he's always gotten a pass in the media. Funny, that's what Paul Ryan thought as the VP candidate, until the media began to focus on his actual record and lies.

Walker's ineffective use of the Jedi mind trick on Wisconsin women (someone tell him its not real), on top of acting like their health and privacy were just "one or two issues"...yes, he really did say that, should piss everybody off. He casually mentioned this at Talking Points Memo, as reported by Salon:
Speaking at a breakfast held by the Christian Science Monitor, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — who recently signed a controversial ultrasound bill — said on Friday that the so-called War on Women is “insulting” to voters, and won’t work as a line of attack against him, anyway.

“I find it insulting that you think that voters just care about one or two issues,” Walker said
He really thinks voters don't care about forcing women to have a medically unnecessary ultrasounds along with a detailed description of the features and organs of the fetus. Trivial issues when you consider how he's worked hard at and failed to improve schools, lower our debt, and fulfill his jobs promise. When will people understand, that pregnancy and contraception have nothing to do with men. 

So what has Walker done? 
“But I find that the women as well as the men I talk to in my state, what they want to know was I going to continue to move forward with reforms that will help get our budget balanced, lower our debts, improve our economy, improve our schools, improve higher education.”

Tammy Baldwin takes on Scott Walker, the Master of Undermining Effective Government programs like the Affordable Care Act.

For Scott Walker the Affordable Care Act is just another Republican opportunity, like he's done with our public schools, to send taxpayer dollars to the private sector.

The Comparison-Vouchers: Wisconsinites don't seem to be buying into the idea that their great local schools are failing or that private schools should get their money.

Health Care: The same is true for health care. Insures are unnecessary middle men Republicans just love. Insurers contribute to their campaigns and love to take taxpayer subsidies in high risk pools and Medicare Part D. But funneling taxpayer money into the private sector doesn't make government smaller, it just makes it private and unaccountable.

Scott Walker didn't miss the similarity or the opportunity to find a way to channel taxpayer money to insurers, with what I consider the most outrageous counterproductive idea. Make no mistake, his idea to give taxpayer subsidies to insurers not in the exchanges, would halt reform and increase rates. That's just the opposite of Affordable Care Act.

Surprisingly, the Affordable Care Act reduced premium increases to an all-time low of 1.3 percent a year, thanks to reform. Imagine if a public option were included.

From Here and Now, Tammy Baldwin is asked about Walker's ridiculous idea. Her response nails it, but could have been more effective with an initial forceful condemnation. If I could change anything about Democrats in interviews, it would be to have them answer the question first, then explain themselves.

Killed Filibuster would make things worse? Maybe you haven’t been paying attention.

I thought the following summed up my thoughts exactly:
WaPo: As the nuclear fallout settles from yesterday’s blowing up of the Senate filibuster on nominations, a meme is taking hold that the move will make things a whole lot worse in Washington. Blares the New York Times: “Partisan fever in Senate likely to rise.” Former Senator Olympia Snowe  insists the rules change “escalates what is already a hyperpartisan atmosphere.”

Threats of retaliation are rampant. Mitch McConnell warns Dems: “you may regret this a lot sooner than you think.” NBC News adds: “The acrimony could cause meaningful action in the Senate to grind to a halt.”

This is mostly nonsense. 

Could it get any worse is a better way of putting it. Republicans have for the last five years stopped the Democratic Party from showing Americans how well their policies would work. And that’s the way they wanted it. Under a hail of criticism, Obama bashing and trash talking the economy, the public’s general impression is a bad one, influenced by the nonstop propaganda. 

It worked wonders in 2010, just after the GOP’s Great Recession and their charge card spending (like drunken sailors) during the Bush years. It may work again. 

Sen. Glenn Grothman: Democrats “don’t…care that much about voting” and how the GOP Voter Suppression Bill Attacks Cities.

During the whole Walker Authority attack on early voting, the one biggest issue that Democrats never thought to point out: Rural communities will continue to have complete flexibility on early voting, while cities will have hard restrictions. That’s what Republicans call a fair “uniform statewide law.”

Is there an opposition party at the Capitol, because I’m not hearing their outrage? 

Finally, this newer wrinkle on voter suppression got national air time:
Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl told MSNBC: In 2012, the city saw more than 1,000 early voters per day, according to Witzel-Behl. She said the reduction in hours, and the loss of flexibility, would make life more difficult for her office – and for voters.

While hitting big cities hard, the bill leaves voting practices in small towns largely untouched. Many small towns in Wisconsin let people make appointments to cast their ballots at the local clerk’s house, McDonell explained—something they’ll be able to keep doing. “What this does is, it leaves in place the ability for the small communities to set their hours in different ways, but it shuts down the big cities from having the ability to do that,” said McDonell.
So gerrymandering wasn't enough, they had to make sure rural areas had a voting advantage? Yes.

Perhaps the GOP's obsession with voter suppression has its roots in something Sen. Grothman said:
State Sen. Glenn Grothman: “Between [early voting], mail absentee, and voting the day of election, you know, I mean anybody who can’t vote with all those options, they’ve really got a problem,” he said. “I really don’t think they care that much about voting in the first place, right?”
For a party that doesn't believe in over regulation, voting rights is that one exception.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

GOP Talking Point Scheme Devoid of Reality, Facts and Jobs Plan!

Republicans hate it when Obama reads off a teleprompter. That’s cheating, and proof that’s he’s not too smart…unqualified. So what does it say about an entire party that needs to read off a detailed playbook of talking points to usurp the party in power, and Obama?
This is what a completely bankrupt party is resorting to, as reported by the NY Times:
The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.”“Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”
Compete BS, and not very original. That’s why GOP answers never really answer anything, because they can’t go any deeper than their talking points. It’s quite a scheme and another embarrassment:
The document intend to keep Democrats on their heels through a multilayered, sequenced assault.

The idea is to gather stories of people affected by the health care law … and use them to open a line of attack, keep it going until it enters the public discourse and forces a response, then quickly pivot to the next topic … the success so far has been something of a surprise, even to the campaign’s organizers. The effort has its roots in a strategy developed last spring…

First it was the malfunctioning website,, then millions of insurance policy cancellation notices. Earlier this week, the House aired allegations that personal data is insecure on the Internet-based insurance exchanges. At a congressional field hearing set for Friday in Gastonia, N.C., the line of attack will shift to rate shocks expected to jolt the insurance markets in the next two years. Coming soon: a push to highlight people losing access to their longtime physicians and changes in Medicare Advantage programs for older people. But Republicans are already looking ahead to next year, when they expect a raft of new issues as people start using their new health plans. “We’re trying to stay as agile as we can,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner.
The Party with a head full of Empty: These guys don’t manage government, they market it:
A message of the week is presented to the Republican members at the beginning of each week, Ms. McMorris Rodgers … The goal is to use all the “Republican voices we have in the House, the media markets in all the districts we represent, to take our message all over the country. It penetrates,” she said. “It’s powerful.”
Caught in what turned out to be a big lie:
Republicans have gone to the floor of the House and the Senate to tell constituent stories of soaring premiums or yawning new deductibles. But on Wednesday, the White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report showing that health care spending had grown by 1.3 percent since 2010, the year the health care law passed. That is the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than a third of the average since 1965, according to the White House.
Like I've told my conservative friend in Milwaukee so many times, the Affordable Care Act shook everything up:
Jason Furman, the council’s chairman, said much of that slowdown was attributable to structural changes in the health care economy ushered in by the health law, such as accountable care organizations, which band general practitioners, specialists and hospitals together to plan out a patient’s care, not play off one another to raise their billing. And insurance premiums on plans offered through the exchanges are lower than expected.

Obama Lied about the Unemployment Numbers before the 2012 Election? More GOP Conspiracy Theories.

While Republicans know they have a short window to make hay about the web site, they're gearing up a new conspiracy theory; Obama lied about the unemployment numbers just before his reelection. "Obama lied" is an easy meme to push for a party reliving the confederacy.

It's more insanity, and another welcome embarrassment showcasing the condition of the current Republican Party. I just wish Democrats would stop trying to help them change.

Martin Bashir talks to Ezra Klein:

Police picture of your car license plate a threat to "individual freedom?"

Want to make solving crimes harder, if not impossible? Well then get on board with this almost surreal bill from tea party crazy Rep. David Craig.

Craig's bill targets and limits to 2 days the ability of police to retain pictures of vehicle license plates, which is currently 1 year. How outrageous? I'll bet most people didn't even know this was happening.

But according to Craig, license plate pictures held by our local police departments is an attack on our "individual liberties."  Paranoid son-of-a-bitch.

Perhaps Craig could also require that all public street cams erase their recording after two days too.

This ridiculous "busy hands are happy hands" bill supposedly has bipartisan support, although the story never mentions anyone else's name. From WKOW:

WKOW: A tool the Middleton Police Department says it uses to track down criminals can also infringe upon civil rights, according to some state lawmakers. Police agencies across the country have started using license plate recognition software in recent years. In Middleton, two squad cars have equipment to snap pictures of license plates while officers are on patrol. 
But a police departments secure data base isn't secure enough for a mere picture of our license plate?
Are people crazy?
A bipartisan bill in the state legislature would limit the amount of time the data can be saved. Rep. David Craig (R-Vernon) says one year is unacceptable. "We have advancing technology and we need to put limitations on how that technology can be used so that people's individual liberties are protected," he says. The new bill instead calls for a 48 hour time frame, unless the data is necessary for a criminal investigation. I'm concerned not about criminals, I'm concerned about 'John Q Public' that obeys the law and how long his information is on the books," Craig says.
This is crazy. What about Google Earth's pictures of our homes? What expectation of privacy do we have when were driving around? And solving crime...
But Middleton Police Chief Brad Keil says that two day time limit will hinder investigations. For example, if a car is parked at a crime scene but police don't find out about the incident for more than 48 hours, they won't be able to go back into their database to search that location for license plate numbers in the area at the specific time. Chief Keil also says the database has gotten results with tracking down stolen cars and helping identify suspect vehicles and their drivers. He believes the license plate data is safe. "We understand the concerns with privacy, that's why we have very strict policies on the use of that information."
Yea right. The police are just one arm of big government, that we all know can't do anything right:
Rep. Craig maintains some sort of restriction needs to be in place. "Regardless of what level it is, government has the propensity to bungle personal information," he tells 27 News. The bill has gained both Republican and Democratic support. 
I want the names of those idiot Dem's who bought into this paranoid wisp of fantasy.