Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Conservative Activist Supreme Court Justices quickly oust Chief Justice Abrahamson!!!

Every branch of government is now marching in lockstep to one party authoritarian control. Where are the new sedition maps...?
Time for an update?
jsonline: State high court quickly ousts Shirley Abrahamson as chief justice: Conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court picked Justice Patience Roggensack as their new leader Wednesday, dumping longtime Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

Four justices on the seven-member court voted to put Roggensack in charge just hours after state election officials certified the April 7 referendum results,

Republicans loyal to Banks, ditch Veterans.

I remember when the Bush administration sent out orders to keep veterans from accessing their benefits by simply not telling them what they needed. Nice thing to do to our returning soldiers.

Republicans even want to privatize veterans health care, putting them at the mercy of insurers hoping to make a profit. And still veterans are overwhelmingly conservative.

Well, let's see how these 2 actions will go over with our vets:
1. House Republicans are pushing legislation to block predatory lending protections for American soldiers, under pressure from the banking lobby.

GOP lawmakers tucked the deregulation item into the National Defense Authorization Act -- a major bill setting the military's funding ... If the banking item is enacted, it would impose a one-year delay on new Department of Defense rules meant to shield military families from abusive terms on payday loans and other forms of high-interest credit. The military has been struggling with the financial impact of predatory lending on service members for years. 

A 2014 report issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau documents a host of abuses targeting troops.
Big bank Republicans know exactly what's going on too:
Big banks have had an ugly relationship with American soldiers lately. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup pursued hundreds of illegal foreclosures against active-duty members of the military, ultimately reaching multiple settlements with the Department of Justice over such practices. As a result, they have embarked on extensive public relations campaigns to repair their image.
Despite efforts by the Democrats, veterans still don't know who's really on there side:
Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq War veteran, will introduce an amendment to the NDAA bill that would strip out the Republican language delaying predatory lending protections. Duckworth told HuffPost the GOP bill would "waste resources undertaking redundant studies and postpone the implementation of valuable protections," adding, "Further delay will put more service members and their families in harm’s way."
GOP opposes Job Training, college tuition, fertility help, benefits to spouses of deceased vets: Republican efforts to require job training in exchange for food stamps, Medicaid and unemployment benefits ring hollow after they turned down a chance to job train veterans:
A divided Senate on Thursday derailed Democratic legislation that would have provided $21 billion for medical, education, and job-training benefits for the nation's veterans. The bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and fresh penalties against Iran.

"I personally have a hard time understanding how anyone could vote for tax breaks for billionaires, for millionaires, for large corporations, and then say we don't have the resources to protect our veterans," said Senator Sanders
The problem for the GOP? Too many veterans would get help:
Republicans said there would be no retribution from voters because the Democratic bill would have harmed veterans' services by flooding them with too many people. Republicans criticized (the) bill for using … unspent money from the withdrawal in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sanders' legislation would have provided these GOP opposed services:
1. Making more veterans eligible for in-state college tuition to providing fertility or adoption services for some wounded troops left unable to conceive.

2. The VA would have been given more tools to eat into its backlog of 390,000 benefit claims that have been awaiting action for more than 125 days.
3. Bolstered programs for veterans who suffered sexual abuse, and would have increased dental care and provided more alternative medicine, such as yoga for stress.

4. Benefits for some spouses of deceased veterans would have improved, and aid to relatives caring for a wounded veteran would have been expanded to include those who served before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Jobs lost...Damn that ObamaCare?

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act will no doubt start trashing Obama for destroying jobs, now that Assurant Health insurance is shutting down in Milwaukee:
jsonline-Guy Boulton: The parent company of Assurant Health said Tuesday that it will sell or shut down the Milwaukee health insurer — which employs 1,200 people in the area — by the end of next year. Assurant Health has struggled to adjust to changes in the health insurance market imposed by the Affordable Care Act … The company specializes in health insurance for small employers and individuals, the two market segments that have faced the most changes from the Affordable Care Act. "They are a casualty of the ACA," said Steven Schwartz, an analyst with Raymond James & Associates.
Oh, the horror. But wait, the ugly truth is even more grotesque. Here's how Assurant Health stayed in business:
The Affordable Care Act barred health insurers from turning away customers because of pre-existing health conditions. That new regulation negated one of Assurant Health's strengths: underwriting, or determining which potential customers were the best risks. "That went away," said Schwartz of Raymond James.
Poor babies, not being able to turn away sick people is so unprofitable. 

What about the free market dream to compare and shop around, lowering prices? ObamaCare does that too:
Assurant Health's losses suggest that any buyer would have to raise the cost of its health plans next year. At the same time, the online marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act have made it easier for people to compare prices and move to different health plans each year.

In an interview in 2012, Adam Lamnin, president and chief executive of Assurant Health, acknowledged the challenges the company faced. "Health care reform," he said, "was a watershed event for us."
Funny thing, Assurant had a different story when the ACA started up, which proved to be a big, big mistake:
Assurant Health declined to sell insurance on the Affordable Care Act online marketplace in 2013, and executives with parent company Assurant Inc. say the company gained market share because of the strategy. The higher sales were driven by “significant activity” due to the first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act that started Oct. 1, 2013, Assurant Health’s major-medical insurance products for individuals include essential health benefits required by the ACA … In other words, prospective customers could meet ACA's individual mandate by buying Assurant products.
 Thanks to the tweet from Gnarlytrombone.

Walker falsely whines Democrats controlled everything for years!

Even after 4 years of failed policies, Scott Walker is still blaming everyone else for today's problems.

Of course he's lying:

Yes, former Governor Jim Doyle created the Great Recession, and Democrats controlled government "for many years."
Doyle only had a Legislature under total Democratic control for his last two years, 2009 and 2010.

In fact, Republicans controlled the Assembly and Senate for Doyle’s first four years. Control then was split for two years before Democrats enjoyed their brief unfettered reign.

Going back further, to 1995, Republicans in Wisconsin controlled at least one of the three power spots every year until 2009.

The kind of single-party dominance that Walker claimed Democrats have enjoyed for many years is rare in recent Wisconsin history.

Walker, though, is now in year five with Republicans gripping all three levers of authority at the Capitol.

The Republicans have had that status more than twice as long as the "many years" Walker said Democrats did.

We rate the claim False.
You gotta ask yourself, what else is he lying about? Here are similar thoughts from the Wisconsin Gazette.

The GOP Unemployment Ruse; It's another Taxpayer Bailout of Business.

State Republicans are hoping no one sees what they're really doing to unemployment insurance. Since it's a business expense and has nothing to do with taxpayers, republicans have been tasked by lobbyists to cut the draw on those trust funds. And they've been doing just that by cutting benefit weeks, decreasing the number of behavioral exemptions, and requiring 4 job searches a week.

Unemployment benefits are funded by a state and federal tax on employers. And during times of high unemployment, like the Great Recession (caused by GOP economic failures), the money in those funds wasn't enough to cover everyone.

Important to Remember: Unemployment does not cost taxpayers any money: Walker republicans have been trying to drop as many of the unemployed as possible, by instituting a number of degrading hoops to jump through listed above, including a move to drug test. Remember, these are people who have just lost their jobs, not people supposedly on drugs applying for work in an hallucinogenic state. So spinning it as a way to help people find work is ridiculous.

Business Welfare Again: Republican aren't "taxpayer watchdogs," they're robbing us. They're
using our tax dollars to save businesses money. Think I'm making this up. The DWD website has fessed up to the con:
Like many other states, Wisconsin’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Reserve Fund had to rely on federal loans to help fund unemployment benefits paid to record numbers of claimants during and following the deep national recession of 2007-09.The 2013-15 budget included a provision which allocated $30 million of state general purpose revenues to pay interest due on UI Trust Fund loans from the federal government during the 2013-15 biennium. The $19 million in interest due September 30, 2013 was paid using these state funds. The $7 million estimated interest due in September of 2014, will also be paid using these funds. 
And here's the clincher, thanks to taxpayers:
This means employers will not be assessed for this interest due the federal government on Wisconsin’s outstanding unemployment loans.
All the above interest paid by taxpayers to bail out businesses, would never have happened if D.C. republicans didn't stop Obama from helping states.
President Obama, in his 2012 budget … prevents a tax increase on business and helps cash-strapped states. Republicans call it a "job-destroying” tax hike on business and a bailout for states that are overly generous with their jobless benefits.  
Obama would have forgiven that interest payment (paid by only those states that had to borrow money - like Wisconsin), if they simply raised the tax temporarily on the base income level to replenish their trust funds. States would not only save the interest payment, but they could lower the business tax once the trust funds were balanced. Republicans in congress rejected it, costing taxpayers and businesses money.

Walker used the taxpayer bailout to Fool the Federal Government so they could save businesses money:
jsonline: Additionally, the committee proposal would allow the state Department of Administration to lend up to $50 million in taxpayer money to the unemployment insurance fund. That loan would help the state ensure that the unemployment fund has a positive balance in 2014, which in turn would keep the federal government from raising taxes on employers by $191 million in 2015.
I think the knucklehead "fellows" at the MacIver Institute summed it up best:
The new law reduces their UI taxes to pre-loan levels by shifting the fiscal burden for the interest payments to the general budget.
Unemployment is not a taxpayer problem, or it wasn't until Walker decided to use our money. So don't let them lie about it. As an example, here's Rep. Chris Kapenga, another one of those wacky supply side "certified public accountants," misleading or just plain lying about unemployment. Again I ask, who created the tight budget with unsustainable tax cuts?

There's more HERE.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Walker's Right-to-Work Hail Mary Miserable Failure, as Corporation with $22 billion in sales moves 93 more jobs to Mexico.

I know this has been said many times before, but really, if the following happened under a Democratic administration, they would be tared and feathered for life and we'd never hear the end of it.

But this is all about Scott Walker, and it never matters one bit if Walker, the chairman of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), allows jobs here to move to Mexico.

Hand it to WKOW's Greg Neumann for sticking with this story for so long. We're now seeing how important it was to pass right-to-work:
A global power systems management corporation that has received nearly $370,000 in tax incentives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) since 2012 is shipping jobs from Wisconsin to Mexico for the second time in three years ... the elimination of 93 employees there ... laying off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee in April 2013.  The company moved those jobs to Mexico as well. Eaton Corp. had $22.6 billion in sales in 2014. 
So it's not like they couldn't afford to keep the jobs in Wisconsin out of the goodness of their heart (supply side reasoning):

Today, this depressing job loss outlook finally got some press:
Wisconsin employers have already notified the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) of 3,543 layoffs that will happen in 2015, putting the state on pace to eclipse 10,000 for the year.
Surprisingly, the Walker administration doesn't seem too concerned. The only number Walker can't stop talking about is the 4.6% unemployment stat. Why republicans don't want to count those not participating in the search for jobs is anybodies guess, since it's always an issue when Obama's numbers are released.

Here's how the shocking headline story looked online:

Admit it: Republican Budget Failures forcing state to cut UW, Parks, and K-12.

Stop cutting taxes!!! 

Haven't we had it up to here yet, with this civil discussion over our self-destructive budgeting process. It's gotten so bad that two rural Republican legislators, apparently worried about keeping their jobs, want to save their own districts two year UW campuses from...their own budget cuts. Shameless:  
Two Republican state representatives are proposing to exempt the University of Wisconsin System’s 2-year campuses and the UW-Extension from a proposed $300 million budget cut. They argue that both institutions are operating as efficiently as possible, and provide valuable services to rural communities.
Another Budget Shortfall, welcome Disaster Capitalism: Environmental bulldozer Sen. Tom Tiffany’s latest bullshit:
Thirty-five sites in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest will be closed or see reduced services this summer due to a roughly $300,000 shortfall. State Sen. Tom Tiffany, however, said there's a way to keep them open. "If they allowed us to manage the forest land on the Chequamegon-Nicolet here in the state of Wisconsin, we could keep all of those recreational facilities open also," said Tiffany. Tiffany said that could be done with money from additional timber sales.
Are we out of our minds? If cutting taxes makes it impossible to pay our bills and maintain our roads, the UW, K-12, and our parks system, why do we keep doing it? Wouldn't we have the revenue if we just stop cutting taxes? 

Walker and his plundering republican pirates say we have no choice but to abandon decades of taxpayer investments in our state infrastructure and services. No, that's crazy talk.

Republican tax cuts are killing our state. Isn't it obvious by now conservatives will never be happy with any level of taxation? I call them plundering pirates for a reason; they take what they've been given (safe society, cleaner environment, public education), guilt free, and giving nothing back. My god these people are shameless. 

Wisconsin Watchdog Scott Walker's lapdog!

Wisconsin Watchdog, once known as Wisconsin Reporter (only minus the reporting), is playing up to the ignorance of it intended readers, with the piece I screen captured below. This online rag is implying the Milwaukee DA is telling Scott Walker to keep his mouth shut about the John Doe investigation. In reality, DA John Chisholm warned Walker that  making defamatory false statements is a chargeable offense.

Keep in mind, a John Doe judge ordered secrecy for all the parties involved. Even Walker made that clear hundreds of times. Of course republican special interests defied the much for the rule of law.
Walker gave this response to WISN’s Mike Gousha: "As you know, as I've pointed out many times in the past when we've talked about this, the law's pretty clear in this state," Walker said. "Anyone who knows anything about a John Doe can't talk about it. Anyone who doesn't know anything about it shouldn't talk about it. So, I've not commented on the Doe itself because I've abided by the law."
Mr. Unintimidated was told to shut up? But conservative activist Eric O'Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth played the victim, and opened their trap.
A director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth told Fox News he was defying a secrecy order in a probe of his group and the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker. O’Keefe said: “Yes. An unconstitutional secrecy order. And I'm defying the secrecy order.”
Of course he knows it's unconstitutional, who needs the courts. Ironically, some of their secret emails were released exposing their nefarious plans.

The article makes the case that Walker can lie if he wants about the DA, even defame his character; it's "political" free speech, a 1st Amendment right. Walker also claimed a raid to collect evidence was pure intimidation:
...criticism that they had ordered aggressive raids on the homes of targets...
But it wasn't that at all:
Chisholm: "Look at the use of the word ‘raid’ for example. Sounds scintillating. But lawfully executed, judicially approved search warrants are not ‘raids.’ I have not trained for or participated in a ‘raid’ since leaving the Army, where it has a very real technical definition.”
Walker could also prove his allegation by releasing some of the secret information, but...

Watchdog's one-sided story skipped the DA's response completely, which would have changed the story and cleared them:
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm suggesting Walker could be criminally charged for lying, “As to defamatory remarks, I strongly suspect the Iowa criminal code, like Wisconsin’s, has provisions for intentionally making false statements intended to harm the reputation of others.”

Special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, a self-described Republican, said “I invite the governor to join me in seeking judicial approval to lawfully release information now under seal … Such information will show that these recent allegations are patently false." Chisholm said he agreed … "Stripped of niceties, Mr. Schmitz is saying the governor is deliberately not telling the truth."
But Watchdog M.D. Kittle didn't write the column to defend the 1st Amendment, he wrote it to character assassinate the Milwaukee DA, who just happens to be a Democratic enemy of the state. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Authoritarian Party leader Scott Walker tells Obama "to back off" Iran deal.

Remember when Scott "lil' Putin" Walker told then Governor Jim Doyle to back off the high speed train deal during his campaign?

Well, Walker’s back at it again, only this time, it’s a year and a half away from another election and he’s giving his orders to President Obama:
The Hill: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Saturday urged President Obama to abandon his tentative pact with Iran over its nuclear arms research. 

“We need to tell the president to back off from a bad deal,” Walker said at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Waukee, Iowa. Walker claimed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has despised the U.S. for decades. The foreign leader’s change of heart, he argued, was thus probably insincere.

Devoid of any historical reference point, Walker would rather ignore what the U.S. did to Iran for oil, and why they don't like us; the U.S. installed the Shah - a brutal dictator who killed and tortured thousands of citizens; the Shah "returned 80 percent of Iran’s oil reserves to the Americans and the British;" which resulted in Iranians turning to the radical cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini - yes, our fault; all of which brought about the hostage crisis secretly used to make Reagan look good, and Carter look bad. That's all.

And yet, Iran hasn't changed since then. Big surprise. 
“They have not changed much since then,” Walker said, recalling the Iran hostage crisis that kept 66 Americans in captivity between 1979 and 1981. “Their approach is still the same.”

“I get so frustrated with this president because he drew a line in the sand and then let people cross it,” he said. 

Walker puts Wisconsin near top of the list for Worst Roads in the Nation.

If you’re going crazy figuring out how to spend your $5 property tax savings bestowed upon us by Scott Walker, I've got an idea. Fix your car.

It’s the old, “save a little, spend a lot/penny wise, pound foolish" dilemma republicans gave into long ago. It's not just unworkable, but it's also an inconvenience they're not willing to reconcile. Wisconsin Rapids Tribune
Wisconsin's roads are the third-worst in the nation and the potholes and other problems that plague them cost drivers in some cities almost twice the national average in repairs and associated costs, according to a new study of the state's highway system.
To make matters worse, republicans can’t increase taxes because they've taken a pledge to uphold an idea created by a 12 year old many years ago. Sadly, that 12 year old never grownup, but he is older. He's Grover Norquist.

The party of big business has some explaining to do:
The study found that if the state's roads aren't brought back into good condition, it could harm Wisconsin's struggling economy, which is rebounding from the Great Recession more slowly than other states in the Midwest. Companies that are considering moving to Wisconsin could choose to relocate in states with better infrastructure that doesn't cost them as much in annual repairs.

Currently, the state is budgeting 27 percent of the transportation funds … In 1993, the state dedicated 36.2 percent of road revenue for local governments.
Of course, we could also pretend things could be worse, and save lots of money by putting off unpopular ideologically tough decisions:
State Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, is chairman of the Committee on Transportation and he thinks Wisconsin's roads still are in better condition than those of its neighbors.
I thought this tweet said it all:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Walker runs from anti-war and pro-gay marriage church, uses kids as an excuse.

If Scott Walker had his way, he’d have you believe his support for the preemptive war in Iraq and gay marriage ban had nothing to do with changing churches. He said it was really about getting his right wing sons a few playmates in spirit and thought, you know, where parents are more receptive to preemptive wars and hating gays.

Hey, is this guy transparent or what?
Walker affirmed that he changed churches about a decade ago so his school-age sons could participate in activities with children their age. He said it was not because his previous church was more welcoming to gays and lesbians. Walker transferred his membership from Underwood Memorial Baptist Church to Meadowbrook Church about 10 years ago, soon after Underwood took a turn to the left with the arrival of the Rev. Jamie Washam, who spoke out against the war in Iraq and Wisconsin's gay marriage ban. Both churches are in Walker's hometown of Wauwatosa.
Instead of taking a stand on these issues, Walker creatively blamed the church and used his kids as an excuse. Yeah, right, has not having enough kids at a church been a real problem. Ridiculous. 
"It was really about the kids. For us, ultimately, we wanted to go to a place where our kids had the ability to interact with other kids." Walker said his sons, Matt and Alex, were about 10 and 9 at the time, and few other children that age attended Underwood. The family tried out Meadowbrook after an associate pastor's wife suggested it to Walker's wife, Tonette. Moving to Meadowbrook allowed one of his sons to later go on a mission trip to Belize, a chance he never would have had at Underwood, Walker said.
What's Meadowbrook like?
Meadowbrook's services, like the church leaders, are casual and upbeat; sermons are infused with a conservative theology focused on making the Bible relevant today.
So Walker wants us to believe he knew Underwood was a sure ticket out of the country to Belize for his kid? 

Walker now talking John Doe details, oozing confidence Activist Supreme Court will apparently let him off.

We can't solve crimes without conducting an investigation, right? 

So, a couple of John Doe investigation took place as a way to determine whether Scott Walker's campaign did anything illegal. Six convictions resulted in the first one, so... hear Scott Walker describe the John Doe's, it was a witch hunt and another way to “intimidate” other conservatives into silence:  

Des Moines radio station WHO-AM - Walker: “I said even if you’re a liberal Democrat, you should look at (the raids) and be frightened to think that if the government can do that against people of one political persuasion, they can do it against anybody, and more often than not we need protection against the government itself. As (the National Review) pointed out, there were real questions about the constitutionality of much of what they did, but it was really about people trying to intimidate people ... They were looking for just about anything. As I pointed out at the time, it was largely a political witch hunt."
My conservative friend in Milwaukee sent me this clip from The Blaze, where poor defenseless conservative victims of liberal witch hunts come to bare their souls and cry like little babies. To be honest, you won't even believe the bullshit here, which is why I had to post it:

While conservative talk hosts believe everything Republican politicians say, with no follow-up questions ever, Milwaukee DA John Chisholm looked at it differently, and had an even stronger message, minus whining:
jsonline-Patrick Marley: Prosecutors fired back by calling Walker's comments inaccurate, offensive and defamatory — with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm suggesting Walker could be criminally charged for lying. They said Walker should call for the release of sealed court records so the public could know more about the investigation and raids on people's homes.“As to defamatory remarks, I strongly suspect the Iowa criminal code, like Wisconsin’s, has provisions for intentionally making false statements intended to harm the reputation of others.”
But let's hear from a conservative too...
Special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, a self-described Republican. said he was surprised Walker would "speak publicly about specific issues which are now before the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a decision. His description of the investigation as a 'political witch hunt' is offensive when he knows that the investigation was authorized by a bipartisan group of judges and is directed by a Republican special prosecutor appointed at the request of a bipartisan group of district attorneys ... I invite the governor to join me in seeking judicial approval to lawfully release information now under seal which would be responsive to the allegations that have been made. Such information, when lawfully released, will show that these recent allegations are patently false."
Walker's openness about discussing the issues may indicate his confidence in the decision he knows is coming from our activist conservative state supreme court: 
Chisholm said he agreed with Schmitz's statement. "Stripped of niceties, Mr. Schmitz is saying the governor is deliberately not telling the truth."
But Walker won't open up the records, and let everybody read the truth for themselves: 
Walker on Saturday essentially dismissed the idea of releasing more court documents, though he did not directly answer whether they should be unsealed. The investigation, known as a John Doe probe, was conducted in secret. Many details have come out, including showing Walker's campaign worked closely with purportedly independent groups, but others have remained sealed in court records.

Walker's bloody trail of savaged Democratic Wisconsinites endears him to conservative voters everywhere, distracts from failed governorship.

So how has Scott Walker moved Wisconsin forward?

For “stand with Walker” drones, it’s not what he’s accomplished, it’s how he’s successfully attacked Democrats and punished them. 

You’ll notice from the tweets here, echoed by my conservative friend in Milwaukee, that the right wing base doesn't care about the deficit producing bad budgets and unemployment rates that don’t include low participation rates for job seekers.

Walker's "superb record in office" is based on making "unions cry," and pushing back against the "vicious opposition" exercising their 1st Amendment right to redress their government. Walker put in place regulations and fines for protesters, deemed later to be unconstitutional in a court of law for gods sake. Even worse, Walker wrote a book about how he thought protesters were trying to intimidate him:

But Walker's "accomplishments" have little to do with moving us forward or solving problems relating to wage growth, health care certainty, and actual job creation (not corporate welfare). Cap Times:
The biggest applause came in response to comments about defunding Planned Parenthood and passing castle doctrine, concealed carry and voter ID legislation.
Walker even took credit for an already healthy state pension system. I guess we should give him Brownie points for not screwing that up...yet.
Touting his record in Wisconsin, Walker boasted of the state's pension system, its 4.6 percent unemployment rate. 

Absent were any mentions of Wisconsin's job growth, which earned him criticism from his detractors during a recent trip to Minnesota. The state ranks at 40th in the nation for job growth and 42nd for wage growth, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the state's job growth has lagged the national average since six months into Walker's first term.
But he sure showed those union loving liberal Democrats. 

God puts Walker in charge, to rewrite the Constitution and leave states to decide who's created more equal than others.

We’re all created equal, right? So the argument surrounding the legality of same sex marriage should be focused on equality, and not a historical or religious based idea that is forever changing, right?

None of this seems to matter in the media, even to some attorney pundits, who keep talking about how the constitution protects or doesn't protect gay marriage. Equality under the law trumps all of it. Even vacuous Republicans like Paul Ryan, who want to bypass the constitution by saying our God given rights come first, can’t argue that even God made us all equal.

So when Republicans like Scott Walker want to carve out an exception to those God given rights, and turn them over to the states to politically micromanage for our creator, why isn't anyone asking him how that’s Biblically possible?

The Republicans blatant politicization and manipulation of the Christian religion was front and center as GOP candidates gathered in front of 1,000 people at the evangelical Point of Grace Church. Come on, really? I’m assuming the church is not taking advantage of the standard tax exemption most houses of worship take? Cap Times:
Walker told reporters he's holding out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule that states can bar same-sex marriages. But if that's not the case, he suggested that voters should seek a constitutional amendment to allow state-level bans.
Remember, it’s not the definition of marriage, it an issue of equality:
"I think the appropriate route is … to pursue a constitutional amendment allowing the states to determine what the definition is," Walker told reporters.
Walker knows it’s not about jobs, a lesson he learned after Wisconsin voters gave him a pass on his disastrous jobs creation record, a failed promise his voters just laughed at as though it were an inside joke.
But the crowd wasn't gathered at the church to talk about the economy. Most attendees said they were most concerned with where candidates stood on social issues and national security. Troy McGill, of Ankeny, said he'd like to see a governor run for president, but more than that, he wants a candidate who will say what he or she means and stick to it.
Conservatives love authoritarian leaders willing to go against the public and “stick to it,” doing the “right thing:”
Walker said, "The best way to minister is to accept God's calling when you least expect it," Walker said. "We felt it was a calling to get in that election. We felt we were called to do the right thing..."

Friday, April 24, 2015

Wisconsin Idea still stumps Republicans hell bent on killing UW.

This morning former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager laid out the difference between universities and tech schools. For instance, tech school train you for one job. But as we've seen over the years, occupations come and go, whether through technology or trade policies that offshore jobs. Scott Walker and his plundering Republican pirates in the legislature either don't care or don't know about the long range problem some Americans will face when their profession disappears.

In March the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report that took a look at how many jobs younger baby boomers held between ages 18 to 48. They averaged 11.7 jobs. Although the term "jobs" doesn't necessarily mean a career change, common sense and life experience shows that that's a likely possibility.

Former republican Representative Michelle Litjens' disdain for what she perceives as "liberal indoctrination" is typical of conservatives who really don't get the Wisconsin Idea at all. Thus Walker's cavalier attempt to change it:
Litjens: "The UW Oshkosh for instance, as a freshmen, you take 4 different classes on recycling, and um sensitivity and religion and women's studies. And you know, as a parent who is going to be contributing towards education, are these classes that we want to either borrow money or pay for that are going help my child get a job in the future? There are stories like that uh that you hear as parents or you know of because your children are in the system, and you wonder if you're getting the best bang for your buck as a parent."
Here's Peg's great response on WPR's Joy Cardin Show (audio):

Republican Justice: Investigate, intimidate and silence Judges looking into right wing wrongdoing.

Nothing says scary authoritarian justice than the following investigation instigated by racial-profiler Arizona Sheriff JoeArpaio. Arpaio went after the judge overseeing a lawsuit against him. Just amazing:
Sheriff Joe Arpaio acknowledged Thursday that his office was behind a secret
investigation into the wife of the judge presiding over a racial-profiling lawsuit against the brash Arizona lawman known for his anti-immigration patrols. Judge Murray Snow began asking him questions, including whether Arpaio was investigating him and his family. "Are you aware that I've been investigated by anyone?" the judge asked.

Arpaio said he believed his former lawyer, Tim Casey, had hired a private investigator to investigate Snow's wife after she purportedly made a comment about the judge not wanting the sheriff to get re-elected in 2012. "We weren't investigating you," Arpaio told the judge. "We were investigating some comments that came to our attention.”
Whew, that’s better? The horror of someones wife talking about her husbands private political point of view. Remember, Republicans think they’re exempt from all the laws they don’t agree with:
The judge determined in 2013 that Arpaio's office systematically racially profiled Latinos during traffic stops and … (defied) orders to stop carrying out immigration patrols.

It was not immediately clear what consequences Arpaio could face over the private investigator. Federal law prohibits anyone from trying to attempt to intimidate or inappropriately influence a federal judge.
Just as shocking, this wasn't the first case of political intimidation:
Arpaio's office has a long history of investigating his opponents. Two elected county supervisors and a judge were among those investigated and charged with crimes in the past decade after feuding with the sheriff's office. The targets of the investigations said the allegations against them were trumped up. The failed investigations led to seven-figure settlements paid by the county to some targets of the investigations.

A county official have said sheriff's investigators went to the homes of 70 county and court staffers on nights and weekends in 2009 in an attempt to intimidate them.
And that’s the legal system we’re very likely to see in a Republican one party government. Who can forget Bush’s successful campaign to politicize federal prosecutors so they could drum up actions against suspected Democratic “voter fraud” cases nationwide. They also fired prosecutors for investigating fellow Republicans. This is a well known pattern many conservative voters don't seem to object to.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

GOP Spin: Walker's $1 sweaters vs Clinton's charity donations and speaking fees!

I'm fascinated by the intense right wing criticism over Hillary and Bill Clinton's lucrative speaking fees (free market?).

It's not like republicans didn't just try to elect a one percenter as president.

The Week's Paul Waldman picked up on this absurdity, examining Scott Walker's incessant rambling about cheap clothes at Kohl's, writing:
Scott Walker loves Kohl's. I mean loves Kohl's. Can't stop talking about the deals he gets there. He bragged so much about the time he used coupons and discounts to get a sweater at Kohl's for $1, Politifact did an analysis of the claim (verdict: "True").

Scott Walker isn't some high-falutin' elitist in fancy clothes — he's just like you, a regular fella who gets you and what you go through.
So forget about Walker's corporate handouts and overreaching tax cuts devastating the state's general revenues. Draconian spending cuts, overwhelmingly opposed by Wisconsinites, will always make supply side look like its working. Walker's just like any one of us who's future is guaranteed, as either president or a million dollar Koch Industry lobbyist. Not bad for a career politician with no technical training whatsoever. 

It's Hillary's "spread the wealth," help the poor, get the money out of politics message that makes her a nasty 1 percent elitist: 
Republicans are planning to paint Hillary Clinton as a representative of the 1 percent, with her high-flying lifestyle and lucrative speaking gigs estranging her from ordinary folks. If you put the argument explicitly — "It would be bad to have a president who has too much money" — it sounds ridiculous, particularly coming from Republicans who simultaneously argue that the pursuit of profit is almost a divine calling and wealth a sign of virtue.
This is not a Hillary endorsement, even though I'm encouraged by her move to the "left." I also think her charity is an easy area to create controversy. Despite the full and transparent disclosure of the charities donors, this same openness has helped foster the current controversy (which is why dark money is always preferred-it won't be used against you). In a nutshell:
Although the foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity and not required to reveal its donors, the Clinton Foundation has done so, revealing information about the size of their donations in ranges on its website, including these foreign governments: Money, even in philanthropy, is not a purely philanthropic endeavor. It buys access, which goes both ways. 

Truth be told, the messy charity involvements of John McCain, Rick Santorum, and even Newt Gingrich never figured into their presidential campaigns ... Unlike the small but compromised fundraising of these other politicians’ charities, the Clinton Foundation is big, with a quarter-billion in assets, a track record of having raised $2 billion, and influence with power brokers around the world. It is where difference of size really is difference of kind when it comes to the potential significance of the Clinton Foundation questions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In your face: Walker strikes a defiant tone on Earth Day with DNR Scientist, Education and Communication Staff Layoff Notices.

Talk about rubbing his contempt for science and the environment in our faces.

If you had any doubts about Scott Walker's disdain has for the citizens and traditions of this state, this should end that:
Raw Story: Thanks to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) budget cuts, at least 57 employees in Wisconsin’s environmental agency were notified just in time for Wednesday’s Earth Day that they would probably be out of a job.

Journal Sentinel: The DNR's scientific staff conducts research on matters ranging from estimating the size of the state's deer herd to to studying the effects of aquatic invasive species. Work is paid for with state and federal funds.
But we know Walker wants to politicize the DNR for big money like the Koch's:
In an email, a DNR employee circulated her concerns to others in an email asking to "do what I dare not" and contact members of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, which took up other DNR funding on Wednesday. "Never mind that I, like most others targeted, are federally funded or funded from (a segregated account) and not general purpose revenue," the employee said. "Thus, this measure will have no effect on the state budget."

Amber Meyer Smith, director of programs and government relations for Clean Wisconsin, told the Journal Sentinel that the cuts were a “terrible idea.” “Any real natural resources protection is based on sound science. The more science you remove from the process, the more politics you add,” she explained.
And isn't that what big government republicans are all about?

Flip Flop: Republicans were for Hillary Clinton, before they were against her!!!

Republicans should be having a harder time trashing Hillary Clinton if the press did their job reminding them of all times they praised her as Secretary of State. I’m shocked no one’s brought this up yet. So let's take a look at before Hillary become Secretary of State:
CNN: Republicans praised the prospect of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Sunday: Former Nixon and Ford Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Clinton would be an “outstanding” selection - “She is a lady of great intelligence, demonstrated enormous determination and would be an outstanding appointment."  Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn said “I think that she is well qualified. She does have a certain standing in the world that is required in order to be able to demand the respect from other countries to deal with issues that are going to be affecting not only us but other of our allies, our trading partners. And I think that she would be a well placed in that position.” Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona said “It seems to me she's got the experience, she's got the temperament for it," he said on Fox News Sunday. “She would be well-received around the world."
The praise she was given when she left the post, with a few other comments before and after:
Bipartisan praise for Hillary Clinton as she moves on: Kind words are coming from everyone - including Republicans. Rep. Paul Ryan lauded both Hillary and Bill Clinton on NBC's Meet the Press, arguing, "Look, if we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles as Chief of Staff of the White House or president of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took to "Fox News Sunday" to run interference on Hillary Clinton's behalf (about Benghazi) noting, "The deception around the Benghazi issue did not come from the State Department and on others...It was more of a White House political operative deception … not from the State Department."

Condoleezza Rice: “Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said Clinton has done a ‘fine’ job. The problem isn’t Hilary Clinton, who’s great.” The Hill: Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge said he always had “productive’” meetings with Sec. Clinton when he was in the Cabinet. Jeb Bush: ‘These efforts as a citizen, an activist, and a leader have earned Secretary Clinton this year’s Liberty Medal.’” Gov. Mitch Daniels: “She is comprehensively experienced and has advantages that some of the other contenders would have to scramble to match in terms of her exposure to the world and… foreign policy.” Gov. Mike Huckabee described Sec. Clinton as “smart” and “tough.” ‘She’s a policy genius,’ he said. Jon Huntsman: I’ve worked around Hillary Clinton while serving as ambassador to China, and all I can tell you as a Republican is she’s pretty good. She’s smart. She’s hardworking. She – she relates to all kinds of people, and I was very, very impressed working with her as a Republican. Gov. Perry, on Sec. Clinton’s stance on Syria: “I think on that issue she was closer to being right than she has been on some other ones.” Gen. Petraeus, on Sec. Clinton: “She’d make a tremendous President.” Clinton was ‘extraordinarily resolute, determined and controlled’ in the wake of the attack. Sam Brownback: “Thank you, Madam Secretary. I appreciate the way you represent us around the world and your high energy levels.” Jim DeMint: “You've, I think, taken an international leadership role in, I think, raising the pressure levels in Iran.” Lindsey Graham: “I think she’s represented our nation well. She is extremely well respected throughout the world, handles herself in a very classy way and has a work ethic second to none.’” McCain: “She is a great representative of America, kind of a rock star status, visited more countries than any other secretary of state.” 

Wisconsin Poll warning to Walker and Republican plunderers; this is not what the public wanted!!!

The latest Wisconsin Survey, conducted by Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and the Strategic Research Institute at St. Norbert College, again confirms how unhappy voters are with Scott Walker's bizarre scorched earth budget proposal. Despite not having anywhere to turn to make for the budget shortfalls, republican legislators are taking the heat and taking back many of the cuts. It will be interesting to see what magic they come up with to save their jobs.

Before you get to depressed at the tighter race shown in this poll, 44% for Hillary Clinton and 42% for Walker, take a look at the political makeup of the poll respondents:
The huge conservative response may be the reason why the Marquette Poll and PPP more accurately gauged public sentiment.

Here are the poll results I thought most interesting:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Just call him Road Kill Walker!!!

Imagine driving down the highway anywhere in Wisconsin and seeing rotting deer carcasses bloating in the searing summer heat. Bones bleached by the sun on the side of the road. 

This is not a dystopian scene snatched out of a novel, it’s Scott Walker’s latest budgetary horror inflicted on our state. 

Think those guys from “Airplane” can make a tourism ad around Walker's nauseating vision? Who knows, maybe a 21st century version of the Black Death can start right here in the Badger state.

WKOW broke this story, and they were promoting it all night before the 10 o'clock report:

Wow, spending cuts are one thing, but abandoning the care and upkeep of our state is a whole different I think you'll find twisted like a pretzel or flattened like a pancake in the middle of the road.

Really, Walker thought this was a good idea, one he could ride right into the White House:
The Official State Smell?
Governor Scott Walker doesn't want the state to pay to remove deer carcasses along state highways, which means counties could have to foot the bill. Last year the DNR removed nearly 24,000 deer carcasses from state highways across Wisconsin.

The Governor's proposed budget eliminates$700,000 a year for the DNR to remove the carcasses statewide. Under the proposal, responsibility for clearing the deer would fall to whatever government agency is in charge of the roadway. Or they may be left uncollected. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau cautions, "dead and decaying deer on the roadside are unsightly ad can dampen Wisconsin's reputation as a tourist destination."

Salon's Joan Walsh breaks down Scott Walker's "everyman" hoax.

I couldn't resist recapping a few honest comments from Salon’s Joan Walsh:
This weekend we learned that Scott Walker hopes his “Everyman” shtick will obscure the fact that, in the words of Esquire’s Charlie Pierce, he was “hired by Koch Industries to manage their Midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin.” Also this weekend came the news that Walker’s administration admitted it had overbilled two Wisconsin family planning clinics by 93 percent – or at least $3.2 million. The move was so blatantly ideological that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said the change “raised more questions than it answered.” Longtime Wisconsin progressive activist and blogger James Rowen compares Walker’s purported billing “mistake” to an episode earlier this year, in which he falsely blamed ugly changes to the state’s higher education mandate on a “drafting error” – when they were clearly ordered by his underlings.

This weekend also brought the news that the budget cuts to the University of Wisconsin system that were approved (after the language changes were reversed) will cost UW-Madison 400 jobs. That translates to 320 fewer courses offered in 2016-2017, and 9,000 students missing classes, likely resulting in students taking more time to get their degrees. 

One Republican success story: We all need guns now to protect ourselves from a violent armed society, part 1.

When republicans didn't like how businesses were harmed by city voters that passed paid sick leave laws, they jumped into action and banned local regulations statewide. Problem solved.

When republicans saw a shocking rise in Milwaukee residents getting murdered on the streets they…said it was Milwaukee’s problem. Priorities. 

And that’s one of the more deadly ways republicans run state government.

After 3 years of declining homicide rates, the avalanche of lax gun laws and the shifting social attitudes about our new gun culture are now eating away at our social fabric. The effects of change are slow but predictable.

Watch in amazement as Rep Jim Steineke feigned surprise by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s accusation that recently passed gun laws are taking their toll. He asked, what laws? Really, Rep. Steineke, you can’t point to one law passed in the last 4 years that may have caused this surge in gun violence?

Here's a little help for Steineke, who didn't do himself any favors by asking "What particular law did we pass that led to this increase in gun violence? I can't think of one possible bill that we passed over the last four years that has anything to do with the increase in violence." Of course republicans are asking for irrefutable proof there's a connection, like supply side economics creating high wage jobs...okay, maybe that's not a good example.
1. How about our more lenient Deadly Force/Castle/Stand Your Ground Law, where we can now settle arguments more permanently.

2. Maybe Rep. Steineke doesn’t remember when our gun loving Republican bullies in the legislature rammed open carry down our throats. Hey, who would have thought road rage would be made so much easier by allowing guns to be openly carried in our vehicles? Silly us.

3. Oh, and now republicans are choosing to get rid of a common sense 48 hour cooling off period so crimes of passion and social disagreements are guaranteed to increase and end badly.

4. And it's what republicans didn't do, like closing the gun show and personal gun sales loophole.
Maybe someday we'll have real discussion over the societal change brought about by arming everyday citizens. It's amazing we let a small portion of our society, spurred on by an activist conservative Supreme Courts misreading of the 2nd Amendment, make guns just another hand held devise, not unlike a smart phone, that we'll simply start using without even thinking.

Hey nation, Walker's increasing poverty in Wisconsin.

My head still hurts when I think of Scott Walker's excuse for not raising the minimum wage, and I'm paraphrasing, "We don't need to raise the minimum wage, we need to help people get better paying jobs."

Magical thinking is never helpful, and pretending there aren't any minimum wage jobs that need pay hike is irresponsible.

But destroying union wages and benefits, passing right-to-work, pushing the end of prevailing wages and a jobs plan that attacks any business not in the good graces of the republican party, isn't exactly putting food on the table, fattening our wallets or making families feel more secure.

Walker's policies are just now taking their toll:
jsonline: Despite modest improvement in employment, poverty rose slightly in Wisconsin between 2012 and 2013, according to a study released Tuesday by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

The Wisconsin Poverty Measure rose from 10.2% in 2012 to 10.9% in 2013, around 2.5 percentage points below the official poverty rate.

"We thought the economy was getting better because we saw more jobs and we were surprised when we saw poverty go up," said Julia Isaacs, a report author and senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute. The Wisconsin Poverty Measure accounts for family income and such benefits as food assistance and refundable tax credits.
And guess who ran on the deception things were getting better? The same guy I quoted above, Scott Walker:
As jobs were added in 2012, the poverty rate declined she said. In 2013, there were still more jobs added but poverty increased. "Looking more closely, while jobs are going up in Wisconsin, a lot of the growth is in jobs in low-wage occupations," she said.

Under the Wisconsin Poverty Measure, the child poverty rate increased slightly from 11% in 2012 to 11.8% in 2013, while the elderly poverty rate rose from 6.2% in 2012 to 9% in 2013.

Scott Walker, Koch Brothers, Scott Walker, Koch Brothers, Scott Walker...

...Koch brothers, Scott Walker, Koch brothers, Scott Walker!!!

This used to be a sarcastic joke directed at liberals. "Stand with Walker" drones were always chiding them for never failing to bring up, and blame, the Koch's for everything. Well guess what, the jokes on them now.
Charles G. and David H. Koch, the influential and big-spending conservative donors, appear to have a favorite in the race for the Republican presidential nomination: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Scott Walker, Koch brothers, Scott Walker, Koch brothers, is getting a lot of media attention, including this from All in with Chris Hayes. Sam Seder found it funny how Republican candidates are openly pairing up with millionaires/billionaires in their quest for the White House.

Scott Walker, Koch brothers, Scott Walker, Koch brothers wanted to clarify something once this news hit the fan:
David Koch afterward reached out to the Observer to clarify that he had not yet selected which candidate he and his brother would back.

“While I think Governor Walker is terrific, let me be clear, I am not endorsing or supporting any candidate for president at this point in time,” Mr. Koch told the Observer.
UPDATE: Contradicting the above comment by David Koch and reports that they're steering clear of spending any money on the GOP primary:
Politico: Charles and David Koch are considering throwing their massive wealth into the Republican presidential primary for the first time … In another surprise, a top Koch aide revealed to POLITICO that Jeb Bush will be given a chance to audition for the brothers’ support, despite initial skepticism about him at the top of the Kochs’ growing political behemoth.