First of all, you claim in your letter that you have lowered the school portion of the property tax levy by one percent across the state, putting $228 million "back in the pockets" of Wisconsin taxpayers, which you claim "amounts to $69 for every man, woman and child in the state" just for the school portion of the tax bill. What kind of fuzzy math is this? Every man, woman and child? The 2010 census puts the population of Wisconsin at 5,686,986. Multiply this by $69 and you get $392,402,034 (not the $228 million you claim you put back in our pockets). As my Dad asked, where's the other $164,402,034? In your pocket?
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
This list goes on for some time. The more I thought about it, the more obvious it became. A conservative society is a borderline sociopathic society.
Dictionary.com defines a sociopath as: a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
Conservapedia says a sociopath is “someone with a personality disorder characterized by an antisocial behavior and an absence of moral responsibility or social conscience.” (I would have cited Wikipedia but we all know they’re a liberal front for George Soros, I think I heard that on Glenn Beck)
The key words here are “moral responsibility” and “social conscience”. Conservative politics lack these essential characteristics. In their place we find greed, hate, lies, an inability to empathize and an overblown sense of entitlement and self importance. In other words: all the indicators of a seriously disturbed person. Except it’s a political philosophy and it has millions of disciples.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Mr. Chairman, Committee members, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. I know that each one of you cares deeply about our nation's security. It was always a comfort to me during the most dangerous of situations that I faced, from going undercover as an al Qaeda operative, to unraveling terrorist cells, to tracking down the killers of the 17 U.S. sailors murdered in the USS Cole bombing, that those of us on the frontline had your support and the backing of the American people. So I thank you.
The issue that I am here to discuss today - interrogation methods used to question terrorists - is not, and should not be, a partisan matter. We all share a commitment to using the best interrogation method possible that serves our national security interests and fits squarely within the framework of our nation's principles.
From my experience - and I speak as someone who has personally interrogated many terrorists and elicited important actionable intelligence- I strongly believe that it is a mistake to use what has become known as the "enhanced interrogation techniques," a position shared by many professional operatives, including the CIA officers who were present at the initial phases of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
(Reuters) - Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the United States and New York is the financial hub but Madison, Wisconsin gets the highest marks as the most educated American city.
The midwestern metropolis, which Men's Health magazine described as the city "where the average household has more degrees than a thermometer" edged past Plano, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina to score the highest grades in magazine's ranking of the 100 cities with the best educated population.
Burlington, Vermont and Seattle rounded out the top five, while Las Vegas, Cleveland and Miami were the least erudite.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Walker reinstates funding to help rape victims - JSOnline
Madison - Gov. Scott Walker pulled back Tuesday on budget cuts that would have affected services for rape victims and efforts to fight sexual predators of children.
The move came after advocates for victims and some lawmakers criticized the proposed cuts. The decision preserved some $294,000 for services to victims of sexual assault and $45,000 in funding to prevent child pornography.
"We are now helping make sure that funding goes toward preventing sexual predators from preying on our children," Walker said in a statement.
The cuts had been proposed by the state Department of Justice to handle additional budget cuts that had been required by Walker's Department of Administration.
The $174 million in cuts across state government had been required as part of the 2011-'13 budget bill signed in June but weren't specified by agency in that legislation. In October, the administration said the Department of Justice would need to find $4 million out of those total cuts in its agency budget.
The governor is also restoring a 10% cut to the sexual assault funding that was part of a standard cut made to many state programs in the budget.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
I recall - YouTube
California politician advocates assassination of Obama and family - National Democrat | Examiner.com
Facebook faux pas: California libertarian and Tea Party darling Jules Manson is caught calling for the assassination of President Barack Obama and his children.
On Sunday, many Facebook users were greeted by the shocking spectacle of a California libertarian and Ron Paul supporter by the name of Jules Manson advocating for the assassination of President Barack Obama. Manson, a failed politician, recently ran for and lost a seat on the City of Carson’s City Council last March.
The following is the text of Manson’s racist, treasonous,deplorable post: “Assassinate the (expletive deleted by examiner editors) nigger and his monkey children”.
Am I the only one who is still surprised that this kind of language is not blood-curdlingly offensive the Right Wingers? That it is, in fact, what passes for News in that universe?
Pope Benedict Peace Message Calls For Wealth Redistribution
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Noting a "rising sense of frustration" at the worldwide economic recession, Pope Benedict XVI said that a more just and peaceful world requires "adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth."
The pope's words appeared in his message for theWorld Day of Peace 2012, released on Friday (Dec. 16) at the Vatican.
MacIver Institute mostly lying, re: Wisconsin to allow Mickey Mouse, Hitler signatures on petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker
PolitiFact Wisconsin | Conservative group says Wisconsin to allow Mickey Mouse, Hitler signatures on petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker
The MacIver Institute said "Wisconsin election officials to accept Mickey Mouse, Hitler signatures" -- suggesting such signatures would automatically be counted toward the number needed to force Walker into a recall election.
For such signatures to actually be counted, they would have to pass undetected through petition circulators, the recall committees, a pair of Government Accountability Board reviewers, Walker’s representatives and other groups that review the petitions. If such signatures were found, Walker could formally challenge them to the board to get them stricken.
There’s an element of truth in MacIver’s statement in that fictitious signatures listed with Wisconsin addresses would be accepted -- but only for review. The statement, however, ignores critical facts -- namely that the signatures would have to pass through several layers of review to actually be counted.
That’s our definition of Mostly False.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat|
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is clearly preparing to bring his best game against the Democratic effort to recall him from office. And he’s raising a lot of money for it.
As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, Walker has raised $5.1 million since this past July — much of it in the past month, aided by a state law that allows the target of a recall to raise unlimited funds. In all, Walker has received 18,000 donations since November, the month when the recall process was triggered.
Also, $2.4 million of the total has come from out of state — notably a $250,000 donation from Bob Perry, the Texas businessman who financed the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth campaign of 2004, which spread false information about Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s war record.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Contributions over $1,000 to Governor Walker
"Small Business Owner" in Walker Ad Actually a Billionaire That Helped Outsource Thousands of Jobs to China
"Small Business Owner" in Walker Ad Actually a Billionaire That Helped Outsource Thousands of Jobs to China | Uppity Wisconsin
Oh, oh, oh, oh sweet irony of mine!
So, yesterday we learn that for the fifth month in a row, Wisconsin has led the nation in jobs- lost AND that another large (and very profitable) company-- Thermo Fisher-- is closing its plant in Two Rivers as part of a larger transition toward non-American labor in Mexico and elsewhere.
In the midst of this carnage, Walker has the nerve to put up an ad with "Chris" who is purportedly a small business owner that is extolling the virtues of Scott Walker's job-creatin' business utopia... that is losing more jobs than other state.Well, it turns out that "Chris" is Chris Rebholz, aka the King of Infomercials. Chris made a name for himself, as well as a gazillion dollars, selling products almost exclusively made in China, to Americans via infomercials. Name a product you've seen sold on TV, and the odds was pretty good that it was one of Rebholz's Tristar products.
Scott Walker's Next Target: Cancer Screenings for Women | Mother Jones
First he gutted worker's rights, then slashedstate education funding and dumbed-down sex ed. Next on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's hit list? Breast and cervical cancer screenings for women. Come January 1, Wisconsinites who rely on Planned Parenthood to access free cancer screenings may be out of luck.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Don't forget the Christianist Republican motto: Greed is Good!
Al Franken's "Supply Side Jesus" comic
Wisconsin lost private-sector jobs for the fifth consecutive month in November, the same months that the nation has been adding private-sector jobs, according to a report Thursday from the state Department of Workforce Development.The state lost an estimated 11,700 private-sector jobs in November from October, the deepest since April 2009 when the nation was in the throes of the recession, according to the agency's data. The figures are based on a monthly government survey of employers and adjusted to smooth out recurring seasonal factors, such as winter-related slowdowns in construction or holiday hiring by retailers.The government sector, meanwhile, continued to lose jobs at the city and county level, as it has for much of the past two years. All told, the state lost an estimated 14,600 non-farm jobs when the losses in the private sector are combined with the losses in the public sector.The unemployment rate, which the government derives from a separate sample of households, showed an improvement to 7.3% in November from 7.7% in October, mirroring a decrease in the national rate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the national rate two weeks ago.
Another view of our job loss from the US Bureau of Labor Stats.Wisconsin loses jobs for fifth straight month
Wisconsin loses jobs for fifth straight month
But Laura Dresser, an economist with the UW-Madison's Center on Wisconsin Strategy, says even with revisions the numbers show a disturbing trend of jobs losses continuing here even as the national recession eases.
"The unemployment rate can fall even as the number of jobs fall; it just means people have given up looking for work," she says. "When people say they are not actively seeking work, they are no longer counted as unemployed."
Our support for higher education makes sense only if we regard this intellectual culture as essential to our society. Otherwise, we could provide job-training and basic social and moral formation for young adults far more efficiently and cheaply, through, say, a combination of professional and trade schools, and public service programs. There would be no need to support, at great expense, the highly specialized interests of, for example, physicists, philosophers, anthropologists and art historians. Colleges and universities have no point if we do not value the knowledge and understanding to which their faculties are dedicated.
This reasonable discussion makes it clear that the current trend in American politics does not value the search for what can be known scientifically, humanistically, or express artistically -- but only whether it makes money.
Half of Walker's $5 Million Take Comes From Out of Wisconsin
Biggest Donor: Texas' 'Swift Boat' Money Man Bob Perry
Madison -- Gov. Scott Walker grabbed half of the $5 million he raised in unlimited funds from outside of Wisconsin, including $250,000 from Texan Bob Perry, the architect of the infamous "Swift Boat" smear ads.
"Gov. Walker is trying save his skin by taking money from whomever and wherever in the country he can," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "In all our years of analysis, we have never seen a politician try and win a Wisconsin race with so much non-Wisconsin money."
According to One Wisconsin Now's analysis, Walker's just filed report shows he raised $2.48 million from Wisconsin and another jaw-dropping $2.39 million from out of state. This includes $463,800 from Texas and $439,700 from Illinois alone.
"Walker is criss-crossing the country and taking unprecedented outside money," said Ross. "Walker's already sold out Wisconsin's workers, students and seniors and who knows what he's promising in return for these millions of dollars."
I have attended public meetings for roughly 40 years - - often as a journalist or public official - - and I have never seen a hearing as flagrantly disrespectful to citizens and policy-making, and to the entire notion of The Wisconsin Idea - - broadly defined as Wisconsin government existing to serve the people - - as the State Assembly committee session held at State Fair Park Wednesday on the fast-tracked mining bill.
That one lowered the bar to ground level.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Did Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the target of a campaign to remove him from office, raise taxes or didn’t he?
Seems like a simple question.
Walker, the Wisconsin Republican Party and other supporters repeatedly claim the GOP governor balanced the state budget "without raising taxes."
Meanwhile, opponents such as the We AreWisconsin labor unions group and One Wisconsin Now, a liberal advocacy group, insist Walker raised taxes on groups such as the "working poor."
The conflicting claims are likely to continue as Walker’s opponents collect signatures in hopes of forcing him into a recall election in 2012.
So, what’s the truth?
Historically and theologically speaking, greed has the track record.
Remember this guy from the recent ads?
The "business owner" featured in the latest Scott Walker television ad saw his business grow 1,300 percent during the administration of Gov. Jim Doyle, according to a self-professed claim in the Business Times from 2008. The business owner is actually a vice chair at the Milwaukee Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which donated $400,000 in 2010 to the Republican Governors Association to elect Walker.
"Given this business owner boasted his business revenues grew by 1,300 percent under the pro-growth policies of Gov. Jim Doyle, it seems curious he would support Scott Walker's radical policies which have left us far behind all our neighboring states in job growth," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "It must just be the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce continuing to be a partisan shill for anti-middle class Republicans like Walker."
Monday, December 12, 2011
Because it’s been at least twenty minutes since a teabagger did something overtly racist, the Patriot Freedom Alliance Tea Party of Hutchinson, Kansas (Kansas? What a shocker…) posted a picture of a skunk on its front page with the caption:
The skunk has replaced the eagle as the new symbol for the president. It is half black, half white, and almost everything it does, stinks.
Thomas Hymer, the “patriot” that runs the page insists that the picture is not racist but merely politically incorrect satire. Of course it’s not. Just like the pictures of Obama as a monkey and a witch doctor have absolutely nothing to do with the color of his skin.
So, seriously, are we saying it's not racist when a racist says it?
NO one seriously disputes the fact that students from disadvantaged households perform less well in school, on average, than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. But rather than confront this fact of life head-on, our policy makers mistakenly continue to reason that, since they cannot change the backgrounds of students, they should focus on things they can control.
We're overdue for a little Frankfurt school revival.
Occupy This: Is It Comeback Time for Herbert Marcuse? - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters urges you to oppose LRB 3520, which is
before the Assembly Jobs Committee on Wednesday.
Also see: All I Want for Christmas is Huge Strip Mine
No real jobs will be produced in the manufacturing sector from this, but it will continue the colonization of Wisconsin by Governor Walker's owners.
Hearing time and location:
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
State Fair Park Milwaukee
Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center
Sunday, December 11, 2011
John Nichols: Walker and Kochs vs. voting
Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch finally got their way in 2011. For decades they funded the American Legislative Exchange Council, the collaboration between multinational corporations and conservative state legislators, and the project finally began to yield the intended result.
For the first time in decades, the United States saw a steady dismantling of the laws, regulations, programs and practices put in place to make real the promise of American democracy.
That is why, on Saturday, civil rights groups and their allies rallied outside the New York headquarters of the Koch brothers to begin a march to the United Nations, where they called for the renewal of voting rights in America.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
More lies from King Scotty.
Superintendent of Teacher in Walker Ad Says Ad is Complete Fiction: Lay-Offs Occurred in District | Uppity Wisconsin
Scott Walker has a new ad featuring Jeff Knutson, a fourth grade teacher in the Monona Grove school district. Knudson claims:
"When the state budget passed in Madison, a lot of us thought we might lose our jobs. We figured if we didn't get laid off, our class sizes would become unmanageable. But that, didn't happen."
This, according to Knutson's boss, Monona Grove superintendent Craig Gerlach, is simply false. Like nearly allschool districts in Wisconsin, Monona Grove has been forced to lay-off teachers and has experienced increases in class sizes:
"The numbers at Monona Grove clearly don't work. We struggled to put together a budget this year, we made significant cuts in terms of programs, laid-off teachers... we closed a building. Next year, quite frankly, will be brutal."
PolitiFact Wisconsin | Gov. Scott Walker says recall organizers began effort even before he took office
In a CNBC interview, Walker traced the current recall drive and organization to November 2010, arguing that recall leaders were gearing up even before he took office.
But the founder of the website is not a recall organizer; he’s a fringe player at best who took no steps to actually organize the petition drive. Even Republican officials can cite no evidence to the contrary.
While his recall-advocacy website was registered back then, the site was dormant until Walker’s controversial bill was introduced. The real "recall organizers’" website, that of United Wisconsin, kicked into operation only after Walker proposed his controversial budget bill in February 2011.
We rate Walker’s statement False.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Walker has not been honest - JSOnline
We are in uncharted waters here in Wisconsin.
For the first time that anyone can recall, we have a governor who did not tell the truth about what he was planning to do as governor. And Scott Walker would not have been elected if he had been truthful about his intentions.
The political relationship between the two front groups, Media Trackers and MacIver Institute, [quite often associated with Americans for Prosperity (sic)] pro-corporate spokespuppet Rick Esenberg, and conservative mouthpiece Charlie Sykes is perhaps not incidental. Their common denominator is the Bradley Foundation. In November, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported "With more than $600 million in assets, the Bradley Foundation provides a cornerstone for the conservative movement in Wisconsin and across America." And not only does Bradley fund MacIver and Media Trackers, Sykes and Esenberg are both Bradley beneficiaries.
Anatomy of a right-wing smear campaign; Media Trackers, MacIver Institute, and Charlie Sykes
Occupy the Bible: Why Jesus is not a ‘free-marketer’ - Guest Voices - The Washington Post
You know #OccupyWallStreet is preoccupying the conservatives when Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council feels he has make the convoluted argument that “Jesus was a free marketer, not an Occupier.”Except, of course, Jesus was an Occupier. Jesus occupied thebiggest bank in Jerusalem, calling it a “Den of Thieves.” He threw the money-changers out. “Then Jesus entered the Temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the Temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers...” (Matthew 21:12)
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Our local krewe of self-righteously entitled 3 year olds, the crop of true-believers currently in charge of both West Bend City Council and the West Bend School Board -- toddlers who who believe in Social Darwinism but not evolution, Free Markets and Slave Wages -- are not a new phenomenon in American politics. They go back in a line of direct descent from the sort of people who ridiculed Thomas Jefferson's intellect as the trickery of a clever inventor. For more of which, see Richard Hofstadter's well known Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.
But here's a wonderful piece linking this current and popular trend in pseudo-conservativism into a long and delusional feature of American history. This also goes a long way to making sense of the circus which the Republican Party has become.
The infantile style in American politics - 2012 Elections - Salon.com
The farce known as the GOP presidential campaign has officially become a freak show. Newt Gingrich, the creepiest huckster in American politics, whose unique combination of hypocrisy, opportunism and sanctimoniousness led to his being unceremoniously bounced from Congress back in 1998, is now the front-runner to become the Republican presidential nominee.
Hofstadter opened that essay by arguing that the new far-right dissenters were not in fact conservatives at all. “[A]lthough they believe themselves to be conservatives and usually employ the rhetoric of conservatism, [they] show signs of serious and restless dissatisfaction with American life, traditions and institutions. They have little in common with the temperate and compromising spirit of true conservatism in the classical sense of the word … their political reactions express rather a profound if largely unconscious hatred of our society and its ways – a hatred which one would hesitate to impute to them if one did not have suggestive evidence both from clinical techniques and from their own modes of expression.”
The shoe fits too. How about that?
WEST BEND- The Washington County District Attorney confirms that he is looking into allegations that Jeffrey Karnitz scribbled on recall petitions Sunday afternoon in West Bend.
Karnitz was booked into the Washington County jail, but was released.
From behind a closed door, Karnitz yelled at TODAY'S TMJ4, "I'm not commenting on anything."
Out of jail, and as of Monday evening, not facing charges, Karnitz says he is going to talk to a public defender about allegations made against him.
"I was just doing dishes, and I looked out the window and I saw a cop car there with two police officers," said neighbor Gina Tomaz.
Tomaz lives across the street from where signatures were being gathered in the effort to recall Governor Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefish.
Tomaz says this is the second weekend in a row the same family has had people over to sign the petitions, but she says she was surprised when she saw the cops show up.
"I saw them walk to the house across the street where they were having their recall Walker signature thing going on," Tomaz said.
"Instead of adding his name to the list, he scribbled through names that were already there," said West Bend recall organizer, Waring Finke.
Other neighbors who were too afraid of retaliation to go on-camera said they were having a cook-out and were gathering signatures when the 30 year-old man showed up and scribbled on two of the petitions.
Tomaz says no matter how you feel about the recall, people shouldn't act out.
"You should be able to state your own opinion and not have fear of other people trying to down that or tear up what you are trying to accomplish," Tomaz said.
The district attorney said he will make a decision this week on the case.
Too afraid of retaliation? Everyone who's been collecting Recall signatures feels a little like that.
Monday, December 05, 2011
The requirement that a fee be paid in advance of the exercise of First Amendment rights constitutes a prior restraint on the exercise of free speech. See Forsyth County, Ga. V. Nationalist Movement, 505 U.S. 123 (1992). Advance fee requirements are recognized as a prior restraint because some individuals will forego the exercise of their rights rather than apply for advance permission or pay the fee. Prior restraints on the exercise of free speech are highly disfavored under constitutional law. While they are not per se unconstitutional, prior restraints will be subjected to heightened scrutiny. The Supreme Court has articulated the following standard for evaluating the constitutionality of government permitting schemes:
Even in a public forum the government may impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place, or manner of protected speech, provided the restrictions “are justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, that they are narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and that they leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information.”
Nathan Kellum, Permit Schemes: Under Current Jurisprudence, What Permits Are Permitted?, 56 DRAKE L. REV. 381 (1985).