Thursday, March 31, 2011

Former Gov. Lucey Leaves Prosser's Campaign, Endorses Kloppenburg

Former Gov. Lucey Leaves Prosser's Campaign, Endorses Kloppenburg - Politics News Story - WISC Madison

Lucey Resigns As Honorary Co-Chairman Of Prosser's Campaign

Former Democratic Gov. Patrick Lucey is withdrawing his support for incumbent Justice David Prosser for Wisconsin Supreme Court and is throwing it to Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Lucey released a statement to the media Thursday evening saying the campaign has revealed what he called "a disturbing distemper and lack of civility" in Prosser, though he did not cite specifics.

"I have followed with increasing dismay and now alarm the campaign of Justice David Prosser, whom I endorsed at the outset of his campaign and in whose campaign I serve as the honorary co-chairman," Lucey said in the statement. "I can no longer in good conscience lend my name and support to Justice Prosser's candidacy. Too much has come to light that Justice Prosser has lost that most crucial of characteristics for a Supreme Court Justice -- as for any judge -- even-handed impartiality. Along with that failing has come a disturbing distemper and lack of civility that does not bode well for the High Court in the face of demands that are sure to be placed on it in these times of great political and legal volatility."

At the same time, Lucey said he has continued to be impressed by Kloppenburg, saying she has shown the proper judicial temperament.

Green Bay Press says Kloppenburg

Editorial: JoAnne Kloppenburg has the best qualifications for Wisconsin Supreme Court | Green Bay Press Gazette |

During a tense March 21 debate at Marquette University, Prosser made an unnecessarily awkward statement about a posting on Kloppenburg's Facebook page, inquiring whether he was the "turd" to which a poster referred. Any legitimate point Prosser, a former Republican lawmaker, may have had about the nature of the campaign was lost in this odd exchange, which we also find troubling. Taken together, statements such as these indicate Kloppenburg is the more levelheaded of the two candidates. This, combined with her experience and insistence on independence, make Kloppenburg this newspaper's preferred candidate for the state's high court

Here's the budget itself for 2011-2013

LFB 2007 Agency Request Summary

Imagine what you aren't finding, and then go look again. It'll be there.


Capitol damage cost claim based on 1 page of notebook paper

If you're thinking, "why would they lie about a thing like this?", then go have a look at the rest of the proposed budget.

Capitol damage cost claim based on 1 page of notebook paper - JSOnline

Attorney general flips on open meetings law - JSOnline

Attorney general flips on open meetings law - JSOnline

Educators Asked to Leave Walker Press Conference on Education?! - Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Blog

C'mon, let's face it: what good are educators when it comes to talking about education?

Educators Asked to Leave Walker Press Conference on Education?! - Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Blog

Stan Johnson, Sid Hatch and Mike Langyel were surprised when they were asked by Governor Walker staff representatives and the Milwaukee police department’s professional performance division to leave a press conference this afternoon on education reform

"I wanted to hear first hand what the Governor had in plan for education reform since these changes will directly affect the Milwaukee teachers,” said Stan Johnson, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association. “We heard there was going to be an announcement about education; we wanted to be able to understand the details of that plan so we went to the conference, only to be asked to leave by one of Walker’s staff and the Milwaukee police."

Walker Forced to Stop Using Union Image by Legal Threat - Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Blog

So maybe Walker thought that, when you're a Governor, governing simply means doing what you feel like doing.

Looks like someone's sending up coffee to the mountain top.

Walker Forced to Stop Using Union Image by Legal Threat - Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Blog

Gov. Walker continues to show that he believes himself to be above the law. On his "Governor Walker, Public Figure” Face Book page Walker proudly displays the AFL-CIO logo in an attempt to trick the public into thinking that the AFL-CIO has endorsed his extreme anti-worker policies.

That is not only disrespect, it is illegal, fraudulent, deceitful, inappropriate, double-dealing, tricky, misleading, deceptive and wrong. It also shows poor judgment from our Governor.

Today the Governor was delivered a letter from Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC law office to immediately “cease and desist from any and all unauthorized uses of the AFL-CIO name and marks.”

Click here to view a copy of the letter.

GOP attack on Judge Sumi, Thompson appointee.

Well, we always suspected that Governor Thompson was a closet communist, right?

Wait -- no, we never did. But Walker's Republicans obviously do. I especially like the lack of regard for the rule of law and the idea that being in power simply means doing whatever they like -- you know, like Barons and stuff.

"The Republican Party of Dane County recognizes that Judge Sumi is a leftist living in Dane

Ah, but another brilliant example of an ad hominum argument for Intro Logic!

Thanks GOP.

GOPers Demand Sean Duffy Salary Tape Be Pulled From The Internet

Maybe he still thinks he's on a reality TV show... we always suspected that Mr. Reagan believed he was shooting an 8 year long movie.

GOPers Demand Sean Duffy Salary Tape Be Pulled From The Internet (VIDEO) | TPMDC

First the Republican Party in Polk County, Wisconsin, pulled the tape of Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) fretting about making ends meet on his $174,000 a year salary from its own website. Now they want it gone from the whole Internet.

For a couple hours, the local county GOP was successful. But we've put an excerpt of the video back up.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Palin interview: Can you refudiate the notion that it's a 'squirmish' in Libya?

Palin on Fox News. Imagine this running the country.

Change of Subject: Can you refudiate the notion that it's a 'squirmish' in Libya?

And here it is:

Yeah, and those are very legitimate questions on both sides of the aisle, and uh ya know another big question that has to be asked, right, is, are we at war? I haven't heard the president say that we are at war and, and that's why I too, uh, am not knowing do we use this, the term "intervention," do we use "war," do we use, uh, squirmish, what is it? What I know is that U.S. interests are not being met if Gaddafi stays in power and if we are merely taking a back seat to the Arab League, to the United Nations, to NATO leadership while we just kinda put our finger up in the air and decide what the political winds are around the world, not necessarily knowing and, uh, believing that the U.S. interests must come first in this.

[Greta says something to the effect that a "nuanced" rationale for a war is "disconcerting."]

That's disconcerting, but I had a little bit of hope during his speech when he mentioned the North Star. I, I mention the North Star so often. The North Star is part of the Alaska flag, where we, uh, up here are able to use as our GPS, as kind of our, our plumb line, the great North Star with its abiding light, o'er land and sea, a beacon bright. We look at the North Star and it helps us, I believe, it helps me, stay focused on what really matters, so when the president mentioned the North Star tonight, I thought, Hey! Maybe he gets it, maybe he understands what the U.S. interests are, how committed we need to be to *winning* in this intervention, in this war, and yet even from there, the reference to the North Star, he kind of wandered off again and allowed more of the inconsistencies and the questions and the kinda the, the dubious rationale being used, more of that, just, just being revealed.

Greta: Governor, thank you.

Group Seeks Sanctions Against Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald 1360AM

Tantrums are, I suspect, constitutionally protected. Especially for babies. ;^)

Group Seeks Sanctions Against Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald - WTAQ News Talk 97.5FM and 1360AM

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics said Fitzgerald was wrong to have state troopers look for the 14 Democratic senators who stayed away for 3 weeks to delay a vote on the union bargaining restrictions. And the group asked the Government Accountability Board to punish Fitzgerald for it.

Rep. Sean Duffy Complains About His $174,000 Salary

Poor guy.

ThinkProgress » Rep. Sean Duffy Complains About His $174,000 Salary: ‘I Drive A Used Minivan’

Duffy is certainly no Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a multimillionaire car alarm mogul. Like many Wisconsinites, he has several kids and, according to his financial disclosure statement, student loans and a mortgage to pay off. But Duffy’s salary is indeed aboutthree times Wisconsin’s (and the national) median income. What’s more, Wisconsin’sunemployment rate is 7.4 percent statewide, and 8.2 percent in Wausau, a city Duffy represents.

But if Duffy wants to “start getting real” and relieve some of that financial burden, he could sell that second home in Iron River, WI he owns.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The New American Dream via Americans for Prosperity.

It's new and improved. For some of us.

The New American Dream

If you are wealthy, you are living in the Golden Age of your American Dream, and it's a damned fine time to be alive. The two major political parties are working hammer and tong to bless you and keep you. The laws are being re-written - often by fiat, and in defiance of court orders - to strengthen the walls separating you and your wealth from the motley masses. Your stock portfolio, mostly made by and for oil and war, continues to swell. Your banks and Wall Street shops destroyed the economy for everyone except you, and not only did they get away with it, they were handed a vast dollop of taxpayer cash as a bonus prize.

It's fun being king... if you're the king.

Walker wastes no time breaking promises.

You gotta admire this kind of consistency... plus it looks like he'll be accidentally raising taxes on Wisconsin families claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit in order to pay for those tax breaks he's giving his wealthier patrons.

Lena Taylor speaking a bit of truth: sums it up. Here's one nugget.
• Specifically breaks at least 3 campaign promises made by Walker –
1. Raises taxes on working families (Americans For Tax Reform pledge)
2. Fails to authorize the reopening of tourism centers closed in the last budget. (Campaign Website)
3. Walker’s budget contains policy items and pork projects for the Governor (Campaign website

GOP congresswoman to Democrats: 'Stop talking about jobs'

It keeps getting better every day.

Daily Kos: GOP congresswoman to Democrats: 'Stop talking about jobs'

Glenn Grothman: mugshot.

I think this picture tells us everything. What's Glenn thinking here?

Glenn Grothman » Lavender Newswire

Saving UW System, cost effectively?

Milwaukee News Buzz - Milwaukee News and Reports, Local, State, Politics, Blogs, Cartoons » Blog Archive Can new UW leader stop Madison’s spinoff?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Walker Spent $41,935 On Planes Since Taking Office

Records: Walker Spent $41,935 On Planes Since Taking Office - Politics News Story - WISC Madison

Whoops, left one off the check list.

Spend $40k plus flying around state to convince rubes to cut services in order to pay for tax cuts for buddies. Check.


Marquette Law says The Budget Bill is Not Law

Publish or Perish: The Budget Bill is Not Law : Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog

The legislature is free to pass a law changing the method of publication, but it has not done so. At the moment, the law provides for one method of satisfying the constitutional requirement of publication: designation of a date by the Secretary of State and public dissemination via publication in the newspaper of record. So long as this is the only method provided under the statutes, this is how publication must occur. Any attempt to give legislation the force of “law” without following the statutory provisions already in place is an attempt to bypass the publication requirement of the Wisconsin Constitution.

But, of course, all this talk about the LAW sort of requires that governments are inclined to abide by them. This government is not.

Spending would increase under Walker budget

Okay, get your lists out.

Republican elected Governor by claiming he'll control costs. Check.
Republican cuts services to the middle class to pay for tax breaks to wealthy. Check.
Republican budget ends up costing taxpayers more. Check check check.

Analysis: Spending would increase under Walker budget - JSOnline

Jon Stewart: On the abusive Step-Daddy state.

Jon Stewart: Hey There Stepdad, Are You Crazy? | MoveOn.Org

Walker forces bill forward, legal or no. State stops collecting union dues, starts charging more for health care

Wisconsin public employees: expect a smaller paycheck this month; then join the lawsuit once the courts rule that your paycheck was reduced illegally, because the budget repair bill is not in fact law, contrary to the wishes of Walker and his administration.

State stops collecting union dues, starts charging more for health care - JSOnline

Walker trying to cut Wisconsin Justice Information System

Of course he is.

Wisconsin Justice Information System could lose state budget funds | Appleton Post Crescent |

The lack of money could cripple the Wisconsin Justice Information System. Contributions to the network have lagged, but the move could force dozens of police departments to revert to a pen-and-paper system and close down inter-agency connections the system's proponents say are crucial for resource-strapped investigators trying to connect the dots in a post-Sept. 11 world.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

William Cronon and the American Thought Police

Paul Krugman weighs in on what the Republican Party has turned into: reflexively vindictive and small.

Hard truths: American workers got what they deserved for being stupid.

Proof? The economy and (unless you're rich) your salary has flatlined since 1980... and you didn't say nuthin'. and you believe everything you're told on TV.

Need more proof? Read on.

American workers got what they deserved - Holland, MI - The Holland Sentinel
Remember the Reagan standard? Are you better off today than you were a decade ago? Two decades? Three? Unless you make more than $380,000 a year, the answer is no. In fact, your standard of living over the last quarter century has actually decreased while millionaires have added 30 percent to their net wealth. Why? Two reasons. [...]

More detail on Prosser and molesters from Appleton Post Crescent:

Editorial: Supreme Court: One issue doesn't add up | Appleton Post Crescent |

The new issue: The Greater Wisconsin Committee placed a TV ad late last week that attacks Prosser for his handling — as Outagamie County district attorney — of 1978 sexual assault allegations of two Freedom-area boys against the Rev. John Feeney.

The ad overlooks the lack of evidence Prosser had in the late 1970s, incorrectly suggests Prosser was aware of Feeney's 30-year pattern of abuse in Wisconsin parishes, and incorrectly suggests that Prosser worked with diocesan leaders to have Feeney moved to another parish.

Lack of evidence, perhaps... but what kind of DA helps get a suspect moved out of the district -- especially given the consequences?

Nonetheless, there's more:
But here's something else that might have been missed amid Wisconsin's recent political ugliness. In 2006, Prosser said that while he was a legislative leader, staffers who worked under his direction did campaign work. He also acknowledged that in his interview with The P-C on March 18.

Here's a member of the highest court in Wisconsin, whose judges are expected to possess unimpeachable integrity, admitting he condoned illegal activity as an elected official.

In a brief filed by the attorney of former state Rep. Scott Jensen, a Prosser protege who was charged with three felony counts of misconduct in office (in a December 2010 plea deal, Jensen pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor charge), Prosser said he basically did the same thing that caused Jensen to be charged.

In the brief, after outlining how his leadership role involved getting more Republicans elected to the Assembly, Prosser said:

"During my term as a legislator and as a speaker, there were caucus members and caucus directors who participated in activities including but not limited to the following: Campaign and political meetings in the Capitol office; assisting the speaker and the elected leadership by recruiting candidates; gathering voting lists and target lists; setting up, attending and staffing fundraisers; and assisting legislators in creating and implementing office plans."

Prosser's statement was presented in Jensen's defense. He's saying, as others said, that's the way business is done in Madison. That's what Jensen's job was about, too.

It's illegal. It was illegal when Prosser was in charge and it was illegal when Jensen was in charge.

In his statement, Prosser saw it differently. He said, "Every activity that could be characterized as a campaign activity can be conceivably construed to be an act that furthers the legislative process."

So, campaigns and legislative work are so intertwined that it's all part of the same process.

As a taxpayer, what do you think? Should your tax dollars, which were used to fund the caucuses until they were disbanded in the wake of a scandal, have gone toward campaigning?

Only someone who works — or worked — in the Capitol would think taxpayers would go for that.

Again, it was against the law. You'd think Prosser would acknowledge that, even if he didn't agree. But he told The P-C that "it was a different era and public expectations were quite different."

Prosser said that the law "had never been interpreted that way."

So, what do we do? Let bygones be bygones?

We can't. The Post-Crescent endorses JoAnne Kloppenburg

Prosser, like so many of his other arrogantly hard-right comrades, doesn't seem to believe the law applies to him. Not the sort of thing to recommend yet another term as a Supreme Court Justice.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Senator Ron Johnson’s WSJ Op-Ed Revives Death Panels And Misleads On Health Reform

Do read this one first....

Senator Ron Johnson’s WSJ Op-Ed Revives Death Panels And Misleads On Health Reform - Rick Ungar - The Policy Page - Forbes

Because it shows up Senator Johnson for the dim bulb mouthpiece he is... but then, just for a little extra salsa picante, catch the follow up.

Wisconsin GOP Senator Reveals Embarrassing Prejudice In Attack On Health Care Reform

Not only does Senator Johnson fail to make his case by using his daughter's scary medical condition -- her condition actually proves that he hasn't really looked carefully into the very issues he is now in a position to pontificate on. The procedures that saved her life, a hospitalization Johnson claims only an American Free Market medical system could have accomplished, were developed in countries operating under socialized medicine.

And you're the guy advertising convinced everyone would be better for us than Russ Feingold? Way to make the liberal Left happy.

Bill Moyers: "Welcome to the Plutocracy!"

Always nice to hear Moyer's on anything.

Bill Moyers: "Welcome to the Plutocracy!"

Bill Moyers speech at Boston University on October 29, 2010, as a part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series.

Bill Moyers: "Welcome to the Plutocracy!"

Always nice to hear Moyer's on anything.

Bill Moyers: "Welcome to the Plutocracy!"

Bill Moyers speech at Boston University on October 29, 2010, as a part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series.

Republican Party Fears trump common sense in their response to Cronon.

Wow. The Republican Party leadership (sic) has spun Cronon's description of their open records request, along with his good natured "c'mon in and have a look!" as a request that they withdraw it. Cronon never made such a request. In fact, he welcomed the request since it will only serve to verify his conclusion that the Republican Leadership has adopted McCarthyism as it's operational blueprint.

This is a brilliant example of the truth that True Believers only see their own worst fears.

Republican Party Response to Cronon Critique of Open Records Request | Scholar as Citizen

The upside is that if they keep going like this, they'll get themselves thrown out of office for another generation.

Walker hates veterans too.

Walker doesn't think much of teachers, but now it's clear he doesn't think much about veterans either.

Nope. Not surprised. Privatization in order to funnel money to his friends will always trump responsible public services for Walker.

Grass Roots: Fallout on veterans fuels insider critique of state budget


Ken Black is in the rare position of not depending on the governor for his job, but on the Board of Veterans Affairs that appoints him, and he's airing his concerns about the Walker budget right on thedepartment website.

In a letter posted earlier this week, he says thebudget does not reflect the state's historic "commitment to provide the benefits and services our veterans need and deserve."

Black is concerned, he says, the budget does not act to preserve the Veterans Trust Fund, where officials have known for years that earnings can't keep pace with service demands, by providing more money for veterans services. Instead funds dedicated to the state's nursing homes for veterans would be diverted to subsidize other services and fill the trust fund deficit, he says, and funding for veterans assistance programs would be cut by 53 percent. What's more, the operation of a planned new veterans home in Chippewa Falls would be privatized.

Republicans provide the justification for tenure and academic freedom.

Vengeful and ridiculous.

A Shabby Crusade in Wisconsin

Professors are not just ordinary state employees. As J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a conservative federal judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, noted in a similar case, state university faculty members are “employed professionally to test ideas and propose solutions, to deepen knowledge and refresh perspectives.” A political fishing expedition through a professor’s files would make it substantially harder to conduct research and communicate openly with colleagues. And it makes the Republican Party appear both vengeful and ridiculous.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Scott Walker Kills His Wisconsin Union Busting Bill By Publishing It

Scott Walker Kills His Wisconsin Union Busting Bill By Publishing It

The irony here is that they didn’t kill their bill by passing it without the necessary quorum, violating state Open Meeting laws or publishing it in violation of a judge’s order; they killed it with their own hubris. Now that it’s published, it is much easier to have it stopped permanently. It can and will be fought on all of the above grounds as well as countless others — amounting to a “tsunami of legislation” against the anti-union law.

By publishing this bill, Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans remind Americans about the fatal flaw of the modern day Republican Party: It and its leaders lack judgment. The publishing of this bill which was now not only passed while violating state law but now published in violation of a court order smells vaguely but sickeningly of George W Bush’s arrogant invasion of a sovereign nation. Just as Bush refused to wait for the UN, Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans could not allow the process to play out properly. Instead, they went all rogue cowboy and reminded us all why we swore we’d never vote Republican again.

Corporate Profits At All-Time High As Recovery Stumbles

So, "we're broke" really means "you're broke, but we're doing great! keep giving us tax breaks."

Socialism for corporations and capitalism for the rest of us!

Corporate Profits At All-Time High As Recovery Stumbles

NEW YORK -- Despite high unemployment and a largely languishing real estate market, U.S. businesses are more profitable than ever, according to federal figures released on Friday.
U.S. corporate profits hit an all-time high at the end of 2010, with financial firms showing some of the biggest gains, data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis show. Corporations reported an annualized $1.68 trillion in profit in the fourth quarter. The previous record, without being adjusted for inflation, was $1.65 trillion in the third quarter of 2006.
Many of the nation's preeminent companies have posted massive increases in profits this year. General Electric posted worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, while profits at JPMorgan Chase were up 47 percent to $4.8 billion.

100th Anniversary Of A Horrible Thing That We’re Still Fighting Against Today | MoveOn.Org

100th Anniversary Of A Horrible Thing That We’re Still Fighting Against Today | MoveOn.Org

Still. Fighting.

General Electric Pays No Taxes? Still too much for Republicans.

Okay so, supposedly, the US is broke and Republicans want to save money by cutting government's services to the middle class -- but we're not too broke to give billion dollar tax credits to corporations?

ThinkProgress » Sen. Johnson’s Reaction To General Electric Paying No Taxes: Cut The Corporate Tax Rate

The New York Times reported today that General Electric’s effective tax rate in 2010 was zero. Despite making $14.2 billion in profits, the company received $3.2 billion in tax benefits. GE is able to drive down its effective tax rate via “an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it toconcentrate its profits offshore.”

Old News: did Prosser help child molesting priest evade justice?

Ghosts in the closet now appearing...

Justice Prosser urged parents not to press case against priest pedophile, new documents show
After Prosser declined to bring charges, Feeney went on assaulting children in at least three states. Feeney, according to a review by church officials, had reports and allegations of sexual misconduct in every one of his 20 assignments, including “his very first one.”

A succinct overview of the Republican Party's sneak attack on William Cronon.

And here's an overview of the attack on Professor Cronon in Talking Points Memo.

Abusing Open Records to Attack Academic Freedom. McCarthy's tactics in Walker's party.

UW Madison's Professor William Cronon follows up on his NY Times Op-Ed piece. Apparently his questions must've landed too close for Republican comfort, and now they want revenge...

What happens when the Social Conservatives' Big Daddy State becomes abusive?


Abusing Open Records to Attack Academic Freedom
Here’s the headline: the Wisconsin Republican Party has issued an Open Records Law request for access to my emails since January 1 in response to a blog entry I posted on March 15 concerning the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in influencing recent legislation in this state and across the country. I find this a disturbing development, and hope readers will bear with me as I explain the strange circumstances in which I find myself as a result.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Next Step in Scott Walker’s Corporate Education Reform Agenda: Diploma Mills

Okay, my prediction rate -- based solely on making the pettiest and most cynical assumptions -- is now about 98%.

The Next Step in Scott Walker’s Corporate Education Reform Agenda: Diploma Mills - E.D. Kain - American Times - Forbes

Republicans in Wisconsin have not yet begun to fight against the traditional public school system in that state. A new Republican bill in that state would give nine political appointees – a Charter School Authorizing Board hand-picked by the governor and leaders of the state legislature – the power to authorize new charter schools while leaving the funding of those schools up to local school districts. It would also raise the cap on how many students could attend ‘virtual’ schools and lower the standards for teachers at public charters.

Because a guy without a college degree who lied about an economic emergency to try to rush through a batch of piratical laws written for him by tycoons has a better idea how to educate Wisconsin's future?

Intuition correct: anti-union bill rushed through because hold on Republican Senator votes is tenuous

Passed along from the folks at Blue Cheddar.

Intuition correct: anti-union bill rushed through because hold on Republican Senator votes is tenuous.

Republicans can’t risk going back in for a legal vote in committee and Senate because faith in Republican Senators voting for the Governor’s ridiculous legislation waivers.

I think they are also getting wise to how media coverage and spirits rise with a full occupation of the Capitol. They don’t want to risk that again, either.

Indiana prosecutor resigns after suggesting fake attack on Walker to discredit protesters

In the Things-you-couldn't-make-up Department:

An Indiana deputy prosecutor and Republican activist resigned Thursday after the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism uncovered an email to Gov. Scott Walker in which he suggested a fake attack on the governor to discredit union protesters.

Carlos F. Lam submitted his resignation shortly before the Center published a story quoting his Feb. 19 email, which praised Walker for standing up to unions but went on to say that the chaos in Wisconsin presented "a good opportunity for what's called a 'false flag' operation."

...because, when the truth works against you, what are you supposed to do?

Cutting off food stamps. This is what class warfare looks like.

Buried Provision In House GOP Bill Would Cut Off Food Stamps To Entire Families If One Member Strikes
The bill also includes a provision that would exempt households from losing eligibility, “if the household was eligible immediately prior to such strike, however, such family unit shall not receive an increased allotment as the result of a decrease in the income of the striking member or members of the household.”

Yet removing entire families from eligibility while a single adult family member is striking would have a chilling effect on workers who are considering going on strike for better wages, benefits, or working conditions — something that is especially alarming in light of the fact that unions are one of the fundamental building blocks of the middle class that allow people to earn wages that keep them off food stamps.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy 2011: Less Vast- More Powerful - The Policy Page - Forbes

I think I might have said "More powerful, but only half-vast."

The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy 2011: Less Vast- More Powerful - Rick Ungar - The Policy Page - Forbes

In issuing an apology to the Clintons, conservative-turned-liberal writer, David Brock, admitted that he had been a part of such a concerted effort to interfere with the administration when he first brought the Paula Jones scandal to the public’s attention. Brock later discovered that certain Arkansas state troopers had been paid money to give testimony against Clinton, casting the entire affair in a very different light.

That money came from somewhere.


Nowhere has the impact of the right-wing conspiracy been felt more deeply than in the State of Wisconsin – for now.

I have written, in some detail, of the involvement of the Koch Brothersand their front organizations – such as Americans For Prosperity – in the effort to destroy the Wisconsin state employee unions.

But they have not acted alone.

Take, for example, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, who ante upped big for the fight in Wisconsin. The organization, founded by John Birch Society co-founder Harry Bradley, (another co-founder of that organization was Koch Brothers father, Frederick Koch) has $460 million in the bank, available for the fight against America’s unions.

Conservatives On Wisconsin Supreme Court Let Corporate Lobbyists Write Judicial Ethics Rules

Anyone surprised by how much Judge Prosser loves lobbyists?

Conservatives On Wisconsin Supreme Court Let Corporate Lobbyists Write Judicial Ethics Rules

Wisconsin elects its Supreme Court justices, but the court’s four conservative justices –includingGov. Scott Walker’s embattled ally Justice David Prosser — all voted to reject an ethics rule that would have prevented them from hearing cases involving their major campaign donors. Instead, the conservative justices enacted a rule written by powerful corporate lobbyists:

Time to get a new judge.

Emails show steps considered to punish Dems who fled state

Is it really a conspiracy if everyone could guess what they were doing? Or just a really stupid conspiracy?

Emails show steps considered to punish Dems who fled state
The emails show that Fitzgerald's staff members were as worried about the public relations campaign as they were actually figuring out a way to get the Democrats to come back.

The Failure of American Teachers

It isn't the unions, lousy parenting, or even the corporatists who are turning education into an industrial production line solely to make a buck off of it. Nope.

Randy Turner: The Failure of American Teachers
And that brings me to the sole reason I have changed my mind about the competence of American public schoolteachers -- if we were doing our job, somewhere along the line we would have taught the politicians who are systematically destroying public education, the greatest of all American experiments, something about decency, respect, and developing the mortal fortitude to resist the siren song of the special interests who are well on their way to making the U. S. into a world of haves and have-nots, where public education will serve to provide low paid feeder stock for non-union companies and taxpayer-financed private schools will continue to cater to the elite, with the middle class existing only in history books.

Public schoolteachers have failed miserably by producing the most incompetent, mean-spirited legislators in U.S. history.

I suppose it might be time for someone to point out that legislators aren't competent to make changes to education either in form or content, and that if they'd stop micromanaging and let educators do their jobs, the process would work better. In fact, what's remarkable is how good a job they do in spite of legislative pressure to dumb down and industrialize the curriculum.

Ironically, the Wisconsin State Legislature, despite it's so-called "business" orientation doesn't want to cut UW System loose with public authority status. Why? Because the lawyers in the legislature don't believe a bunch of PhD's in business and economics are competent advisors in running a university system economically.

That's pretty interesting actually...


Book Review: In Defense of Tenure

Kevin Mattson for Democracy Journal: In Defense of Tenure


A “vaguely fuzzy” term that emerged from abroad (Germany), academic freedom might sound akin to the First Amendment, but it’s not, for the obvious reason that it doesn’t apply to all citizens. Instead, it is a prerequisite for professional academic life, the autonomy necessary for making educated and trained judgments. Schrecker has her own analogy: “[J]ust as judges maintained their independence from the executive officials who appointed them, so too, professors were to be free from external interference.” Academic freedom protects controversial research and teaching from political reprisal. Teachers must be allowed the freedom to use their expertise and training to state truths and explain ideas that might be unpopular to students and readers of their research.

The argument for tenure rests on a largely forgotten history of academic injustice. There are some major cases. [...]

The Struggle in Wisconsin is about where the money is really going.

And who's getting hurt...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Despite austerity plea, GOP affords big giveaways - especially if your name is Fitzgerald.

Despite austerity plea, GOP affords big giveaways

Especially if your last name is Fitzgerald.

Too Much | Inequality and Excess, A Commentary on Economic Inequality.

Too Much | Inequality and Excess, A Commentary on Economic Inequality.

The rising public clamor for higher taxes on America’s wealthy has conservative ideologues increasingly uneasy. For good reason. They don’t have the numbers on their side. Or much history either.

Apologists for the awesomely affluent, in the face of this swelling tax-the-rich tide, have now begun mounting a pre-emptive strike. Taxing the rich, their new argument goes, can’t possibly offset our budget shortfalls — because, as the National Review’s Kevin Williamson pronounces, “there aren’t enough rich.”

The National Review, the right wing’s most revered publication, ran two blasts along this line last week. Williamson, the journal’s deputy managing editor, ended his piece reverting back to standard right-wing tax myths. The rich, he claims, will either “lawyer up” to avoid higher taxes or flee to lower-tax jurisdictions.

His National Review colleague, Robert VerBruggen, tried turning to actual numbers, from 2008 tax returns, to make his case that “if we can’t raise taxes on anyone who’s not rich, the income tax can’t be of much help in increasing revenue.” But the numbers, on closer inspection, don’t support that assertion.

Supply Side Economics: The Fatal Assumption

Some of us have been saying this for nearly 30 years... and we're still right.

But remember, it required Shock and Awe to put any of these siphons in place. Walker is doing exactly this, again.

Supply Side Economics: The Fatal Assumption | Norbrook's Blog

Back in the late 70′s, there came the idea of “trickle down economics.” The basic idea, at least as it was put to the public, was that by reducing the tax rates on the rich and corporations, they would have more money to invest, which would create more jobs and economic activity farther down. In other words, by the government taking less from the wealthy, the benefits would “trickle down” to the rest. As more businesses and jobs were created by this, pay scales would rise and with it, the government would receive the same – or more – tax revenue than it would have had it continued with the previous tax schedules. As a theory, it sounded good. In practice, it has been a miserable failure. It turns out there was a core assumption being made, that in practice turned out not to be the case. An “implied contract” that was broken.

What was the core assumption? That the increased money from tax savings would be invested in this country. It was assumed that businesses would use the extra money to increase manufacturing facilities and hire new workers. The wealthy would use their additional funds to invest in new businesses, and increase their purchasing. Instead what happened was first a round of acquisitions and mergers, resulting in a series of lost jobs, followed by the use of those funds to invest in moving manufacturing and jobs overseas. It was a terrific policy in terms of generating jobs and economic activity - for other countries. In terms of this country, it’s been terrible, unless you’re wealthy.

Wisconsin's radical break from tradition. Republicans betray themselves and voters.

I guess the real Republicans are long gone.

Wisconsin's Republicans undoing Republican programs
Republicans in Wisconsin are seeking to reverse civic traditions that for more than a century have been among the most celebrated achievements not just of their state, but of their own party as well.

We're all Badgers now.

Professor Stanley Fish comes around on faculty unions. When you're treated like labor, it's time to act like it.

Lessons From Wisconsin About Unions and Higher Education -
A conversation about unionization and higher education between Stanley Fish and Walter Benn Michaels, professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

¶SF: In over 35 years of friendship and conversation, Walter Michaels and I have disagreed on only two things, and one of them was faculty and graduate student unionization. He has always been for and I had always been against. I say “had” because I recently flipped and what flipped me, pure and simple, was Wisconsin.

¶When I think about the reasons (too honorific a word) for my previous posture I become embarrassed. They are by and large the reasons rehearsed and apparently approved by Naomi Schaefer Riley in her recent op-ed piece “Why unions hurt higher education” (USA Today). The big reason was the feeling — hardly thought through sufficiently to be called a conviction — that someone with an advanced degree and scholarly publications should not be in the same category as factory workers with lunch boxes and hard hats. As Riley points out, even the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) used to be opposed to unionization because of “the commonly held belief that universities were not corporations and faculty were not employees.”

¶WBM: But at UIC, where I worked for Stanley and where many of us are working right now to build a union, “a lunch bucket faculty for a lunch bucket student body” is a standard way of describing us, originally intended as a form of condescension but increasingly accepted as a badge of honor. Why is it a bad thing that our students aren’t as rich as the ones at Northwestern or the University of Chicago? Why is it a bad thing to accept the fact that we are workers? We’re fortunate that some of us are pretty well-paid workers, but many of us aren’t and, well-paid or not, we all have less and less of a say in what our university does and how it does it. When workers want a voice, what do they do? Unionize! So even though our job descriptions range from professor to principal investigator and we make more books than widgets, that’s what we’re tying to do.

SF: I have to agree. If “universities are not corporations” ever was a good argument, it isn’t anymore because universities, always corporations in financial fact, become increasingly corporate in spirit every day; and if I and my colleagues are not employees, from whom do we receive salaries, promotions, equipment, offices, etc., and to whom are we responsible in the carrying out of our duties? (If it looks like a duck. .) It’s not God and it’s not (despite some claims to the contrary) students, and it’s not awestruck admirers of our dazzling intellects. It must be our employer, and if that is so the only question becomes whether, as employees, we can do better for ourselves by ourselves or whether we will be in a stronger position if we unite.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Developer cancels plan for big wind farm in Wisconsin

Developer cancels plan for big wind farm - JSOnline

Is it that the Koch's don't do wind power? Or is it that Walker enjoys likes throwing away economic development in the state... when he isn't turning down Federal money?

Shockingly, the economy has been bad to both public and private-sector workers

The economy has been bad to both public and private-sector workers - Ezra Klein - The Washington Post

Fighting Bob - Letter of the law, by Mark Pocan

Is it possible the Fitzgerald's still recognize civility? Or does it need claws for them to pay attention?

Fighting Bob - Letter of the law
Senator Fitzgerald, after trying every trick in the book you could think of to compel members of the state Senate back to Wisconsin, you realized your gimmicks weren’t legal. But that didn’t stop you from threatening your own members with those gimmicks. Imagine my surprise when the headline in March 16’s paper read, “Olive branch offered.” That’s an awfully nice headline for someone who was doing nothing more than acknowledging their own illegal threats.

Walker's budget hurts Washington County.

How the four-county area fares under budget - JSOnline

According to the fiscal bureau, the maximum 50% cut would fall on Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, and on 57 municipalities within the four-county region, including Waukesha and Wauwatosa. Within Milwaukee County, smaller reductions would be limited to less-affluent communities - Milwaukee, Cudahy, St. Francis, South Milwaukee, West Allis and West Milwaukee - except for a 35% cut to wealthy River Hills.

All area governments together would lose $29.8 million, administration figures show. The suburbs and suburban counties would take 11% of the statewide reduction, even though they only account for 5% of shared revenue payments now. By contrast, Milwaukee and Milwaukee County now receive 34% of state shared revenue, but would account for 20% of the statewide reduction.

Fail: Walker goes after Grandma.

Who do these parasites think they are? Grandmas and Grampas who've worked hard and paid into the system? They're just more examples of the "haves" Mr. Walker plans to stamp out.

... grin. Okay, seriously, who's left? Who else's life will Mr. Walker try to degrade in order to keep the tax breaks for his friends coming?

Seniors to march on Capitol, protesting Walker's cuts

Seniors and retirees are planning to protest on the Square on Monday against Gov. Scott Walker's state budget plan that would make major cuts in the state's SeniorCare program.
The march is organized by the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, and will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Concourse Hotel, One W. Dayton Street, and head to the Capitol across the street.

'Dictator' Governor Checked, Balanced by Pesky Third Branch of Government | The Nation

Social conservatives turn out to be Big Government Conservatives.

Oh, and rude too.

'Dictator' Governor Checked, Balanced by Pesky Third Branch of Government | The Nation

For the past month, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his legislative allies have rolled roughshod over the lawmaking process in Wisconsin. Walker, acting more as a monarch than an elected representative of the people, has sought to restructure state government so that he has the authority make unilateral decisions regarding the pay and working conditions of all public employees in Wisconsin, the power to define who can and cannot obtain medical coverage under the Badgercare and Seniorcare programs and what public properties will be bartered off in no-bid deals to his campaign contributors.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's official: Budget could hurt state's economy

Japan in the 90's anyone?

Oh, that's right, the Governor never studied history *or* economics.

Study: Budget could hurt state's economy

Gov. Scott Walker's plans to balance the state budget by cutting spending and public workers' take-home pay will slow the state's economic recovery, according to projections by a UW-Madison economist.
An estimated 21,843 jobs will be lost over the next year or two as public agencies and workers are able to spend less in their communities, said Steven Deller, a professor of applied economics who studied the ripple effects of Walker's budget-repair bill and two-year budget proposal.
"That's not just a bump in the road," Deller said. "That's a speed bump."

Privatization always looks best when you don't do the math

Frankly, just look to Mr. Walker's campaign contributors. Getting rid of recycling, for instance, bumps up the profits of Waste Management Corporation, which now controls most of our landfills. Surprising, eh?

Not really.

Fuzzy Privatization Math

Who crunched the numbers to show that private contractors would do a better job or at least the same job for less money than public employees? The Privatization Task Force Report says that no one did. On page 14 the report says it did no analysis “due not only to the fact that the actual cost of a privatized alternative will often not be known until the end of a full fledged competitive bidding process, but also because New Jersey state government agencies have difficulty calculating with precision the full cost of functions currently performed at the state level.” So, the sunny claims of big savings for the people of New Jersey are a guestimate, at best. and “To Be Decided” is the most accurate statement in the report.

Sen Bernie Sanders predicting and explaining Walker's legislative agenda back in December.

YouTube - Sen Bernie Sanders Amazing Speech DEC 02 2010 .flv

Saturday, March 19, 2011

School leaders say math 'doesn't add up' in Gov. Scott Walker's school district budget projections

Frugal districts hardest hit... of course.
West Bend will probably be one of 'em.

School leaders say math 'doesn't add up' in Gov. Scott Walker's school district budget projections
"Walker is taking one of the biggest draws that the state of Wisconsin has, which is the fact that we have great public schools, and trashing that," said Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin. "Meanwhile, he's giving more money and more power to the unaccountable private school lobby."

Judge Prosser not working for working people.

Some interesting links on the sponsorship of Justice (sic) Prosser.

Amazing what you can find on the internets these days.

Prosser is supported by Club For Growth (a Koch Bros. front)
Prosser was a less-than-aggressive prosecutor when it came to abuse of children by priests
Prosser has a well-known "temperament" problem
Prosser has explicitly threatened the trial lawyers to mess w/their cases if they don't support him.
Prosser votes w/the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council 100% of the time
Prosser is 100% behind Walker.  He has promised to "Complement" Gov. Walker's administration, thus demonstrating that he is not unbiased as a judge.  (original release from his campaign is behind a firewall so you'll need to refer to secondary sources)
Prosser puts it like this: "It's imperative that the state get its fiscal house in order [and] send a message that this is a great place to do business. [And] it would seem to me that the governor makes his strongest case when he can show a linear relationship between the proposal he makes and our fiscal situation. To the extent he is unable to do that, he begins to lose public support."
Prosser supports 'tea party'
Prosser is "anti choice" & has telegraphed his opinion as such (is also endorsed by Wisc. Right to Life)