Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Walker's central re-election strategy? Premier Election Solutions

Who needs voters when you can control the ballots?

Premier Election Solutions

Walker's owners: The Party People of Wall Street

Everybody have fun tonight.

--okay, not everybody.

The Party People of Wall Street | Truthout

"The last three decades have witnessed a carefully calculated heist worthy of Robert Redford and Paul Newman in 'The Sting' — but on a massive scale. It was an inside job, politically engineered by Wall Street and Washington working hand-in-hand, sticky fingers with sticky fingers, to turn the legend of Robin Hood on its head – giving to the rich and taking from everybody else. Don’t take our word for it — it’s all on the record."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Who's the social parasite? Scott Fitzgerald’s $18,128 in 2011 Per Diems

His per diem alone provides a bigger income than 14% of his neighbors?

And what do they get for this? ...that's the question.

Breaking Down Scott Fitzgerald’s $18,128 in 2011 Per Diems | Wisconsin Factcheck

Any way you look at it, $18,128 goes a long way. According to this map from the New York Times, a household in non-metropolitan areas of Wisconsin (like Dodge County) with an income of $18,128 ranks in the bottom 15% of all households. Or, in other words, Big Fitz’s per diem allowances alone give him more income than 14% of his neighboring households. Talk about a broken “government handout!”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

More Big Fibs from Paul Ryan.

Keep in mind that Ryan's entire public career has been about finding moral justifications for selfishness. It helps keep his pathology in context.

FACT CHECK: Paul Ryan Falsely Claims He Supports Ending Subsidies to Wealthy, Eliminating Loopholes | DCCC

Today on Fox News Sunday, Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-01) falsely claimed he wants to stop "subsidizing the wealthy" and "get the loopholes out" of our tax code.

In reality, Paul Ryan and House Republicans have repeatedly voted to protect tax breaks for the ultra wealthy and tax loopholes for Big Oil. In fact, Ryan himself authored a plan to give the ultra wealthy tax breaks and supported the creation of tax loopholes for some of his top contributors. Ryan and House Republicans are now opposed to ending these kind of tax breaks for the ultra wealthy in order to stop a payroll tax hike at the end of February.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Waring Fincke's Daily News Column: What it would be like with no government

The "Don't Tax Me" Plutocrats who've been running the country for much of the past 30 years have been rewriting America's social contract without consulting everyone.

Here's why they're wrong.

What it would be like with no government

Friday, January 27, 2012

Glenn Grothman on Walker: doesn't know what year this is.

Oh Glenn, the country you and your fellow travelers are worried about losing existed for only 20 minutes, in 1952, on television.

Grothman: "If we let Scott Walker go down our country is going down" - JSOnline

From Wausau: Walker's jobs claims strain truth

Walker's betting the Big Lie technique will work... and why shouldn't he? It works all the time.

But not everyone's bought it.

Our View: Walker's jobs claims strain truth | Wausau Daily Herald | wausaudailyherald.com

Gov. Walker is using superficial and disingenuous arguments when it comes to his record on job creation. But he's not the only one. His enemies in the Democratic Party claim that Wisconsin's six straight months of private-sector job losses at the end of 2011 are proof that Walker's policies not only have failed to create jobs so far, but that they never will work.
It's simply too early to make that claim, and it ignores all the national and international factors that have stunted job growth in Wisconsin.
The truth is, it is neither Walker's fault that the state lost private-sector jobs in the last half of 2011, nor to his credit that some businesses were hiring.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Did Walker Know? When Did He Know It?

Right, so either he didn't know -- which makes him an idiot -- or he *did* know -- which makes him a criminal.

I suppose the Koch's will be happy to support either one.

Wisconsin 'John Doe' Probe: What Did Walker Know? When Did He Know It? | The Nation
Just hours after he delivered a State of the State address that he hoped would set the tone for his campaign to avert a recall election threat, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was hit with exactly the sort of news that embattled politicians fear most.
Two former aides to Walker—one of whom was in the employ of his campaign until just days ago—have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors in the ongoing “John Doe” investigation of wrongdoing by aides, political allies and campaign donors with links to the embattled governor.

Does Wisconsin have a budget deficit?

Does Wisconsin have a budget deficit? - JSOnline

First we didn't and now we do - so Walker was lying which time?  It all depends on what "accounting procedures" means.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scott Walker billboard outside closed GM plant in Janesville, now removed.

Conservatives used to be better at irony.  No William F Buckley's in this bunch.

Scott Walker billboard outside closed GM plant in Janesville (long) - YouTube

Walker lied about Wisconsin being broke... and...

... and about whether he was interested in job creation or something else. The blue (gains) are under Doyle's budget. The red (losses) are under Walker's budget. Any questions?

2011 jobs by month WI

Remembering why Wisconsin Recalls by a Naught TEA Republican |

I remember REAL Republicans who were interested in fiscal responsibility and uninterested in imposing loony morality and science on the rest of the nation. Remember them?

Some of them are coming out of the closet.

Remembering why Wisconsin Recalls by a Naught TEA Republican |

Today there were tears in my eyes as I watched boxes of Recall petitions being carried into the GAB office in Madison WI. Over 1,000,000 WI citizens gave our Governor Scott Walker a peoples referendum on his TEA Party Budget and theft of open and transparent politics in WI. For, you see, I am a WI Republican, and have watched with horror as the TEA Party infiltrated our Party of Lincoln, LaFollette, Reagan & Thompson turning it away from exactly what we in WI stand for…Progressive People Powered Democracy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Here we go again. All Current Creationism Bills Originate From An Amendment Drafted And Proposed By Rick Santorum In 2001

How long until local fundamentalists in West Bend, and now perhaps the ideological zealots controlling Madison, attempt --once again -- to override the US Constitution by imposing their religious views in place of science?

Not too long, I'm guessing.

Since January 1st, three state legislatures in Missouri, Indiana, and New Hampshire have all introduced bills that would force schools to teach creationism as an accepted science even if students, parents, and teachers are not Christians. Such bills infringe upon religious freedom as protected by the United States Constitution. Since 2004, 12 states have tried to pass creationism bills. Only one, in Louisiana, has become law. You may be wondering, where did all of these bills come from?

Ron Johnson Ducks Questions On His $10 Million Payday

Once again demonstrating that he's no Russ Feingold...

Ron Johnson Ducks TPM Questions On His $10 Million Payday: ‘It’s A Private Company’ | TPMDC
Johnson’s office also ignored multiple questions about the windfall payment on Monday. He has yet to produce a written deferred compensation agreement that was signed and dated before he launched his campaign. Election law attorneys say a written agreement is critical, and without one, Johnson could face serious charges that he violated campaign-finance laws barring direct corporate funding of federal candidates.

Friday, January 13, 2012

America Isn’t a Corporation

Krugman nails another one....

The primary conceptual dissonance siting between neoconservatives and reality: economics is different from physics and citizens are different from consumers.

We're seeing this confusing in Wisconsin's university system funding (7% of the state budget taking 38% of the cuts). You can impose a business model on anything ... but only if you want it to be a business. What if it's not?

America Isn’t a Corporation - NYTimes.com

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Iran: The Neocons Are At It Again

Some thought about our chickenhearted officials beginning the drum beat for more war.

he same neocons who persuaded George W. Bush and crew to, in Ron Paul's inimitable words, "lie their way into invading Iraq" in 2003, are beating the drums of war more loudly these days to attack Iran. It is remarkable how many of these war-mongers are former draft dodgers who wanted other Americans to fight the war in Vietnam.

Indiana Senate Bill Would Give School Boards The Power To Force Teachers To Teach Creationism As Science

Here's they come again. I imagine they'll be trying this again in West Bend soon enough.

Hey, why is it, btw, that free market economics requires creationism be taught?

Because in a universe where economics is the same as physics and biology, consumer demand dictates what's true, that's why.... in the same way that fast food is preferable to real food.

Anyway, until they come for us:

Indiana Senate Bill Would Give School Boards The Power To Force Teachers To Teach Creationism As Science | Addicting Info

This is what happens when religious extremists have control over a political party in America. A Senate bill being considered in Indiana would allow school boards across the state to force teachers to teach creationism as science. Senate bill 89 would amend the Indiana Education code by adding the following passage:

“Sec. 18. The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.”

UW offering free series to brush up on your knowledge about Open Meeting laws and Parliamentary procedure.

Better living through civility -- and understanding the actual laws. Maybe we should require the Fitzgerald's -- and Justice Prosser -- to sit in?

Get the Details at the Open Government Laws and Parliamentary Procedure WisLine Series
An opportunity for detailed instruction on critical subjects for local officials and staff is available beginning Thursday January 19, 2012 with the he first installment of the Open Government and Parliamentary Procedure WisLine Series. You can choose programs on Open Meetings Law, and Public Records, Public Official Ethics or gain more confidence conducting or participating in meetings by attending the WisLine course on Parliamentary Procedure. Instructors include attorneys from the Wisconsin Towns, Association, League of Municipalities, Wisconsin Justice Department and the UW Extension.

Walker used to like recalls... now, Koch money to create resentment.

Irony irony irony.

John Nichols: Walker used to like recalls

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign is spending a lot of the money it has collected from out-of-state billionaires to fund a television ad campaign that preaches against recall elections.

The governor’s “Recall: No” campaign, which has been augmented by a push from Americans for Prosperity, a project of the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, argues that the push for a recall election is simply “sour grapes.” Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch won the 2010 election, the line goes, so Wisconsinites should swallow hard and shut up for four years.

This fantasy, that elections produce a “king for four years” or an “elected despot” (to borrow phrases from Thomas Jefferson and James Madison), has been promoted by the governor in interviews with right-wing talk radio and regular appearances on Fox News and CNBC programs.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/john_nichols/john-nichols-walker-used-to-like-recalls/article_5a75797d-aec4-5f99-b950-d71a701bae2f.html#ixzz1jHjf5UHv

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Walker's Waste, Fraud and Abuse report includes Loch Ness Monster.

And now, for the rest of the story....

Pocan & Larson release response to Walker's “misleading” Waste, Fraud and Abuse report | Wisconsin Politics
Governor Walker’s commission issued a misleading report that takes credit for decisions that have already been made or that are outside of the authority of state government,” said Rep. Pocan. “Much of the supposed savings in Governor Walker’s plan are about as real as the Loch Ness Monster.”

Monday, January 09, 2012

Don't get distracted: Republicans Versus Reproductive Rights

It's easy to forget that one of the key themes in the next year is taking away any right to an abortion. As the rhetoric ramps up, their position will move even further toward authoritarian control of this, medical, decision.

Republicans Versus Reproductive Rights - NYTimes.com

In Iowa, the Republican presidential contenders tried to outdo one another in attacking reproductive rights as they sought the support of caucusgoers from the religious right. In New Hampshire, where voters are less socially conservative, the candidates have focused more on economic issues.

But the message from Iowa was crystal clear: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman Jr., Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry all stand ready to restrict a woman’s right to make her own childbearing decisions and deny essential health care to millions of women.

America’s Unlevel Field

Krugman does some math.

Americans are much more likely than citizens of other nations to believe that they live in a meritocracy. But this self-image is a fantasy: as a report in The Times last week pointed out, America actually stands out as the advanced country in which it matters most who your parents were, the country in which those born on one of society’s lower rungs have the least chance of climbing to the top or even to the middle.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Walker Gives Local Leaders Tools to Blackmail Police and Firefighters

The police and firefighters in Wisconsin knew this was coming. That's why they stood with the rest of us last Spring -- and why we all stand together now.

Walker Gives Local Leaders Tools to Blackmail Police and Firefighters | Wisconsin Politics

Madison -- Gov. Scott Walker's smoke and mirror budget has found yet another unsuspecting target -- Police and firefighters. It was widely believed these two groups would escape the fiscal axe, however, a state budget clause that allows municipalities to dictate the form of public safety workers' health insurance plans has been put in play by some local leaders.

The cost of the recalls? There is no price tag on democracy. |

They're now trying to claim that "the people" expressing their "sovereignty" is "too expensive"??

Well, it is, of course -- but only for those who would keep us from it.

Mr. Walker made his own bed - and now he has to lie in it. Had he behaved like something closer to a Wisconsinite, none of this would have been necessary.

Some reflections from our friends at Bluecheddar.net:

The cost of the recalls? There is no price tag on democracy. |

Friday the GAB said the recalls would run about 9 million dollars.*

As I recollect, that’s a little over 2 times the average corporate welfare hand-out to Spectrum Brands. As much as I’d enjoy spending the rest of my afternoon combing through Walker’s crony economics and spitting snark, I’ll instead submit this pretty darn good statement from the Wisconsin Democratic Party:

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Scott Walker Slams Out-Of-State Money In Wisconsin Recall While In Washington For Fundraiser

The Headline says everything we need to know about him.

Scott Walker Slams Out-Of-State Money In Wisconsin Recall While In Washington For Fundraiser

Report: Questions raised about 3 new State Investment Board appointees

It's all just business. How could that be a problem?

Report: Questions raised about 3 new State Investment Board appointees [WTAQ News Talk 97.5FM and 1360AM]

The chairman of the panel, West Bend Republican Glenn Grothman, said he was not aware of any present issues involving Petersen – and he planned to look into the matter before Wednesday’s hearing.

Petersen told the Journal Sentinel in 2001 he didn’t believe there was a problem with him owning the same stocks as those of the Investment Board, which manages $83 billion in retirement funds for state workers and most local government and school employees.

Ex-Walker aide charged with three theft counts - JSOnline

Tick tock tick tock....

No cigars, but they're not done looking yet.

Ex-Walker aide charged with three theft counts - JSOnline

Tim Russell, a former campaign and county aide to Gov. Scott Walker, was arrested by authorities on Thursday and charged with three theft counts as part of the ongoing John Doe investigation into Walker staffers, sources said.

Computer records show Russell was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor count of theft. One source said the charges are tied to Operation Freedom, an annual military appreciation day held at the zoo.

Walker's substituting fees for tax hikes.

From our friends over at The Political Environment, some first rate digging into the Little Governor's plan to pay off his friends in the road building industry.

The groundwork for more highway spending financed through new tolls, fees and/or higher fuel taxes is being laid down in Madison by a state transportation planning commission stacked in the highway crowd's favor.

And while we'll get a look at the commission's thinking at a public hearing in Madison on Wednesday, January 12th - - and we'd be thrilled to see a commitment to spending restraints, a "fix-it-first" agenda and an equal footing for passenger rail transit, too - - the predominance of commission members with ties to our highway-happy culture - - broadly defined - - suggests that Big Government is working on methods to collect more money from motorists and ramp up the road-building.

Let's start with an innocuous news release that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation issued last year about the commission. Pay attention to the minimal biographical information about the members.

Humanities, and values, still matter.

Our local state senator and recent rightwing media star, Glenn Grothman, has spent a lot of time, recently, suggesting that a university education is a waste of time. (Would it be too easy to note that it didn't seem to do him much good? )

It's worth remembering that all that abstruse and difficult to understand research that goes on in universities precisely embodies the skill sets required to create the next generation of technological, and economic, innovation. The university has to prepare people for jobs that don't even exist yet. You can't do that by training and instruction, you can only do that by education.

Essay on new approach to defend the value of the humanities | Inside Higher Ed

"For ultimately, to take advantage of the vocational potential of humanities study as we propose is not to sell out to the corporate world, but to bring the criti
cal perspective of the humanities into that world. It is a perspective that is sorely needed, especially in corporate and financial sectors that have lately been notoriously challenged in the ethics department, to say the least. Humanities graduates are trained to consider the ethical dimensions of experience, linking the humanities with the sciences as well as with business and looking at both these realms from diverse perspectives. To those who worry that what we urge would blunt the humanities' critical power, we would reply that it would actually figure to increase that power, for power after all is the ability to act in the world."

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Conservative Bible Project Cuts Out Liberal Passages

Finally, they're going to be true to their understanding of sacred Scripture, and correct it according to what they actually believe.

... uh, say what?

Conservative Bible Project Cuts Out Liberal Passages

Lo and behold, the Bible has gotten too liberal, according to a group of conservatives. And it needs a little editing.

That's the inspiration behind the Conservative Bible Project, which seeks to take the text back to its supposed right-wing roots.

Yes, even scripture is not orthodox enough for the modern conservative. Not that it's the fault of the author(s), exactly. The group cites a few reasons why the Bible is too progressive: "Lack of precision in the original language ... lack of precision in modern language" and "translation bias in converting the original language to the modern one."

Ironically, had they bothered to study the Greek and Aramaic, they would never have become this kind of 'conservative'.

Santorum’s wife’s abortion was different, you see.

The standard neo-conservative hypocrisy ramps up another notch. Not to be outdone by Newt, apparently, there's this:

Santorum’s wife’s abortion was different, you see. | Lousy Canuck

I hereby call on Rick Santorum to sue the doctor who performed the surgery that saved his wife’s life. While it may not be a criminal act yet, at least you can get damages from the doctor for daring to save your wife’s life at the expense of your wife’s constitutionally endowed infection source. That act was a second-trimester abortion. It was a “partial birth abortion”. It was done only to save your wife’s life. It is done generally only to save other mothers’ lives. It is not a criminal act in any respect. If you do not sue this doctor, you are a hypocrite of the highest order, and deserving of the worst epithets people can Google-bomb you with.

Don’t be fooled: Walker’s recall is not about collective bargaining rights |

From our friends at Blogging Blue.

The BIG MONEY is inbound and will try to make everyone forget that this was never about collective bargaining, but about Wisconsin values. This is a real culture war built around individual vs. corporate control of government.

Don’t be fooled: Walker’s recall is not about collective bargaining rights

Recently, local news stations in the Milwaukee area have reported that Walker’s recall is due to the issue of collective bargaining rights. But that’s simply not the case. The loss of the right to collectively bargain may have propelled Wisconsinites to storm the Capitol last February, but that’s not what his recall is ultimately about. Don’t be fooled; this recall is about the Wisconsin way vs. the Walker way.

Judges again rule for Democratic group in redistricting case

Judges again rule for Democratic group in redistricting case - JSOnline

Madison - In a scathing ruling, a three-judge panel decided for the third time Tuesday that a Democratic group has a right to an array of information on how Republican lawmakers drew new legislative districts.

Saying that GOP lawmakers and their attorneys have filed "frivolous" motions trying to keep their information private, the panel also required the attorneys for the Republican defendants to pay the attorneys' fees for the plaintiffs for the motion.

"Quite frankly, the Legislature and the actions of its counsel give every appearance of flailing wildly in a desperate attempt to hide from both the court and the public the true nature of exactly what transpired in the redistricting process," the ruling reads.

The federal panel first ruled Dec. 8 that the group could depose a consultant and Senate aide and made a similar ruling on Dec. 20.

Republicans who control the Legislature then filed a motion to clarify what information could be released. They argued some information that consultant Joe Handrick has should remain confidential, as he was hired because litigation was likely and thus has attorney-client privilege.

On Tuesday, the panel unanimously ruled Handrick's discussions with legal counsel are not protected by attorney-client privilege and he must testify on those matters.

In essence, the judges again found there was little the Republicans can keep from the plaintiffs, a Democratic group.

The panel of judges - two of whom are Republican appointees - gave a rhetorical smack to the GOP lawmakers and their attorneys.

New Research Weakens Case for Small Business Tax Relief

So, the Republicans have even been wrong on small business... hm.

From tax.com:

They find that it is the youth of small firms, not their size per se, that is creating jobs. In fact, their findings show that mature small firms have a negative effect on job creation. "A natural conclusion from our findings on the role of firm size and age is that policies that target businesses of a certain size, while ignoring the role of age [of the firm], will likely have limited success in improving net job creation," the authors write.

Walker throw 68,000 Wisconsinites under the bus.

Maybe this will finally start to sting people enough to wake them up.

State should plan for health care reform - JSOnline

Walker now has shifted the state's position, stating that Wisconsin would suspend planning for implementing the new competitive health marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act until the U.S. Supreme Court decides legal challenges next summer. The problem is that Wisconsin's full implementation plan is due by the end of 2012, and the Legislature will be out of session before the case is decided, leaving Wisconsin unprepared to meet the deadline. This position is inconsistent, as Walker continues to vigorously implement a number of his own initiatives that are under legal challenge, such as his elimination of most collective bargaining rights for most public employees and voter ID.

Part of Walker's motivation for this shift seems to be that that he and his top officials actually believe that skyrocketing health insurance costs and access to affordable coverage are not major problems in Wisconsin. Last fall, Walker's insurance commissioner vehemently defended the health insurance industry, asserting that Wisconsin's health insurance market is working well and that costs are "manageable."

In an op-ed in the Journal Sentinel, Walker's health services secretary claimed that all of the nearly 65,000 people he wants to force off BadgerCare still will have access to affordable coverage, reflecting an unrealistic view of what health consumers actually face when they seek to obtain coverage.

This "rose-colored glasses" view of Wisconsin's health insurance market is not borne out by the facts. According to Citizen Action of Wisconsin's annual Wisconsin Health Insurance Cost Ranking report, released Christmas week, health insurance premiums in Wisconsin have increased at an unsustainable rate, skyrocketing by 182% since 2000, 18% above the national average.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Nobody Understands Debt

This does explain why the current power elite in Madison needed to turn a budget surplus into a debt emergency in order to justify their 'emergency' reconstruction of the Wisconsin Idea into something good for the Heritage Foundation and ALEC, rather than for the people of Wisconsin. Debt was never a problem -- the only problem was their own ideology.

From Krugman: Nobody Understands Debt - NYTimes.com

Sunday, January 01, 2012