Friday, August 1, 2014

Chris Abele's Very Bad, Rotten, No Good Day

Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele spent the day Thursday touting a blog post from OnMilwaukee.com naming him as one of Milwaukee's 12 most important people.  I won't get into the fallacious reasoning behind that finding for now, outside of noting that he is right next to Scott Walker on that list.

The reason that Abele was pushing this was to try to control the damage he suffered the rest of the day.

Despite his best efforts to squash democracy once again, the Milwaukee County overrode three of Abele's vetoes regarding referendum questions that will appear on the ballot in November.  The questions are pertaining to whether the state should raise the minimum wage, whether the state should accept federal funds to expand BadgerCare and whether the state should change state laws to allow Milwaukee County to have a county administrator instead of a county executive.

Even though Abele claimed to support the first two items, he didn't support them enough not to veto them.  Abele has been studiously avoiding discussing the third question even though there is video of him saying he would support this.  

I have long advocated for getting rid of the county executive position.  The last three people who have held that position - Tom Ament, Scott Walker and Abele - have shown that this position is wide open to corruption and to the abuse of office.

Abele stuck to his tired line of it costing too much money to add a few lines of ink to the ballot.  Not many people believe that it would cost nearly as much as Abele is trying to claim.  And even if it did, it is small potatoes compared to the amount of money Abele has squandered all by himself, with nothing to show for it.

But even the triumph of democracy over plutocracy wasn't Abele's biggest problem of the day.

It was the Supreme Court's ruling upholding Act 10.  

One might think that Abele, being as anti-worker and anti-union as he is, would be elated at the ruling.  But the fact is that actually puts him in a hole due to 1,200 Milwaukee County employees suddenly becoming eligible for the Rule of 75, where they can retire once their age and years of service add up to 75.  That could cost as much as $60 million, money which he had earmarked for his rich friends for no bid contracts and sweetheart deals on county assets.

No wonder Abele felt the need to flee the state for a while.  He's had a very bad day and needed to get away for a while.

Supreme Sophistry

The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued their decisions on three major cases on Thursday morning.  The cases were about the same sex registry, voter ID and Act 10.  The results weren't anything that we didn't expect, but it did show just how much of a joke that the Supreme Court has become with four of the "justices" being nothing more than sock puppets held up by the dark money special interests.

The small victory that humanity won was that the Supreme Court upheld the same sex registry.  While it was nice to see one decision go according to the Constitution, it's small potatoes considering that the same sex marriage ban was found to be unconstitutional, not only in Wisconsin but in state after state across the country.  I look forward to the day when people realize that bigotry in general isn't a constitutional right.

The Supreme Court also chose to uphold the Voter ID law, even though it has been found to be
unconstitutional in federal court.  The rationale they offered was that it would help prevent the voter fraud that doesn't exist.  Justice Pat Roggensack even rolled out the old rigmarole about needing a picture ID to go traveling, at the bank, etc.  What she failed to understand is that none of the activities she cited are constitutional rights like voting is.  As Justice Shirley Abrahamson correctly pointed out, this is the modern day version of Jim Crow.

Fortunately, because of the federal case, which is under appeal, there is a stay on the law for now.  That said, soon to be former Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has declared that he will use the Supreme Court ruling to try to get that stay lifted in time for November's election.  They must be really afraid that Mary Burke will bring a high turn out, which was supported in the most recent Marquette University poll numbers.

Last, but not least, the conservative faction of the Supreme Court followed their benefactors directions in supporting Act 10, even if they had to ignore entire sections of the case and the Constitution in order to do so.

As Justice Ann Walsh Bradley points out, Act 10 is a textbook case of unconstitutionality:
Bradley writes in the dissent that the majority ignores the plaintiffs’ claim that Act 10 infringes on the constitutional right to organize into a collective bargaining unit, and erroneously focuses on the right to bargain as a collective bargaining unit, and then determines no such right exists.

[...]

A constitutional right to organize as a collective bargaining unit is a well-established premise, the “sacredness” of which was stressed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court as early as 1902 and which the U.S. Supreme Court has declared a fundamental right, Bradley writes.

The First Amendment protects not just against prohibition of the right of association, but also from discouraging union membership or association, Bradley writes.

Act 10 discourages organizing by increasing its cost through the added expenses involved in preparing for annual elections and paying a certification fee, Bradley writes. In addition, revenues are reduced by the elimination of fair share agreements requiring members to pay a proportionate share of union costs, and by prohibiting municipalities from taking union dues out of workers’ pay checks, she adds.

“There is no doubt that these provisions act to discourage membership,” Bradley concludes.

Act 10 also creates unconstitutional conditions by barring workers organized under a collective bargaining agreement from negotiating anything other than an increase in base wages up to the amount of inflation, Bradley writes.

“This is the textbook definition of an unconstitutional condition,” she concludes. “By permitting such a statute to stand, the majority greatly dilutes the First Amendment on the right to freedom of association.”
The right wing has been making a big deal out of this, saying that taking billions of dollars out of the economy, losing thousands of experienced workers and a decrease in services is somehow a good thing.

They are also saying that this is the death knell for the unions, which is as fallacious as the the rationale for the Supreme Court's decision.  If I may remind the gentle reader, Wisconsin saw the seventh highest gain in union membership in the nation in 2013.

So while the rulings might be disappointing, they are not surprising.  Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work in fighting to restore our state to the greatness it once had and to return to the progressive standards that we have been known for.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Speaking Of Outsourcing...

Today was the first day of the Wisconsin State Fair.

As the gentle reader would imagine, it was full of food, animals and politicians.

Both Mary Burke and Scott Walker were there.

Do you suppose they might have had a friendly outsourced cream puff eating contest?


Republican Candidate Flees Interview When Asked About Obama's Birthplace

Some stories, you just can't make up:
Whitney, who is running for Louisiana's open sixth district, gained some prominence in June when she released a campaign video blasting global warming as a "hoax" and the press as "lamestream media." Wasserman said he pressed Whitney on the issue of climate change only to find her unable to answer his questions.

"But it’s not unreasonable to expect candidates to explain how they arrived at their positions, and when I pressed Whitney repeatedly for the source of her claim that the earth is getting colder, she froze and was unable to cite a single scientist, journal, or news source to back up her beliefs," he wrote.

Wasserman said he attempted to "change the subject" and ask whether she believed Obama was born in the United States. Her aides then ended the interview.

"When she replied that it was a matter of some controversy, her two campaign consultants quickly whisked her out of the room, accusing me of conducting a 'Palin-style interview,'" he continued. "It was the first time in hundreds of Cook Political Report meetings that a candidate has fled the room."
Sadly, Whitney wouldn't stand out in a crowd of Republicans in Fitzwalkerstan.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Joel Kleefisch Rest Area

The rest area on westbound I-94 near Lake Mills has been closed for a few days for a disturbing reason:
The rest rooms and drinking fountains of the west-bound rest area on I-94 at Johnson Creek
will remain closed until tests show the water system is clear of fecal coliform.

Officials say the soonest that could happen is Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas VanBeek of the state Department of Transportation said that the rest rooms are closed at the rest area, but the parking area and vending machines are open.

The rest area is located in Jefferson County between Milwaukee and Madison.

The restrooms closed on Monday afternoon after a well test determined the presence of fecal coliform in the water.
The article points out that the cause for the bacterial infestation is unknown.

The cynic in me wouldn't be surprised if they did know the cause.  After all, there has been reports of massive liquid cow manure polluting our waterways and there is the well-known story of how Herr Environmental was spreading three times the legal amount of human waste, polluting people's personal wells with the effluent.

Considering that State Representative Joel Kleefisch used his influence to try to minimize the consequences for this illegal dumping - not to mention the related cover up in the company's records - I think it would only be appropriate for the rest area to be named after him.

The name change would be very appropriate considering the rest area is full of crap and doesn't serve its purpose to help people.

Right Wing Echo Chamber - Revisted



By Jeff Simpson

Jesse Ventura was awarded $1.8 million dollars from the estate of Chris Kyle,for defamation.    

ST. PAUL, Minnesota -- A jury awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million on Tuesday in his lawsuit against the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.
Ventura was awarded $1.3 million for unjust enrichment, and $500,000 in damages for defamation, CBS station WCCO reports.
On the sixth day of deliberations, the federal jury decided that the 2012 best-selling book defamed Ventura in its description of a bar fight in California in 2006. Kyle wrote that he decked a man whom he later identified as Ventura after the man allegedly said the Navy SEALs "deserve to lose a few."
Ventura testified that Kyle fabricated the passage about punching him. Kyle said in testimony videotaped before his death last year that his story was accurate.

This was a story that I wrote about back when it came out in early 2012.  See Chris Kyle, was a Navy Seal who felt the need to criticize the President, so he was fawned over by the right.   He used his criticisms of the president to cash in on Koch Money and made numerous trips to WI to speak to the astro turf organization Americans for Prosperity.  

When Mr. Kyle came out with his fictional story, the right wing echo chamber jumped into action.   They could not share the story fast enough, apparently the far right wing Kyle was a true American hero but the Independent Ventura was not American enough for the righties!

Local BS meister, Jimmy Wigderson jumped on this story and his exact words were "one idiot down"(edit note:  Wiggy has since cowardly deleted the stories regarding this story).


Former Minnesota Governor and Navy Seal Jesse Ventura, (say what you want about his quirks, his credentials are impeccable), recently fell victim to the echo chamber. A Navy Seal named Chris Kyle, claimed to have knocked out the former Governor for talking bad about the troops. This, like throwing a rare steak into a lions den, set off a right wing blogger and Fox news frenzy. Noted American bad asses like Bill O’ Reilly, Brian Kilmeade and Eric Bolling(amongst many others) jumped on the news and could not have been happier. In our very own cheddarsphere, noted BS artist and local right wing extreme blogger and paid Macgruber propagandist James Wigderson, took time away from the glow of the "its not really working" but that won't stop the “Americans For even more Koch brothers Prosperity” event in Mordor this weekend to “confirm” with glee that this event happened and in the exact words of Wiggy “One idiot down”.

I guess Wiggy and the rest of the right feels that we can only support soldiers and veterans who blindly support right wing causes. The problem though(Surprise, Surprise,Surprise) is that it just isn’t true.

 That is how the right wing works, everyone on the same page, push as much BS as you possibly can, as fast as you can.  Then pretend it never happened when the truth comes out!  

One last observation, this all started early 2012.   The wheel of justice turns slowly but it does turn and the truth usually ends up standing tall.   Remember that when the right wing whines that there are no charges after a couple months of  a John Doe Investigation.   


Abele Takes A (Web)Page From Walker's Play Book

Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele wants to expand his "sphere of influence." To do so, he has been buying off what politicians he can and if one is not for sale, he is running his own hand-picked candidates like Dan Abele Adams,  

However, Abele wants Adams to win not just to gain another sockpuppet in Madison but also to keep Milwaukee County Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic out (but remember, it's not personal).  Unfortunately for the Abele Party, Adams isn't doing very well.  He isn't performing well in the debates.  To add to their woes, polling done by the conservative/Greater Milwaukee Committee/Abele Party front group, Forward Milwaukee County, must not have produced the numbers they were looking for.

Abele, realizing just how bad his numbers are, and with two years to go before he is up for reelection, has taken a page out of Scott Walker's playbook - namely, using county property for political purposes.

Abele recently had his county emperor web page updated.  The new web page doesn't have a simple mission statement or helpful information like most county executive web pages do.  Instead, Abele's county web page reads more like the bio page of a political campaign site.

Not only is Abele's web page highly politicized, it is chock full of factual errors and a few grammatical mistakes as well.

As an example of how politicized the page is, looked at this line:
As a lifelong Democrat, Abele is proud to support Democrats across the state and country, but he is also proud to reach beyond political labels and across the aisle to achieve the outcomes that serve the people of Milwaukee County. As County Executive, he’s used his platform to try and bring civility back to politics by asking decision makers to set their differences aside and focus on getting things done.
Also note the irony of that paragraph.  Apparently, he considers trying to frame county supervisors and running smear attacks against the board in general and some members in specific as being "civil."

Abele then uses his county campaign page to promote what he considers to be his two greatest "accomplishments."

One is the privatization of the mental health system.  He boasts that he has taken politics out of the system while omitting the fact that the board consists of his own political appointees who were fired from the county in disgrace.

What Abele did take out of the mental health system is the public.  Although the newly created board of political appointees overseeing the privatization of the system has public meetings, the public is not allowed to have any input into it. 

We'll see how long that lasts.

The other thing that Abele thinks is a great selling point for himself is Act 14, the law he had drafted by a silk stocking law firm and rammed through by State Representative Joe Sanfelippo, in order to eviscerate the county board and concentrate power in Abele's hands.  This way, he didn't have to worry about the will of the people getting in the way because of the quaint idea of representative government.

It must have been a shock to his system when he finally realized that the people weren't welcoming as Dear Leader and were willing to give up to their independence to his obvious superiority.  Obviously he was the Wise One because he had all that money that his daddy gave him.  Even if Abele didn't live up to his father's expectations, he was still better than a mere lay person.

Perhaps if Abele corrected the errata in this piece and put it on his campaign page where it belongs, he might be able to convince one or two people that he is a good guy.  But as it is, it is only a confusing and misleading bit of propaganda at a place it does not belong and not helpful to anyone, even himself.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

That's Not Debatable

In the Milwaukee area, with two weeks to the primary election, there were two very important debates scheduled for Tuesday night.

Chris Moews
One debate was for the candidates running for Milwaukee County Sheriff.  Somehow, the incompetent failed to show for the debate.  Apparently, he's not interested in keeping his job since he is so willing to insult the voters and/or so afraid of  his opponent, Chris Moews.
incumbent, David Clarke,

At least it gave Moews the chance to shine and show that he is easily the better choice.

The other debate was between the candidates for Assembly District 19, which include Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Jonathan Brostoff, Sara Geenen and Abele Party Candidate Dan Adams.

Marina Dimitrijevic
It has been reported to me that Dimitrijevic was very polished and presented herself very well.  Likewise,
Brostoff showed that he is no slouch and also did well for himself.  Geenen appeared to be very intelligent but timid.

That said, it was Dan Abele Adams that provided the comedic relief for the evening.  Not did he only prove himself to be a dyed-in-the-wool Abelebot, but spent a great deal of time trying to convince the audience he really is a Democrat.  Between that and trying to justify Act 14, which concentrated power in Milwaukee County in Chris Abele's inept hands, he had members of the audience laughing at him.

Here's a pro tip for Abele-Adams: If you're running for office in one of the most progressive districts in the state and you have to waste time trying to convince people that you're really a Democrat two weeks before the primary, you've got serious problems.


What A Country!

By Jeff Simpson



Where else but in the former democratic republic of the United States, could a duly elected Congressman from Wisconsin, charge $10,000(TAX FREE) to  eat lunch with his constituents,and even get a quick digital pic with said Congressman?



Let me save you $10,000  -  Insert your picture here:



  


Imagine what he would charge to come over and do your dishes?



PS:   The fact that this $10,000 deduction is TAX FREE shows how ridiculous and phony the IRS "scandal" is.  

You Have Been Warned

By Jeff Simpson

To all of our friends, neighbors, family, acquaintances, and other public workers who decided to take part in our democracy and emailed your elected representative during the Scott Walker caused protests.


LOCK YOUR DOORS

DO NOT ANSWER YOUR TELEPHONE

MONITOR YOUR CHILDREN

CHANGE YOUR EMAIL 

GET YOUR RESUME READY

Your life is going to be very complicated very soon.

 MacIver spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, to make sure they could get your personal information.  MacIver Institute now has access to your email, and all personal informationMacIver will soon be releasing this information to their rabid followers.  While I am sure that MacIver will tell people NOT to attack/intimidate people on the list, but they will be doing so in a  "wink wink" nudge nudge kind of way. 

For all of you affected by these intimidation tactics, here is the place to contact:

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy

Brett Healy, President
44 East Mifflin Street, Suite 201
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 1.608.237.7290

Email: info@maciverinstitute.com
If you fear for your life, do not hesitate to contact the police!  

Brett Healy

(picture from Urban Milwaukees public website). 
PS:  There is a reason they only wanted public worker's contact info:



Monday, July 28, 2014

Don't Take Your Guns To Tonette

By Jeff Simpson

A restaurant in Madison, that was well known as a place for people who need a gun at all times could gather, recently changed policy.   This restaurant, after allowing people to carry guns at will in their establishment, decided that maybe that was not the best idea, especially on the days when meatloaf was the daily special.  They reversed course, and decided no longer to allow weapons within their establishment(as per the law). 

The right wing, not understanding the free market and how businesses work, attacked(from the comments)!



I can’t believe this!!!
I’ve been there for several of these OC meals (we’re not a “concealed carry group”), and in fact I’m in that picture. We regularly filled the restaurant with dozens of diners.

The only bad thing I know about happening is that someone was showing off her laser sight … by unholstering and pointing her pistol at someone under the table (so they could see the red dot)!
I can’t believe this!!!
I’ve been there for several of these OC meals (we’re not a “concealed carry group”), and in fact I’m in that picture. We regularly filled the restaurant with dozens of diners.
The only bad thing I know about happening is that someone was showing off her laser sight … by unholstering and pointing her pistol at someone under the table (so they could see the red dot)!
- See more at: http://wisconsindailyindependent.com/local-madison-restaurant-that-hosts-conceal-carry-events-hangs-a-no-gun-sign-on-their-door/#sthash.XeB3GSOH.dpuf
I can’t believe this!!!
I’ve been there for several of these OC meals (we’re not a “concealed carry group”), and in fact I’m in that picture. We regularly filled the restaurant with dozens of diners.
The only bad thing I know about happening is that someone was showing off her laser sight … by unholstering and pointing her pistol at someone under the table (so they could see the red dot)!
- See more at: http://wisconsindailyindependent.com/local-madison-restaurant-that-hosts-conceal-carry-events-hangs-a-no-gun-sign-on-their-door/#sthash.XeB3GSOH.dpuf
I can’t believe this!!!
I’ve been there for several of these OC meals (we’re not a “concealed carry group”), and in fact I’m in that picture. We regularly filled the restaurant with dozens of diners.
The only bad thing I know about happening is that someone was showing off her laser sight … by unholstering and pointing her pistol at someone under the table (so they could see the red dot)!
- See more at: http://wisconsindailyindependent.com/local-madison-restaurant-that-hosts-conceal-carry-events-hangs-a-no-gun-sign-on-their-door/#sthash.XeB3GSOH.dpuf
The restaurant made a business decision that the "dozens of diners"  did not outweigh the combat pay to the wait staff.  You can expect that the "dozens of diners" will now be taking their business elsewhere in protest.   Without your gun at dinner, how can you feel safe ordering the Wisconsin beer cheese soup?

While this restaurant will feel the wraith of "responsible gun owners",  first lady Tonette Walker gets a free pass for not allowing guns near her.







What was supposed to be a gentle promotional stroll along the Sheboygan lakefront Friday morning by the state's first lady, became a bit more concerning to those attending when a local gun-rights advocate showed up with a semi-automatic rifle strapped to his back and a holstered pistol hanging from his waist.

Bill Polster, of Sheboygan Falls, said his intention in bringing the AK-47, a Glock and a Ruger LCP pistol to Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker's visit to Sheboygan on Friday was not to scare anyone, but rather to exercise his Second Amendment rights.

"People have the right to self defense and there are so many people that don't realize that carrying a weapon is legal in Wisconsin," Polster said.

Polster has become a recognizable fixture in the region, often showing up at farmers markets, parades and even movie theaters and other public events to make the point that it is legal in Wisconsin to openly carry a properly licensed firearm.
   







One media report said that Walker's visit was delayed about 15 minutes by Polster's presence, but Sgt. David Anderson with the Sheboygan Police Department said one office was on hand for the first lady's visit and that no extra security measures were taken.
While the Friends of Scott Walker campaign sent out the Dept. of Tourism gopher to explain the wait away, but he could not come up with anything better than "waiting for the sun".   In the official "walk with Walker" website there is no mention of only walking under perfect conditions.   Additionally, why would she not be talking to the other 8 supporters of her husbands who were there ready to walk, instead of hiding in a building?   Could it be fear of a loon with an AK-47?

 Polster joined in the walk after stashing his weapons in the trunk of his car.

Finally the biggest tell of all, is that Bill "carrying a weapon is perfectly legal" Polster, did the walk BUT locked his weapon in his trunk!      How could he possibly feel safe on a walk with the first lady of WI with his guns locked in his car?  If it is perfectly legal, why in the world would Mr. Polster put everyones lives in danger by not carrying his gun?

Could it be that guns are welcome everywhere but around the Walker family? 

In case you do not know what an AK47 is or can do, see the instructional video below:


The Abele Party: For A More Perfect Plutocracy

Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele has often bragged about being willing to work with anyone, regardless of political party, in order to get things done.

This is both a true and false statement.

Chris Abele - as he sees himself
He is not willing to work with just anyone.  He only wants to work with people that will be "yes men" to his ideas, no matter how bad they are.  This is why you see him donating to rabid Teapublicans like Joe Sanfelippo and Dale Kooyenga.  And in an area where there isn't a politician he can buy, he puts in his own people, like he has done with Dan Adams and Tia Torhorst, both of whom are running as Democrats.

So, in Abele's view from atop his ivory tower, it doesn't matter what party the person belongs to as long as they are willing to do his bidding.  That is the only requirement to belong to the Abele Party.

But if someone stands in his way of creating his plutocratic paradise - or even tells him "no" - he is more than willing to use his money as a weapon.  Just ask the county board about that.  Or the unions.  If people would even say they didn't support one of Abele's goals, he would use his money to have that person blackballed until they backed down.

Without doubt, Abele has done a lot of good with his money, supporting such noble goals as marriage equality.

Sadly, Abele's involvement in any agenda isn't about being progressive or even just doing the right thing.  In fact, most of the objectives he has done or is trying to do are anything but progressive or the right thing to do.  Based on Abele's own statements and deeds, the platform of the Abele Party include:
  • Taking away representative government
  • Taking away local control of such things such as the mental health system
  • Taking money away from workers
  • Taking money away from retirees
  • Taking public assets - like parks - and selling them off for a song to other wealthy, elitist plutocrats, even if it requires a law changing geographic history to do so
  • Taking public assets that he can't sell - like the transit system - and privatizing them out to other wealthy, elitist plutocrats, even if it hurts the citizens and taxpayers
As the gentle reader can see, the Abele Party's platform is all take and no give.

One might say that this is no different that the platform of any other plutocrat and oligarch, but there is a distinct difference.  While most plutocrats and oligarchs has greed as their motivator, Abele's motivation is different.

Milwaukee Magazine once ran a story about Abele, identifying him as "The Billionaire's Son."  The story appears to be scrubbed from their site, but it can still be found here.  The article describes an insecure and undisciplined man that uses his money to gain affirmation.  He does so by buying influence with an agency and then, once ensconced, uses his money to mold the agency to fit his visions, whether they are good or bad.

This blurb from the article shows just how insecure Abele is and how he uses his father's money to cover up that insecurity:
But many individuals active in the nonprofit sector agree with one foundation head that “a great percent of Chris Abele’s -giving is in the category of the vanity giver.” A major corporate CEO is harsher: “When he does [participate], he grandstands.… The Kellners, Uihleins and Lubars all give away a great deal of money every year, and they don’t have to get their picture in the paper. Maybe it’s just immaturity with Chris.”

They and others cite a litany of examples. One involves two $100,000 Argosy Foundation gifts Chris arranged. Rather than the normal protocol, which would be to recognize the foundation as the donor, Chris took credit, too. The 2003 Milwaukee Art Museum annual report lists “Christopher Abele on behalf of the Argosy Foundation” (even though he gave his own smaller gift); the 2003 Boys and Girls Clubs annual report reads similarly. Seeing Abele’s name alongside Argosy’s looked like a quest for attention or at least a need for approval, especially when two larger gifts, $25 million each, remained anonymous.

Abele is like “a moth to the flame,” says a friend who warned him that -“publicity can be a double-edged sword.” When the friend advised Abele to back off a bit, Abele protested that he could “leverage” his celebrity status to advance causes he supports. But it’s hard to see what leverage Abele gets from saying that the one thing he really likes about Milwaukee is that it’s not pretentious, then drops names relentlessly himself. Talk to Abele for a while and pretty soon he’s recounting how he went to Cuba and met with Castro, how he’s importing the entire Yale Drama School faculty as directors for the Milwaukee Shakespeare Company he co-founded or how he talked Tom Barrett into running for mayor. (“Yeah, maybe him and 300 other people,” says a Barrett adviser.)

“He’ll say, ‘George and I did this,’ ” says the friend, “and he’s talking about George Soros [the investor-philanthropist-Democratic activist and 28th richest man in the world]. Well, it was a ‘meet and greet.’ Nobody cares. He doesn’t need to do that. But he wants to be considered important.”
The article also goes on to give us some insight to the source of Abele's insecurity:
That was exactly what Abele needed to do, too. Like the nonprofits he advised, he wanted to win the approval of a major philanthropist – in Abele’s case, his father. “Chris always said his father felt he was never successful at anything,” says friend Benson. “I think that explains Chris’ workaholic desire to do well.”

Abele’s inability to distinguish himself in his father’s eyes may have fueled his constant need for approval, which he sought in other places, including Milwaukee’s limelight. But he also found the perfect proving ground for another chance. “In Boston, he’d always be the son of John Abele,” says Theoharis Constantine Theoharis, Abele’s former Harvard instructor. “He had to strike out on his own, away from the inevitable comparisons to his father. And he had a certain excitement about what he could do in Milwaukee.”
In other words, Abele has some unresolved daddy issues and has decided to take it out on Milwaukee County. Isn't that just lovely?

The worst part is that Abele is not going to be satisfied with proving himself to his father with just Milwaukee County.  There has been repeated rumors that Abele is considering higher office - either taking on fellow wealthy elitist Ron Johnson or running for governor if Mary Burke doesn't make it this year.  That would explain why he is already gearing up his campaign machine for 2016.

I certainly hope that is not true.  For all the good things that Abele has done for the community, they cannot even begin to touch all the damage he has done in the past three years, not to mention all the damage he yet wants to do.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Crazy Campaign of Amardeep Kaleka

Last fall, while endorsing Rob Zerban for Congress, I pointed out to some of the bizarre doings from his primary opponent, Amardeep Kaleka.  Among the oddities were the fact that Kaleka was running his campaign from California and some personal beliefs that one might not expect from a serious candidate.

Since then, Zerban has been running a solid campaign - attending events, fundraising and calling out Paul Ryan's nonsense and maleficence at every turn.

Meanwhile, Kaleka appears to be running more some sort of stunt than a serious political campaign.

Over the past month or so, he has sent out not just one, but two, fundraising emails with the same curious sales pitch on why people should donate:


For $10, he'll get one vote? What, is he planning on paying people to vote for him? That might work in California, but it's definitely against the law in Wisconsin (with Republicans thinking that they are exempt, of course).  And he needs $2 to have someone knock on doors? Don't most politicians have volunteers to do that?

Kaleka doesn't end the crazy there either.

On his Facebook page, he's been touting this:


Look past the curious choice of using a picture of a debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon for a minute to look at the wording.  He's saying that the first 100 people can watch this debate for free, but then what? He's going to charge everyone after that to see him lose his butt to Zerban?

Oh, and Kaleka has another problem with this. Zerban has not agreed to anything with Kaleka.  Kaleka is selling a false bill of goods...sort of like his campaign.

It would seem that Kaleka is pretty obsessed with raising cash.  While money, unfortunately, still place way too large of a role in politics, this trickery is way beyond the usual fundraising gimmicks.  Maybe he's still trying to raise money for his UFO documentary.  Maybe it's something else.  

All I know is that he is an unfortunate distraction from the important work that Rob Zerban is doing there in getting a real, progressive message out, supporting working people and small business owners and putting the power back in the hands of the people.

If you can, please help support Rob Zerban as he finally gets rid of that twice-damned fool, Paul Ryan.  

You can learn more about Rob Zerban at his website and you can help support his campaign by donating here.

Congratulations To The 2014 Class of Emerge Wisconsin

From Wendy Strout, Executive Director of Emerge WI:
Every year around this time, 20-25 women officially become Emerge Wisconsin Alumnae.  They receive their certificate of graduation and their orange "e" pin that proudly lets others know they have completed the Emerge Wisconsin program.

This year, Emerge is proud to graduate 21 women from across Wisconsin who have proven their ability to run, their skills to win, and their commitment to increasing the number of Democratic women in office across Wisconsin.

Please help us congratulate our newest Emerge Alumnae:
Image courtesy of Emerge Wisconsin 
Cecilia Anguiano, Racine 
Anne Arndt, Wisconsin Rapids 
Ann DeGarmo, Madison 
Jacki Gackstatter, Janesville 
Sharon Hampson, La Crosse 
Rellen Hardtke, River Falls 
Peggy Jerome, La Crosse 
Emily Kenney, Wauwatosa 
Zonia Lopez Chrostowski, Milwaukee 
Arvina Martin, Madison 
Anne Molineu, West Bend 
Julia McNally, Grafton 
Jackie Moore, Ashland 
Adrienne Oliver, Milwaukee 
Rebecca Ruechel, St. Francis 
Luz Sosa, Milwaukee 
Wendellyn Stallings, Sussex 
Kira Stewart, Madison 
Shelia Stubbs, Madison 
Katherine Svitavsky, La Crosse 
Leanne Wied, Brookfield

Over the past seven months, our graduates have spent hours honing their skills and preparing to run. We can't wait to announce their candidacy!

Friday, July 25, 2014

"A Person's A Person, No Matter How Small" Dr. Seuss




By Jeff Simpson



Some "highlights" from the republican platform:



Support voluntary student-initiated prayer in school

We will continue to work for the return of voluntary school prayer to our schools and will strongly enforce the Republican legislation that guarantees equal access to school facilities by student religious groups. We strongly support voluntary student-initiated prayer in school without governmental interference. We strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s rulings against student-initiated prayer.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 84 , Sep 1, 2004

The Wisconsin Republican's in action:


Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, of Burlington, wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Thursday asking that Wisconsin not be considered a site to temporarily shelter unaccompanied immigrant children who are crossing the border, mostly from Central America.
The letter, posted on the Wheeler Report, was also signed by Republican Assembly members John Nygren, of Marinette; Joel Kleefisch, of Oconomowoc; and David Craig, of Big Bend...

The legislators ask if there's a limit on the number of immigrants that would be housed in the state and the liklihood the minors will be deemed refugees, which could mean getting public assistance.
They also express concern about the potential for the minors to permanently reside in Wisconsin.
Housing these minors will result in a "significant strain" on local and state budgets and impact both public education and health system, the letter said.
It asks that the decision to locate unaccompanied minors in Wisconsin be reconsidered.

Inscription on the Statue of Liberty:

 Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

 


What Jesus had to say about the subject:

Matthew 18:1-35 ESV / 19 helpful votes

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,



God Bless Us everyone.    


We believe the phrase- ‘One nation under God’- in the Pledge of Allegiance is perfectly harmonious with the United States Constitution, protected by the First Amendment.
We agree with the Founding Fathers that religion and morality were fundamentally important to creating and maintaining freedom in this country.
We believe the best way to ensure religious freedom is to protect all religious references and symbols; including those on public buildings, lands, or documents. This includes, but is not limited to, prayer in public schools, thanking God in a graduation speech, and religious symbols being placed on public property during the appropriate holiday season. We reject that such references violate the U.S. Constitution or discriminate against those who are of other faiths or are not religious.
- See more at: http://www.wisgop.org/our-party/republican-party-of-wisconsin-platform/#sthash.Wcn95DHn.dpuf
We believe the phrase- ‘One nation under God’- in the Pledge of Allegiance is perfectly harmonious with the United States Constitution, protected by the First Amendment.
We agree with the Founding Fathers that religion and morality were fundamentally important to creating and maintaining freedom in this country.
We believe the best way to ensure religious freedom is to protect all religious references and symbols; including those on public buildings, lands, or documents. This includes, but is not limited to, prayer in public schools, thanking God in a graduation speech, and religious symbols being placed on public property during the appropriate holiday season. We reject that such references violate the U.S. Constitution or discriminate against those who are of other faiths or are not religious.
- See more at: http://www.wisgop.org/our-party/republican-party-of-wisconsin-platform/#sthash.Wcn95DHn.dpuf
We believe the phrase- ‘One nation under God’- in the Pledge of Allegiance is perfectly harmonious with the United States Constitution, protected by the First Amendment.
We agree with the Founding Fathers that religion and morality were fundamentally important to creating and maintaining freedom in this country.
We believe the best way to ensure religious freedom is to protect all religious references and symbols; including those on public buildings, lands, or documents. This includes, but is not limited to, prayer in public schools, thanking God in a graduation speech, and religious symbols being placed on public property during the appropriate holiday season. We reject that such references violate the U.S. Constitution or discriminate against those who are of other faiths or are not religious.
- See more at: http://www.wisgop.org/our-party/republican-party-of-wisconsin-platform/#sthash.Wcn95DHn.dpuf
We believe the phrase- ‘One nation under God’- in the Pledge of Allegiance is perfectly harmonious with the United States Constitution, protected by the First Amendment.
We agree with the Founding Fathers that religion and morality were fundamentally important to creating and maintaining freedom in this country.
We believe the best way to ensure religious freedom is to protect all religious references and symbols; including those on public buildings, lands, or documents. This includes, but is not limited to, prayer in public schools, thanking God in a graduation speech, and religious symbols being placed on public property during the appropriate holiday season. We reject that such references violate the U.S. Constitution or discriminate against those who are of other faiths or are not religious.
- See more at: http://www.wisgop.org/our-party/republican-party-of-wisconsin-platform/#sthash.Wcn95DHn.dpuf

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Ellis Incident Revisited

On April 9, 2014, soon to be former State Senator Mike Ellis was in a bar, full of liquid courage, and was shown making  some rather bold statements.  One of Ellis' statements included pointing out the truism that Scott Walker worked only for Scott Walker.

Little did Ellis know at the time of his spouting off that he was being secretly videotaped.

By far, the most renowned of Ellis' comments that fateful night involved illegal activities, if they were true:
Mike Ellis
"I am putting together my own super PAC. I have a $400,000 committee and Judi Rhodes will, I am raising the money, she will manufacture the crap," said Ellis in the video.

Ellis was talking about forming a Super PAC to attack his Democratic opponent in the 19th Senate District, Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton).

It is against the law in Wisconsin for a candidate to coordinate with a PAC or any outside groups.
The woman that Ellis says "will manufacture the crap" is Judith Rhodes Engels, who has a long history as a WISGOP fundraiser and operative dating all the way back to the original caucus scandal and has been named more than once in the Walkergate investigation.

Given her background, Rhodes Engels would be well aware that any such activity as Ellis was describing would be highly illegal.  Rhodes Engels was quick to try to distance herself from Ellis after the video went public:
Rhodes said in a statement that “I have never set up any ‘Super PAC’ nor have I had any intention of doing so nor have I ever had any conversation with Senator Ellis about it.

“I will not work for any committee that would imply that I would improperly do so. I have terminated my contract with the Ellis to Madison Committee.”

She resigned Wednesday.
The Ellis Incident raised many questions, the largest of which is could it be true that Rhodes Engels was again breaking the law by setting up these super PACs for Wisconsin Republicans.

Ellis made two statements the night he was unknowingly videotaped that could help us find an answer to that question.

First, he said that he had donors that would give money to the super PAC, specifically naming Stuart Mills of  Mills Fleet Farm as one of those donors.  Secondly, as mentioned above, he named Rhodes Engels as the go to person to get the dirty work done.

As to the first statement, Ellis' campaign finance report (pdf form available here) shows that on March 3, 2014, Mills gave $1,000 to Ellis' campaign, the maximum amount allowed by law for a State Senate campaign. Furthermore, Mills is not the only one that gave the maximum to Ellis.  These types of donors are golden to politicians and these types of relationships are not taken lightly.

It also shows that these donors have the potential to be exactly the types of donors Ellis spoke about as giving to his super PAC.

(It should be noted that it appears that the last serious fundraising happened on April 7, two days before the video.

As for the comments regarding Rhodes Engels, Ellis' campaign finance report shows that he made five payments to Cross Rhodes, the agency that Rhodes Engels had set up.

Ellis paid Cross Rhodes $500 each time on January 17, February 12 and March 14, 2014.  Each payment was marked as solicitation expense, meaning that he was paying her for her fundraising acumen.

On April 18, nine days after the video came out, Ellis paid Cross Rhodes another $322.35 for mailing expenses.

So far, nothing too exceptional.  Ah, but there is more.  There is always more.

Judith Rhodes Engels with another favored
client, State Senator Scott Fitzgerald
On May 2, 2014, nearly a full month after the video came out and Rhodes Engels quit working for Ellis, he paid her a whopping $8,509.10 for "consulting fees."

Holy broken gavels, Batman!

Now, that payment could cover a lot of things, but it stands out by the sheer size of it, especially when compared to the $500 monthly payments leading up to that point.  The amount of that pay out makes it appear that Rhodes Engels was doing a helluva lot more than just fundraising and sending out mailers for Ellis.

Could it be that Ellis was telling the truth about Rhodes Engels setting up super PACs?  His campaign finance report doesn't prove that but it sure doesn't eliminate that possibility.

Wouldn't it be interesting to see who else is paying Cross Rhodes and exactly what they are paying for?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Only In Wisconsin



BY Jeff Simpson


ONLY in Wisconsin could the #morefreedom #moreliberty #lessgovernment Republican party of Wisconsin, advocate for people to be able to bring cameras into polling places and video people as they vote. 


Wisconsin's election board rejected the request of Republican lawmakers on Monday and decided to keep in place a ban on using cameras at polling stations after the NAACP and others raised concerns about voter intimidation.
The Government Accountability Board, on a 4-2 vote, went along with other changes affecting election observers — including requiring them to show photo identification at the polls — and sent the proposed rule to the Legislature.
Republicans in control could choose to rewrite the rule, including allowing cameras, but it won't be done in time for the Aug. 12 primary or the Nov. 4 general election barring a special legislative session.
Republican co-chairs of the state Senate and Assembly elections committees had requested the changes, including allowing cameras. Messages left with those lawmakers — Sen. Mary Lazich of New Berlin, and Rep. Kathy Bernier of Lake Hallie — were not immediately returned.
At least cooler heads prevailed for the moment.  It is a sign of things to come though if we do not turn out and vote in November!