Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree



By Jeff Simpson

  Matt Walker had this published in the Badger Herald recently:

As a student, I understand the concern about finding a job after college. It’s something that any college student would worry about from time to time.

Where am I going to work? Who will I work for? Will I be able to find a job? All of these questions are common and natural among upcoming graduates.

The good news is that students in Wisconsin can worry a little less.

Since taking office, Gov. Scott Walker, along with Republicans in the Senate and Assembly, have worked to create more economic prosperity for everyone in the state, including college students, so that we may have the opportunity to find a job after graduation.

The problem of course is that it does not reflect reality on the ground:


Employers in Wisconsin shed an estimated 9,500 total public and private sector jobs in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported late last week.

Along with North Carolina (11,300 job losses) and Alaska (2,300 job losses), Wisconsin experienced a “statistically significant” decline in employment, according to a press release from the BLS.

The Wisconsin losses included an estimated 7,900 government jobs, 5,000 jobs in professional or business services and 2,200 in manufacturing.

Incumbent Gov. Scott Walker has maintained that his policies of cutting taxes coupled with a more business friendly attitude in state government will boost the Wisconsin economy.

But after a campaign pledge to see 250,000 new private sector jobs created during his first term, Wisconsin has added only about 100,000 new jobs since Walker took office in January 2011.

The state now ranks 9th out of 10 Midwestern states in job growth under Walker.
 We aren't dead last is a great Walker campaign slogan.  Seriously though, I hope economics is not Matty's major or he could be in for a long college career.   Finally this was at the end of Matt's LTE:

Matthew Walker is the chairman of the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans. This article was submitted on his behalf by Jesse Dougherty (jdougherty@wisgop.org), the press secretary for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Let's see, ghostwritten LTE's with no basis in facts and then sign your name and take credit....seems like Matt Walker is following in his father's footsteps perfectly! 

   

Chris Able: The Pro-Poverty Plutocrat

Here we go again.

Chris Abele, the Mitt Romney of Milwaukee County, has opposed a living wage ordinance since Supervisor David Bowen first announced his plan to introduce the resolution on Labor Day of last year.  Abele was so opposed to it that he went to the Teapublicans in the state legislature and nearly had all living wage laws in the entire state nullified.

Fortunately, despite Abele's best efforts, the living wage ordinance passed, his veto was overridden and the law will go into effect at the end of May.

But Abele is still bound and determined to keep people in poverty.

The latest chapter in Abele's war against the poor starts with a battle over the housekeeping contract for Milwaukee County.  Abele is trying to get the contract with his chosen vendor, CleanPower, rammed through before the living wage law goes into effect.*

To do so, he is sending out his minions, like his personally-owned county supervisor, Deanna Alexander, and with the help of right wing propagandists like Wisconsin Reporter, to raise the false concern that postponing the contract will cost taxpayers more than $2 million over the next two years.

There's more than a few problems with this presumption.

First and foremost is the presumption that it will have to cost taxpayers a dime.  If Abele and his band of cronies had any negotiating skills, they could have the vendor eat the costs.  They can afford to lose a half million or even a million dollars of pure profit more than the workers could afford to be kept at sub-poverty pay levels.

Secondly, what Abele and company doesn't want you to think about is what it would cost not giving these workers a living wage.  If these workers are kept at the sub-poverty pay levels, taxpayers would be paying for their income subsidies, such as BadgerCare, food stamps and energy assistance.  It also doesn't consider the other costs that stem from keeping people in poverty, such as the money needed to deal with foreclosed homes, homelessness and so on.

Thirdly, Abele doesn't want people to realize that this would also help stimulate the economy.  Paying someone $11.33 an hour is not going to make them filthy rich.  These workers are going to be spending the extra income on food, rent, mortgages, taxes and all sorts of things that will help keep the economy going.

Perhaps Abele realized that this argument wasn't working after all and tried to up the ante by complaining that the living wage law would require the county to hire three people to enforce the law.

Abele claims that he needs the extra staff to investigate employee complaints, do audits and answer open records requests.  I'm not exactly sure why the extra staff would be needed since these are services that should already being done.  Unless he his implying that the companies he is contracting with are that disreputable.

The cost of these three extra people, if they are really needed, would be $200,000, per his propagandists.

His concern over that price is laughable.

The county budget is $1.3 billion.  In a budget that big, $200,000 isn't even a blip on the radar.

Abele is paying more than that to just two of his top aides, Chief of Staff Amber Moreen and Director of Administration Don Tyler.

Abele's 2014 proposed budget was off by $3.5 million, but he wasn't concerned about that.

Abele's deferred maintenance caused a fire in the courthouse that is going to cost more than $17 million, of which at least $2 million will be coming directly from taxpayers.  He has yet to apologize for this.

The supposed price for these three workers is half of what Abele wanted to spend on a private security force, because he was too busy trying to lay off deputies, leaving none to protect him.

As I have pointed out before, the issue of a living wage is not an economic one.  The fact that Abele has not qualms about squandering millions of tax dollars shows that it's not a fiscal issue for him either.

No, it's not an economic issue, but a moral one.  And the message Abele is sending with his constant attacks against the poor is that he is willfully trying to keep them in poverty, , which, by any measure, is an immoral act.

Fortunately, the Milwaukee County Board, which has shown the fiscal responsibility and moral strength that Abele can only wish he had, appears to be poised to push the housekeeping contract back so that the living wage can be enforced and lift the workers out of poverty sooner rather than later.

*I would be remiss if I did not also point out that by refusing to give the county housekeepers their jobs back, he is not only not going to save money, as the private company workers will get the living wage as well, but if the housekeepers prevail in their lawsuit, the county will also have to pay them five years of back pay.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Right Wingers Who Cried "Wolf!"

For years, the right wingers have been trying to portray themselves as martyrs.  Radio squawkers like Charlie Sykes and Vickie McKenna and propaganda groups like Media Trackers or MacIver Institute have been feeding the same lines to the handful of people that actually pay attention to them that the right wing has been the victims of government overreach.

The two things that they love to mewl the most about are how the Walkergate investigations are partisan witch hunts and that President Barack Obama has been abusing the powers of his office by having the IRS target them.

Jeff Simpson has already shown their ridiculousness about the Walkergate investigations by pointing out that some of the District Attorneys behind the investigations are Republicans, that the GAB who called for the investigation consists entirely of Republicans and that the special prosecutor in the case had actually voted for Scott Walker.

Now, via Anomoly at FreakOutNation, their claims about being targeted by the IRS has been shown to be nothing more than crying "Wolf!":
A series of IRS documents, provided to ThinkProgress under the Freedom of Information Act, appears to contradict the claims by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status “received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs.” The 22 “Be On the Look Out” keywords lists, distributed to staff reviewing applications between August 12, 2010 and April 19, 2013, included more explicit references to progressive groups, ACORN successors, and medical marijuana organizations than to Tea Party entities. [...]

[T]he actual IRS records indicate that at least some additional scrutiny was required for groups of all types that had names that sounded political — and that the explicit heightened scrutiny for left-leaning groups was even longer-standing than for Tea Party groups.
That the right wing squawkers and propagandists would lie about this is not surprising. It is what they do. And even though the evidence shows that that they are the lying liars that lie, they will continue to lie about these things, because again, it is what they do.

What makes it even more egregious though is the fact that these would be martyrs are so damn hypocritical about it.  Even as they are trying to play the victim, they are the ones that are constantly practicing McCarthyism and trying to smear anyone and everyone on the left, no matter how much they have to conflate and confabulate things.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bryce Runs For State Senate 21st District

About a month ago, I wrote about my friend, Rand Bryce, and said that we should draft him to run for the 21st Senate District.  Thanks to you, gentle readers, we were able to raise our voice and Randy heeded our call!  From the mailbox today:
Randy Bryce Announces Candidacy for 21st State Senate DistrictRunning to end Political Games, Attacks on Veterans, Job Creation Failures

MADISON – Today, active community member, veteran, and father Randy Bryce announced his candidacy for the 21st State Senate District in Wisconsin. A local ironworker, Randy is running to stop the partisan games, attacks on veterans and job creation failures in Madison. 
“I have always put my community first,” said Bryce, “After the partisan games of the last sessions allowed partisan redistricting, attacks on veterans and a job creation failures, I knew I had to stand up for the community that I love.

“It is time to stop the single-party rule in Madison that jammed through countless pieces of harmful legislation without regard for the impacts on our communities. From making it harder for veterans to obtain compensation when dying from service-caused mesothelioma to the failure to keep up with our neighboring states in job creation, our community deserves better. I am running to give the 21st State Senate District the representation it deserves.

Randy is a born and raised Wisconsinite with deep roots across Southeastern Wisconsin. From serving in the US Army to helping homeless veterans find work to building southeastern Wisconsin monuments like Miller Park, Randy has spent his life giving back to his community. Randy is a Caledonia resident, and, has a 7-year-old son, Ben.
Make no mistakes about it, Bryce has a long road to hoe, contending with a gerrymandered district and the huge spending that will be coming from the corporate special interests.

If there is anyone that is able to represent the people and take on the special interests, it is Bryce.

I congratulate and comment Bryce for his campaign and look forward to supporting him in his campaign.

$1,000,000 Wisconsin Taxpayer Dollars Is Now Petty Cash

By Jeff Simpson

H/T Jud Lounsbury:

Scott Walker is out with a new ad in his perpetual elect me campaign. This time he is touting "less dependence on Government" and the featured Wisconsinite, Jeff Ehrhart, who is shown supporting Scott Walker, has actually received over $1,000,000 in Government subsidies to keep Mr. Free Market afloat.   

This flows with the theme of his last ad, which discussed keeping taxes low, while showcasing Horsens Homestead Farms, recipients of over $600,000 of Government subsidies!  

Now thanks to Wisconsin Reporter, we find out that Walker's petty revenge bill, ACT 10, which was shoved through the legislature and passed in the middle of the night, was written so poorly that it has cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin almost $1,000,000 and counting trying to defend it's Constitutionality.    



Maybe they should try working on bills bipartisanly so they stay out of the courts.   It is also obvious that taxpayer bills in the range of $1,000,000 to advance his agenda do not even make Scott flinch! 





Luther Olsen Better Watch His Back



By Jeff Simpson

Luther Olsen is the next stop on the right wing crazy republican purge tour:

After this came out in WIspolitics:

 Olsen, the Senate Education Committee chair, tells WisPolitics.com he doesn't fear opposition from anti-Common Core activists.

"If I'm the guy who is standing between getting rid of the Common Core and keeping it, I can go to sleep fine saying, 'Yeah, I think it's the right thing, and that's not a problem,'" said Olsen, R-Ripon.


Which prompted this response from the despicable Vicki Mckenna:


sen luther olsen can't figure out why everyone doesn't like #BigGovernment oversight of schools. #wiright. @leahvukmir
 When the right wing talking hatred heads ring the bell whistle, the salivating dogs follow:


Income Inequality That Your Kids Suffer From


 

By Jeff Simpson

The average teacher salary in Wisconsin is $46,000/yr.  Governor Scott Walker's signature piece of legislation ACT10 cut public workers take home pay by up to 12%.    Which for the average public teacher salary in WI comes to approximately $5520. Act 10 has been in effect for four years now which would be $22,080 in lost income(or demand in Wisconsin).


What was the motivating factor behind that?

Scott Walker in that time has received over $2,400,000 in support of privatizing schools, increasing vouchers and ending teachers unions.  This is money given by the ruling class earmarked as just donations for the politicians they own(for those of you scoring at home, that is equivalent to over 52 teachers complete salaries).     

It doesn't stop there.  


The Democracy Campaign report showed that spending by voucher supporters skyrocketed in the last election cycle, with more than half of the $9.8 million spent over the past decade coming in 2011 and 2012.

Of the spending, $7 million was for activity like independent campaign ads or mailings. The remaining $2.8 million was given in individual campaign contributions to mostly Republican and conservative candidates for office. Nearly two-thirds of that $2.8 million came from donors outside of Wisconsin.

The most donations came from billionaire voucher advocates Richard and Betsy DeVos of Michigan, who gave $337,330 to Wisconsin candidates between 2003 and the first six months of 2012.
Walker received $2.35 million from voucher supporters since 2006, but most of that came during his recall campaign. He got $1.1 million from individual school choice supporters — including $252,600 from Richard and Betsy DeVos. He got another $1.1 million from the Washington-based American Federation for Children, the report showed.

That group is the main driver of outside spending from voucher supporters in Wisconsin, accounting for $4.4 million of the $7 million over the past decade. The group’s Wisconsin lobbyist is former Republican Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen.

Two other former Republican speakers, John Gard and Jeff Fitzgerald*, work for School Choice Wisconsin.

*  total spending does NOT include salaries to the many many lobbyists they employ.  All of which make more than the average teacher does in salary for a year.

So ask yourself why billionaires, who have spent their life increasing their salary and worrying about ROI would be investing millions in privatizing our schools. 

Do you think it is because they worry about YOUR child's education or is it because they see massive return on investments by privatizing our schools?



Jumping Into The Crazy Season With Both Feet

When political campaigns start swinging into full gear, it's often referred to as the crazy season.  And there's not many places where it gets crazier than Fitzwalkerstan.

Case in point would be in regards to Robin Vos. Almost everyone - with the possible exception of Michelle Litjens and a handful of Koch/Bradley Foundation employees - would agree that Robin Vos needs to go.  There are few that are as sleazy, disreputable, greedy and power hungry as Vos.

So when it was announced that Vos was going to be primaried, one might have thought it good news.  But they actually found someone even crazier and more to the right than even Vos - a secessionist:
According to the Racine Journal Times, Bryn Biemeck -- the Republican taking on Vos this fall -- is touting her support of states' rights. That's the reason she said she is opposing the Common Core education standards for Wisconsin schools.

Biermeck -- a 28-year-old bank employee -- said she also backs a resolution that will be taken up at the state's Republican Party convention in Milwaukee next month that “supports legislation that upholds Wisconsin’s right, under extreme circumstances, to secede."

The Mount Pleasant Republican said she believes in “approaching states’ rights (with) that attitude.”
Sadly, the Democrats have yet to put up anyone to run against these doofuses.

The fact that the Dems haven't put up anyone in that race is because they are also busy jumping into the deep end.

Today, State Brett Hulsey announced that he was also running for governor.  Husley is saying all the right things that Mary Burke won't.  He's for reversing Act 10, protecting the environment and restoring public education.

Burke, on the other hand, has been doing double talk regarding Act 10, claiming that she wants to restore collective bargaining for public sector workers, but then goes on to praise Act 10, which took those rights away.

It was refreshing to hear a politician speak with passion and like a progressive.  Unfortunately, as Wisconsin Soap Box points out, Hulsey has so much baggage that he needs to turn in his red convertible for a 8-ton box truck.

If only there was a way to take Husley's platform and passion and combine it with Burke's calm demeanor and big money, we'd be talking about the Dems winning in a landslide.

Instead, we are all just jumping into the crazy season with both feet.

Monday, April 21, 2014

You Know Chris Abele Is A Bad Boss When....

...even his cronies don't want to work for him even with a salary closing in on $170,000:
Amber Moreen, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's chief of staff, is leaving for California, Abele's office confirmed Friday.

Abele hired Moreen to the chief of staff post about two years ago after she served a stint as a county policy adviser. She also worked for the Abele family's Argosy Foundation.

Moreen is leaving for Los Angeles, where her husband has a job opportunity, Abele said in an email to county department heads.
The article goes on to say that Abele will do a nationwide search for Moreen's replacement, although he doesn't specify at the county or at Argosy or both.

For the would be candidate, I hope it's both, since the county gig is going to last less than two years.

I also can't help but feel a little bad for the others in Abele's office that has had to put up with his tantrums and hissy fits - on a nearly daily basis - but then get passed up at the first chance for advancement.

Maybe they should have joined the union.

Act 10 Continues To Crawl It's Way Through The Legal System

Amongst the Good Friday news dump was a blurb about Act 10 and how how a panel of three federal appellate court judges upheld it.

Actually, it wasn't union rights that were struck down as much as it was the rights of individual workers:
In their lawsuit, the unions noted they could normally ask for raises no greater than inflation under Act 10, while individual employees could seek increases of any size. They argued that differential treatment is unconstitutional, but last fall Conley found it was allowed.
In other words, the Appellate judges said that cronyism and nepotism were perfectly fine in their eyes.

In practical terms, what this means is that there will be a lot more lawsuits being filed for discrimination and unfair labor practices which is going to cost taxpayers even more.  So much for conservatives being fiscally responsible or people of integrity, but we already knew that.

And if the gentle reader wonders how the judges could make such an egregious indiscretion in their judgement, just look at who they are:
The decision was written by Joel Flaum, an appellate judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan. It was joined by appellate Judge Ilana Rovner, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush, and by Virginia Kendall, who normally serves as a federal district court judge in northern Illinois and who was appointed by President George W. Bush.
This story will not be as interesting as the Wisconsin Supreme Court's ruling on the Colas decision.

Constitutionally, the Colas ruling should stand.  However, David "Chokehold" Prosser and his other Big Money-owned justices have already shown that they do not really care about the law.

Even though many people expect the four conservative, company-owned state justices to follow their orders and vote against the unions, even in violations of the law.

And where it will be most interesting when that ruling comes out is Milwaukee County.  As I have explained before, it's a lose-lose situation for Emperor Chris Abele.  He'll either have to start respecting the workers (the thought just makes him shudder) and admitting that they have rights or he will have to find the money as 1,200 workers are suddenly eligible to retire.

Add that to the other lawsuits that Abele is losing and he will have a lot of explaining to do to the voters.

Beau McCoy - Vote For Me, I will Hit The President!

By Jeff Simpson

Beau McCoy (R-Racist) republican gubernatorial candidate thinks its best if the people of Nebraska do not have healthcare! 

Obamacare

Beau makes his feelings clear about Obamacare by saying, "It's bad for Nebraskans.  It's bad for every American.  It needs to be repealed."  Until then, Beau has been leading the effort to protect Nebraskans from as many of the harmful effects of Obamacare as possible.  He supported the state not opening its own healthcare exchange due to its extremely high long term cost.  He is committed to not expanding Medicaid under a plan that would cost the state millions of dollars.

The facts be dammed:


Actual Obamacare results are in. And in most cases they are exceeding expectations.

  • 8 Million+ citizens are now enrolled in Obamacare.
  • 35% of citizens enrolled in Obamacare are under 35 years old.
  • Obamacare has brought economic security to all consumers of health insurance.
  • Over 14 million have received insurance over the exchanges and via the Medicaid expansion to Obamacare.
  • Medical cost is now growing at less than 1/2 the previous rates.
  • Obamacare is shrinking the deficits.
  • It is fact that repealing Obamacare would increase the budget deficit, raise premiums, and take away insurance from millions of Americans.



 It is almost an impossibility to win a primary on the right if facts are important to you.  However Beau takes it one step further, if you are a  minority stand out of Beau McCoy's way or you will get backhanded!  




What kind of society are we living in that this is ok?  who in the world would come up with this idea and approve it through to the final stages of actually putting it out there to view?

Where is the republican party of Ike? and is there any hope at all for a resurgence of sanity?






The Ellis Incident and The Litjens Factor

The Ellis Incident, where State Senator Mike Ellis was caught on video tape discussing things like creating a super PAC to attack Penny Bernard Schaber, his would have been Democratic opponent until he decided not to run again, is a gift that just keeps giving.

It's raised a lot of questions and had a lot of ramifications, including the outing of one of WISGOP's main operatives, Judith Rhodes Engels.

There is, however, one aspect of the story that seems to have gone under the radar through the saga.

On Friday, April 11, just two days after the first edited video was released, former Michelle Litjens appeared on Joy Cardin's radio show, "Week in Review."

You can listen to a recording of the show here.  The subject of the Ellis Incident goes from about the 11:00 minute mark to about the 25:00 minute mark.  But here are some of the highlights that the reader/listener should pay heed to:

  • At about 11:50, Litjens launches her attack on Ellis, claiming that he has a "big mouth."  She also implies that since he was first elected in 1970, he was "confused" by the changing times.  She also said that he probably didn't even know what a super PAC is, but because he did nothing illegal, this should be the "end of it."  She then throws in that Ellis should have known better after he was another video that showed him to be on the "wrong side" of the voucher issue.
  • At 15:20, she brings up the possibility of Ellis being primaried.
  • At 15:40, she brags that her phone has been ringing off the hook.
  • At 16:00, she rips on Democrats for not supporting vouchers and how wrong she thinks they are for that.
  • At 16:30, she again brings up the possibility of a primary race against Ellis, although this time she says she won't run again until her daughter graduates from school. (Since when did she start giving a damn about her family?!)
  • At 17:30, Litjens claims that "hundreds" of people have approached her to express their disappointment in Ellis over vouchers.  She doesn't say why they approached her and not Ellis. Hmmm....
  • At 18:00, again with the primary, this time saying that Ellis might just want to retire.
  • At 20:15, Litjens says that Ellis has a "big mouth" and that this is what happens when one runs their big mouth late at night and after several drinks. She also suggests again that Ellis might not be up for another run.
  • At 23:00, Litjens again runs Ellis down and says that the "voters are going to have an opportunity to make a choice."
It's been pretty widely accepted that the fact that Project Veritas was brought in to take Ellis out, although who ordered the hit is not clear.  

Michelle "Hitwoman" Litjens
However, it is very obvious that Litjens was leading the post-video attack on Ellis, laying the groundwork for the upcoming fight if Ellis hadn't decided to hang up his broken gavel. You can see that the oncoming attacks were going to be all about school vouchers, thinking they had a winning issue with that.  It might have won them the primary, but it could very well cost them the seat, which would be more than all right.

The fact that the powers that be chose Litjens to launch the first salvo isn't surprising either.  Given the fact that she is the paramour of Robin Vos and is rumored to have been fundraising for American Federation of Children, she would very probably been aware of the move to take out Ellis - through a primary, if necessary - and the reason why they wanted Ellis out.  The really stunning part of this is that Ellis has been in line with 98% of the Teapublican agenda, but they still wanted him out for not toeing the line enough.

And we have already seen that Litjens has no problems with ordering hits on fellow Republicans that she doesn't feel are far enough to the extreme right fringe zone.  

But it does raise one more question for me - With all of the Republicans who are deciding not to run again, how many of them are choosing so because they could read the writing on the wall and how many of them are walking away in disgust for the level of corruption and bullying that is coming from Scott Walker, Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Privatization Ploy

By Jeff Simpson

Not that we need a study to tell us that voucher schools do not perform as well as public schools, we have the test scores to prove it.   Professor Gordon Lafer gave us one anyway:


A new report reveals that legislative moves to convert struggling public schools in Milwaukee into private charters─whether for-profit or non-profit─may actually damage the academic futures of far too many of the city’s children.

The report, “Do Poor Kids Deserve Lower-Quality Education Than Rich Kids? Evaluating School Privatization Proposals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” was written by Professor Gordon Lafer in conjunction with the national think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

A special briefing on this provocative study will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 24, in the ground floor rotunda of Milwaukee City Hall, 200 East Wells Street. You can join Dr. Lafer and public school supporters from the area to hear about the growing private charter industry and its impact–often negative–on Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and students.

There was a strong push by Wisconsin legislators in the last session to enact bills aimed at closing low-performing public schools and replacing them with less accountable, privately-run and often-for-profit enterprises. Considering many of the unanswered questions, EPI commissioned Prof. Lafer to actually look at the impact these privatization efforts would have on MPS.

The report is an eye-opening investigation into the rapidly growing private charter industry and the effects profit motivated schools can have on the depth and quality of education children receive.

Voucher and for profit schools perpetually get outperformed by public schools, and yet almost like clockwork, the tea party shows up to argue the wrong side of the issue(facts be dammed)!

 

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a prospective presidential candidate in 2016, will be in Milwaukee next week hosting a school choice roundtable at St. Anthony School.

The event will follow a Chicago roundtable the day before and will be held at St. Anthony School's middle school campus April 23. The event is co-hosted by Hispanics for School Choice and the Libre Initiative, a national conservative Hispanic organization whose spokeswoman, Rachel Campos-Duffy, is married to U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.).

Paul, son of former Texas congressman and libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul, is a Tea Party Republican, self-described "constitutional conservative." He's considered a likely 2016 presidential candidate.

St. Anthony's is Wisconsin's largest Catholic school. St. Anthony School president Zeus Rodriguez is also president of Hispanics for School Choice, a Milwaukee-based organization designed to reach out to and represent the Hispanic community on issues of school choice.

Milwaukee's school choice program is the country's largest and first for low-income students. It allows low- and middle-income students to attend participating private schools using state-funded vouchers to pay tuition.


It is funny to me that a serial plagiarist would talk about school choices.  Since he is not a serious student I would guess he does not care too much about your child's education.  

Also full disclosure, Zeus Rodriguez is the brother-in-law of  Assembly rep Jessie Rodriguez (R- Scott Jensen) whose seat was bought and paid for by the formerly convicted felon.   The Rodriguez has ALOT of personal money riding on the perpetual expansion of using public school dollars to line their pockets.

I will give them some credit though, they have not cashed in on our public school dollars the way their peers at Lifeskills Academy have

Also full disclosure, Mr. Rodriguez once invited me to come speak at his school and when I accepted promptly disappeared and apparently rescinded the offer.   I wonder how many on the roundtable will be anti voucher schools?



Glen Grothman's Super PAC

Judith Rhodes Engels is not the only fallout victim from the Ellis Incident.

State Senator Glenn Grothman got caught on the same video as Ellis, making the same boasts that got Ellis in so much trouble:
It was a night Sen. Mike Ellis would rather forget, and one Sen. Glenn Grothman says he already has.

Grothman was there the night Ellis was secretly recorded discussing an illegal campaign finance scheme. Ellis said he immediately scrapped the idea after learning it was illegal, but remains in hot water as he faces re-election this fall.

Grothman, a West Bend Republican who is now running for Congress, can be heard on the recording seven minutes before Ellis, R-Neenah, tells an unknown person, "I am putting together my own Super PAC."

"Mike, is this guy next to you with you?" asks someone, presumably one of the people secretly audio recording Ellis.

"That’s Senator Grothman," Ellis replies.

"Who?"

"Glenn Grothman," Ellis says.

"I’m his chief of staff, he just calls me senator," Grothman jests in his deadpan baritone.

"I’m eating his french fries because he wants his bill out of my committee," Ellis says.

In an interview, Grothman acknowledged he is the one on the recording, but said he doesn't remember the night in question or hearing about the Super PAC idea. He said it's possible he was only there briefly.

"I've been at that bar so many times, I have no specific recollection," Grothman said, referring to the Inn on the Park in Downtown Madison, where the audio was recorded.
I'm sure that will make a great theme for Grothman's congressional campaign - "Is he corrupt or merely drunk?"

It should be noted that, again just like Ellis, Grothman made the Super PAC comment very matter of factly, like collusion with third party groups is the norm for them.

If the gentle reader is wondering why Grothman appears to be getting a free pass on making a claim of having a Super PAC where Ellis was crucified, you have to remember two things:  Grothman knows how to follow orders and he did not out Judith Rhodes Engels, one of the top GOP operatives.

Some Ramifications Of The Ellis Incident

We've already seen that the video of Mike Ellis bragging about how he ran the state senate and how he had plans to destroy his opponent by the use of a Super PAC by a Republican operative has raised a lot of questions that the corporate media will not touch.

The Ellis Incident also has a lot of ramifications, such as the compromising of Judith Rhodes Engels, who seems more and more likely to be a subject in the ongoing John Doe probe.

But, as we have seen too many times with the Republicans, there is more.  There is always more.

Void in the 19th

With Ellis bowing out and not running for reelection, this leaves a void in the GOP's strategy of maintaining, much less strengthening, their strangle hold on the senate.

The Democrat who is running, State Representative Penny Bernard Shaber is already a well known and popular person in the area and has been running her senatorial campaign for months.

This leaves the Republicans to scramble to identify their candidate. Some of the names that have entered or been bantered about include: former representatives Steve Wieckert and Roger Roth, current representative Dave Murphy and State Treasurer Jack Voight. 

There isn't much to any of these people but the stench of losers.

The ramification here is that the Republicans powers that be felt it more important to sacrifice Ellis than to holding that seat.

The New World Order

Ellis was one of the few remaining old school Republicans.  But he was also a bit of a loose cannon.  He, like so many of his colleagues, was known to speak first and think later.  

But he was also known to kill a bad bill, even if it was a GOP bill.

The new world order, led by the likes of Scott Walker and Robin Vos, doesn't like independent thinkers.  They only want obedience and conformity.  If they want to know what you think, they'll tell you what you are supposed to think.

What happens to Ellis is what happens to those that don't toe the line.

The ramification here is that Ellis was used as an example to other party members.  It doesn't matter what's on your resume. Step out of line and the man will come and take you away.

Sons of Doe

Since a Super PAC had not yet been set up by Ellis, he probably will miss being a subject in the ongoing John Doe probe.  

However, the matter of fact way that Ellis talked about setting up a Super PAC would indicate that this would be a common thing for him and other Republicans.

You know that the investigators have seen this video and have parsed every word of it.  Will this give them better insight on the machinations of the GOP and the third party groups?  Will it give them a better idea of what to look for and what questions to ask of the people who are being investigated?

The ramification here is that in their zeal to punish and make an example of Ellis, the GOP might have just inadvertently compromised the very people and third party groups that they were trying to protect.

The biggest ramification from all of this is that despite having the big corporate money backing them up, they are still so paranoid and insecure that they are still making stupid mistakes like these.  If the Democrats find a way to exploit this, and not screw it up themselves (they have that knack too), things could get very interesting this fall.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Which Side Are You On?

By Jeff Simpson

Across this great old nation
Tell me what you gonna do?
When there's one law for the rulers
and one law for the rules


Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

Mommy and daddy still have this affluent teen’s back—but Texas taxpayers will likely pay a lion’s share his bills.
The parents of a teenage drunk driver who walked away with probation after killing four people will pay a little more than 5% of his monthly treatment costs at a state hospital, a judge decided.
During a hearing on Friday, Judge Jean Boyd ordered Fred and Tonya Couch to pay $1,170 every month for their son Ethan’s treatment at the North Texas State hospital. The in-patient center actually costs $715 per day, which means Ethan’s parents will only pay for two days of treatment every month.
Taxpayers will shell out the rest.


 



Questions Regarding The Ellis Incident

As the gentle reader is probably well aware of by now, the disreputable James O'Keefe of the equally disreputable Project Veritas was sicced on Wisconsin State Senator Mike Ellis, which resulted in a rather incriminating video.

Now, we've already discussed how, in the zeal to take out Ellis, they left one of their key operatives, Judith Rhodes Engels, exposed and pretty well implicated in the ongoing Sons of John Doe investigations.

However, there are a lot of questions that have been left unanswered, enough to go around for almost everyone.

The biggest question is "Who called for the hit?"

Some say it was Scott Jensen because Ellis has been opposed to a statewide expansion of the profiteering of the education system.  It's also been said that the orders came from Washington, D.C. (read Reince Priebus, who still has his fingers in a lot of pies in Wisconsin), because he wasn't crazy teahadist enough for them.  I've also heard that the attack on Ellis was nothing more than a decoy to take some of the attention away from Bill Kramer and his sexual assault charges.

But there are many other questions that need to be answered. Some of these include the following:

For Judith Rhodes Engels:

  • Have you and//or how many of these "fake organizations" have you set up for the GOP?
  • Are you currently under investigation for the Sons of Doe probe for illegal collusion between political campaigns and third party groups?
  • Who told you to share the "All Contributions" Excel file with Kelly Rindfleisch as was uncovered during her criminal trial?  
  • Considering that you probably knew that Ellis was being targeted, how much money did you get for your role?
For Kelly Rindfleisch:
  • You were convicted for your role in the original Walkergate misconduct.  Were you taking orders from Rhodes Engels at the time?
  • Who told you how to do the fundraising you did for Brett Davis and then for Scott Walker?
  • Where are you working now?
For Mike Ellis:
  • Is this really how you want your career to end?
  • Are you going to take any action against your attackers or are you going to scoot off with your tail between your legs?
  • If Governor Walker calls a special session, would you go back?  
  • If you do go back for a special session, how much of a rubber stamp for Walker are you going to be?
  • What are you going to do with all that loot in your campaign chest?
For Scott Walker:
  • What did you know and when did you know it?
For Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm:
  • After you clear the legal obstacles that Scott Walker, George O'Keefe and others are trying to put in your way, how much longer before you start slapping cuffs on people? After all, it's pretty damn obvious what is going on here.
It would be nice if the state media would do some sort of follow up, but they are already busy shouting "Squirrel!" over the GOP's latest distraction.

Emerge Wisconsin Women Make History

Big news for Emerge Wisconsin members from Dane County:
Sharon Corrigan is making history as the newly elected chair of the Dane County Board. Only one other woman -- Mary Louise Symon -- has held the post, serving from 1974 to 1980.

Corrigan was elected chair by her colleagues Tuesday at a noontime meeting of the board. The reelection of vice chair Carousel Bayrd made for another first -- this will be the only time women have occupied both top leadership posts on the board.
Corrigan is a member of the Emerge Wisconsin Board. Bayrd is an Emerge WI alumna (Class of 2009) and is currently the Vice-Chair of the Emerge Wisconsin Board.

And also in the news is the fact that Emerge WI alumna Kelly Westlund (Class of 2011), the first Emerge WI alumna to run for a federal seat as she takes on Sean Duffy in the 7th CD, was put "On the List" by EMILY's List.

As a fun fact, the two other women that were mention in the press release, Rocky Lara and Shenna Bellows are also Emerge alumnae, from New Mexico and Maine, respectively.

For full disclosure, I work for Emerge Wisconsin and couldn't be prouder of that fact.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

John Doe Deux Is Very Partisan


 

By Jeff Simpson

This week, many facts have come to light over the latest John Doe and we see that many people's concerns of the latest John Doe probe being a partisan Witch Hunt.  Unfortunately, we are finding out those concerns are being justified.   The problem though, is that the partisans involved in this are almost exclusively in the Scott Walker camp.  

First let's let Bruce Murphy give us some background:


Over and over, supporters of Gov. Scott Walker have contended that the second John Doe probe is just a partisan “witch hunt.” But newly released court documents, made public with the consent of all parties to the investigation, provide information showing this is a bipartisan effort. They also offer a fascinating look at the role of Attorney General J.B Van Hollen and how he delayed the investigation, which apparently centers on alleged coordination between third party conservative funding groups and Walker’s gubernatorial campaign during the 2012 recall election.

Conservative attack dogs like talk radio’s Charlie Sykes have hammered the idea that this is a partisan investigation led by Democratic Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. But the court documents show that four other district attorneys are co-investigators in this effort: Jane Kohlwey of Columbia County, a Republican; Kurt Klomberg of Dodge County, a Republican; Larry Nelson of Iowa County, a Democrat; and Ismael Ozanne of Dane County, a Democrat.

Ok so what we have are some "Democrats" and some "republicans" working together to investigate a complicated case.  On the outside you have righty's like Charlie Sykes whining like hungry babies trying to "work the refs".   

As we always say, "but wait there's more".   Amongst the right's very loud sniveling, some puzzle pieces have started to come into focus.   For instance, it was revealed to us that it was actually the GAB that asked for the John Doe probe(and here I thought they were toothless): 

Former judges on the state Government Accountability Board voted unanimously last year to authorize the investigation of fundraising and spending by Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and his allies during the recent recall elections, according to a Tuesday court filing.

Dean Nickel, an investigator hired by the accountability board to assist with the investigation, said in the 10-page filing that he believes the substantial evidence gathered in the probe "coupled with the GAB's unanimous approval of the investigation directly refutes plaintiffs' witch-hunt theory."

Nickel's brief is one of a series filed with the federal court on Tuesday in a bid by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and his aides to get a federal appeals court to intervene in the high-profile John Doe probe.

 A source said five members of the accountability board voted in June 2013 for a resolution authorizing the investigation. The sixth member was not in attendance and did not vote, the source said.
 FYI:  The GAB members  ALL have ties to the republican party!  

It was also recently revealed that the special prosecutor in the John Doe Deux probe, actually voted for Scott Walker in the recall election.  
 
The special prosecutor in the ongoing John Doe probe says he has nothing against Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and the conservative groups at the center of the investigation.

In fact, in a new court filing, former federal prosecutor Francis Schmitz opened up about his voting record to try to suggest that the investigation is nothing personal.

"I voted for Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin's 2012 gubernatorial recall election," Schmitz said in a sworn declaration filed with the U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

Can you even imagine the bleating the Mcgyver would be doing or the whimpering Vicki Mckenna would be screeching if Mr. Schmitz had voted for a Democrat?  

Now that Scott Walker can no longer hide behind the "partisan witch hunt" BS, it is time for him to truly answer some questions.   Did he know about the secret router? Was he involved in the racist email chains?   Has he personally supplied any of this underlings with legal defense money? Was it a coincidence that two of the more well known blogs on the right(boots and Sabers and Badger blogger), closed up shop almost simultaneously as the launch of JD2?  

Wisconsinites deserve the truth!