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! 



We Have Seen The Enemy!

H/T to Ben Carson for pointing out who the true enemies of our country are:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Scott Walker's Priorities

By Jeff Simpson

Wild Bill Kramer, republican leader from Waukesha, was in court yesterday and pleaded "not guilty".   His Lawyer also let it be known that he would be attacking the victim publicly.  

We also know, thanks to police reports, that the republican leadership and our own US Senator Ron Johnson knew that Bill Kramer was a menace to women and their response was to keep quiet and tell no one.   This, of course, led to more women becoming victims and Bill Kramer becoming a rising star in the republican party!  

While not in the best interests of the people of WI, it was in the best interest of the republican party so they did nothing, even though they had an alleged predator in their midst! 

Now let's compare the scenario from the other side.  

While Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker and his county staff, freely shared names and details of a developmentally disabled sexual assault victim with his campaign staff.  

While Scott Walker was Milwaukee County executive, his staff freely shared the name of a sexual assault victim and details about her case with political operatives, recently released emails show.

The revelation comes as the governor has authorized a probe to determine whether a state disability rights organization violated patient confidentiality rules in its report on four deaths at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.

Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker's deputy chief of staff at the county, sent copies of an Aug. 19, 2010, email to Walker and his chief political consultants, RJ Johnson and Keith Gilke.

The email included the name of a developmentally disabled woman who became pregnant after having sex with another patient at the complex. She included a second email from a lawyer representing the county marked: "Confidential Attorney Client Information."

The gubernatorial election was less than three months away, and the problems at the complex were proving problematic to Walker's candidacy.

When JSonline asked for specifics of the case, they were shut down(emphasis mine):
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had written an email the day before to administrators at the Behavioral Health Division and to Mark Cameli, a private lawyer hired to defend the county. The email sought comment for a story about the case, noting that the woman would not be named.

The man who had sex with her had been charged with sexual assault, and the woman's guardians had told the Journal Sentinel that they had not been informed of the pregnancy for weeks after it was confirmed. The guardians complained of other errors with the woman's case, including that she continued taking heavily sedating psychotropic drugs found to be harmful to developing fetuses.

Cameli wrote a draft of a reply to the reporters' request and sent a copy to John Chianeli, then the director of the Behavioral Health Division, and Geri Lyday and Joan Hansen, county administrators, for their input. In the draft, Cameli explained to the reporters that the county could not reply to specifics of the case.

"They and I are bound by laws and regulations governing, among other things, the confidentiality of certain information," Cameli said. "What should we do? Should we disregard the rights of patients? The legal and ethical obligations imposed upon us?"

Then something interesting happened(emphasis mine):

Lyday then sent Cameli's reply to Rindfleisch, who forwarded it to her personal email account. From there, Rindfleisch sent the email — including the patient's name — to Walker and his political advisers to see if the lawyer's reply met with their approval.

"I wanted you to give it the OK to sign off on it," Rindfleisch wrote to Walker and his campaign advisers.

The next day, Cameli sent his response to the Journal Sentinel.

"Please — please consult with someone familiar with the laws and regulations governing the disclosure of the information you seek," Cameli wrote then.
 Does anyone read the employee handbook anymore?  I guess ethics and morals get thrown out the window when there is an election to win.  


We know the priorities of Scott Walker and his party.

 Win the election at all costs! 

Judi! Judi! Judi!

As the gentle reader is surely aware, State Senator Mike Ellis  has chosen not to run for reelection after all.  Of course, Ellis was prompted to come to this conclusion after he was caught on video generally making a fool of himself.

There is little doubt that someone had ordered the video to be taken of Ellis to take him out of politics, although the who and why behind the move is up for speculation. Some have said it was Scott Jensen because Ellis was against the expansion of school privatization.  Some have thought the order came from Reince Priebus, who is the head of the national GOP but is still very much involved in Wisconsin politics, because Ellis wasn't enough of a team player and to help take some attention off of Bill Kramer's sexual assault charges and how the entire WISGOP knew about it but elected him as a party leader anyway.

Regardless of who ordered the attack on Ellis or why they did so, the one thing for sure is that they got way more than they bargained for.

One of the many cringe-worthy moments from the video included this line from Ellis:
“I am putting together my own super PAC,” Ellis says in the video. “I don’t want to attack (Bernard Schaber), I want Judi (Rhodes Engels), somebody else to attack.” Rhodes Engels is a fundraiser for Senate Republicans.
Not only did Ellis talk about doing something illegal, which is the essence of the Sons of Doe investigation, but he dared to name one the Republicans' most valued operatives, Judith Rhodes Engels.

Now, if that name sounds familiar to you, there is a good reason for it.

Rhodes Engels was tied up in the original caucus scandal (scroll down to page 16) from a dozen years ago.  It was during the scandal that Rhodes Engels shown herself to be worth much more than the $6,300 in legal defense.  During the caucus scandal hearings, Rhodes Engels showed that she not only knew her job, but knew to keep her mouth shut.

Thus it's no surprise that Rhodes Engels worked her way up through the ranks and became rather conspicuous even as she tried to keep a low profile.  Over the last couple of years, we've learned that Rhodes Engels is a valuable asset to the Republican Party.  Among her accomplishments:
In fact, Rhodes Engels got so big in the party that she had to form her own consulting agency - Cross Rhodes - so that she could do all the various and sordid activities that WISGOP and Party members would have her do.  Just a scratch at the surface of her agency shows that's already very lucrative - and that does not count all the dark money that is flowing through there.

The fact that Ellis mentioned her in connection to creating a Super PAC to take out his opponent is very damaging to Rhodes Engels and to the Republican Party as a whole.  So much so that Rhodes Engels, who does her best work behind closed doors and behind the scenes, had to come out into the daylight and speak to the media:
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 problem with her denial is that it was scripted and premeditated, whereas Ellis comments were natural and spontaneous. Ellis did not spitball things nor did he stutter..  Ellis' commentary was all natural which would make one inclined to believe what he was saying about Rhodes Engels was not only true but was also common knowledge.

In their zeal to take out Ellis, whoever was behind ordering the video to be taken and released might have blown up their own party by handing themselves over to John Doe and his Sons.

Which goes to show that even the most cantankerous, angry, misogynistic Teapublican can still do good - even if it's by accident.

Breaking News In Juneau

By Jeff Simpson

Senator Scott Fitzgerald, one of the original thugs in the ACT10 fiasco, has answered the question that no one in Wisconsin was asking.  

Scott Fitzgerald will NOT be running for the open seat in the 6th Congressional District of WI!

MADISON, Wis. —Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he won't run for the congressional seat vacated by longtime Wisconsin Congressman Tom Petri.

Fitzgerald released a statement Monday saying he won't rule out a run for higher office in the future. But he said he plans to return next session as majority leader.
I am thinking that Fitz the Elder has gotten too much pressure from the old ball and chain to put himself through a national run!   Although with the way Fitz likes to hoard as many taxpayer dollars as he can, you would think the $174,000/yr would appeal to him.  Although it might mean he would actually have to work for his money.       

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Cheese Stands Alone!

Jeff Simpson has already alerted you to just how batshit crazy the Teapublicans are getting to be with their talks of secession, but this cartoon from Stuart Carlson is just too good to pass up:

The Captured Kramer Is Captionable

PS: Republican leader Bill Kramer pleaded not guilty and let it be known that he will be attacking the victims again.  

"At his arraignment, he's going to enter pleas of not guilty to the charges that have been leveled against him, and the defense certainly is going to scrutinize the claims and the conduct of the witnesses," Borda said. Borda added that he trusts the judge not to let the case "become a circus- or carnival-like atmosphere."

A preliminary hearing is set for May 15.

The Crazy Is Concentrated!


By Jeff Simpson

H/T Dan Bice for today's entrance into right wing crazy world!

To secede or not to secede.
That will be the question for Wisconsin Republicans at next month's convention.
Earlier this month, the party's Resolutions Committee voted in favor of a proposal that says the state party "supports legislation that upholds Wisconsin's right, under extreme circumstances, to secede."
A version of the so-called "state sovereignty" resolution was first OK'd last month by one of the state GOP's eight regional caucuses as an assertion of the state's 10th Amendment rights. The measure also calls for ending all mandates that go "beyond the scope of the constitutionally delegated powers of the federal government."
Top Republican officials hoped to kill the fringe proposal during a meeting of the resolutions panel at the Hyatt Hotel in Milwaukee on April 5. Instead, the committee made a few edits to the resolution and adopted it on a split vote.
Now, the matter will go for final approval to the delegates attending the state Republican Party's convention in Milwaukee on May 2-4.

From Facebook(in regards to this):

Political Organization · 2,309 Likes
The Wisconsin TEA Party is making big strides within the Republican Party of WI. Keep it up, Patriots!

While the Wisconsin "tea party" celebrates, Scott Walker runs from them:

Gov. Scott Walker, the leader of the state party, distanced himself from the resolution last week.
"I don't think that one aligns with where most Republican officials are in the state of Wisconsin — certainly not with me," Walker said at a press event on Friday.

Then Walker, not surprisingly sticks in one last dig -

 The governor said Republicans and Democrats have both had their share of unconventional resolutions over the years.

Between this and the recent intra party attacks on the few remaining reasonable moderates left in the republican party, the Bradely gopher boys are out in force trying to minimize the incredible damage they have done.


So here is my question to our loyal readers:

Tell me who in the Dem party is NOT a moderate and WHY.  Tell me where in the Dem party a resolution has been voted on that compares to states secession.  

I have brought this up before, pointing out the damage that the false equivalency does to our state.

If you truly think there is  equivalency, I want to see some examples*!

*Examples have to be within the last four years.   


Walker: Torn Between Two Lieutenant Governors

On Tuesday, Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch are expected to announce their official campaign for reelection. You know, the one that they've been running for two years now.  Except now it's official.

One can expect the usual lies and fabrications that they have done such a great job creating jobs, cutting taxes, protecting the environment and bringing all sorts of freedoms to the people.  It'll be enough to gag a maggot.

But one of the biggest lies that they will tell that day is one that will be unspoken.

Walker and Kleefisch are going to be up on the stage acting like they are part of one big happy team.  This, of course, couldn't be any farther from the truth.

And I'm not referring to the purge/exodus that is happening in the Republican Party right now.

I'm talking about Scooter and Becky.

If the gentle reader would remember, two years ago, when Kelly Rindfleisch was supposedly "working" as a Milwaukee County employee, namely as Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff.  Even though she was supposed to be a county employee, by Rindfleisch's own words, we learned that she had spent "half her time" working on the campaign for Brett Davis, who was running as lieutenant governor.

As Rindfleisch went through her trial, we learned that not only was she working for Davis, but so were a lot of other people.  So much so that it quickly became apparent that Davis was Walker's preference in being his lieutenant governor.  I wondered at the time, and have done so several times since, how did this make Kleefisch feel, knowing she was second fiddle:
The other thing that I question is, if Davis was indeed the first choice for Lt. Gov by Walker and WISGOP, I wonder how Walker's relationship with Rebecca Kleefisch really is. Is she aware that Walker apparently had his people working for Davis? If so, does she trust Walker? 
What is her relationship with the party like?

Kleefisch sure hasn't done much publicly, either as Lt. Governor or as a politician.. To me, this could indicate a possible trust issue going in either direction, or even both directions, between her and Walker and her and the WISGOP machinery.
It seemed like Kleefisch's feelings regarding this was a moot point.  At least until last month.

Obviously, Kleefisch won the primary and went on to be Walker's Lieutenant Governor.  Walker gave Davis the consolation prize of being appointed as the state's medicaid director.

But then things changed

In March, the emails and documents that were the basis for the charges filed against Rindfleisch were released to the public. These emails revealed that Davis was not only Walker's lieutenant governor of choice, but Walker's and Davis' people didn't care for Kleefisch at all, and would often complain about her and ridicule her.

Within three weeks of this new coming out, Davis suddenly resigned his cushy director's position for a mystery job in the private sector.

I've seen some people speculate that Davis' sudden departure was due to the Walkergate investigations.  That theory, however, doesn't make sense since Davis was in the position for three years before leaving.  If the investigation was the reason, he would have left years ago.

The timing of it would make it seem that Davis was forced out by Kleefisch, who was no longer able to deny that she wasn't Walker's - or the Party's - first choice.

The fact that Walker is well known to be all about image and not substance, it would make sense that he would sacrifice Davis in order to keep up the appearance of he and Kleefisch being part of one big, happy family.

Oh, but how he must pine for what might have been though...

And don't worry about Davis. He landed well as one might have expected.

It was just announced last week that Davis is now the Vice-President of Provider Relations for WPS, a health care giant that has many lucrative contracts with the state, not only as a health care carrier but also as a third party payer for Medicaid-related services.  (Gee, do you think Davis had a hand in that contract?)

It's nice to see Walker take care of both the lieutenant governor he has and the lieutenant governor he really wanted.



By Jeff Simpson

Recently, Politifact checked out a statement that Mary Burke made, well kind of anyway, and called it "false"

The Statement:

Says Gov. Scott Walker’s repeal of a 2009 law has left Wisconsin as "one of five states without an equal pay law protecting women from gender discrimination in their paycheck."

Their Rating:

Our rating
Burke said that Walker’s repeal of a 2009 law has left Wisconsin as "just one of five states without an equal pay law protecting women from gender discrimination in their paycheck."
But while Walker reversed an attempt to toughen up Wisconsin law, its protections against gender discrimination in workplace pay date back decades. The governor’s 2012 action left those in place, albeit without tougher penalties for employers.
We rate Burke’s claim False.

The problem is, in doing their research, the JSonline Politifact, should have checked with Karen Herzog of JSonline:

 Wisconsin is one of five states that have no equal-pay laws on the books. The other states are Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah.

Two major errors in two weeks, Politifact, you are going to have to do better than that!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dutiful Sheepizen

This is just too funny not too share:

Click on image to embiggen
"Chris Abele's staff said I should write to you. I do what I'm told and you should too!"

The sad part is that is how they really think.

Workers Memorial Day Event

From the inbox:

The Walker Agenda Is Still Working! Part CCXX

Just days before announcing his reelection bid, we have yet another example of just how well Scott Walker's agenda is working with the loss of another 54 jobs:
Thermo Fisher Scientific is permanently closing its Brown Deer facility, affecting 54 employees.

The company said the facility, at 9099 N. Deerbrook Trail, will close by Dec. 31, 2015, and employees will be terminated over the course of the next 18 months, with the first set of terminations occurring by Dec. 31, 2014.

The company said some of the employees will be offered the opportunity to transfer to other facilities prior to the Brown Deer facility's closing.

Thermo Fisher Scientific representatives could not be reached for comment.
But remember, Walker and his apologists keep telling us how business friendly Walker has made the state!

Another One Cashes Out!

By Jeff Simpson

Career Government worker, and current previous republican assembly representative Chad Weininger is leaving the Assembly, he just is not going to resign

Weininger is leaving the Assembly to become director of administration for Brown County, the top appointed post in the county’s government. He said the county post enables him to be closer to his growing family; Weininger and his wife, Heather, have two pre-school aged daughters.
County Executive Troy Streckenbach nominated Weininger in March; the County Board approved the nomination March 19. The previous administration director, Brent Miller, now heads the county’s human resources department.

Weininger will be paid $98,125 in his new position. Miller received the same salary.

Because he didn’t resign from the Assembly, Weininger still is eligible for state benefits until his successor takes office in January. He said he will discontinue those benefits once he obtains coverage from Brown County.
 Once again we have a republican "small government" representative who uses his position and power and contacts to cash in on government.    Double Dipper Weininger will also keep his Wisconsin taxpayer funded benefits and salary, despite the fact that he will no longer be working. 

Weininger is a former Soap Box Derby champion, I guess that qualifies him for $100/yr taxpayer funded non accountable position!

More on Weininger's "qualifications" here.  And here.

That brings to 20 the amount of incumbents(who gerrymandered their districts to stay safe) who are resigning and cashing out on the backs of taxpayers.  

The rats are always the first to leave the ship!  Could be they know how the sausage is made and do not want to be around when the house of cards comes tumbling down?