Saturday, January 11, 2014

Walker and state GOP campaign target, former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle and Mary Burke, for causing Great Recession...again.

Since we know former Gov. Doyle did not cause the Great Recession, it seem almost ridiculous to hear the head of the state Republican Party continue to blame him for it. Is WISGOP's Joe Fadness stupid? But do keep it fresh in our minds, Joe, how Republican free market policies caused the the Great Recession, wiping out jobs and businesses in Wisconsin.

Does this also mean Republicans will give up saying, "Oh sure, blame Bush," or will they successfully have it both ways from an uncritical media? 

Cheap shot artist, and not too smart: Fadness is shocked Doyle donated money to Mary Burke’s campaign. He thought money went only to Republicans? Maybe the legislature can "reform" that too.

Before the Republicans took over in D.C., we were looking at “surpluses as far as the eye could see,” remember? Heck, read Fadness’ reminder of how bad things got under GOP control:  
jsonline: Joe Fadness, executive director of the state Republican Party, was quick to criticize the donation. "Mary Burke and Jim Doyle set Wisconsin into a downward spiral, and it's no surprise that this same team is funding and advising Burke's campaign to take Wisconsin backward," Fadness said. 
Fadness should also check the calender. In fact, Burke wasn't really there to for the plunge (Feb 2005 to Nov. 2007. And yet, after all is said and done, Doyle’s job creation numbers were on the upswing.

Burke's campaign would be wise to thank Fadness for keeping the Great Recession front and center. 

WSJ Colunist Chris Rickert: "...having ALEC on your resume may well be a feather in a prospective president’s mortarboard."

Was he drunk? The Wisconsin State Journal’s conservative columnist Chris Rickert is the most ridiculous writer in the state, and that’s a major accomplishment considering all the mindless political stuff pouring out of the MacIver Institute.

This is head slapping stuff too. Rickert, for whatever reason, was trying to defend one of the former candidates for UW president, Robert L. King, (who is currently) president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

What spills out of Rickert’s nonsensical twisted logic are some real gems:
King, an attorney, Lacking the Ph.D. would have been “problematic” for some faculty, according to UW-Madison professor Barry Orton “…university faculty whose professional lives are organized around the teaching and research that form the foundation for the granting of degrees have a strong bias for university leaders with earned degrees,” he told me.
Rickert’s response:
King’s lack of acceptably high levels of book-learning, along with the bit of Republican blood running through his veins, might not have been such bad things.
That’s right, who needs a degree to run a university?

But it's this candidates history with ALEC:
King’s stint on an (ALEC) American Legislative Exchange Council task force some 25 years ago, while a Republican New York state lawmaker, also set off alarm bells … a group that brings politicians and corporations together to craft conservative and corporate-friendly model bills and has become something of the root of all evil for certain people on the political left.
Who would think it's wrong for lobbyists crafting corporate friendly bills by politicians representing people? You may have to sit down for this one:
Heck, with a crowd like the one in control at the Capitol these days, having ALEC on your resume may well be a feather in a prospective president’s mortarboard.
Which is not saying a lot about our current one party system. The only thing that made any sense at all was this comment:
Or as Senate President Mike Ellis put it in one outburst during the flap over the System’s financial reserves last year: “They all think they’re Ph.D.s and we ought to be working at Jiffy Lube. ... The Legislature’s a heck of a lot smarter than they’re giving us credit for.”

Not from what we've seen so far. 

Paul Ryan: What are we paying this guy for?

Paul Ryan is about to take government freeloading to a whole new level. Yet, he's the lead attack dog of the party, going after societies "takers;" the poor, elderly, veterans and children.

Republican freeloading is a theme here at Democurmudgeon. The push behind small government has less to do with the constitution and more to do with dumping their responsibilities off onto the private sector.

Here's what Paul Ryan really said. Just amazing:
"People think it's getting handled by government. I paid my taxes, I'm working really hard, it's tough to make ends meet, I'm paying my taxes, the governments going to handle this. That's just not true."
You were probably with Ryan all the way up to "that's not true." He's really trying to sell that idea, and I'm hoping no one is dumb enough to buy it. What's Ryan's convoluted and chaotic solution? This time consuming nightmare that gives hard working Americans even more to do:
"People need to get involved with their own communities, and solve this one person at a time, community by community."
After the clip, Ed Schultz nailed it for me. Democratic candidate Rob Zerban should make Ryan's comment a big part of the message, because after all, we pay our taxes, work hard to make ends meet and expect our elected officials to solve problems and earn a paycheck.

So now Ryan is telling us to do it ourselves?

Republican State Rep. Kleefisch drafts law reducing Millionaire's Child Support Obligations.

The Lt. Governors husband, Rep. Joel Kleefisch, just got caught helping a millionaire avoid paying higher child support than he thinks is "fair." Kleefisch; family values supporter or scumbag?
WSJ: A controversial bill that would allow high-income parents to avoid paying tens of thousands of dollars a year in child support was written with the help of a wealthy donor to the bill’s author, Rep. Joel Kleefisch.

The Oconomowoc Republican acknowledged Friday that Michael Eisenga, a multimillionaire business owner, and his attorney helped write the bill, which could pave the way for Eisenga to force the court to reopen his divorce settlement. Rep. Joel Kleefisch insisted in an interview that the measure, Assembly Bill 540, would not affect Eisenga’s case.
He was lying. Nice quality for an elected official. Now it does help the millionaire. What do you know. This bill couldn't get any uglier, could it?
The bill would require judges to lower child-support payments if they are 10 percent or more above the amount that would have been ordered using the new requirement … caps incomes subject to child-support payments at $150,000 a year.
It gets worse:
Kleefisch’s bill also would prohibit judges from taking into account a parent’s assets in determining the level of child support.
Who is this greedy SOB?
Court documents show Eisenga, a Columbus developer, owner of American Lending Solutions and the former mayor of Columbus, was ordered to pay a minimum of $15,000 a month for his three children based on his 2010 income of $1.2 million and assets of $30 million.
$180,000 a year for his kids, while he pockets an easy million? Nice on Rep. Kleefisch, so much for family values and parental responsibility. You would think a father’s love for his kids would include a  chance to see them set up for life?  
The bill drafting records, which include emails, letters and handwritten notes, show Eisenga and his attorney, William Smiley of Portage, made numerous suggestions for changes to the bill aimed at helping Eisenga lower his child-support payments. Among the documents is a Sept. 5, 2013, letter in which Smiley tells Eisenga to request specific modifications to “the portion (of the bill) that would require the court to modify your child support order based solely on the passage of this bill.”

In a Sept. 19 email, Pam Kahler, the Legislative Reference Bureau staffer drafting the bill, warned Moore that making the changes suggested by Eisenga and his lawyer “will potentially open the flood gates because the courts will be required to revise any child support order that was granted before the effective date, since the amount will not have been determined using the new method.”

Kleefisch said he stands by the bill and denies that its primary goal is to benefit Eisenga.

Two attorneys who represent Eisenga’s former wife, noted Eisenga’s extensive campaign contributions to Kleefisch and other Republican politicians. Eisenga donated the maximum amount allowed under law six times to Kleefisch for a total of $3,500. He also gave $7,500 to Kleefisch’s wife, Rebecca, who is the lieutenant governor, and $15,000 to Gov. Scott Walker.

“He (Eisenga) is using his power, influence and wealth to create what would be a horrible law for the people of Wisconsin … This is politics at its worst.”

Judge decides Right Wing Groups didn’t illegally co-ordinate Walker recall campaign, or even support the guy!!? Walker Who?

Investigations usually look into suspicious activity and decide to prosecute after examining all the facts. Turning that idea upside down, a judge not only decided lobbyist ads didn't support Walker, they also didn't come up with similar messages. Never mind the groups have similar donors.
jsonline: Prosecutors in the John Doe investigation into spending and fundraising during the raucous Wisconsin recall elections were dealt a major procedural blow Friday … The five-county investigation remains open, but subpoenas issued in the probe to conservative political groups supporting Gov. Scott Walker were quashed … The ruling raises First Amendment concerns about the subpoenas.
These corporate lobbyists actually sold the judge on the idea that they are now afraid to spend money (supporting Scott Walker?) due to the investigation. Of course, they've got nothing to hide, so it’s logical to be afraid?
The investigation — first disclosed by the Journal Sentinel — is looking at whether such conservative groups as the Wisconsin Club for Growth coordinated illegally with GOP candidates or others during the 2011 and 2012 recall races. 
This kind of coordinated activity is so common now, what might have been suspicious once is now considered normal operating procedure, especially by the real masters of politics.

While Republicans hold and George Soros guilty of controlling the Democrats Party, the names on the following rogues list have no skin in the game or interest in Wisconsin politics, right?  
Retired Appeals Judge Gregory A. Peterson, who took over the case in November … said the "quashed subpoenas were sent to Friends of Scott Walker, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Inc., the Wisconsin Club for Growth, and Citizens for a Strong America, as well as their officers and directors."
These "innocent lobbyists," who just happen to be in our state at the time, spent money here on a media shopping spree because…it was an impulse buy? They couldn't help themselves?
Peterson rejected the prosecution's theory of illegal coordination between the groups and Walker's campaign. Prosecutors did not show that the groups expressly advocated for Walker's election, the story quotes Peterson as ruling.
Playing off the surreal reasons the judge came up with in his decision, one power broker took this victory lap:
R.J. Johnson, posted this on his Facebook page: "To those who know the hell we have gone through over the last three months — we have been completely and utterly vindicated. Thank you Lord!"
The Lord backs big money and Scott Walker of course.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Christie = Walker! Both Surrounded by Criminals and never knew it. Good Judges of Character?

Has anyone else noticed how everyone around Gov. Chris Christie is corrupt, just like the six criminals closest to Scott Walker when he was County Executive? It's not a coincidence.

Yesterday Gov. Chris Christie blathered on and on in a 2 hour press conference flim flam.

That won over a whole bunch of low information media types and pundits. If what happened to Christie wasn't enough to make conservatives mad, then what's the point of being hopeful:

Just replace the name "Christie" with Walker in this next clip with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Jobless who have given up the search, now at 1977 rate.

I never hear conservatives ask Scott Walker about the dropping participation rate of the unemployed seeking work.

Walker is running for a second term on the statewide unemployment rate of 6.3%. But that measures only those looking for work. What about those who've given up and dropped out, or have become so frustrated they've simply retired early? And I'm not even including the underemployed either.

Republicans always blame Democrats, including President Obama, for not reporting the higher unemployment that includes the estimated non-participation numbers. Yet they never bring it up for people like Scott Walker. 

It's gotten so bad that even GOP presidential hopeful "Bridge" Christie, whose high unemployment numbers (49th in the country), aren't hurting his chances or destroying his credibility as a politician. 

So what gives? Explained below, we found out things are not good. Wonkblog:

So, why does the size of the labor force matter? If people are leaving the labor force for economic reasons (and they're not going back to school), it would mean that the economy is in much worse shape than the official unemployment rate suggests. The jobless rate is officially 6.7 percent, but that only counts people who are actively seeking work — not labor-force dropouts.

Even worse, if discouraged workers are dropping out of the labor force entirely (or retiring for economic reasons), they may never make their way back into jobs. Companies won't even bother to look at their applications. They essentially become unemployable.
Here Jared Bernstein with the details on MSNBC:

That's a human tragedy. It could also mean the U.S. economy will be significantly weaker in future. One recent paper from the Federal Reserve estimated that America's economic potential is now 7 percent lower than it was before the financial crisis — in part because workers who lost their jobs during the downturn have become less-attached to the labor force. That's a bad sign.

Rubio takes the War on Poverty back to a time before the War on Poverty.

Will tea party hardliners be okay with their tax dollars going to the poor? No. But that's the idea presented by Marco Rubio. 

What would be easier, raising the minimum wage or devising a system that sends, every month, a taxpayer supported check to millions of low wage workers? A no would think: 
…I am developing legislation to replace the earned income tax credit with a federal wage enhancement for qualifying low-wage jobs. This would allow an unemployed individual to take a job that pays, say, $18,000 a year – which on its own is not enough to make ends meet – but then receive a federal enhancement to make the job a more enticing alternative to collecting unemployment insurance.  And it’s a better way of supporting low-income workers than simply raising the minimum wage.
"...simply raising the minimum wage" is the dead giveaway, and the real answer to poverty. Republicans are lousy at math and economics, they proved that with the Great Recession.

GOP War on Poverty? Are you Kidding? If what Marco Rubio also offered the other day is the official new Republican offensive of the war on poverty, we're not just in big trouble, but really dumb. During a recession, states would be on their own, no help...nothing. Food stamps and unemployment as seen on the chart below adjust. But the block granted program Temporary Assistance, stays the same, no matter how bad it gets.

Sen. Rubio gave a much touted speech on poverty policy wherein he proposed to turn the federal safety net programs over to the states in the form of “revenue neutral” block grants.  This is not a new idea folks.  It’s rehashed Ryan, if not Reagan.  What it really means is the safety net will be unable to expand in recessions … states will be unable to tap the Feds for unemployment benefits, nutritional assistance, and all the other functions that must expand to meet need when the market fails.  This would essentially enshrine poverty-inducing austerity, in place of literally decades of policy advancements to meet demand contractions with temporary spending expansions.

In the figure below, note the flat-line response by TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) in the great recession–it was block-granted in the 1990s–compared to SNAP or Unemployment Insurance (UI).  That gives you the flavor of what happens when you follow where Sen. Rubio is trying to lead here.

The Republicans War on the War on Poverty bamboozling News Media.

The media idiots are buying into it again, like this from Yahoo News:
“After years of emphasizing austerity, Republicans are leaping to discuss ways the government can help alleviate poverty. The apparent shift…”
Really, Republicans want to “alleviate poverty?” By cutting food stamps by $40 billion? Ending unemployment? Throwing taxpayer dollars at failing private voucher schools?

What was I thinking, that’ll end poverty.

It’s almost laughable how Republicans are simply repackaging the same old stuff to end poverty. Example, inefficient block grants that just invite abuse and kick people off assistance:
Democrats intend to bludgeon them as out of touch and uncompassionate. Republicans know this is coming … So they're going on the offensive. House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor argued for giving state and local governments more control over education dollars; and Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio called for dismantling federal programs aimed at reducing poverty by turning money over to states. But it will be difficult for them to change their image overnight. In many ways, the party remains haunted by the still-lingering shadow of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Haunted? Wrong word. The GOP's current agenda, where they tried shutting down the government at a cost of $25 billion, not renewing extended unemployment, trying to cut $40 billion in food stamps, reducing state Earned Income Tax Credits and trying to take health care away is alive and well, and is still their goal!!!  

Softer/kinder Repackaging of Commodifying Kids: Gee, how can we make a profit off our kids with market tested uplifting program names?
Cantor promoted school choice programs and went as far as to call on the Senate to adopt a bill called the “Student Success Act … The bill is part of a larger "Making Life Work" initiative … “School choice is the surest way to break this vicious cycle of poverty, and we must act fast before it is too late for too many,” Cantor said.
Yes, before another day of lost profit is realized?

Dr. Seuss would be proud of this Bizarre Lunacy. See if you can follow this logic without falling down the rabbit hole:
During his speech, Rubio criticized proposals to raise the minimum wage as not addressing the root causes of poverty. “Our current government programs at best offer only a partial solution. They help people deal with poverty, but they do not help people emerge from poverty,” Rubio said.
So by their logic, more pay doesn't help people emerge from poverty? Remember, the whole point of the Republican Party is to turn every job into a low paying job, so a higher minimum wage would defeat everything they’re working for.

What we need to do is ignore the poor and help the rich get richer, because who knows, someday a rich person might hire someone out the goodness of their heart instead of waiting for consumer demand to pick up. One final laugh, check out the first three words below:

Despite these efforts, Democrats clearly still feel confident enough that Republicans will struggle when discussing these issues…

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Scott Walker’s "ObamaCare" like Moment? Dept. of Workforce Development overwhelmed by the Unemployed.

With so many of the unemployed getting their benefits dropped, thanks to Republican hardliners, you’d think the Walker Authority would have had the following covered. Man, government can’t do anything right under Republicans:
jsonline: Unemployed workers who want to file for unemployment compensation are having trouble getting through on the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's phone lines. A spokesman said Wednesday the department is experiencing "particularly high call volumes."

Ron Youngbluth of Pewaukee said he started calling to see whether he'd be eligible for unemployment after he was laid off from his part-time job as an optometrist in Brookfield on Dec. 6. He estimated he called up to two dozen times in the past month, sometimes several times a day. He got through to the automated system, but never to a person. "I called them the past at least three weeks, I don't know how many times. I couldn't get ahold of anyone," he told the Public Investigator. "It's all automated. That's the most I ever got. I thought, 'What the hell is going on?' There must be people who desperately need unemployment help."

John Dipko, a spokesman for DWD said the department rolled out a call-back feature in late 2012 that allows callers the option of getting a call back instead of staying on the line. Youngbluth said he was never offered a call back and that the system sometimes dropped his call.
A few readers left these appropriate comments:
Just remember to vote next November based on what kind of service the Governors Administration gave you and your family. Higher taxes, low paying or worse yet no jobs, reduced and more expensive public services, rotten roads, crowded schools, and six felons and counting.

Walker can't even manage a phone center, let alone the whole State of Wisconsin. He'll get laughed out of a Presidential race.