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Friday, January 17, 2014

Florida about to give gun owners the Constitutional Right to Fire Wide into the Air? You bet.

It's amazing to me how broad conservatives are interpreting the Second Amendment. Weren't they the ones who strictly adhere to the existing language and original intent. 

So apparently the founding father intended to give gun owners the right to fire into the air. It's right there somewhere...:
(Florida) Lawmakers are close to expanding (the Stand Your Ground law) to protect gunmen who fire warning shots or wave weapons in a threatening manner—and they're doing it with a bill written by a top NRA lobbyist, Gawker has learned. Republican Sen. Greg Evers said, the right to fire wide was a "constitutional right" that "should be left up to the individual."
That's what I thought I read too....

Wisconsin sold to Business and Wealthy Contributors, who are now writing state Laws. People still allowed to vote in smaller numbers, but for how long?

Ruth Conniff, the editor of The Progressive, wrote this nice summation of Wisconsin's now pay to play political environment, a system Scott Walker brags could be the model for the rest of the country, The the Isthmus Daily Page:
You have to hand it to them -- at least they're consistent. If there's an issue that pits the interests of ordinary Wisconsinites against those of a wealthy elite, you can count on our leaders in the statehouse to defend the rich and corporations against kids, low-wage workers and the uninsured.

1. Take Assembly Bill 540, Rep. Joel Kleefisch's bold initiative to defend the interests of stingy millionaire dads. It just so happens that Michael Eisenga maxed out on campaign contributions to Kleefisch six times. He also gave $7,500 to Kleefisch's wife, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and $15,000 to Gov. Scott Walker. But this is more than one isolated story. It's actually the new model for how Republicans do business in our state.

2. Take the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which has been handing out money to companies that happen to be big Republican donors, on the theory that these incentives will induce the "job creators" to create some jobs. Instead, the agency lost a lot of the money, gave it to companies for jobs that existed before the program went into effect, and bought Badger tickets and iTunes gift cards for staff. The net effect? Wisconsin lags the region in job creation and had the highest number of unemployment claims in the nation in November. So what does the Legislature do? It releases millions to the WEDC to keep up the good work.

3. The drive to do away with the weekend is another example of our pay-to-play government at work. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's biggest business lobby and a major Republican contributor, is pushing for the law so that employers can "allow" their employees to work seven days a week. Sen. Glenn Grothman makes no bones about the fact that WMC came up with the idea.

4. The privatization of our public schools in Wisconsin follows the same pattern. The powerful school privatization lobby, which now employs three former Assembly speakers who walk the halls of the Capitol and twist arms, ranks with the WMC as a top donor to state Republicans and is pushing for profit-making education companies to get a piece of the state's public-school funds.

An Assembly committee last week took up a bill that would make it easier for independent, profit-making charter schools to proliferate, without oversight by local school boards and communities. These schools take money right off the top of state education funds, draining money from every public school in the state. Rocketship lobbied for the bill and appears to be its primary beneficiary. In an offhand remark during the debate on a companion measure in the Senate, Sen. Luther Olsen commented, "We're just doing this for Rocketship," according to one of his Democratic colleagues on the committee.

What's amazing about all this is how flagrant Republicans are about pushing legislation that narrowly benefits their own benefactors -- at great cost to the taxpayers, public school kids and regular citizens of the state. How long can we sustain this kleptocracy before there's nothing left?

Budget Deal partially Fixes Paul Ryan's ruthless Cuts to Veterans Benefits.

There are two very important points in the budget deal Rep. Paul Ryan isn't going to like politically.

First and foremost was Ryan's attempt to reduce the budget on the backs of younger veterans. That's right, he didn't go after cuts to big oil, needless farm subsidies or corporate loopholes, he went after veterans. These big supporters of our troops?  Not so much.

I pieced together a string of clips where conservatives attack Ryan ruthlessly, from Fox News to Mark Levin. As an experiment, replace the promise of veterans benefits with "Social Security" or "Medicare." It's all the same to Ryan, and conservative pundits are using the same arguments to keep the benefits liberals make for keeping our safety nets. Listen up Democratic challenger Rob Zerban, this stuff is campaign gold:



 With every single Democrat except for one, voted against the cut:
The U.S. Senate gave final congressional approval Thursday to a massive, $1.1 trillion spending bill … Baldwin cited a provision in the bill that offers at least partial relief for working-age military retirees whose cost-of-living adjustments were going to be cut by 1% under the budget agreement co-authored by Ryan. Under the omnibus spending bill, that change will not occur for those medically retired and their survivors.

Voter ID Unconstitutional in Pennsylvania. GOP lawmaker says decision "doesn't give you a reason to (disregard) the voice of the people."

Remember this comment contained below from constitutional conservative Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe:
The fact that the law may impose a burden on voters who need an ID "doesn't give you a reason to (disregard) the voice of the people" as expressed by the Legislature, he said.
Metcalfe is saying that no matter how unconstitutional something is, if elected politicians supposedly reflect the “voice of the people,” who cares.

Republican authoritarian rule. Despite the “strict” conservative adherence to the constitution, some things can still be a fair and reasonable exception.  
AP: A Pennsylvania judge on Friday struck down a requirement that nearly all of the state's 8.2 million voters show photo identification at the polls, saying it imposes an unreasonable burden on the right to vote and that officials failed to demonstrate the need for it. "Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal….overwhelming evidence" that hundreds of thousands of qualified voters lack IDs that comply with the law and panned the state's educational and marketing efforts as "largely ineffective and consistently confusing."
And so we return to Metcalfe’s lunatic ranting’s of judicial activism, especially when rulings don’t go the GOP’s way (a dangerous precedent repeated over and over by conservatives):
Rep. Daryl D. Metcalfe, a Butler County Republican who sponsored the original, more stringent bill, called the decision "an activist ruling by a partisan Democrat judge." The fact that the law may impose a burden on voters who need an ID "doesn't give you a reason to (disregard) the voice of the people" as expressed by the Legislature, he said.
Yes, if the people (how many, and what party) want it, what does the constitution matter. 

Scott Walker takes Credit for Obama Administrations Economic Recovery, Opposed by Republicans!!!

When a state has a huge, massive tax revenue surplus, could it mean that many of the past austerity measures were completely unnecessary and just more image building by the Republican Party?

Yes. In fact, we still don't have enough money in the transportation fund, a job creator if there ever was one. The tweet to the right said it all.

Yet the chart provided here by the Wisconsin State Journal tells me Walker's failure to create jobs and attract new businesses means he's trying to bolster his reelection image on the nations general economic recovery, a policy his party opposes.

Despite the numbers that say the opposite, Walker might just get away with this whopper:
WSJ: Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement that the additional revenue “is a sign Wisconsin’s economy continues to grow and add jobs, and it’s more great news for the hardworking taxpayers.”
Lessons Not Learned: Tax cuts, rebates, election year slogans like "give the money back to taxpayers" has proven to be bad economics in the past, and true to GOP ideology, will be in our future. We didn't learn our lesson with Gov. Tommy Thompson's refund, or George W. Bush's big tax cut, which he said would not wipe out projected budget surpluses "as far as the eye could see?" Walker would rather keep his job than create jobs or manage the economy:
(Walker said,) “The additional revenue should be returned to taxpayers because it’s their money, and my administration will work with the Legislature to determine the most prudent course of action.”
Why can't state's strengthen their economic futures when times are good?  And what happens when the state needs that revenue during another economic downturn? Are voters this dumb? Yes. I can't believe I'm writing this, but Republican Sen. Scott Fitzgerald had a good idea:
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said his caucus would like to erase the 2015-17 structural deficit — which previously was estimated at $725 million. There is also support for additional tax cuts this year, rather than holding onto the money as part of larger tax reform in the next biennial budget.
Not in an election year folks. From WKOW:



Walker is also still feeding off Democratic Governor Doyle's policies. The details HERE at Rock Netroots.

Tea Party Republicans to seek “Freedom and Liberty” to Buy Things!!!

Maybe you didn't know Republicans in congress actually came up with these important bills:
NewsMax: The Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, but the legislation failed to pass the House. The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. Michele Bachmann and eight co-sponsors, was also floated in 2011 but died in a House subcommittee.
Every freedom we have, according to Republicans, now revolves around buying things. Buying guns, light bulbs, health care, politicians, schools…the list goes on and on. Freedom and liberty is quietly being redefined by an entire political party as our God given right to buy things.

Believe it or not, an actual adult posited this amazing upside reason to buy 20th century light bulbs:
"When we make a purchase, it's about quality, price, how much money we have now, can I use that money for a better investment? I don't need the government to say that I am making the incorrect decision and therefore I should buy energy-efficient products," said Daren Bakst, research fellow in agricultural policy at the Heritage Foundation. “Now you have something you can no longer buy. That's really indefensible," he said. 
He’s seriously angry over losing the freedom to buy something bad. Bakst is more concerned with the money he has right now, than in the money he could save in 23 years for LED’s and 9 for CFL’s? He’s defending his freedom to make an “incorrect decision” that effects energy consumption and pollution everywhere.

Bakst is fighting against being smart:
"Forget about choice. It's basically saying not only can you not make smart choices, we have so little faith in you that we will make sure you can't buy those goods anymore. Granted, Congress passed the law, but this looks like the state knows better than the public does," Bakst said.
It appears that way, doesn't it? Coming out against “smart choices” seems wrong on so many levels.

But think of all the jobs lost…yea, just one company. But why aren't American manufacturers making fluorescent and LED light bulbs like China?
General Electric closed a factory with 200 employees in Winchester, Va., that was the last major incandescent manufacturing facility in the United States. Now the work is going to places such as China.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Democrats could fight back, but will they with a "talking filibuster?"

I thought this the Huffington Post story was invaluable advice for the Democratic Party. It's time the abused party in this political relationship fights back. And the filibuster rule should change:
Republicans filibustered the extension of unemployment benefits on the Senate floor Tuesday. Why? Because they can get away with it. If the public doesn't know that filibusters are occurring, how can democracy hold Republicans accountable for doing it?

Instead they hear from the corporate media that the bill is "stalled," "the Senate failed" or "the Senate deadlocks" due to "finger-pointing" or "partisan squabbling." What message does the public get from that? Probably that they shouldn't bother to vote.

The silent filibuster keeps the majority from delivering for the public, without letting the public know why the majority is not delivering.

Again, if the public doesn't know the Republicans are filibustering and obstructing things the people need, they can't hold the Republicans accountable for it. Change the Senate rules to make them talk if they want to filibuster legislation. And then start the drumbeat to stop obstruction in the House. Serve the public by letting the public know what is going on.

Food Stamps: It’s not unhealthy foods Rep. Kaufert is targeting, it’s those “luxury items” the miserable poor have no right to eat.

Nothing but Envy: The outrageous FoodShare Reform legislation, AB 110, authored by Republican Rep. Dean Kaufert, grew out of “poor envy.” The horror of the “have not’s” having something, is abusive, unfair and a misuse of the program.

For months, Kaufert publically said he was going after junk food, which he thought was an waste of taxpayer money. But in a recent press release below, he let the real reason slip:
“This FoodShare Reform legislation will make sure we continue to help those truly in need in our communities with basic food necessities, while at the same time reduce the abuse and misuse of this program,” Kaufert said. “The original intent of the food stamp program was to provide the basic necessities, not luxury items and this bill will move us back in that direction.”
My conservative friend in Milwaukee angrily told me once he saw someone buying shrimp with food stamps, an odd pastime since it was something I never thought to do myself. He said he couldn't afford to buy shrimp, and he was working.  


Shrimp, steak…whatever, they can’t stand seeing poor people eat. Never mind that the reason for such a purchase might be a job celebration, the last food stamp purchase, a birthday…who knows? They’re supposed to be miserable until they’re under the control of a minimum wage employer.

Voucher School Disaster just Tip of the Iceberg, unstoppable with Republicans in charge.

It’s always easier to destroy something than to do the hard work of thoughtfully creating something better. Take the myth that public schools are “bad.”

Once that criticism took hold, it was easy to appeal to the insecurities of parents, who were no longer familiar with recent innovations in our classrooms and teaching. Profit driven investors and con artists bestowed “choice” onto parents, who now felt empowered. Parent’s who panicked over intentionally failed schools via No Child Left Behind testing, were sold on the success of highly selective private schools. Forget about improving existing schools, it was much faster going someplace else. 
  
Now we've got every flimflam artist in the country, along with the declining enrollment at religious school, promoting feel good slogans like “empowerment” and “choice” as the easy answer.

Well, how easy is this to understand:
jsonline: A husband and wife running a private Milwaukee voucher school that abruptly closed last month — after accepting a total of more than $2.3 million in taxpayer money — now live in a gated community in Florida by the beach, records show. Records show Taron and Rodney Monroe started a new private Christian school this year in Daytona Beach. While the school in Milwaukee was running on fumes, they were telling Florida friends they had experience getting government grants for religious schools. Now the Monroes, who lost their five-bedroom house in West Bend to foreclosure, have disappeared. For the past year, the Monroes have been living in a house with a private pool in Palm Coast, Fla., that sold in 2009 for $409,000, according to records. "I haven't seen them since before Thanksgiving," said Bill Vigue, a pastor with a Christian radio show who worshipped with the Monroes in Florida.
The $2.3 million is lost forever. Taxpayer money shouldn't just pay for one school year, it should also be an investment in a schools future and development, which private for-profit schools don’t give a rats ass about.

This “choice” BS has even blocked elected officials from overseeing and saving taxpayer money, thanks to our “taxpayer watchdogs” in the Republican Party:
John Johnson, DPI spokesman, said Wednesday that the department's authority over voucher schools, which are all private and predominantly religious, is limited. There's nothing in state law that allows the DPI to take action against a private school because of low academic performance or because of a school leader's personal finances, Johnson said.
Remember how Republicans complained the unions prevented bad teachers from being fired? That apparently was never the issue, since they’re just fine with giving bad schools filled with bad teachers taxpayer cash in the name of “freedom and liberty.” Oh, and short term profit. Just for fun, let's attack Common Core too. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chris Christie's Born to Run Traffic Jam......

Large Child Support Payments Spoil Children? Yet Inheritance doesn't?

Conservatism is a jumbled pile of contradictions that seems to satisfy the need of the moment.

1. On rich guy Michael Eisenga's attempt to pay lower child support:
“Eisenga continues to travel in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce.”
2. On the Republicans opposition to the estate tax, because they think a family’s wealth should be passed on to their children…there is one except if you're Eisenga: Kids get what’s left over, when he's done with it.

Flipping the “death tax” logic on its head, now kids shouldn't get all that wealth?
Journal Times: Rep. Tom Larson, R-Colfax, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Family Law, had defended AB 540 (which would) reduce child-support payments for wealthy individuals. “There’s some value in having some hardship with life,” Larson said. “Even if I were a rich person, I probably would struggle a little bit to make sure my kids earned what they get. What’s the purpose of this money going to child support if it’s only going to create a child with maybe less values?”
"Less values" like the kids greedy dad:
“Eisenga continues to travel in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce.”

Walker really does support a thug like Gov. Christie, for the way "we'd expect a leader to handle it." "Bridgegate" was handled well?

Not knowing where the “Bridge” Christie investigation will go next doesn't seem to of concern to a fellow governor whose own staff got caught breaking the law. 

Scott Walker has come out in support of Chris Christie’s total cluelessness or vindictiveness in office. 

Either way, the vengeful and incredibly irresponsible act of closing one of the busiest bridges in the nation shouldn't detract from the simple fact Republicans control the governorship. That’s all that matters to Walker.
Harold Times: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he believes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie acted appropriately once he found out about his aide’s role in causing massive traffic backups ostensibly for political retribution in the saga now known as “Bridgegate.”
Again, like Walker, the people closest to Christie did all this without the governor knowing. How are Republicans able to convince people this makes sense?
“…there are going to be challenges along the way; it’s how people deal with those challenges going forward,” Walker said. “He was completely transparent and gave the public a chance to hear what he understood and what he knew, took action on it -- decisive action in terms of removing the people who had not been forthright with him,” Walker said.  I think he handled it the way we’d expect a leader to handle it,” Walker said.
Forget about the fact Christie joked about the bridge closing right in front of the press. How could Christie have made such a big hiring mistake picking the people he put around him? Who cares. Christie now worries how all this will affect his agenda. According to Walker:

“He’s particularly frustrated going forward (that) it’s something that takes away from his ability to continue to push reform at the level he wanted to coming out of this recent election.” 

Dumb Ron Johnson's upside down story about his Daughter's life saving surgery, that oddly turned him against ObamaCare.

Never one to miss a Dumb Ron Johnson story, check out Uppity Wisconsin, where Jud Lounsbury asked the doctor that saved Johnson's daughters life how he felt about ObamaCare. Not surprisingly, Johnson's completely reversed reality.
So, I decided to get in touch with Doctor Foker. Via email, Foker said he is not only "generally supportive" of Obamacare, but thinks it didn't go far enough, saying, "Unfortunately, it was written by the insurance and drug companies so not great. Most of the many flaws of American medical care are still present." Foker also suggested that Republicans should be happy with what is a Republican-developed, "private-solution," but they are more interested in obstructionism, saying, "they're never happy."

Not quite, the "I never would have gotten into medicine if Obamacare was around way back when!" that Johnson suggests. 
Plus, the procedure that saved Johnson's daughters life?
Think Progress' Igor Volsky found that the very such first operations were not even performed in the United States, but in the socialized medicine countries of Brazil and France.
 There's more at Uppity Wisconsin at the link above.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Another Voucher School Closes leaving Kids and Parents Scrambling, Taxpayer money Wasted.

With everything else parents have to worry about, do they really need the aggravation of seeing their kids school closed suddenly in the dead of night?

If Republicans have their way, yes. And while you’re getting a few meager tax cuts around election time, forget about all your hard earned money going to these fly by night voucher schools.
jsonline: A small private school participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program abruptly closed in the middle of December, but not before collecting more than $200,000 from taxpayers this academic year to educate students who now attend other schools … LifeSkills Academy, a K-8 school that had dwindled to 66 students, appears to have closed about Dec. 12 … All Saints Catholic Church owns the building that LifeSkills rented … "They moved out, as people say, in the dead of the night," Father Carl Diederichs of All Saints said.

I've got an idea, let’s open the door for more private voucher schools statewide, okay?

Cato Institute now says School Testing is Bad...but only for Private Voucher Schools.

If testing harms private schools, why does it make public schools better? Republicans want you to believe both ideas are true.

Destroy Public Schools: Republicans are out to destroy public schools and haven’t been shy about saying so. No Child Left Behind pushed testing for everything, with the intention to fail every school by 2014. Those failures were going to force schools to go charter or private.  Fast forward to today.

The conservative loons at the Cato Institute are now tasked with making even the weakest excuses sound like good ideas…and they’re failing. They wrote this up recently:
The Fordham Institute released a “policy toolkit” proposing private schools be required to administer state tests to all students participating in a school choice program, and publicize the results. Private schools that the state deemed persistently underperforming would be expelled from the program. Fordham argues that such measures have the potential to raise student achievement and provide parents with the information needed to make better decisions about their children’s education. Though Fordham’s plan is well-intentioned, their justifications are unpersuasive and their proposal is more likely to do harm than good.
Testing Harms Private Schools? The Republican push for testing everything in public schools is now not such a good idea for private schools. Why, because they said so in this shocking and bizarre down the rabbit hole twist on something they felt so strongly about only just yesterday:
First, there is scant evidence to support Fordham’s claim that test-based accountability measures “may boost student achievement.” Fordham rests its claim on the results of but a single year in a single study of a single school choice program: the final year of the School Choice Demonstration Project’s five-year analysis of the Milwaukee voucher program. First, there is scant evidence to support Fordham’s claim that test-based accountability measures “may boost student achievement.”  
Excuses, Excuses: Despite the results, Cato believes we should give these private schools more time, more money and no tests.
  
Cato also conveniently and intentionally leaves out foreign nationalized standardized testing and curriculum:
A 2009 literature review of the within-country studies comparing outcomes among different types of school systems worldwide revealed that the most market-like and least regulated education systems tended to produce student outcomes superior to more heavily regulated systems, including those with a substantial number state-funded and regulated private schools. By forcing every school to administer the same tests, states would induce conformity and stifle diversity and innovation.
That’s not true in those foreign countries Cato loves so much. Their bottom line is this:
In short, the best form of accountability is directly to parents, not government bureaucrats and their tests.
Ask yourself, is that what Republicans have been saying about public schools for the last 15 years? Of course not.

Like Impossible 250,000 Jobs Promise, Walker Floats next big scheme-getting rid of State Income Tax!

Even an idiot knew Scott Walker's 250,000 jobs promise was a truly ridiculous campaign trick. Freeloading Republicans love that kind of stuff. But in the real world, a Democratic opponent would never try to match it, or risk insulting the intelligence of their voters.

So for an encore, the Walker reelection campaign had to come up with another completely unmatchable feat. And they did; getting rid of the state income tax. 

And that's what got the headlines. What didn't get as much attention were the caveats; maybe not all income taxes would go away, and oh by the way, the sales tax would have to increase.

It was the BIG PROMISE of eliminating the income tax that stuck with the majority of conservative low information voters.

In the words of George W. Bush, "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.” Or something like that...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Walker not getting away with this Minimum Wage Whopper....

Big surprise:



Poor little 'ol United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, requesting Hardship exemption for Lying.

Job creation within conservative circles continues to thrive despite some major setbacks, like the failed and almost laughable Koch brothers brainchild United Sportsmen of Wisconsin.
jsonline-Jason Stein: A controversial sportsmen's group is asking the federal government for a hardship exemption from penalties for having botched its tax filings.

The United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, which won and then lost a $500,000 state grant, had to repeatedly clarify its tax status last fall after … it had misrepresented that status and failed to make the required federal filings … some four months after they were first requested … the group paid $118,400 in 2011 to an out-of-state Republican consultant, had only one donor in 2011 and ran a $29,000 deficit in 2012 just before seeking the taxpayer-funded grant for teaching state residents to hunt and fish.
This is what passes for conservative “job creation.” Right wing groups employ low information true believers to do their bidding. With a little luck, groups promoting these teetering or completely failed ideas can get a new lease on life if given the right taxpayer supported legislative gift. 

The news media intentionally protects those responsible, like in the sentence below, that replaces the Koch brothers influence with the generic reference “GOP insiders.”
United Sportsmen, a three-year-old group with close ties to GOP insiders...
No Consequences for Bad Behavior, Law Breaking:
In a letter last month to the federal Internal Revenue Service provided by Annette Olson, the secretary-treasurer for United Sportsmen, the group argued it shouldn't face penalties despite its mistakes and misrepresentations. "It would be against equity and good conscience to impose such a penalty on this small tax-exempt organization. This late filing was not an act of deliberate late filing but was an administrative oversight which will not happen again," the letter read.
These finely tuned “small” (don’t laugh) right wing machines, when caught, always feign a childlike innocence over their run of bad luck. And yet it's anything but:
At that time, United Sportsmen made a number of contradictory claims about its tax status. Initially, the group presented itself as a nonprofit and then, when it was revealed it hadn't yet received federal nonprofit status, said it was a for-profit company. When the Journal Sentinel reported the group hadn't filed any state tax filing required for for-profit firms, United Sportsmen reversed itself again and said it was a nonprofit...
This innocent small "sportsmen's" group has quite an "inadvertent" political track record: 
The political group Citizens for a Strong America Inc. gave $235,000 to United Sportsmen in 2011 ... $118,400, went to Arena Communications of Salt Lake City, Utah, that helps design and send out mailings to voters ... has high-profile GOP clients … including Walker; Rep. Paul Ryan; the state GOP; and the committee representing Republican state senators. United Sportsmen sent out a mailing in the 2011 state Senate recall elections.

Besides the 2011 mailing, the two affiliates of United Sportsmen sponsored the Sportsmen Freedom Fest and Concert in Lake Delton with Americans for Prosperity and the National Rifle Association … just before the presidential election. The group also has spent $60,387 lobbying lawmakers in favor of sporting legislation, such as the creation of a wolf hunt, as well as bills to ease the way for a controversial open pit iron mine in northern Wisconsin and to better enable development in wetlands.You’ll love this hilarious response…
Walker also has a bridge he wants to sell you: 
Republican lawmakers and Walker's office have said they didn't seek to benefit a political ally.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Insane, Cold. Unemployment Cut while still above the previous record high level.

Here's Dumb Ron Johnson rationalizing the end of the unemployment extension, despite the fact that the current level is still higher than the highest previous level, from Upfront with Mike Gousha. Big friggin talker:


This graph from the Economic Policy Institute should disgust everybody. The Republican must know they're cutting the unemployment extension at the most unrealistic and devastating time:


John Doe's Kelly Rindfleisch now has Telemarketer Problems?

WKOW's Tony Galli did a great job tracking down the odd trail of a telemarketer up to his ears in debt, and a connection to John Doe's deputy chief of staff for Milwaukee County executive Scott Walker, Kelly Reindfleisch. What it all means? Galli tries to explain:
WKOW: A former aide and campaign worker for Governor Scott Walker who faces misconduct charges was affiliated with a business with ties to the largest alleged violator of the state's No-Call List.

Nevada state records show Kelly Rindfleisch as affiliated with National Lending Solutions, a business with a Columbus address, between December 2011 and March 2012.

In a settlement of a state complaint against First American Funding for allegedly contacting more than one million consumers on the state's No-Call List with mortgage solicitations, First American was required to pay $144,000, and provide quarterly summaries of all its calls to ensure no additional pattern of No-Call violations. Michael Eisenga said Rindfleisch was an administrative assistant who worked for his telemarketing firm from October 2011 to January 2012, when she resigned days before being criminally charged.

Rindfleisch has yet to respond to a request for comment from 27 News.

Deadbeat Republican freeloaders know how to leave a trail of debt behind, as always:
State and court records also list Eisenga's state tax debt as $224,178, in connection to his operation of a Columbus golf course. Records show Eisenga accumulated the tax debt during a time he contributed thousands of dollars to republican organizations and candidates, including a $10,000 contribution to Governor Walker in November 2009, and $7,500 to Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch in April 2010. Eisenga told 27 News his tax debt was due to his "miscalculation" of sales taxes.
I’m not sure what to say about this little tid bit:
Columbia County court records show tax warrants filed by the Department of Revenue against Eisenga list the address of the Republican Party of Columbia County.

Koch Brothers Know Wisconsin, and say that we're not Real Wisconsinites. Fed up with these guys yet?

The campaign cash stories are gushing out now, with this one being one of the most interesting. Nothing I can say could sum up the real anger Wisconsinites should feel after being schooled by David and Charles Koch.
Truthout: Ads Telling Voters "Recall Is Not the Wisconsin Way" Funded by Out-of-State Koch Network: In the final weeks of Wisconsin's 2012 recall elections, a previously-unknown group called Coalition for American Values Action flooded the state's airwaves with over $400,000 in ads that made a unique appeal: instead of promoting Governor Scott Walker or attacking his opponent, the ads attacked the premise of the recall itself … viewers were told that "recall is not the Wisconsin way," and to "stop the recall madness" by voting to reelect Walker.

Wisconsin Outsiders tell Wisconsinites who they Really Are: Not the Wisconsin way? Well, the Koch brother ought to know? Apparently:
Coalition for American Values Action's two ads tapped into the exhaustion some Wisconsinites felt after a tumultuous year of protest and upheaval, but placed the blame on the Constitution's recall mechanism rather than Governor Walker and the dramatic changes he had pushed into law.
The money Trail: While Republicans joke about the liberal portrayal of the Koch brothers as evil, they've also sold our state image out to David and Charles, outsiders Scott Walker described as not having a vested interest in our state.
Despite the ads purporting to represent Wisconsin values, funding for the message came from well outside the Dairy State's borders: all of Coalition for American Values Action's known contributions come from an out-of-state group linked to the billionaire Koch brothers.

Coalition for American Values Action reported to Wisconsin election authorities that it spent $400,080 on its "recall isn't the Wisconsin way" ads, but because of an apparent loophole in state campaign finance law, it never disclosed the true source of its funding … the primary source of the group's funding in 2012 was the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR), a conduit for $156 million in political spending raised by the Kochs and their network of funders.

The Center for Media and Democracy has filed a complaint with Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board alleging that Coalition for American Values Action violated Wisconsin's campaign finance laws by failing to disclose this funding. 
Here's the real Wisconsin way, don't cha know:

Wisconsin Facing Massive $1.5 billion Budget Hole! Cutting our way to Prosperity with no new Revenue Streams Fundamentally Flawed.

It’s encouraging to see others now focusing in on Walker’s inability to fund transportation responsibly.

The GOP mantra to never raise taxes has put up road blocks to each and every solution we have in this state and nation. The fact that they've borrowed and used general fund money to pay for road maintenance in Wisconsin should have sent up red flags for even conservative voters, who didn't seem to notice. Republicans are stuck, and they know it.

I've focused on the transportation fund because I think it showcases the fundamental problem of the conservative ideology and their no tax pledge. They can’t manage anything, especially government, wearing their ridiculous no tax straitjacket. Unfortunately, Walker might get another four year term before reality hits every taxpayer in the state. The GOP can't even replace most of the old gas tax with an equal but new mileage based use tax. 

Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse, my go to guy for numbers, broke it down wonderfully below (see more here):
Good to see a discussion of Transportation funding find its way into an in-depth article from the Journal-Sentinel's Patrick Marley. And while it's buried near the end of the article, I'm going to bring this bit of news up to the front.

The transportation fund will start the next two-year budget cycle with a deficit of about $750 million. That is because the governor and lawmakers relied on one-time funding — much of it borrowed — to help pay for the Zoo Interchange and the north-south portion of I-94 in southeastern Wisconsin.

About $600 million more will be needed from mid-2015 to mid-2017 to pay for those two projects alone.

When you combine it to the $725 million structural deficit we're in for the General Fund, it now means the state is facing overall budget deficits near $1.5 billion with the next budget that have to be filled. So much for the idea that the budget is "balanced" under Walker and WisGOP.

Jogger gives "Bird" to Teabilly Squatter Scott Walker in Governors Mansion, back in 2011.

The State Jounal's "On the Capitol" column wrote about this Google Maps photo, explained below:
It seems remnants of that unique time live on not just in our memories, but also in unusual places — like Google Maps.

Back when Google Street View was in town capturing updated images of Madison in summer 2011, it drove past the Governor’s Mansion in Maple Bluff one day in June at the same time as a jogger or speed walker who apparently wanted to show her opinion about Walker for all the world to see.

It involves a raised finger and her pointing to the mansion. Or, as Christian Schneider, the conservative Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist who disclosed the photo this week, called it, “the new official Wisconsin salute.”

Wisconsin Congressional Republicans try to strip down and trash Superfund Law, allowing for cancer, respiratory diseases and reproductive disorders to flourish. Now that's deregulation.

Goodbye Superfund Toxic Cleanup: Take a look at what our House Republicans attempted to do that would have endangered Americans everywhere in the U.S.: 
They voted to scale back the federal Superfund law, giving the nearly 30 super majority Republican states the authority to lower environmental standards to dramatically dangerous levels. 
Not surprisingly, Republicans thought it best to allow companies to opt out of cleanup insurance. That gets the "boot of big government" off the neck of business.  

If all this wasn't bad enough, Republicans also approved curbing the underlying reason for the Superfund, the solid waste provisions that “regulate” (nasty word isn’t it?) the disposal of solid and hazardous waste.

With all the focus on “Bridge” Christie’s problems and ending the extension of unemployment benefits, BIG things like this tend to fall through the media cracks.
Environmental Rogues Gallery
For a group of Wisconsin representatives who know how important our natural resources are to tourism, and leaving a healthy environment to our children, their votes should outrage every political constituent:
Voting for rolling back the Superfund: Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, and Reid Ribble.
The Unreasonable Democrats?: Not only did all of our Democratic Representatives vote against this environmental assault, but they saw their reasonable safeguard amendment lose big time. All it did was not allow the above changes to the Superfund if:
“…it would result the long term exposure of vulnerable populations within five miles of waste sites to substances that contain drinking water or cause respiratory disease, cancer or reproductive disorders.”
Voting against a safeguard that would protect against cancer, respiratory diseases and reproductive disorders? Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, and Reid Ribble.

This is the kind of world Republicans envision, and the ugly truth about their empty words about family values and what we’re leaving to our children.