Saturday, March 1, 2014

Creepy Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer asked to step down for Sexual Harassment.

Arrogant Rep. Bill Kramer apparently didn't take no for answer. He took his war on women on the road to Washington, harassing a "33-year-old female lobbyist and at least one other woman."  
"Kramer is accused of groping at least one of the women and making lewd and inappropriate remarks to at least two women."

State Rep. Chris Kapenga accused Kramer of acting inappropriately at a recent meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Chicago. Kapenga said in September that Kramer has often displayed poor behavior at various events.
There's more:
AP: The Republican majority leader in the state Assembly has been asked to resign his post because of allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women at a meeting in Washington, two Republicans with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday. Rep. Bill Kramer, of Waukesha, was elected by Republican Assembly members as majority leader in September.

GOP Assembly leaders met late Friday to discuss the situation and agreed that Kramer should step down as majority leader. Kramer did not immediately return a message left at his Capitol office. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel went to Kramer's home Friday night but he was not there.

Wisconsin GOP Ugly #3: Tantrum over Presidential Powers and Regulation, Republicans Flip-Flop, Passing Bureaucratic Red Tape affecting Veterans and Seniors.

Wisconsin’s congressional Representatives continue to move forward and beyond their racially motivated attacks on Obama by knocking him down a peg, stripping him of his constitutionally granted powers as president.

How can it be anything else, when there’s overwhelming evidence that contradicts GOP claims Obama is acting like an imperial president? The graph isn't ambiguous about executive orders. 

Or how about the Republican outrage over the simple day-to-day rule making abilities of government agencies? Petty and vindictive, this is governing?
The Roll Call feature is a dark look into a GOP led dystopian world where even the Executive Branch isn’t safe from their lust for power and control.
You’ll notice that suddenly, in a shocking reversal, our Republican representatives are abandoning their principles. That was easy. Let's have a costly massive amount of bureaucratic red tape:
NEW HURDLES FOR REGULATORS: The House passed a GOP bill (HR 2804) to impose additional paperwork and public-reporting obligations on federal agencies as they go about drafting and implementing rules to carry out laws passed by Congress. Agencies would be required to file monthly reports on the content, status and legal basis of rules they are developing. The Office of Management and Budget unit that receives these filings would have to post them on the Internet and then publish detailed annual reports on all aspects of federal rulemaking, including projected costs on the economy. The executive branch implements 3,000 to 4,000 regulations each year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Showing our president whose boss, Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, and Ribble voted for more taxpayer draining bureaucracies.

Democrats tried to prevent the bottleneck of bureaucratic delays from hurting veterans, seniors, children and consumers, but our congressmen just laughed:
RULES TO HELP VETERANS, SENIORS, WOMEN: The House defeated a Democratic bid to prevent HR 2804 (above) from interfering with regulations that expedite veterans’ benefits; protect the health and safety of seniors, children and consumers; ensure pay equity for women; provide refunds and rebates to taxpayers; aid small businesses; prevent discrimination; safeguard drinking water and protect food supplies from food-borne diseases.
Just to be clear, Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble made it harder to help small businesses (a big donor) and make sure veterans get their benefits (voter base).

Maybe if people only knew how their Republican representatives were actually voting, they might change their minds. But they'll never see this.

Wisconsin GOP Ugly #2: Ryan, Petri, Ribble, Duffy and Sensenbrenner Abandon Consumer Protection and Veterans for Big Business.

Republicans aren't just pushing free markets, they’re boisterously cheering on the old saying, “A fool and his money are soon parted,” hoping that means you.  

The Truth: Wisconsin House representatives oppose regulations protecting Americans from the predatory practices by big business. I still can’t wrap my mind around how the GOP can oppose the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without voter outrage and blowback. And these big flag waving supporters of war veterans everywhere would rather see vets get ripped off than support one regulation.  
In each instance below, Wisconsin Democratic Representatives tried to add an amendment that retained a few basic protections, but they were soundly defeated.

The Roll Call feature is a dark look into a GOP led dystopian world where government oversight is considered a market distortion:  
CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU: the House passed a Republican bill (HR 3193) to reduce the(ir) authority ... The bill enables the Financial Stability Oversight Council in the Treasury Department to veto the bureau’s proposed regulations by simple majority vote rather than the two-thirds majority now required. The bill also would replace the bureau’s director with a five-person governing body and subject its budget to the congressional appropriations process.
That's smaller government? Voting to politicize and trash the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, and Reid Ribble. But it gets worse:
PAYDAY LENDERS TO THE MILITARY: the House defeated a Democratic motion to prevent HR 3193 (above) from impeding Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) oversight of payday lenders located on or near military bases, its efforts to help consumers deal with compromised credit cards or its policing of fraud in fees charged for student loans or ATM withdrawals.
Can Republican voters really be against something like this? We'll see. Voting no were Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, and Ribble.

Wisconsin GOP Ugly #1: Walker Emails Joke and Ruthlessly Dismiss Teen Death; Ignore Gun Problems at Clinic, Blame Unions Instead!

It’s hard to imagine any voter tolerating the following incredibly bizarre, insensitive, ruthless email exchanges below, but we'll see election day when Wisconsinites cast their votes. Maybe they won’t mind being lumped in with the ghouls Scott Walker felt comfortable with in his administration.

Add these email exchanges to the many, including the callous disregard for a family trying to settle with the county over their daughters tragic starvation death.

This isn't just about the loathsome people Scott Walker surrounded himself with, but a prevailing conservative mindset that’s okay with cutting food stamps, veterans benefits, public safety, unemployment, minimum wages, gay bashing, veiled racism etc.. From WSJ's On the Capitol
Example 1: While discussing a fatal Milwaukee parking garage collapse, ex-Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch joked with a friend — who had complained about the headlines after the tragedy … “You mean Scott didn't push that slab on top of the kid so he could play Guilliani? (sic)” Rindfleisch wrote.

In another exchange, Rindfleisch told her friend Kelly Teelin, a Madison paralegal, that she was looking forward to a social event. To which Teelin responded, “Why, what happened yesterday besides the parking lot falling on some kid.”

Example 2: After Milwaukee County Board member Lynne DeBruin wrote a letter to Walker calling for more security at the county behavioral health department’s walk-in clinic because of incidents in which patients brought in weapons, Walker’s staff discussed ways to defuse the problem.

Tim Russell, the county’s housing director and part of Walker’s inner circle, responded by email: “Lynne is a wholly owned (subsidiary of the) nurses union. These complaints are their agitating, either for more staff or something else. Cindys suggestion to have (county lawyer Tim) schoewe put the fear of god into her and remind her (of her policy) making role would be good. Or a large truck.” 
Walker is in on this bit of union bashing at the expense of clinic safety:
Walker, who was copied on the email, responded: “Yes. Tim S should talk to her.”
Even though a recent poll found overwhelmingly support for Democratic issues, voters still favored Republicans candidates in the November elections.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Has Scott Walker always had a Secret Personal Email System since first becoming county executive?

Was Scott Walker's secret email system actually an updated speedier version than the one deputy chief of staff Tim Russell had installed back in 2002? Did Walker fine tune and get used to a separate confidential email system bypassing public accountability? 

Gov. Scott Walker's Milwaukee County executive office was using a secret Internet system as early as 2002, according to a former county administrator who said he helped set up the network.

That's several years earlier than prosecutors disclosed ... Milwaukee County human resources assistant director Bob Kiefert said he was called into Walker's office in 2002 by then-deputy chief of staff Tim Russell. Kiefert showed Russell how to set up a hard-wired Internet connection using a DSL modem and a telephone line. The network allowed county executive staff to send and receive emails and surf the Web outside the public system set up by the county's Information Management Services Division in 1998.

"They didn't trust the IMSD county system to be the pathway or the gateway through which their emails went," Kiefert said in an interview. "They wouldn't have control of those emails." Kiefert, now retired and a Democratic Party activist in Green Bay who runs a website called Green Bay Progressive, first disclosed that he helped set up the system in a blog entry last week
Here's where Scott Walker gets involved...kinda:
Kiefert said he never spoke with Walker directly about the system but said Russell brought him to Walker's office to be thanked personally for his help. Walker, who was on the phone, looked up, smiled and waved, he said. "There was no talk of how they were going to use it for campaigning or anything like that," Kiefert said. "Russell made it clear I was doing a favor for Scott Walker."
 It's unclear what became of the system Kiefert said he set up for Walker in 2002 or whether it was abandoned or became part of the later system discovered by prosecutors two years ago. Investigators found evidence in one of the county executive's offices that the system involved a 3G broadband Internet connection and wireless router, and an AT&T broadband account paid for by Russell with a service start date of Oct. 16, 2009. Kiefert said the 3G broadband network described in the complaint is a faster, more modern version of the equipment he helped install in 2002.

Kiefert said investigators never contacted him about what he knew about the earlier version of the system.

Walker will give us a Dollar for Four More Years! Promises No Growth Tax Cuts.

Apparently Scott Walker no longer thinks his campaign is benefiting from his recently passed tax cut bribe, so he's come up with another gimmick.

For our vote, he'll give us all just one dollar more to stuff in our pockets by 2018. Don't laugh, it's all part of sending a message that Wisconsin is headed in the right direction blah, blah, blah....

But what about local communities, how will they be able to handle the straight jacket caps handed down by Madison's know-it-all Republicans? Can cities and towns continue to make deeper cuts? Since those union busting Walker "tools" were just a one time thing, now what?

This isn't a growth policy, it's a tax cutting policy and path to the bottom of the barrel.
Wisconsin Taxpayers' Alliance President Todd Berry said, "The longer you have tight limits on local governments and school districts, the more likely they have done the easy or affordable, cheap things to hold the budget down. The longer it goes on the more the decisions become more difficult. If you keep those limits down, that's going to control the growth. The other thing they can do is increase state spending by increasing aids to schools or tech colleges, and they effectively buy down the property tax."
Magical Budgeting: So in reality, Walker will either buy down the property tax cut with more spending, or limit the growth of communities statewide. Neither sounds very responsible or desirable. WISC Channel3000-Jessica Arp:

Walker's Reason to Reject Medicaid Expansion...GONE! The Truth is...he Lied.

Is it even possible that after all this time, one of Scott Walker's biggest decisions was just part of a massive public con job? Guess so.

It's amazing how Walker's cleverly concealed misdirection play that denied Medicaids expansion took this long to be exposed as false. PolitiFact:
Did "federal reneging" on Medicaid payments to Wisconsin...?

...there’s a major problem in Walker’s contention. The federal share -- known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, or FMAP, fluctuates annually and varies from state to state based on a formula dating to Medicaid’s inception in 1965 … "designed so that the federal government pays a larger portion of Medicaid costs in states with lower per-capita incomes relative to the national average.”

In other words, the standard federal share of Medicaid costs is not promised or guaranteed to hold steady; it must only stay between the statutory minimum of 50 percent and maximum of 83 percent.
Walker is also using the Medicaid funding losses from the now expired stimulus program to prove his claim:   
In fact, Wisconsin saw its federal rate rise from 2009 to 2010, and also got a big additional bump to more than 70 percent for almost three years under the federal stimulus law and a subsequent legislative action, both of which applied nationally. Finally, Walker cites new costs states will have to pick up under Obamacare … but two experts told us they do not represent a broken commitment.

John Peacock, research director at the left-leaning Wisconsin Council on Children & Families, agreed. "If we took advantage of the Medicaid expansion funds, we would get a much higher matching rate that is locked in (under the law.)"
But typical cost-sharing fluctuations, based mainly on a longstanding formula, explain the extra state burden -- not any reversal of course or pulling back on a commitment by Washington. We rate Walker’s claim False.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What, who would ever politicize Public Education and Common Core, asks Tea Party Rep. Jeremy Theisfeldt.

What is it about Republican lawmakers writing sloppy laws? Aren't we all tired of hearing them say after the fact how shocked they were that people would use the laws in ways they didn't “intend?”

Well, here we go again. Tea Party Republican Rep. Jeremy Theisfeldt is ticked off the superintendent of public instruction would take the lead on education. Fancy that.
WSJ: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers unilaterally adopted Common Core. Legislation is now pending.
Theisfeldt wrongly believes Evers is actually more worried about losing power than improving education in Wisconsin. Everything revolves around “power”…if your Republican, not public service.
DPI is fighting a turf war to avoid its power being curtailed by SB 619.
And how about Evers worry that legislators will politicize education? Impossible?
DPI has particularly targeted the end of the proposed revision process in which legislators could potentially debate and amend standards. While conceivable, this would be unlikely. I don’t know a legislator who aspires to reach that point.
That’s right, the law would allow the complete politicization of education…but no one would ever do that, right? Forget about writing the law to prevent that. Who would do that?

Arizona still on the Edge of Lunacy, Prompting Business and Individual Uncertainty.

While the media pretends this ones over, can any business really be confident enough that something like this won't happen again in Arizona, or anyplace for that matter? Not a chance.

The Root River Siren beat me to the punch on Wisconsin's own "religious freedom" proposal that the GOP wants to etch into our state constitution, I do want to emphasize that before Arizona's fiasco, we called these draconian attempts "conscience clauses."

I've blogged about this stuff before, and warned that this is one of the most chaotic and divisive idea yet devised by the conservative cancer eating away at our country.

The conscience clause would allow the total breakdown of our system of laws, not to mention our individual freedoms. You wanna see "uncertainty?" Pass these "conscience" based laws.

Walker’s Lower Property Tax Promise just more deferred maintenance and Republican freeloading.

Want to leave our children with higher taxes? Make them pay for replacing our aging and crumbling infrastructure.

To understand Scott Walker and his ideologically driven policies, replace “freedom” with “freeloader.” And that strikes at the heart of GOP economics.

Walker promise; lower property taxes. It’s another way Republicans say, “We’re entitled to the fruits and labor of past generations, without maintaining or replacing it.” They are freeloaders.

With Walker’s big government cap on local taxes, he can tinker and lower taxes insignificantly for purely political reasons, like this...
A chart released by Walker on Wednesday when he made his latest announcement showed that taxes on a median-valued home would be $1 less in 2018 than on bills mailed in December.
Gee, thanks. At Cognitive Dissidence, one reader made this point:
Widgeon: Walker has done two things to affect property taxes and local government. 1.) He has cut aids to local government and school aids. 2.) He has placed limits on how much the local units can raise and for what purpose. So this makes the locals look like the bad guys when taxes go up, either due to county, municipal or school levies. And it leaves walker with the ability to say he didn't raise taxes. Voters need to pay attention to this switcheroo.
Walker did the same thing in Milwaukee as county executive, where he let the county board raise taxes all the while maintaining ideological purity.

And with further GOP cuts coming down the line, the state will be in even bigger trouble when Republicans require a super majority vote to raise taxes in the future. California saw huge deficits because of such a law, which has since been repealed. California is now enjoying a huge budget surplus as a result.

Democratic candidate Mary Burke’s campaign responded, “Mary Burke is committed to holding the line on property taxes.” Burke should have also promised to give local governments control again (no cap), and spell out the same kind of arguments presented in Widgeon’s comment. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Uh oh, Walker dodges question about staff using private emails!!!

I edited together the following outtake reel from WKOW’s website today, and found the opening question and Scott Walker answer very interesting, because it goes beyond even what the Journal Sentinel wrote about today.

While reporter Jason Stein talked to a few aides, the video shows Walker dodging the same question; does his current staff use personal emails for any reason during work hours.
Reporter: "Have you given any instructions to your current office...those who work in your office right now about whether or not they can use personal email to do any business, whether it be campaign or state business." 

Walker: "We haven't done that recently, we've had a policy in place since I became governor...we have a very elaborate ethics and code of conduct policy, I know my staff the last few days talked about."
See that and more of his odd reactions: 

Here's what Jason Stein uncovered:
Aide won't say if Walker staff uses private email for state business … Gov. Scott Walker's office never had its own hidden Internet system as his office in Milwaukee County did, aides said.

But spokesman Tom Evenson didn't directly answer whether aides in the governor's office frequently used private email accounts to communicate on sensitive political topics outside of the state official system. "From day one, establishing and maintaining ethical standards has been a priority for Gov. Walker and his administration.

The emails have shown a widespread use of private email accounts in the Milwaukee County office

The Journal Sentinel has requested copies of the signed ethics policies.

What Winning Really Means to Scott Walker....

I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this one.

Confirmed finally: Republican run governments don't work, their ideology is all that matters to them, and they must win no matter what the cost.
Sociopathic Eyes

Walker's brutally insensitive desire to take the governors office is spelled out right here:
Instructions from Scott Walker's campaign manager were explicit: Delay settlement of a long-standing legal case over the starvation-related death of 26-year-old Cindy Anczak at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. "Could care less what it is on," Walker campaign manager Keith Gilkes wrote in an Oct. 22, 2010, email exchange with a Walker aide at the county, referring to the claim's legal basis.

"Keep it buried until Nov. 2nd and then hopefully they'll settle," Gilkes wrote. Walker went on to win his term as governor that same day.

Anczak's parents, Jean and Myron Anczak of Greendale, would wait another full year before the county approved a $125,000 settlement. Jean Anczak said the email comments about her daughter's case were insensitive and a sad reminder. Rock Pledl, the Anczaks' lawyer, said Gilkes' comment was "the most calloused thing I've ever heard.
But Walker won, and isn't that what it's all about?

Thanks Governor Walker, Statewide Budget Cuts forcing communities to hire Private Police Officers.

Perhaps someday we'll have to pay directly for police services to our homes and neighborhoods, and only if we can afford it. If we can't...well, some fire departments are already insisting on payments upfront to save your house from burning to the ground. Now that's what I call freedom and liberty. No reason to be nervous?
WPR: La Crosse is developing a new community policing program, with one of its officers paid for privately – a funding model that's new to Wisconsin … two new community police officers have an office in a former residential home in central La Crosse. From there, they’ll patrol their beat by foot and bike. The city's tight budget has prevented the switch, until now. 

According to the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the number of police officers in the state has dropped over the last five years because of funding issues. Executive Director Jim Palmer said privately funding public safety could become a trend. 

Deer Populations Down, Chronic Wasting Disease Up! Walker and his "Deer Trustee" Mismanage and Hurt Hunting in Wisconsin.

Assuming a majority of hunters lean conservative, why are they letting the Walker Authority mismanage the deer herds in Wisconsin with no apparent blowback?

Our "unintimidated" great white hunter said this when he ran for governor:
Walker says Gov. Jim Doyle and the state Department of Natural Resources have engaged in "political games" and "put bureaucrats in Madison ahead of hunters of the state." Walker claimed that the "deer population has dwindled" as a result of "mismanagement" by Doyle and the DNR.
And once Walker took over, he used every excuse Doyle wasn't allowed to make for low deer numbers:
Last year's significant snow and cold that persisted into May resulted in lower deer numbers going into the 2013 fall seasons … antlerless permit numbers at their lowest levels since the 1990s.
Now chronic wasting disease is spreading due to Walker cutbacks in population control, and discontinuing the use of sharpshooters in certain areas of the state:
jsonline: Chronic wasting disease continues to spread in western Dane and Iowa counties, where about 1 in 4 male adult deer is believed to have the fatal deer malady. That's more than double the figure of 2002, when 8% to 10% of adult males had the disease, according to the agency.

By contrast, the prevalence of the disease is much lower in northern Illinois, where targeted sharpshooting has been used by Illinois wildlife officials since 2002. The prevalence rate is under 1% in Illinois' 12-county CWD area. In 2007, the DNR defended the use of sharpshooters as an "efficient and effective tool in reducing deer numbers and removing diseased deer," because the shooters were killing more antlerless deer than hunters were.
So Walker's policies reflect public opinion, while Illinois' depended on research:
Strong public objections (in 2011) prompted the DNR and the Legislature to curtail some control tactics. Sharpshooting was eliminated. So was an early season on antlerless deer. The Legislature eliminated a program known as "Earn a Buck." 
Another example of administrative mismanagement, and more excuses:
The agency cautioned against making year-to-year comparisons ... But the long-term trend is clear: The rate of infection is rising. David Clausen of Amery, a veterinarian who served on the Natural Resources Board until last year, is a proponent of the DNR taking a more aggressive role in trying to control CWD. Clausen expects the prevalence of the disease to increase and spread if "people choose to ignore reality," he said, and continues to balk at measures to reduce deer numbers to help control the disease.
 And now this coming from Wisconsin Public Radio news:
DNR Is Unlikely To Act As Deer Herd Faces Possible Starvation: Minnesota Starts Emergency Deer Feeding Fund, But Wisconsin's DNR Can't Follow Suit Without Legislative Approval.

Scott Walker's well rehearsed monotone answers irking press.

I've got to hand it to WISC reporter Jessica Arp for asking a question that seemed to take Scott Walker by surprise.
"You understand why people would want to know as a manager whether or not you were aware of the emails and the wireless email system that was happening in your office?"  
Isn't anyone else a little outraged by Walker's sudden admiration of those vilified Democratic investigators conducting their "witch hunt?" That's not what we heard during and after the first John Doe probe.

WKOW's Greg Neumann nailed Walker for staying on "script," and wondered if former campaign manager and editorial "ghost writer" Keith Gilkes still had any influence with his staff:

GOP Bigots, Blasted by Big Business for Arizona "License to Discriminate" Bill, now Changed their Minds.

It wasn't that the "discriminated against gays" bill looked bad and bigoted, no, that wouldn't have been enough to force the manic GOP backtracking. What turned things around for the GOP was the unintended consequence of pissing off their big business base of supporters. The NFL, Apple, Marriott, Delta Airlines, Intel....not happy!

As the Washington Post's Harold Meyerson put it:

"As patriotism can be the last refuge of scoundrels, so religion can be the last refuge of bigots."
The very idea of giving business owners a chance to discriminate based on their religious beliefs is mind boggling.

My question now to my homophobic Republican friends trying to backtrack; what about your principles? Here's a compilation of clips showing Americans the control business has on Republicans, and how this ridiculously hateful bill has actually spread nationwide.

HRC: With the passage of SB 1062, the “License to Discriminate” bill in Arizona, opposition to the bill has been growing. Many businesses and organizations in Arizona understand that this bill does more that it says it would. It would allow any individual, corporation, institution, or business organization may be permitted to refuse services to LGBT people on the basis of religious freedom.

Businesses across Arizona are contacting Governor Brewer and letting Arizonans know that they are “Open for Business to Everyone!”

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

After all the Oil and Chemical Spills, Wisconsin Congressmen Vote to Make things Worse Environmentally.

You've seen or heard about these more recent environment horror stories:
A train carrying Bak-ken crude collided with a grain train that had derailed outside Casselton … a pipe ruptured at an oil refinery in Richmond, Calif., releasing a vapor cloud that sent 15,000 people from the surrounding area to seek medical treatment … Duke Energy the nation’s largest electricity provider said up to 82,000 tons of coal ash mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water have escaped since a drainage pipe running under a 27-acre waste pond collapsed Feb. 2, turning the river gray for miles. It ranks as the third largest such coal ash spill in the nation’s history … Three oil spills into the Delaware River in the past two weeks in our region sent more than 1,100 gallons of the substance into the waterway. 
That's just scratching the surface. I mentioned this because our congressional representatives don't want to stop these devastating accidents. You know, small government...freedom and liberty.

Their votes have betrayed the people of our vacation wonderland, where we fish our lakes and streams, hunt in our forests, value our wetlands and hike our moraine trails.

If you like clean drinking water, get a load of their amazing vote after all the chemical and oil spills around the nation listed and not listed above. These are dangerous votes:
CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATERThe House on Wednesday refused to add regulations to HR 3590 (listed below) to address environmental disasters such as the chemical spill last month in Charleston, W.Va., in which thousands of gallons of toxic substances leaked from a private storage tank into a river that supplies drinking water to the city and surrounding areas. The motion sought to require companies nationwide to provide federal regulators with data on chemicals and mixtures they manufacture or handle that could end up in public water systems. A yes vote backed the regulatory measure.

Voting no: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble
Still want to vote these guys back in? There's more according to Roll Call:
HUNTING, FISHING ON FEDERAL LANDThe House passed HR 3590 to open all National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land to public recreation, including hunting and fishing, unless officials block access to certain areas. This “open until closed” policy would apply to the one quarter of federal property where broad public access is now denied. The bill also would allow firearms to be carried on Army Corps of Engineers water projects, and bar any future Environmental Protection Agency regulation of ammunition and fishing lures as toxic substances.
The “Let’s trash the parks” bill got a big yes vote from Paul Ryan Ron Kind, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble.

Yea, that's Democrat Ron Kind voting with the GOP environmental rapists. What else can you say? 

Breaking Up the Higher Education Cartel? Another Tea Party Republican Idea you won't believe.

Can you imagine someone saying to you that they graduated from the MacIver Institute? As ridiculous as that may sound, Utah Sen. Mike Lee thinks he's onto something. How about a degree from the Heritage Foundation? Club for Growth? Wisconsin Right to Life? Dow Chemical and Boeing accredited courses? 

I came across Mike Lee's plan to break up the "higher education cartel" watching the following outrageous proposal from another crazy but calm Fox News pundit. A formula for absolute chaos:

Here's Lee's proposal to so overuse the act of accreditation that it will make act meaningless. In his own words:
The Federalist: Under the federal Higher Education Act, students are eligible for Title IV student loans and grants only if they attend formally accredited institutions. That makes some sense, for purposes of quality control. Except that under the law, only degree-issuing academic institutions are allowed to be accredited. And only the U.S. Department of Education gets to say who can be an accreditor.

That is, the federal government today operates a kind of higher-education cartel, with federally approved accreditors using their gatekeeper power to keep out unwanted competition.

Yes, that's considered bad. Get ready for the ride of your life:
It seems to me the answer isn't more funding or lower rates for existing Title IV programs. The answer is to make more kinds of students and more kinds of education eligible for them. State-based accreditation would augment, not replace, the current regime. (College presidents can rest assured that if they like their regional accreditor, they can keep it.)

But the state-based alternatives would not be limited to accrediting formal, degree-issuing “colleges.” They could additionally accredit specialized programs, apprenticeships, professional certification classes, competency tests, and even individual courses.

Businesses, labor unions, trade associations, non-profit groups, and any other applicant that met the state’s requirements could be empowered to accredit. Apple or Google could accredit computer courses. Dow could accredit a chemistry program, and Boeing could craft its own aerospace engineering “major.” 

Meanwhile, talented teachers could side-step time-consuming and esoteric “publish or perish” research, and spend their careers in the classroom instead. Groups of professors could form new business models, like medical practices, and offer high-quality higher education for a fraction of the cost of four years at a traditional university. 

Faith communities and civic organizations could begin to offer accredited courses, for next to nothing, as part of their missions. 

My bill begins that process ... alternative providers would have to price-compete with their traditional and alternative competitors. disciplined pricing would mean students might need loans of hundreds of dollars, instead of tens of thousands. As the alternative market establishes student/customer-friendly standards for pricing, quality, and transparency, traditional colleges will face tough questions about rigor, transfer credits, and student success. 
Sen. Mike Lee is batshit crazy.

Missouri's Repealed Gun Law sparks Surge in Gun Violence!!! No, really?

How about that:
The author of a new study says that after the repeal of a 2007 gun control law in Missouri, gun violence surged...and the data makes the case for gun control.
Here's an audio clip of the studies author from this WPR interview:

Walker and Ryan don't have time for all the "smaller freedoms" Americans are losing.

A recent Tweet got my curiosity up enough to write the following post on the governing style of a true Rightwing Authoritarian sociopath like Scott Walker. This isn't a case of name calling, but instead a loud warning to voters who might want Walker to address their concerns someday. Popular support of certain issues, whether through polling or public protests, are of little concern to "Walker the leader."

Check out this International Business Times article from April 2012 about our supposed brave and "Unintimidated" governor:

Walker's lack of concern is shockingly revealed in this WKOW Greg Neumann interview around Christmas. Walker doesn't sweat the little things, like women's health, because freedom stripping laws are simply media created controversies. Again, our incidental governor is not to blame:

Over and over again Republicans are very clear about their desire for absolute control, like this jaw dropping statement from Paul Ryan. Honestly, I can't get this one out of my head:

WSJ's Chris Rickert: "Walker's brand of workaday corruption...(is) 'exactly what's wrong with the political process.'"

Wisconsin State Journal columnist Chris Rickert finally got one right.

In fact, I’m sorry that the Democratic Party didn't come out with the following statement first. Every word should be repeated over and over throughout the entire campaign season.
“…Walker’s brand of workaday corruption seems to attract dull-witted politicos and thinly veiled racism, classism and other -isms that pander to our worst natures and discourage the renewal of an American democracy beset by low voter turnout and negative campaigning.

Hearing Walker criticize the reaction to the emails as “exactly what’s wrong with the political process” is funny because his 2010 campaign appears to be a textbook case of exactly what’s wrong with the political process.”

Rickert wasn't done:
Here’s Rindfleisch and a paralegal with a Republican law firm chuckling over minority recipients of public assistance, and another Walker aide on how awful it would be to be black, disabled, gay and — horrors! — a Democrat.

Not sufficiently sexy or succinct for a 30-second attack ad seems to be the verdict of the national punditry. State politics-watchers don’t think there’s enough there to change the kinds of love-him-or-hate-him responses Walker tends to inspire.

Maybe so. And yet in the long run, Walker’s brand of politics is more corrosive to representative democracy than a whole closet full of blue dresses.

A GOP Purified America!!! Arizona's "Religious Freedom" Bill Backers Borderline Frightening.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner was surprised to see how others took NSA spying well beyond what he thought the law allowed. Well, that’s the real problem isn't it?

Republicans don’t seem to think that the “letter of the law” is an issue. In their minds, they know what they originally intended, and no one would ever think to use the letter of the law in their sloppily written legislation to force right wing purity onto other Americans…ever.

In the clip below, CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" takes on Arizona State Sen. Al Melvin (R) who only sees SB 1062 legislation as a preemptive strike supporting religious freedom, while allowing discrimination against LGBT individuals. He continually claims he would never discriminate, and knows no one who would, despite the fact the law would legally allow it. Cooper is amazed by Melvin's answers. 

But first, Lawrence O'Donnell's the introduction with multiple clips showing us where Gov. Jan Brewer and other low information Arizona politicians want to take this nation:

So Cooper asked Melvin if he could cite a case where religious freedom was "under attack" in Arizona. Melvin bizarrely responded "not now, no, but how about tomorrow?"

Cooper then tested Melvin with a hypothetical: what if he were a loan officer, and thought it was against his religious beliefs to do business with an unwed mother or a divorced woman?

That's when Melvin's argument imploded. "I think you're being farfetched," the lawmaker told Cooper. "I don't know of anybody in Arizona that would discriminate against a fellow human being."

"Really? Discrimination doesn't exist in Arizona?" Cooper asked.

"Well, maybe you ought to move to Arizona," the lawmaker responded. "We're more people-friendly here, apparently."
Because no one would ever follow the letter of this new law allowing discrimination based on exercising one’s religious freedom.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers...Deer in the GOP Headlights, while GOP Sen. Luther Olsen warns of jobs and Business losses.

On WPT's Here and Now, Superintendent Tony Evers appeared stunned by the vindictive attack on education, and the irrational hatred directed at Common Core.

With no real solutions offered by the radical elements of the Republican state legislature, Evers has no idea what is coming next. After 3 years of preparation, along with college entrance exams geared to Common Core, abandoning the system now would just destabilize public education. Which might just be the point.

If you think Evers is just making things up, try to answer the same questions he's struggling with right now. Will the Tea Party Republicans get their way and turn our kids into low information voters?

Still not convinced, well check out Republican Sen. Luther Olsen's dire warning about the consequences of killing Common Core, and we're talking about jobs business in this state. Warning, if you have kids, this will depress you even more. From WKOW's Capitol City Sunday -Greg Neumann:

Wisconsin Soapbox tracked down the actual language of the proposed GOP reform law:
Remember when the Senator's went ape over how Sup. Evers said that the legislature would have the ability to rewrite standards? Sup. Evers today went to DPI's lawyers asking that they take a look into the matter. They did, and their letter was posted online today HERE. 

If the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (“JCRAR”) rejects the state superintendent’s model academic standards, the JCRAR is required to “prepare a bill that incorporates by reference” the standards prepared by the Model Academic Standards Board. Id. The bill is then introduced “in each house of the legislature as provided under [Wis. Stat. §§] 227.19(5)(e) to (g) and (6)(b)…” Id.   

While SB 619 provides that the bill must incorporate the Model Academic Standards Board’s standards by reference, nothing in SB 619 or Wis. Stat. §§ 227.19(5)(e) to (g) and (6)(b) prohibits the legislature from modifying the bill once it has been introduced. In other words, once JCRAR introduces the bill into the Senate and the Assembly, the Senate or Assembly could pass any amendment to modify the model academic standards contained in the bill. 

Former DA's rip critics of John Doe Investigations.

This is a must see regarding the Scott Walker John Doe investigation.

On Upfront with Mike Gousha, former (Republican) Waukesha Co. DA Paul Bucher, and former (Democratic) Kenosha Co. DA Bob Jambois put to rest the idea that these John Doe probes were simply witch hunts. From Bucher's (who represented clients in the first John Doe) and Jambois' perspective, these are serious investigations that should not be reformed like some Republican lawmakers are proposing.

Big Mistake; Walker stumbles, avoids answering questions about what he knew!!!

It's becoming even more obvious to me that Scott Walker is showing signs of...bold face lying. Sadly, loyal aides won't snitch on each other because of the Republican Party's craven desire for power. Who knows when any one of these aides will show up pushing school choice, like every other former felon and Assembly Majority Leader.

Walker didn't even get a break from the Journal Sentinel, who piled on after the disappointing "none answer" on Fox News Sunday:
Host Chris Wallace pressed Walker on whether he knew there was a private email account.

Walker responded, "Again, it's one of those where I point out the district attorney looked into every single one of those issues."

Wallace interjected: "But sir, you're not answering my question."

Walker said, "No, because I'm not going to get into 27,000 different pieces of information. The bottom line is a Democrat who led the district attorneys office, looked at all this, decided not to charge anything other than the individuals you mentioned, who were people who had worked for the county in the past but don't work for me today. 
It's funny how Walker now suddenly loves liberal investigators and their legal judgments. So let's set the record straight, from The Progressive's Ruth Conniff:
Editor Ruth Conniff reminded the liberal network’s (MSNBC) viewers … “The judge in Milwaukee, in the first John Doe, is a Republican. So, that just doesn’t hold water. The second John Doe investigation, which is still underway as you mentioned, is led by a rock-ribbed Republican who sought to be a Bush appointee,” Conniff added.
Here's what Walker said under intense questioning from Chris Wallace:

Walker won't deny it. But it doesn't matter says Walker, because voters are still concerned about jobs after three and a half years under his jobs plan? Hmm, that kind of says a lot about Walker's failing record, doesn't it? 

Walker's Messed Up Reason for Denying Medicaid Expansion in Wisconsin!

Scott Walker is either dumb or playing dumb about Medicaid in Wisconsin.

When Walker brings up again and again the recent cuts to Medicaid, he's really talking about the GOP backed sequester cuts. Walker is successfully using his party's own costly public mistakes to tar and feather the Democratic Party.

The state is paying 40 percent of Medicaid right now. Under the Affordable Care Act, it would be reduced to just 10 percent. Even if the "government reneged" on its payments in the future, which isn't likely under a Democratic congress or president, would it see a cut of 40 percent? Get real.

Walker also complained the state had to pay more for Medicaid. Well yes, considering the slow jobs recovery from the Great Recession, which was also caused by Republican deregulation. Maybe if we stopped letting Republicans screw things up...

Vermont Governor Peters Shumlin takes Walker to the wood shed for turning down his own federal tax dollars. No matter how you look at it, Walker put Wisconsin taxpayers on the hook to pay more of their own money on health care for premiums and to cover hospital costs for the uninsured. Fox News:

Right Wing Denial over Walker Email Disaster Laughable.

The cliched partisans whining of conservative public radio pundit Steve Prestegard knows no bounds.

As a former radio guy myself, I never could understand how Prestegard became the go to guy for analysis. While getting factual details wrong, Prestegard takes the easy way out by bashing liberal caricatures doing fictional things that conveniently help make his case.

He even blames Hillary Clinton for their interest in the emails and...Walker's misdeeds and 6 arrests?

Oh yea, it's also unfair for "the court of public opinion" to know just who their governor really is. And never-mind about the probable behind the scenes conversations, office talk, backroom discussions exemplified in those racist trash talking emails. It just doesn't happen?

Rationalization: In full panic mode, Prestegard spins, dodges and rambles on about how Scott Walker never broke the law, leaving out the general disdain Walker's office had for everyone else.

Short and sweet, this edited audio from WPR's Joy Cardin Show, is embarrassing stuff, but also a funny example of "bubble talk:"