Saturday, November 7, 2015

Wingnut Blogger Schneider sees Walker a winner if Oscar Mayer finds a buyer, keeping factory open.

Basically admitting Scott Walker is the loser with Oscar Mayer's announced closing, Journal Sentinel blogger Christian Schneider thinks Scott Walker would come out the winner if the company keeps the factory open with a new buyer. Sure, Walker's going through his meat processor Rolodex right now.

How desperate can these in the tank Walker hero worshipers get? Oscar Mayer finds a buyer, Walker is the winner:

The Point Missed: The closing and recent gusher of other lost and exported jobs has made it perfectly clear, selling out Wisconsinites to the highest corporate bidders with tax cuts and deregulation wasn't just bad policy, it's paralyzing the states economy for decades to come. 

No Democratic governor or legislature will be able to reverse the overwhelming dismantling of Wisconsin's economic engine anytime soon, and we've got three more years of Walker to contend with. In a plea to help bailout his campaign debt due to spending money he didn't have, he told potential contributors:
"While I don't know exactly what the future holds, trust me, we will continue leading the fight for big, bold, conservative change in Wisconsin and across America."
You mean we're not there yet?

Big Business takes control of Elections and their Employees campaign contributions.

The last hope campaign finance would retain at least some restrictions died last night in the Senate.
AP: Wisconsin Republicans early Saturday pushed through a pair of bills to loosen campaign finance law ... And despite assurances earlier Friday from Republican senators that they were going to require campaign donors to disclose their employer, as is required under current law, the final version approved does not mandate such reporting … does away with a requirement that people who give more than $100 to campaigns disclose their employers.
Republican donors are salivating over this beauty. They have already tried to game the elections campaign system, and now can again without prosecution. This amazing action gives business owners the ability to ask, and coerce employees to contribute to politicians they don't support:
In 2011, Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. CEO William Gardner was convicted of two felonies for exceeding campaign finance limits and giving personal and company funds to railroad employees so they could make political donations to Walker and other candidates at Gardner's direction. 

(Gardner) asked his employees to make tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions, including donations to Gov. Scott Walker, and then reimbursing his workers.
Lesson learned? You would think, but instead, the lesson Republicans learned was to make this deceptive power shift to business owners legal and ripe for abuse. 

Big corporate and special interests want free speech without the consequences of their actions. They want to hide their agenda because they know the public would be repulsed by their activities. In today's Journal Sentinel editorial...:
Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), at one time a reasonable voice in the Senate, went so far as to claim that the names of corporations and other employers weren't relevant and that those parties could face boycotts or worse for making political contributions.
Democrats blasted the measure ... "What the leader talks about isn't freedom of speech. It's freedom of cash," Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) said.
This whole thing kind of makes you wonder why Republicans, who opposed unions supposedly forcing employees to contribute to Democratic campaigns, just made it legal for GOP supporting employers the ability to do just that with their employees. 

The breathtaking conservative activist Supreme Court decision that declared money free speech gave birth to every imagined "free speech" use of money, with no moral or ethical restriction whatsoever.
Identifying those donations was made easier because donors had to disclose they worked for the railroad company when they gave the money.

The requirement also made it possible for the public to learn payday lenders had flooded majority Democrats' and minority Republicans' campaign accounts with a combined $75,000 in 2009 as they tried to thwart efforts to regulate them.
The battered public is already numb to the inevitable corruption they know will follow, all the while being told this is what the founding fathers meant about freedom and liberty. Thank god for the Republicans warped sense of "confidence" and "certainty" being returned to our electoral system. 

PR Watch had a great piece on the Walker/Republican reform agenda, exposing the only groups backing this horrific assault on representative government:
So who is calling for these measures? The Republican politicians in control of state government and the billionaires who fund them.

The only group lobbying in favor of the bill to deform the GAB is David Koch's Americans for Prosperity, which spent $10 million in Wisconsin during the recall elections. A newly-formed group called "Wisconsin Alliance for Reform" has begun running radio ads supporting the bill; its web domain was registered by Lorrie Pickens, a former leader of AFP, and its Executive Director is Luke Fuller, a former staffer for the bill's sponsor Sen. Leah Vukmir (who is also the number two at the Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council, or "ALEC.")

The only groups that lobbied in support of the bill exempting political corruption from John Doe probes is, again, Americans for Prosperity, as well as Wisconsin Family Action, a group that was implicated in the John Doe probe.

The only group lobbying in support of the bill to gut the state's campaign finance laws is Wisconsin Right to Life, whose Executive Director is Pickens, the former AFP leader who also registered the web domain for "Wisconsin Alliance for Reform." Pickens was implicated in the 1997 campaign finance coordination probe that resulted in the harshest penalty ever levied for election violations in the state, and which established the legal precedent for the Walker investigation.

And these special interest groups, funded by out-of-state billionaires like the Koch brothers, are apparently calling the shots within the Wisconsin legislature, regardless of what voters think.

This week, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found 69 percent of both Republican and Democratic voters agree with the statement that they “feel angry because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power . . . rather than working to help everyday people get ahead” ... 61 communities in Wisconsin, including some in the most conservative pockets of the state, have passed referendums expressing opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United and declaring money is not speech.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Walker refuses to be questioned about Oscar Mayer, Lost Jobs or shortage of seasonal workers!

You’ve got to be kidding me?

One thing is certain, Scott Walker won’t tolerate disrespectful questions or blame surrounding Oscar Mayer, S.C. Johnson, GE, or deal with the seasonal labor shortage in the state. Who do we think we are?
WISC: (A) letter sent to Walker Thursday from 14 Dane County Democrats asked Walker a series of questions about his actions prior to the decision of Kraft Heinz to close the Madison plant and eliminate 1,000 jobs in the city.

Gov. Scott Walker: "These workers need our help and they need us to work together. Instead, your letter appears to want to look for someone to blame.

If Mayor Soglin was concerned about the possibility of losing jobs at Oscar Mayer after the August meeting, why did he not contact the state for help? Instead of pointing fingers at each other, we need to work together to help the workers and families being hurt by this corporate decision."
Walker closed his letter by saying the state "is moving in the right direction."
 Of course Walker's pointing a finger at Mayor Soglin doesn't count as blame or conflict with working together, just in case that seemed confusing.

Walker: A Deer in Reality's Headlights!

Remember this gem from early on in Scott Walker's first term as governor, still posted at Office of the Governor Scott Walker:
"In 2010, a mere 10 percent of employers said our state was headed in the right direction; in 2014, 96 percent said Wisconsin is headed in the right direction. Creating jobs is about more than just a campaign promise." (hey it was a promise, not just a goal!)
Can you say "sucker?" Of course they loved the idea of tax cuts, go figure.

But business leaders, economists and Democrats disagreed with Scott Walker's plan to reduce corporate taxes in the state, saying that was not a major deciding factor for businesses contemplating staying or coming to the state. Lifestyle, services, transportation, and an educated workforce topped their lists.

But Walker stuck with his purely ideological supply side plan, and it's now collapsing around him, with the announcements from Oscar Mayer and S.C. Johnson. Sadly there is little or no blowback from conservative voters. In 2017, Oscar Mayer would have gotten this Walker gift, which as we can see now, didn't influence Oscar Mayer's decision one bit:
The Manufacturers and Agricultural Production Tax Credit will reduce corporate tax liability for manufacturers to 0.4 percent from 7.9 percent by 2017. 
And Walker's only bragging point about the low unemployment numbers got really old a year ago, so let it go for gods sake. The graph below, from Urban Milwaukee, points out why the low unemployment rate may be partly due to losing workers to other states:

With no business sense or curiosity to ask Oscar Mayer about the merger and what it might mean for Wisconsin...:
Wisconsin's flagship economic development agency did not contact Kraft Heinz after the company's landmark merger, and it was not among the states that offered economic incentives to prevent layoffs at Kraft Heinz manufacturing plants.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said from what he could tell WEDC had not contacted the firm since a shift in ownership this year. "If WEDC failed to contact Oscar Mayer in the critical months of July and August of this summer, why would anyone think there is anything productive to be gotten out of WEDC?"
In another instance of Wisconsin media giving Walker a pass on accountability, Walker’s deceptive lie about WEDC contacting Kraft Heinz but never saying when, only got a mention. WPR:
Gov. Scott Walker told reporters Thursday that WEDC had made contact with Kraft Heinz, and that the company turned down help from the state.
"The bottom line is they've had contact with the WEDC in the past. We've provided assistance. They said they didn't need that assistance."
As it turns out, that contact happened a full two years before Kraft Foods Group and Heinz finalized a multi-billion dollar merger to become one of the world's largest food companies.
And no one in the press felt played or pissed off?

Here's local news coverage documenting Walker's excuses and failed policies:

Walker's not at fault again, while former Gov. Doyle is still blamed for Great Recession's job losses: Walker was quick to blame known liberal investor Warren Buffett, and not himself. Fox 6:
Scott Walker: "You'll have to ask people like Mr. Buffett and others whose companies engineered this decision. It has nothing to do with Wisconsin, it has everything to do with a corporate decision that was made by the merger of those two companies. It's not something where they've even made contact with us.”

S.C. Johnson announced plans to transition 175 jobs to the Windy City within the next two years:

Walker: "The bottom line is different there. They've got significant investment in the state. In this case, it was specific to marketing positions. They've had a hard time attracting those because they attract them globally, not just here in the Midwest.”
Walker's decision to revive a fading manufacturing base in the state at the expense of every other emerging industry, narrowed Wisconsin's options for recovery. Now Walker is using that as an excuse to justify job losses? 

Adding insult to injury, this was the headline today:

Burst of hiring: US employers added 271,000 jobs in October

Illinois Slaps Back: Wouldn't you know it, Chicago Business magazine provided a brief Walker history highlighting his vindictive efforts to hurt other states:
You may recall a news conference a couple of years ago at which Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker presented a $500,000 check to an Illinois trade show display company that was moving north across the border, declaring "There's a better place here."

Or the time the governor urged Illinois firms to "escape to Wisconsin."

Or the similar $500,000 ad campaign aimed at employers here and in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.Well, governor, let me introduce you to Oscar Mayer, which yesterday announced it's laying off 2,600 people all over the country—including in Wisconsin—but moving 250 well-paying jobs and its headquarters from Madison to downtown Chicago.

Not to mention consumer products giant SC Johnson, which announced today that it's bringing 175 jobs to downtown Chicago from its headquarters in Racine, Wis.

Touche, Gov. Walker. Perhaps this week's news will underline the point: Raiding the neighbor's pantry doesn't do much to enrich the neighborhood.
Here is a list of some of the jobs lost in the past couple of months. jsonline:
Dairy equipment manufacturer BouMatic LLC: Cut 59 jobs Tuesday as it closes metal fabrication, welding, machining and assembly departments at its Madison factory.

Joy Global Inc.: This week said it was closing its mining equipment facility resulting in the loss of 56 jobs. In October, the company said it was laying off 113 people at the National Avenue plant.

Harley-Davidson Inc.: Said in October it was cutting about 250 salaried jobs by the end of the year, across the company.

We Energies' parent company said in October it would cut jobs in Milwaukee and Green Bay.

General Electric announced in September that it would stop making engines in Waukesha and cut 350 jobs.

Caterpillar Inc., a heavy-equipment manufacturer in South Milwaukee that builds some the word's largest mining machines, says in September it's cutting about 10,000 jobs worldwide in the next four years.

Johnson Controls announced in August that the company plans to cut up to 197 jobs at its newest office in the Milwaukee area, in West Allis.
More bad news:
According to the Department of Workforce Development, 9,341 plant workers across the state have lost their jobs this year in mass layoffs between the beginning of the year and mid-October. That compares with 6,186 layoffs all of last year.
Trickle Down Disaster a Surprise? That's what the lobbyists at WMC are saying. BizJournal:
Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, said he was also surprised by the Oscar Mayer move. "I think we’ve done an awful lot recently to make Wisconsin a good place for food and beverage manufacturing … Bauer cited recent legislative changes like the Manufacturers and Agricultural Production Tax Credit, which will reduce corporate tax liability for manufacturers to 0.4 percent from 7.9 percent by 2017. "I think Wisconsin is as competitive as anybody in the upper Midwest." 

That said, the increase in mass layoffs so far this year compared with last year is disconcerting to Bauer. "But just look at the economic indicators in the last few weeks. It’s been mostly downward, with GDP in the last quarter only up 1.5 percent in the U.S."
I found this in May of 2009, and have posted it many times.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sheriff Clarke tramples Constitution just so he could beat up on Black Lives Matter.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is a true rightwing authoritarian. And liar. 

Clarke's own career is a lie; he's a Republican who says he's a Democrat, winning elections by keeping real Democrats out, and sweeping the counties festering conservative suburbs. 

Crazy doesn't even begin to describe this dangerous gun toting loon. Check out Clarke's adventures!

What put him over the top nationally was his criticism of Black Lives Matter, describing them as "ignorant in its purest form," "advocate for the overthrow of our legally constituted government," "Sub-human creeps," "it's a subversive movement." Here's the video, transcript below:

But Black Lives Matter provided an opening for Republicans to exploit their base voters deepest fears, by suggesting the movement is at fault for recently reported attacks on police officers.

Republicans went national, and Black Lives Matter responded. It was at an earlier protest in late October that gave Clarke and others the red meat for their voters to chew on.
Director Quentin Tarantino appeared on 'All In' to clarify his controversial comments about police brutality, which caused police unions around the country to call for a boycott of his new film.
In Tarantino's explanation, he brought up the crazy rantings of Sheriff Clarke (1:55). MSNBC:

What Milwaukee County voters were thinking when they voted for Clarke is still a mystery, and may be forever, if no one ever drills down in local polling.
BRIAN KILMEADE: Sheriff, your reaction to some of the sentiments you heard on the streets on Saturday?

DAVID CLARKE: Well, it's just crazy talk. It's ignorance in its purest form ... I don't know why the police even bother policing those demonstrations. They're not protests. Those people advocate for the overthrow of our legally constituted government.

KILMEADE: But the president says they have a point, Sheriff.

CLARKE: What I would do is let them fend for themselves. Let the good law abiding people of New York clash with them for disrupting their lives, disrupting their businesses. Then the police can show up and arrest these sub-human creeps for creating a disturbance. That we can do.
Nothing like the First Amendment, right? But vilification and reducing protesters to something less than human is so rightwing authoritarian.

Scott Walker takes lead from Clarke: In a story at the appropriately titled rightwing site “Hot Air,” Scott Walker penned this fine piece of opportunistic fear mongering:
Story here!
We Need a Uniter-in-Chief, Not a Divider-in-Chief:  Over the last week, we’ve seen a disturbing trend of police officers being murdered on the job. Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth was killed Friday, gunned down while pumping gas for no apparent reason other than the uniform on his back. And just yesterday, in my neighboring state of Illinois, police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was assassinated by three men, who are still on the run.

This isn’t the America I grew up in or that I want my children to grow up in. When the very people responsible for keeping us safe are targeted because they are law enforcement officials, we have a serious problem. In the last six years under President Obama, we’ve seen a rise in anti-police rhetoric. 
Story Here
As is the always the case now with Republicans, when they're wrong, the always "double down" on their wrongness:
"I wouldn't back down at all, not at all," Walker said Friday in Milwaukee. "The bottom line is the president and many others have not done enough to stand up and defend law enforcement in this country." "Obviously, the situation just south of the border is tragic," Walker said. "But in no way does it diminish my argument that the president and others need to point that law enforcement overwhelmingly -- the men and women who wear the uniform in this country -- are doing the right thing every single day. And they need leaders who are going to stand up and defend them, and I for one am going to continue to do that."
Yes, turning a blind eye to the festering problem, and then brag about law enforcement they often criticize for not responding fast enough as they promote concealed carry.

But broad ridiculous sweeping generalizations fit that profile, and Clarke is only just getting started:
CLARKE: Well first of all, there is no police brutality in America. We ended that back in the sixties. So I don't know where they're coming from. You look at the data and the research, and there's a new Harvard study out that shows that there is no racism in the hearts of police officers. They go about their daily duty, if you will, to keep communities safe. The president of the United States knows better. He's playing the race game. He's playing race politics. Shame on him. He's been very divisive for this country. He has been a nightmare, and I cannot wait until January 2017 so that America's nightmare can be over.

KILMEADE: Black Lives Matter, does it play an important role? First you, Sheriff.

CLARKE: No, it's garbage. It's a subversive movement. Like I said, they advocate the overthrow of our legally constituted government. It is not a protest movement.

ROD WHEELER: I think yes it does matter...

CLARKE: It isn't valid, knock it off. You're contributing to the problem here. It is not valid, there is no research ... And I'm not going to let anybody come on TV and advocate that.

WHEELER: Well yeah Sheriff, but you have to be, you have to be fair Sheriff ...

CLARKE: I don't have to be fair. What I have to be is factual ... There are no valid arguments. There is no police brutality in the United States.

The only thing Higher than Taxes in Wisconsin is the amount of GOP Bulls**t!

We're a high tax and spend state; so cut taxes, cut spending, right? Wrong, and just another example of the Republicans well crafted deception to rile up the liberty loving voting base of "freeloaders."

If you average in fees and other charges Wisconsinites pay out of pocket, we're in the middle of the pack of 50 states. I'm assuming the Republican "accountant caucus" will correct this oversight:

The Wisconsin Budget Project detailed this in the recent issue of Urban Milwaukee:
Some policymakers focus on Wisconsin’s ranking on taxes alone when evaluating its revenue compared to other states. But focusing just on taxes means that fees and other charges, which come from residents’ pockets much like taxes do, are not taken into account. Combining taxes with fees and other revenue gives a broader and more complete measure of the money that state and local governments in Wisconsin collect from their residents.

Wisconsin ranked 21st out of the 50 states in the amount of state and local taxes, fees, and other revenue collected per person in fiscal year 2013. Measured as a share of personal income, Wisconsin ranks 19th among the states in taxes, fees, and miscellaneous revenue ... because per capita income in Wisconsin is well below the national average, we typically rank higher when revenue and spending are measured on that basis.
So cutting taxes while increasing the fees is just another con mans shell game, all to impress the gullible dupes ready to buying into their "magic," that they've lower taxes.
Additional tax cuts could jeopardize Wisconsin’s public investments in high-quality education and health care, and make it more difficult to invest in public safety and transportation in our communities. That would hurt our economy in the long run, since those are the very things our businesses and families need to thrive.
Republicans say they're lowering taxes for future generations. Nope, just the opposite. Our kids will have to raise taxes, at a time when wages are declining and jobs pay less.  

The Great Unemployment Fraud Caper!

Unemployment fraud is the latest Wisconsin legislative con. An in your face ripoff that portrays the unemployed as the real villains here, and not the our ghoulish state business climate. So Republicans are about to add a few more ways to deny claims.

Scott Walker and the Republican legislature bailed out businesses in 2013, because they were on the hook for replenishing the unemployment fund.

From way back on July 11, 2013: Here’s what Walker put in place on our dime:
jsonline: Under changes to the state's unemployment insurance system adopted by the Legislature's budget committee Wednesday, taxpayers would spend $26 million over two years to prop up the unemployment fund, To avoid having employers face new assessments this year, the committee voted to use $26 million in general tax dollars to pay down interest on that loan.
Think that’s bad? Taxpayers will be used to scam the federal government. Republican will borrow our hard earned taxpayer dollars to shore up the unemployment fund so the fed won’t raise taxes on EMPLOYERS, the ones who actually fund the account.
Additionally, the committee proposal would allow the state Department of Administration to lend up to $50 million in taxpayer money to the unemployment insurance fund. That loan would help the state ensure that the unemployment fund has a positive balance in 2014, which in turn would keep the federal government from raising taxes on employers by $191 million in 2015.

jsonline: Tighten the definition of workplace misconduct so that fewer people would qualify for benefits. Eliminate nine instances in which a worker can quit a job and still claim benefits.
With urine tests about to start up, just in time to disqualify a few Oscar Mayer workers, penalties for unintended unemployment application errors is part of the next attack:
Bill targets unemployment fraud by prohibiting a person from receiving unemployment benefits for seven years if they have twice been found to have lied to the state to receive benefits passed the Republican Assembly 63-34.

Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Milton, balked at the proposal, saying it could affect people who are simply confused by the application process.
Republicans know 85% of what they call "fraud" are really just mistakes made on applications. The Legislative Audit Bureau:
From FY 2011-12 through FY 2013-14, DWD identified 681,400 overpayments totaling $167.9 million. Individuals who unintentionally provided inaccurate information accounted for 84.7 percent of the number of identified overpayments, and these overpayments totaled $61.8 million ... multiple parties made errors, such as an individual and an employer who provided inaccurate wage information to DWD.
9.5% of fraud cases were intentional, discovered and recovered, keeping pace over time.

So dumping as many employees as possible from collecting unemployment is a win for business and a win for Republicans who won't have to raid the general revenue fund anymore. 

These are all short term measures that hide their failed open for business scheme. Urban Milwaukee's Data Wonk put it this way (leaving out defunding the UW, state parks and transportation borrowing):
We have become a “can’t do” state. We have become fixated on costs, including sunk costs, not opportunity. A number of recent actions—including turning down the federal rail grant, attempts to sabotage the Milwaukee street car, and refusing to expand Medicaid—suggest that Wisconsin should be numbered among the can’t do states, obsessed with cost rather than looking for opportunity.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Oscar Mayer closes in Madison, more than 1,000 lost jobs as Wisconsin Moves Forward under Walker.

Since Scott Walker and his band of plundering pirates haven't exactly been focusing on jobs the last few years, things around Wisconsin are only getting worse:
Kraft Heinz Co. will eliminate more than 1,000 jobs in Madison when it closes its Oscar Mayer plant there and moves the brand's corporate functions from Madison to Chicago. The company is planning a new manufacturing facility near Davenport, Iowa, where production from the Madison plant is to be moved, according to the letter to employees. Oscar Mayer's history in Madison dates back to 1919.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said he was informed of the decision on Tuesday evening in a personal visit from Kraft Heinz corporate officials. "When you take the payroll, the production, the packaging materials, and then extend it to the dry cleaners, the retailers, the neighborhood grocers, the local dining spots, it is very significant," Soglin said. "How you make a good situation out of this is difficult. You can't." 
Yet when this recent story came out, Republicans yawned:
"For the first 9 months of 2015, Wisconsin companies have notified state of more than 8600 layoffs. That's 2,000 more than the year end totals of the last 3 years." 

While Republicans devised ways to keep their jobs and stay in power at the Capitol, not one had a moment to fire off a statement about the lost jobs and the loss of a piece of Madison history.

Law Abiding Gun Owners vote to Break the Law!!!

Does anybody else see the flaw in the gun nut logic; that if you oppose background checks, you can't check a database for felons or the mentally ill. And don't all people start out "law abiding."

No one should be surprised that once the Supreme Court read into, and broadly interpreted the 2nd Amendment, the gun crowd would want to come up with a few interpretations of their own. And so it goes with the slippery slope of gun deregulation…
The residents of Coos County, Oregon, passed a ballot initiative Tuesday night that requires their sheriff to block the enforcement of state and federal gun laws that he thinks seem unconstitutional.
And the name of this freedom and liberty loving crazy right-wing law?
The 2nd Amendment Preservation Ordinance passed with 61 percent of the vote. The measure directs the sheriff to decide whether certain state and federal gun laws violate the Second Amendment. If he thinks they do, the county is then banned from using any resources to enforce those laws. Any county employee who violates the ordinance will be fined $2,000.
And they really don't see the problem in something like this. Even the County Sheriff thought it was nuts, but phrased it nicely:
Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni told The Oregonian last month that he is a strong supporter of gun rights, but had concerns about his role in deciding what is and isn't constitutional. "I'm not sure the courts would agree with that concept. I would just bet there would be some legal challenges to it."

Charlie Hinkle, a constitutional law expert in Portland, Oregon, said Zanni would be violating his oath of office by enacting a county ordinance that is contrary to state or federal law. "Of course local officials can’t decide what laws are constitutional. That’s why Kim Davis went to jail. Even the president can't decide what’s constitutional -- that’s why a federal court enjoined his executive orders regarding immigration." 
And doesn't this also negate their other argument that we should enforce the “laws already on the books,” laws conservatives say won't stop anyone anyway: 
Similar measures have been adopted in Eastern Oregon's Wheeler and Wallowa counties, and they've amounted to little more than symbolism. Supporters want to use the ordinances to bar local enforcement of Oregon's background check law, which passed in May and expands checks to almost all gun sales in the state. The initiatives are also part of a broader push by pro-gun enthusiasts to make federal gun control "nearly impossible 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Two Walker/GOP Myths Busted: Support for Returning Veterans and Support for Treating Mental Illness.

Let's destroy two intolerable Republican myths in one fell swoop.

Myth #1: Republicans support returning veterans. Goes without saying, they've got their backs.

Myth #2: Republicans support treating mental illness, the biggest reason they say for gun violence in the country. Like Scott Walker recently said after the last mass shooting spree:
"It's unfortunate that all too often we've seen from people like Hillary Clinton a political reaction to something that's much more sophisticated and challenging than that. The common thread we see in many of these cases is a failure in the system to help someone who is suffering from mental illness."
Myth Busting: Republicans have refused to support a bill that supports veterans that treats mental illness...:

This is how disconnected "Stand with Walker" voters are from reality
WKOW: Democratic state legislators are looking for Republican support on a bill that would authorize the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) to provide health care aid to military veterans for mental illness or substance abuse counseling.
Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach is amazed he can't muster interest from our flag waving veteran supporting Republicans:
"I don't know why the Republicans wouldn't support this," said Sen. Erpenbach. "I don't know why the (Senate) majority leader wouldn't schedule this as soon as we possibly could after it had a hearing and was voted out of committee."
The money is there as a stop gap for veterans until the VA processing is complete:
The idea is to give those who need mental health services a voucher so they can go get em, until the VA finds some time to schedule them on their own" ... according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office released October 29, veterans are still waiting an average of 26 days to get an appointment for treatment or counseling through the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs.
While Republicans try to humiliate food stamp recipients with photo IDs and cut the jobless off of their unemployment benefits (big business doesn't like paying into the fund), it appears veterans just aren't a priority...this session:
Due to its recent introduction it won't be possible to get it passed during the fall session.
"We dealt with this on the (Joint) Finance Committee back in April where the Republicans said - 'for the most part it looks like a good idea, but we need more time to review.' Well, here we are, the beginning of November," said Sen. Erpenbach.
Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann:

Oh, and how can Republicans explain away this jaw dropping list of non-support:

Tell me again why we’re spending taxpayer dollars on charter and private schools?

Charter schools were the great innovators. Private interests would be free from those suffocating public school regulations pushed by Republicans who were trying to bring them down. Private would also spread to non-charter schools too.

But the countries longest running voucher program in Milwaukee has been a failure, not keeping up with the public schools they were supposed to replace.

As it turns out, Ohio is largely in the same sinking boat, and still no one is asking why we’re spending taxpayer money on not just one, but two or three parallel school systems.

Ohio charter schools were apparently in really bad shape shape. Edweek:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill over the weekend overhauling the state's charter-school law, which both anti- and pro-charter groups blame for;
1. corruption   2. financial mismanagement   3. poor academic outcomes.
Kasich said in a statement, "Making sure that our kids aren't stuck in failing schools has been a priority and this bill will profoundly benefit our children."
Except it wasn't a priority for some time. It seems common sense accountability wasn't a part of the GOP's move to charters:
Kasich, a Republican, called on lawmakers to make it a priority following the release of a study from the Stanford University Center for Research on Education Outcomes (also known as CREDO) last December. That study found Ohio charter school students were making less academic progress than their traditional district school peers. The new law requires;
1. in-depth financial and academic reporting from schools and management organizations   2. stops charter schools from switching authorizers (sponsors), to avoid getting shut down    3. prohibits poorly rated sponsors from opening new schools.
Even with Ohio's charter disaster, the federal government rewarded them with $70 million: 
Aannouncement from the U.S. Department of Education that it plans to give Ohio more than $70 million over the next five years to expand high-performing charter schools in the state. The money will come from a competitive federal grant called Charter Schools Program.

Some, including former and current lawmakers and the state's auditor, fear an infusion of cash at this time could exacerbate current problems. "I would want to make sure our reforms are in place before we pour any more money into Ohio's charter schools," Ohio Rep. Kristina Roegner told me for a recent article I wrote this issue. (Roegner's a Republican from northeast Ohio and one of the co-sponsors of the bill.) "Once the reforms are in place, and we get the bad apples out, then by all means, let's grow it," she said.

Anonymous vs Ku Klux Klan!

After the KKK threatened the hacktivist group Anonymous for standing up against them over Ferguson, the dispute escalated, resulting with the Anonymous video released on Halloween, 2015:

Here's the transcript:
When people are faced with grave injustices, those cries do not go unheard. Ku Klux Klan, We never stopped watching you. We know who you are. We know the dangerous extent to which you will go to cover your asses. Originally, we did not attack you for your beliefs as we fight for freedom of speech. We attacked you due to your threats to use lethal force in the Ferguson protests. We took this grudge between us rather seriously. You continue to threaten anons and others. We never said we would only strike once.

The anons involved in this operation still believe you no longer particularly deserve the right to Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Assemble but that is not up to us. Let us make this especially clear: We are not oppressing you, Ku Klux Klan. We are not here to strip you of your Freedom of Speech. Anonymous will never strip you of any of your Constitutional rights. There is no “hate speech” exception to the Constitution. In a free society, we do have a duty to protect free thought, even when especially offensive. Your hateful ideas and words remain yours to keep. You are allowed to speak and in kind, we are allowed to respond. You are legally free to live and be any which way you choose to live and be. Keep in mind, it is not illegal nor oppressive to hurt your feelings. With that said – We are stripping you of your anonymity. Again. This is our protected speech.

After closely observing so many of you for so very long, we feel confident that applying transparency to your organizational cells is the right, just, appropriate and only course of action. You are abhorrent. Criminal. You are more than extremists. You are more than a hate group. You operate much more like terrorists and you should be recognized as such. You are terrorists that hide your identities beneath sheets and infiltrate society on every level. The privacy of the Ku Klux Klan no longer exists in cyberspace. You’ve had blood on your hands for nearly 200 years. You continue to inflict civil rights violations, commit violent crimes and solicit others to commit violent criminal acts. You seek to intimidate and/or eliminate those that are different from you and those that you dislike by any means possible. You seek to terrorize anyone and anything that you feel is a threat to your narrow view of the “American way of life”.

The last time we took your hoods off, you claimed to be misunderstood. Victimized. No. You are a damaged, dangerous, fragmented, splintered and amorphous collection of terroristic cells with a hate-based ideology and a well documented history of violence against the American public – assault, murder, terrorism. You play a deep, damaging and historically sinister and malevolent role in the United States. We understand you far too well. You made a clear and ever present enemy of Anonymous when you threatened the lives of protesters and the men and women representing Anonymous on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri in November of 2014. You continue to make threats to anons you believe you have identified, journalists, anyone in the public that speaks out against your behavior. Your threats and intimidation are unprovoked, unwanted and will not be tolerated. Enough is enough. You once told Anonymous that we awakened a sleeping giant within you. We are here to remind you once again – you summoned an unslayable dragon. Anonymous is an idea. This fight will go on as long as it has to.

The aim of this operation is digital. Another cyber war trist, nothing more. We are not violent. We will release, to the global public, the identities of up to 1000 klan members, Ghoul Squad affiliates and other close associates of various factions of the Ku Klux Klan across the Unites States.
Some names were released, but not by Anonymous, who will stick to with the Fifth of November, Guy Fawkes day. Still, they weren't idle:
“Today we have shut down servers, gotten personal information on members of the KKK, and infiltrated your twitters and websites,” Anonymous announced late Sunday. “And this is just the beginning. On November the 4th we will be having a twitter storm, spreading awareness about the operation. And on the 5th we shall release more than 1000 Ku Klux Klan members Names and websites, new and old.”

Ryan Fumbles GOP Immigration Reform Debacle, disingenuously blaming "untrustworthy" Obama while discrediting John Boehner.

Republicans can’t govern, that much is clear. But blaming others for their incompetence is treading in dangerous territory.

After hypocritically fumbling around on family leave, new Speaker Ryan didn’t just play the race card portraying Obama as “untrustworthy,” but he tried to shift the blame for congressional inaction on immigration to the president as well:  

"I do not believe we should advance comprehensive immigration legislation with a president who has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue." Ryan said Obama ... went around Congress to take executive actions shielding from deportation millions of people living in the country illegally.
One of the reasons Obama used an executive order was to get something, anything done on immigration. 

And Ryan had a part in delaying immigration reform, inaction that will negatively impact rural conservative farmers dependent on immigrant labor. 
White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the remark 'preposterous' … "pandering to the extreme right wing" ... "ironic." He said it's Ryan who supported an immigration deal, then failed to push for it to come up for a vote in the House.
Ryan "Discredits" outgoing John Boehner! I loved this backhanded yet unintentionally stupid swipe at former Speaker John Boehner. For anyone still thinking Ryan is wonkish and smart, this should dispel that myth. My head is hurting again:
Ryan: "This job can't be done like it was done. If I pick up where John Boehner left off, then I think we won't be successful. That's not a discredit to John Boehner, that's just a discredit to the way the jobs been done!"
John Boehner did a great job doing a lousy job? OMG....only in the GOP bubble does that make any sense. 

Ryan in denial on Family Leave, still thinks lazy Americans want another "entitlement." Not insulted yet?

Already fumbling his way through his speakership, Paul Ryan offered up a disconnected word salad excuse he thought let him off the hook over his hypocrisy on family leave and his own desire to have weekends off to spend with his family. The Hill:

When Ryan says "I don't think..." well, that's the point isn't it, he doesn't get it.
New Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed Democrats’ calls for a paid family leave law as another “federal entitlement,” and said his position isn’t at odds with recent remarks that he wants to spend weekends with his young family in Wisconsin.
“I don’t think people asked me to be Speaker so I can take more money from hard-working taxpayers, so I can create some new federal entitlement. But I think the public wants to have members of Congress that represent them, that are like them. Don’t you want your member of Congress to be a citizen legislator who lives with you, among you, who has your own kinds of concerns, who wants to spend time with his children on Saturdays and Sundays?” 
What in gods name is he talking about? While most industrialized countries feel obligated to provide family leave time, Ryan sees that as an "entitlement?" That's how far off the charts Ryan is in the 21st century.

If anything, Ryan admitted his hypocrisy with, "Don’t you want your member of Congress to be a citizen legislator who lives with you, among you, who has your own kinds of concerns, who wants to spend time with his children on Saturdays and Sundays?”

Still not answering, Ryan dug deeper into his denial:
“Yes, Sundays are going to be family days, and Saturdays are family and constituent days. That is what I think most people want in their life is a balance.”

Balance Ryan won't allow them to get with family leave. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Walker's Act 10 "Tools" getting Cut!!!

The math looks like this (not Common Core):

    Act 10
 - School Referendums
  Big Trouble for Education.

Under a less than blistering barrage of softball questions, State Sen. Duey Stroebel painfully struggled to give even one good reason why adding more big government Republicans regulations would solve what he perceived to be unwarranted tax increases supported by local district voters for their schools.  
A Republican bill in the State Senate would require school boards to hold referendums during traditional fall and spring elections.  It would also prevent school boards from going back to voters for two years following a referendum’s rejection. Senator Duey Stroebel says his proposal protects taxpayers and restores integrity in the referendum process.
Bet you didn't know we had an integrity problem with the referendum process. Hey, wasn't that same excuse Republicans used when they gave us voter ID and replaced the GAB with a partisan elections supervisors (soon anyway)? Yes, and with bigger more complicated big government regulations from our "small government" conservatives.

As you can see by the video graphic below, Stroebel shepherded through a law that reduced voting hours, which had the likely effect of reducing the number of people going to the polls. That's ironic, because what is Duey worried about now; holding school referendums at times when voters are least likely to turn out at the polls.

Dumber still, Stroebel dreads 15 % turnouts in spring time elections, which is just about average (near 20%) for voting that time of year. Not the best argument to make, but then nothing he said to defend his bill on referendums made much sense....from WPR's Joy Cardin Show:

1. Why wait two years for another referendum?
Duey: "They need the time to do that correctly." 
2. So when desperate districts quickly revise their referendums and come back with another one, why is that bad?
Duey: "I don't thinks that's respecting the decision of the electorate in this democratic process."  
3. But it erodes local control, right?
Duey: "Again, we want these elections to be when people turnout, not when they don't turn out, that IS local control." 
It is?

From the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Dan Rossmiller gave a coherent response to Duey's simplistic lunacy: Referendums were one of the "tools" Walker gave local school districts to use. Duey would take that away.

A caller came up with this slogan, "This sounds like controlling locals, instead of allowing local control." Another caller threw the ball into the voters court, saying those who vote, vote. If it's important to them, they'll turn out:

What? The Democratic Party of Wisconsin discouraged a challenger to Sean Duffy? Really?

Presidential elections have been good for getting Democrats out to vote, but you’d never know it if we’re to take the advice of the DPW. They just booted their only candidate running against Sean Duffy.

Something is seriously wrong here. Chalk up a big one for Scott Walker’s perfectly timed trashing of campaign finance regulation. WPR:
The only announced Democratic candidate running for U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy's 7th Congressional District seat has dropped out of the race. Kirk Bangstad, a Minocqua-area businessman, opera singer, and cancer activist, said he is dropping out after being told by Democratic party insiders that he would need at least $1.5 million in his race against Duffy, a three-term Republican. Thus far, Bangstad has raised about $145,000.

"It's an unsustainable system that candidates for office need to raise millions of dollars, basically on their own," Bangstad said. "I didn't believe in the system and I didn't believe in what I was doing."

Bangstad blamed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC in 2008, and the influence of super PACs and wealthy special interests. "Democracy is deeply in trouble, deeply in trouble, both in Wisconsin and in the U.S.," he said.
Duffy's a blithering word salad tea party freeloader who has never had an original thought.

GOP Performing Arts Debate Tour!! What's next, Dance Numbers?

Republican candidates running for president should be embarrassed...but they're not. They not only want dictatorial control over their public image and message, devoid of tough questions on policy effecting all of us, but they also want us to go along with it. A line out of "1984" says it all:
The Party "seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power."[4]
It should be noted the Democrats aren't trying to manipulate the networks format, not because the media is supposedly liberal, but because it's dangerous to our system of government, silly and self-serving.

Not even the lunatic rantings of RNC Chair Reince Priebus was extreme enough for these bullies from striking out on their own:
AP: Republican presidential candidates have agreed on a series of demands to give them greater control of debates … Representatives from more than a dozen campaigns emerged from a closed-door meeting…
1. (They) agreed to several changes largely bypassing the RNC in coordinating with network hosts.

2. Mandatory opening and closing statements.

3. An equal number of questions for the candidates.

4. And pre-approval of on-screen graphics.
According to the seemingly sedated and sleepy eye'd candidate Ben Carson, controlling images, messaging and questions will finally give American voters a more "mature" form of democracy and debate, whatever the hell that means:
"We need to mature in the way that we do these debates if they're going to be useful to the American people," Carson told ABC's "This Week."
The changes were agreed to by a cordial group of right wing authoritarians, the nicest kind?
"The amazing part for me was how friendly the meeting was," Bennett said, noting the gathering was held in a room marked "family meeting." ''Everybody was cordial. We all agreed we need to have these meetings more regularly." 
Just more liberal whining on my part, or...:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie distanced himself from the new demands. "Do not count me in the group that's doing this moaning and complaining about this … The presidency is almost never scripted, so we shouldn't have these debates scripted, either." 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Superintendent says Texas' Schools Abstinence Only program failure really the parents fault.

Yes, the headline is funny enough, but what the superintendent said is so pathetic, that I had to post it here. You have to wonder why the schools have sex ed classes when it now appears to be the parents responsibility:

“We do have an abstinence curriculum, and that evidently ain’t working,” superintendent Jim Rumage told the TV station. “We need to do all we can, although it’s the parents’ responsibility to educate their kids on sexual education.”