Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Open Letter To My Senators About Graham-Cassidy

By Devon Malloy

From a Cancer group I belong too.....thought it needed to be shared! 

Senator Toomey and Senator Casey, I was eighteen years old when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I was a senior in high school, I was a varsity athlete and a straight-A student. I had no prior medical problems. But when my lung spontaneously collapsed, my doctors found synovial sarcoma. I was lucky in more way than one. They found my cancer early, and before it had spread. I was also lucky to be upper-middle class, and that my parents had good insurance. I went through three surgeries and seven weeks of proton radiation treatments. The bills sent to my insurance company totaled close to one million dollars. This is not meant to be a pity story—this is a fact that I live with. I will get cancer again in my lifetime, but I haven’t done anything to increase this risk. I will start mammograms early, because radiation treatment has also increased my risk of breast cancer. I take every precaution necessary to catch my next bout with cancer early, including never smoking, and visiting my oncologist for frequent CT-scans. But the fact is, I will get cancer again. My reason for sharing my story is this: very little of these things were in my control. My cancer was not lifestyle induced. I did nothing to earn my spot in the upper-middle class, nor to “deserve” good insurance coverage. I am lucky enough to be on my parents’ insurance until the age of 26 because of the Affordable Care Act. But what happens when I turn 26? Under the regulations that the Graham-Cassidy bill is proposing, my preexisting condition could cost me significantly more than someone else who is “healthier-than-I.” I’ll admit it—I am a risk to insurers. But does that mean that I deserve to pay more for health insurance, or be denied coverage because of my preexisting condition? Supporting this bill will be putting my life and well-being at risk, but I am just one person. I am privileged. I am a white, middle-class American pursing a college education. What about the thousands of other Americans who aren’t so lucky? The list of high-risk diseases spreads further and wider than just cancer. This discussion isn’t a matter of what role the government should play in our healthcare; it is a matter of human decency. Everyone deserves to have access to the medical help they need, no matter their preexisting condition or social class. Have some compassion, and do what is right for your constituents. 

With the utmost respect, 

Devon Malloy Gap, PA

It Could Buy Me A Boat...

By Jeff Simpson

Multi Billionaire Betsy DeVos married heir to the Amway fortune, and unfortunately current Secretary of Education was reportedly in Milwaukee this week.

Of course not to visit our Milwaukee Public Schools, as she has only stepped foot in 12 of them in the country since being confirmed(which is 12 more than prior to being confirmed), as a GOP public official (only making $207,800/yr) being paid by taxpayer dollars, we are not entitled to know her schedule or speak to her.

Apparently, the Tea Party feels no access to public officials falls under the category of "strict Constitutionalism".

Another thing that Ms. DeVos was NOT doing in Milwaukee, was figuring out how to work with the fact that over 50% of the students in the MPS qualify for free and reduced lunches.

Her Yacht only has a crew of 12, and while she is adamant that she wants to build "God's Kingdom" in our public schools, she takes the feeding of 5000 with a single loaf of bread literally.    I also doubt she feels the need to share her caviar or Filet Mignons with any of the hungry public school children.

It was nice of Ms. DeVos, who fully supports The Donald's horrendous budget, to step away from her home and take a leisurely sail down the Great Lakes(before Trump,  Foxconn and Waukesha have a chance to ruin them).


Well, As Ms. DeVos says about the public schools that she is in charge of:

“At what point do we accept the fact that throwing money at the problem isn’t the solution?” Ms. DeVos asked.

Maybe Ms. Devos is correct and more money will not solve the achievement gap, or raise our test scores, or bring equalization to our schools or even happiness....

But it could buy me a boat!

PS;  to help clear up confusion, the yacht that Ms. Devos sailed to Milwaukee was the Seagate, not the Legacy or the Kitsune which they also own.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Undermining Wisconsin’s Future

By Gordon Hintz

Scott Walker has had the advantage of being Wisconsin’s governor during the third-longest national economic expansion in U.S. history. While Wisconsin’s economy has lagged behind the national average during his time as governor, there still has been state revenue growth in each state budget.  Yet even with these increases, Gov. Walker has slashed funding for higher education and K-12 education.
If Wisconsin has more money, why haven’t we increased investment in educational opportunity? The answer is simple. For Gov. Walker and Republicans, it is a bigger priority to direct those state resources to tax cuts for the wealthy.
Wisconsin’s budget has become increasingly strained by the governor’s so-called “Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit”. When it was abruptly slipped into the 2011 budget, the credit was forecast to cost $128 million each year when fully phased in by 2016-’17. However, state estimates show that the credit cost has more than doubled.  This tax giveaway is now expected to balloon to $334 million a year by 2018-’19. In addition to cuts made to public schools and higher education, 148 school districts have voted to raise their own property taxes by nearly $630 million to avoid harmful cuts to educational programs since 2011. The state resources being diverted to this credit have also resulted in the governor actually borrowing $209 million the last three years from future taxpayers—just to keep the budget in the black.
There have been huge consequences and costs associated with this credit. It would be one thing if the hundreds of millions spent on this giveaway had resulted in successful job creation. But they have not. Under Gov. Walker, Wisconsin dropped from 12,009 manufacturing jobs gained in 2010 to 3,776 manufacturing jobs lost in 2016.
Which brings us to Foxconn, and what it means for Wisconsin’s future.
Since becoming Governor, Scott Walker has desperately tried to define himself as the pro-jobs governor. His efforts have, of course, been a gigantic failure. Currently, Walker’s track record includes: an unfulfilled pledge to create 250,000 jobs by the end of his first term; a mining bill which promised thousands of jobs but created zero; anti-worker reforms; and more reckless tax credits aimed at drawing new business. 
These failures have led our frantic governor to double-down on a costly economic trickle-down fantasy: his proposal to offer the most expensive state taxpayer-funded subsidy to a foreign company in U.S. history. It is important to note that because slashing taxes for the wealthy and corporations is now the operating principle of the Wisconsin Republican Party, Foxconn’s billionaire owner will now owe basically nothing in taxes.  Therefore, he will be receiving up to $3 billion in tax credits as a cash payment from Wisconsin taxpayers.
Before the 2017-’19 budget is signed—and before the legislature approved $3 billion in taxpayer-funded incentives—Wisconsin faces a $1 billion deficit in the 2019-’21 budget. With economic growth projections being lowered for the next few years, state growth will likely slow as well. 
Walker has left the state fiscally unprepared for slower economic times. Now he is betting it all on the Foxconn package, which, under the best-case scenario, would not break even for a quarter-century. And knowing Walker’s and Foxconn’s history of “overpromising and underperforming,” this best case is not likely to happen. 
The opportunity cost of not investing in transportation, the future education of our children and further incentivizing entrepreneurship is very real. Just like public school and university cuts paid for massive tax cuts the past few years, you can assume that taxpayer funding for Foxconn will come at the expense of these programs once again.
Gordon Hintz serves in the Wisconsin State Assembly as the representative for the 54th District.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Right Wisconsin Throws Stones

By Jeff Simpson 

John 8:7 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

That did not stop Jimmy Wigderson over at RightWisconsin from standing in front of his glass house and throwing stones.  The Right Wing is up in arms that Gordon Hintz is in line for the Assembly minority leader position.  

Despite the character flaws of both major party candidates for president in 2016, character should matter when a political party chooses a leader. By choosing Hintz, the Assembly Democrats are also choosing to ignore their own stated principles as well as expected standards of conduct of elected officials.
If the Democratic Party will not hold its own accountable, then that responsibility falls to the Republican Party. It is not a failure of the two-party system to hold the Democrats accountable for the bad choices in leadership they make, but a responsibility of serious elected representatives to hold the leadership of both parties to a higher standard.
If Hintz’s constituents lack the judgment to choose good representation, that does not excuse the Democrats from their obligation to choose good leaders, nor does it excuse Republicans like Steineke from holding the Democrats accountable for their choices.

Wigderson, in one of his more memorable columns, wrote this a couple years ago when Wild Bill Kramer was elected majority leader, a short time before he was sent to prison:

Kramer’s style may not endear him to Madison liberals; it does represent the conservative nature of Waukesha County. As majority leader, Kramer can lend some much-needed spine to Republican leadership who are hoping to coast through the next elections without offending anyone.
If Kramer wins, it will be good for Waukesha as well. Being represented by legislators in leadership is good for a community.

The of course the good reporter that Wiggy is, he leaves out a big chunk of information regarding Steineke, the Republican "leader" has had a few hiccups on behavior in his prior life also.

 It is interesting that Wiggy expects more from the Democratic Party than the WISGOP.  

And we can not forget this:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Priebus Lawyers Up

Reince Priebus, Trump's former Chief of Staff and former head of the RNC, is one of the latest of the Trumplins to lawyer up as Special Counsel Robert Mueller digs deeper into Trump's ties into Russia and their probable possible tampering into the 2016 presidential elections:
President Trump's former chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Don McGahn have reportedly both hired a lawyer amid the investigation into Russian election meddling.

The two hired William Burck, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, Law360 reported.

Burck will advise Priebus and McGahn in the special counsel investigation into the Russian election meddling.

The news comes after a recent report that special counsel Robert Mueller told the White House his team will seek to interview six senior and former aides to Trump as part of the federal investigation into the Russian election meddling and possible Trump campaign involvement.

Those aides include Priebus and McGahn, in addition to former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump's adviser and interim communications director Hope Hicks.


Priebus will be asked about any details he knows surrounding Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting last June with a Russian lawyer, according to the publication.
It should not be surprising that Priebus might have some involvement in any meetings between Trump and his people and the Russians.

I reported three years ago that Priebus had interfered with the Wisconsin gubernatorial elections by feeding tips and information to Scott Walker's about Walker's then primary opponent, Mark Neumann..

But, too bad, so sad for Priebus, he's not in Wisconsin anymore and he doesn't have a friendly judicial system that will willingly turn a blind eye to any misdeeds committed during the election.

I just wonder if Priebus has started looking into the witness protection program yet.

Paul Ryan's Minimum Knowledge

By Jeff Simpson

GOP Golden boy, and self proclaimed policy wonk Paul Ryan (R-Wall St.) was asked a simple question recently and completely fumbled the answer:

Thank Goodness his staffer knew that it is a measly $7.25/hr .

Hard to fault Ryan though, he does not deal with such piddly amounts of money.  We know that he likes $350 bottles of wine  and has expensive tastes.   After being embarrassed by his lack of knowledge, he then went on to try and redeem himself.

Q: The minimum wage in other parts of the country is fourteen, fifteen dollars. I don't see huge differential in employment in places that have raised their minimum wage to places that haven't.
RYAN: Our poverty rates are among the lowest in the country.

Sure, if by lowest you mean “tied for 18th with Washington state by percentage of population as of 2014.” And one study at the University of Wisconsin last year found that the state's poverty rate grew by 20 percent between 2010 and 2014, to its highest level in 30 years. Also, the gap in poverty rates between whites and blacks is 49th worst in the nation. So clearly Ryan is either not paying attention or lying through his teeth.

If you want to discuss these issues with Ryan, your chance is coming up.  He is hosting a fundraiser with John "the cryer" Boehner.  Boehner is making a rare appearance off the golf course.  Of course the fact it is a tailgate with lots of alcohol available sure helps.  

It is the perfect time for the man of the people, who grew up in Janesville, to really hang out and mingle with the people who he represents.    \

All you need is it be available on Sunday September 24th, to go to Lambeau Field and watch the Packers take on the Cincinnati Bengals and Tailgate with these two former Speakers(no word if Denny Hastert will be making an appearance).  

I forgot one detail, you also need $10,000!  

Respect The Freedom Of Protest

(Note:  On the opening day of the NFL, I wanted to share a column done by my good friend and fraternity brother (EX) Tom Loewy).

By Tom Loewy

Do you hear it?

A beat has started. Like distant thunder, somewhere just beyond our horizon. It’s the sound just before war. It’s the sound of grunts and yells backed by screams and feet falling in the rhythm of the righteous.

At its full volume, this beat will drown out reason and logic and common sense.

OK. Those three graphs sound like a Sean Bean voiceover from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” — that was promptly axed for sounding like a Sean Bean voiceover from the British comedy “Wasted.”

Let’s get just get to the point:

The National Football League is coming.

That means fantasy drafts followed by stirring visuals of jet flyovers, flags, and tons of love for the military. Throw in a heavy dose of catastrophic brain injury and hundreds of millions in profits and you’ve basically got the picture.

Along the way, a few players will take a knee during the rendition of our national anthem. Some might hold clenched fists aloft. Others will turn their backs to the image of the flag.

Our culture war will escalate. We will be told a lot of things about anthems, protest, honoring our servicemen and women, Black Lives Matter, and how supporting one idea negates the possibility of recognizing any other idea.

For those who don’t follow our annual fall ritual of professional football, Colin Kaepernick — then a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers — decided to not stand during the playing of the National Anthem before 2016 games.

He did it in support of the Black Lives Matter protests, and to raise awareness of police and authoritarian brutality toward people of color.

Kaepernick’s silent, non-violent protest during the anthem was met with outrage from a variety of police groups, some veterans’ groups, and plenty of people who claimed he was showing a lack of respect for military or police personnel.

For reasons to do with football or politics or ticket sales, Kaepernick finds himself a free agent as the 2017 football season kicks off.

Not long ago — in the wake of pro- and anti-fascist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia — I wrote a column about protecting the speech of everyone who decides to air their opinions in our public arenas.

Basically I said the freedom to peacefully assemble and speak is accorded to even the most vile — in the case of Charlottesville, Nazis and other white supremacists.

The response was overwhelming. People called. They texted. Fifty-two people took the time to sit down and write emails to me, expressing their thanks for standing up for unpopular speech.

A few dudes even walked up to me in public, explained how they rarely agree with me, then shook my hand and thanked me for the column.

Being popular is weird. I’m far more accustomed to having vulgarities hurled in my direction while I attempt to pay a bill or cross a street.

That said, let’s return to the issue of free speech as the NFL gears up for another season and grapples with showing protests during the National Anthem.

This really is easy. But let’s break down a few important issues.
 There is no law — and never should be a law or social custom — making it mandatory to stand during any rendition of the national anthem. Period.

This is a free country. That means you can sit or stand or turn your back on the flag or any ceremony. You can’t punch people. If you start yelling over the music, don’t be surprised when you’re punched. But you don’t have to do what everyone else does.

You can quietly take a knee. You can raise your fist. You can turn your back.

What Kaepernick did and other players plan to do is far more eloquent, simple and unobtrusive than any torch-bearing nationalists or bandana-wearing anti-fascists.

It follows in the footsteps of a lot of other brave folks who silently expressed their protests. More to the point, Kaepernick’s protests asked us to look at the treatment of oppressed peoples.

Lots of people will tell us the NFL has the right to enforce a code of player conduct. It does. But it doesn’t have the right to censor a player’s speech in public arenas. The vast majority of NFL games are played in publicly financed stadiums. The games are broadcast over publicly financed, regulated and protected airwaves and information systems.

The NFL doesn’t own the national anthem. If the league wants to play it, the league must leave open the possibility of silent protest.

Protesting during the anthem is a bridge too far for some. But to claim the protesters in some way besmirch servicemen and women, or the military, is to rationalize the expectation of conformity.

Conformity is easy. As I wrote before, freedom is hard.

Look, nobody has to agree with Kaepernick or any of the other players. And people can serve up all the rationale they wish.

What we can’t do is prevent Kaepernick or any other athlete from expressing his or her opinion during any rendition of a public anthem. Again, they are not interrupting its play. They are not shouting or creating a disturbance or in any way preventing others from standing.

What folks might want to do is actually listen to Kaepernick’s ideas. We might want to hit pause and find out what, exactly, what BLM advocates and hopes to accomplish.

Being a football fan is fairly easy. You can pick a team, buy a jersey and yell and scream for your side. You can join in lock-step with the righteous and claim undying loyalty.

Being a citizen of a free society isn’t easy. You see and hear things with which you don’t agree. Sometimes you hold opinions or beliefs others find idiotic.

Perhaps part of being free is a never-ending debate about what freedom means. Little can be written in stone.

As the jets fly over, the flags unfurl, and our national anthem plays again, let’s remember to reject protest is the easy way out. Let’s not demand conformity.

Let’s make that national anthem stand for something timeless. Let freedom ring.

Tom Loewy: 
(309) 343-7181, ext. 256; 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Scott Walker's Spending Spree

By Jeff Simpson

End of Summer and Back To School allows way to many activities to pay attention to, so let us catch up:

We know the Assembly Democrats have decided to move on from Peter Barca as their leader.    The Governor, who perpetually puts politics over everything, find time from his incredibly busy schedule (sarcasm alert), to let everyone know how much he loves Peter Barca:

Yes Scott Walker, who once rescinded an appointment of a college kid to the Students Board of Regents because he found out that he signed the recall.    Scott Walker is the same Governor, who sent thousands of jobs to Illinois, along with $50 million of our taxpayer dollars before he even took office.

Yes this is the positive vision Scotty Walker:

Nothing more positive about the future than comparing a bunch of teachers, nurses, police, fire, etc... walking around the Capitol to the number one terrorists organization in the world.   Lombardi he isn't!

About those good paying, family supporting jobs.  Now that the legislature has agreed to give them $3 billion dollars to come here, who gets the first (and maybe the only) good paying job from this fiasco?  

Keith Gilkes of course! 

MADISON, Wis. — Any doubt campaign politics is the driving force behind Gov. Scott Walker gambling $3 billion on a subsidy for Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has been dispelled by the creation of a single job. According to a report from Wispolitics.com, the lobbying firm hired by Foxconn has brought on Keith Gilkes, Walker’s longtime campaign manager and the head of the Unintimidated PAC that supported his presidential ambitions, to do “public affairs and communications.”

While Gilkes is knee deep in pretty much every walker scandal, including Walker Gate and the John Doe investigation, my favorite story about Gilkes involves the O'Donnell Park tragedy.  At O'Donnell park, on the opening of summerfest, the Milwaukee County infrastructure under Milwaukee County Exec Scott Walker, crumbled.  It not only crumbled, but it fell on and killed a teenager, right in front of his parents.  

While the dust was still settling on the crumbled parking structure, Keith Gilkes sprung into action:

Gilkes, in an email written the day of the accident, advised Walker's county staff to "make sure there is not a piece of paper anywhere that details any problem at all." News organizations and lawyers representing victims and others filed numerous open record requests after the O'Donnell Park accident for inspection reports and other documents on its construction.
In the wake of an incredible tragedy, Gilkes did what almost no one else would do.  His first thought was, we need to shield Scott Walker's career from this.  So glad that he found a way to capitalize on our tax dollars some more!

But Wait there is more!

Scott Walker released his budget earlier this year, and in his budget, he forgot to include millions of dollars to upgrade Wisconsin Rapid's Alexander Field Airport, so billionaires can fly their private planes into the airport and golf at the Sand Valley Golf Resort.  

So the owner of the resort, Michael Keiser, donated $25,000 to the Republican Party of WI and another $65,000 to Scott Walker and incredibly coincidentally, $4 million dollars of upgrades to Alexander Field magically appeared in the budget.  

We know that there was absolutely NO quid pro quo on this airport deal because Scott Krug told us so:

Republican state Rep. Scott Krug, who is not on the budget committee but whose legislative district includes the golf course, said the donations don’t have anything to do with the airport project getting funded.
Krug said Keiser’s donations were to support Republicans who were doing good things for the Wisconsin economy, not to win approval of the airport funding.
If you can not believe Scott Krug, who can you believe?

One last note about Foxconn.  When The Governor offered the company that showed profits of $149 Billion dollars last year, $3 Billion dollars of our money to possibly relocate in Wisconsin, he wrote the agreement on a Post It note and signed it like it was actually binding!

We at CogDis are efforting to confirm that, Scott Walker also Pinky swore and said

"Cross my heart (and hope to die), stick a needle in my eye."  


Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Delinquent Dave DeGroot

By Jeff Simpson 

The current Village President of Mount Pleasant is not very pleasant at all.

At a recent Village meeting, during the public comment section of the meeting, Mr. Degroot decided that he did not want local resident Kelly Gallaher to speak.

When Ms. Gallaher stepped up for her 3 minutes of speaking time, Mr. Degroot went into a rage, accusing her out of the blue, of swearing at a prior meeting after she spoke.    Ms. Gallaher, was taken by surprise because it is something she actually did not do.   

It's humiliating because it was untrue,” Gallaher tells CBS 58.

Mr. DeGroot became so unhinged that he spent more than her three minutes dressing her down, and threatening another board member with removal who correctly stated that  Degroot was out of order.

 Trustee Jon Hansen jumped in saying, “ Point of order. That’s enough.
Hansen raised points of order several times while DeGroot spoke, leading to tense exchanges.
“This is enough,” Hansen said.
“You're out of order,” DeGroot told Hansen.
“You're out of order,” Hansen replied.
“You're out of order,” DeGroot said. “Once more and you're gone.”
I think Robert was cheering on Trustee Hansen for defending his rules.    

Degroot even admitted that there was no there there, but decided to use the time and his platform to let everyone know who was boss and that he did not like the fact that Ms. Gallaher is actively involved in the community and a liberal.  

DeGroot says the cursing happened as Gallaher walked back to her seat and he didn't hear it but says others did.
DeGroot, who must have felt very powerful publicly degrading a liberal woman, obviously was not listening to his own garble of a speech:

 “Speakers are expected to conduct themselves with civility, dignity and respect,” Village President Dave DeGroot told Gallaher at the meeting.
“Ms. Gallaher you're very fortunate I did not hear your outburst because I would have thrown you out of here on your can,” DeGroot said during the meeting.

As Shakespeare would say - " Hypocrisy thy name is DeGroot! "

Then, DeGroot, with the massive power of the Village Presidency running through his veins, let Ms. Gallaher know that he was the all powerful OZ and only when she did his bidding would she be allowed to participate in the public commons again:

“So having said that, you will not be speaking in these chambers again until I have heard an oral apology that’s suitable to me and the rest of this board,” DeGroot said. “Number two, I’m not going to hear an oral apology from you until I read a written one that has been delivered to me five business days before this board meets so I can check the credibility of it because you have had a long history of issues with the truth. Go back and sit down.”
Ms. Gallaher has filed a formal complaint and hopefully the rest of the board does the right thing and at the very least censures him for this incredible bit of misconduct and his thought that he can rewrite Robert's rules.   

Then, because DeGroot has not studied Abe Lincoln enough or heard of his quote: 

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.— ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
DeGroot had to keep speaking:

“If I’m going to be challenged at every meeting going forward, then I guess I’m going to have to get used to throwing people out,” DeGroot said. “At the end of the day, this is a business meeting and we debate and vote on stuff in front of the board, and I just can’t have the distraction of people shooting their mouth off.”

All doubt has been removed.   

More here from Political Environment! 

Dana Wachs Leadership Moment

By Jeff Simpson

We pointed out recently, that the Dem Party has not learned any lessons from the last few years of losses.  

Dana Wachs was the worst offender spending almost $40,000 and then hiring Jake Hadju to be his campaign manager.  For those that do not know, Jake Hadju was executive director of the WISDEMS during the election debacles of the last few years, then moved on to run Hillary for Wisconsin campaign.  

Apparently running the campaign that lost Wisconsin for the first time in 32 years (1984) was all the qualification needed to get hired on to run the next campaign.  

However. as in many things, people will show you who they are.   

Jake Hadju, Dana Wachs campaign manager, did just that!

His campaign manager, Jake Hajdu, wrote in an August 23rd memo that Wachs was the only Democratic candidate "that has strong progressive values without the veneer of a Milwaukee elitist or a Madison liberal," and that other current candidates are "exactly like" other failed candidates since 2010.

For those of you scoring at home - While Jake Hadju has been working inside of Democratic politics for years in WI, he views Milwaukee as elitist, uses liberal as a criticism and thinks of Mayor Barrett and School board member Burke as "failed".     

Charlie Sykes could not have said it better himself. 

So now we see what Dana Wachs is made of.   In true Scott Walker fashion, he distanced himself from Hadju.

"I didn't write that memo. It was put out by some members of my team," he said in an interview with FOX6 News. "I think what they're getting at is, we've run folks from Madison and Milwaukee in the past, and they're fine people. Mayor Barrett's a wonderful human being and a great Democrat, as is Mary Burke, but it's time for something different."
If that is what they are getting at, and compared to what Hadju wrote, then he probably should not be writing anymore as he is not even in the same zip code.   

If Dana Wachs is serious about running a campaign that appeals to people in Sawyer County, Milwaukee County, Dane County and Door County he needs to rid himself of these political insiders and high paid consultants and be Dana Wachs.      

As long as Hadju is his campaign manager, this "Madison Liberal"  can not take the Wachs campaign serious.   

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dale Kooyenga - Prince of Thieves

By Jeff Simpson

Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Media Coop.  

We have written about Dale Kooyenga before, from the time where he was drunk on the Assembly floor to where he thought he knew more than Bernie Sanders!

What happens when you are allowed to get away with ridiculousness with no consequences?  You continually up the ante because you feel invincible.

Kooyenga considerably upped the ante recently and committed a crime.

Dale Kooyenga went to work at the Capitol one day and saw a permitted sign, that he did not like displayed, so he stole it.

State Rep. Dale Kooyenga, a Republican from Brookfield, was caught on Capitol surveillance footage removing the 80-year-old Donald E. Johnson's legally permitted sign in May.
Kooyenga went public with the heist by releasing the police report to the public — but said he only did so because Democrats were "trying to obtain the [same] report and he wanted to get out ahead of them."
For those of you scoring at home, lets summarize.   Dale Kooyenga, the towering pillar of virtue, saw a display in the Capitol he did not like so he stole it.  The Capitol police(paid by the taxpayer), took a look at the video of the theft(paid by the taxpayer), and realized the thief was Dale Kooyenga and did not issue any ticket, arrest or even a slap on the wrist.  Not  only that, they have refused to release the video and told no one of this crime or the perpetrator(, despite the fact that they are  beholden to us.  
Kooyenga, who bills himself as a "proven leader we can trust",  and points out that if you send him money:

Together, we can advance the cause of individual liberty, economic freedom and personal responsibility.
Except we know from his actions, he does not believe in Individual liberty, economic freedom and believes in personal responsibility for everyone but Dale Kooyenga.  We also know from his actions that trust is one thing that we can not do with him.

But wait there is more:

Kooyenga, one of the sponsors of the bill, that punishes students who protest white supremacists on UW Campus.

The bill reads in part: "An institution must strive to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression. 2. [It] is not the proper role of an institution to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, including ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive."

 You can now add hypocrite to untrustworthy, drunk and thief on to Kooyenga's resume.

But wait there is more:   Kooyenga did not commit a crime, he was just looking out for the children.  
“In my view, the sign was inappropriate in several ways and I felt it should not be in plain view of the scores of schoolchildren who were touring the Capitol at that time,” Kooyenga said in a statement. “It was not my intention to cause harm to the owner of the sign and I returned it immediately when I was asked for its return.”"I am sorry I took the sign without permission," the statement continued. "However I am not sorry for trying to uphold appropriate decorum in our State Capitol."
Apparently we should thank Kooyenga for committing theft.   Here is part of the interview he gave to the Chicago Trubune.

The report said the sign was "very critical of President Trump, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Governor Scott Walker and the GOP in general." Kooyenga said in the telephone interview with AP that the sign called all the Republicans "gropers" and said "Damn All Republicans."
What did the offending sign say that Capt. Kooyenga saved the children from?

Never Forget: Scott Walker, Paul Ryan and many WI republican legislators support a corrupt, treasonous health care wrecking, lying incompetent, unethical, narcissistic, immoral tax and draft-dodging, sadistic, racist and confessed serial groper who thinks nothing about spending millions of taxpayer dollars for his golfing and luxury family vacations and even more billions for a senseless wall, a bogus voter fraud study and excessive military buildup all while cutting taxes for giant corporations, himself, his family and his billionaire buddies at the expense of millions of people on ObamaCare, veterans, veteran's children, education, the elderly, the poor, school lunches, environmental protections, national parks, wildlife, scientific research and so on and We the people be damned!
Now we can add poor reader onto Kooyengas resume.  

Bragging about "grabbing women by the pussy" is ok, calling someone who does it a "groper" needs to be shielded from our children.  

Why all of the hullaballoo about just a sign?  Let us take a walk down memory lane.

In the summer of 2014, Kindergarten teacher April Kay Smith from Germantown, had a couple drinks at the Jefferson County Fair and when walking by the closed GOP tent, pulled a couple Scott Walker signs off of their metal stand.

A woman named Roxane Stillman, saw this happen  and followed Ms. Smith all around the fair(what an amazing citizen she is), yelling for police along the way until an officer finally came over.   Ms. Smith was eventually issued a disorderly conduct ticket(imagine that) and the case should have been closed.  After all, it was just a sign and (previously unreported in the incident report)

"Upon the arrival at the Jefferson County Republican tent, I observed the signs lying on the grass:  some of them were pulled off their metal frames.  Some of the signs looked dented as if they had been stepped on.  I asked April Smith to pick up the signs and together we placed them in a neat pile."   
 Should be the end of the story but for the right wing smear machine.    See once the WISGOP echo chamber got wind of the story, they sent their lapdog Matt Kittle after it and he was relentless in the attack of this public servant.

Kittle, using his platform at Wisconsin Watchdog (which he was fired from because of this kind of bush league "reporting")  had multiple stories of this incident using the words like "Teacher who went on Rampage" , since the are all interchangeable,  this story made Right Wisconsin, right wing hate talkers Charley Sykes, Vicky Mckenna and Mark Belling amongst other Bradley funded mouthpieces.    

It was so relentless that they were able to get Ms. Smith suspended for the whole first semester, drug her name through the mud and eventually forced her to resign her profession and hurt the children of Germantown.     Numerous righties all over Wisconsin, were posting "fire her" notes all over social media, emails to the school and snail mail to the school (for the technologically challenged but still full of hate crew), pressure on someone making $40,000/yr trying to teach a class full of 5 year olds was too much for anyone to handle.....all for taking a couple signs off their metal stand and stepping on them.  

Hopefully, now that MacIver has used their wingnut welfare and hired Kittle, I hope that they have taught him what the word - Rampage - means:
(especially of a large group of people) rush around in a violent and uncontrollable manner.
"several thousand demonstrators rampaged through the city"
synonyms:riot, run riot, go on the rampage, run amok, go berserk; More
a period of violent and uncontrollable behavior, typically involving a large group of people.
"thugs went on a rampage and wrecked a classroom"

Finally, in the  least surprising news of the century.....the number of stories that Kittle has written about Dale Kooyenga stealing the sign from the Capitol - 0! 

The watchdog has now become a puppy dog....at least he is trained!

For your listening pleasure:

PS:  Another story that the Watchdog of Wisconsin has missed - Dale Kooyenga was arrested years ago for beating up a minor.  Apparently the minor did not want to stay at Kooyengas party and smoke pot, and Dale felt he should be heading to a religious retreat.

Truth is stranger than fiction.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Transgender Rights and The GOP

By Jeff Simpson

I know the transgender bathroom issue, has not been in the headlines lately but it is also still alive in the Capitol.

In Texas, the Governor called a special session, to pass a bill discriminating against transgender students and luckily could not get one passed.   He has yet however, to call a special session to deal with the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

Republican priorities!

In Wisconsin, Rep Jesse Kremer, once he is done making sure no one can protest white supremacists on UW campus's, will bring back his "bathroom bill".

The folks in Kewaskum sure have not advanced much in 6000 years.

Raise your hand if you ever thought that Kentucky would be more progressive and care more about the rights of children than Wisconsin?

A couple quick take-aways to remember when the "bathroom bill" comes back.

1.  The kids DO NOT CARE!
2.  Check out the thick folder of hate mail that he has received from the hard core "conservative christians" in Kentucky!

Trump's Labor Day Message To Workers: Screw You!

It's no deep dark secret that Trump is not a friend of the American worker. He made that overly clear, as John Nichols points out at the Nation:
Because candidate Trump criticized noxious free-trade agreements that Democratic and Republican presidents have advanced, there were many workers who imagined he was on their side. Some still do.

But Trump will not deliver for working people on this or any other Labor Day. He has made that plain by assembling an administration that is packed with political grifters who have made it their business to defend sweatshops, depress wages and tip every balance toward multi-national corporations.

In many cases, Trump’s picks are worse than Trump—and that’s saying a lot.

Trump’s National Labor Relations Board picks—Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel—have been greeted with scorn by advocates for a living wage and workplace fairness. As Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren explained to Emanuel during his confirmation hearing: “You have spent your career at one of the country’s most ruthless, union-busting law firms in the country. How can Americans trust you will protect workers rights when you’ve spent 40 years fighting against them?”

Trump’s Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, has a miserable history of aligning with right-wing and corporate interests. After law school, Acosta clerked for US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Judge Samuel Alito. Alito is now the US Supreme Court’s aggressive foe of worker rights. Acosta, who served briefly as a George W. Bush appointee to the National Labor Relations Board, went on to face harsh criticism for the partisanship he displayed on voting rights cases while leading the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

As Labor Secretary, Acosta has remained on the wrong side. Just weeks ago, he appeared before the annual gathering of the militantly anti-labor American Legislative Exchange Council—along with anti-union zealot Betsy DeVos, Trump’s secretary of education.

Trump’s pick to serve as deputy secretary of labor, Patrick Pizzella, has an even more troubling record than Acosta. A former campaign staffer for Ronald Reagan who has served in Republican and Democratic administrations, Pizzella was once employed by the viscerally anti-union National Right to Work Committee and later joined the firm that scandal-plagued lobbyist Jack Abramoff was associated with before his 2006 conviction on federal charges that included attempted bribery.
As if that wasn't enough, there's more. There's always more.

Trump wanted to make sure that the American workers see him flipping them the bird and screaming, "F**k you!"

So he decided to put Ronnie Raygun in the Labor Hall of Fame:
Former President Ronald Reagan, a one-time Hollywood union leader who fired 11,000 air traffic controllers and crushed their union, will be inducted into the Labor Department’s Labor Hall of Honor.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta made the announcement Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in Simi Valley, California.

The honor is for Americans who improved working conditions, wages and quality of life for families.


However, as U.S. president in 1981, Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers, banned them from government jobs for life and decertified their union. A new union was only formed years later.

When Candidate Trump said that the American Worker was getting crushed, I thought it was political rhetoric, not a warning.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Keep Rent-to-Own Out of the State Budget

By Gordon Hintz 

Image result for rent to own

Madison – As the Joint Finance Committee prepares to finalize the state budget, Representative Gordon Hintz (D- Oshkosh) called on the JFC Co-chairs to leave changes on behalf of the predatory “Rent-to-Own” industry out of the legislation.

In the previous 2013-15 state budget, Governor Walker included a provision exempting the rent-to-own industry from the Wisconsin Consumer Act, a change that would prohibit crucial disclosure and legal protections for consumers. However, the Joint Finance Committee removed the provision from the budget with a bipartisan vote. A search on the state’s “Eye on Lobbying” website shows that Jeffrey Lebakken, President of the Wisconsin Rental Dealers Association, retained four lobbyists in the middle of the current budget process whose efforts are directed toward “Development, drafting, or introduction of a proposal relating to regulation of the rent-to-own industry”.  However, no such proposal has been introduced as a standalone bill.

“Let’s be clear,” said Rep. Hintz, “Rent-to-own companies can and do already operate legally in Wisconsin. But now this predatory industry wants to eliminate requirements to disclose their APRs to consumers or comply with other pesky transparency hassles under the Wisconsin Consumer Act.  Rent-to-own lenders are a common pervasive presence in low-income communities nationwide; they target the young and financially inexperienced, and even undermine our service men and women in the United States Military.”

The State Court of Appeals and federal district court have ruled that “rent-to-own” transactions are the same as any other transactions where property is purchased over time and a finance charged is involved. As such, they are governed by the Wisconsin Consumer Act.  In a 2012 hearing, rent-to-own industry representatives testified that 38 stores existed in Wisconsin and estimated that changes in transparency requirements would expand the presence of rent-to-own stores in our state to over 300 locations.

“More disclosure means better personal decision making,” said Rep. Hintz. “By exempting rent-to-own from the Consumer Act, these businesses can profit from our citizens’ ignorance and indebtedness.  Democrats and Republicans have demonstrated willingness in the past to stand together against predatory businesses that profit from confusion and deception.  Recognizing the moral and financial responsibility to our neighbors should continue to be a bipartisan principle.”

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Nation Consulting Shags NARAL

By Jeff Simpson

It was announced recently that in WI 1st district, NARAL has endorsed Randy Bryce .  It is a fine endorsement to the recently fully pro-choice Bryce,  except of course for the massive conflict of interest.

Bryce's local campaign consultant is Sachin Chheda with Nation Consulting.   As we see from his profile:

Sachin is active in nonprofit leadership, recently completing two terms as Chair of the Board of Directors for NARAL Pro-Choice America. He serves as a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, previously served as an officer of the Wisconsin Coalition of Asian Indian Organizations; and is Chairman Emeritus of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County.

Chheda, fresh off two terms as Chair of the Board, was amazingly able to get his candidate endorsed without so much as an email to Bryce's opponent.  
It sure makes it good for business, when you can guarantee a NARAL endorsement.

Does anyone think that if Cathy had ponied up for Sachin's services that she would have been the one with the endorsement and Randy would have been left out in the cold?  

So much for pro-choice!  It has now become Sachin's choice.

To be clear, Randy is a fine candidate and would make a much better rep than Paul Ryan ever has, but when an organization this visible and this important, they need to make sure they have covered all candidates, and given all candidates a fair shake, before making such an important endorsement.

For those scoring at home, a male political consultant in Milwaukee, uses one of the most important female driven Democratic organizations for his own purposes and pocketbook.  

It really diminishes the organization and their endorsements!

The rest of us in Wisconsin, are collateral damage, to making sure Sachin can use his non profit leadership" to lead people to hiring him and his consulting firm.  

Conflicts of interest are only for the little people!

We wonder why we continually lose elections?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Scott Walker - Trump U's School of Deal Making's Star Student

If you're a semi-literate Republican governor, underwater in the polls and facing reelection next year, what do you do?

Why, you bust your state's budget to pull off the political con job of your life, of course!

A few weeks ago, Scott Walker, along with Trump and Lyin' Paul Ryan announced this "big job creating" deal with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn. So what if it will cost $1 million per job? So what if it rolls back all environmental regulations and oversight? It's a good deal because JOBS! And that's if the deal even goes through and if Foxconn keeps their word about it, which they have a poor history of doing.

But now even more sordid details of how the deal came to be made is being revealed.

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou was looking at least four states to build their plant in. When he met with Walker, he realized he had a real patsy on his hand and set about seeing how much of a rube Walker really is.

In a deal that started with the state offering $1.25 billion to the company, it quickly escalated to $3 billion as Gou continued to reel Walker in. Of course, Walker doesn't want the public know what a gullible fool he was and so had redacted much of the deal-making:
The Walker administration has yet to say whether the increase in the plant's size and employment reflects a change in the company's business plans or a simple increase in the state's subsidy.

It's not entirely clear, however, how much the state increased its proposal because the governor's office blacked out certain parts of a June 2 offer from a Walker administration official to a Foxconn representative.

In the letter from Mark Hogan, the head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., to consultant Brian Smith of Ernst & Young, Hogan offers the company $1.25 billion in "state and local incentives." But the words to either side of that amount are redacted — it appears a second dollar amount has been hidden but that could not be confirmed because of the redaction.

A second June 26 letter from Hogan to Smith did spell out that one portion of the state's incentive package had increased substantially.

The state's June 2 offer would have paid Foxconn 10 cents in cash for every $1 in qualifying wages the company paid to workers, this letter says. The final deal offered to Foxconn would pay the company 17 cents for every $1 in wages.

Normally, the state offers to offer no more than 7 cents for every $1 in wages.

Walker's spokesman Tom Evenson said the governor's office had blacked out parts of the state's June 2 and June 26 offers because it could hurt the "competitive nature of the project." He didn't explain how releasing details from the state's outdated offer would hurt the state's competitiveness when the current offer has been released in its entirety.
But there's more. There's always more.

Walker was so eager to have this talking point for his reelection, he signed off on the deal with a handwritten note on his stationary:

And just in case you thought it was just good governing and not a political stunt, Walker tipped his hand last week when he lied about why Foxconn reneged on their deal with Pennsylvania. Walker claimed that it was because Pennsylvania switched from a Republican governor to a Democratic one. PolitiFact called his explanation for what it was - false. There has been no movement by Foxconn for over a year.

About the same amount of time until Wisconsin chooses whether to keep Walker or throw him out with the rest of the trash.