Monday, April 6, 2020

Republicans to Wisconsin: You Vote, You Die!



Like many other states, Wisconsin's elected leaders were befuddled about what to do, if anything, regarding the general spring elections and presidential primary, which is scheduled for tomorrow, April 7. However, thanks to the Republican-controlled legislature, the election has become a full-fledged clusterfuck.

Weeks ago, Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, started pushing for the election to be held as scheduled but asked for the Republicans to change the law to allow it to be all done with mail-in ballots.

The Republicans refused, stating that they didn't wan't think that COVID-19 was all that contagious. Despite the Republicans official stance, officials and politicians of both parties started pushing for voters to request an absentee ballot. The system became overwhelmed with more than a million people asking for their mail-in ballots, and counties ran out of ballots, creating a backlog where several people have not received their ballots weeks after making the request. (My wife and I made our requests early on and have already returned the completed ballots.)

In the meantime, the County Clerks for both Milwaukee and Dane Counties, in an effort to make voting even safer, ruled that people didn't need to have a witness sign the ballots. Predictably, the Republicans had a meltdown about this because both counties are Democratic strongholds and sued to stop this. After a series of hearings, it was decided that the witness signature was indeed needed but they had an extra week to return the ballots.

Rather belatedly, Evers called for a special session for the state legislature, scheduled for this past Saturday so that the Republicans could postpone the election date. The Republicans, led by Speaker of the Assembly Robin Vos and Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald, gaveled in and immediately gaveled out of session, postponing any decision to Monday, the day before the elections. On Monday, the refused to postpone the elections. They'd rather needlessly expose poll workers and voters to the COVID-19 virus rather than allow people the ability to safely exercise their right to democracy.

Following the Republicans absolute refusal to do their jobs, Evers issued an Executive Order postponing the in-person voting until June 9, citing the health risk of having it as scheduled while confirmed COVID-19 cases are spiking.

Guess what the Republicans did? Yup, they had another temper tantrum and immediately started to file an appeal with the State Supreme Court, saying that Evers didn't have the authority to issue such an order. Again, because this cannot be overemphasized, the Republicans are saying that they would rather see democracy and voters die rather than be adults about the whole thing.

Even if Evers' order stands, it presents a new set of issues, since many of the races in the general election were local races and the winners were to be seated later this month or in early May. Again, this is an issue that could have been resolved if the Republicans chose to do their jobs instead of turning their grandstanding into a shitshow.

All that said, the Republicans haven't been just sitting on their butts but are concerned about things that are more important to them, such as lifting the ban on many non-essential business because MONEY. At the same time, they want Evers to open up the golf courses and attend Easter and Passover services, because nothing says fellowship like contaminating each other with a potentially deadly virus.

And of course, while they want all these things to get opened, the Republicans also want Planned Parenthood to be classified as non-essential and the clinics closed. In other words, golfing is a necessity in life, but women's healthcare is just a trivial nicety.

I certainly hope that the voters will remember all this when the spring elections are held as well as in November, when we get to decide which is more important - our very lives or their political careers.

ADDENDUM: The Republican controlled State Supreme Court just issued a possible death sentence for Wisconsin voters, the rat bastards that they are.

Monday, March 30, 2020

David Crowley Is Confused About His Endorsements



David Crowley, who is running against State Senator Chris Larson to be the next Milwaukee County Executive, is apparently more than a bit confused about who is endorsing him.

Crowley's campaign has been sending out text messages like this one, bragging about being the only candidate to receive endorsements from Republican legislators:


This would fit in with his Abele-esque talking point about being able to work across the aisle so well.

Why he would think that this is a good selling point, I don't understand, especially given the way that the Republicans have been treating Milwaukee for the past ten years.

However, there is a problem with Crowley's talking point.  If one checks his list of endorsements on his website, he doesn't list one Republican. Not one.

It is my understanding that Crowley has been endorsed by Deanna Alexander, who is definitely a Republican, but is not and never has been a state legislator.  She is a Milwaukee County Supervisor who is mercifully not running for reelection this year.

So what gives? If he has indeed been endorsed by Republican legislators, why are they not included on his website.  Or is he simply lying about it to appeal the right wing base that supported his dark money benefactor, Boss Abele?

ADDENDUM: It has come to my attention that the website and the text were not technically Crowley's but that of the practical campaign run by Abele's PAC.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Kelly Holds Fundraiser At Gun Range Day After Mass Shooting



Last week, there was a mass shooting at the Molson Coors brewery in Milwaukee. An employee pulled out two handguns and proceeded to shoot and kill five coworkers before committing suicide.

On the very next day, NRA-backed Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, who is running for election after being politicaly appointed by former governor Scott Walker, had a fundraiser at a gun range:
Kelly held a political fundraiser on Thursday — around 26 hours after the mass murder — at a shooting range in Waukesha County. Kelly is a conservative jurist running against liberal Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky in the April election.

"Tonight!" announced a Facebook post by the Waukesha County Republican Party. "Help return Justice Dan Kelly to the State Supreme Court by attending a fundraiser in his honor at the Wisconsin Firearms Training Center in Brookfield!!!"

The post said money from liberal sources is "pouring into the state to back soft on crime Judge Jill Karofsky." "Can you help save our courts?" said the post, which carried the hashtag #2A, a reference to the Second Amendment.

How's that for politically tone-deaf? But there's more.

The flyer from the Kelly campaign said hosts could give at three levels, including $5,000 for the "50 Cal M2HB" level, a reference to a Browning M2 .50-caliber machine gun.

A $2,500 donation put a supporter at the "25 ACP" level, named for a semi-automatic .25 caliber handgun.

A $1,000 donation was the "10 mm" level, referring to a different semi-automatic handgun.

The cost to attend: $100.
As one might have expected and righteously so, Kelly received a lot of backlash for such a bone headed stunt. One might have also expected that at the very least, Kelly would have offered an apology or something. But he didn't even do as much as offer the usual "thoughts and prayers" to the victims.

Instead, Kelly tried to play the victim card. In an fundraising email, Kelly wrote:
Last week the good folks at the Wisconsin Firearms Training Center (“WFTC”) hosted a campaign event for Justice Daniel Kelly. The WFTC dedicates itself to providing our fellow Wisconsinites with the tools and training necessary to protect themselves and their families from those who would do them harm, and Justice Kelly is grateful for their support and enthusiasm for his campaign. It was a pleasant and productive evening for everyone who attended.

But then our opponent’s allies did what they always do … they made it political and exploited a tragedy for their own benefit.

Our opponent’s allies attacked us for appearing at this event because a very sick individual had recently shot several of his co-workers at a major Milwaukee business. Along with the rest of our fellow Wisconsinites, we were shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy, and we continue to pray for the victims and their families.

However, this attempt by Judge Jill Karofsky and her allies to exploit this tragedy for their own political gain is inexplicable and grotesque. They equated an evil murderer with the good folks at WFTC who are simply trying to make sure they have the tools and training to protect themselves and their families from those who would do them harm.

This is not just an attack on Justice Kelly, this is an attack on everyone who cares about protecting themselves and the innocent people around them. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, it fits the same disgraceful pattern we have seen in the rest of Judge Karofsky’s campaign.
Pretty horrific, right? But wait! There's more. There's always more.

The Wisconsin GOP chimed in and tried to tie all gun owners in with Kelly's insensitivity and tactlessness and even with the murderer:
Make no mistake, such a disgusting attack on Justice Daniel Kelly and his supporters is an attack on all the law-abiding gun owners of our state. By launching such a distasteful attack, Karofsky’s allies apparently believe responsible gun-owners and mass murderers are one and the same.

Attempts to tie Justice Daniel Kelly and supporters of the Second Amendment to the shooting in Milwaukee demonstrate that there is no low that Jill Karofsky and her allies won’t stoop to for political gain. Under no circumstance should law-abiding citizens who legally exercise their rights to bear arms be blamed in any way for the tragic events that occurred in Milwaukee.
There is no way in hell that someone with a complete lack of morality and common sense like Kelly has shown, should be on the bench of the highest court in the state.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Milwaukee Mass Shooting Sponsored By The NRA and GOP



On Wednesday, Milwaukee became the site of the latest mass shooting. Anthony Ferrill, a 51 year old electrician and long time employee at the Molson Coors brewery chose to bring two handguns - one equipped with a silencer - to his job site. He shot and killed five coworkers before turning one of the handguns on himself, committing suicide.

Authorities have not given an official motive, but it is known that Ferrill was a gun nut and was often seen going around the neighborhood carrying a gun. We also know that Ferrill had an ongoing dispute with one of the victims and felt that he was being discriminated against due to being African American. It also appeared that he had a dysfunctional thought process:
About a year ago, the co-worker said, Ferrill started saying he believed brewery workers were coming into his home, bugging his computer and moving chairs around.

"I was: 'Are you serious, Anthony? What?' We all kind of joked about it, saying we should maybe get him an aluminum hat. Things just started getting weird. But he was dead serious about it," the co-worker said.
The usual suspects on the right have started their normal litany of excuses including that Ferrill was evil, that it wasn't the right time to discuss guns, etc.

However, those are mere excuses to distract from the fact that Republicans have been willfully refusing to take any action to pass even the most common sense gun laws. Mitch McConnell has been sitting on such a bill for over a year now.

Likewise, Wisconsin Republicans, under the thrall of the NRA, have been even worse. They have systematically dismantled almost all the gun laws in the state. Not coincidentally, Wednesday's shooting was the eleventh mass shooting in the state since 2004.

But there's more. There's always more.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers had called the legislation to a special session to pass two common sense gun laws - one to stop the loophole in background checks and a red flag law. In a poll, more than 80% of Wisconsinites supported these two bills.

Not only did the Republicans refuse to have an honest debate about these laws, but State Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, went beyond the pale to avoid any such debate, much less pass these two laws:
But it wasn’t until 8 p.m., after most of the activists had gone home, that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, called the session to order with no other lawmakers in the room. He adjourned the session a few seconds later, avoiding debate or a vote on the gun control measures Democratic lawmakers had been advocating for throughout the day.

“I think if there are bills that would make sense to Republican legislators, that we would call ourselves into regular session or extraordinary session to take those up,” Fitzgerald said. “I think the governor knows the bills that he’s offered are not going to pass the Legislature … As they’ve been presented by the governor, there’s no momentum for them.”
You can almost see the NRA's hand sticking up his backside.

On Wednesday morning, Evers again implored the state legislature to review and reconsider the bills. About an hour before the shooting occurred, Fitzgerald again absolutely refused to even entertain the idea:
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, early Wednesday afternoon made clear that the state's gun laws would not change under a Republican-controlled Legislature despite a call for a review from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

"We’re going to have that discussion about the Second Amendment forever," Fitzgerald told reporters in Franklin, about an hour before the shooting at the Molson Coors brewery. "A lot of the provisions that are in place already, people are satisfied with."

His comments came just after Evers again called on lawmakers to take up legislation aimed at keeping guns away from people who are dangerous, underscoring the deep divide between Evers, Democrats and Republicans on the issue of gun restrictions.
It should be noted that while most politicians on both sides of the aisle only offered the perfunctory thoughts and prayers, one politician showed that he truly gets it and has the courage to say it as it is. Shortly after the shooting, State Representative Jonathan Brostoff issued a statement that read in part:
“But in times like this, thoughts and prayers are not - and never have been - enough. In the past 16 years, Wisconsin communities have suffered ten mass shootings, and countless other fatal and near-fatal incidents involving firearms. Time and again, public opinion polling shows that Wisconsinites are in favor of common sense gun reform legislation. We have committed community groups like Moms Demand Action and the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort who have organized their communities and continue to keep these issues at the forefront. We have a governor who specifically called a special session of the Legislature this session in order to address gun violence. And yet, time and again, bought-and-paid-for Republican politicians in this state do everything they possibly can to block simple and popular reform measures from making their way through the political process, all while more and more Wisconsinites die as a direct result of their antipathy and inaction. So today, I have one question for any politician who continues to block these life-saving reforms: how many NRA dollars are Wisconsin lives worth?”
It should also be noted that Fitzgerald is running for Congress, to replace the retiring James Sensenbrenner, which goes a long way to explain why he is so ready to bend over backwards for those NRA

Monday, February 17, 2020

Chris Larson: The Only "Only" Choice For Milwaukee County Executive


Because of the abbreviated amount of time left by Chris Abele when he suddenly abandoned his bid for reelection, the people who decided to throw their hats in the ring really needed to scramble to develop a base, raise money, get nomination signatures, etc.

The candidates also had to immediately try to differentiate themselves from the others and grab people's attention and their support.  This led to a flurry of press releases and statements that each candidate was the only one to do this, the only candidate to be that, the only candidate that could rub their belly and pat their head at the same time, etc.  Most of these "only I" statements were exaggerations, irrelevant to the job they were applying for or just plain false, meaning that they were indeed not the only one to fit whatever given boast.

But one candidate, Chris Larson, stands out because he is the "only one" in many regards.

Larson is the only one to have both experience in Milwaukee County as a county board supervisor and in the state as a state senator.  That is a valuable amount of knowledge on how both governments work and how to bridge the great divide between Milwaukee and Madison. 

Larson is the only one to consistently take on Scott Walker and his mini-me, Chris Abele.  Larson fought to stop or at least minimize the damage done by Walker both as county executive and as governor.  Not the least of these was leading thirteen other state senators, the Fab 14, out of the state to give the people the chance to understand what Walker wanted to do with Act 10 and to organize and fight back.  Larson has also been a strong and consistent advocate for a living wage and workers right.  Recently, he held a press conference announcing the introduction of restoring workers rights lost under Act 10.  Granted, nothing will probably come from it now, but at least someone was willing to get the conversation started.

Likewise, Larson was the only one willing to stand up to Boss Abele in 2016 and challenge him because Abele was only trying to finish the job Walker started in destroying Milwaukee County and giving it away to the rich.  In fact, Larson beat Abele in the primary, even though Abele spent $42 per vote against Larson's $2 per vote.

Abele only won the general election that year after dropping a multimillion dollar money bomb on his campaign and getting a lot of help from the Republicans.

Larson is the only candidate to have viable, doable plans to address some of Milwaukee County's greatest woes, including the lack of dedicated funding for our transit system and parks system, addressing the needs of our senior citizens, our homeless and our mentally ill.  He does not offer just general, vague statements on what he is going to do but is ready to implement these plans.  He is also not offering any pie in the sky nonsense, such as "we'll just ask the Republicans for more money."  He understands full well the animosity the Republicans have towards Milwaukee, a lot of which has to do with their racism and the fact that Milwaukee is home to the largest African American community in the state.

These are just some of the reasons that Larson is the only candidate to earn more endorsements than all of the other candidates combined, including all of the unions.

Well, he can add one more endorsement to that list - mine. 

I am happy and proud to stand with Larson, just as I did in 2016, and just as he has stood with us for all these years.

Please join me in supporting Chris Larson for County Executive, donate what you can and most importantly, join me in casting a vote for Larson tomorrow and again in April.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Abele Comes Clean: He Ain't No Democrat



For years, I have opened myself to the scorn and wrath of the establishment Democrats, the corporate Democrats and Republicrats by pointing out that Chris Abele was no Democrat.  For years, these same people would try to ostracize me, demonize me and vilify me.

They're rationale for defending Boss Abele was always the same - He gives us so much money! He's our biggest donor!  Meanwhile they kept ignoring the simple fact that all the money he would give them was only a fraction of the amount of damage he would do to them.

But I have been vindicated in my assertions.  Ironically, the vindication came from none other that Abele himself:
Outgoing Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who is a Democrat, says if he ever runs for office again it would probably be as a political independent — and he’s not all that thrilled about attending the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

That being said, Abele says he supports Milwaukee hosting the DNC as good for business and the community. He said he promised Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez any logistical support that Milwaukee County government can provide.

“It’s great for the community and I think a Republican convention would be great for the community, too,” Abele said, during a Friday luncheon appearance at Marquette University Law School.
Abele went on to issue some of his usual vainglorious humble bragging, before getting to the real reason for his sudden decision not to run again:
Abele is not seeking re-election after serving about nine years as Milwaukee County executive. He said he will focus on his venture capital fund, philanthropy and lobbying the Wisconsin Legislature on issues including changing the way Wisconsin funds local governments.
This lines up with his statement on how having both Democratic and Republican conventions here.

He's all about the money. He wants to make more and more money as well as save it from having to have to pay taxes, which he hasn't done in years either.

Gee, how noble of him.

That said, Abele isn't really done with politics either.  He's got a lot of money invested in various candidates - such as David Crowley, Lena Taylor and Jason Fields - so that he can be the behind the scenes emperor of all of Milwaukee, undoubtedly with the intent to maximize his ability to monetize both the city and the county.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

WISGOP Suffer Major Setback In Their War On Democracy



Wisconsin Republicans probably won't be able to silence the voices of over 200,000 people in the spring elections.

At the end of last year, a right wing front group for the Bradley Foundation filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Election Commission, demanding that nearly a quarter of a million people be purged immediately from the voter registration. The Republicans were in a panic because the spring elections were just around the corner and they know that when people vote, the Republicans lose.

But the Republicans thwarted themselves while creating the election commission so that it was very partisan. The commission decided to hold off doing the purge due to an appeal filed by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and a federal lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters.

The Republicans, in an state of utter desperation, launched a three prong attack against democracy:
  • The front group filed a motion with the original court to find the election commission in contempt
  • They also filed a petition with the Wisconsin Supreme Court to bypass the appellate court and take the appeal directly, since they had a 5-2 conservative majority
  • Republican legislators filed in the federal lawsuit, asking for it to be dismissed, even though the legislators have no standing in the lawsuit
On Monday, the original court sided with the Republicans, finding only the three Democrats on the commission in contempt. He ordered the commission pay a $50 a day fine and that the three Democrats need to pay a $250 per day fine. But because the commission consists of appointed citizens who were acting in their official capacity, the taxpayers will be the ones ultimately footing the bill for this blatant act of partisanship.

The ruling was not a complete surprise since the judge presiding on the matter, Paul Malloy, was appointed by former Republican Governor Scott McCallum. Malloy also has a history of controversial statements and stunts, trying to present himself as a tough on crime type of judge.

Also on Monday, the state supreme court decided not to intervene in the appeal, leaving the matter to go to the appellate court first, despite the conservatives majority. This happened because on of the judges recused himself because he is up for reelection in the spring and would be directly affected by a decision. A second conservative justice betrayed his special interest masters by siding with the two impartial justices in deciding against the case.

State Republicans were outraged that justice was being done, demanding to know what kind of service they were getting after spending so much money on them.

On Tuesday came the major blow. The state appellate court issued an order to immediately stay the circuit court order, meaning that the targeted voters will remain in the registration for now. Furthermore, because the spring primary elections are only a few weeks away and the general elections - including the presidential primary - is on April 7, it is extremely unlikely there will be any changes before then.

And even if the Republicans prevail when it gets to the Wisconsin State Supreme Kangaroo Court, there is still the federal lawsuit hanging over their heads, so there is a change the voters will get to keep their voices through November as well.

In summary, the Republicans lost two major battles in the past two days and will get to pay for it with their tax dollars. Now excuse me while I go savor this moment and wait for the Republicans' heads to start popping.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

WISGOP Thwarts Themselves Again



After taking over all the branches of government in Wisconsin in 2011, the Republicans immediately got to work to secure their power and punishing those who tried to hold them accountable. Unfortunately for them, their incompetence has sprung up on them time and time again.

In 2018, Scott Walker lost his bid for reelection by a narrow margin. Normally, he would have been able to call for a recount, but the Republicans had changed that law, making it more difficult to get a recount. And thus, Walker was unable to challenge the vote and is becoming more and more irrelevant every day.

Another thing that the Republicans changed was abolishing the Government Accountability Board (GAB), which acted as a watchdog on Wisconsin elections and investigating any possible infractions of election laws. The Republicans had their undies in a bundle because it was the GAB that approved the John Doe investigation into Walker. They cried that it was all political and a partisan attack. What they wouldn't admit is that board consistent of retired judges, all of whom were Republican.

To replace the GAB, they created the Wisconsin Election Commission, which was comprised of six people, three Democrats and three Republicans. So much for not wanting the watchdog to be political.

This has become an outstanding issue now which again is biting the Republicans in the ass.

The Republicans, through a front group, filed a lawsuit to have nearly a quarter of a million people purged from the voter registration because they might have moved, based on a voter caging stunt. It was purely coincidental [end sarcasm] that the majority of the caging happened in areas that vote Democratic.

The judge granted the petition and went a step further, saying the purge should happen immediately.

Unsurprisingly, the three Democrats on the elections commission are blocking the purge from happening, citing an appeal by the commission and the fact that the League of Women Voters have filed a federal lawsuit to stop the purge:
The Wisconsin Elections Commission deadlocked Monday over whether to remove the voter registrations of more than 200,000 people in response to a judge's order.

The commission's inability to reach a consensus means the voters will stay on the rolls for at least the time being. An appeal in the case is ongoing and the commission faces a separate lawsuit that is trying to make sure people are not pulled from the rolls.

The three Republicans on the commission sought to take many of them off the rolls, but they were blocked by the three Democrats on the commission.

It was the second time in as many weeks that the commission broke down along party lines over the lawsuit, which has drawn national attention because of Wisconsin’s top-tier status in the 2020 presidential race.
As one could expect, Republicans are having meltdowns all across the state, accusing the Democrats in general, and specifically the three on the commission, of breaking the law, being anti-democratic. etc.

At the rate they're going, it won't be long before the Republicans end up suing themselves.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Return Of The Walker-Grinch


If one was to believe Scott Walker, he is a true Christian and a champion of Christmas. He goes on Twitter, copying and pasting Bible versus and he shows just the right amount of faux outrage about whether it's called a Christmas tree or a holiday tree.

But his behavior quickly belies that false front.

Six years ago, on Black Friday, Walker sent out a campaign fundraising email that took the world's breath away by basically telling people to take Christmas away from their children:
Friend,

Instead of venturing into the cold this Black Friday, stay in and give your children a gift that will keep on giving.

This year, we are celebrating the Holiday Season with a Black Friday special that is better than any deal found in stores. Donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Governor Walker get reelected and save your children from a future of double-digit tax increases and billion dollar budget deficits.

Instead of electronics or toys that will undoubtedly be outdated, broken, or lost by the next Holiday Season, help give your children the gift of a Wisconsin that we can all be proud of. ...
Now, Walker is at again.



He wrote a barely intelligible essay in which he politicizes Christmas by portraying Santa Claus as a socialist and then painting Christmas as a nightmare. Here is a sampling of his insanity:
Imagine if Santa were a socialist.

Everyone would get the same thing for Christmas. There would not be any creative or handmade gifts. Each would be a bland, standard-issue, non-offensive, gender-neutral gift designed by a bureaucrat in the North Pole.

In fact, Santa would no longer be male and most likely would be gender-neutral. All references to him or his in the stories about Santa would be removed so as not to offend anyone. No more white hair and beard as Santa would not want to be confused with a boomer.

Gifts would be given regardless of whether someone was naughty or nice. There would be no regard for Christmas Spirit or work ethic. It would not matter if you believe in Santa Claus or not, everyone would receive the same gift.

And about half of us would be paying for everyone else’s gifts. Forget about charity. Santa would have a comfy government job and many of us would pay much higher taxes to cover the costs of all of the gifts given out each year.

If Santa were a socialist, he would get around to delivering gifts about as fast as most socialist nations get around to providing essential government services — which means you’d probably get your presents some time next summer. Clearly, he and his helpers would not be working on a holiday — even at time-and-a-half — and certainly not if it wasn’t spelled out in their contract. So you can kiss Christmas Eve goodbye.

Santa’s helpers would be called vertically challenged and uniquely eared. All references to “elves” would be branded as insensitive. Those who used that language would be shunned.

Rudolph and the other reindeer would be banned over the next decade under the socialist Green New Deal. Like cows, they pass gas, and the democratic socialists’ plan would eliminate all of these animals who flatulate.
In all honesty, Walker probably didn't write this or at least not by himself because all the words are spelled correctly, which is beyond Walker's capabilities.

Walker ends his little diatribe by simply stating that Santa isn't a socialist so everything is just dandy. However, he doesn't say what he thinks Santa is. Knowing Walker, he wishes Santa was a capitalist, which is just silly.

In Walker's world of a capitalist Santa, only the worthy kids would get presents, meaning white children of wealthy parents who donate to him and other right wing causes. Children with brown or black skin aren't worthy. Neither are children from poor families. These little urchins don't deserve anything nice.

In Walker's world, Rudolph and the other reindeer would all be dead, shot by wealthy campaign donors, who had the heads mounted as trophies in their dens. The few presents that would be delivered each year would be done with fleets of gas-guzzling, smoke-belching trucks and vans.

In Walker's dream world, the elves would be alive but severely malnourished and sickly, because a decent profit margin can't be maintained by providing such luxuries. In other words, the elves would be the victims of the rebirth of slavery.

In Walker's world, you can forget about even seeing Santa. He doesn't have time for that claptrap. He's going to be off golfing at Mar-A-Lago with Trump and hiring lobbyists to give him bigger and bigger tax breaks even though he's never paid any taxes in his life.

But fortunately, Walker is full of shit. Santa doesn't charge for presents and he doesn't discriminate. Santa makes sure all children have the best Christmas they can, regardless of their skin tone or socioeconomic backgrounds.

The elves would be well taken care of of because Santa knows that productivity is highest when the workers are happy and healthy. Hell, he'd probably let them unionize. Likewise, the reindeer would also be well fed and well taken care of because he wants the reindeer to be happy. An unhappy reindeer won't fly.

But Santa isn't real in either scenario. If he were real, people would be able to see through Walker's bullshit and would never have elected him or anyone like him in the first place. Also, if Santa were real, Walker and his ilk wouldn't be getting presents or even a lump of coal. They all would be receiving jail sentences.

Friday, December 13, 2019

WISGOP Just Can't Get Enough Voter Suppression



Republicans really, really hate it when people vote. They know that the more people that vote, the worse things will go for them. But instead of coming up with policies that the people would support, the Republicans would rather just squash the voice of the people. One would be hard pressed to find where this is truer than Wisconsin.

There was the sordid gerrymandering which was done in secret which boxed in Democrats so badly that even when they receive the majority of voters, they still have a minority in the legislature.

The Republicans also passed a Voter ID law so oppressive that it's caused an estimated one percent reduction in voter turnout:
How much did Wisconsin’s voter identification requirement matter in 2016? We conducted a survey of registered nonvoters in the counties surrounding the cities of Milwaukee and Madison to estimate the number of registrants who experienced ID-related voting difficulties in the 201 presidential election. We estimate that 10 percent of nonvoters in these counties lack a qualifying voter ID or report that voter ID was at least a partial reason why they did not vote in 2016, and six percent of nonvoters lacked a voter ID or cited voter ID as their primary reason for not voting. Theoretically, we argue that voter ID requirements ‘‘directly’’ affect voters who lack qualifying IDs but also ‘‘indirectly’’ affect voters who are confused about their compliance with the law. We find evidence of such confusion, with many respondents mistakenly believing that they did not have th necessary ID to vote when they actually did. Our analysis permits us to calculate bounds on the possible turnout effect in 2016. Most of our credible estimates suggest that the voter ID requirement reduced turnout in these counties by up to one percentage point.
For their latest stunt, the right returned to one of their favorite things - voter caging.

The misnamed Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty - a Bradley Foundation front group - filed a law suit demanding that nearly a quarter million voters be purged from voter rolls because they may have moved because they didn't respond to a letter within a month to voter caging letters.

Oh, and in what I am sure is just pure coincidence (not really), these voter caging letters just so happened to not be sent out in an impartial manner, but to target Democratic areas and areas with the highest African American populations, like Milwaukee and Madison:
The letters went to about 7% of Wisconsin's registered voters, but were concentrated more heavily in some parts of the state than others.

Milwaukee and Madison — the state's Democratic strongholds — account for 14% of Wisconsin's registered voters but received 23% of the letters.

Across the state, 55% of the letters went to municipalities where Democrat Hillary Clinton out-polled Trump in 2016.
This decision will be almost certainly appealed immediately but don't hold your breath for a better outcome.  The right wing special interest's control five of the seven seats on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The real kicker is that these right wing snowflakes are the first to scream about changing the will of the people when something like holding a criminal Republican president* accountable for his criminal behaviors.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

RoJo, Already An Accomplice, Wants To Be Witness and Juror In Trump's Impeachment

Image courtesy of One Wisconsin Now


Ron Johnson (R-Trump's Back Pocket) is fully embedded now into Trump's Ukraine scandal. As the gentle reader recalls, RoJo started out with saying that he saw no problem with Trump asking other countries to investigate the Bidens, whether it be Ukraine or China. Just days later, RoJo admitted that Trump was withholding money allotted to Ukraine to extort them into investigating the Bidens.

All this was enough for ethics experts to call out RoJo's mishandling of the situation and said that he should recuse himself from any future impeachment hearings.

I have little doubt what the experts would say about the fact that RoJo was further involved in the Ukraine scandal than previously known:
Sen. Ron Johnson met in July with a former Ukrainian diplomat who has circulated unproven claims that Ukrainian officials assisted Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, a previously unreported contact that underscores the GOP senator’s involvement in the unfolding narrative that triggered the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

In an interview last week, Andrii Telizhenko said he met with Johnson (Wis.) for at least 30 minutes on Capitol Hill and with Senate staff for five additional hours. He said discussions focused in part on “the DNC issue” — a reference to his unsubstantiated claim that the Democratic National Committee worked with the Ukrainian government in 2016 to gather incriminating information about Paul Manafort, then the chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign. Telizhenko said he could not recall the date of the meeting, but a review of his Facebook page revealed a photo of him and Johnson posted on July 11.

“I was in Washington, and Senator Johnson found out I was in D.C., and staff called me and wanted to do a meeting with me. So I reached out back and said, ‘Sure, I’ll come down the Hill and talk to you,’ ” Telizhenko told The Washington Post on Wednesday.
But wait, there's more. There's always more.

RoJo, who had shown remarkable memory for when certain meetings happened, who was there and what was discussed, suddenly developed big gaps in his memory:
The group returned from Ukraine and debriefed Trump and key aides at the White House on May 23. Sondland testified this month that Trump urged them to talk to Giuliani about his concerns about corruption in Ukraine, guidance that opened the informal diplomatic channel used to facilitate the alleged quid pro quo.

Johnson denied Sondland’s version of events last week, saying he had “no recollection of the president mentioning Rudy Giuliani” at the May 23 meeting.

“Ambassador Sondland said that was when that all began. I have no recollection of that at all,” Johnson told The Post in a brief interview on Capitol Hill.
But what comes next would surely make the heads of those ethics experts implode at the sheer audacity of it - RoJo said that he was not going to recuse himself from any impeachment hearings:
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Tuesday that his close involvement in Ukraine issues would not cause him to recuse himself from a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

“I represent the people that elected me. Those individuals deserve a voice and my vote in the process. I would never even consider it,” Johnson said of recusal, speaking in a brief interview at the U.S. Capitol with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Johnson also said he would be happy to provide his first-hand knowledge of events and conversations involving Ukraine to U.S. House members conducting the impeachment probe, which centers on the question of whether Trump improperly pushed Ukraine officials to investigate Trump’s Democratic political rival, Joe Biden, and Democratic activities in the 2016 election.

“That would be up to the House” if it wants to hear from him, Johnson said. “I wouldn’t resist. I’m always happy to tell the truth.”
In other words, RoJo sees no problems with being an accomplice, a witness and a juror all in the same case. If Mitch "The Turtle" McConnell had one shred of decency left in his corrupt soul, he would have already taken action against RoJo. But we all know how likely that's going to ever happen.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

This Is What Solidarity Looks Like!

Image from Massachusetts Teachers Association
After years of unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a new contract, the teachers of Dedham, Massachusetts have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike. The amazing thing about this is the fact that Massachusetts has had a law for 100 years banning public workers from striking:
In Massachusetts, strikes are unlawful for public sector workers. That didn’t stop the Dedham Educators Association (DEA) from walking out this morning after an overwhelming 248- 2 (out of 280 members) strike vote last night.

The educators in this Boston suburb are crying foul about health insurance costs that eat into their salaries, and district demands for more time on the clock and in professional development without any increase in compensation. Teachers are also demanding contract language that allows for real enforcement of sexual harassment policies.
The last straw for the teachers was when Superintendent Michael Welch tried to pick a fight with DEA President Tim Dwyer. Apparently Welch never heard of the union motto that "Injury to one is injury to all."

And the teachers weren't alone when they hit the picket line. The community is supporting the teachers and students have joined them on the picket line. But that's not all:
Cross-union support has been strong. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Electrical Workers (IBEW), nurses, and Teamsters have all been on the line, at rallies, and sharing their support on social media. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren all released statement of support. And Massachusetts Representative Joe Kennedy, who is running for Senate against Markey, even showed up at a rally for a few minutes.
And it's already working. After a rally that drew 500 people - and an order by state labor officials that the school district start bargaining in good faith - the teachers and school district sat down at the bargaining table for the first time in months.

But before sitting down at the bargaining table, there was another strong showing of support and solidarity.

And the DEA isn't the only union enjoying a show of solidarity.

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) got a major boost from the Teamsters, who said that they won't deliver to the schools while the teachers are striking:
When Teamsters Local 705 official Juan Campos heard that the Chicago Teachers Union was going on strike, his first reaction was to text union stewards, reminding them that Teamsters honor strike lines of other labor groups.

He also encouraged them to display their red-and-white buttons that state: "Teamsters don’t cross picket lines.”

Campos, the secretary-treasurer of a local that represents about 17,000 workers including UPS drivers in Chicago, said that’s important to him because “today it’s them, tomorrow it’s us.”

“We stand behind the teachers union 100% and believe they should fight for every form of benefits and relief for the children they are seeking,” Campos said.

“Our drivers are not delivering any goods across any picket lines that are manned by the teachers,” Campos said. He noted they do have to abide by the law, which means if there’s no line, they must deliver.
It really warms this old union thug's heart to see such a strong showing of solidarity. We just might be able to pull this country out of its downward spiral after all.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Makes A Dog's Day in Wisconsin Or Wisconsin Hates My Dogs


October is National Adopt-A-Dog Month, aimed to promote adoption over buying a puppy mill dog. Along those same lines, Tuesday was National Make A Dog's Day, which is celebrated by:
Visit a shelter, find a loyal canine companion and make a dog’s day through adoption! If the timing isn’t quite right, all are welcome to stop by a shelter and volunteer. Just by taking a shelter dog for a walk or bringing them a new chew toy, you’ll make their day. New blankets or treats are always welcome, too. Check your local shelter’s website for a list of needs. Each shelter takes donations, and their requirements vary depending on the time of year.
And if you already have a dog, you can do things that are extra special for them - things like taking a long walk or car ride, getting them a special treat or toy or just spending extra time with them.

For us, we have Beau (the brown and white on the right) and Lou. Both are rescues from the Wisconsin Humane Society. Beau is an American English Coonhound Mix. He had been through two homes and numerous shelters in nine short months of life until he found his way to us. Lou is a Tennessee Walker Coonhound. He came in as a stray, thus we have no history on him. But judging from his initial behaviors and his fear of so many things, he obviously had a rough life before finding his way to us. As it is, it took him a long time to understand that this was his furever home and to trust us completely.

For our boys, we make sure that every day is National Makes A Dog's Day. We are always trying to make up all the bad they experienced before we rescued each other. Sadly, not all the coonhounds in Wisconsin are treating as well.

In Spring Green, Wisconsin, a couple of people have started a puppy mill, in which they will breed coonhounds with the sole purpose of selling them for research testing. This has caused an outrage on an international scale, with people around the world calling and emailing to express their anger and stating they will boycott the entire region as long as they are allowed them to operate this cruel business.

Fortunately, there are several dog advocacy groups and rescues taking actions as well, led by the wonderful group, Dane 4 Dogs. They have already successfully petitioned the government to have a referendum on whether this type of facility should be operating in their community.

I personally have been in contact with some state lawmakers about this as well. They were already working on a bill that would outlaw puppy mill dogs from being sold commercially and are now working on adding an amendment to include banning the selling the dogs for research.

If that wasn't bad enough, the State of Wisconsin also has a law on the books that sanctions the use of hounds in bear hunting. To train the hounds, the hunters allow the dogs to run freely through the countryside, to find the bait laid by the hunters. Unfortunately, bear country is also wolf country. The hounds often run into the wolves, leading to a fight in which the wolves and the hounds are both losers. In the past five years, scores of hounds, just like Beau and Lou, are literally thrown to the wolves.

James Rowen, one of the state's leading environmental bloggers, has been tracking this for the past five years. He continuously points out that the only ones who make out are the hunters, who get reimbursed $2,500 for every dog that is killed or maimed in these wolf-hound encounters. In the past five years, scores of these noble hounds have been killed. The hunters collect their checks and then just pick up more hounds, often from shelters down south, where they are both plentiful and very inexpensive.

These stories make me eternally grateful for Beau and Lou and that we saved them from this sort of fate. I am also eternally grateful for other hound lovers, like @Tegan_G, who shared the remarkable story of how she found an abandoned hound puppy on the side of a country road and rescued him. The puppy, who is cute as hell, became an instant internet celebrity known as Larry the Puppy.

I am also grateful for Tegan and Larry because they led us to Larry's baby brother, Bandit, whom my wife and I will be adopting in a few weeks, once he is old enough and has been cleared by the vet up there.  He is a Black and Tan Coonhound.



Sure, it will make our small house a little "cozier" and make our budget a little tighter, but our hearts have more than enough room for him already. And it sure beats what might have been in store for him otherwise.

Hopefully, as the Blue Wave continues to sweep the state and the nation, lawmakers will see the wisdom and compassion to fix these laws. After all, dogs are people


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Ethics Experts: Ron Johnson Has None



As reported last week, Ron Johnson, Wisconsin's Dumb (and corrupt) Senator, dismissed Trump's Ukraine scandal because RoJo said that Trump denied it and, gosh darn it, that was good enough for RoJo!

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel followed up on this by asking various ethics experts on how RoJo handled this whole sordid affair. The experts all said what we already know, RoJo really dropped the ball on the whole thing. Furthermore, because of the way RoJo handled this mess, he should recuse himself form voting, if the impeachment should reach the Senate for trial. Since the paper has it behind a paywall, here are some of the excerpts:
Four ethics experts say Johnson — a member of a branch of government that exists, in part, to provide a check on the president — should have also alerted other senators, explored holding an oversight hearing or even told federal investigators.

One expert says he didn't see anything improper about Johnson's actions but all five contend Johnson should not have taken Trump at his word when he assured Johnson the allegation was false.

"Yes, clearly this should have been reported to the FBI," University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor David Canon said. "What did he expect the president to say? 'Ah, you are right, sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.'"

[...]

And his role in the matter may mean he should refrain from voting if Trump's removal from office comes before the Senate, two experts said. Johnson plays a central part in what happened because he asked Trump in August whether the aid and investigation were linked.

“You don't have somebody be a witness in a trial and then serve on the jury,” said Hui Chen, an attorney who has worked on compliance issues for the U.S. Department of Justice, Microsoft and Pfizer.

[...]

"I think it was a deep mistake for Senator Johnson to take the president at his word and not instead pursue other channels, including alerting his colleagues for congressional oversight purposes," said Ryan Goodman, a professor at New York University School of Law who served as special counsel to the U.S. Department of Defense under President Barack Obama.

“I think his missteps here have implicated himself, because he's become a fact witness in the case,” Goodman said of Johnson. “And I think as such the appropriate thing for him to do may be to recuse himself from the Senate trial.”
I think the gentle reader gets the idea.

What hasn't been reported anywhere else is the fact that RoJo does have a history of covering up crimes committed by fellow Republicans.

In 2011, then Wisconsin State Representative Bill Kramer sexually assaulted a woman who was an aide to RoJo at the time. The woman went to RoJo and his Chief of Staff, Tony Blando, and told them of the assault. Neither man told the police or any Republican Party officials about the reported assault. The woman eventually came forward and told police of the assault.

Even then, RoJo tried to play stupid, if he was indeed playing, denied any knowledge of the incident. He also denied that the woman had told him about it. It was only after the woman reported to the police that she had indeed informed them about it that RoJo's memory started to come back to him.

It's high time and then some that RoJo is also put under investigation for his own ethics violations.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Ron Johnson Permanently Attaches His Lips To Trump's Arse



Just a couple of days ago, Ron Johnson (R-Trump's Arse) tried to minimize Trump's attempt to use his office for political gain and extort Ukraine into investigating the Bidens.

Not that Trump has given up all pretense of trying to even pretend being innocent, asking China to also investigate his political opponents while ON CAMERA., RoJo simply shrugged and embraced Trump's criminality in a full body hug and permanently affixes his lips to Trump's arse (emphasis mine):
"I don't think there's anything improper about it," Johnson said. "We have proper agreements with countries to investigate potential crimes. I don't know what may or may not have happened with China and the Bidens, but I think an awful lot of those investigations can actually occur here in America."

Despite Trump's rhetoric, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden or his son in either China or Ukraine.

[...]

In Middleton, Johnson said there are a number of unanswered questions regarding Hunter Biden's business dealings in China, and that the American public, Democratic primary voters and Trump have a right to know about it.

"If there’s some scandal sitting outside there, whether it’s in Ukraine, between Vice President Biden’s son or in China, I would think they’d want to know that before they start casting their ballots in the Democratic primary," Johnson said.
RoJo not only condoned Trump's illegal and unethical behavior but spelled it out for even the most idiotic of the Republicans.

Then again, given RoJo's own past, he has no problem with someone using the power of their office for political or personal gain.

But as the gentle reader is probably expecting by now, there's more. There's always more. RoJo wasn't done showing what a moron and liar he really is:

After playing dumb on a letter he cosigned in 2016 urging Ukraine's leaders to clean up the corruption in their government, RoJo actually said this:
"I don't engage in hypocrisy," Johnson said. "I'm looking at getting the truth, I'm trying to be supportive of eastern European countries."
The hypocrisy and self-contradiction just speaks for itself.