Saturday, March 31, 2012

"The Bill Should Pass"

After I posted about Tom Barrett's third run for governor, a friend sent me the following video that helps clarify the concern that the unions have with Barrett:

Barrett will need to address this, as well as the other concerns I mentioned in the other post, in short order to keep things from getting exceedingly messy for him.

PolitiFarce Gets Recalled

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of the largest corporate media blocs in the state, is, oh so proud of their PolitiFact, even though it misses more than it hits.

But I don't know what good it does anyone, since it is so skewed so often.

Take for instance, the issue of how many recall signatures were turned in.

The recallers claimed that it was more than one million signatures.  The GAB said that the actual number was 931,042.  That would mean that the recallers were off by a 7%.  For this, PolitiFarce gave them a "false" rating.

And that's it.  They didn't check out any other single claim that was flying around out there regarding the recalls.

For if they had, they might have found that the MacIver (Anything but a) News Service and the teahadists that were hosting the "Verify the Recall' McCarthyism revival were lying through their teeth when they claimed that a third of the signatures were invalid.  In reality, it was about one thirtieth.

If they had look further, they might have heard Charlie Sykes echoing these ridiculous claims.  They could have given him yet another "Pants on Fire" rating to go with his collection. (And it's not lost on me that Sykes has never been found to be telling the truth.)

If they looked even minimally, they would have found Sykes' pal, Jeff Wagner, who predicted the final number would be around 600,000 and sometimes predicted that the recall would fail outright.  Wagner was off by almost 50%, but he doesn't even warrant a mention.

They could have looked at Vicki McKenna and the Koch-sponsored Wisconsin Reporter who claimed that someone forged her name on a recall petition.  Yet according to their own Verify the Recall database, neither her professional name or her real name appear.  That would put them at 100% off.  But PolitiFarce won't even give them a smoldering ember much less a pants on fire.

The excuse that it was too hard to look around doesn't hold water either.  They could have just looked at their own bloody paper and found that they were off by five times the actual number of invalid signatures.  Maybe they could torch their own pants?

But since PolitiFarce chose not to look at the other side of the guessing game, I'll give them a rating:  Corporate Media:

Cross posted at Whallah!

Worst Fundraiser Email Ever

I just got this fundraiser email from Eric Hovde, the hedge fund trading carpetbagger that made his millions on the taxpayers' backs and then tells us the system is broken, sent me the following fundraiser email:

Yup, that's it, incomplete sentence and all.

Good thing the guy made his millions already, because he ain't gonna get squat with emails like that.

Walker's Rose-Colored Glasses Just Popped Their Lenses

A couple of weeks ago, Scott Walker was taking credit for the tides that lift all boats, in claiming that the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed that Wisconsin was on an upward trend for the first time since his budget took effect. Of course, in order to fully celebrate the joyous news, one would have to ignore that the state is still far behind the rest of the nation in growth.

But what they heck, that's why Walker's supporters wear their rose-colored glasses, right? It helps block the truth from their eyes.

But things aren't as rosy in Wisconsin as he would have us believe.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia provides many statistics to give a comprehensive view of how each state is doing.  One of them is the Coincident Index, which is, per their website:
The coincident indexes combine four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions in a single statistic. The four state-level variables in each coincident index are nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements deflated by the consumer price index (U.S. city average). The trend for each state’s index is set to the trend of its gross domestic product (GDP), so long-term growth in the state’s index matches long-term growth in its GDP.
You can see how Wisconsin is doing at their webpage, but thanks to a friend of  Cog Dis, I can present you this chart which highlights Walker's economic "success:":

I'm sure Walker will be coming out with a statement regarding this, which will probably be to the effect of "Hey, at least we're not Alaska!"

Then he can pick up the shards of those rose-colored lenses that just popped out of his glasses.  He just might be qualified to do that much, but he has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he is not qualified to be governor.

Barrett, Walker Show Their Hands

With the certification of the recall, and only a few days to gather the required number of signatures, Tom Barrett felt the need to announce his candidacy. But because he is also running for mayor and the election for that this Tuesday, he chose to do it as a Friday afternoon news dump. Here is the email he sent out:
Dear Friend:

Today, the Government Accountability Board certified a recall election against Scott Walker, and I wanted you to be among the first to know that, after serious deliberation and reflection, I will be a candidate for Governor.

This was not a decision I made lightly. I love this state and I care deeply about our future. That's why I ran for governor in 2010 -- even though I knew it was an uphill battle. We ran a strong and energetic campaign fueled by your support and the support of thousands across Wisconsin.

In the end, Russ Feingold and I both fell short in a Tea Party wave. But we can all take pride that we took the fight to Scott Walker, and the past 15 months have shown why that fight is so important.

Scott Walker came into the governor's office promising to create 250,000 jobs, and to bring us together. Instead, he divided our state like never before and presided over a Wisconsin economy that last year lost more jobs than any state in the country.

He 'dropped the bomb,' as he said, and ended 50 years of labor peace and worker protections -- something he never said he'd do during the 2010 campaign. I know, because I was there. As governor, I will fight to restore collective bargaining rights, because it's the right thing to do, and it's necessary to heal Wisconsin.

And Gov. Walker gutted education, cut women's health, and diverted millions of dollars intended for Wisconsin victims of Wall Street foreclosure fraud to patch a hole in his budget.

In response to this unanticipated assault on Wisconsin values, the people united and fought back. Hundreds of thousands made their voices heard at the Capitol. The protests turned into a movement last summer, and two GOP state senators who rubberstamped Walker's agenda were recalled.

And nearly 1 million people from all across Wisconsin signed their name to trigger a recall election of Gov. Walker, hold him accountable, and restore our Wisconsin values.

We need to bring our state back. Wisconsin needs a governor who is focused on jobs, not ideology; a leader committed to bringing our state together and healing political wounds, not pitting people against each other and catering to the special interests.

This is the governor I will be for the people of Wisconsin.

Starting tomorrow, I will crisscross the state, taking our message directly to the people in every corner and working everyday to restore our values and move Wisconsin forward. With you standing with me, I know we will prevail.

Thank you for all of your help and support.

Your Friend,

Tom Barrett
P.S: I will be filing my official declaration of candidacy shortly. Please click the links below or visit my current website,, to contribute, sign up to volunteer, and learn more about our campaign!
My first reaction is "Meh."

It's not like it was a big secret.

While I concede that he has a good shot of winning the primary with the strong name recognition and large war chest, I can't find myself thrilled with it. After all, Barrett is the one that said he is all for parts of Act 10 and making workers pay more for things they've already paid for in full. In fact, Barrett is the one that told the Republicans on how to pass the bill while his fellow Democrats were doing everything in their power to fight it. He also refused to meet with the unions at the beginning of the year. Barrett also actively fought against the overwhelming majority of the people by fighting the paid sick leave law.

Knowing now that he doesn't want to be the Mayor of Milwaukee makes me wonder why I should vote for him in that race either.

But even as I am less than thrilled with the news that Barrett is making his third run at governor, one thing that did pique my interest in him is the fact that Walker is terrified of Barrett. Team Walker is so scared of Barrett running that they shot their own email blast within a couple of hours:
Just a few moments ago, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced his intentions to run for governor in the upcoming recall election.

After months of sitting on the sidelines and taking pot-shots at Governor Walker’s bold reforms that have put Wisconsin on the track towards prosperity, Mayor Barrett has finally emerged from the shadows and thrown his hat into the ring.

We expect nothing but the same empty rhetoric that Mayor Barrett used during the last campaign cycle. However, much like his last two failed attempts at running for the state’s top executive spot, he cannot run from his record of failed leadership and bankrupting tax-and-spend policies.

Under Mayor Barrett, Milwaukee has seen a systematic and dramatic rise in its unemployment rate, which has skyrocketed more than 27 percent since he first took office. He has raised taxes more than $48 million dollars on the citizens of his horrendously economically depressed city, and not a single resident is better off due to his misguided and dangerous policy decisions. While in congress Mayor “Tom the Taxer” Barrett voted for one of the single largest tax increases in our nation’s history.

Because of Mayor Tom Barrett’s record of failed leadership Milwaukee is now the 9th poorest city in America. Is that really the man we would like to see behind the desk in the Governor’s office?

The simple answer is no. Governor Walker’s bold reforms have eliminated a $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes, dropped our unemployment rate to a three-year low of 6.9 percent, and just since the beginning of the year helped in the creation of 17,800 new private-sector jobs.

Wisconsin voters have twice rejected Mayor Tom Barrett's failed leadership because of the direction he has taken Milwaukee - This video explains it all.

To get involved and help Governor Walker move Wisconsin forward, please visit and find your nearest Victory Center.


Ciara Matthews
Communications Director
Friends of Scott Walker
All I can say to this is that I hope Walker got a basement bargain discount for taking Matthews on. She actually makes his former spokeswoman Jill Bader look competent.

For Walker to attack Barrett on the conditions of the city is foolish. Barrett can just turn around and point to what Walker did to the Milwaukee County and how he is trashing the state. He could point out that Walker's job record is losing tens of thousands of jobs in Milwaukee County and tens of thousands more lost as Governor.

Think about it, we actually have less people working than we did when Walker became governor. He's even worse than the people he is criticizing, who can't really be blamed because even those things are Walker's doing as well.

While Barrett is not my first choice to be the person to come in and clean up Walker's mess, the fact that Walker is so terrified of him has to be taken into consideration as a viable contender.

Republicans Start Circling Their Wagons

The Republicans are nervous. Very nervous.

With the corrupt Scott Walker, the inept Becky Kleefisch and four senators at risk of recall, they are starting to sweat. Even the pompous ass Scott Fitzgerald is showing signs of the tension, judging by the sudden dropping of responsibilities in Madison.

Perhaps the spot they are weakest is up north, in the district once represented by Pam "Annie Get Your Gun" Galloway, who left the Republicans high and dry with just weeks to choose a new candidate and trying to get that person in position to save face and avoid a complete rout.

They picked their sacrificial lamb in Jerry Petrowski. And they've already started pulling the big fundraising guns by having Scott Fitzgerald's Walkergate-tainted fund raiser, Judi Rhodes-Engels, set up the shindig:
"Judi Rhodes" 03/29/2012 05:41 PM

To "Judi Rhodes"

Subject:  April 10th Event

Please join us for a
Breakfast Reception for Senate Candidate:

Jerry Petrowski

With Special Guests:
Alberta Darling
Scott Fitzgerald
Glenn Grothman
Frank Lasee
Leah Vukmir
Rich Zipperer

Tuesday, April 10th
8:00-9:30 AM
Madison Club
5 East Wilson
Madison, WI

$1,000 to Host (includes attendance for 3)
$500 per person to attend

Please make checks payable to:
Friends of Jerry Petrowski
720 North 136th Ave
Marathon, WI 54448
Limited PAC currently accepted
For questions or to RSVP, please contact 608-257-8035 or

Authorized and paid for by Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, Scott Fitzgerald Treasurer

Rhodes Engels is, if the gentle reader remembers, Fitzgerald's personal fund raiser who has been tied in to Scott Walker's Harley Davidson campaign ride as well as sharing campaign donor spreadsheets with Kelly Rindfleisch, who is currently facing four felony charges for spending most of her time on her county job doing fund raising and other campaign activities, not just for Walker, but also for his lieutenant governor of choice, Brett Davis.

I guess Fitzie figures since he's already tainted with the stain of Walkergate, he might as jump in with both feet.

Another sign that the Republicans lack confidence is the fact that they once again feel the compulsion to run fake Democrats in the races.  They're doing so because it worked so well last time.

Well, to be honest, the Republicans running fake Democrats does serve one purpose.  It reminds us that they really don't care about election integrity or saving tax payers any money.

They're only interested in jobs - their own.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Walker's Latest Corruption

The Cap Times editorial board gets it:
How does that translate from Walkerspeak to English?

“Increased regulatory certainty” means that the PSC will lose the flexibility to examine and weigh issues with an eye toward doing what is best for consumers. In other words, the utility corporations will be more likely to win any dispute.

“Wisconsin businesses” refers to multinational corporations that are not headquartered in Wisconsin or committed to the state. They will get the big benefits, as opposed to locally owned firms, Main Street shops and farmers.

And the confirmation on this translation will come quickly. Watch Walker’s recall campaign financial statements. He will be collecting checks from corporate interests that he is taking care of by signing SB 428.

Translation: pay-to-play politics, at its worst.
It's a shame that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial board won't be as honest with their readers.

Ladies And Gentlemen, We Have Us A Recall!

In the world of politics, there is what is commonly referred to the "Friday news dump" in which a politician will release some bit of controversial and/or negative news, hoping that it gets lost in people's excitement about it being the weekend.

A prime example of a recent Friday news dump is when Scott Walker finally admitted to forming his legal cooperation fund.

As to what the news dump actually is, Vice President Joe Biden mentioned it when he was in town on Thursday:
Biden then praised Doyle, saying, "Oh, what a difference a governor makes! Elections have consequences, man, and nobody in the country knows that better than you here in Wisconsin and maybe our friends in Ohio.”

He then said, "I wish you luck on your recall efforts,” which reportedly drew "hearty applause."
And a recall it is!

The Government Accountability Board announced that they have over 900,000 valid signatures as needed to initiate a recall against Walker as well as more than ample to get one going against his independent-thought-less sidekick Becky Kleefich:
GAB staff said in a memo released Thursday that 900,938 valid signatures were collected on petitions seeking to recall Walker, and about 808,990 were gathered on those seeking to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The minimum needed to trigger a recall was 540,208 signatures for each of them.

If the board orders elections on Friday as expected, recall primary elections — if necessary — are expected to be held on May 8, followed by a June 5 general election. At least three Democrats are running for governor, and another three have said they are running for lieutenant governor, making primaries likely. Four Republican senators also face recall.

But I do have some bad news for you, gentle reader.

That was the easy part.

Now we must chose who will be our champion in the contest against Walker and his millions of dirty money supporting him.

And that choice won't be easy. That much is evidenced by the spirited debate going on among people all over the state, some of which does get rather heated.

I think part of the reason for the temporary division stems from the general disappointment that Russ Feingold, who would have had the state handed to him on a platter, refuses to run. That disappointment has left a lot of people with searching about for another champion which won't be decided until the primary in May.

The choices now include these announced and potential candidates:

Kathleen Falk:  I'll come out with saying that I like Falk.  She is saying all the right things and supporting all the right causes, including, but not limited to, collective bargaining, education, women's rights, voters' rights and the environment. She is not afraid to make bold statements and say things directly and plainly, which I admire and think will be needed in the upcoming race against Walker.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that hold a level of animosity towards her, but have not been able to provide, from what I've seen, a clear reason why they feel this way.  What does have me concerned is this "Wisconsin for Falk" group.  While I agree with their message, they way they are delivering it makes me uncomfortable.  What we don't need is a liberal version of Americans for Prosperity or a liberal MacIver Institute.  We've seen how they've turned off everyone but the deepest Kool-Aid drinkers.  We don't need to do the same thing and drive the middle into a feeling of apathy.

Kathleen Vinehout:  Vinehout has a very faithful, if not very large, base of supporters.  However, I cannot throw my support behind her.  She has already started to present a shifting picture on where she stands on some subjects, most notably collective bargaining and women's rights.  Because she is unwilling to take a clear stand, much less one on the right side, on these important issues, I cannot, in good faith, take a stand supporting her.

Doug LaFollette:  LaFollette, I'm afraid, is running on his iconic last name and the hero worship he received when he struggled with Act 10.  That's not enough to win the race.  There are other things which I'm not willing to divulge due to their nature, which makes me concerned about him being the potential candidate.

Peter Barca:  Barca, like Falk, has said many of the right things and supported the right causes.  But the fact that he hasn't decided in all these months leading up to this moment causes me no small concern.  It makes him appear wishy-washy and/or unwilling to run, which would spell disaster.

Tom Barrett:  Barrett has a lot going for him.  He enjoys a high level of popularity and name recognition from his unsuccessful run last year against Walker.  He also probably has the largest campaign war chest.  He has also said many of the right things and supported the right things.  But there is one notable exception to that.  Barrett is not a big supporter of the unions or of collective bargaining.  He also has other issues to contend with such as timing.  He is currently running to be the mayor of Milwaukee and it's a real turn off to know that he is already looking to hop in the gubernatorial race.

Chris 'capper' Liebenthal - Oh wait, never mind. I just put this in to see if you're still paying attention (and to make some Republican heads explode.).

What we each need to do, every one of us, is to look into our own hearts and minds and decide if what we want is to nominate the person who is most likely to beat Walker or are would we rather nominate someone who can both win AND will start correcting all the wrongs that Walker has caused.

I, for one, did not work so hard or for so long just to change the name of the governor.  I want to fix the wrongs that he has caused as well.

And even though we may be temporarily at odds as we each seek out the person whom we think is the best candidate, there is one thing that I do know with utmost certainty.

That one thing is that regardless of whoever the nominee ends up being, we will again come together with the cohesiveness that is brought on by hundreds of thousands of people working for a single cause - to Reclaim Wisconsin.  And all of the millions of dollars of dirty money Walker raises and all the airtime he buys with that lucre (not to mention all the free airtime squawk radio gives him) won't be enough to stand up to the ground game we have.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Governor To Be Indicted?!

Sadly, no not Scott Walker. Not yet anyway.

But Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina is apparently up to her neck in hot water.

The Palmetto Public Record is reporting that Haley is being investigated by the IRS and the FBI which might lead to federal indictments.

The PPR reports that Haley's father got a $775,000 loan to build a temple, but has been bilking the contractors who built it.  Of further interest is that speculation is that a lot of this money went to the family's million dollar home or if some of it went into Haley's campaign war chest.

What I'm sure is purely coincidental, the banker that arranged the loan got appointed by Haley to the state's education board.

Then they describe this Walkeresque scenario:
According to information obtained by Palmetto Public Record, federal investigators are looking into allegations that in return for donating to a temple that may never be built, Dr. Randhawa gives donors receipts for amounts larger than their tax-deductible donation. The feds are also looking into whether Gov. Haley used her political influence to convince wealthy potential donors to give money to the temple, which is where her role in the investigation comes into play.
And the temple itself might be in a world of hurt.  They apparently violated the law when they were actively supporting and politicking for Haley, using the temple's resources.

So while it's not Walker facing the handcuffs yet, this bit of news can only lead to his anxiety.

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part XCVI

One would think that with the passing of CCW and the mad rush we are seeing as people panic and have to get a gun, that any business in the trade, even partially, such a supply company, would be booming (excuse the pun). But not in Fitzwalkerstan!
TOWN OF ONALASKA — ATK Ammunition announced plans Wednesday to close its sporting goods plant on Brice Prairie, eliminating 130 local jobs. The announcement came less than a year after the company added workers, bringing back a product line that had been made overseas.

The plant, which has operated since the 1960s, makes such things as gun cleaning products, scope mounts, targets and replacement gun stocks.
When a gun supply company can't make it during the middle of a gun rush, you know Walker is screwing things up by the numbers.

Picketing At A Prison

As I wrote of the other day, there was an informational picket and rally outside of Waupun Correctional Institute on Tuesday.

Here is a not-entirely safe for work video taken by one of the union members. You'll note that several times there are shots of the amazing Lori Compas, who is running against Scott Fitzgerald, Senator Jessica King and former Attorney General Peggy Lautenschlager:

Future rallies coming up include:

On April 9, from 12:30 - 3 pm, at the Jackson Correctional Institution

On April 30, from 12:30 - 3 pm, at the Taycheedah Correctional Institution

I gladly say that I proudly support the men and women who are Wisconsin's Finest, the crime-fighting correction officers.

Is Walker Afraid Of The Voting Woman?

I found the following email in my inbox this evening. It's a laundry list of bills that Walker will be signing into law on Monday:
From: "Davis, Andrew - GOV"
Date: March 28, 2012 1:44:58 PM CDT
To: "Davis, Andrew - GOV"
Subject: April 2 - Gov To Sign Legislation

Good afternoon,

On Monday, April 2nd the Governor will be signing the legislation listed below into law in the Governor’s Conference Room here at the Capitol.


LOCATION: 115 East, State Capitol
Governor’s Conference Room

TIME: Monday, April 2nd
3:30PM – 5:00PM

Please RSVP to this email by COB tomorrow, Friday March 30th if you are able to participate in the bill signing. Please include the names of the individuals and their organizations, who wish to participate in the bill signing(s) and the specific pieces of legislation they would like to participate for.

**Because we are signing multiple pieces of legislation, we will need to keep attendees to a few individuals per organization and/or stakeholder and will absolutely need RSVP’s by Friday to ensure we provide enough pens to sign the legislation to all who are attending.

Assembly Bill 55 Vehicle failure to yield violations
Assembly Bill 56 Retail theft, proof of ownership for flea market sales, and providing penalties
Assembly Bill 59 Semiannual meetings of small winery cooperative wholesalers
Assembly Bill 144 Creating a commission on financial aid consolidation JLC
Assembly Bill 176 Minimum harvesting requirements for commercial fishing in the Great Lakes
Assembly Bill 228 Exemptions from securities registration requirements
Assembly Bill 290 The manufacture of wine and fermented malt beverages
Assembly Bill 377 Taking fish with a crossbow
Senate Bill 502 Case Planning for child place in out of home care (PIP)
Senate Bill 475 Audits and Reports of State Banks
Senate Bill 409 Various Changes to the Workers Compensation Law
Senate Bill 341 Open Doors on authorized emergency vehicles
Senate Bill 476 Changing the date of fire prevention week
Senate Bill 314 Collection of money owed for failure to pay for gasoline or diesel fuel and
obtaining information with person identifiers from DOT
Senate Bill 370 Regulating certain substitutes for ozone depleting refrigerants
Senate Bill 402 Discharge of water pollution for research
Senate Bill 487 Third Party Liability
Senate Bill 489 Barbering and Cosmetology
Senate Bill 297 Eliminates ambulatory surgical center assessment
Senate Bill 474 Asset Verification
Senate Bill 522 Use of tuberculocidal in barbering establishment
Senate Bill 274 Regulating sales of plastic bulk merchandise containers to scrap plastic
dealers and providing penalties
Senate Bill 517 Licensing of food processing plants
Senate Bill 518 Gasoline Vapor Recovery Requirements
Senate Bill 185 Regulating text messages as telephone solicitations for purposes of the no call list
Senate Bill 219 Various changes to the Unemployment Insurance Law
Senate Bill 388 Duties of Ski Area Operators
Senate Bill 395 Homemade wine and beer
Senate Bill 407 Zinc Air Button Cell Batteries
Senate Bill 426 Intentional W-2 Violations
Senate Bill 539 Information related to condominiums that must be furnished with real estate
condition reports
Senate Bill 308 Deposit placement programs of public depositories
Senate Bill 356 The authority of credit unions to make donations and grants
Senate Bill 416 Adopting amendments to the Uniform Commercial Code Article 9, relating
to secured transactions, recommended by the National Conference of
Commissioners on Uniform State Laws
Senate Bill 537 Aquaculture
Senate Bill 354 ATV and UTV Registration

Andrew Davis | Office of Governor Scott Walker
Director of External Communications
(o) 608-267.3839 | (e)
Most of it seems fairly innocuous, but titles of bills are often misleading when it comes from Republicans.

But there are some bills that stand out due to their absence. I'm referring to Wisconsin's versions of the War on Women bills.

Maybe he's not so dumb after all. He knows that signing the bills would only stir up the anger in many Wisconsinites, both women and men, and cost his side dearly in the upcoming elections.

Then the question is: If Walker knows that they are so widely unpopular and could cost them elections, why would he sign them in the first place? Maybe he's not so smart after all.

Walker's Education Plan Is Already Working!

The entire state knows that Scott Walker and his Republican hoodlums who control (for the time being) the state legislature did to the education system in the state.  They slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from the budget.  Walker tried to tell us that his "tools" from Act 10 would give the school districts the ability to deal with the shortfalls from his malevolent budget.

Those on the right who, for some unknown and ungodly reason refuse to face up to reality and admit his plan is an epic failure.

But the truth cannot be hidden, and to make it more graphic (pun intended) here is what Walker hath wrought, per the Wisconsin Department of Public Education:

Essential Learning and Support Program Losses:

Teacher Losses 2011-12:

K-12 Class Size Increases:

Change In Student Teacher Ratio 2010-11 to 2011-12

And most significantly, Budget Outlook 2012-13

Now, unless you're one of Walker's Kool-Aid drinkers, it's pretty obvious what he is up to.  It's the same gambit he kept trying to pull when he was Milwaukee County Executive.  Walker is trying to starve the school system until it breaks, then use that as an excuse to privatize the entire state's educational system.

By continuously cutting into their budgets, school systems will be forced to cut more and more programs and lay off more and more high quality teachers.  Then the kids will start failing to meet the requirements.  He will claim that the public school system is unable to do the job and make the false claim that privatizing the schools through the voucher program will save money and give better results.

Both of those claims will be false though.

The voucher schools are already crying that they need more money than what they are currently drawing away from the public schools.  If they are finally able to force public schools out of the way, it will become a feeding frenzy as they keep demanding more and more taxpayer money.

And as for quality, we are already seeing that that is most definitely not the case:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Tuesday released a comparison of private school choice students and public school students on the WKCE. The test was given to grades three through eight and 10 last fall. 
For Racine Unified, 60 of the 62 private school choice students in those grades were tested, DPI stated. They averaged 50.8 percent proficient or advanced on the WKCE math tests, while Unified students averaged 61.5 percent. 
Those private school choice students also scored well below the state average math proficiency of 78.0 and the statewide average for economically disadvantaged students, 64.7 percent, DPI said. 
In reading, the private school choice students from Unified averaged 55.7 percent proficient or advanced, compared with the district average of 69.2 percent. 
The statewide average was 81.9 percent proficiency in reading and 70.5 percent for economically disadvantaged students.
The article goes on to show the disreputable Robin Vos claiming these lower scores as somehow being proof that we need to privatize schools, even though it might take "five to ten years" to show any sort of improvement in the private schools.  Methinks that Vos is apparently a result of privatized education since he can't figure out that failing is not a good thing, especially when one was having great success.

And I can tell you with full confidence that if Walker somehow manages to survive the recall and to elude John Doe long enough to devise another budget, it will only get worse.

That's why we have to continue reclaiming Wisconsin.  Make sure you help with a GOTV movement and get ready to vote the bums out on Tuesday.

H/T to two savvy readers

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


This ad is by the group "Wisconsin for Falk":

B-b-b-b-but I thought she was only about the unions! Oops, another lie from the right. I just wish more on the left would see it for what it is and see Falk for who she is.

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part XCV

Remember how those political operatives political activists bullies crybabies people at MacIver Institute and Americans for Prosperity, both subsidiaries of the Koch Brothers Enterprises, told us that Scott Walker's budget left schools the same or even better?
I know this might come as a surprise to the gentle reader, but they lied:

More than 50 teachers within the Menomonee Falls School District will receive a preliminary layoff notification in the first part of April.

The Menomonee Falls School Board voted unanimously Monday night to send out 52 layoff notifications to staff. The board originally anticipated sending between 60 to 70 notices. A preliminary notification does not mean an employee will be laid off.

As middle school and high school students begin to select their classes and enrollment numbers become more exact, the number of layoff notifications was lowered and set at 52
And in Shorewood, things aren't any better:
Shorewood administrators presented recommendations on the district's 2012-13 budget at a School Board meeting Tuesday. The proposed budget of more than $22,000 calls for a number of reductions and additions that add up to a surplus of $167,416 that could be designated into the fund balance for future years.

Without touching the budget, district officials project a deficit of $429,947 - a figure reflecting a combination of factors, including increasing enrollment and declining income from the state.

Administrators have proposed a series of reductions and efficiencies totaling $933,735 that offset the deficit. The list includes savings incurred from health and dental insurance through a competitive bidding process and a few staffing reductions, some enrollment driven.
The only people that could say that Walker's plan is working are the people that want to push the privatization of and profiteering from our educational system. People like Scott Jensen, not that he necessarily has anything to do with either of those propagandist groups.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quote Of The Day

From the Washington Post:
Eric O'Keefe is one of the biggest GOP donors in the country and is one of the main organizers in the effort to defeat the recall of Gov. Scott Walker in Madison, Wis. He says the average voter doesn’t care if faraway millionaires spend fortunes in Wisconsin. “That’s inside baseball,” he says. “There’s no moral issue involved. This is a nationally significant fight.”
They really don't understand us angry badgers, do they?

Walker's Long History Of Pay For Play

Ever since the Koch Brothers bought the governor's office, we have seen Scott Walker paring off hunks of Wisconsin and giving them to his campaign donors in return.

We've seen everything from his trying to give the north woods to Gogebic Taconite to giving cushy jobs to lobbyist's sons to rewarding the generous road builders to giving big tax breaks to his corporate cronies.  And he paid for his generosity on the backs of the workers and the poor.

But these horrific and unethical pay for play schemes are nothing new to Walker.

In what is being reported as something John Doe is looking at in the ongoing Walkergate saga, there was pay for play with his campaign staff and/or county staff (who can really tell the difference anymore?) and the commercial real estate brokers (who again blur in with the county/campaign blend).  This edition involved giving  county taxpayer money to seal a deal, thereby making a nice profit for his people, in order to rent a high-priced office building while county-owned building sat underused or even vacant.

There is also Walker's questionable relationship with Air Tran, who decided to sponsor his campaign Harley Davidson ride around the state at about the same time Walker just gave them a big expansion at Mitchell International Airport to serve as their base.

And thanks to a savvy and observant commenter who pointed out this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article by Dan Bice and Cary Spivac which showed Walker was double talking and double dealing during his first campaign run for governor:
When Scott Walker was a Republican gubernatorial candidate, his position on accepting donations during the state budget season was clear: Don't do it.

"That way, you remove any appearance that fund raising during the budget time has anything to do with the budget process," Walker said in January, two months before he dropped out of the governor's race.

Good advice - too bad Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker didn't get the message.

If he had, Walker would not have sent out a letter begging folks to send his campaign a few bucks right now - while the county budget was being debated.

Not only did the solicitation go out a week after he introduced the $1.26 billion budget, but Walker's plea uses the budget fight as the sales pitch for contributions.

"We have bold and creative ideas to balance the county budget," Walker wrote to some 8,000 supporters this month. "On the other hand, they (County Board members) continue to resurrect the same tired and old tax and spend ideas."

Then Walker - who is up for re-election this spring - passed the collection plate.

"To combat the attacks we will get from the liberal county board members and the special interest groups, I need your help," he wrote. "We have a powerful message of hope for the future, but we cannot depend on the media to get it out.

"That's why I hope you'll take a moment and renew your support of my campaign through a generous gift of $500, $250, $100, $50 or $25 today."

John Hiller, Walker's campaign chairman, defended the letter, arguing there was no contradiction between Walker's words and actions.

"He, in spirit, complied with what he was proposing," Hiller said.

Oh! John Hiller! We've heard that name recently. He was Walker's campaign treasurer for 18 years before Walker suddenly decided he wasn't up for the job. The fact that they started looking at the shady Reuss Building deal mentioned above had nothing to do with it, I'm sure.
But there's more (emphasis mine):
Curious as to what Walker thinks, we called him at the courthouse. His flack Rod McWilliams wasn't very helpful.

First McWilliams was aghast that we even asked him - a county worker - for a statement about a campaign matter.

We explained to McWilliams that we didn't want his opinion. Rather we wanted to talk to Walker - you know, the guy who mixed county business with politics in the first place. So, we again asked McWilliams to ask Walker to call us.

McWilliams refused to take the message.

"That's not how we do things," he lectured, explaining there is a wall between campaign and county business.

Hmm, that's one tall wall. Sounds like McWilliams has been listening to the Walker who ran for governor, not the one who is using the county budget fight to raise campaign cash.
And even before any of these examples, there are my good friends at the misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government. Before they started with filing false and falsified charges against me or attempting to recall popular politicians, they were the front group that led the charge in recalling Walker's predecessor and getting Walker elected. In exchange for their favor, Walker tried to give them some office space in the Milwaukee County Courthouse (which is illegal. Furthermore, Walker worked at getting the county to buy into Six Sigma, which CRG's ring leader, Chris Kleismet, was involved with.

As you can see, Walker has a long history of corrupt and unethical behavior.  So the reprehensible stunts he's pulling now or when he was running for governor doesn't surprise me on bit.

What does surprise me is that after more than ten years of it, he hasn't gotten any better at concealing it.  Then again, I shouldn't be surprised at that.  I also know that Walker's always been a slow learner.

Walkergate: Something Old, Something New

Sunday night, Fox6Now of Milwaukee had some "breaking news" that Fran McLaughlin, who used to be Scott Walker's Communications Director when he was Milwaukee County Executive, had her name appear in documents involved with the illegal politicking trial of Kelly Rindfleisch.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel followed that with a story of their own on their website iterating the same thing.

Of course, for the readers of Cog Dis, this is old news.  On Friday, I wrote about it first:
The next interesting tidbit comes on the bottom of page 13, where the last arrow is pointing:
rellyk (Rindfleisch): and then I got Fran highlighting all the mistakes in the press releases that the campaign does
Fran would be Fran McLaughlin, who was Walker's spokeswoman as county executive. Yet another name to add to the corruption list. What is also interesting, at least for Milwaukeeans, is that McLaughlin currently is the Public Information Officer for Sheriff David Clarke, a pompous ass that has aligned himself with the teahadists and other conservative nut jobs and is more interested in politicking than actually performing the duties of his office. One has to wonder if McLaughlin got waived through the normal screening process and background check before Clarke gave her this political appointment.

The really curious thing about the article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article is that there is not one single mention of McLaughlin or her involvement. Why was her name omitted?
Fox6Now then followed up with an interview with Walker today, in which he trotted out the same old line about not knowing anything and claiming to put a stop to it when he found out. He did so because, you know, he's an Eagle Scout and all, and would never let his people use government property for campaigning.

But we know better than that, don't we?

For once, I would love to see a reporter actually drill Walker about this instead of just nodding their heads and taking what he says as gospel truth. How many times do they have to be lied to before they start doing their jobs and investigate a story?

To his credit, Steve Schultze of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel introduced a new name that had previously flown under my radar (emphasis mine):
Fran McLaughlin, Walker's county spokeswoman, and Jon Myhre, a deputy spokesman, were among a group of seven former county employees whose personnel records were subpoenaed by prosecutors in connection with the investigation, according to court records.
A quick Google search gives us Myhre's LinkedIn profile which shows that after he left the county executive's office the first time, he was involved with various positions in the health care field, including communications, business development and sourcing advisor.

One would think that such a position might have brought Myhre into contact with Kelly Rindfleisch and/or Andrea Boom who both worked for the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans.

Oddly, Myhre's profile is incomplete in that it does not include the two months that he served as "county policy advisor" in the spring of 2010, about the time that Walker promoted Rindfleisch to be his Deputy Chief of Staff (and somehow forgetting to mention this to his Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli).

I don't know if it is because the district attorney's office didn't ask for them or because the reporters didn't look for them, but I do note that there's at least a couple names missing from that list that really should be included.  Ah well, I'm sure the DA's office will get to them soon enough.  They just need to remember that not all the bad guys were always in Walker's executive office per se.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Loyalty - What's It Good For? Part 2

Last week, a faithful reader and friend of Cog Dis, Reader Jane Doe, did a thought-provoking piece regarding Walkergate.

She is back with a follow up piece, which I reproduce here, unedited except for the diagram:
It appears that the Milwaukee County prosecutor has a treasure trove of secret e-mails that lays out its case very well, so it may have no need to make deals with the main players involved. But if there is room for deal-making, Walker’s aides and associates (and here I’m assuming there will be more than the three already discussed) will likely be advised to explore various legal stratagems. One can look to the prisoner’s dilemma for some guidance as to what they might do.

The prisoner’s dilemma goes something like this: Two conspirators are arrested and then separated. Each one is offered the following deal: 1) If you turn state’s evidence and the other guy doesn’t, he gets 10 years and you walk away free; 2) If you incriminate the other guy and he does the same, you each get 7 years; 3) If you don’t incriminate the other guy but he incriminates you, you get 10 years in prison; 4) if neither of you talk, you will both be held for questioning for 6 months.
(Eric Felton, Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue) Felton explains that it is strictly rational for each of the prisoners to talk and betray the other in order to reduce his sentence time, even though it is in both of the prisoners’ interest to keep their mouths shut (and then only get 6 months).

Of course, the prisoner’s dilemma as described doesn’t quite fit, since Walker couldn’t fink on Rindfleish in hopes of getting a better deal. Here the imbalance of the relationship is now on its head – no one would care what Walker has to offer about his underlings; if he has engaged in wrongdoing, he is the trophy. Given that there will be more players entering the drama, I wish someone would derive a new variant of the prisoner’s dilemma in this political context.

I’m just beginning to explore the dynamics and structure of organized crime, wondering if that would yield any insights into today’s power structures. It occurs to me that, under an organized crime structure, Walker has to be a pretty low level guy.

A common structure is:

Who would you put in each slot? I would assume that Walker is playing the role of a good lieutenant, overseeing the soldiers at the legislature. [In this light, can you imagine how peeved the bosses must be at Walker for apparently running such a smarmy, two-bit operation before he signed on to the big time?]

I know this is a bit much. But there’s a certain plausibility to it when you think of how often the players behave as obedient employees, rather than independent, politically astute individuals (think Lieutenant Prosser and The Good Soldier Gableman: recall that the chokehold episode was because Prosser was apoplectic that the collective bargaining decision wasn’t going to be released the day Fitzgerald demanded.)

There is fluidity in the structure that allows different deep pockets to enter the scene and set the apparatus into gear (think Gogebic); that fluidity is common in modern organized crime structures such as drug gangs where different interests come together to employ an existing apparatus for shared profit opportunity.

I’m not delusional enough to think that the John Doe investigation is going into anything more than Walker’s crimes, but thought of in this way, the dynamic may be less driven by Walker than one first thought. I’ve been thinking it’s frat-boy hero worship that explains the legislature’s slavishness, but maybe it’s not; maybe it’s just good soldiering.

Here’s the truth of any of it: while the left was thrilled by the rants of Keith Olbermann on cable and the premier of Air America radio, the right was methodically setting in place a well-oiled, hierarchical machine. And the machinery has been staggeringly effective. Just think of how much more effective it would be if any member of the hierarchy had an ounce of subtlety, humility or common sense?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Walker Admits To Wasting Taxpayer Money With Family Care Caps

Image courtesy of
One Wisconsin Now
In his weekly radio address, Scott Walker not only continued with his shameless lies regarding Family Care, but admitted to using people with disabilities as political props and wasting taxpayer money:
Last summer, I told the Journal Sentinel editorial board that we would have a plan to lift the caps on Family Care by the end of the year. In December, we introduced our plan to insure that the program is stable for years to come.

This week, I followed through on my plan and signed the new bill into law, which lifts the caps so that seniors needing long-term care - as well as people with developmental and physical disabilities - can now participate in Family Care. I signed it at an agency called Independence First.

It was appropriate to sign the bill at this location because Independence First connects individuals with the resources to live independently at home by utilizing Family Care and other programs. This type of patient-focused care saves taxpayers money as it keeps people out of higher cost facilities. This is truly a win-win.

I want to thank Rep Dean Kaufert and Sen Terry Moulton for their leadership in helping us on this new legislation that is good for the State of Wisconsin. We were happy to put together the plan to both lift the cap and open the process to expansion into every part of the state. And we are thankful to lawmakers for approving it.
We already know that he planned for the caps to be in place for at least two years since that is the way he wrote it into his budget.

We also know that the lifting of the caps was not his idea at all since it was the federal government that told him the caps were illegal and could cost the state nearly two billion dollars if they did not lift the caps. (It's not the first time Walker's "cost saving" stunts ended up blowing up on him and the taxpayers.)

But the kicker is when he admits that "this type of patient-focused care saves taxpayers money as it keeps people out of higher cost facilities."

This is something that the left and advocates for the disabled has been screaming about ever since he introduced his budget. Even more, Walker knew it fully well, since he kept bragging about it when he was campaigning for governor.

I keep wondering how long the media and Walker's apologists are going to keep putting up with this before they realize they can no longer defend the indefensible.

The Scott Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part XCIV

Jim Rosenberg points out that Wisconsin has lost 17.3% in airline seat capacity, which leads the country for the greatest loss in air service cutbacks in the nation over the last 12 months.

Of course, when you have Scott Walker and WISGOP killing jobs and lowering the quality of life, it makes sense that no one would want to come here or have a reason to.

Another example of Walker's prowess of taking something good and screwing it up royally.

Help Support Our Correction Officers

At the end of last year, I told you of the plight of the state correction officers.

Just as he did in Milwaukee County, Scott Walker has driven many of the experienced correction officers out with his draconian and maleficent cuts.  He then willfully left this gap unfilled and the same things that happened in Milwaukee County are now happening statewide.

To make matters worse, the repeal of Act 28, which allowed early release under supervision, has taken away one of the few effective tools in keeping control of the inmates.

The results are predictable.  Because they feel they have nothing left to lose, inmate fights and assaults on officers are spiking.  Injuries are increasing because there's simply not enough officers to safely do that already dangerous job.  Another thing which was to be expected is more escapes, which endanger public safety and use up precious local resources as the local police and sheriff departments capture the escapees.

Not only is it dangerous, but the state is now racking up overtime costs like crazy.  I've heard that Joint Finance Committee just looked authorizing millions of dollars to cover these escalating costs.

And to literally add insult to injury, Walker's hand-chosen regent, Secretary of Corrections Gary Hamblin, has turned DOC into his own little fiefdom, not giving a damn about anything but his own inflated ego and power tripping.

This petty tyrant has done just about everything he could to further dampen all morale and is such a base man that he has ordered things like letters of gratitude from local Boys and Girls Clubs, thanking the Locals for their support, be taken down and removed from the building.

The union, still keeping to the high road, sent a letter to Hamblin asking to speak to him about these concerns, especially officer safety.  Hamblin ignored them.

They again reached out to Hamblin, asking to speak to him about their concerns regarding having to sign acknowledgement of receiving his draconian handbook with only being able to add "under duress" by their signatures.  He again refused to reply, but apparently that restriction has since been lifted and officers are able to express their concerns fully and have them in their personnel file.  This is important in case of any future injuries or wrongful firings.

In response to Hamblin turning a deaf ear to them, the union issued a press release regarding their unacceptable and unsafe working conditions (proof positive why unions are still necessary!), which reads in part:
“By trying to make state workers into public enemies, Scott Walker flushed a lot good officers and experience out of the system,” said Dan Meehan, a 30-year veteran of the department who works at Waupun Correctional Institution. 
“Walker’s administration hasn’t come close to filling the void they’ve created. As a result, it’s become a lot harder and a lot more dangerous to deal with the people who really are public enemies. This not only puts officers at risk, it threatens the safety of our communities,” said Meehan, who serves as president of Wisconsin State Employees Union Local 18. 
In addition to causing an exodus of experienced staff without any serious effort to replace the talent that’s been lost, the administration has put a torch to work rules and local agreements once covered by negotiated contracts. This means established procedures are replaced by arbitrary and inconsistent pronouncements from above, often from bureaucrats far removed from the day-to-day realities inside the institutions. 
“They’ve replaced labor-management collaboration and cooperation with top down ideology. If given the choice between using a handshake or a hammer, they are going to use the hammer. It’s a bad way to treat people and it’s killing morale. Our jobs are hard enough without being treated like dirt by everybody. We expect it from the inmates, but it shouldn’t also be raining down from above,” Meehan said.
Unsurprisingly, the corporate media in the state have not covered this important story, especially as Walker's recall looms.

So the unions again are taking matters in their own hands and are holding a series of informational pickets and rallies around the state:

The rallies will be as follows:

On March 27, from 12:30 - 4:30 pm, at the Waupun Correctional Institution

On April 9, from 12:30 - 3 pm, at the Jackson Correctional Institution

On April 30, from 12:30 - 3 pm, at the Taycheedah Correctional Institution

While the entire state has suffered under Walker's tyrannical regime, regardless whether we are public or private sector workers or unemployed, regardless whether we belong to a union or not.  We have all suffered to some degree.

But our corrections officers have not only felt the same economic pains we all have, but they're putting their safety and yes, their lives, on the lines for all of us.  And now it is even more dangerous for them.

For all they've done to keep us safe, it's the least we can do to stand with them when they need us.

The World Is Indeed Watching Us, Wisconsin

I just received this comment not too long ago.  The country is depending on us to straighten out the mess we got ourselves into to give them inspiration for their own fights:

I first have to also laud the work of the author and commentators, bravo, peoples! Although a resident of WA state, I've watched with horror what has gone on in wisconsin these last few years. My biggest fear is having Rs take over the Gov mansion (very possible in Nov) and/or house&senate (less likely). Your brave response to Walker's and fellow R's shameless overreach and brazen criminality has inspired progressives across the nation and provided a template for action, and you should all be as proud of yourselves as I am of you. Keep up the fight. You will prevail. Thank you!  
WJC III, Olympia
Let us make sure we don't disappoint everyone.  We will be disagreeing a lot in the next month on who the best person is to oust Scott Walker from office and to repair the damage that he has done, but we will come together again when the nominee is chosen and we will fight like we've never fought before.

It almost makes me feel sorry for the corporate overlords who want to own us and control us.


Guns And Bigotry - A Deadly Mix

By now, almost everyone has heard the story of Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon was a 17 year old boy who was shot by a nut job named George Zimmerman.  Zimmerman was playing vigilante and shot and killed Trayvon, who was unarmed, in what Zimmerman claimed to be self-defense, taking refuge in the short-sighted "stand your ground" law in Florida.

Sadly, something like this tragedy was completely predictable and preventable.

Zimmerman shouldn't have been allowed to carry a gun, given his long history of violent and unstable behavior.  

The police made things worse by not even arresting Zimmerman, much less charging him with a crime.  All this did was give the bigots further encouragement to take out their irrational fear and hatred of people unlike them. At least, with the police, the city is holding the police chief accountable for his improper actions.

What sickens me as much as this senseless murder is the way some of the right are trying to excuse this horrendous act or even justify it.  

Some of the stupidity that has come out of them included Geraldo Rivera blaming the murder on the fact that Trayvon was wearing a hoodie.  If a hoodie was a sign of a criminal, we would end up locking up, or killing, almost every single man, woman and child.

Even more vulgar than Rivera is the reprobates at Little Green Footballs who are using blatant racism to try to excuse the murder by arguing about Trayvon's skin color, as if the pigmentation in a person's skin is somehow correlated to criminal behavior.

And such horror have been visited upon us in Wisconsin too, with the needless killing of Bo Morrison.

How many more times do we have to experience these senseless, pointless tragedies and the disgusting aftermath of bigots, gun nuts and fools trying to rationalize and normalize something that is not rational and should never become normal?

If you want a more personal perspective, please read this moving piece by Steven Reynolds at Blogging Blue.


Something that Gannett Media, Journal Broadcasting and the other "media" sources need to figure out real quick.

Instead of trying to demonize the people standing up for Wisconsin, they need to understand why they are opposed to Scott Walker's failed ideology and help fix the problems it has created.

Imagine: An Educational System That Actually Works

Finland has one of the best educational systems in the world. They treat teachers as prestigious members of society, and require high standards from them to have that status. They have no private schools and teach children to think instead of regurgitate answers to some arbitrary mandatory test.

Scott Walker is doing the exact opposite. How do you think that will turn out?

Sadly, I don't see any American candidates willing to promote this, of either party. And then people wonder why we're losing ground daily.

Godless Terrorists

This past Wednesday, Shaima Alawadi, a 32 year old mother of five, was brutally attacked in her own home:

She passed away due to her injuries on Saturday.

This kind of thing should not and can not be tolerated. I hope they catch the vulgar beasts that did this and bring justice to them.

It, sadly won't bring the children's mother back or stop other idiots from having their own irrational fear and hatred of people different from them, but this hideous crime can not go unanswered.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Help Save Clintonville!

As you've probably heard by now, Clintonville, Wisconsin has been experiencing a series of loud booming and shaking during the last week.

Officials have stated that the cause is microquakes, small earthquakes registering with a 1.5 magnitude.

Don't believe them.

The sad truth is that Clintonville is only about 25 miles from my castle.  Sadly, due to the way that Scott Walker's malevolent state budget and attack on the working people, which has caused tens of thousands of people, like my wife, to lose their jobs, we simply haven't been able to make it up to the castle like we should.

In fact, we haven't been home for over three long months now.

And just as it breaks my heart not to go home, it is also hurting the land.  Any student of Arthurian Legend knows that "the land and the king are one".

So to help heal my broken heart and to stop Clintonville from being swallowed up by the land in its fits of agony, won't you please donate so that I can return to the land?  The link is on the right hand side of the site or you can click here.

I thank you and the land thanks you.

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part XCIII

I've repeatedly said that as Scott Walker took money away from the people to centralize it with his already filthy rich corporate backers, businesses would suffer as people simply cut back on luxuries like eating out or going to movies.

But the cuts have been so deep that people are also cutting out of all but the basics. For example, people still need to buy food, but they only buy the staples and not the more expensive things that they could do out, but are the biggest profit makers for stores. Then the stores start feeling the pinch and the downward cycle continues:
Mike Buck understands that the Mega Foods supermarket on the south side of Chippewa Falls has many loyal customers and workers.

“That is precisely why we’ve worked so hard to keep it open,” said Buck, CEO of the store’s parent company, Consumers Cooperative Association of Eau Claire.
But, he added: “There’s only so much you can do.”

Financial losses for the grocery store at 303 Prairie View Road took their toll. On Thursday, the association announced it was pulling out of Chippewa Falls, closing its store as of 6 p.m. Sunday.

Buck said the store’s 65 workers will be offered jobs at Mega’s two stores in Eau Claire, which remain in business. Those workers being offered jobs in Eau Claire include George Wolding, a grocery bagger who celebrated his 98th birthday March 19 and was featured in the Herald last Sunday.
Fortunately, people won't be losing their jobs in this scenarios, unless they don't have a way to get to a whole other town to work. It's 13 miles from Chippewa Falls to Eau Claire, which could be a long way to go for someone without a car or with iffy driving skills.

But the move still will hurt the people in the community. The citizens of Chippewa Falls now have to drive over 25 miles, round trip, just to get their groceries. With gas climbing over $4 a gallon, things start adding up quickly.

No wonder the state's economy is still wobbly.

Is Scott Walker A Conservative Without A Conscience?

John Dean, who served as counsel to President Richard Nixon and was a key figure in the Watergate scandal, is taking a look at Scott Walker. In the first part of a two-part article series, he takes a look at what he calls "Double Highs", people who scored extremely high in both social dominant traits and for having submissive followers. Here is an excerpt explaining what he means by these terms:
This testing reveals, in varying degrees, that social dominators (authoritarian leaders) have the following recurring traits: They’re typically men; they are dominating; they oppose equality; they are desirous of personal power; they are amoral, intimidating and bullying, faintly hedonistic, vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, and dishonest; they will cheat to win; they are highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, and/or homophobic), mean-spirited, militant, and nationalistic; they tell others what they want to hear, take advantage of “suckers,” and specialize in creating false images to sell themselves.

They may or may not be religious, but usually they are both political and economic conservatives and/or Republicans.

In turn, recurring traits that, in varying degrees, are found in authoritarian followers—a group that includes both men and women—are as follows: They are submissive to authority but aggressive on that authority’s behalf. They are conventional and highly religious, with moderate to little education. They trust untrustworthy authorities, exhibit prejudice (particularly against homosexuals, women and followers of religions other than their own), and are mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant, bullying, zealous, dogmatic, and uncritical toward chosen authority. Moreover, they are hypocritical, inconsistent and contradictory, prone to panic easily, highly self-righteous, and moralistic. They are strict disciplinarians, and are severely punitive; they demand loyalty and return it; they exhibit little self-awareness, and they, too, are usually political and economic conservatives and/or Republicans.

There is, however, another—and exceptional—type of authoritarian. When testing social dominators, scientists noticed an incomparable situation: They occasionally found persons who garnered high scores for their cold, calculating dominance, yet also gained high scores on the tests for submissive followers. How, it was asked, could the same person test high on both scales, since these traits are seemingly inconsistent? Social scientists labeled these people “Double Highs” because of their high scores on both testing scales.
I think we already know the answer to whether Walker is a "Double High." That excerpt describes Fitzwalkerstan to a tee.

Buresh Campaign Caught In An Egregious Lie

A few weeks ago, I pointed out how Bill Buresh, the candidate challenging Marina Dimitrijevic for her seat representing the 4th District on the Milwaukee County Board, was using some dirty politics in his effort to unseat her:
But Buresh's campaign may have started to implode on Tuesday.

A person named Jason Auerbach issued a press release alleging some serious ethical, and possibly criminal, misdeeds that Dimitrijevic had done regarding campaign financing and a PAC. But as I was reading through it, I started to wonder about its veracity. in the release, Auerbach included this accusation:
Citizens for Marina Dimitrijevic, did knowingly accept $989.46 in campaign contributions from a registered lobbyist and agent representing "Milwaukee County Behavioral Healthcare Consortium Inc, and affiliates". While in the process of creating, and seeking the passage of a wellness plan called "Step UP" or as 2012 Milwaukee County Budget item 1C006. This budget item 1C006 was later vetoed for adding $434,663.00 to the tax levy. Marina Dimitrijevic then filed false and misleading information about these contributions on her January 31, 2012 filed campaign finance report. The companies belonging to Karl Rajani and Milwaukee County Behavioral Healthcare Consortium Inc and affiliates would have directly benefited from this wellness program.
That doesn't make any sense. The consortium mentioned wouldn't benefit from the wellness program, had it passed. Nor does Auerbach provide any proof that it would have outside of his accusation.
At the time, Buresh tried to distance himself from the accusations.

Also at the time, I questioned why Aaron Rodriguez hadn't advised him that it's not smart to lie to a blogger. That question still remains in place.

Buresh sent out this mailer today to the people in the fourth district:

As you can see, it shows a cartoon of someone, presumably Dimitrijevic, that is buried in a pile of papers, each representing a supposed issue. Prominently displayed in the center of the pile is one that reads "campaign finance violation?" It seems that Buresh is embracing the allegations after all.

That presents yet another problem for Buresh. The allegation is a lie.

I have recently received an email from Karl Rajani, the individual who Auerbach, and now Buresh, are accusing of making illegal campaign donations to Dimitrijevic in some sort of pay-for-play scheme. The email, which was sent to the same people Auerbach emailed, is duplicated here with Mr. Rajani's expressed permission:
Dear Mr. Auerbach: 

I have received from one of my County Supervisor friends a copy of your e-mail (reproduced below) pertaining to the above subject. Point #4 of your e-mail states as follows:

4. That Citizens for Marina Dimitrijevic, specifically Marina Dimitrijevic did knowingly accept $989.46 in campaign contributions from a registered lobbyist and agent representing "Milwaukee County Behavioral Healthcare Consortium Inc, and affiliates". While in the process of creating, and seeking the passage of a wellness plan called "Step UP" or as 2012 Milwaukee County Budget item 1C006.

Mr. Auerbach, although your e-mail does not mention “Karl Rajani”, your Press Release of March 6, 2012 makes clear that you are in fact referring to me as the “registered lobbyist and agent”. Please be advised that the allegations contained in the foregoing point #4 are categorically false. Here are the facts:
1. I have made a single contribution, in the amount of $494.73, to “Citizens for Marina Dimitrijevic”. The contribution was made on September 28, 2011.
2. My significant other, Patricia M. Faulhaber, RN, MSN, with whom I maintain a joint checking account, has also made her own contribution – in her own name and under her own signature - to “Citizens for Marina Dimitrijevic” in the amount of $494.73, on the same date.
3. I have never lobbied Supervisor Dimitrijevic with respect to the “Step UP” program. In fact, I don’t even know what this program is; and, frankly, I don’t have the time to look it up.
4. Whereas I have attended fundraisers for Supervisor Dimitrijevic, I have never discussed any business with her. Except for attending these fundraisers, I have never met with her or discussed any business with her in her office or anywhere else. In fact, I have never met her anywhere except at various fundraisers; and except one on occasion when I testified in an open, public forum before a County Board Committee that she was a member of.
5. Ms. Faulhaber and I made the foregoing contributions as private citizens exercising our right to participate in the political process; and because we strongly believe in the candidacy of Supervisor Dimitrijevic. We believe she is an exceptional public servant.
I am including D.A. Chisholm and Assistant D.A. Altenburg in this e-mail, since you have filed a complaint in this matter with the District Attorney’s office. Ms. Faulhaber and I are prepared to provide the DA’s office whatever documents and information they make require from us.

Mr. Auerbach, I hope this addresses your concerns with respect to point #4. Please do not reply to this e-mail, as I have other, more important matters to attend to. I am sure that if there is merit to the allegations that you made against me, the DA’s office will take up your case, as they should.

Very truly yours,

Karl Rajani
This email was sent out two days ago, and not only have neither Buresh or Auerback apologized for their false accusations, they have doubled down on the hopes that the voters will not catch on to their dishonesty until it's too late.

Marina Dimitrijevic vs.
Bill "Empty Chair" Buresh
Perhaps that is why Buresh refuses to go to debates against Dimitrijevic. He's afraid that is own misconduct will catch up to him and he'll have to answer to the voters for it.

I would fully expect that Buresh openly apologize to Supervisor Dimitrijevic for his slander and libel.

Likewise, I would expect the same from Aaron Rodriguez and El Conquistador, Rodriguez' employer, who have repeated the false accusations. Perhaps they should consider their own liability in printing his libelous allegations.