Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wisconsin Reporter Is On The Case!

By Jeff Simpson

Ace Reporter Ryan Ekvall, took time off from harassing grade school art teachers, to blow a huge story wide open!  

His(Luther Olsen's) office leaked a draft version of a bill calling for an academic standards board to the Department of Public Instruction nearly a week before the final version was introduced in the Senate, Wisconsin Reporter has learned through an open records request. 
Then, in showing how far the republican party has sunk in Wisconsin, a simple staffer is one record as threatening elected Senator Olsen:

 “It was very clear that before the hearing on SB 619 there was a tremendous amount of work between Olsen and DPI,” Mikalsen said. “They were updating the DPI (on) what was going on behind the scenes to give them a heads up to mobilize against us. Everybody and his brother eventually realized the moment you told Luther’s office anything, it was going to straight to DPI.

This could be the biggest possible story ever written in Wisconsin's long history!

An elected Senator collaborated with the elected head of the Department of Public Instruction and his staff on an important issue to public education.  

Now thats a bombshell!

The next thing we need to deal with is who will play Ekvall in the movie?  

Tanya! Tanya! Tanya!

By Jeff Simpson

Has done it again.

Mary Burke's "Top Political Advisor" Tanya Bjork, recently gave an interview to one of my favorite people Heather Rayne and her new blog "Purple Rayne".

In this interview, Tanya Bjork runs down her resume, which at first glance seems impressive.

Let me shed some light on Tanya’s impressive and extensive work history:

·         Senior Advisor to Protect Your Care – a national organization working to promote t Affordable Care Act

·         Senior Advisor to President Obama’s Re-election campaign

·         Director of Federal Affairs for Wisconsin under Governor Jim Doyle

·         General Election State Director for the Barrack Obama campaign in Wisconsin (winning WI               with 56% and flipping more counties from red to blue than another other state in the country)

·         Regional Director of EMILY’s List

·         AFL-CIO Regional Political Director for Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois

·         Field Director for U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone’s re-election campaign

·         Political Director for U.S. Senator Russ Feingold’s re-election campaign

·         Worked in the Wisconsin and Minnesota state legislatures facilitating and developing the passage of legislation on criminal justice, labor relations, consumer affairs,
campaign finance reform and education

·         Developed training curriculum and trained throughout the country and world for groups such            as AFL-CIO, EMILY’s List, Wellstone Action, EMERGE, Progressive Majority, Illinois Women’s             Institute for Leadership and Planned Parenthood

·         Training for National Democratic Institute in Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain

·         Winner of the 2013 Eleanor Roosevelt Statewide Impact Award

However, in typical Bjork fashion, she seems to have left some things out of her resume.   Let me help fill in the blanks.   FYI.   While I did not "ask" her persay, I did do what you need to do to get THE TRUTH in politics - Follow the Money!

Let's look at some discrepancies from her past:


At some unknown point in 2010, "Know Your Care" and "Protect Your Care" are filed with the IRS.
2010 - January 2010 - According to her own Linked-In page, Bjork starts working as a "Senior Advisor" for Protect Your Care" 
Jan 27 -- Bjork attends a Families USA conference where she says she is listed as being from the "New Partners" firm.


Aug 1 -- "Know Your Care" is awarded a government grant of over one million dollars to help navigate the health care exchanges.  Bjork is listed as the contact -- at the same phone number 202-261-2380 as New Partners / "Protect Your Care" / "Know Your Care"

October -- Bjork is named as senior adviser to Mary Burke's campaign.

I know this is all very complicated, and "how sausage is made" in inside politics but consider the following points:

  • According to her own Linked-In page, which she filled out, while she was the State of Wisconsin's Director of Federal Affairs, she also served as a "Senior Advisor" to Obama's soft money campaign front group, "Protect Your Care."  The overlap of serving a campaign entity and an official government entity is more than a year.
  • In early 2011, Bjork officially becomes a member of the Democratic consulting firm "New Partners." In April of 2011, it is announced that Bjork will be the "campaign manager" of Protect Your Care. Curiously, "New Partners" has the same physical address, phone number and same staff as Protect Your Care and Know Your Care.  Everybody pushes the limits, but I've never seen anything this bold.
  • In 2013, "Know Your Care" is awarded a government grant of over one million dollars to educate people on how to navigate the exchanges.  Bjork is listed as the "fiscal"contact on the grant.
It is amazing to me, especially considering her past,  that she would set up a tax-deductible charity (gov subsidized) that is literally getting one million dollar government grants, when there is literally no separation between the charity and the political group-- same people in the same place doing the same thing.  

One of the main points of Obamacare, is that it mandates what has to be spent by companies on actual health care and limits what they can spend on money gouging by the executives.  It is unfortunate and against everything we stand for if we engage in those same practices we fought so hard to end.    

I would also like to point out that there is no lobbying reform, in the Mary Burke platform.  It seems that we needed to hammer public employees to balance the budget in 2010, but lobbying reform has no effect on it?   

This also helps debunk the stupid myth that teachers have been running roughshod over the taxpayers.   If the teachers had to much power why would their average salary be $51,000?  We see here, what happens when your allowed to pay yourself and run roughshod over the American taxpayer.  

Obamacare was designed so Americans could afford healthcare, and as we know it was very rough rollout.   Tanya Bjork was enlisted to help the navigate the exchanges, and the rollout was seriously bumbled.  Through it all though, the one person who was very successful during the Obamacare launch was Tanya Bjork!    Who in their right mind would take a job that was so important, not only to the Democratic Party and our President, but also the American people. 

I  however, do not have an explanation, as to why Tanya Bjork, the top political adviser for the Democratic candidate, who has made hundreds of thousands of dollars off the back of taxpayers, would counsel her candidate to say this:

Are there any parts of ACT 10 that you agree with?
Yes, I do believe [state employees] paying a fair share of health care and pension costs is something we needed in order to be able to balance the budget.
Nor do I have an explanation as to why Ms. Bjork is still part of this incredibly important campaign. 
Is this really the person we want guiding the ship, in defeating a well funded extreme right wing incumbent?

My answer is a resounding NO!!!  


Walkergate: Abele's Dereliction Of Duty

Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele has a long history of saying one thing and doing another.

Abele has said he's willing to work with anyone but then tries to bust the unions. Abele has said he wants to work with the County Board, but then attacks them and usurps control of the county.  Abele has said he supports LGBT rights but then holds a fundraiser for the homophobic Deanna Alexander.  Abele claims he is a Democrat but gives campaign donations to the most rabid of Teapublicans.  Abele claims to be all about transparency but has an issue with filling open records requests.

The list of Abele's hypocrisy goes on for along time.

Another doozy from Abele is that he supports Mary Burke for governor even though he is giving aid and comfort to Scott Walker.

For more than six months, I have been pointing out that Chris Abele needs to own up to his responsibilities and demand that the Walkergate emails and documents be returned to their rightful owner, Milwaukee County. Enforcing the perception that Abele believes himself to be above the law, he has refused to do his job. Abele would rather let the corporate media giant, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, do his job, but all they appear to be doing is helping string this along.  Things have gotten so bad that the County Board had to pass a resolution calling on his to do his job and ask for these items to be released back to the county.

Now Abele has come out with a statement saying he won't do his job without a court order!
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele says he cannot release records sought by the Journal Sentinel that were seized by prosecutors in a secret John Doe investigation unless a judge orders it.

Abele made the point in a legal brief written on his behalf and released Tuesday.

Abele can't release them because he doesn't have them, the brief says.
Well, duh! The reason people are calling on his to get the documents is because he doesn't have them!

Abele then relies on Bruce Landgraf, the prosecuting attorney in the Walkergate cases, for help in why he shouldn't do his job, but ends up proving my point that it needs to be Abele and not the paper calling for the release of county property (emphasis mine):
"The records the newspaper seeks are secret John Doe records...rather than official records that then-County Executive Walker failed to deliver to his successor upon leaving office," Landgraf wrote.

Even if the records are government business records, they remain subject to a secrecy order, Landgraf says.

He also says the Journal Sentinel lacks standing to intervene in the John Doe to make its record release request.

Abele could make such a request if Walker failed to turn over county records when he left office, Landgraf's legal brief says.
Well, isn't that interesting? Again, one has to wonder why Abele is refusing to adamantly to do his job.

Oh, but there's more. There's always more.

Abele can't even rely on the brief by Landgraf, because, yes, there is a paper trail of the lack of a paper trail left by Walker and company when they beat it out of the courthouse:
The dozens of Walker's file cabinets were virtually emptied of their contents by the end of last month, and 16 bankers' boxes of records retrieved this week from storage by aides to Holloway appear well short of the total paper-load once held in the courthouse's third-floor executive suite.

A tour this week of the sparsely staffed offices revealed banks of empty file drawers, save a set of various bureaucratic forms, county budget books and one stack of papers on various issues left in the office of Fran McLaughlin, who was Walker's county spokeswoman.

The empty drawers, coupled with the absence of any message or memo telling the whereabouts of Walker's office documents - and at least two bins of shredded paper left by Walker staffers - were perplexing, Mester said.

"There was nothing left," Mester said. "There was no communication from the previous administration as far as where anything was."

That makes responding to public record requests or questions about ongoing issues more difficult, he said. The 16 boxes of records were tracked down through the county information management department and returned to the county executive's office.
Hmmm. So Abele is the only one with standing to request the documents and has a reason to ask for them as that Walker and his gang failed to leave computers and documents they would need for filling open records requests.

So what does Abele do? Doubles down on the stupid excuses:
But Abele would turn over records from the John Doe probe that started in 2010 and ended in February of 2013 only if the judge decides they are public records, Abele's brief says.

Abele made clear he doesn't want to receive any personal or political emails or other records that were obtained in the Doe probe.
That excuse doesn't cut it either. We know from the emails and documents already released from the Kelly Rindfleisch trials that they were practicing illegal politics and using personal emails to conduct county business, making them fair game.

But the real kicker comes with Abele's last demands regarding the release of the emails (again, emphasis mine):
Abele suggests that if the judge decides to release records sought by the newspaper, Nettesheim should screen them to exclude ones that aren't otherwise public.

Or Nettesheim could turn them over to Walker "so that he could review them and provide to County Executive Abele the public records that he should have provided...when he left office," Abele's brief says.
Yes, you read that accurately.

Abele seriously suggested that the Walkergate judge turn over the emails to Walker so that he could go through them.

Gee, how many shredders do you think that Walker would have standing by if he were to get his hands on those documents? And how many of those shredders do you suppose would catch on fire from the high volume of use?

This farce has gone on long enough.  It is time and beyond time that Abele does his job and calls for the return of the Walkergate emails and documents and to honor any and all open records requests once he does get them.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The 2016 Republican Field Just Cleared Up!

By Jeff Simpson

Despite Scott Walker blind presidential ambitions, this weekend confirmed that he has a zero percent chance of ever becoming president.   There is much talk in the political insider power circles that Jeb Bush will run for president.  

While that might trigger Americas collective gag reflex, the powers that be believe in a "the devil you know is better than the devil you dont" philosphy.   They know exactly what Jeb Bush will bring to the presidency, minimal competence, no shake ups while handing the keys of our Government over to Wall St and his donors will be rewarded immensely!  

That means the uneducated far right winger from Wisconsin is beling told, thanks but no thanks! 

Want further proof?   This week on CBS, Bob Schieffer let it be known that if by chance Jeb Bush passes on the party nomination, they have someone ready in the wings to pinch hit. 

This guy:

The power elite from the republican party have no interest whatsoever in having any of the crazy republican right wing governors becoming our next President.  

Sorry Scotty, we vetted you and decided that after a thorough look, we like this guy better:


Stamper Goes Negative And Crosses The Line

Yesterday, I wrote an endorsement for Eyon Biddle in the race for the 15th Aldermanic seat in Milwaukee.

That feeling has only grown more solid in the past 24 hours.

Unbeknownst to me at the time I wrote the endorsement, voters in the district were receiving this offensive and ridiculously false mailer from the Russell Stamper campaign:

This piece of offal is reminiscent of the miserable stunt pulled at the end of last month by Cedric Cornwall in the final days of his campaign.

On the mailer, Stamper claims to be honest and have integrity, but this was proven to be a false statement in the lines above.

As I noted in my endorsement, Biddle has produced and gotten passed many resolutions, one of the greatest of which was a real jobs program that has already benefited hundreds of people in his district.  Compare that to Stamper's suggestion - not a resolution but rather a campaign gimmick - to give good paying jobs and give them to inmates at the House of Correction who would be working for pennies to the dollar.

Not only is Stamper a liar, but he is also a cheap shot artist, as he demonstrated with the homeownership line.  Now, I'm not going to pretend to know whether Biddle rents or owns his home, but I will ask, "What difference does that make?"  Not only is it a cheap shot at Biddle, but Stamper slaps at every person in that district who rents their homes, which I would imagine is the majority of the district.

What is not included on Stamper's mailer is the fact that he is only seeking the aldermanic seat because his salary as a county supervisor is about to be cut in half.  That is very different from Biddle who original pursued the seat while he was a supervisor because he felt he could be more effective as a city alderman and much more effective than the former alderman, Willie Hines.

In summary, it is very clear that not only is Biddle the only one that has the qualifications and the motivation to be the new alderman for the 15th district, he's also the only one with the integrity and morals to serve the constituency.

Workers Memorial Day

There are several days and ways to remember and honor the brave men and women who have fought, and sometimes died, to defend our country.

It is only right that we take a few minutes out today to remember the men and women who have worked, and sometimes died, to build our country.

Please take a few minutes today to remember those who have died on the job, and promise to do something to make your work place safer.

If you're in the Milwaukee area, there will be an event on Monday evening at Zeidler Park.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tanya Bjork Must Resign!

H/T Political Capitol:

Carpetbagger lobbyist Scott Tyre (and his partner Tanya Bjork(she of the Mary Burke campaign) of Capitol Navigators, Inc.) have not been meeting the filing requirements to do business in Wisconsin.

After receiving a notice that the corporation would involuntary cease to exist for failing to comply with state government filing requirements, Capitol Navigators has managed to stay in business. However, the entity still hasn’t filed an annual report with the state for the past three and a half years. All corporations doing business in this state must file an annual registration.

Obviously, the agencies in the Walker administration have been lax with enforcing rules and regulations.
 Tanya Bjork has become Toxic for the Mary Burke campaign, and now that we know she was a player in the original caucus scandal and now refuses to follow the law in her own lobbying business, she has set precedence that rules do not matter to her.  Tanya Bjork apparently sees herself above the law in the same vein as her peer Kelly Rindfleisch. 

Do we not have higher standards for our state than Scott Walker?  Just know that when you donate money to Mary Burke, it ends up in these hands!   I recommend reading Steve Carlson @blogging blue for more Democratic Voter suppression tactics.

For the good of Wisconsin, the Democratic Party and Mary Burke, Tanya Bjork must resign ASAP!!


Update:  We at Cogdis were able to get a statement from Capitol Navigators:

Endorsement: Eyon Biddle For Milwaukee 15th Aldermanic District

On Tuesday, there will be a special election in Milwaukee's 15th Aldermanic District.  The candidates that are vying for this seat are Eyon Biddle, a former county supervisor, and Russell Stamper, a current county supervisor.

Both men are young and intelligent.  Both have also run a very clean and mutually respectful campaign and should be proud of their efforts, regardless of Tuesday's results.

Milwaukee's 15th Aldermanic District is one of the most put upon districts in the city.  It has one of the highest poverty rates in the city, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the state and country.  Tied into that is that this area also has a very high crime rate.

It is definitely a community in crisis.

The area needs a leader that is driven to find solutions and get results.  It needs someone who can help the residents get jobs.  Not only jobs, but good paying jobs that will help lift them out of the poverty and give them a chance of making it.

And that is the area that clearly divides the two candidates.

While a county supervisor, Biddle helped develop a "Ready to Work" program that teamed up with the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership & BIG STEP to help get people trained for and connected with public and private sector, family-supporting jobs.

By all accounts, it has been a huge success.

In contrast, Stamper's big suggestion was to take inmates from the House of Correction and have them filling potholes.  The are three big problems with this suggestion:

  • It doesn't create the jobs needed for his constituents,
  • The inmates get paid less than minimum wage, making it nearly slave labor
  • The costs for extra security, etc., would outweigh any money saved.
It should be noted that Mayor Barrett did develop a similar plan that would call for the temporary employment of people with a criminal record in order to allow them to develop a work record to help them in the future.

But as I said, this area is in crisis and needs answers from their leaders now, not in a year or two. 

This is one of the many reasons why I support Eyon Biddle in this race.  He has shown that he knows what works and how to get it done.  He would be able to hit the floor running and start getting things done in the first day.  He knows first hand the pain that the people in his district are in and he is driven to giving them the chance to improve their situation.

To learn more about Eyon and support his campaign, please visit his website.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Walkergate: County Board Pushes For Release Of Doe Documents

More than six months ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel filed a lawsuit in which they petitioned for all of the Walkergate emails and documents to be released.

At the time, I pointed out how foolish this was and called for Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele to do his job by demanding the emails and documents since they were county property:
Secondly, there ought to be no reason to rely on the corporate media to get the documents released.  These documents are property of Milwaukee County and as such, it would be the onus of Milwaukee County Emperor to demand the release of the documents.  The fact that he hasn't done so in all of these months should raise eyebrows.  Was it because he was simply too busy hanging with his plutocratic pals at the Greater Milwaukee Committee to do his job or maybe was he helping provide cover to Walker as a political favor to get Act 14 - the power grab bill - passed?
Even the paper's editorial board had to agree with me that Abele should be doing this.
However, during all this time, Abele didn't lift a finger to do his job. As noted above, it could be that he was doing this as a political favor to Walker.

But there is also proof that Walker and Abele's gang of plutocrats, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, have been partners in the systematic destruction of Milwaukee County for years.  It makes one wonder if there were emails between Abele and/or other members of GMC and Walker's campaign/county staff.

Whether Abele is helping Walker or his fellow plutocrats with the cover up of the Walkergate documents might become a moot point now.  Once again, the Milwaukee County Board has to be the grown ups in the room and force the issue themselves, thanks to Supervisor John Weishan's diligence on spearheading this:
The Milwaukee County Board wants County Executive Chris Abele to dig up and make public county records related to a John Doe investigation that reviewed communications between Gov. Scott Walker's staff and campaign aides in his last year as county executive.

The board voted 11-7 this week to call on Abele to gather email and other records that may relate to county business from the closed investigation. The now-closed probe resulted in criminal convictions against six Walker aides and associates.

The measure approved by supervisors also calls on District Attorney John Chisholm to release the records.
Unfortunately, the Board only passed it by a vote of 11-7, not making it veto proof. And considering how Abele emulates Walker in almost every way, there is no reason to believe that Abele will suddenly want to protect or respect the public by signing this resolution into law.

That's where we come in.  Please call Abele at 414-278-4211 and/or email him at and tell him that the people of Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin have a right to know what is in those emails and other documents and that it is his responsibility to retrieve them and make them available to the public.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Political Incest

By Jeff Simpson

Shamefully, Wisconsin has been voted least likely to care about black children in our society:

According to a national report, Wisconsin has been ranked the worst state in the country when it comes to racial disparities for children.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a 66-year-old charitable organization concentrating on family issues and well-being, spearheaded the study. "Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children" scored states according to 12 different factors, from educational access to socioeconomic status and home life.
Wisconsin scored a 238 on its ability to prepare black children for educational and financial success, the lowest of all states (the average score was 345). Interestingly, Wisconsin was ranked 10th overall in its preparation for white children.

Since republicans have taken over our state, they have found the best way to address this is to end affirmative action and  take a vote secede from the rest of the United States.   Our own Governor, when he is not busy running for President of  the United States, has taken a survey of the state of Wisconsin and has declared the fact that minorities can vote with few obstacles to be THE biggest problem facing Wisconsinites today.    While many people in WI, if they knew were not busy worrying where their next meal was coming from, would vehemently disagree.  

Scott Walker appoints people to work on these problems, the problem is the people he appoints.    He gave republican lackey Joe Handrick the very important job of Equal Rights Division Administrator at State of Wisconsin - Dept of Workforce Development.  With Wisconsin having the biggest gap of unemployment in the nation between African Americans and Caucasians, his work is done there. 

Relax, I am not calling him a racist.   Just pointing out, that as a public worker, in a very important job serving the public, has prioritized his responsibility as helping Scott Walker win election. 

Here is Joe Handrick doing what he is actually being paid by our tax dollars to do - campaign for the republicans:

Winning one of those seats could be a tall order, according to an analysis by Republican strategist Joe Handrick, a redistricting consultant since the 1990 Census. The analysis is based on voting patterns in partisan statewide elections between 2004 and 2010. It projects which direction each seat leans and by how much, both before and after the district boundaries shifted in 2011.

Republican Strategist by day or Equal Rights Division Administrator by day?  When exactly did Matt Defour interview republican strategist for this story?  Should a republican strategist also be serving as Equal Rights Division Administrator?  Since when was that a political position?  Maybe we should just have every public worker who wants a raise, spend part of each day working on the "Friends of Scott Walker" campaign.  

But Wait there is more!  

A quick check of Joe Handrick's background and we see not only is he the Equal Rights Division Administrator and republican strategist, but he is also a lobbyist.    Although are you a lobbyist, when the people you are lobbying for do not want you to do it

Which now brings us to taxpayer republican's former Badger Advocate co-worker - Scott Tyre.  Scott Tyre is the husband of Mary Burke's top political advisor Tanya Bjork and also her business partner in republican lobby firm - Capitol Navigators! 

Yes, when you give $1000 to this guy, you are a republican lobbyist

Now ask yourself, if you are surprised, when the person running for the Democratic nomination of Governor of Wisconsin, hires someone to be her top political adviser whose main source of incomes is partnership in a republican lobby firm and runs a listless campaign! 

It is getting so bad that even Peter Barca had to weigh in!

“One mistake I think she’s made — and I told her people — she should be advertising now,” Barca, who represents Kenosha, told the Beloit Daily News. “She’s got the resources. People need to know who you are and feel comfortable with you and know your plan. Unfortunately the only way to get it out there is to advertise.”
Barca’s view is a common one. Former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz made a similar point months ago, urging the Democratic candidate “to spend a bunch of money to define herself right now before she gets swift-boated by the other side.”
Other Democrats (and some Republicans) have wondered what the point is of recruiting a wealthy candidate if she’s not going to pump major money into the campaign. They argue that the function of Burke’s personal fortune is not merely to provide money that the campaign would otherwise seek from donors, it's to stimulate more contributions by showing that she is serious about winning the race. Donors don’t like to give to lost causes.

With such strong ties to each other is there any idealism or wanting to do the right thing?  Is there any motivation for these people except to have their hands on easy money?  On either side?  Once you get into the nuts and bolts of politics, can you tell what side is which?   Does anyone care anymore that people like Joe Handrick pass on actually performing their taxpayer funded job to campaign?  Why is there not outrage about the sad state WIsconsin is in?    

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree

By Jeff Simpson

  Matt Walker had this published in the Badger Herald recently:

As a student, I understand the concern about finding a job after college. It’s something that any college student would worry about from time to time.

Where am I going to work? Who will I work for? Will I be able to find a job? All of these questions are common and natural among upcoming graduates.

The good news is that students in Wisconsin can worry a little less.

Since taking office, Gov. Scott Walker, along with Republicans in the Senate and Assembly, have worked to create more economic prosperity for everyone in the state, including college students, so that we may have the opportunity to find a job after graduation.

The problem of course is that it does not reflect reality on the ground:

Employers in Wisconsin shed an estimated 9,500 total public and private sector jobs in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported late last week.

Along with North Carolina (11,300 job losses) and Alaska (2,300 job losses), Wisconsin experienced a “statistically significant” decline in employment, according to a press release from the BLS.

The Wisconsin losses included an estimated 7,900 government jobs, 5,000 jobs in professional or business services and 2,200 in manufacturing.

Incumbent Gov. Scott Walker has maintained that his policies of cutting taxes coupled with a more business friendly attitude in state government will boost the Wisconsin economy.

But after a campaign pledge to see 250,000 new private sector jobs created during his first term, Wisconsin has added only about 100,000 new jobs since Walker took office in January 2011.

The state now ranks 9th out of 10 Midwestern states in job growth under Walker.
 We aren't dead last is a great Walker campaign slogan.  Seriously though, I hope economics is not Matty's major or he could be in for a long college career.   Finally this was at the end of Matt's LTE:

Matthew Walker is the chairman of the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans. This article was submitted on his behalf by Jesse Dougherty (, the press secretary for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Let's see, ghostwritten LTE's with no basis in facts and then sign your name and take credit....seems like Matt Walker is following in his father's footsteps perfectly! 


Chris Able: The Pro-Poverty Plutocrat

Here we go again.

Chris Abele, the Mitt Romney of Milwaukee County, has opposed a living wage ordinance since Supervisor David Bowen first announced his plan to introduce the resolution on Labor Day of last year.  Abele was so opposed to it that he went to the Teapublicans in the state legislature and nearly had all living wage laws in the entire state nullified.

Fortunately, despite Abele's best efforts, the living wage ordinance passed, his veto was overridden and the law will go into effect at the end of May.

But Abele is still bound and determined to keep people in poverty.

The latest chapter in Abele's war against the poor starts with a battle over the housekeeping contract for Milwaukee County.  Abele is trying to get the contract with his chosen vendor, CleanPower, rammed through before the living wage law goes into effect.*

To do so, he is sending out his minions, like his personally-owned county supervisor, Deanna Alexander, and with the help of right wing propagandists like Wisconsin Reporter, to raise the false concern that postponing the contract will cost taxpayers more than $2 million over the next two years.

There's more than a few problems with this presumption.

First and foremost is the presumption that it will have to cost taxpayers a dime.  If Abele and his band of cronies had any negotiating skills, they could have the vendor eat the costs.  They can afford to lose a half million or even a million dollars of pure profit more than the workers could afford to be kept at sub-poverty pay levels.

Secondly, what Abele and company doesn't want you to think about is what it would cost not giving these workers a living wage.  If these workers are kept at the sub-poverty pay levels, taxpayers would be paying for their income subsidies, such as BadgerCare, food stamps and energy assistance.  It also doesn't consider the other costs that stem from keeping people in poverty, such as the money needed to deal with foreclosed homes, homelessness and so on.

Thirdly, Abele doesn't want people to realize that this would also help stimulate the economy.  Paying someone $11.33 an hour is not going to make them filthy rich.  These workers are going to be spending the extra income on food, rent, mortgages, taxes and all sorts of things that will help keep the economy going.

Perhaps Abele realized that this argument wasn't working after all and tried to up the ante by complaining that the living wage law would require the county to hire three people to enforce the law.

Abele claims that he needs the extra staff to investigate employee complaints, do audits and answer open records requests.  I'm not exactly sure why the extra staff would be needed since these are services that should already being done.  Unless he his implying that the companies he is contracting with are that disreputable.

The cost of these three extra people, if they are really needed, would be $200,000, per his propagandists.

His concern over that price is laughable.

The county budget is $1.3 billion.  In a budget that big, $200,000 isn't even a blip on the radar.

Abele is paying more than that to just two of his top aides, Chief of Staff Amber Moreen and Director of Administration Don Tyler.

Abele's 2014 proposed budget was off by $3.5 million, but he wasn't concerned about that.

Abele's deferred maintenance caused a fire in the courthouse that is going to cost more than $17 million, of which at least $2 million will be coming directly from taxpayers.  He has yet to apologize for this.

The supposed price for these three workers is half of what Abele wanted to spend on a private security force, because he was too busy trying to lay off deputies, leaving none to protect him.

As I have pointed out before, the issue of a living wage is not an economic one.  The fact that Abele has not qualms about squandering millions of tax dollars shows that it's not a fiscal issue for him either.

No, it's not an economic issue, but a moral one.  And the message Abele is sending with his constant attacks against the poor is that he is willfully trying to keep them in poverty, , which, by any measure, is an immoral act.

Fortunately, the Milwaukee County Board, which has shown the fiscal responsibility and moral strength that Abele can only wish he had, appears to be poised to push the housekeeping contract back so that the living wage can be enforced and lift the workers out of poverty sooner rather than later.

*I would be remiss if I did not also point out that by refusing to give the county housekeepers their jobs back, he is not only not going to save money, as the private company workers will get the living wage as well, but if the housekeepers prevail in their lawsuit, the county will also have to pay them five years of back pay.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Right Wingers Who Cried "Wolf!"

For years, the right wingers have been trying to portray themselves as martyrs.  Radio squawkers like Charlie Sykes and Vickie McKenna and propaganda groups like Media Trackers or MacIver Institute have been feeding the same lines to the handful of people that actually pay attention to them that the right wing has been the victims of government overreach.

The two things that they love to mewl the most about are how the Walkergate investigations are partisan witch hunts and that President Barack Obama has been abusing the powers of his office by having the IRS target them.

Jeff Simpson has already shown their ridiculousness about the Walkergate investigations by pointing out that some of the District Attorneys behind the investigations are Republicans, that the GAB who called for the investigation consists entirely of Republicans and that the special prosecutor in the case had actually voted for Scott Walker.

Now, via Anomoly at FreakOutNation, their claims about being targeted by the IRS has been shown to be nothing more than crying "Wolf!":
A series of IRS documents, provided to ThinkProgress under the Freedom of Information Act, appears to contradict the claims by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status “received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs.” The 22 “Be On the Look Out” keywords lists, distributed to staff reviewing applications between August 12, 2010 and April 19, 2013, included more explicit references to progressive groups, ACORN successors, and medical marijuana organizations than to Tea Party entities. [...]

[T]he actual IRS records indicate that at least some additional scrutiny was required for groups of all types that had names that sounded political — and that the explicit heightened scrutiny for left-leaning groups was even longer-standing than for Tea Party groups.
That the right wing squawkers and propagandists would lie about this is not surprising. It is what they do. And even though the evidence shows that that they are the lying liars that lie, they will continue to lie about these things, because again, it is what they do.

What makes it even more egregious though is the fact that these would be martyrs are so damn hypocritical about it.  Even as they are trying to play the victim, they are the ones that are constantly practicing McCarthyism and trying to smear anyone and everyone on the left, no matter how much they have to conflate and confabulate things.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bryce Runs For State Senate 21st District

About a month ago, I wrote about my friend, Rand Bryce, and said that we should draft him to run for the 21st Senate District.  Thanks to you, gentle readers, we were able to raise our voice and Randy heeded our call!  From the mailbox today:
Randy Bryce Announces Candidacy for 21st State Senate DistrictRunning to end Political Games, Attacks on Veterans, Job Creation Failures

MADISON – Today, active community member, veteran, and father Randy Bryce announced his candidacy for the 21st State Senate District in Wisconsin. A local ironworker, Randy is running to stop the partisan games, attacks on veterans and job creation failures in Madison. 
“I have always put my community first,” said Bryce, “After the partisan games of the last sessions allowed partisan redistricting, attacks on veterans and a job creation failures, I knew I had to stand up for the community that I love.

“It is time to stop the single-party rule in Madison that jammed through countless pieces of harmful legislation without regard for the impacts on our communities. From making it harder for veterans to obtain compensation when dying from service-caused mesothelioma to the failure to keep up with our neighboring states in job creation, our community deserves better. I am running to give the 21st State Senate District the representation it deserves.

Randy is a born and raised Wisconsinite with deep roots across Southeastern Wisconsin. From serving in the US Army to helping homeless veterans find work to building southeastern Wisconsin monuments like Miller Park, Randy has spent his life giving back to his community. Randy is a Caledonia resident, and, has a 7-year-old son, Ben.
Make no mistakes about it, Bryce has a long road to hoe, contending with a gerrymandered district and the huge spending that will be coming from the corporate special interests.

If there is anyone that is able to represent the people and take on the special interests, it is Bryce.

I congratulate and comment Bryce for his campaign and look forward to supporting him in his campaign.