Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gableman Backs Down

On Tuesday morning, I wrote at Cog Dis and Crooks & Liars about how Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman wanted to revisit an appeal by former Walker aide Kelly Rindfliesch. Rindfleisch was convicted of doing illegal politicking while working for Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive.

I also pointed out that Gableman's unprecedented request was a huge conflict of interest.

In what I am sure is pure coincidence, Gableman rescinded his request on Tuesday afternoon:
Justice Michael Gableman last week took the unusual step of asking his colleagues to reconsider that decision and take up her appeal. But on Tuesday, Gableman withdrew his request.


In a letter to attorneys in the case, Gableman noted that Rindfleisch still had that other avenue of appeal. He didn't address the question of whether he also lacked support among his fellow state justices for his request.

"Her appeal is now pending before the United States Supreme Court where, among other things, she will have the benefit of review by the entire court," Gableman wrote of Rindfleisch. "I believe that is the better course of action at this time, and therefore withdraw my motion."
Now Scott Walker and his dark money supporters are going to have to find a new way to kill off the John Doe investigation if they don't want it raising its ugly head while Walker is running for president. Because, let's face it, if they can't do their illegal collaboration and buy elections, what chance do these fools stand in a fair election?

A Supreme Conflict Of Interest

As previously reported, Kelly Rindfleisch, a former aide to Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive, was charged and convicted of illegal politicking during government time and using government equipment. She appealed the proceedings and subsequent conviction numerous times to no avail. One of her latest appeal attempts went to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which declined to hear her case on a 6-0 vote (Justice David "Choke hold" Prosser recused himself.) Rindfleisch is now almost halfway through "serving her sentence." (More on that later.)

Rindfleisch has since made an appeal to the United Supreme Court, continuing her argument that the subpoenas were too broad and too vague and thus unconstitutional. She hasn't won on that argument yet, but what they hey?

Following that, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, one of the four corporate-controlled conservative justices, in an unprecedented move, asked his fellow justices to consider revisiting the Rindfleisch appeal:
On Thursday, a memo was filed from Gableman asking that the high court revisit the issue when it next meets in private. He did not explain why he wants to take the issue up in his one-paragraph memo.

Such a move is highly unusual, if not unprecedented. The original decision not to take the case was agreed to by all the justices except David Prosser, who did not participate in the case.
At first glance, the gentle reader might suspect that Gableman's unusual and questionable request came as a favor to one of his main benefactors, Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCfG). WCfG has a number of cases pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court regarding the John Doe investigation into the illegal collaboration between them and Scott Walker.

If WCfG could pull some money strings and get the Supreme Court to overturn Rindfleisch's conviction, this would set a precedent and give strength to their own cases.

To strengthen one's suspicions, one of the dark money propaganda groups, which has written over 200 articles about Rindlfeisch and labels her a "political prisoner," has revealed that Rindfleisch, who was given work release privileges from her home confinement (talk about doing hard time!), is working for Eric O'Keefe, the head of WCfG:
A deputy in Sauk County’s Huber, or work release, division, confirms that Rindfleisch is being monitored with an ankle bracelet and living with her sister in Sauk County. She is confined to the home, but has Huber privileges, including the right to work.

Rindfleisch is working for none other than Eric O’Keefe, the long-time conservative activist who has filed multiple lawsuits against Chisholm and two of his assistants alleging prosecutors trampled conservatives’ First Amendment rights with their politically charged John Doe investigations.

Wisconsin Watchdog has confirmed that Rindfleisch works for O’Keefe’s E&L Corp., a Spring Green-based company that O’Keefe has operated since 1993.

Rindfleisch, according to the Huber division, is picking up the cost of the monitoring device, at $17 a day.

O’Keefe, director of the limited-government group Wisconsin Club for Growth, has come to the defense of Rindfleisch, who was convicted in 2012 on a nebulous charged of misconduct in office. Rindfleisch served as deputy chief of staff for Walker when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive.
So, the former Walker aide who was convicted of illegal politicking ends up working for a Walker ally who is under investigation for illegal collaboration with Walker. And now, a Supreme Court Justice, who has ethical issues that he is still under investigation for and who has received financial support from WCfG, wants to reopen a case he originally voted not to hear.

Yeah, nothing to see here, right?

The real kicker is that if these four conservative justices, including Gableman, had even a modicum of ethics themselves, they would have already recused themselves from all of these cases due to their own conflicts of interest, as the Supreme Court of the United States had already ruled.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Walker Wants Bigotry To Be Constitutional Right - Sort Of

Scott Walker has spent well over a million of taxpayer dollars in order to preserve the right to be bigoted against marriage equality. When he lost in federal court, he said that “For us, it’s over in Wisconsin."

This did not please the red meat conservative Christians that Walker needs to have any chance at the presidential nomination. So Walker did what he does best - he pandered away to them by changing his tune:
Just before he took the stage, Walker told reporters he's holding out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule that states can bar same-sex marriages. But if that's not the case, he suggested that voters should seek a constitutional amendment to allow state-level bans.

"I think the appropriate route is for people across America who care deeply about this issue to pursue a constitutional amendment allowing the states to determine what the definition is," Walker told reporters.
On Friday, in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling that Love Wins and that all people can get married, Walker upped his rhetoric even more, surpassing any of his fellow wannabes in the hate:
I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges ‘has been with us for millennia.’ In 2006 I, like millions of Americans, voted to amend our state constitution to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism. The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas. As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.

Recognizing that our Founders made our Constitution difficult to amend, I am reminded that it was first amended to protect our ‘First Freedom’ - the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment does not simply protect a narrow ‘right to worship,’ but provides broad protection to individuals and institutions to worship and act in accordance with their religious beliefs. In fact, the Wisconsin constitution explicitly protects the rights of conscience of our citizens. I can assure all Wisconsinites concerned about the impact of today’s decision that your conscience rights will be protected, and the government will not coerce you to act against your religious beliefs.

I call on the president and all governors to join me in reassuring millions of Americans that the government will not force them to participate in activities that violate their deeply held religious beliefs. No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience. We will continue to fight for the freedoms of all Americans.
That tough talked lasted for a whole day. On Saturday, Pander Bear Walker had apparently yet again changed his position for the umpteenth time:
On Friday, Scott Walker warned that “five unelected justices” on the Supreme Court had threatened the “millennia”-old institution of marriage by extending it to same-sex couples. In a statement that lapped many of his more cautious rivals, he called for a constitutional amendment allowing states to decide the issue for themselves.

But barely a day later, in front of an audience of 4,000 conservatives in Denver on Saturday night — a Western Conservative Summit that had been ripping the court and lamenting same-sex marriage for two full days — Walker didn’t mention either.

After running through his stump speech without mentioning the Supreme Court’s recent controversial rulings, Walker had another chance with radio host Hugh Hewitt, who asked the likely presidential candidate if he’s “all-in” when it comes to defending religious liberty.

“Yes,” Walker replied, before launching into a brief boilerplate answer about the importance of freedom of religion.

It marked a sharp departure from Walker’s own rhetoric, but also from many of his primary rivals who seized on the right’s frustration with the court to rally conservatives.
About here, I'd make a quip about "would the real Scott Walker please stand up," but he has flipped-flopped so much on so many issues that I doubt he even knows where he stands on any given issue on any given day.

I'm just a little surprised that Walker hasn't talked about banning Skittles yet. You know, people tasting the rainbow making them gay or something like that.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Scott's Diagnosis

By Jeff Simpson

This guy:

Recently had this to say about Hillary Clinton:

“I think it’s part of that amazing double standard,” Walker replied. “But I think even a bigger issue than that. And this is sadly something that would make her consistent with the president, and that is I believe that the president and now Hillary Clinton tend to think that politically, they do better if they pit one group of Americans versus another.”

Either absentee Governor Walker was lying to Diane Hendricks to try and get some, or else he has a medical condition that needs to be treated.

Either way, do you really think this guy is fit to be the next President of the United States?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Scott Walker Crusade

By Jeff Simpson

Scott Walker, the absentee Governor of Wisconsin, who has UNofficially been running for President the past five years has been famous for not taking a stance(Ie. the "no comment" candidate), or flip flopping on his beliefs on a daily basis.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States, finally gave Scott Walker a cause that he could step out and actually take a stand.  

If you missed it, you might ask yourself what made Scott Walker step up in anger and vow to change when he becomes President:

Is it the fact that we have a school to prison pipeline and Wisconsin, under Scott Walker, is the worst state for black Americans?   That is what got Scott Walker so upset right?

Well no, he actually has never addressed this problem.  

Is it the fact that Mr. Walker made a rare guest appearance in Wisconsin, to sign a bill that eliminated the 48 hour waiting period for purchasing handguns, where the justification was based on a sick lie?  

No, to keep his A+ rating from the NRA, he will sign anything they tell him too.  

Maybe, it was the fact his signature "job creating" committee, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp(WEDC), that he appointed himself Chairman of the Board of, was just found to have given $500.000 of Wisconsin taxpayer money to his good friend Bill Minahan, so he could pay off the lease on his Maserati?

No, Minahan maxed out his donations to "Friends of Scott Walker", which means under WEDC rules, he is entitled to as much Wisconsin taxpayer money as possible.  

William Minahan

Scott Walker is not the least bit concerned about any of those issues.  Scott Walker is on a mission to end the ability of our LGBT friends to get married.  

Walker, who often reminds people he is "not a lawyer", spoke up loud and clear how he feels about this SCOTUS ruling, calling it a "grave mistake":

I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges ‘has been with us for millennia.’ In 2006 I, like millions of Americans, voted to amend our state constitution to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism. The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas. As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.Recognizing that our Founders made our Constitution difficult to amend, I am reminded that it was first amended to protect our ‘First Freedom’ - the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment does not simply protect a narrow ‘right to worship,’ but provides broad protection to individuals and institutions to worship and act in accordance with their religious beliefs. In fact, the Wisconsin constitution explicitly protects the rights of conscience of our citizens. I can assure all Wisconsinites concerned about the impact of today’s decision that your conscience rights will be protected, and the government will not coerce you to act against your religious beliefs.
I call on the president and all governors to join me in reassuring millions of Americans that the government will not force them to participate in activities that violate their deeply held religious beliefs. No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience. We will continue to fight for the freedoms of all Americans.

Are you really a serious candidate, much less a person, if the one thing that you actually take a stand on is a SCOTUS ruling allowing gay Americans who are in love and committed relationships to confirm their relationship via marriage vows?

Apparently it is only ok, if you invite Scott to your wedding, so he can get free food and drinks.

 Image result for scott walker gay marriage

PS:  It is not bad enough to take such a ridiculous position, but he is in lock step with Glenn Grothman.  

“I am deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision today to overturn same-sex marriage laws around the country,” said Congressman Grothman. “This would have been unthinkable 20 years ago, and as recently as three years ago President Obama said he was opposed to same-sex marriage. The American people are more than capable of making these decisions, just like we did in Wisconsin in 2006. Unfortunately, five Supreme Court justices clearly do not believe in the original intent of the 14th amendment as it was ratified in 1868. The contempt these Supreme Court justices have for the intent of our Constitution is shocking. This decision was partially influenced by recent public opinion, but the Constitution, as well as religious beliefs, should not change at the whim of public opinion.”

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman is serving his first term representing Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Contact his Washington, D.C., office at (202) 225-2476, or online at grothman.house.gov.

Image result for glenn grothman

Scott Walker is on a crusade, the question is can he get enough people to follow his far right extremist cause to actually become our next President?  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Black on Walker

By Jeff Simpson

From Observer.com :

As a comedian, who is the Republican candidate you savor skewering? It’s like a buffet. Ben Carson is so out of left field for me. 
Is it just me or does Scott Walker have crazy eyes? As I’ve said in Wisconsin, he’s the proof that they may have to hang back on their drinking since they’re the ones who elected him. It’s astonishing. I’ve said it before, to be the home of the Progressive Party and Robert La Follette. Seriously? To elect someone who turns around and does union busting? You don’t have to bust unions. They have to sit down together and work it out. You don’t just go, “O.K., we’re going to crack your heads open.”

Walker Misses Mark, Shoots Campaign In The Foot...Again

People have pointed out that one of Scott Walker's biggest drawbacks is that he comes off as tone deaf and insensitive.

A prime example of that insensitivity came in May. After a tragic mass shooting in Appleton, Wisconsin, which left three people - including an 11 year old girl - dead, Walker thought it would be a good time to run a campaign ad promoting his support of the Second Amendment.

On Wednesday, Walker again decided that pandering to the NRA was more important that showing even a modicum of class.

Just a week after the domestic terrorism in Charleston, South Carolina - and after waffling on the Confederate flag - Walker felt that he needed to make it even easier for people to get guns. Walker signed laws that eliminated a 48-hour waiting period because who needs to calm down before shooting someone in the heat of passion?

Walker also signed a law to allow retired and off-duty cops to carry guns into schools. Not that cops have ever shot anyone without due cause or anything.

To add insult to injury, Walker then came up with this excuse on why he signed these laws just a short time after Charleston while the rest of the nation is discussing the need to tighten gun laws:
Walker told reporters on Wednesday that holding off on signing the waiting period and school grounds bills into law would have signified that laws like those had something to do with the Charleston shooting, adding that the shooting had more to do with racial issues.

Republicans supporting the repeal of the 48-hour waiting period have equated the requirement to a "time tax," noting that 42 other states have no such waiting period. Democrats, opposing the repeal, have said it acts as a "cooling off period," especially in domestic violence situations.
Ah, so unrestricted access to guns had nothing to do with the Charleston massacre or any other shootings. Just like you hear about the mass killings with spoons and elbow straws, which are also very easy to access.

Besides, what's a few dead people compared to a large contribution from the NRA anyway?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Walker Whiffles Dixie

Over this past weekend, when asked about the senseless killing in Charleston, South Carolina, Scott Walker boldly punted on questions regarding the Confederate flag:
"I think they're going to have a good healthy debate and should have that debate in South Carolina amongst officials at the state level," Walker told reporters after his dinner speech at the "Road to Majority" conference.

"I just think before I or anyone else weighs in on anything to do with policy, whether it's this or any other policy decisions, we should honor the dead and the families by allowing them to bury their loved ones. And then you could perfectly ask me that question at some point in the next week or two when that's done."

Walker also deferred when asked by a reporter if he viewed the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism.
Walker has since changed his mind about honoring the victims and their families and has come out in support of Governor Nikki Haley's call to finally take down the Confederate flag:
After sidestepping questions about the issue over the weekend, Gov. Scott Walker on Monday said he supports South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate flag from the state Capitol.

"I am glad @nikkihaley is calling for the Confederate flag to come down. I support her decision - SKW," Walker tweeted from his political account shortly after Haley called for the flag to be taken down.

The push to remove the flag comes in the wake of the racially-motivated killing of nine black worshippers in a historic Charleston church last week.
Apparently Walker also got the memo from the dark money special interest groups that this was a loser issue and not worth the battle.

On a related note, just like so many other Republicans - including Wisconsin's dumb senator, Ron Johnson - Walker received campaign donations from Earl Holt III, the leader of a white supremacist group that reportedly influenced Dylann Roof. Walker has said that he would donate the $3,500 he got from Holt to charity:
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Walker’s political nonprofit, Our American Revival, said in a statement Monday that Walker will donate Holt’s contributions to charity.
Putting aside what the spokeswoman for his nonprofit is doing speaking for his campaign, I would point out to the gentle reader that this is more of Walker's mastery of subliminal racism.

If Walker was genuinely repulsed by the blatant racism of Holt and his organization, Walker would have renounced the money and returned it or burned it. By giving the money to charity, Walker is allowing Holt to retain his dignity, saying that his money went to a good cause. Likewise, it gives Walker the chance to appear that he doesn't support racism without coming out against it.

Abele's Expensive Security Issues

In 2013, as Chris Abele was crafting his 2014 Milwaukee County budget, he included giving himself $400,000 for a security detail, an amount five times the cost for Tom Ament, the last county executive to use a security force.  Abele said that he needed the security detail due to "increased threat activity."  He also said that he would take bids from local law enforcement and private agencies.  Apparently, Milwaukee County Sheriff Deputies weren't good enough to serve as his Imperial Guard.

Fortunately, the Milwaukee County Board put the reins to Abele's out of control spending spree and allotted him $100,000 instead.

Apparently, the alleged "threatening activity wasn't all that great since it took Abele nearly two years to act on getting his security force.  But when he finally did get his Imperial Guard, he made sure it was fit for a boy prince like him:
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele likes to hobnob with political and corporate heavyweights.

Now Abele has the security to match.

Starting earlier this month, Abele hired two pricey private security guards from a California-based firm to provide protection for 50 hours of work a week. Included in the deal is the use of a GMC Yukon XL, a full-size SUV with a sticker price starting at $50,000.

Gavin de Becker & Associates — which has provided security for former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and actress Jennifer Lawrence — is being paid $73.75 an hour for each of the two guards.

Taxpayers will pick up the cost for the first $100,000 for Abele's security detail under the no-bid contract. That should cover three months.

Abele spokesman Nate Holtonsaid the millionaire county exec would then cover the rest of the annual tab, which should run to about $300,000 for the final nine months. Abele would also pay for the two guards to provide security during nonwork hours.

"The county, on his behalf, investigated all the options, and came up with this firm," Holton said. The contract, he added, was not large enough to require bidding.
Again, as it happens all too often with Abele, there was no transparent, open bidding process after all.   It would also be interesting to see who is picking up the tab for his Imperial SUV - not to mention the fuel and upkeep for it.  Somehow, I don't think it's Emperor Abele.

If this seems familiar, even with its excessiveness, it should.

Abele's BFF and ideological brother, Scott Walker, did the same thing.  As soon as Walker became governor, he got himself a high-priced SUV, at the taxpayers expense.  He also hired G4S, formerly known as Wackenhut, to serve as his Imperial Guard at the state capitol.

Every day, Abele and Walker are getting to be more and more alike.  It's getting so you can't tell the petty tyrants apart without a scorecard.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Walker Boldly Punts On Charleston, Confederate Flag

Scott Walker was in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to speak to a gathering of Bible-thumping wing nuts when he was finally forced to comment on the horror that happened in Charleston, South Carolina. Walker chose to boldly punt on it:
Speaking to a gathering of religious conservatives here Saturday night, Gov. Scott Walker spoke for several minutes about the shooting in Charleston, S.C., calling it a "racist" and "evil" act and asking for a moment of prayer for the "nine brothers and sisters in Christ who were taken on Wednesday."

But in talking to reporters afterward, Walker steered cleared of the debate over the Confederate flag in South Carolina that is playing out in the aftermath of the shootings.

Walker said he didn't think it was appropriate to debate that issue until the family members of victims have had a chance to bury and mourn the dead.

The GOP's 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, said on Twitter Saturday that South Carolina should remove the Confederate flag flying above its state Capitol grounds, calling it a "symbol of racial hatred" to many. Several of Walker's potential GOP rivals have also commented on the issue in the wake of the shootings.

"I think they're going to have a good healthy debate and should have that debate in South Carolina amongst officials at the state level," Walker told reporters after his dinner speech at the "Road to Majority" conference.

"I just think before I or anyone else weighs in on anything to do with policy, whether it's this or any other policy decisions, we should honor the dead and the families by allowing them to bury their loved ones. And then you could perfectly ask me that question at some point in the next week or two when that's done."

Walker also deferred when asked by a reporter if he viewed the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism.
It's bad enough that Walker can't even bring himself to condemn the culture of racism, but then uses the victims of this racism as an excuse for his reluctance is simply deplorable.

And even I'm at a loss for words at his refusal to even acknowledge that the Confederate flag is a symbol for the all too prevalent racism. I'm used to Walker putting his political aspirations before people but this is a new low for even him.

Even when Walker showed a modicum of respectability by calling the mass murder as racist, he has to soften condemnation by carefully couching it by calling the victims as "nine brothers and sisters in Christ" instead of people killed for no reason other than the color of their skin.

Of course, we shouldn't really expect anything different from Walker. He needs to maintain his agenda of subliminal racism if his presidential bid is even to make it to the fall. If there was ever any doubt to Walker's mastery of subliminal racism, this should erase any trace of it.

Republican Racial Mindset

On the 6/19 Mitch Henck Show on 92.1FM in Madison, Steve nASS staffer, Mike Mikalsen was on a roundtable discussion with Bret Hulsey.

The debate turned to race, where Bret Hulsey called him out on Republicans trying to put obstacles in the way of minorities voting and called Republican policies, at their core racist.

Mike Mikalsen, had this response(at the 1:40 mark of the podcast):

 " For Those people, they couldnt have a checking account, they cant conduct daily life, they couldn't get on an airplane. What you would want us to believe, is there is this huge group of people, and they happen to be in your argument, African Americans, who apparently dont participate in society in any way, shape or form.  when they go sign up for welfare they have to bring identification of some kind.  When they sign up for services, or when they run their own lives in terms of checking accounts.  You would have us believe that all of these folks who operate in society, and happen to be of one race, are incapable of having ID's" 

Thanks to Mr. Mikalsen, for showing the true colors of the party.  Why would the ONE example that he would use when discussing minorities and ID's be - Welfare? Could it be that is what the Republicans think when they think of African Americans?  Could it be that  they truly believe all African Americans are a drain on the system?  Is that why the Republicans in Wisconsin have given up trying to create jobs and instead spend their time punishing the poor with waste of resources drug tests and telling them what foods they can and cant buy?

Did Mr. Mikalsen just show the Republicans hand?

PS:  If Mr. Mikalsen had done any research at all, he would find that the majority of people on welfare are white, however they have stars upon thars like him so that is OK,

Looking at national numbers, most of the people who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are actually white. U.S. Department of Agriculture data from 2013, which administers welfare, 40.2 percent of SNAP recipients are white, 25.7 percent are Black, 10.3 percent are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American.

Scott Walker's Plantation Economic Agenda Explained

For over a year, labor leaders and progressive bloggers (like me) in Wisconsin have been sounding the alarm about Scott Walker and his fellow Teapublicans ramming through Right to Exploit Workers - also known as Right to Work - and other policies of a plantation economic agenda.

We talked about how this plantation economic agenda stemmed from the Deep South and were based on a racist agenda.

In March of this year, an article by Roger Bybee restated these facts. Bybee, who used the term "Southern Strategies," points out five signs that Walker is using these same policies in a more subtle manner to get the same results.

The five points that Bybee outlines are:
  1. Anti-union laws like the Wage Theft Law are rooted in racism
  2. The Wage Theft Law fits in with Walker's other racialized politics
  3. Walker used Milwaukee - and its high black/brown majority - his fall guy
  4. Walker restoring Jim Crow laws in the form of voter suppression and gerrymandering
  5. Walker's long history of race-baiting
While the whole article is well worth the read, Bybee sums it all up very nicely:
But Walker’s turn to “dog-whistle“ politics, or the manipulation of whites’ racial resentments, is as noteworthy as it is notorious. It begins with an agenda that is hostile to government programs benefitting the poor and big government programs of any kind—except for those providing subsidies to corporations and the rich. However, there is a not-so-subtle subtext of pro-white racism.

There are many dots that connect this ugly picture: Walker’s war against labor and support for “right-to-work” laws despite their racist legacy and present-day impacts; his willingness to use Willie Horton-style ads which stoke white fears of blacks; his support for restricting the right of blacks and Latinos; his institutional ties to long-standing institution like the Bradley which are tacitly approving of white supremacy; his links to media personalities who thrive on feeding racism; and his policies punishing urban citizens, especially people of color.

Essentially, Walker embodies the lessons outlined by the late Lee Atwater, the ruthless Republican strategist. In a remarkably frank interview, Atwater once described the evolution of conservative politics and the “Southern strategy”: “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say nigger—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites… .’We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger.’”

Walker, in governing Wisconsin and running for president, is showing himself to be a consummate practitioner of the Southern strategy long advocated by Atwater and warned about by the liberal Thomas Edsall. The overt racism is scrapped on the surface, but the core of the ever-congenial Walker’s policies is profoundly hostile to people of color and to social justice.
I would only add that if the gentle reader had any doubts about Walker's inherent racism one does not have to look hard or long to find more examples

As Milwaukee County Executive, he treated the county's parks with obvious disparity, favoring the parks in the white and more affluent areas. As governor, it became even more apparent with his cuts to social safety nets such as BadgerCare and food stamps.

The results make things even more obvious, with such shameful things as Wisconsin having the highest incarceration rates for black men and Milwaukee being the most racially segregated area in the nation.

And don't even get me going on the racism that runs rampant with both Walker's campaign and government staff.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bucks Abele Goes MIA. Again.

The Shepherd Express did a comparison between the way that Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Emperor Bucks Abele is dealing with the Bucks arena debacle, and it's very telling:
While Barrett tried his best to get everything out in the open as soon as possible, Abele has gone into hiding. He’s sent out two aides—Department of Administrative Services Director Teig Whaley-Smith and Economic Development Director James Tarantino, who’s only been on the job since May—to sell the plan to the public and county supervisors. And he turned down a request to be interviewed by the Shepherd on his plans.

If the Legislature approves the deal as is, the county is on the hook for a lot more than the city’s parking garage and TIF. The county has committed $4 million a year in bad debt for the next 20 years—a funding mechanism Barrett rejected—as well as offering to sell nine acres of Park East land to the Bucks owners for $1. Abele’s plan, crafted in secret, could have a big impact on an already strained county budget because the debt that’s collected currently goes into the county coffers. Plus, if the state can’t collect the $4 million yearly for the Bucks, it will reduce the county’s state aid and likely cause property taxes to rise.

There are so many questions to be answered about the county’s contributions, but Abele won’t explain to his constituents or county supervisors why he thinks this is the best deal he could negotiate, especially since it appears to be so much worse for county taxpayers than Gov. Scott Walker’s original bonding plan. Adding insult to injury, rumors are rampant that if Abele doesn’t get his way, his Republican legislator buddies will strip the county board’s ability to approve land deals in the pending state budget, further diminishing transparency and accountability in county government.

Mayor Barrett has shown that he’s willing to stand behind his proposal to make the arena deal work. If County Executive Abele is so confident about committing county resources to keep the Bucks in town, why won’t he defend his plan in public?
Abele's approach to the arena fiasco is indicative of the way Abele's idea of leadership in general. Like a medieval feudal lord, Abele feels that the poor and working class are there to be exploited and that he doesn't need to answer to such riffraff. After all, he's filthy rich, which makes him feel that he's better than us commoners.


By Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) 

As Republican leaders scramble to reach backroom budget deals in an effort to strong arm their own members to support a severely flawed state budget, some of their remaining budget schemes have come to light.  Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-14) recently indicated he planned to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which ensures that the wealthy and out-of-state individuals with large state tax savings pay their fair share of state income tax.
But it didn’t take long for Republicans to get push back on their outrageous tax giveaway scheme. Why more tax breaks for the rich were even on the table when Republicans are decimating our public school system show Republican legislative priorities.
Now after bad headlines, Republicans are reconsidering their original idea to eliminate the tax on the rich. But any modification to the AMT will still cost Wisconsinites millions of dollars in revenue not invested in our public schools.
At a time when Republicans are cutting the UW System by $250 million and failing to invest in our public school children, now is not the time for another tax break for the wealthy. Nearly 75% of people who pay the AMT are the top income earners of the state, with income over $200,000 annually.  Republicans already gave this group a large tax cut in 2013 when they collapsed tax brackets so that a family making $30,000 annually now pays the same tax rate as a family making $325,000.  Between 2013 and 2015, their tax scheme basically created a flat income tax system which has reduced our state revenues by $647 million during the biennium.
These decisions have far reaching consequences and do not simply affect the state’s fiscal health in this coming biennium. Any loss in revenue will have to be made up year to year. Given the Republicans’ track record, this loss usually comes on the backs of our public school children. 
According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Republicans have spent $1.9 billion in various tax giveaways between 2011 and 2014 as they decimated public education.  Included in this amount is a $60 million tax cut for wealthy parents who send their children to private schools and an increasingly costly tax credit for big corporations that will soon cost the state $570 million over the biennium.
Meanwhile, parents all over the state of Wisconsin are apoplectic over the Republicans’ refusal to adequately invest in our children and our public schools. Instead, Republicans want to take millions of dollars from our public schools for unaccountable private schools while giving even more tax breaks to the super-rich. 
It didn’t have to be this way.  Don’t believe the Republican lie that the state is broke.  They left $360 million in savings on the table by refusing to take federal Medicaid expansion monies that would have provided health care to more people for less than Wisconsin taxpayers are currently paying. The state has revenue—Republicans just don’t want to fund the people’s priorities. 
Instead, Republicans want to continue their massive tax giveaways that primarily benefit the wealthy on the backs of the hard working families and children of our state, ignoring the priorities of the people. Everyone in our state should have to pay their fair share, including Republican cronies and big donors, so that the state can invest in our people and the institutions that have traditionally made our state strong.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Coming Civil War

By Jeff Simpson

When your only way to win elections is to divide and conquer,

Then you have to be prepared for the consequences of the problems you create.

 When your Governor's main character trait is to be vindictive towards anyone who disagrees with you, there will eventually be a boiling point.  

When hate radio blabs about how "liberals" are the enemy of America to an easily swayed and under informed audience, it becomes a call to action to some.

When you have Republican candidates for President, labeling clay pigeons, the name of the Democratic candidate for President, people take notice.  

When you call out the National Guard to oversee what our military is doing because you tell everyone that you can not trust the President, then people stop having faith in the office of the President.

When the elected Republicans make up stories(with no retractions) about "liberals" attacking good, honest, all american "conservatives", people get angry.

When the Vice-Presidential nominee, puts targets on liberals, her less intelligent followers will take aim.  

When a Republican Senator and his unhinged staffer try to get a professor fired because his extensive research came to a different conclusion than their lack of research did, then expect a certain faction of staff to leave on the first train.  

When the air waves are filled with these kind of examples of crazy talk on right wing hate radio, then expect people to hate their political counterpart , enemy.

1. Disturbing "Jokes" About Killing Liberals
Ann Coulter: "My only regret with Tim McVeigh is that he did not go to the New York Times building"
2. Implied Threats:
3. Overt Threats of Violence against Liberals:
Eric Erickson (Redstate.com): "At what point do [people] get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?"
Michael Savage: "I say round liberals up and hang em' high. When I hear someone's in the civil rights business, I oil up my AR-25."
4. Specific Incitements to Violence against Law Enforcement Officers
G . Gorden Liddy (broadcasting advice on how to kill law enforcement officers): "...head-shots, they are wearing body armor, head shots... or shoot for the groin."
Rush Limbaugh: "I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus--living fossils--so we we'll never forget what these people stood for."
Bill O'Reilly: "Americans who work against our military once the [Iraq] war is underway will be considered Enemies of the State by me. Just fair warning to you, Barbara Streisand, and others who see the world as you do. I don't want to demonize anyone, but anyone who hurts this country in a time like this, well, let's just say you will be spotlighted."
Glen Beck: "Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could."
Dick Morris: "Those crazies in Montana who say 'we're going to kill ATF agents because the UN's going to take over.' Well, they're beginning to have a case."

Now the chickens are coming home to roost,  

We have a long history of crazy right wing terrorists killing innocent people in America
On July 27, 2008 Former U.S. Army private, Jim David Atkinsson, who hated Democrats, liberals, African Americans and homosexuals, using a Remington Model 48 12-gauge shotgun, murdered two people and injured seven others inside the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, TN.
The day after Obama’s inauguration, white supremacist Keith Luke went on a killing spree in Brockton, Massachusetts. His goal was to kill as many Jews, blacks and Hispanics as possible. When questioned by investigators, the deranged gunman who had stockpiled hundreds of rounds of ammunition, proclaimed that he was fighting the extinction of the white race.
A little over a month later, Dannie Baker, a former Republican campaign volunteer shot five Chilean immigrants in Florida. Those who knew him said he was obsessed with the fear that illegal immigrants were taking over the country.
In April of 2009, Richard Popalowski, a white supremacist in Pittsburgh, shot and killed three police officers following a domestic disturbance call. He apparently thought that Obama was part of a government conspiracy to seize all guns, and he feared the government would take his guns away.
Later the same month, a Fort Walton Beach Florida man who thought the Obama administration was conspiring against him, shot and murdered two sheriff’s deputies.
On May 31, 2009 Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his own church by a right-wing “pro- life” gun man who decided to express his belief in the sanctity of human life by executing a medical doctor.
Eleven days later a right-wing white supremacist and Holocaust denier walked into the National Holocaust Museum and killed an African-American security guard. Two weeks later, three Neo-Nazis were arrested for bombing a diversity office in Scottsdale, Arizona.
On April 20, 2010 a member of the Sovereign Citizen movement was arrested after a failed attempt to take over a Tennessee county courthouse.
Exactly one month later, in West Memphis Arkansas, Sovereign citizens Jerry and Joe Kane murdered two police officers before they themselves were shot and killed in the ensuing shoot out with police.
On July 18, 2010 Byron Williams, an angry unemployed man, was arrested by police after they discovered a car full of weapons and ammunition that he had planned to use to kill progressives. He was on his way to the non-profit Tides Foundation Center, a favorite target of vitriol from Glenn Beck’s radio show.
On Jan. 8, 2011 22-year old Jared Lee Loughner killed six people, including a judge and a nine-year old child, and wounded 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), using a 9mm Glock 19 pistol during a public meeting in a supermarket parking lot near Tuscon, AZ.
On Aug. 5, 2012 Wade Michael Page, a 40-year old white supremacist and U.S. Army veteran murdered six people and wounded four others inside a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI with a Springfield XD(M) semi-automatic pistol.

When two people, wearing the "don't tread on me", tea party colors and cowardly ambush two police officers - take ownership.  

When a man in Texas was at the end of his rope, he could not get a job and was losing custody of his son, he knew it wasn't his fault, it was the fault of the liberals.   The liberals gave him no choice but to shoot people.   They are the enemy after all.

Even long past his prime, Charlie Daniels has changed his tune.   He went from this call for unity:

To this open letter drivel:

Mr. President, it seems to me that you have little faith in American ingenuity, American capability, American exceptionalism and even American patriotism.
You seem to think that America needs a monolithic, big brother type government to oversee and regulate every aspect of American life, that citizens are not competent to control their own affairs and make their own decisions without some oppressive bureaucracy to call the shots.
Mr. President, the answer is not government, conversely, the problem is government. A government that has doubled the national debt, increased unemployment, lowered take home pay, increased food stamp participation and disability claims and introduced socialized medicine.

UGg.   As the rhetoric gets worse(wait until we get closer to the 2016 election), and as poverty climbs and people get more desperate, look for more and more political splits and confrontations.   There will be more violence and more deaths, and it all could have been avoided.  

Unfortunately, holding the power of the purse trumps everything to the people in charge and we are all paying a steep price.

If we do not change things soon, we are heading towards another civil war.

Think about that!

The Private School Profiteer "Burger" Contest.

By Jeff Simpson

Republican front runner, Jeb BUSH recently held a "Bush, Burgers and Beers" Contest.   Of course the term contest, should be used very lightly as the winner of the contest was Wisconsin's own School Privatizating snake oil salesman - Zues Rodriguez.  

When you figure privatizing schools an important issue to the Republican base, and then realize that of all the entries, the one he picked was one of the most recognizable school profiteers in WI - Zeus Rdriguez.    Then loyal readers of CogDis member that Zeus has bigger ideas to expand his bank account, you realize that this "contest" was a great way to match these two men's ambitions up.  

It is a good way for Jeb BUSH, to take a shot at Scott Walker in his home state and let the privatizers know that he is still on their side.    It also makes Zeus pick a side and if (by some unGodly scenario spawned in Hades), Jeb BUSH happens to win, he will owe Zeus a favor.   What a coincidence, Zeus wants to expand in Texas.  

Ambition meet ambition and mix in a bit of dirty politics and you have the perfect "contest" winner, while Scott Walker(Jeb's competitiion)  ends up being the loser.   

The question is, will the Republicans in WI punish Zeus for turning on Mr. Walker? 

Kind of?

Republican speech writer Mark Salter is paying attention.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lindsey Graham Makes a Threat

By Jeff Simpson

I know I said I try and ignore the Republican clowns running for President.  However this kind of hatred, and stupidity needs to be arrested and shamed not ignored.

Senator Lindsey Graham went to the shooting range recently and labeled the clay pigeons Bernie Sanders.

 GRAHAM: "I'm gonna get you motivated to want to kill the clay pigeon..."
GRAHAM: "Alright, do a Bernie Sanders."
GRAHAM: "Pull!"
GRAHAM: "Sorry about that, Bernie!"

This is acceptable behavior for a US Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate?   It is time fort he Republicans to start taking a look in the mirror and punishing this kind of behavior, not rewarding it.

Santorum - Party of One

By Jeff Simpson

I normally would not care at all about the clowns in the clown car that is mislabeled in the media as the Republican race for 2016 Presidential nomination.   However, this story caught my eye:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum showed up at a campaign stop in Iowa to find only one voter waiting for him, but he called the event a success anyway.

The Des Moines Register reported that Santorum decided to order lunch when he saw that Audubon County Republican Party Chair Peggy Toft was his entire audience at a restaurant in Hamlin.

What do you do when only one person shows up  to your event?    Order some food and discuss the danger of gay marriage of course. 

By the time his meal of tenderloin and onion rings showed up, so had three other voters, according to the Register.
At a small table in the restaurant, Santorum explained to Pastor Glen Meyers and the other listeners that same-sex marriage was threat to the family and religious liberty.

Walker's Fascism Could Cost Taxpayers $1 Million

Last week, I wrote about six of the Wisconsin protesters that were awarded $45,000 from a lawsuit because Scott Walker had violated their constitutional rights.

Right wing heads exploded when they learned that justice was still for everyone.

However, that was just the very tip of the iceberg. The final cost to taxpayers could end up near $1 million:
The lawyer representing six protesters who won a combined $44,830 in damages from the State of Wisconsin earlier this week believes the total cost for unconstitutional arrests and fines handed out by Capitol Police since 2011 could ultimately run over $1 million.

Dane County Judge Frank Remington awarded the first set of damages to Capitol protesters on Tuesday. All six were arrested in the early stages of the 2011 Act 10 protests. The money awarded covered compensation for attorney fees and for loss of liberty, emotional distress and damage to reputation.

Capitol Police were enforcing a rule in the state administrative code that required a permit to hold a sign on state property. Olson filed claims early on in the process challenging the legality of that section of the code, and thus, the lawfulness of the arrests.

"We finally got - after a trip to the court of appeals and back in the circuit court - we got the state to own up to the fact that that was the rule at issue," said Olson.

That led to a ruling that the arrests were unconstitutional, opening the door for damages and attorney fees related to the constitutional challenge. Olson is now going after attorney fees associated with his clients' civil rights case.

"And in this case, it's been going on for so long and we've been to the court of appeals three times, those are going to be well into the six figures," said Olson, who said he represents at least ten more clients seeking damages.

But Olson said anyone arrested under that administrative rule could file a claim, as well as another rule that required a permit for the Solidarity Singers. An appeals court deemed that rule unconstitutional in January.

Olson estimates that hundreds of people could be eligible for awards as a result of those court rulings.
And BOOM! The right wingers' heads just exploded again.

Ironically, Walker is still campaigning as a freedom lover and a fiscal conservative.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Walker - Rubio 2016?

Image from ABC News

Even though Scott Walker hasn't officially announced that he is running for president*, he is making overtures about teaming up with Marco Rubio as a ticket:
Already, there's murmuring: What about a Walker-Rubio ticket? Or a Rubio-Walker one?

“I've actually had quite a few people -- grassroots supporters, donors and others -- who have made that suggestion,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said in an interview with Bloomberg Politics on Thursday, when asked if he would be at all interested in partnering with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Granted, it's early -- Walker has not even announced if he will run or not, saying that he wants to wait until after his state's two-year budget is completed in early July -- but speculative political matchmaking has already begun. And these two have a lot in common: They are both 40-somethings with kids who talk up their humble roots and rank as some of the least wealthy potential presidential contenders.
As the article goes on to note, things haven't always been wonderful between the two:
But there has been a little bit of sparring between the two. In late April, both were in the Des Moines area for a Saturday evening political forum at a mega-church. Earlier that day, Rubio said in a meeting with the Des Moines Register editorial board that there was "no way" a governor like Walker could handle foreign relations.

"Governors can certainly read about foreign policy, and take briefings and meet with experts, but there is no way they'll be ready on Day 1 to manage U.S. foreign policy," said Rubio, now 44, according to the Des Moines Register.

Walker, upon hearing about this comment, fired back: “I think he’s questioning how Ronald Reagan was ready.”
Ironically, what Walker sees as being a positive actually exposes him for the novice and fool he really is:
Some who have talked privately to Walker about a possible pairing with Rubio say they have been surprised by how seriously the Wisconsin governor seems to be taking the prospect. At this phase of presidential campaign, the norm would be for a White House hopeful to summarily dismiss such a move, in public and in private.
When asked who would be the top of the ticket, Walker quipped that they might have to arm wrestle for it. Walker didn't indicate if he would wear his latex gloves for such a match:

*Walker is still waiting for God to tell him whether to run. In Walker's case, God is The Almighty Dollar.  If he gets enough Big Money backers, God will tell him to run.  If the Big Money goes elsewhere, God will tell him he's not done destroying Wisconsin.