Monday, November 30, 2015

Scooter The Red-Nosed Weasel

Image courtesy of Blue Gal aka Fran

Poor Scott Walker.

First he falls in the polls. Then he falls out of the presidential race. Now he falls on his arse at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony:
Gov. Scott Walker made his annual Christmas tree lighting event more eventful than in past years by taking an unexpected tumble in front of the Executive Residence on Sunday.

Earlier, the governor had asked the children in the crowd to yell for Santa, who then made a surprise visit.

“Looks like you had a little turkey for Thanksgiving there, Santa,” Walker quipped. He then invited the children to sing Jingle Bells.

Guests were given candles as they came in, and before the tree was lit, Walker encouraged them to light their candles without catching anyone on fire.

Finally, he led the crowd in counting down from 10 to the tree lighting. After the tree lit up, he suddenly fell. The crowd hushed.

He’s been “nipping at the eggnog a little bit, feeling festive,” Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett joked as she took the microphone to help smooth over the gaffe.
You can't really blame Walker if he has been hitting the egg nog pretty hard.

He's got tens of thousands of dollars in personal debt on high interest credit cards. His former presidential campaign is a million dollars in the hole. His poll numbers have hit rock bottom and staying there. And he's got his lieutenant governor, Becky "Blinky" Kleefisch and the Speaker of the Assembly, Robin "Popcorn Balls" Vos, both measuring the windows in the governor's office for new drapes in 2018. He can't go anywhere in public without being jeered and booed.

And now he embarrasses himself again. But don't worry, he didn't really fall on his butt. We would have heard about the brain concussion by now if he had.

Abele: Parking Laws Are For The Little People

When Chris Abele was first running to be Milwaukee County Emperor Executive, the issue of the excessive amount of parking tickets he had accrued came up:
Chris Abele, the millionaire philanthropist running for county exec, doesn't pay any state or federal income taxes.

That's been well-documented.

But the guy apparently doesn't mind dipping into his wallet to help the city's meter readers meet their monthly quotas.

Records show Abele has racked up 92 parking tickets since Jan. 1, 2007. Of those tickets - which run $22 each - he paid a $5 late fee on 26 and a $15 late fee once.

Total cost: $2,169.

To most people, that's real money, but it's just a drop in the bucket for the scion of wealthy Boston businessman John Abele.

"Chris is on the go a lot," explained Brandon Lorenz, Abele's campaign spokesman.

Like nobody else is.

But unlike others, he's not feeding the meters when he's parking his 2009 Audi, which bears the striking vanity plate "PRFR0CK," according to city and state databases.
Five years later and it's obvious that Abele still thinks that parking rules are for the little people.

On Monday night, Abele had a rare campaign appearance thinly disguised as an even rarer town hall meeting to discuss his 2016 budget which is already in the books.  Said event took place at the Urban Ecology Center.

And outside the Urban Ecology Center was Abele's massive SUV, parked in a no parking zone:

Click on image to embiggen
Of course, with a couple of DUI tickets and any number of ethics violations, Abele has already made it all too abundantly clear that when one is County Emperor, one does not have to follow the law.

Scott Walker - Welfare King

By Jeff Simpson

Everyone in Wisconsin knows that Scott Walker decided earlier in the year to run for President but failed miserably.  After wasting about ten weeks and $7 million dollars, Walker crawled back to Wisconsin with his tail between his legs and tried to actually earn his pay for a change.

What most Wisconsinites do not know however, is that Scott Walker owes the people of Wisconsin at least $70,000 and probably more (which he promises he will pay at some point).   This is on top of the tens of thousands of dollars he has ran up on his personal credit cards by mismanaging his own money as poorly as he has ours.

While most people, when they owe a debt, do their best to cover it by making sacrifices until they can pay their bills.   Making $144,423 with Cadillac benefits and numerous perks, you would think some intelligent budgeting and a couple months of sacrifice, the debts could be paid down quickly.

One thing we have learned in the last four 6 years, is that Scott Walker is NOT like most people.

First he decided that he had no interest in paying the bill he ran up back,  and he needed the donors he has done so many favors for to pay it off instead.

  "[A]s things changed dramatically in the presidential race, 'Walker for America' incurred a campaign debt and it is my hope that you and all of our supporters will chip in and make an online contribution," Walker wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "It is a lot to ask, I know, but we feel personally obligated to make sure that every small business that extended us their good faith and credit is repaid."Walker wrote that he wants to "end our presidential race on a positive note with all of the bills paid" and asked for donations ranging from $25 to $1,000 to "erase every penny of outstanding debt from our campaign together."

Yes, it is still cheaper than building a wall around Canada, but still to expensive for many of his donors as his asking for a hand out was pretty unsuccessful and Mr, Walker and his family still owe the Wisconsin taxpayers a good chunk of money.

While many people would fore go their wants and desires to pay off the debt, Mr. Walker again proves he is not most people by flaunting it.

What has Mr. Walker been up to instead of paying us all back?

Now that he took ten weeks off of his job, and worked for a couple weeks, is now entitled to even more vacation to deer hunt(which he also massively failed at).

The on Thanksgiving night, he took the family to the Bear/Packer game where tickets were going for a minimum of $400/ticket.   A $2000 minimum trip.

Then while totally proving that he has no interest in really governing Wisconsin, has accepted the position of second fiddle  vice chairin the Republican Governors Association(even they know he has no leadership qualities).

As we say here, But wait, there's more!

Scott Walker has also told us that now that he is no longer pursuing his own selfish ambitions and come back to Wisconsin, that his top priority will be doing the job he was elected, and we pay him to do - Govern WI.

Sorry just kidding,

Scott Walker's top priority will be helping to find work and training for the thousands of Wisconsinites upended by the closings of Oscar Mayer, Johnson Controls, GE Healthcare and others who are fleeing the state.

Umm no not that either.

It is actually being a good fiscal conservative and paying back the massive debt he owes Wisconsin taxpayers.  

Not so much.  

Scott Walkers top priority in the next year will be to help get Senator Ron Johnson re-elected.

You can not make this stuff up.

Wisconsin better not be counting on the money that Scott Walker owes us.  Paying your debts is for the peasants not the ruling class.

Here is Mr. Walker explaining how to skim from the church collection plate.


One last side note that bears watching is, like Jimmy Fallon has been rumored to have problems handling the stress of his new gig, Scott Walker could be collapsing under the pressure of realizing that the whole countries base of voters thoroughly rejected him and now he has to face the consequences of 3 straight austerity budgets and is not able to handle that challenge.  Scott Walker took a tumble while lighting the Governor's Mansion Christmas tree with a bunch of children.

Finally, he led the crowd in counting down from 10 to the tree lighting. After the tree lit up, he suddenly fell. The crowd hushed.
He’s been “nipping at the eggnog a little bit, feeling festive,” Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett joked as she took the microphone to help smooth over the gaffe.
We know that Mr. Walker likes to drink, and thanks to Ms Klett we know that he was imbibing,this story is one that we will be watching over the next few months.

H/T Political Capital!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Flag Of Terror

By Jeff Simpson

Here is Right wing Domestic Terrorist Bob Dear in all of his glory:

credit: facebook

This was Glenn Grothman's office door before he was given a promotion by the people of West Bend:

Arizona State Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City:

Wisconsin Tea Party Rally when Sarah Palin came to Madison:

Wisconsin Tea Party Profile pic:

A Paul Ryan Campaign Rally:

epa03364259 A protester flies the American and a Gadsden flag outside West Springfield High School prior to a campaign rally featuring Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan in Springfield, Virginia USA 17 August 2012.  Ryan attended a rally outside of Richmond, Virginia earlier in the day before coming to Northern Virginia where polls have the race with President Barack Obama in a near tie.  EPA/Shawn Thew Stock Photo

Jimmy Wigderson blogs about his love of the Gadsden Flag:

Would it help WisPolitics to maintain their independence if we sent them the Gadsden flag?

Then there was the incidence when a couple shot two police officers in the back and draped their dead bodies in the Gadsden flag.

On June 8, 2014, Jerad Dwain Miller, 31, and his wife Amanda Woodruff Miller, 22, entered a Las Vegas pizzeria and without any provocation or warning, shot and killed two police officers sitting in a booth eating lunch.  The pair dragged the officers to the floor, took their weapons and ammunition, and draped a yellow (Gadsden) flag over one of the bodies.  They placed a swastika-stamped manifesto on top of the flag, and pinned a note on the other officer’s body that read, “This is the start of the revolution.”
Then there is this from White Right Wisconsin:

Let us be perfectly clear.  This is NOT a flag of the Revolution, it has now become the flag of the White Power, Right Wing "Christian" terrorists in The United States!  

Be wary when you see one.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Shocking Hypocrisy of Dr. Means

By Jeff Simpson 

In a case that has caught local attention, the Mequon- Thiensville School district placed Mrs. Krista Lesiecki, a math teacher in the district for 18 years, on administrative leave earlier in the year, and recommended her termination.  

While the details are sketchy on what actually happened, the one fact that is indisputable, is that it was a single disagreement between Mrs. Lesiecki and one student and her parents.   

The Superintendent of Mequon-Thiensville, Dr. Demond Means(yes, that Dr. Means), sent a letter to the community that included no details, but did include this line

In the letter, the district's superintendent said, "When alleged behavior is egregious in nature, swift and immediate action from our administration is necessary."
Let's be perfectly clear here:

Never once has she been accused of threatening the students safety or any physical harm.   It appears to be a personality/philosophy disagreement between teacher and student.   Mrs. Lesiecki even requested for all hearings/meetings to take place in open session so the public would know exactly what was done and said.   Which does not seem to fit the "egregious" label that was quickly placed upon her.  

Since Mequon-Thiensville and Dr. Means have made their point perfectly clear that a public institution of learning is no place to have philosophical/personality disagreements, it is interesting to me that they are allowing Dr. Means as commissioner of the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program(the Republican takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools bill), and he accepted.   

For those of us scoring at home, lets dig a little deeper.  

* Republicans in Wisconsin have cut more money from public education than any other state in the country.   Apparently not Egregious. 

*  The GOP legislators provided Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee with a 30 page “K-12 Omnibus Motion,” and gave them approximately one hour to review it before starting debate at 8:15pm and passing the motion in its entirety at almost 2am. Not a single item in this bill, that was rammed through the middle of the night, was raised a campaign issue in the last election.    Apparently also not egregious.   

*  In this bill, Rep. Kooyenga(R-drinks alot) and Sen. Darling, have given the power to County Executive Chris Abele the power to take over the Milwaukee Public Schools and hand them over to unaccountable charter schools.  (Must read  post on the bill here). None of the three have a single education credential between them(Abele did not even finish college) and yet they are trumping the elected school board members in the MPS.   Apparently also NOT egregious.  

None of these facts bother Dr. Means as much as one conversation between teacher/parent/student gone bad.   With a  public education friend like that .....   Mrs Lesiecki did have plenty of support from other means though, including a facebook support group over 2000 members strong

Now it appears that Mrs. Lesiecki has decided to put this horrible chapter in her distinguished career behind her, and has agreed to a settlement with the district.  

A longtime Homestead High School math teacher who faced a Monday disciplinary hearing over an alleged interaction with a student and her parents is stepping down under a settlement reached with the Mequon-Thiensville School District on Friday.
Krista Lesiecki will remain on paid leave through the end of the 2015-'16 school year, after which "her employment with the district will conclude," Lesiecki and the district said in a joint statement issued Friday afternoon.

While I wish Mrs. Lesiecki well in her future endeavors, I would recommend that we as a public education community get together and discuss what is and is not egregious in relating to our schools and education system these days in WI.  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

What Will Be In Your Email On Friday?

As the gentle reader knows, Scott Walker showed his usual fiscal conservatism when he was running for president, running up a debt of $1 million in just seven weeks.  And that doesn't count the tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt he has.

With Friday being Black Friday, and Walker being so deep in the hole, I can't help but wonder if we'll see another Grinch-styled fundraising email like we did two years ago, when he said people shouldn't buy their kids any Christmas presents and give him the money instead:
Walker's campaign sent out a fundraising email on Friday that really takes the cake (emphasis mine):

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

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

Instead of electronics or toys that will undoubtedly be outdated, broken, or lost by the next Holiday Season, help give your children the gift of a Wisconsin that we can all be proud of. Governor Walker is helping Wisconsin move forward to a future where your children and grandchildren can experience:
  • Economic Prosperity
  • Improved Schools
  • Freedom From Government Dependence
The Governor wants his sons to grow up in a Wisconsin as great as the one he grew up in. When asked why he never stopped fighting for Wisconsin during the Recall, Governor Walker says he has two reasons, his sons Matt and Alex.

With your help, Governor Walker is enacting reforms that are securing a strong state for the future of Wisconsin’s children. This Black Friday, donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Governor Walker win reelection so he can continue to help Wisconsin move forward.

A strong Wisconsin is the best gift you can give.


Taylor Palmisano
Friends of Scott Walker
Yes, you read that correctly.

Walker is telling people to not bother buying their children any Christmas presents. Instead, they should give the money that they would have spent on their children and give it to Walker's campaign.
Then again, I wouldn't put it past Walker to send his people out disguised as bell ringers to help raise money.

One thing for sure, we can't expect him to actually earn that money.

RoJo: Income Inequality Is The American Way!

Ron Johnson, in his last year of being a US Senator, says that income inequality is the American Way and that if you want better income equality, go to North Korea:
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said at a forum this week that people should look at North Korea if they want to improve the gap between the rich and poor, adding that he doesn’t want to see Americans be “equally poor.”

“First of all, you want really good income equality, go to North Korea,” the Republican senator said at a town hall-style meeting Tuesday at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. “I’m serious. Probably the nation on earth where you’ve got the most income equality is probably North Korea, so I don’t want to see people equally poor.”
In other words, what RoJo is saying is "Don't ask what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country's corporate overlords."

RoJo's arrogance and indifference to the common folk stems from the fact that he knows the secret to getting and staying rich - all you have to do is marry into wealth and have your father-in-law create a company just of you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Popcorn Turkey

With the holidays upon us, we return to many of our traditions - or as with my family this year, we start new ones.  In that light, here is a recipe that I've shared with my readers every Thanksgiving Day, so that you can start your own tradition:
An oldie, but a goodie...

Here is a Thanksgiving Turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing - imagine that.

When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.


10-12 lb. Turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
5 cups uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER 'S LOW FAT)
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush Turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven.Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and flies across the room, it's done.

Imagine the look on your loved ones' faces as you show off your culinary skills.
Enjoy your holiday!

Paul Ryan's Honeymoon As Speaker Is Over

Remember when Paul Ryan agreed to become Speaker of the House, he said that he would only be if he could be a unifying force for the Republicans?

Well, that didn't last long:
Nearly one-third of the Republicans in the House of Representatives signed a letter calling on party leaders to ensure that a must-pass spending bill block any use of federal funding to resettle refugees from Syria and nearby countries, the bill's sponsor said on Tuesday.

Seventy-four of the 246 House Republicans signed the letter, which was circulated by Republican Representative Brian Babin.

It urges Speaker Paul Ryan and other House leaders to include a provision in an upcoming appropriations bill that would block President Barack Obama's plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year.

Passage of a bill with such language by the Republican-controlled Congress could set up a showdown with Obama, who has promised to veto a standalone bill passed by the House last week setting tighter controls on refugee resettlement.

Congressional aides are negotiating the $1 trillion-plus spending bill, facing a Dec. 11 deadline for it to pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by Obama to avoid a government shutdown.

Ryan's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.
It's not surprising that Ryan did not respond right away. He was probably too worried about killing Bambi to be bothered with saving lives or showing the leadership he falsely promised.

H/T digby

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

So It Begins......

By Jeff Simpson 

We warned you recently, that if we elect and continue to worship far right wing lunatics, that there will be no place for anyone in America, but people in the Aryan race.

Since we posted the story of a "Black Lives Matter" protester being assaulted at a Trump rally, Donald Trump himself came out and said the guy "deserved it".

"Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing," Trump said Sunday morning on Fox News, less than 24 hours after his campaign said it "does not condone" the physical altercation.
Unfortunately for America, it did not stop there.  The White Supremacy crowd that has been unleashed with this Republican Presidential primary, showed up in Minneapolis last night:

 Five protesters were shot late Monday night near the Black Lives Matter encampment at the Fourth Precinct police station in north Minneapolis, according to police.Those who were shot sustained non-life-threatening injuries, said police spokesman John Elder in a statement.
Miski Noor, a media contact for Black Lives Matter, said “a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights.”
One of the three counterdemonstrators wore a mask, said Dana Jaehnert, who had been at the protest site since early evening.
When about a dozen protesters attempted to herd the group away from the area, Noor said, they “opened fire on about six protesters,” hitting five of them. Jaehnert said she heard four gunshots

Buckle up America, this is only the beginning.


A quick update on the guy who was assaulted and Trump felt was handled appropriately:

 “It was just a sea of white faces,” he told ThinkProgress. “A lady kicked me in the stomach. A man kicked me in the chest. They called me n*****, monkey, and they shouted ‘all lives matter’ while they were kicking and punching me. So for all the people who are still confused at this point, they proved what ‘all lives matter’ meant. It means, ‘Shut up, n*****.'”On Sunday, the morning after the rally, Trump told the hosts of Fox & Friends that Southall deserved what he got.
“Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing…This was a very obnoxious guy, a troublemaker, looking to make trouble.”

Ladies and Gentleman --- your 2015 Republican Party. Reince must be proud!  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Leah Vukmir Comes Clean

By Jeff Simpson 

Much was written over the weekend that while Scott Walker was busy drinking and campaigning for President, he was not doing his job as Governor of Wisconsin(yet still collected his $144,423/yr and Cadillac benefits the WI taxpayers are paying him).

Over his 71-day campaign, Walker's official monthly calendars include 57 hours of state business, or an average of 48 minutes per day. Many days, the governor's only Wisconsin-related agenda item was a brief morning teleconference with his staff.
Walker's office released the records to news outlets late Friday afternoon, when few people would be paying attention to them.
In contrast, Walker blocked off 809 hours over the same time period for other purposes, an average of 11 hours and 24 minutes per day. The calendars note it as "hold time" -- often from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the presidential campaign.
Most of his days consisted of a quick teleconference with his staff, not lawmakers, not WEDC officials, just his staff.  

How do the lawmakers who need to work with Scott Walker, feel about his shirking his duties for 71 days?

Over the final month of Walker's presidential campaign, only three days included more state business than his usual phone call with staff or taping his weekly radio address. Yet Republicans in the state Legislature said this fall that Walker had been accessible.
"He`s been in touch with us. He`s contacted us on a variety of issues," Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, said on Sept. 22, the day after Walker ended his campaign.

I have always been afirm believer that when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them.  Senator Vukmir has admitted, one that she has no need to ever talk to the Governor and two less than an hour actually Governing our state is all the Republicans need.  

I guess its no surprise judging by the jobs that we are bleeding out of our communities lately that Governing WI is not very high on their list of priorities.

The question we need to ask ourselves, is do we want politicians that actually govern?  or do we want to continue to elect people like Leah Vukmir who make a mockery of our Democracy and our State?


The Vainglorious Chris Abele

In a futile effort to rebuild the political bridges he has burned and pick up his sagging poll numbers before next year's spring election, Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele is going all out to buy the election.  He has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on incessant commercials and at least six large mailers - many with multiple pages - each printed in high quality color on heavy stock paper.  Abele has also spent at least half a million dollars in bribe money in buy-partisanship.

In Abele's first mailer, he makes several outlandish claims which I will get into at a later time.  But one of his main themes really stands out:

Without going into each fabrication in this mailer, the common theme is that Abele is claiming that he helped children, women and working families through the Argosy Foundation, a charitable entity that is funded with his daddy's money. However, despite his claims, he is awfully light on the specifics of just how he helped all these people. That is probably because he hadn't helped them out all that much personally. He just used his daddy's money as leverage to force himself on the boards of all these groups.

It's not just me saying it either. Years ago, Milwaukee Magazine ran an article about Abele that was titles "The Billionaire's Son." Part of the article dealt with the fact that Abele's donations to these groups weren't all that altruistic as Abele is trying to make them sound. In truth, they were to feed his own already over-sized ego:
But many individuals active in the nonprofit sector agree with one foundation head that “a great percent of Chris Abele’s -giving is in the category of the vanity giver.” A major corporate CEO is harsher: “When he does [participate], he grandstands.… The Kellners, Uihleins and Lubars all give away a great deal of money every year, and they don’t have to get their picture in the paper. Maybe it’s just immaturity with Chris.”

They and others cite a litany of examples. One involves two $100,000 Argosy Foundation gifts Chris arranged. Rather than the normal protocol, which would be to recognize the foundation as the donor, Chris took credit, too. The 2003 Milwaukee Art Museum annual report lists “Christopher Abele on behalf of the Argosy Foundation” (even though he gave his own smaller gift); the 2003 Boys and Girls Clubs annual report reads similarly. Seeing Abele’s name alongside Argosy’s looked like a quest for attention or at least a need for approval, especially when two larger gifts, $25 million each, remained anonymous.

Abele is like “a moth to the flame,” says a friend who warned him that -“publicity can be a double-edged sword.” When the friend advised Abele to back off a bit, Abele protested that he could “leverage” his celebrity status to advance causes he supports. But it’s hard to see what leverage Abele gets from saying that the one thing he really likes about Milwaukee is that it’s not pretentious, then drops names relentlessly himself. Talk to Abele for a while and pretty soon he’s recounting how he went to Cuba and met with Castro, how he’s importing the entire Yale Drama School faculty as directors for the Milwaukee Shakespeare Company he co-founded or how he talked Tom Barrett into running for mayor. (“Yeah, maybe him and 300 other people,” says a Barrett adviser.)

“He’ll say, ‘George and I did this,’ ” says the friend, “and he’s talking about George Soros [the investor-philanthropist-Democratic activist and 28th richest man in the world]. Well, it was a ‘meet and greet.’ Nobody cares. He doesn’t need to do that. But he wants to be considered important.”
So he dishes out an iota of his daddy's money, maybe attends a meeting or two, and then claims he is some kind of patron saint to Milwaukee's downtrodden while ignoring that many of the policies he advocates is meant to keep them downtrodden.

The gentle reader might have also noticed that while Abele is rather light on specifics on exactly how he supposedly helped all these people before he became county executive, he has nothing to say at all about how he treated these same people after becoming county emperor.  Undoubtedly, that's something that Abele and his handlers don't want people to think about.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

RoJoWho Clarifies The Type Of War He Wants With ISIS

Ron Johnson has already said that he is not satisfied with just banning Syrian refugees but wants to invade Syria and Iraq to rid the world of ISIS because it has worked so well before.

On Sunday, RoJoWho appeared on "UpFront with Mike Gousha," a Wisconsin based talk show, and clarified that he wants his war to be a replication of the first Gulf War led by President George H.W. Bush:
In an interview broadcast Sunday on "UpFront with Mike Gousha," the host asked Johnson for a clearer definition of how many U.S. troops he envisions taking part in such a mission.

Johnson, a Republican from Oshkosh who chairs the Senate's Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, initially hesitated, saying he wasn't a military expert. But he said his model for what the U.S. should do to fight ISIS is what President George H.W. Bush did in response to the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait.

"He very clearly laid out the goal, and then he assembled a coalition," Johnson said. "The U.S. provided about two-thirds of the troop level. Our coalition partners provided a third. Our coalition partners paid for 85 percent of that effort. Now that's a full commitment by the world community toward a goal."

The 1990-91 Persian Gulf War included a coalition of 670,000 troops from 28 countries; 383 U.S. troops were killed.

Johnson said that because ISIS "is not that good militarily," the troop numbers would not need to be as high as they were for the early 1990s effort.

"They are sophisticated in terms of use of social media, of spreading this vile, this barbaric ideology of theirs," Johnson said of ISIS. "Recruiting people to join their jihad, they're sophisticated there, but militarily, it really would not be that difficult — it wouldn't take anywhere near the efforts that the first Gulf War did.

"I've been hearing 25,000 troops, a total coalition of maybe 100,000. I really don't know the exact numbers. But we have to be committed to the goal because every day that ISIS exists, they're going to continue to inspire the type of barbarity that we saw play out in Paris, in Beirut, the downing of the Russian jetliner. This threat isn't going away. It is growing, it is metastasizing. We have to take it seriously."
In addition, RoJoWho wanted to make sure that everyone knew that even after five years in the US Senate, he's still not ready for prime time. He did this by introducing a bill that would require an even more stringent vetting process for Syrian refugees, even though he admits that the current process is "pretty robust."

RoJoWho also said that he wants to "eliminate all threats to this nation," then admits it's impossible to do.

In other words, he has an election coming up that he is probably going to lose so he is throwing the red meat of fear and bigotry to his base in order to get them fired up.

Trump : the Ghost of America's Future

By Jeff Simpson

There was a protester at a recent Donald Trump Rally, and Trump did not find it amusing.

What happened to the protester?

The protester removed his shirt to show a shirt that said "Black Lives Matter" and after being instructed by The Donald to attack, his minions did: kicking, shoving and hitting him.   One even yelled "All Lives Matter", followed by "Keep All refugees out".  

This is a taste of America to come if we hand control back to the Republicans in 2016.  There will be no place for "those people" and if you are not 100% on board with the far right wing agenda, you will be considered the enemy.  

We have seen it over and over.

And before anyone tries to blame it on Trump, do not forget this is the Republican primary full of hard core Republican voters.  If Trump is not in the race, these people are doing the exact same thing at someone else's rally.  

I mean we have known this strategu for years.

Aren't we better than that?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Who Has Abele Placed In Your Neighborhood?

For more than two years, AFSCME and the mental health professionals at the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division have been warning about the dangers associated with Chris Abele's plan to privatize the mental health system and close the mental health complex.

The Milwaukee County Board heeded these warnings and wanted to put safeguards into Abele's plan to relocate all the patients into the community.  Because of this and his desire for no accountability or public knowledge, Abele ran to his old buddy, Republican State Representative Joe Sanfelippo.  After slipping Sanfelippo a few bucks, he got his privately owned state rep to push through a law taking the board out of the loop and creating a puppet board to rubber stamp Abele's plans.

Earlier this year, Abele's secrecy and dishonesty started causing problems.  The citizens of Franklin started protesting a group home opening in their community.  They cited concerns about who might be housed in the group home, whether there would be adequate supervision and security and other such things.  Instead of doing the proper education, Abele and the private agency have threatened to sue the City of Franklin to force them to allow the group home.

But it doesn't end there.  As with all things Abele, there is more.  There is always more.

Apparently, in an effort to avoid another fiasco like the one in Franklin, Abele adapted a new modus operandi, namely, lying about what he is doing.

On Wednesday, Milwaukee Alderman Terry Witkowski and State Representative Christine Sinicki held a press conference accusing Abele of opening another group home which will house sex offenders, despite his assurance that this wouldn't happen:
Ald. Terry L. Witkowski on Wednesday accused Milwaukee County officials of covering up a plan to place sex offenders in a community-based residential facility in a quiet south side neighborhood.

The facility at 429 W. Uncas Ave. could open as soon as Friday, with two sex offenders scheduled to move in, said Witkowski, who was joined by more than two dozen neighborhood residents at a news conference in front of the home.

Witkowski said he received assurances from the county's contractor for the facility, Matt Talbot Recovery Service Inc., and its president, Karl Rajani, that no sex offenders would be placed in the home.

But Wednesday, Witkowski said Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services Director Hector Colón called him and said two sex offenders would be placed there.

State Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) joined Witkowski at the news conference and also said she had been misled into believing no sex offenders would be placed in the home.

"This is a residential neighborhood with a park and a lot of young children," Sinicki said.

"We were baldfaced lied to about this."
I find it interesting that the agency that owns this group home is the same one that caused the ruckus in Franklin. It should give one pause to wonder what kind of deal Abele made with this agency.

Abele's staff won't say whether the two sex offenders are on the state's sex offender registry. He then tried to assure people that the two people would not violate the city's law restricting where sex offenders can live.

But given how Abele lied about whether sex offenders were going to be placed in this group home, who would or could believe him on the type of sex offenders he placing there?

These stories should raise a red flag for anyone living in Milwaukee County or in the Southeast region of Wisconsin.

Given Abele's secrecy and outright lying, how can anyone be sure of the safety of their own neighborhood?  Who has Abele placed in your neighborhood without telling you or your local leaders?

Having sat in on some of the meetings with AFSCME to discuss this, I can advise the gentle reader of one thing they can be sure of us.  These aren't isolated incidents.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Scott Walker Reflux

By Jeff Simpson

Because some things are so stupid and extreme they should never be forgotten.   This is one of them 

Walker said UW campuses might be able to tap into their reserves to offset the cuts, but he emphasized “it will make them do things that they have not traditionally done.”
“They might be able to make savings just by asking faculty and staff to consider teaching one more class per semester,” Walker told reporters Wednesday in Madison. “Things like that could have a tremendous impact on making sure that we preserve an affordable education for all of our UW campuses, and at the same time we maintain a high-quality education.”

Vince Sweeney, vice chancellor for university relations at UW-Madison, said the most recent survey data found UW-Madison faculty spend 50 to 70 hours per week teaching and supporting students, participating in research and other activities.
“It should be noted that many also bring in millions of dollars in grant funding that is a direct boost to the Wisconsin economy,” Sweeney said. “Many create their own companies, which go on to create state jobs. We value their work greatly.”

So this happened today:

UW-Madison scientists have grown human vocal cord tissue in a dish, which made sound when transplanted into voice boxes from cadaver dogs — a development that could lead to better treatments for people with voice disorders.
Such implants likely won't be ready for human testing for years. But recreating the tissue, known as a vocal fold, and showing it was functional in dog larynges and not rejected by a mouse model of the human immune system are significant steps, the researchers said.
“We never imagined that we would see the impressive level of function that we did — and that this engineered tissue, created with actual human vocal fold cells, would have such strong potential as a therapy," said Nathan Welham, a UW-Madison speech-language pathologist and leader of the research team.
The researchers reported their findings Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine

I hope anyone who has, or has a family member, with a disease that has benefited the last twenty years thanks to major advances in research, remembers this when they go to the polls next November.


The Mike Tate Watch

Chris Larson vs Chris Abele

By Jeff Simpson 

Watching the Milwaukee County Executive race between current exec Chris Abele and State Senator Chris Larson will be interesting.  

Chris Abele, hired former Wisconsin Democratic Party head Mike Tate to help run his re-election campaign.  

Mike Tate who caused controversy in the last Gubernatorial election, by dismissing Kathleen Vinehout's initial plan to run for Governor by focusing on small donations, and not going after the big donors that many political insiders feel are necessary to winning elections.  

"The reality is that while we will never have as much money as Scott Walker it is not realistic to believe you can defeat him without running a serious, professional campaign that raises enough money to get the Democratic message out,” Tate said in a statement. “The stakes are too high for our families that are struggling under Scott Walkers policies for anyone to attempt a bid for Governor that will not and cannot raise the money needed to run a grassroots campaign that can communicate with voters at their door, via television, direct mail and the Internet. Modern times require modern campaigns."
Unfortunately for the people of Wisconsin, an unfortunate auto accident helped change our history.  

Now Mike Tate has hitched his wagons to what seems would be a candidate right up his alley.  A corporate right of center "Democrat" who has unlimited funds.  

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele brags that he will pay for his own re-election campaign.
Just look for the Brink's armored truck to pull up any second.

Records show that Abele has already bought $336,495 worth of airtimeon six Milwaukee-area TV stations since Oct. 26. His ads also are all over social media, especially Facebook. And his campaign has sent out at least three slick mailers to voters in the county.

Abele's campaign released two more TV spots on Tuesday, the first on thenew Milwaukee Bucks arena and the other on local bus service, and sent out a new flier as well. Even more direct mail will be on its way soon

 Throw in a five-member campaign staff, polling and consultants — former Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tateamong them — and Abele looks like he could spend as much as $1 million by the end of the year.
The guy who feels that the best way to "fix" our public schools, is to privatize them making no one accountable to the community, is willing to spend one million dollars to bury his opponent a year before the election.

Here is some quick advice to Mr. Abele, give the million dollars to the Milwaukee Public Schools and appoint Dr. Means as a volunteer to your campaign.  Everyone wins.
It will be interesting to see how clean Mike Tate runs a clean race or smears and misleads in his advertisements the way big money tends to do in elections.

  Remember, Chris Larson has always endorsed Mike Tate for chair when he ran, so it will be interesting to see what kind of loyalty Mike Tate shows his old friend.    

For me personally, I see it as a race between someone who likes to work with(and donate too) the extremist Republicans to gain more power(the undemocratic takeover of the Milwaukee County Board and local schools), versus a politician who perpetually gave in to the extremist Republicans(Larson led the way in giving our public education money to the Milwaukee Bucks Billioanire owners).  

Since the last two County Execs have stolen us blind anyway, I would take a long look at Joe Klein from the Pirate Party.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Walker Agenda Still Isn't Working! Part CCXLVI

Last week was one of the worst weeks in Wisconsin history for jobs.  Over a thousand layoffs were announced, putting the state at 10,000 layoffs this year alone and on a pace to double last years dismal numbers.

This week is proving to be no better already.  On Monday, another 277 layoffs were announced by Johnson Controls:
Johnson Controls Inc. will cut 277 more jobs from its Milwaukee-area operations.

The Glendale-based global, multi-industrial company is closing the Milwaukee Business Center at 5055 N. Lydell Ave. The layoffs will begin Jan. 26, 2016, and will continue through the end of June 2016.

Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) announced in September it would cut 2.5 percent, or about 3,000 workers, from its global workforce in an effort to save $250 million annually, as part of a comprehensive cost cutting program. At the time, the company confirmed that some of those job cuts would occur in the Milwaukee area.

The September announcement included jobs affected by plans to indefinitely suspend work at its Project Unity IT program at its office in West Allis. Company spokesman Fraser Engerman said at the time that most of the 197 West Allis workers will find other positions within the company.

The majority of the Lydell Avenue positions to be cut are in accounting and finance. The company had moved about 330 employees from downtown to the former industrial center known as the Lydell Corporate Center in 2010.
But don't worry, folks. Walker and the Republicans have their laser-like focus pinned squarely on legalizing corruption so that their ill gotten income can keep flowing freely.

Ron Johnson Wants To Go To War

Ron Johnson isn't satisfied with the standard Republican talking point of refusing to accept Syrian refugees in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. Oh no, he wants to invade Syria and invade Iraq for the third time:
Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Monday the United States should invade territory held by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Johnson said the Obama administration’s approach — attempting to contain the threat using airstrikes without ground troops — is naive given the threat ISIS poses to the rest of the world, including the United States.

“It’s high time that we make a commitment in the world that Islamic terrorists have got to be wiped off the face of the planet,” the Oshkosh Republican said in a telephone interview. “Because if we don’t, every day that ISIS survives, every day that they are not overtly losing, they are perceived as winners and perceived as winning and they’ll continue to inspire adherents to this barbarity.”

Johnson wants the United States to assemble a coalition, much like the one former president George H.W. Bush put together for the Gulf War in 1990 to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.

“It’s not a perfect solution, but you have to start at the head: We’ve got to destroy the caliphate, which means we’ve got to take back the territory, because a caliphate does not exist without the territory,” he said.
There is no word when RoJo is planning on enlisting in the army to lead his invasion.

But rest assured, RoJo's intentions are pure. He wants to rescue all that oil, er, our freedom from the hands of terrorists. Nope, it has nothing at all to do with all of that BP stock he owns, because 'Murica!

It also has nothing to do with him pandering to the paranoia, the bigotry and the xenophobia of his base. After all, it's not like he is losing badly to Russ Feingold or anything.

Meanwhile, twenty years after the Oklahoma bombing, we are still waiting for RoJoWho, the chairman of the homeland security committee, to do something about the greatest terrorism threat facing America - extremist right wingers.

I would advise the gentle reader not to hold their breath for that to happen.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Republicans' Hollow And Hypocritical Response To Syrian Refugees

On Monday, Scott Walker joined the throng of other Republican governors and lawmakers trying to exploit the terrorist attack on Paris by saying that he would refuse to accept any Syrian refugees in Wisconsin:
Gov. Scott Walker on Monday joined a growing list of governors whose states will not accept new Syrian refugees.

"In light of these horrific and tragic attacks, our first priority must be to protect our citizens. Along with governors across the country, I have deep concerns about the Obama Administration’s plan to accept 10,000 or more Syrian refugees, especially given that one of the Paris attackers was reportedly a Syrian refugee," Walker said in a statement. "In consultation with our Adjutant General, who also serves as my Homeland Security Advisor, it is clear that the influx of Syrian refugees poses a threat. With this in mind, I am calling upon the President to immediately suspend the program pending a full review of its security and acceptance procedures. The State of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees."

Walker joins the governors of states like Michigan, Texas, Massachusetts and Alabama in blocking Syrian refugees from entering Wisconsin for the time being.
In other words, Walker and the other Republicans are turning away tens of thousands of people based on an unsubstantiated rumor.

But that should come as a surprise to no one. When was the last time the Republicans did anything based on facts and truths?

Besides, the Republicans have a tough election year coming up.  How does anyone expect to win if they don't pander to their base's paranoia and bigotry?

But Walker's posturing is just that, emptying posturing. He and the other right wing governors don't have the authority to refuse to the refugees:
The problem for Jindal, Abbott and the other governors opposed to admitting refugees, however, is that there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. As the Supreme Court explained in Hines v. Davidowitz, “the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.” States do not get to overrule the federal government on matters such as this one.

Just in case there is any doubt, President Obama has explicit statutory authorization to accept foreign refugees into the United States. Under the Refugee Act of 1980, the president may admit refugees who face “persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” into the United States, and the president’s power to do so is particularly robust if they determine that an “unforeseen emergency refugee situation” such as the Syrian refugee crisis exists.

This power to admit refugees fits within the scheme of “broad discretion exercised by immigration officials” that the Supreme Court recognized in its most recent major immigration case, Arizona v. United States. Indeed, in describing the executive branch’s broad authority to make discretionary calls regarding immigration matters, Arizona seemed to explicitly contemplate the circumstances that face President Obama today. The United States may wish to allow a foreign national to remain within its borders, the Court explained, because the individual’s home nation “may be mired in civil war, complicit in political persecution, or enduring conditions that create a real risk that the alien or his family will be harmed upon return.”

Moreover, the Court explained, America could suffer severe foreign policy consequences if the executive does not enjoy broad discretion over immigration matters. “The dynamic nature of relations with other countries,” Justice Anthony Kennedy explained in his opinion for the Court in Arizona, “requires the Executive Branch to ensure that enforcement policies are consistent with this Nation’s foreign policy with respect to these and other realities.”
Again, why let a little thing like reality or the law get in the way of playing to their base's xenophobia and bigotry?

Perhaps Walker is trying to protect us from Muslims like the waiter who risked his life by braving a hail of bullets during the Paris attacks to pull two women to safety?

If Walker and the others were really concerned about our safety, why have they not done anything  for twenty years about profiling white, male former military people like Timothy McVeigh, who killed more people by himself than the terrorists who attacked Paris?  Instead, Walker has made it easier for people like this to commit their atrocities.

Lastly, I am surprised that these so called Christians are willing to take such a stance.  I seem to remember learning as a boy in Sunday School about a seasonal story about Middle Eastern refugees being turned away by cold-blooded fools.

Apparently, Walker missed that lesson too.

Paul Ryan's Proves ISIS Wrong

By Jeff Simpson

ISIS has released a video saying they planned on attacking Washington DC.  

Not sure why.

As new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan(second in line to the Presidency) showed us today what his priority is.  

Apparently, they think higher of Washington DC than the rest of the world.   

Kohler Workers Go On Strike

On Sunday, by an overwhelming 94% margin, members of UAW Local 833 rejected Kohler's latest contract offer and voted to go on strike.  The biggest issues appear to be inadequate pay raises, exorbitant increases in health care costs and the continuation of an unfair two-tier system:
Workers on Sunday cited multiple problems with the company's offer, ranging from what they described as an inadequate pay increase to higher health care costs and continuation of a two-tier wage scale.

In 2010, with the economy still reeling from the worst recession since the 1930s, the Local 833 membership accepted a company proposal that froze wages for five years, increased health insurance costs and established a system that pays newer employees much less than their longer-tenured co-workers.

This time, with area unemployment low and a resurgent housing market benefiting Kohler, the workers wanted more.

"The company has been taking it to us for many years now, and we've had enough," said Eric Koene, 43, of Sheboygan, a Kohler employee for 22 years.

Particularly objectionable, he said, is the two-tier wage scale. If that were scrapped, as Local 833 proposed to do over six years, "this (contract) would pass easily, maybe even 100%," Koene said.
Workers in the lower tier, which are new workers, are making less than 60% of the money as the more senior workers for doing the same job. This was done intentionally by the company to cause worker unrest and to undermine the power of the union.

And it's not like the company can't afford to treat their workers decently.  Forbes has the Kohler family, which has been running the company for four generations, valued at $7.3 billion - yes, that's billion with a "B".

I stand in solidarity with the striking workers.  The company's exploitation of them was never needed and should be stopped.

With the Milwaukee County bus drivers winning their contract to stop the flood of temporary workers and now the Kohler workers standing up for themselves, it bodes well for the future of the state and the country.  If this trend continues, we can finally put a stop to and start reversing the damage done by the likes of Scott Walker and the other corporate sockpuppets who are supported by these greedy CEOs.