Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Report from the 61-Year-Old Virgin

You know, there comes a time when you almost miss Crazy Mary (Panzer).  (I only mean that in the far-out, conservative way, not the clinical way, because I am not a clinician and Mary’s just brainwashed, possibly not mentally ill. But still a menace.) I’m not sure if that time is now, but it may be upon us soon. Glenn Grothmann (R-Mom’s Basement) serves Wisconsin’s 6h Congressional District.  The guy’s views on everything from early childhood education to municipal water chlorination are—how to put this politically correctly—wrong on every level and completely devoid of any basis in reality. A few of Glenn’s recent greatest hits have included:

11)   Early childhood education: Glenn is just POSITIVE that any early benefits that might be enjoyed by investment in four-year-old kindergarten disappear by the fourth grade. He thinks this is some elaborate Ponzi scheme to line the pockets of these school districts, currently so cash-rich that they are closing and consolidating. THE NERVE. EC
22)   Glenny’s position on concealed care (he is super, duper for it!) are equally disturbing, considering his level of cross-eyedness. Now, we don’t want to pick on him for that. At the same time, we don’t want him to be armed. Because common sense. Strabismus
33)   Glenny is so confused that he thinks Kwanzaa is a white left-wing conspiracy. Spoiler alert: it’s not!  Glenn still wants you to treat Kwanzaa "treat Kwanzaa with the contempt it deserves before it becomes a permanent part of our culture." Kwanzaa
44)   Glenny is SUPER proud of his record on the American Health Care Act, notable mainly for its lack of an imaginary name and its ability to kill tens of thousands of Americans due to its avarice, cowardice, and cruelty. ACHA
55)   Glenny is so far out of touch with reality that he thinks he remembers “global cooling in the 1970s."   Glenny’s already failed on one of the key climate promises he made to his constituents who packed Neenah Council Chambers on April 30, 2017. He pledged to “do what he can” to prevent the elimination of Great Lakes Restoration Funding in Trump’s budget. Trump plans to take the funding level from $300 million to zero. Angry
   6) The strangest thing about Glenn, though, is what proves that no woman or man has wanted to come within sexual distance of him. He actually, really, truly thinks that you can just close Planned Parenthood and get your birth control at the grocery store. Really. Grocery

      Bottom line is this: Progressives are making huge inroads, and sometimes winning, in former Republican strongholds.  Once people get sick enough of being unemployed, without health care, what else will people like Grothmann have to run on? What do broke people dressed in burlap sacks, with no money in their burlap pockets, do? They might-- finally-- begin to vote in their own self-interests. And that means not voting for Glenny-Glenn. But if you happen to see him shopping for birth control at the grocery story, cheer him on. He might finally be getting lucky. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Paul Ryan Metaphor

By Jeff Simpson 

A story is making the rounds that an 8th grade class from New Jersey had a chance to get a picture with Paul Ryan(because he only takes pictures and does not care what you have to say), and a good majority of the kids said thanks but no thanks!  

“It’s not just a picture,” student Matthew Malespina told ABC News. “It’s being associated with a person who puts his party before his country.”
When he learned of his school’s impending photo op with Ryan, Malespina texted his mother he’s “just not going to do it.”
“The point was, ‘I don’t want to be associated with him, and his policies and what he stands for,’” Matthew’s mother Elissa Malespina said.

Paul Ryan, not being the brightest bulb on the tree, did not know that he was being stood up by many of the kids and posted this photo on his social media.  

The thing is it turned into the perfect metaphor for Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House:


Here is Paul Ryan, trying to be cool by fist bumping the white girl while ignoring the Person of Color and person with noticeable preexisting conditions.    Its so much easier to cut his health care and opportunities in America if you pretend he does not exist!   

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Draft Randy Bryce For Congress

Unless the gentle reader has been living in a cave for the past couple of years, they would know that Paul "Lyin'" Ryan has been running amok.  The Republicans have control of the House, the Senate, the White House and the Supreme Court and Ryan feels that gives him free reign to implement every wet dream of his dark money overlords.  Ryan wants to cut 24 million people from Obamacare to pay for huge tax breaks for his masters.  He wants to ravage the nation's natural resources for fun and profit.  He wants to take away rights from women, minorities and, well, basically anyone that isn't a wealthy white man.  And to really show his arrogance and his indifference to the people of his district and all of America, Ryan refuses to hold town halls, take phone messages or even accept petitions from the people, in violation of their constitutional rights.

The only way that Ryan can be stopped in the next few years is to beat him at the polls.  But even that is a Herculean undertaking.  Ryan is safely ensconced in a very gerrymandered district and has all the money his dark overlords can shovel to him.

However, that doesn't mean Ryan can't be beaten.  People are really and truly upset about Ryancare.  After giving him their votes, their money and their time, Ryan is about to throw them all under the armored money truck.  People are also disgusted with his relationship with Trump.  Whether they think that Ryan is arm-in-arm with Trump's repulsive actions or think that he is too spineless to stand up to Trump, Ryan is losing popularity and support.

Still, to beat him, any opposing candidate has to be much more than someone that repeatedly says, "I'm not Paul Ryan."  We've learned that in the last three gubernatorial elections.  It has to be something that any union worker knows, you can't get people to be with you by just opposing someone or something, you have to offer a better alternative.  Instead of just opposing Ryancare, one has to have something better, hopefully one-payer health care, but even Obamacare would be better.

One cannot be just opposed to privatizing schools, but strengthening public schools.  Supporting strengthening voters' rights and women's rights and more access to good health care providers instead of oppressing people more and more.

It would also have to be a person that could appeal to a wide range of people, from moderates to the very progressive.  It would have to be someone willing to take baby steps while keeping their eye on the big prize.  It would have to be someone able to raise money and relate to the grassroots at the same time, just like someone who can walk on a iron girder high in the sky without fear or without losing their balance.

That person, I believe, has to be Randy Bryce.

This is what I wrote about Randy a few years ago when we successfully drafted him into running for the state senate:

The candidate would have to be someone with some name recognition to help make up for the gerrymandering. Because of the areas blue collar, hard-working population who is starving for jobs, the candidate would have to be someone who would support the workers and help them get good family jobs. The candidate should also have a passion to make sure our children are able to receive the best educations they can; that citizens in need should be able to get assistance when they need it and that we only get one world and its natural resources should not be squandered for a short term profit gain.

Most importantly, the candidate should be someone who is not afraid to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and do the hard work that will be needed to first win the race and then get to work on fixing the damage that has been done in the past three years.

There is only one person that I know of that could meet those requirements: Randy Bryce.

Randy is fairly well known due to a previous run for the State Assembly as well as his activism and his involvement in the community. Being a member of Ironworkers Local 8, he has a strong work ethic and recognizes it in others, whether they are unionized or not. While I am sure he would love to see everyone in a union, his primary focus has always been to work on getting everyone a decent, family supporting job.

If you talk to Randy for five minutes, you would know how much he loves son, Ben, and how proud he is of his son. Randy would go to Madison with that fierce love and fight not only for Ben, but all children.

He would bring that same fire and same work ethic with him to Madison to stand up for the people. He would not sell out his constituents for any special interests and he would not do anything, personally or professionally, to embarrass them.
Not only would Randy continue with his strong advocacy for workers, families children, and social justice, Randy is also an army veteran and a proud and fierce advocate for his fellow veterans, a group that is often maltreated and forgotten.

I know that Randy is fully aware of the challenges getting into this race would mean and would not flinch at taking them on.  He would be able to garner the support and backing of unions and individuals.  He appeals to both moderates and liberals, such as myself.  Randy would not be lured by the special interests, unless you count the people of the district as special interests.  (I think Randy would be even willing to draw the line with the powerful tartar sauce cartel.)

If you agree with me that Randy should take on defeat Lyin' Ryan, please join the Draft Randy Bryce Facebook page or express your support to him on Twitter at @IronStache.

We need Randy now to help get this state and this country back on the right path.  Please join me in letting Randy know he needs to serve his country again.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Body Slam Heard Round The Country

By Jeff Simpson

Yesterday there was a special election for Congress in MT and it drew the attention of the country.

In a solidly red state, the GOP was panicking that they would lose this seat. They even spent almost $6 Million dollars to keep this seat red, despite the fact that the term of this seat is only a little over a year now and they have a solid advantage in Congress anyway.

I wonder of the $6+ million could have been better spent in MT, instead of on 1/435 Congressional seats?  Pretty sure they do!

This seat took an extra turn the day before the polls opened because a reporter for the Guardian, Ben Jacobs, had the nerve to ask Republican multimillionaire candidate Greg Gianforte, his feelings on the ACHA.

With a bill as indefensible as the ACHA is, especially after finally being scored by the CBO, Gianforte answered about the only way he could.   He body slammed Mr. Jacobs.

Mr. Gianforte, was then finally charged with misdemeanor assault by the local sheriff who was one of Mr. Gianforte's supporters and financial backers.  

Then on election day, this incident not withstanding, Mr. Gianforte won the election.   In the Trump era, we can now expect headlines like the one in the New York Times today:

GOP candidate wins Montana House election after being charged with assault

Montana should be proud.

However, in the overall picture, it is not that big of a deal because as stated earlier it is only for a year and there are some very serious lessons to be learned here.

Now let's make sure that we learn them.

1.  This had a strong early voting contingent for this race/  Which means if you voted early for the guy who body slams reporters, you had no recourse to change your mind.   I personally have always felt that early voting if for the blind partisans....i know who I am voting for and nothing in the world could change my vote.  The blind partisans are what is wrong with this country.   I would have been flat out disgusted had I early voted for the assaulter!

I think early voting is great if you for some reason are not available to vote on election day, but if you are use election day for what it is meant for.  I have taken my children to vote with me on election day every single election since they were born in a car carrier!  

2.  The GOP know what a mess and potential electoral disaster the AHCA vote and plan is.  That is what upset Gianforte.   He did not want to answer if he supported ending health insurance for 23 million Americans(he was never actually forced too before the election).    He knew that even in maroon red Montana, people like having health insurance.

3.  Make sure ANY candidate goes on record supporting or not the AHCA.   Republicans, thanks to Paul Ryan, are now in a quandry.   Do they stand behind their party and the Speaker and the President and take tens of thousands of their constituents off health care or do they do what is right?   Ask them, ask them and ask them again until they take a stand one way or the other.  If they support it, then an instant and forever Scarlet Letter should be branded on their career.  Period.  

4.  While the people of Montana voted in a guy who beat up a reporter for doing his job, the rest of the country, especially the 70% who do not support The Donald were horrified by it.   Even the "great" Frank Luntz had this to say about it:

Make sure and ask your Congressional rep how they feel about what Greg The Body Slam" Gianforte did and if that should be punished or if they feel its ok as long as you disagree with the person.   Again make them answer!  (FYI: Some version of I think he should/he has apologized, is not an answer.)   Would it be ok if someone assaulted them or one of their staffers as long as they apologized after?

5.  Not one Democrat, not a pundit, not a consultant and most definitely not an elected should ever ever refer to Greg Gianforte without bringing this incident up/.    Ever.   If he comes in and singlehandedly balances the budget, the first thing anyone should say about him is that he physically assaulted a reporter.  

6.  Now we see the consequences of running from Obamacare all of these years.  We allowed the GOP to demonize it and instead of defending it, and running on its strength(which we see from the GOP townhalls) we let the GOP dictate our response.   Stop doing that.

The GOP biggest and most successful campaign strategy, is to run against the Democrats strengths and turn them into weaknesses.  This is made easier by the Democrats allowing this to happen over and over and over.   If the GOP are campaigning against you on an issue. that means they know its a strength in your district so double down and call their bluff!

7.  The Donald factor!   Gianforte's opponent Rob Quist, hardly ever mentioned The Donald.  That is a mistake.  I don't care where in this country The Donald performed, overperformed or under performed make sure that the GOP person in that district is seen as being a brother/sister/twin/bestfriend/ to the Donald.

The Donald won because he ran anti establishment and pretty much everything he has said he would do, he has done the exact opposite.  People notice that, especially if we keep pointing it out.   I know that there was some racism, sexisim, bigotry involved and I agree with that/.  However some people who voted for that, are starting to realize that maybe in practice it is not as cool as it first sounded!  

He can not and will not win another election like 2016.  We need to take advantage of that.

Extra Credit:  For the Press, media, reporters, journalists out there who were outraged and banded together to roundly condemned Gianforte for body slamming Mr. Jacobs.

I will not pretend to know how national press has handled various incidences, but I know local press tweeted such things as

While I obviously agree that body slamming a reporter is indefensible(see above), when you sit through things like this and treat them like another day in the office,  where do you think we are headed?

When you make it ok for the Governor and Capitol police to treat protesters like that, what do you think is coming next?    

Niemoller was actually on to something you know.    

Now they have come for the reporters....the question is what will you do about it?

What will we as a society do about it?

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

They Are Coming To Take Me Away....Ha Haaaaaa

By Jeff Simpson

In a bizarro world of America now where reality "stars" run our Government, The Donald's good friend, and face of Fox News, Sean Hannity is losing it bigly!

Always the victim!

Fox News, of all places, have  even had to retract Hannity's rant.

Are these really the people we want running our country?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Clarke Caught Plagiarizing Masters Thesis

Even before David Clarke claimed to have taken a job with Trump's Department of Homeland Security - which still has not been confirmed by Trump or the agency - I always thought that Clarke would be a good fit for Trump's team.

Like Trump and most of his appointees, Clarke has all of the same qualities. Clarke doesn't know his job - Clarke, the sheriff, tried to help a drunk driver instead of arresting him. Then like a true Trumpkin, Clarke tried to cover up his failure.

Clarke has many other qualities that make him a good fit. Clarke also hates minorities, including his fellow African Americans. He likes to go on wild Twitter rants, just like Trump.

And now Clarke has one more qualification to add to his resume - plagiarism:
Controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who this week announced he will be joining Donald Trump's administration as assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, plagiarized sections of his 2013 master's thesis on US security, a CNN KFile review has found.

Clarke, a visible surrogate for Trump during the campaign known for his incendiary rhetoric, earned a master's degree in security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In his thesis, "Making U.S. security and privacy rights compatible," Clarke failed to properly attribute his sources at least 47 times.

In all instances reviewed by CNN's KFile, Clarke lifts language from sources and credits them with a footnote, but does not indicate with quotation marks that he is taking the words verbatim.

According to guidelines on plagiarism posted on the Naval Postgraduate School's website, "If a passage is quoted verbatim, it must be set off with quotation marks (or, if it is a longer passage, presented as indented text), and followed by a properly formulated citation. The length of the phrase does not matter. If someone else's words are sufficiently significant to be worth quoting, then accurate quotation followed by a correct citation is essential, even if only a few words are involved."

The school's honor code defines plagiarism as "submitting material that in part or whole is not one's own work without proper attribution. Plagiarism is further defined as the use, without giving reasonable and appropriate credit to or acknowledging the author or source, of another person's original work, whether such work is made up of code, formulas, ideas, language, research, strategies, writing or other form(s)."
Clarke lifted stuff from George W. Bush, Brennan Center and, of all places, the ACLU.

I will admit that at first glance, it seemed kinda petty, but Clarke's overreaction makes me now think otherwise. Instead of responding to reporters, Clarke took to his - and Trump's - favorite line of defense...Twitter:

Like I said, Clarke would be a perfect fit for Team Trump. The only thing that might make Trump reverse his decision, if he did indeed make one, is that he is concerned that Clarke would out-crazy and out-grandstand Trump himself.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Julaine Is Buying Everyone Pizza!

By Jeff Simpson

Live in Appleton?   Free next Thursday?  Like Pizza?  Hungry?  Know someone who is Hungry?  Come one, come all to Pizza Ranch for free pizza for all!  

You know the Wisconsin Family Council wants nothing more than to feed the homeless and hungry of Appleton!   Show them the way.  

Thursday May 25 from 6-8 pm, at Pizza Ranch.

Come hear Julaine Appling, President of Wisconsin Family Council, as she looks forward with optimism to the makeup of our newly elected state legislature and:

Discusses its agenda for the 2017-2018 session;
Delves into some very important gambling issues—especially internet gambling—that could put a virtual casino in every home—and on every smart phone—in Wisconsin;
Discusses our legislative agenda related to marriage, family, life and religious freedom; and,
Supper is included! There is no charge for the event or the food—however, we will be taking a freewill offering at the end of the evening. 

That’s “What Now?” an event about you and your involvement in your Wisconsin government and culture on Thursday, May 25, from 6-8 p.m. at Pizza Ranch, N139 Eisenhower Dr Appleton WI 54915.

Special guest: 
Lorri Pickens, Exec. Director
Wisconsin Citizens Against Expanded Gambling

Tell Them CogDis Sent you!  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Diane Hendricks Hornswoggle

By Jeff Simpson 

I have covered Diane Hendricks before here at CogDis, where I pointed out that Beloit College is a superior academic institution, Someone who was The Donald's main fundraiser, did not also belong on the Board of Trustees of this great institution.   One or the other.   Unfortunately money speaks and she was allowed to continue doing both!

Now, thanks to Urban Milwaukee's Michael Horne, we find out that Ms. Hendricks not only supports racist, sexist, bigoted, treasonous candidates for political office, but that she is a scam artist herself.

According to a 2016 Forbes listing, Wisconsin’s Diane Hendricks is the nation’s wealthiest self-made woman, with a net worth of nearly $5 billion. Yet she paid no Wisconsin income tax in the years 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014, according to a report by Cary Spivak and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
It appears the Republican supporter and Trump economic adviser also gets a break on the taxes on the 228-acre property consisting of 14 parcels where she lives in the unincorporated community of Afton in the Town of Rock, a mostly rural area between Beloit and Janesville in Rock County, Wisconsin.
Today, the 120-acre main parcel — identified by officials as the residence of Diane Hendricks has an assessed land valuation of only $75,600, or $630 per acre, while four adjacent lots of less than an acre apiece also owned by Hendricks are each assessed at $22,500. This disparity alone raises red flags.
As for improvements on the property, billionaires have been known to spend extravagantly on their properties, and this one is a dandy, with woods, ponds, plazas, pathways and party areas. However, the property assessment compiled by Accurate Appraisal, LLC., with whom the Town of Rock contracts, shows only a modest 1,663-square-foot frame residence on the property, constructed in 1993 and valued at $390,000.
Very nice, a multi billionaire likes to live modestly, in the area where her husband was able to make his billions...... But wait there is more!!!

When speaking to her friends or tooting her own horn, she is not living quite so modestly at all, as this from Forbes magazine in :

 Diane Hendricks (is)… transforming a modest rustic home in Afton, Wis. into a 10,000-square-foot dream house–one she’d planned to share with Ken.
For those of you scoring at home, 10,000 is considerably bigger than 1,663.   A quick Google earth search of the subject shows a home much bigger than 1663 sq ft.

Now we have her own words, and our own eyes to see Ms. Hendricks is cheating the local taxpayers by severely undervaluing her property to avoid paying taxes.  

That should spring the local community into action right?   Not so fast! Michael Horne again did some digging:

In researching this property for a House Confidential, column, it became clear the descriptions of the home did not match the assessment records. So I checked the neighboring addresses on the Town of Rock website to see if the home might be located at one of them. A 120-acre property might just be the beginning of the Hendricks holdings, and maybe the home itself was on an out-lot. However, this search was unsuccessful, with no property remotely matching the description of the Hendricks home.
On Tuesday, April 18th, I sent an e-mail to Deborah Bennett, the Clerk/Treasurer of the Town of Rock asking her for the parcel number for the Hendricks property. The town hall is located in Afton, about 1,000 feet due south of the Hendricks estate, so I relied on local knowledge to help me out.
“I am having a difficult time sifting through the assessment files of the Town of Rock to find a property that matches the numerous written descriptions of the home of Diane Hendricks. Could you please direct me to the parcel file for the Hendricks home, which is said to be approximately 10,000 s.f.?”
On a Saturday, April 22nd, Bennett replied: “The parcel number for Dian (sic) Hendricks home is 6-17-255.”
This was the same number I had already reviewed, but I entered it into the website and re-checked it: the sub-parcels for that parcel number were all under one acre, including a .76 acre site valued at $100 and registered to the Hendricks Family Cemetery Association, which is presumed to be the burial site of Ken Hendricks. But still no 10,000 square foot home.
I related my findings to Bennett and repeated my request, this time with a photograph of the home, just in case she was not familiar with the most famous property in her community.
I also contacted Accurate Appraisal, LLC.
OK Deborah Bennett drops the ball, maybe because she is scared of the widow or worries that someone close to her will be punished.   That's understandable in today's environment where the right wing in charge makes sure anyone who questions them pays.  

So Mr. Horne contacted the  appraisal company because a company wont throw their reputation out the door to accommodate one person would they?

Accurate does the assessments for over 100 Wisconsin communities, including the Milwaukee suburbs of Brown Deer, Cudahy, Glendale and Shorewood. I contacted the company via e-mail on April 27th, and copying it to the Town of Rock Clerk/Treasurer.
I called the firm the next day, and was told that my request had been sent to “the appropriate party.”
On May 1st, the appropriate party had still not replied to my request, and I e-mailed the firm again. I then received a return all-caps e-mail from the firm’s receptionist:
Given how close the Hendricks property is to the town hall, it’s hard to imagine the assessor would not know about Hendricks’ huge home. And in any event, under Wisconsin law, municipal assessors are obliged to discover all real and personal property that is subject to tax. Physical inspection of properties, especially those with changes of ownership or construction permits, is the preferred method to keep properties assessed as close to 100 percent of market value in properties. That does not appear to have been done.

 I guess the billionaire widow is so popular and so many local people are busy chasing her money that they are willing to ruin the reputation of their own company.  

However, despite the fact that she is cheating the State and local taxpayers by pulling a scam on them to get out of paying her property taxes(even though I would bet that she has no problem calling the police and fire, etc..when needed), I still feel the need to cut her some slack.

If Ms. Hendricks was forced to actually pay her property taxes, she might not have enough money left to pay for the Scott Walker Legal Defense Fund We all know without being able to hire TWO of the nations best criminal defense firms, Mr. Walker might be living in a different less cozy location.  

 In Case You Were Wondering, what does her modest simple abode look like:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Paul Ryan's Hypocrisy

By Jeff Simpson

What happens when The Donald shares classified information with the Russians?

But wait there is more!

It turns out during the election,  The House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and The Speaker Paul Ryan had this conversation.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that McCarthy made the stunning remarks in a private conversation on Capitol Hill.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: [California Republican Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said, according to the report.
While our very own Paul Ryan might not understand economics very well, he does understand politics and moved immediately to shut down the conversation:

The Post reports that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stopped the conversation immediately and made the members present swear to secrecy. 
“No leaks,” Ryan said. “This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
Know we are family?   I thought he was a duly elected public official, who values transparency and openness for his constituents.   I cant find "swearing to secrecy" anywhere in the Constitution.

Leak National security secrets and Meh!   Leak something that would make the GOP look bad, that must be stopped and stopped immediately!

But wait there is even more!!!

Spending enough time with The Donald has shown Paul Ryan how to throw his staff under the bus.  Ryan managed to turn his "counselor" into Baghdad Bob:  

Sorry Brendan if you believe that I have an auto plant in Janesville to sell you!  

Is Clarke Going To Washington Or Not?

On Wednesday, Milwaukee County Sheriff and Uncle Ruckus wannabe David Clarke went on the radio with radio squawker Vicki Mickenna to say that he is resigning from office to take a job as assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security. Hilariously, it is to be in the Office of Public Partnership and Engagement:
Clarke told WISN 1130/AM host Vicki McKenna that he would be an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, where he'll act as a liaison to local and state law enforcement, tribes, and the private sector. The position will be in the Office of Public Partnership and Engagement.

"I’m both honored and humbled to be apt to this position," Clarke said. "It’s going to be a steep learning curve for me, serving in the Department of Homeland Security, and I look forward to joining that team."
But is he really going?

DHS is refusing to say whether it's true or not:
Likewise, Scott Walker, who would find Clarke's replacement (may I suggest a rancid potato?), said that he hasn't received a resignation letter from Clarke yet. Likewise, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said that he hasn't been told anything yet either.

Could it be true? Maybe. Clarke's incompetence would be a perfect fit in Trump's administration and Clarke is desperate to get out of Milwaukee, before he gets held accountable for the four deaths at his jail.

Then again, it could be Clarke simply trying to stir things up to get attention and maybe to take attention off of Trump's ongoing series of implosions.

Stay tuned, same clown channel, same clown time....

Big-Business Tax Credits Mean Fewer Budget Dollars

"Can anything be done to force the largest corporations in the state to pay something for the roads, ports, airports, fire and police services, educated workforce, etc. that they are using in our state?” Linea recently wrote to me. “This implies the smaller businesses are paying far more than their fair share.”

About the time Linea’s question came to me, so did a new memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) examining the drop in money coming to the state from corporations.

I wondered, just how have business tax credits changed and how might they change in the new budget?

Some of the items Linea mentioned are part of the transportation budget. For this column, I will set aside a discussion of road-related taxes.

Much of state government is paid through our state taxes: including corporate and individual income tax, and sales tax.

The LFB recently addressed tax money coming into the state – “revenue estimates” – for the coming budget. The nonpartisan bureau stated, “Corporate collections for the entire year are estimated to decline by 6.5%, compared to 2015-16, while the year-to-date decrease is 8.9%.”

Over the past year, monthly corporate tax collections, when compared to the same month in the prior year, were down by as much as 22%.

What is causing this rapid decline in corporate tax collections? The answer from analysists included the fact corporations were cashing in tax credits faster than expected.

Tax credits can reduce taxes owed. Business tax credits have grown both in the different types of credits and the total amount of state taxes reduced.
Wisconsin has a lot of new business tax credits.

In 2006, the state had 17 different types of business tax credits. Ten years later, the type of tax credits increased two and one-half times. The cost to the state for these credits nearly tripled. These numbers are from a report produced by the state Department of Revenue called Tax Exemption Devices.

Just one tax credit set the manufacturing and agriculture tax rate to less than half a percent, which cost $650 million in the next budget. (For comparison, this dollar amount is about the cost of State Superintendent Evers’ plan to fix the school funding formula.)

Some credits are more powerful than simply making income tax owed disappear. Some business tax credits are refundable. Claiming a refundable tax credit means you get money back from the state even if you owe nothing in taxes.

One refundable tax credit, known as Enterprise Zone, accumulated awards of over $470 million that can be claimed by companies over several years. A few of the companies benefiting and their awards include: Mercury Marine ($65 million), Kohler ($62.5 million), Quad Graphics ($61.7 million), Uline ($18.6 million), ($10.3 million) Dollar General and Trane (both at $5.5 million).

The stated purpose of all this money given to corporations is to spur economic growth. Of course, the expected robust economic growth has not happened. Wisconsin lost 66,000 manufacturing jobs in 2007 and 2008. In 8 years, we only gained back 44,000 of those jobs. Wisconsin wages are 18th lowest; and we are 23rd in real GDP growth, behind every Midwest neighbor except Illinois. The new revenue in this budget is about the same increase as the past few budgets.

Rather than repeal, or at least demand more accountability for these expensive tax credits, many in the legislature talk about shifting more of the tax burden away from corporations.

A bill introduced last month would eliminate the business personal property taxes and shift the cost of this tax to the general fund, which puts funding for schools, universities, and local governments at risk. Further, rumors in the Capitol suggest this tax plan will be part of a last-minute budget amendment that could cost the state a whopping $530 million. That’s a little more than the price tag of the new money the Governor set aside for K-12 education in “categorical” or “outside” the funding formula.

Lawmakers should take up Linea’s question about big businesses paying their fair share. It’s simply not fair for small businesses and the rest of us to shoulder the cost of shared services like police protection, the UW and public schools when corporations also shared the benefits.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Few Under The Radar Items

By Jeff Simpson

So much is happening bad, crazy and unbelievable that it is hard to keep track of.  So let's take a quick run through some things we may have missed.  

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, telling us that people who have pre-existing conditions deserve them:

"My understanding is that (the new proposal) will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool," Brooks said. "That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they're healthy, they've done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people--who've done things the right way--that are seeing their costs skyrocketing."

* Last week in Charlottesville, Virginia, the hometown of Thomas Jefferson had plans to remove a statue of the Confederate traitor general Robert E. Lee.   White Nationalist Robert Spencer, led a protest of a bunch of white people with torches marching on downtown.   Seriously, in 2017, a bunch of white people marched on downtown to try and keep a statue of a traitor to our country standing.  

*  When Paul Ryan, is not busy using teenage cancer survivors as props, he is busy running from his constituents.  Since Paul Ryan refuses to meet with his constituents, Congressman Mark Pocan held a town hall in Ryan's district:

"This Paul Ryan we have now — he seems to roll over and want his belly rubbed by the president ,” Pocan said. “That's not what we need from the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Paul Ryan has really been complicit in letting Donald Trump be Donald Trump.”
*  San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Greg Popovich, never one to shy away from speaking his mind, addressed the clown show n the White House the other day, after they dispensed the Houston Rockets:

“Usually things happen in the world, and you go to work and you’ve got your family and you’ve got your friends and you do what you do,” Popovich said.
“But I feel like there’s a cloud or a pall over the whole country. In a paranoid, surreal sort of way, that’s got nothing to do with the Democrats losing the election — it’s got to do with the way one individual conducts himself.
“That’s embarrassing. It’s dangerous to our institutions and what we all stand for and what we expect the country to be. But for this individual, he’s in a game show, and everything that happens begins and ends with him. Not our people or our country. Every time he talks about those things, it’s a ruse. It’s just disingenuous.”
*  Rocker Todd Rundgren, can not figure out how anyone would support The Donald and mentions that if you actually do, you wont enjoy his show very much:

Todd Rundgren has a warning for supporters of President Donald Trump: Keep away.
Don’t come to my show,” Rundgren told Variety. “Because you won’t have a good time.”
Rundgren’s latest album features the anti-Trump song “Tin Foil Hat,” which he recorded with Donald Fagen of Steely Dan.
Variety’s Chris Willman said the new tune reminded him of seeing a couple walk out of a show last year after Rundgren criticized Trump from the stage. But the man behind hits such as “Hello It’s Me,” “I Saw The Light” and “Bang The Drum All Day,” said such a response doesn’t bother him.
Addressing Trump supporters, he said:
“I don’t understand your frickin’ values. Because I’m not singing about that. If you don’t understand that basic thing, you’re just fooling yourself. I guarantee that in this show, if you’re a Trump supporter, you will likely be offended. Let the buyer beware! I mean, if you can’t take a joke, or you can’t admit that you’ve made a mistake, you don’t belong with the rest of us.”
Rundgren laughed at the end of his comments, Willman noted.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Real Paul Ryan

By Jeff Simpson

A few weeks ago, a group of childhood cancer survivors took their biannual trip to DC to lobby their congresspeople, and other politicians about their story and how we need more money for cancer research and cures.

One of the politicians that they specifically wanted to meet and tell their stories to was Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House from Janesville, WI.   One of the campers even had a personal connection to the Speaker and so worked a meeting time with Mr. Ryan when they were in DC.

However, things changed drastically when the 50 children(from One Step Camp), who have endured pain and suffering most people can only imagine(trust me, there is nothing like being told by your doctor that you have cancer), were told that the Speaker would not be hearing their stories on this trip.

The group of teenage cancer survivors were told when they arrived in DC that only a handful of the campers would be allowed time with Paul Ryan and that they would have about 5 minutes.

Enough time to get pictures taken and see the view of Washington DC from his plush taxpayer supplied office.

Yes Paul Ryan really did say they shared their "powerful stories" with him. As our long time readers of CogDis know :  but wait there is more!  

Paul Ryan put out THIS press release(emphasis mine):
As he always does, Speaker Ryan took time this week to meet with fellow Wisconsinites. He was inspired by the message he heard from students who beat childhood cancer; a teacher who has gone above and beyond to close the achievement gap; a group of state legislators who are moving Wisconsin forward; and many others.  


He did not take the time to meet with Wisconsinites and he had no interest in hearing any one's story. He even made about 40 kids stay away from his taxpayer supplied office because he did not want to be bothered with their story, unless they came with a check in hand of course!

For the Record, James Sensenbrenner was also "too busy" to meet with any of these kids.  His district is so gerrymandered that he did not even have to pretend.  

Everyone knows, I am not a fan of Paul Ryan, and with good reason!  

This however, goes way beyond a policy or personality difference.

Who would use a group of teenage cancer survivors as a political prop?  I never thought the answer would be the Speaker of the House of the United States.

It's easy to do, because he has all of the power in the relationship.   They are young and came home incredibly disillusioned with politics and our country.  Yet Paul Ryan can claim to have listened to them, while using them, and no one would know better.

Luckily, some of these courageous survivors are sharing their story, and showing us who Paul Ryan truly is.

Let's as a community stand up for these courageous young people!  

Paul Ryan has refused a town hall meeting, he is too busy traveling the country fundraising, but lets call him up, tweet him and tell him to meet with these children and this time ACTUALLY listen to their stories, with no cameras.  

Let's show these children that We the People have the power and thank them and reward them for their courage!  

Let's also put an actual face on pre-existing conditions for the person who has voted to repeal Obamacare over 60 times!

Paul Ryan can be reached here:

Washington, DC Office  Office Location:
1233 Longworth HOB 
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone:   (202) 225-3031  Fax:   (202) 225-3393 

Janesville Office Location:  
20 South Main Street, Suite 10 
Janesville, WI 53545
Phone:   (608) 752-4050  Fax:   (608) 752-4711  

Kenosha Office Location:  
5031 7th Avenue
Kenosha, WI 53140 
Phone: (262) 654-1901  Fax:   (262) 654-2156 

Racine Office Location:  
216 6th Street 
Racine, WI 53403 
 Phone:   (262) 637-0510  Fax:   (262) 637-5689 

Or Send a Letter/postcard to Paul Ryan at home:

Twitter:  @speakerryan @pryan 

Feel free to leave in the comments when you contacted him and what your response was!!  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

RoJo: Trump Meant Comey Recorded Their Conversations

By now, the gentle reader is assuredly aware of the threat that Trump issued to former FBI director, James Comey, via Twitter:

Wisconsin's dumb senator, RoJo, shows that he is dumber than most when it comes that tweet. WKOW-TV caught up with RoJo during the Wisconsin GOP convention this past weekend and got an answer that no rational person would have expected:
When asked by 27 News if it would be troubling to find out the President secretly recorded conversations with a sitting FBI Director, Sen. Johnson replied - "That'd be troubling, sure."

27 News followed up by asking if he thought there should be an investigation into whether such tapes were made, Sen. Johnson seemed puzzled why such a question would be asked.

Sen. Johnson then explained he disagreed that President Trump was trying to suggest he may have recorded those conversations.

"No, he said that Comey had better not have recorded it," said Sen. Johnson.

Refusing to speculate on a hypothetical, Sen. Johnson refused further comment on whether the matter should be investigated - saying the important thing is that a credible FBI director be appointed to replace Comey and continue the investigation into Russian collusion.
You read that right.

RoJo thinks Comey had secretly had secretly recorded the conversations between he and Trump. Unfortunately, RoJo refused to explain how, if that were true, the tapes would be a threat to Comey.

Interestingly, we do know that Trump does have a history of recording conversations although Trump's staff won't come out and admit it.

I think I'm starting to see why RoJo is deathly afraid of holding any town hall meetings.

H/T Chris Walker from Political Heat