Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Helpful Tips to Pass a Responsible Budget

By Gordon Hintz 

MADISON – As the state budget impasse between the Republican Senate and Republican Assembly continues, Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) offered five budget tips for legislative Republicans to help pass a responsible budget.

1.      Pass a long-term transportation funding solution to address the ongoing shortfall.  As long as transportation funding relies on increased borrowing or delayed projects, budgets will remain difficult. If you continue borrowing, more transportation revenue is spent paying off debt and interest. Plus important building projects in the UW System will be cut in order to manage total state debt.  If you raid the general fund to pay for roads, that funding comes at the expense of other state investments like K-12 public education. If you continue to delay projects, those cost increase, the state spends more on maintenance, and the problem will get worse for the 2019-21 budget. You increased fees to fund our state parks so it is hard to understand what is different here. Just fix it.
2.      Fund your most important priorities first. If funding K-12 education is truly the most important investment, then start there and pay for Wisconsin’s public schools first.  This might mean you don’t have enough money to repeal the state forestry mill tax for $180 million or fund the Governor’s increased school levy credit at the full amount. But if putting dollars in classrooms around the state is really a priority, then there should not be a disagreement.

3.      Don’t create new spending programs when you are unable or unwilling to fund existing ones. If you are struggling to fund K-12 education or the UW System’s existing programs, don’t create new ongoing expenses like expanded taxpayer supported private school vouchers for kids that are already going to private school.  And reconsider the new $3 million already approved for a new redundant public policy school of conservative thought.

4.      Don’t phase in tax cuts you won’t be able to pay for in the future. The manufacturing and agriculture tax credit was passed in the 2011 budget at the last minute, with zero public hearing or input. It was supposed to be gradually phased in starting in 2013 before reaching a total annual cost of $128 million in 2017 when fully implemented. The cost of the credit in the current 2015-17 budget is $517.4 million. Despite modest growth in state revenue, programs were cut in order to pay for the credit, such as the $250 million cut to the UW System.  It is now expected to cost $320.2 million in FY2018 and $334 million in FY2019. Don’t make this mistake again.  Before you consider proposals such as repealing the personal property tax, make sure you can pay for it in the future. Since the Governor’s proposed budget spends $366 million more than the revenue collected, it is unlikely that the state will be able to cover the local revenue loss in future budgets without cutting other state programs.

5.      Don’t use one-time money to pay for ongoing expenses. Spending one-time money from an existing fund balance or transferring money from a segregated account to cover ongoing general fund expenses creates future imbalances.  It is irresponsible to use one-time money during a period of modest economic growth. Raiding the state veterans nursing home fund to pay for ongoing veterans trust fund programs creates future imbalances. When balances run out, the state general fund will have to cover the cost.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Now Ron Johnson Wants To Kill Me!

By Jeff Simpson

As I posted a while back, Paul Ryan's goal this session seems to be to want to kill me!

U.S.  House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan called on Wednesday for an end to Obamacare’s financial protections for people with serious medical conditions, saying these consumers should be placed in state high-risk pools.In election-year remarks that could shed light on an expected Republican health care alternative, Ryan said existing federal policy that prevents insurers from charging sick people higher rates for health coverage has raised costs for healthy consumers while undermining choice and competition.The rule, a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, has been praised by patient advocates for providing access to medical care for people who previously could not afford private health insurance. The Affordable Care Act also bars insurers from excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions
Now his good friend  Ron Johnson (S-Married into money), is simpatico with Paul Ryan:

The fact that I have had health care, and been healthy most of my life, but then in 2010, was one of the unlucky ones to develop cancer does not matter.  Ron Johnson looks upon me, and others like me, as irresponsible drivers and my cancer(my pre-existing condition) as equal to a car crash.  Why should he have to pay more, he is not sick.  

As if that was not enough, Vice President Mike Pence (R- Shock Gays Straight), goes  a step further(emphasis mine):

Had the 12.7 million people who get newly diagnosed each year, or the 7.6 million people who lose their fight to cancer, only been a bit more personally responsible, then this all would be avoided.

Apparently, Ron Johnson's daughter was not personally responsible(maybe by not exercising enough, or eating right), that she needed major heart surgery at age 2!

It is a very stressful time in America, when we are under one party rule, and the one party that is ruling, looks upon millions of Americans as drags on the system for contracting an illness.  It is even more magnified, when it is your child that has the illness.

I am certain we are better than this and we need to actually "drain the swamp" in 2018!

Our lives depend on it!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The DPW Needs To Do Something About Julie Meyer

When I first heard of Julie Meyer, it was last year when she chose to run against State Representative Chris Sinicki.  Now, I am one that is all for primaries, especially where the incumbent needs to be challenged.  But Meyer's allegations against Sinicki - that she was pro-school choice and weak on unions - was just plain laughable.

The absurdity continued when Meyer and her husband continued to harass and attack Sinicki and her family, even after the election was over.

I was hoping that was the last we would hear from or of her, but that turned out to be just wishful thinking.

Grass Roots South Shore, a truly wonderful group of people, is putting on an event this summer that actually looks pretty good:

However, some people are noting that this isn't the invitation they had received.  A faithful friend and reader of Cog Dis alerted me that some people were receiving this modified version of that invite:

So now she's using a third party and misrepresenting herself and it for an event? How vainglorious and inappropriate!

At the Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention, through some shady machinations, she somehow managed to get elected as the chair of the Labor Caucus.  One should know that nothing good could have come out of this, since her biggest contributor during her failed campaign was Scott Mayer, Chairman and CEO of the QPS Employment Group, a temp agency.  Mayer also sits on the Board of Directors for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), one of the biggest anti-Labor groups in the state.

Let's think about that for a minute...someone who takes money from a WMC director is now in charge of the Dems' Labor Caucus.  Does anyone else see a problem with this?

But, as we always say around here, there's more.  There's always more.

Now, one would think that as a party official, she should and would be neutral during the primaries or at least be only positive when talking about their favored candidate.

Oh, but not Julie Meyer! She thinks she's too good to follow rules or decorum or even basic class.

Meyer supports one of the candidates in the first congressional district primary, Cathy Myer, and has said a lot of nice things about her.  Not neutral, but fair enough.

But then Meyer goes off the deep end and starts attacking Randy Bryce, using false information from a person affiliated with the Green Party nonetheless:

Now there is something very, very odd about this post.  The link in Meyer's post does not lead to the commentary in the screencap.  Instead, it leads to an even more vulgar and egregiously false attack on Randy by Angie Aker, the Greenie:

As a union officer and as a member of the Party, I can and will say that this is just wrong.  It is unacceptable that the chair of the party's Labor Caucus is using false allegations from another party to attack a giant among Labor, both in the state and across the nation and a candidate for office during the primary.  (I would hope that Cathy Myers would denounce Meyer's support for her but I don't see that happening any time soon.)

I would certainly hope that party officials would take it upon themselves to do something about it, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.  So I have started researching the party's constitution and bylaws to find all the violations in preparation to filing a formal complaint.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The GOP Wheelchair Round Up

By Jeff Simpson

Today, former President Obama, took some time off of his vacation, to address the hot button issue of the day,  The AHCA act(or Ryancare as I will now refer to it as).

Being an actual writer and able to put more thought into something than 144 misspelled characters,  President Obama took to Facebook:

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.
I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.
We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.
Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.
And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.
We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.
At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.
That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.
But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.
The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.
Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.
I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?
To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.
That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.
After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.

Meanwhile, while President Obama was talking sense, Senator Mitch McConnell was not. People whose life will literally be in danger when the GOP passes their repeal and replace of the ACA.   

Nothing says representative government like pulling people out of their wheelchairs and arresting them.  As for the protesters, when your life is on the line, you have nothing left to lose.  

As for the Dems in 2018, if these are not your ads during the election season, then you might as well, grab your ball and go home!  
Jeff Simpson

Show more reac

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

American Exceptionalism?

By Jeff Simpson

For those of us old enough to remember 1994, Attorney General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, was forced to resign by Bill Clinton, for answering the following question honestly:

In 1994, she was invited to speak at a United Nations conference on AIDS. She was asked whether it would be appropriate to promote masturbation as a means of preventing young people from engaging in riskier forms of sexual activity, and she replied, "I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught."[citation needed] This remark caused great controversy and resulted in Elders losing the support of the White House. White House chief of staff Leon Panettaremarked, "There have been too many areas where the President does not agree with her views. This is just one too many."[1] In December 1994, Dr. Elders was forced to resign by President Clinton.[1][13][14] 
The honest answer, that people masturbate as part of their sexuality, was too much for the folks in Washington D.C. to handle!  Apparently they were not aware of Cyndi Lauper ten years earlier!

Fast forward now to present day, and it appears there is nothing that can be said by a politician that anyone seems to care about.   Well a Republican politician anyway.

In an era where we elected a pussy grabbing, philandering, reality tv "star" as President, we have lowered the bar so low, that it is impossible to get under it.

We have GOP Congressman, accusing a former President of being a serial killer, others in the GOP giddy over a GOP Congressman getting shot, an elected GOP rep, sent a letter to the boss of one of his detractors in an effort to punish her for criticizing him, that poor children in schools be forced to sweep floors to earn lunch, believes men should not have to pay for prenatal care, says that single mothers are a form of child abuse,  a 300 lb white Congressman complained that Michelle Obama's butt was too big,  a GOP candidate beat up a reporter the night before an election and not only won, but people all over the country sent him hundreds of thousands, you get the idea....

In a special election in Georgia, GOP Karen Handel, let us know that she thinks it should be illegal for LGBTQ people to adopt children.

American exceptionalism?   Is this the best we can do? Is this who we are?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kim Jong-Kittle!

By Jeff Simpson

In a tragic story this week, University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who was recently a political prisoner in North Korea, was released to his parents custody.  The tragedy though, was when he was released, he was brain dead and was released so his parents could watch him die.

He was returned to the US last Tuesday, with North Korea saying it was on humanitarian grounds.
North Korea said he had been in a coma for a year after contracting botulism but his family say he was subjected to "awful torturous mistreatment".
A team of US doctors have also disputed North Korea's version of events.   

What was the reason that Mr. Wambier was in prison to begin with in North Korea?  Was he CIA? a Spy?  What crime could Mr. Warmbier, have committed against the totalitarian,crazy dictatorship of North Korea that would lead to torture?

 Otto Warmbier, 22, was serving 15 years hard labour, accused of attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.

Mr, Warmbier, grabbed a poster off a wall, to take home and display in his dorm room.  That "crime" turned out to be punishable by death.

Then I realized that this story sounded familiar.  I remembered the story of April Smith. April Smith is a Milwaukee area teacher, who in the summer, at a county fair, after a couple drinks, ripped up a Scott Walker (propaganda) sign.

While it is just a piece of cardboard, she was (probabky rightly so) given a disorderly conduct ticket.  Which basically amounts too, you should not have done that, pay us some money and let's all move on.

Well for our right wing friends, that was not enough.    Local "media member" Matt Kittle, following along the lines of  Kim Jong-un, had decided that a simple ticket was not enough,.   Mr. Kittle wanted blood.  Kittle, working for right wing blog watchdog,org at the time, wrote no less than 7 columns, over three years, to make sure that Ms. Smith paid the ultimate price.  

Kittle put so much pressure on, that Ms. Smith actually was suspended from her job(which had nothing to do with her actions), for months while this incident was "investigated" .  I would equate it to 15 years of hard labour but being a kindergarten teacher was harder labour than anyone in the system could sentence her too.  

However the mental and fiscal torture on Ms. Smith, was very real.

Luckily, after a considerable amount of time, with Ms. Smith on paid leave, she was reinstated.  

A quick note, where is Matt Kittle now?  After Watchdog canned him  he took advantage of Wingnut welfare and is now working for MacIver "news" service!  

Apparently, being ideologically aligned with Kim Jong-un was appealing to Brett Healy!  

Is this really the society we want to live in?

One where our so called media works hard to make sure anyone who would disagree with a far right wing agenda would be punished and punished severely.

Monday, June 19, 2017

He's In! Randy Bryce To Take On And Take Out Lyin' Ryan!

Well, we did it, my friends!

We called upon Randy Bryce to step up and serve his country one more time by running to repeal and replace Lyin' Ryan, and he heard us.

Not only did he hear us, he heeded our words and has entered the race!

It will be the hard hat versus the silk stockings, the working man against the corporate puppet.

If one goes to Randy's website and read his bio, the gentle reader will see what I have been saying is true. He's a strong advocate for veterans, for kids and for the working class.

But let me tell you two personal stories on why I support Randy.

I have known Randy for years and have gotten to know him fairly well. We both were delegates to the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and we were both fortunate enough to have served on the executive board of that esteemed group.

A banquet hall/restaurant in Milwaukee, Serb Hall, was famous for their Friday fish fries. The Labor Council would hold their monthly meetings there because it was also a union shop.

Five years ago, they went through a management change and the new management was most definitely anti-union. They were bound and determined to bust the union there, no matter how many labor laws they had to violate in doing so.

Randy and I then came up with one of the most unique ways ever heard of to take a stand for our union brothers and sisters that worked there. Instead of what one might have expected, we did not hold protests outside the building. We did not carry picket signs or yelled chants.

Instead, we encouraged people to go to Serb Hall every Friday for the fish fry. But when they did, we asked people to ask for a table served by union waitstaff. Every Friday for months and months, Randy was there to support his brothers and sisters. And every Friday, when he went to pay his bill, he would make sure to write on the bill that it was paid for with union dollars in support of union workers.

But that is who Randy is in a nutshell. He is a generous, giving man who doesn't hesitate to take any action needed to fight for what is right, regardless of what union or even if it's not union related.

Then, two years ago, my father passed away after a long illness. The problem was that my dad was a hoarder and we faced a daunting, Herculean task of cleaning the house out. This task was made even more challenging by the fact that I had broke my arm on the first day of cleaning. Randy did not hesitate to drive the 25 miles from his house to my dad's and help us work on cleaning the house out.

Again, that is who Randy is. And that is exactly the kind of person we need in Washington, DC, to represent us. Someone who will listen, someone who genuinely cares, and someone who will not rest until the job is done.

And that is why I am proud as hell to support Randy and endorse him for Congress.

If you wish to follow Randy in the social media, you can follow him on Twitter at @IronStache or on Facebook at his official page.

If you are able and willing to support Randy financially, his donation page can be found here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Paul Ryan's Vulnerability Grows, As Does The Republicans'

Lyin' Paul Ryan's popularity continues to fall into a sinkhole.

There's RyanCare (or Trumpcare, if you prefer) in which 24 million people will be put in harm's way so that Ryan can give huge tax breaks to the already filthy rich. He wants to give away the nation's natural resources for fun and profit, the environment be damned! He's waging war against women, minorities, workers - well, basically anyone and everyone who isn't a rich, white man that donates generously to him.

Then he refuses to meet with the people he is supposed to be representing. He doesn't hold town halls, he doesn't accept phone calls and he ignores emails. Even worse, he unconstitutionally denies even allowing the people to air their grievances by refusing to accept petitions.

And now, we see that 300 good paying jobs are being lost to Canada has Ryan and the other Republicans had their little political tantrum over the Export/Import Bank. As they shut the bank down for five months, Canada swept in and stole GE and all those jobs.

According to a poll done last month by Public Policy Polling, Ryan has only a 43% approval rating and a 51% disapproval rating. More significantly, Ryan is losing by two points to "Someone New." by a 48-46 score.

As Ryan continues to snuggle up to Trump, you can safely bet his numbers will continue to drop like a rock.

That is why it is so important that we are successful in drafting Randy Bryce to take him on.

In an opinion piece, Alan Talaga makes an interesting speculation about a possible Bryce - Ryan match up:
The combination of a good Democratic challenger, national voting trends and the increased exposure of the speakership add up to spell trouble for Ryan. Bryce doesn’t even need a lot of financial support from the national Democratic Party to get his campaign started. Bryce will be able to raise money by focusing on small, online donations.


That’s a drop in the bucket compared to what it will take to battle the sitting speaker. But it shows how eager people are to unseat Ryan. They are willing to throw a Subaru’s worth toward a candidate with no chance. If Bryce can show that he’s a viable candidate, he’ll be able to raise small funds from a nationwide coalition of those who see Ryan as a spineless lackey willing to put our democracy in peril in order to slash the social safety net.

While Bryce’s candidacy doesn’t have to cost Democrats much, it could end up costing the Republicans a lot. Ryan is an incredibly effective fundraiser for his party. That’s largely because he hasn’t had to worry about campaigning in his own district. If Bryce can get close to Ryan in the polls, it forces Ryan to spend time in the 1st District shoring up support. Every time Ryan has to attend a pancake breakfast in Elkhorn or a rally in Beloit, it hurts Republican efforts to hold on to their House majority.

Similarly, firing up Democratic voters in the 1st to come out against Ryan could reverberate throughout the state. The vast majority of new voters who come out to support Bryce will vote for Governor Walker’s challenger and to re-elect U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. As we’ve seen time and again in Wisconsin, a handful of voters can make a seismic impact on election results.

Like I said, we've been working hard to draft Randy to take on this daunting task.

The good news is that sources tell me that an announcement will be coming real soon. Better yet, it looks like Randy has heard our collective voice and will get in it. This alone already has Ryan and the right wing corporate media getting their undies in a bundle:
House Speaker Paul Ryan, for the first time since entering Congress, may next year face a Democratic opponent who has a professionally managed campaign and the prospect of significant financial backing.

Randy Bryce, a local labor activist, is preparing a campaign launch in the coming weeks to challenge the Wisconsin House seat and has enlisted staff members including Bill Hyers, a Barack Obama alumnus who ran upset campaigns for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.).

In an interview, Mr. Bryce said he would seek to tether Mr. Ryan to President Donald Trump and argue that their effort to dismantle large parts of the Affordable Care Act has hurt working people in the district.

“They’re handcuffed together,” Mr. Bryce said. “People are having buyer’s remorse and they’re seeing what’s going on. Trump made a lot of promises that I can see why working people would support, but now they’re waking up.”
Get your checkbooks and credit cards ready, gently readers. Those of us in Wisconsin, make sure you have some comfortable shoes. It looks like if we are going to finally get rid of Lyin' Ryan, after 18 years of him feeding at the government trough, we are all going to work together to get it done.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Clarke Declines Job That Was Never Offered

One month ago, David Clarke made the big announcement that he had accepted a job with Trump's Department of Homeland Security and would leave Milwaukee once and for all by the end of June. However, Homeland Security was quick to state that no such announcement was made:
As time grew on, speculation that Clarke was never offered the job grew. On Friday, three days after Clarke met with Trump's staff to grovel for the position, Homeland Security repeated themselves:
But when Clarke put out the news of his appointment on his own last month, it quickly drew a rebuke in an agency tweet that said "no such announcement" had been made. Agency spokeswoman Jenny Burke repeated the language of the tweet almost word for word Friday.

"The position mentioned is a secretarial appointment. Such senior positions are announced by the department when made official by the secretary," Burke said in an email. "No such announcement with regard to the Office of Partnership and Engagement has been made."
:Late Saturday, the Washington Post broke the news that Clarke has turned down the job he was never officially offered:

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke has withdrawn his name from consideration for an assistant secretary position at the Department of Homeland Security, an adviser to Clarke confirmed to The Washington Post on Saturday.
"Late Friday, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. formally notified Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly that he had rescinded his acceptance of the agency’s offer to join DHS as an assistant secretary," said Craig Peterson, an adviser to Clarke. "Sheriff Clarke is 100 percent committed to the success of President Trump and believes his skills could be better utilized to promote the president’s agenda in a more aggressive role."


"The sheriff is reviewing options inside and outside of government," Peterson said. "Sheriff Clarke told Secretary Kelly he is very appreciative of the tremendous opportunity the secretary was offering, and expressed his support for the secretary and the agency."
I would take that to mean that Clarke is now putting his hope on getting a paid gig at Fox News and/or becoming a professional speaker at right wing nut job events.

If that falls through as well, Clarke is up for reelection next year, although he has yet to announce whether he will or not. But Clarke is probably kissing all the ass he can at Fox News because he has dwindling chances at being reelected.

Clarke's approval rating in Milwaukee has dropped all the way down to 31%. Adding to his misery is that he has lost a lot of his dark money supporters, both in Wisconsin and across the country, due to his fanatical Trumpism.

On top of that, Clarke would be facing a formidable opponent, Earnell Lucas. Lucas used to be a ranking officer with the Milwaukee Police Department before becoming the Supervisor of Security for Major League Baseball. (Except for the Cubbies winning the pennant last year, there's been no acts of terror at a baseball game.) Lucas is already receiving a lot of support from Democrats and independents.

In the meantime, please say a prayer for us in Milwaukee. We're gonna need all the help we can get.

Milwaukee - Sixth Worst City In The Nation

It may take a village to raise a child but it takes only three corporate stooges to ruin a city.

According to a new report, Milwaukee is ranked as the sixth worst city to live in in the nation:
6. Milwaukee. According to 247wallst.com, the area has a population of 600,154 people, a poverty rate of nearly 27 percent and median home value of $114,000.
This is not surprising.

First we have Scott Walker and his fellow Republican meat puppets that have been passing just about every anti-Milwaukee piece of legislation they can think of. They are doing everything that they can to keep the poor - especially the minorities - in financial slavery. This leads to the high crime rates and high poverty levels.

Then we have Boss Abele, Milwaukee County Executioner, who is too busy giving away all of the county's assets to actually do anything to help the poor. You see, in Abele's myopic world view, helping multibillionaires from New York build a plutocratic playground and building an ivory tower on the lakefront is much more important and requires all of his concentration. He doesn't have time to do trivial things, like finding someone to head the Office on African American Affairs.

Then we have Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett is a very nice and personable fellow and sometimes, as a city leader, he even gets something right. But his concentration is improperly focused on building a streetcar downtown as opposed to helping the other 599,000 Milwaukeeans.

 Making the streetcar appear even more of a folly is that the fact that Barrett, Abele and their apologists are saying we need it for all the millennials living and working downtown - even though millennials are fleeing the city because they are too worried about arenas and street cars to do anything about the lack of good paying jobs. If anything, it seems that the extreme right wingers like Walker and Abele are doing everything they can to make sure jobs don't come here and we lose the ones we do have.

For the umpteenth time, we need to put the people first by creating good paying jobs and improving education by doing away with charter schools and giving it back to the kids.  If we can get these issues on the upswing, crime and other social woes will drop like Trump's approval ratings.  Furthermore, there would be more than enough money for their dalliances.  But if we don't, well, we are the sixth worst city already.

Republican Hypocrisy On Parade

For many long years, we got to see Republicans and their supporters show their true nature - being bullies.  There are countless pictures of them hanging President Barack Obama in effigy. There have been all the baseless accusations against Hillary Clinton and chants to "Lock her up!" There have been intimidation and smear tactics against your average citizens that dared to ask questions or tell truth to power. The list goes on and on.

One of the poster children for this bullying is Greg Gianforte, a Republican in Montana, who didn't like a question a reporter was asking. So Gianforte picked the reporter up and body slammed him to the ground.

Gianforte then told lie after lie, denying and then minimizing, the incident.  He went on to win the special election he was running in.

Even now, Gianforte is fighting a judge's order that he be booked like the criminal he is, afraid that political opponents might use his mugshot against him.

Then this past week, the unthinkable happened to the Republicans.  An idiot (legally) got his hands on some guns and went on a shooting spree in Arlington, hitting five people, including fellow Republican Representative Steve Scalise.

So how did the Republicans and their irresponsible rhetoric, laws and behaviors act?  Did they pass responsible gun control laws?  Did they apologize for all of the behaviors they helped provoke against women, against minorities, against Muslims and against the left?


Instead of acting like mature adults, they reaffirmed their bully personalities by now and only now saying that there needs to be more civility in political discourse.

Let's look at Macho Man Gianforte now:
But he is eager to put the episode behind him, and he is now adding his voice to the growing chorus calling for better political discourse.

Gianforte said there is an obligation for members of Congress to ratchet down the vitriol in politics, especially after this week’s shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise during a Republican congressional baseball practice by a man who volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ Democratic presidential campaign.

“I believe that good things can come out of bad,” he said. “It’s important to make sure we reach out to all parties and hear their voice. I think the other parties have an obligation, as well, to be respectful and in that dialogue.”
The hypocrisy! It burns!

It is unsurprising though.  This is what bullies do.

So the next questions is how long will this new found call for civility last?

Answer: It has already ended.

Republicans are still eager to push through Ryancare, which will harm more than 24 million people.  This is not the behavior of a civilized group.  It is the behavior of a bunch of petty, hypocritical, hate-filled bullies.

People, we can - we must! - do better than this.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jesse Kremer Needs An Intervention

By Jeff Simpson 

Poor Jesse Kremer, he just keeps talking and talking and talking.   Kremer has spent his time in the Wisconsin Assembly on taxpayer dollars focusing on where kids in high school pee.  told us that there was no racism in the United States until President Obama was elected, and blamed Hollywood and the media for the shooting of a Congressman yesterday.  

Kremer continued his crazy recently, by telling us it is a fact that the earth is only 6000 years old.   As if those things were not all indicative of someone who needs an intervention, yesterday, Mr,. Kremer posted this on his Facebook page:

Jesse for Wisconsin: Mark Dawson God created the world, God will take it away, you and I will go to heaven or hell... yes, God can make a donkey talk.
June 9 at 7:57am
Umm Jesse you might want to sit down for this one.  

It was actually Eddie Murphy that made the Donkey talk and it was made possible by Dreamworks.   

Seriously I hope that Jesse Kremer's loved ones intervene and get him the help he so clearly needs!  

Trump Stumps For A Chump On Taxpayers' Dime

Even though Scott Walker and Donald Trump displayed a lot of animosity towards each other in the presidential campaign, Trump came to Wisconsin on Tuesday to help Walker in a fundraiser for his gubernatorial bid in 2018. As the gentle reader might imagine, it was not an event aimed at the common working person:

It is reported that Walker raised $1 million from the event but you could never tell that by listening to Trump:
Trump told guests the event raised $1.5 million for Walker’s next gubernatorial campaign in 2018, according to one attendee. However, that figure was not confirmed.

“That sounded high and seemed to grow throughout the night,” the source said. “It was definitely over a million.”
But don't worry, Trump didn't spend a dime of his own money to come for the event. Instead, he stuck taxpayers with the bill by making it an "official visit" by stopping at the Waukesha County Technical College to promote a job training program.

Odd thing about that is that has been one of Walker's major talking points for years, claiming that it would create all these good paying jobs. However, despite all of Walker's crowing about this plan, 2016 was the worst year for job creation as long as Walker has been governor:
Wisconsin added just 11,590 private sector jobs in 2016, good for a growth rate of 0.5 percent according to data released Friday by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Those numbers mark the slowest job growth of any year since Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) took office, and is based on data that comes from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).

Gov. Walker has referred to the QCEW numbers as the most accurate data available in the past, because it is based on survey of 96 percent of all employers in the state.

Contributing to the slower growth in 2016 was a decline in manufacturing jobs. Wisconsin suffered a loss of 3,776 jobs in the state's second-largest industry.
On top of that, the average salary had dropped another 0.6%, shrinking the middle class even further. Walker tried to explain it all away by blaming the workers, claiming that they are all unqualified. In reality, many workers are qualified for the jobs, but don't want to do them for a fraction of the going market wages.

Trump also bragged that Wisconsin may soon see bigly news as a "major manufacturer of electronics was considering opening a plant in Wisconsin. Good news, right?

Not so much in reality (emphasis mine):
A Taiwanese company that assembles Apple’s iPhones and other electronics is considering building a plant in Wisconsin that could employ thousands of people and give Gov. Scott Walker a huge political boost as he prepares to run for re-election.

A person with direct knowledge of the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the state is in talks with Foxconn. At least one other upper Midwest state, Michigan, is also pursuing the plant.

President Donald Trump alluded to negotiations with an unspecified company during a visit to Milwaukee on Tuesday, saying Walker might get “a very happy surprise very soon.” Trump said “we were negotiating with a major, major incredible manufacturer of phones and computers and televisions.”

Foxconn assembles smartphones and other devices for Apple, Sony, Blackberry and other brands — mostly in China, where its plants employ about 1 million people. It has been the subject of complaints for years about its labor practices and worker suicides at plants in China that manufacture Apple products.
They sound nice. Who wouldn't want a job that will drive you to suicide?

I wonder if, at some time during the day, Walker and Trump had a chance for a nice chat about how to deal with major investigations into their corruption and how to legalize said corruption?

One other point that stood out about the day. Sheriff David Clarke, who was one of Trump's loudest supporters and who claimed to be taking a job in Trump's Homeland Security (even though it's never been confirmed) was no where to be seen during the day. Even Clarke's twitter account was oddly silent for the last two days? Could it be that Clarke's big mouth cost him the job offer and now his fee fees are hurt? Or could it be that Clarke was just lying his ass off all along? Or did Walker and/or Trump tell him not to bother showing up? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Will Wisconsin's Future Children Receive an Equal Education?

Progress with the state budget is at a standoff in the Capitol. Behind closed doors, leaders are talking details and trying to find votes.

Openly, legislative leaders point to a lack of agreement on public education. They say no progress can happen until they round up necessary votes for the education portion of the budget. Privately, some GOP lawmakers are also angling to spend money on a big change to business personal property taxes. However, changes to taxes could take away money promised to schools.

Image result for public education in wisconsinEducation is the largest part of the general fund budget (the portion of our budget paid for with mostly income and sales tax). Local school funding is made up of a combination of state aid and local property taxes. The two sources of money interact a bit like a teeter-totter – as one source drops (state aid), the other source goes up (property taxes). For example, property taxes go up school districts pass referenda to fund needs left unserved by declining state aid.

Wisconsin pays for schools through an Equalized Aid formula, which is meant to equalize resources to children no matter where they live in the state. The idea of equal opportunity for children regardless of their zip code is deeply rooted in our state. Principles enshrined in Wisconsin’s Constitution include public education as a state function that is free with reasonable equality of education opportunities for all children and without excessive reliance on property taxes. Lawmakers must grapple with meeting those principles.

Under the Governor’s proposal, school funding through equalized aid would be lower in the 2018-19 school year than it was thirteen years prior. The effect of these decisions will intensify the inequalities schoolchildren across Wisconsin face.

Lawmakers admit the state’s way of funding schools is broken. Nevertheless, legislative leaders appear poised to ignore the need to change the formula. Instead, Governor Walker’s budget proposal increases state money to local schools but allocates that aid outside the funding formula. Thus, the wealthy suburban districts get the same amount of new money per student as the poor rural or inner city districts. The Governor also proposed adding to property tax credits, which lowers property taxes in a way that benefits wealthier districts.

Recently, Assembly Republicans released their own education-funding plan that lowers the Governor’s aid proposal and eliminates any increases in Sparsity Aid, which is targeted at rural schools.

Wisconsin is changing and these changes are reflected in our schoolchildren’s needs. Child poverty is rising. In a recent ten-year period, poverty (measured by the federal definition of eligibility for free and reduced lunch) more than doubled. The number of students with special education and multi-lingual needs also increased. In addition, rising property values, declining enrollment and low income in rural areas combine to create a crisis for rural schools.

These realities make the argument for changes in our equalized aid formula. State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers recognized these needs years ago and proposed new ways to pay for schools. State legislative leaders rejected these changes and instead expanded state funded private school programs.

Current school funding proposals add up to a future that is increasingly unequal. Lawmakers must address the real problems facing today’s children and teachers. We must ask the hard questions that underlie decisions about money and schools. Should a child, born into a poor family, an inner-city neighborhood or a rural country home, or born with a special need face fewer opportunities in his or her public school?

More money in tax credits and the failure to acknowledge the changing needs of our students creates a more unequal experience for children around our state. This problem is solvable. But the path majority lawmakers appear to be following takes us deeper into the woods of inequity.

Hanging in the balance is the answer to the question; will future children across the state receive an equal education?

(A big thanks to Russ Kava, senior analyst with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and his colleagues for their recent papers related to school budget decisions. This column used many details from their work. The conclusions are mine).