Wednesday, October 30, 2019

RoJo, Already An Accomplice, Wants To Be Witness and Juror In Trump's Impeachment

Image courtesy of One Wisconsin Now


Ron Johnson (R-Trump's Back Pocket) is fully embedded now into Trump's Ukraine scandal. As the gentle reader recalls, RoJo started out with saying that he saw no problem with Trump asking other countries to investigate the Bidens, whether it be Ukraine or China. Just days later, RoJo admitted that Trump was withholding money allotted to Ukraine to extort them into investigating the Bidens.

All this was enough for ethics experts to call out RoJo's mishandling of the situation and said that he should recuse himself from any future impeachment hearings.

I have little doubt what the experts would say about the fact that RoJo was further involved in the Ukraine scandal than previously known:
Sen. Ron Johnson met in July with a former Ukrainian diplomat who has circulated unproven claims that Ukrainian officials assisted Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, a previously unreported contact that underscores the GOP senator’s involvement in the unfolding narrative that triggered the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

In an interview last week, Andrii Telizhenko said he met with Johnson (Wis.) for at least 30 minutes on Capitol Hill and with Senate staff for five additional hours. He said discussions focused in part on “the DNC issue” — a reference to his unsubstantiated claim that the Democratic National Committee worked with the Ukrainian government in 2016 to gather incriminating information about Paul Manafort, then the chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign. Telizhenko said he could not recall the date of the meeting, but a review of his Facebook page revealed a photo of him and Johnson posted on July 11.

“I was in Washington, and Senator Johnson found out I was in D.C., and staff called me and wanted to do a meeting with me. So I reached out back and said, ‘Sure, I’ll come down the Hill and talk to you,’ ” Telizhenko told The Washington Post on Wednesday.
But wait, there's more. There's always more.

RoJo, who had shown remarkable memory for when certain meetings happened, who was there and what was discussed, suddenly developed big gaps in his memory:
The group returned from Ukraine and debriefed Trump and key aides at the White House on May 23. Sondland testified this month that Trump urged them to talk to Giuliani about his concerns about corruption in Ukraine, guidance that opened the informal diplomatic channel used to facilitate the alleged quid pro quo.

Johnson denied Sondland’s version of events last week, saying he had “no recollection of the president mentioning Rudy Giuliani” at the May 23 meeting.

“Ambassador Sondland said that was when that all began. I have no recollection of that at all,” Johnson told The Post in a brief interview on Capitol Hill.
But what comes next would surely make the heads of those ethics experts implode at the sheer audacity of it - RoJo said that he was not going to recuse himself from any impeachment hearings:
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Tuesday that his close involvement in Ukraine issues would not cause him to recuse himself from a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

“I represent the people that elected me. Those individuals deserve a voice and my vote in the process. I would never even consider it,” Johnson said of recusal, speaking in a brief interview at the U.S. Capitol with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Johnson also said he would be happy to provide his first-hand knowledge of events and conversations involving Ukraine to U.S. House members conducting the impeachment probe, which centers on the question of whether Trump improperly pushed Ukraine officials to investigate Trump’s Democratic political rival, Joe Biden, and Democratic activities in the 2016 election.

“That would be up to the House” if it wants to hear from him, Johnson said. “I wouldn’t resist. I’m always happy to tell the truth.”
In other words, RoJo sees no problems with being an accomplice, a witness and a juror all in the same case. If Mitch "The Turtle" McConnell had one shred of decency left in his corrupt soul, he would have already taken action against RoJo. But we all know how likely that's going to ever happen.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

This Is What Solidarity Looks Like!

Image from Massachusetts Teachers Association
After years of unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a new contract, the teachers of Dedham, Massachusetts have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike. The amazing thing about this is the fact that Massachusetts has had a law for 100 years banning public workers from striking:
In Massachusetts, strikes are unlawful for public sector workers. That didn’t stop the Dedham Educators Association (DEA) from walking out this morning after an overwhelming 248- 2 (out of 280 members) strike vote last night.

The educators in this Boston suburb are crying foul about health insurance costs that eat into their salaries, and district demands for more time on the clock and in professional development without any increase in compensation. Teachers are also demanding contract language that allows for real enforcement of sexual harassment policies.
The last straw for the teachers was when Superintendent Michael Welch tried to pick a fight with DEA President Tim Dwyer. Apparently Welch never heard of the union motto that "Injury to one is injury to all."

And the teachers weren't alone when they hit the picket line. The community is supporting the teachers and students have joined them on the picket line. But that's not all:
Cross-union support has been strong. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Electrical Workers (IBEW), nurses, and Teamsters have all been on the line, at rallies, and sharing their support on social media. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren all released statement of support. And Massachusetts Representative Joe Kennedy, who is running for Senate against Markey, even showed up at a rally for a few minutes.
And it's already working. After a rally that drew 500 people - and an order by state labor officials that the school district start bargaining in good faith - the teachers and school district sat down at the bargaining table for the first time in months.

But before sitting down at the bargaining table, there was another strong showing of support and solidarity.

And the DEA isn't the only union enjoying a show of solidarity.

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) got a major boost from the Teamsters, who said that they won't deliver to the schools while the teachers are striking:
When Teamsters Local 705 official Juan Campos heard that the Chicago Teachers Union was going on strike, his first reaction was to text union stewards, reminding them that Teamsters honor strike lines of other labor groups.

He also encouraged them to display their red-and-white buttons that state: "Teamsters don’t cross picket lines.”

Campos, the secretary-treasurer of a local that represents about 17,000 workers including UPS drivers in Chicago, said that’s important to him because “today it’s them, tomorrow it’s us.”

“We stand behind the teachers union 100% and believe they should fight for every form of benefits and relief for the children they are seeking,” Campos said.

“Our drivers are not delivering any goods across any picket lines that are manned by the teachers,” Campos said. He noted they do have to abide by the law, which means if there’s no line, they must deliver.
It really warms this old union thug's heart to see such a strong showing of solidarity. We just might be able to pull this country out of its downward spiral after all.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Makes A Dog's Day in Wisconsin Or Wisconsin Hates My Dogs


October is National Adopt-A-Dog Month, aimed to promote adoption over buying a puppy mill dog. Along those same lines, Tuesday was National Make A Dog's Day, which is celebrated by:
Visit a shelter, find a loyal canine companion and make a dog’s day through adoption! If the timing isn’t quite right, all are welcome to stop by a shelter and volunteer. Just by taking a shelter dog for a walk or bringing them a new chew toy, you’ll make their day. New blankets or treats are always welcome, too. Check your local shelter’s website for a list of needs. Each shelter takes donations, and their requirements vary depending on the time of year.
And if you already have a dog, you can do things that are extra special for them - things like taking a long walk or car ride, getting them a special treat or toy or just spending extra time with them.

For us, we have Beau (the brown and white on the right) and Lou. Both are rescues from the Wisconsin Humane Society. Beau is an American English Coonhound Mix. He had been through two homes and numerous shelters in nine short months of life until he found his way to us. Lou is a Tennessee Walker Coonhound. He came in as a stray, thus we have no history on him. But judging from his initial behaviors and his fear of so many things, he obviously had a rough life before finding his way to us. As it is, it took him a long time to understand that this was his furever home and to trust us completely.

For our boys, we make sure that every day is National Makes A Dog's Day. We are always trying to make up all the bad they experienced before we rescued each other. Sadly, not all the coonhounds in Wisconsin are treating as well.

In Spring Green, Wisconsin, a couple of people have started a puppy mill, in which they will breed coonhounds with the sole purpose of selling them for research testing. This has caused an outrage on an international scale, with people around the world calling and emailing to express their anger and stating they will boycott the entire region as long as they are allowed them to operate this cruel business.

Fortunately, there are several dog advocacy groups and rescues taking actions as well, led by the wonderful group, Dane 4 Dogs. They have already successfully petitioned the government to have a referendum on whether this type of facility should be operating in their community.

I personally have been in contact with some state lawmakers about this as well. They were already working on a bill that would outlaw puppy mill dogs from being sold commercially and are now working on adding an amendment to include banning the selling the dogs for research.

If that wasn't bad enough, the State of Wisconsin also has a law on the books that sanctions the use of hounds in bear hunting. To train the hounds, the hunters allow the dogs to run freely through the countryside, to find the bait laid by the hunters. Unfortunately, bear country is also wolf country. The hounds often run into the wolves, leading to a fight in which the wolves and the hounds are both losers. In the past five years, scores of hounds, just like Beau and Lou, are literally thrown to the wolves.

James Rowen, one of the state's leading environmental bloggers, has been tracking this for the past five years. He continuously points out that the only ones who make out are the hunters, who get reimbursed $2,500 for every dog that is killed or maimed in these wolf-hound encounters. In the past five years, scores of these noble hounds have been killed. The hunters collect their checks and then just pick up more hounds, often from shelters down south, where they are both plentiful and very inexpensive.

These stories make me eternally grateful for Beau and Lou and that we saved them from this sort of fate. I am also eternally grateful for other hound lovers, like @Tegan_G, who shared the remarkable story of how she found an abandoned hound puppy on the side of a country road and rescued him. The puppy, who is cute as hell, became an instant internet celebrity known as Larry the Puppy.

I am also grateful for Tegan and Larry because they led us to Larry's baby brother, Bandit, whom my wife and I will be adopting in a few weeks, once he is old enough and has been cleared by the vet up there.  He is a Black and Tan Coonhound.



Sure, it will make our small house a little "cozier" and make our budget a little tighter, but our hearts have more than enough room for him already. And it sure beats what might have been in store for him otherwise.

Hopefully, as the Blue Wave continues to sweep the state and the nation, lawmakers will see the wisdom and compassion to fix these laws. After all, dogs are people


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Ethics Experts: Ron Johnson Has None



As reported last week, Ron Johnson, Wisconsin's Dumb (and corrupt) Senator, dismissed Trump's Ukraine scandal because RoJo said that Trump denied it and, gosh darn it, that was good enough for RoJo!

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel followed up on this by asking various ethics experts on how RoJo handled this whole sordid affair. The experts all said what we already know, RoJo really dropped the ball on the whole thing. Furthermore, because of the way RoJo handled this mess, he should recuse himself form voting, if the impeachment should reach the Senate for trial. Since the paper has it behind a paywall, here are some of the excerpts:
Four ethics experts say Johnson — a member of a branch of government that exists, in part, to provide a check on the president — should have also alerted other senators, explored holding an oversight hearing or even told federal investigators.

One expert says he didn't see anything improper about Johnson's actions but all five contend Johnson should not have taken Trump at his word when he assured Johnson the allegation was false.

"Yes, clearly this should have been reported to the FBI," University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor David Canon said. "What did he expect the president to say? 'Ah, you are right, sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.'"

[...]

And his role in the matter may mean he should refrain from voting if Trump's removal from office comes before the Senate, two experts said. Johnson plays a central part in what happened because he asked Trump in August whether the aid and investigation were linked.

“You don't have somebody be a witness in a trial and then serve on the jury,” said Hui Chen, an attorney who has worked on compliance issues for the U.S. Department of Justice, Microsoft and Pfizer.

[...]

"I think it was a deep mistake for Senator Johnson to take the president at his word and not instead pursue other channels, including alerting his colleagues for congressional oversight purposes," said Ryan Goodman, a professor at New York University School of Law who served as special counsel to the U.S. Department of Defense under President Barack Obama.

“I think his missteps here have implicated himself, because he's become a fact witness in the case,” Goodman said of Johnson. “And I think as such the appropriate thing for him to do may be to recuse himself from the Senate trial.”
I think the gentle reader gets the idea.

What hasn't been reported anywhere else is the fact that RoJo does have a history of covering up crimes committed by fellow Republicans.

In 2011, then Wisconsin State Representative Bill Kramer sexually assaulted a woman who was an aide to RoJo at the time. The woman went to RoJo and his Chief of Staff, Tony Blando, and told them of the assault. Neither man told the police or any Republican Party officials about the reported assault. The woman eventually came forward and told police of the assault.

Even then, RoJo tried to play stupid, if he was indeed playing, denied any knowledge of the incident. He also denied that the woman had told him about it. It was only after the woman reported to the police that she had indeed informed them about it that RoJo's memory started to come back to him.

It's high time and then some that RoJo is also put under investigation for his own ethics violations.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Ron Johnson Permanently Attaches His Lips To Trump's Arse



Just a couple of days ago, Ron Johnson (R-Trump's Arse) tried to minimize Trump's attempt to use his office for political gain and extort Ukraine into investigating the Bidens.

Not that Trump has given up all pretense of trying to even pretend being innocent, asking China to also investigate his political opponents while ON CAMERA., RoJo simply shrugged and embraced Trump's criminality in a full body hug and permanently affixes his lips to Trump's arse (emphasis mine):
"I don't think there's anything improper about it," Johnson said. "We have proper agreements with countries to investigate potential crimes. I don't know what may or may not have happened with China and the Bidens, but I think an awful lot of those investigations can actually occur here in America."

Despite Trump's rhetoric, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden or his son in either China or Ukraine.

[...]

In Middleton, Johnson said there are a number of unanswered questions regarding Hunter Biden's business dealings in China, and that the American public, Democratic primary voters and Trump have a right to know about it.

"If there’s some scandal sitting outside there, whether it’s in Ukraine, between Vice President Biden’s son or in China, I would think they’d want to know that before they start casting their ballots in the Democratic primary," Johnson said.
RoJo not only condoned Trump's illegal and unethical behavior but spelled it out for even the most idiotic of the Republicans.

Then again, given RoJo's own past, he has no problem with someone using the power of their office for political or personal gain.

But as the gentle reader is probably expecting by now, there's more. There's always more. RoJo wasn't done showing what a moron and liar he really is:

After playing dumb on a letter he cosigned in 2016 urging Ukraine's leaders to clean up the corruption in their government, RoJo actually said this:
"I don't engage in hypocrisy," Johnson said. "I'm looking at getting the truth, I'm trying to be supportive of eastern European countries."
The hypocrisy and self-contradiction just speaks for itself.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Ron Johnson's Very Bad And Utterly Bizarre Day



In 2018, US Senator Ron Johnson (R - Russia, NRA) proved that he was a Russian asset when he spent the Fourth of July in Mother Russia, kissing Putin's butt while pretending to be patriotic. Immediately upon returning from his little junket, he offhandedly dismissed any and all concerns about Russia hacking our elections.

And we already knew that RoJo was a puppet for the NRA, receiving the fourth highest amount of money from the fascist organization during the 2016 elections.

Now, RoJo is the subject of a complaint filed with the FEC that his campaign was illegal coordinating with the NRA, possibly using Russian money:
The nonprofit and nonpartisan organization Campaign Legal Center has filed an FEC complaint alleging the NRA’s coordination with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin in the 2016 campaign through a shell corporation called Starboard, which illegally funneled potentially millions from the NRA in in-kind contributions. "There is substantial evidence that the NRA funneled millions through a shell corporation to unlawfully coordinate with candidates it was backing," Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the CLC, said. "The NRA using inside information about a candidate's strategy to create 'independent' ads supporting him creates an unfair advantage and it violates the law."

The NRA's lobbying organization as well as its PAC had a contract with Starboard to create ads not just in Johnson's 2016 campaign, but also to help Republicans Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, and Thom Tillis in 2014. Which means that those three, now running for reelection in 2020, also had illegal help from the NRA in their elections. That's not much of a problem for Cotton looking ahead because it's Arkansas. But Colorado and North Carolina are a different ball of wax.

How much of the millions the NRA was laundering through Starboard was actually Russian money laundered through the NRA? It spent a record $55 million on the 2016 elections; $30 million went to Trump, $25 million to other Republicans. That's the money that it actually had to report, though most of it came from the PAC arm, which doesn't have to disclose the identities of its donors.
Ah, but there's more. There's always more.

On Monday, RoJo showed some very erratic behavior, which might one wonder about his mental acuity.

First, he tried to distance himself, ever so slightly, from the Orange Shitgibbon:
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said on Monday that he thinks President Trump has changed the presidency, but signaled it isn't necessarily in the right direction.

"I think so, not necessarily toward the positive either," Johnson said during an interview in Wisconsin with WTMJ.
RoJo immediately regretted his statement and tried to going back to kissing Trump's ass by blaming Bill Clinton for also damaging the office.

Just to make sure Trump knew that RoJo was still the faithful and loyal lackey, he kept piling on by accusing the DNC of working with Ukraine to get dirt on Trump. He also tried to smear former Vice President Joe Biden, for good measure. One can't be too careful or too stingy when kissing Cheetolini's ass.

GOP Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa sent a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr asking for more information about whether Ukrainian officials sought to undermine Mr. Trump’s campaign. They also want to know more about 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s interactions with Ukrainian officials.
“Ukrainian efforts abetted by a U.S. political party to interfere in the 2016 election should not be ignored,” the senators wrote. “Such allegations of corruption deserve due scrutiny, and the American people have a right to know when foreign forces attempted to undermine our Democrat processes.”
Yes, the gentle reader read that correctly - Ukraine. You know, the same country that Trump tried to coerce into helping him, leading to a probable impeachment:

I could almost, key word is almost, feel bad for RoJo. One can't have that much exposure to Trump's enormous butt without eventually it having some detrimental effects on them.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Democracy Returns To Wisconsin, WISGOP Has A Meltdown



Sean Duffy's officially left Congress on Monday. He was resigning reportedly to stay home with a baby he and his wife were expecting in October, which had already been diagnosed with special needs.

On the same day, Governor Tony Evers set the special election to replace Duffy:
Gov. Tony Evers on Monday called for a special election in January to fill the vacancy in northern Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District. The announcement came the same day U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston, resigned the position.

“Our rural communities have been directly affected by unproductive trade wars, political attacks on health care and public education, and economic uncertainty because of the volatility we’re seeing in Washington, D.C.,” Evers said in a statement announcing the Jan. 27 special election. “The people of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District deserve to have a voice in Congress, which is why I am calling for a special election to occur quickly to ensure the people of the 7th Congressional District have representation as soon as possible.
If a primary is needed, it will be held on December 30.

The Republicans immediately sprung into action by mewling about it, making broad and baseless accusation and, of course, fundraising:

While Evers said the special election date was chosen in order to fill the open seat as soon as possible, Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, was critical of the governor’s selection.
“(Evers) called for a special election on a Monday over the holidays in order to shield his party from rural voters during the spring election,” Jefferson said in a statement. “Governor Evers knows the problems that come with holding an election in 26 counties during the holidays, but he doesn’t care. Clerks are already burdened by existing end-of-year priorities such as budgets and property taxes, along with reviewing nomination papers for local offices.”
They also added gripes about the cost of having the special election.

Their complaints is foolish. The spring elections would be actually more beneficial to the Democrats, since that is when Wisconsin's presidential primary is. There is guaranteed to be a much bigger turnout in the spring than over the holidays (if a primary is needed) and in the dead of winter.

But not all Democrats are pleased about the choice either, as Ruth Conniff of Wisconsin Examiner, reports:
The January election date is not ideal, according to at least one Democrat, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Black Earth).

“If you have a primary or a general around Christmas … you get terrible turnout because real people don’t think about primary elections, they think about the holidays,” Pocan said in a conversation with reporters on Sept. 4, during which he was asked what would be the best election date in the 7th district for Democrats.

The best way to schedule the election, he said, was to “piggyback” the dates on already-scheduled elections, with a primary in February and a general election in April. “You don’t want to add elections,” Pocan said. “We like elections; most people don’t.”

“If you start putting a bunch of elections, especially at Christmas time or in other months, you’re not going to get turnout and that doesn’t benefit anyone,” Pocan added. “You should want as many people as possible to participate.”
One of the real reasons that the Republicans have their undies in a bundle over this special election is because they know that the party choice to replace Duffy, State Senator Tom Tiffany, is a strong Trump supporter and with Trump failing and flailing fast, they're afraid it's not going to go well for them because it would be an early referendum on Trump.

The other reason they're upset is because they are pining for the good old days, when they didn't have to worry about the voters. Y'know, like that time that Scott Walker was so scared of giving the people their voice that he refused to hold special elections in the beginning of 2018, until he was ordered by the courts - numerous times - to set the dates.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Dave Zweifel Commemorates Jeff Simpson



Last Friday, Dave Zweifel, Editor Emeritus at The Cap Times, dedicated a whole column to the memory of Jeff Simpson.

Zweifel starts by reminiscing how he first met Jeff, who had won a silent auction for the chance to sit in on an editorial board meeting with a prominent state or local politician.  (Jeff picked Russ Feingold.)

Zweifel then wrote a segue that would have made the buttons on Jeff's shirt pop off in pride.

As I said when I spoke at Jeff's funeral, Jeff was very happy and very proud of writing at this here blog and having his voice heard around the state.  Keep that in mind at this bit from Zweifel's column:
Jeff did join in the Feingold interview, and when he left, I thought that might be the last I heard of him. How wrong. He soon appeared as a regular blogger, espousing his strong beliefs in local, state and national politics, taking on those politicians he felt weren't representing the people they served, but instead the moneyed interests who contributed to their campaigns.

His blog drew many readers and was most recently found on Cognitive Dissidence, a popular statewide site which is frequently linked on our daily online opinion round-up, the State Debate.

Meanwhile, he got himself elected to the Monona Grove School Board, and became an outspoken advocate for public education and the need to support public school teachers.
Zweifel finishes his column by reproducing Jeff's last blog post, stating that "It says loads about Jeff's life and the kind of person he was."

I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Sensenbrenner Finally Announces Long Overdue Departure From Congress


To many people's surprise, U.S. Representative F. James Sensenbrenner finally announced on Wednesday that he would not seek reelection in 2020. He had fed at the public trough for more than half a century - 10 years as a state legislator and 40 years in Congress. Many people, including myself, had long thought that the only way Sensenbrenner would leave was when they carried him out in a box.

Sensenbrenner denied that his announcement had anything to do with fear of losing or for health reasons but that he wanted to go before redistricting occurred in 2022:
Sensenbrenner said he is not retiring for health reasons or because he is worried about a re-election challenge. He is at least the 15th GOP member of the U.S. House to announce retirement this year, a group that includes Duffy.

Sensenbrenner said his decision was also unrelated to serving in the minority, where he has spent virtually half his congressional career, and unrelated to the turbulence of Donald Trump’s presidency.

[...]

“I’ve said all along I’d know when the right time came and I’ve come to the conclusion it has,” he said. “There is nobody running against me. Nobody can say they’ve pushed me out. I am doing this on my terms.”

Said Sensenbrenner:

“You can see the end of the line sometime. Being able to do this on my timetable rather than after a redistricting in 2022 will allow me to go out on a high note … This is just me feeling the time would be coming in the next few years, and I think this is the best time for me personally, and for both the Republican Party and for me politically.”
I don't know but it sure sounds to me like he's scared of what could be coming down the road.

Some of the "highlights" of Sensenbrenner's career include:
  • Creating the oppressive Patriot's Act
  • Being a "House Manager" during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton
  • Referring to First Lady Michelle Obama's "large posterior" and "big butt"
The gentle reader shouldn't lose a moment's sleep worrying about Sensenbrenner's future. He's got millions of dollars stashed away from not only being overpaid as a politician but from being an heir and former stockholder of Kimberly Clark.

The gentle reader also shouldn't hold their breath in hopes that the district will turn blue in 2020. His district is so badly gerrymandered by the Republicans, that it is strongly red (R +13). It also lies mostly in the WOW counties, which produce the highest Republican turnout in the state and the country. I just hope that whoever the Republicans decide to run isn't as big as a goof and idiot as Glenn Grothman.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Jeff's Last Post


Before he died, Jeff Simpson with the help of his wife, wrote one last blogpost.  But instead of posting it anywhere, they gave it to their pastor to read at his celebration of life last week.  When the pastor read it aloud to us, I knew I had to ask for it, not only because of what Jeff said, but also because it was pure Jeff.  With the help and full permission of his wife, I present to you Jeff's last post, edited only to fit the format:
In my nine plus years of battling cancer, I learned a few lessons that I feel the need to share. The first is, as the late Coach Jim Valvano famously said, “Don’t Give Up….Don’t Ever Give Up.” In my time fighting this dreaded disease, there were some very dark times and yet with so much to fight for, I never considered giving up.

The Second lesson is Build Your Army. No one accomplishes anything alone in this world. You have to build your army and be willing to accept help. MY army was incredible, it consisted of my amazing family, my incredible medical team at UW Hospital, the Cottage Grove and Monona Grove community, My Gilda’s club support group, my Messiah Lutheran family and of course Jesus. With that strong of an army, who can stand against me?

Third is Be Active in your community. It is important that we all do our best to make our world a better place and the best way to do that is right out your front door. Run for local office, attend local meetings, volunteer locally, shop locally when you can. Help your neighbor with tasks if you are able. The best way to change the world is acts of service and kindness with your neighbors, let the goodness trickle up.

Fourth and final – Be Nice. As the Bible states “and the Greatest is Love" We have become so polarized as a nation and state and there is too much anger and hatred in the world. I know in my time, I was in the middle of many of these battles, but I truly tried to engage civilly and with all people. We need to stop treating each other as enemies and instead look upon them as the human being that they are and find common ground.

Also a couple more requests – Lets cure Cancer, we have brilliant minds in this world, this disease is horrible and we need to stop it.. Let’s get money out of politics also, so the good of the people will be the main policy driver not the profits of the corporation. Support your Public Schools. They are staffed with people who really care about all kids, so support them the way they support the community. Finally, live your life with passion and every day will have blue skies!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Vos, WISGOP, Still Complete Jerks Towards Paralyzed Democrat



Wisconsin Republicans, led by Speaker Robin Vos, are still befouling themselves in their treatment and attitude towards State Representative Jimmy Anderson, a Democrat who was paralyzed from the chest down when a drunk driver smashed into the car that Anderson was riding in.

It started when Anderson made a simple request to appear via telephone at some Assembly committee meetings when his physical disabilities and health concerns won't allow it. Vos denied him this right guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and accused Anderson of "grandstanding" in his request.

Bad enough, right? But as with all things Republican, there's more. There's always more.

Anderson circulated a letter to each and every fellow state representative to ask Vos to allow Anderson his request for this accommodation. All 36 of Anderson's fellow Democrats signed the letter willingly. However, not one Republican would sign the letter. This includes Republican State Representative Barbara Dittrich, who prides herself as being a long time advocate for those with disabilities.

But Vos still wasn't done. Apparently concerned that there might still be some lingering doubt, Vos wanted to make sure that the world knows that he is a complete and utter shithead.

Vos did this by trying to play the victim card. Yes, you read that correctly. Vos tried to portray himself as the victim, stating that Anderson was only making the request to make him look bad:
Vos told WISN's Jay Weber he believes the timing of Anderson's public appeal, which included speaking to a Journal Sentinel reporter, was meant to undermine the announcement of Vos taking over as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
But Vos didn't say it even that tactfully. What Vos actually said was way worse and about as callous and petty as I have ever seen:
"(This) does not seem like an accident to me," Vos told a conservative radio show host Thursday. "Everything they do is political and trying to make the other side look bad."
So in Vos' deranged mind, Anderson purposely went out and got hit by a drunk driver, an accident which took the lives of both his parents and his brother and leaving him paralyzed, just in order to make Vos look bad years later. And that doesn't mention all the physical and emotional suffering that Anderson apparently went through willfully, just for the chance to embarrass Vos at some future time.

Belatedly realizing that his bluster, bullying and pettiness were hurting his aspirations to be governor, later tried to backtrack, saying that "some accommodations" were likely but refusing to specify exactly what those accommodations would be.

The smart money is on that there will be only minimal, if any, changes made and that Vos only said that in a lame effort at damage control.

Vos is as sick and deranged as they come.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

A Celebration Of The Life Of Jeff Simpson

As most people know, my friend and blog partner, Jeff Simpson, passed away last weekend.

On the behalf of his family, and with their full permission, I am reproducing Jeff's obituary here:

Obituary for Jeffrey William Simpson


COTTAGE GROVE - Jeffrey William Simpson, age 53, of Cottage Grove, beloved husband, father, brother, son, caring friend to all, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. As he wished, in his final days and hours, he was surrounded by his loving family and close friends. Jeff was born on June 19, 1966, in Beloit, Wis, son of Richard and Sandra (Fornecker) Simpson. In June 1969, his mother married his step-father, John Ryan, when they moved onto John’s family farm in Newark, Wis. Some of his favorite childhood memories were of days at the Rock County 4-H Fair, where he would show his precious pigs and cows, like Esmeralda. Jeff graduated from Parkview High School in Orfordville in 1984. He continued his studies at Beloit College, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a certification in Secondary Education. While attending Beloit College, Jeff played baseball and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, maintaining life-long bonds with his fraternity brothers.

Jeff married his best friend and the love of his life, Deb Farrar, on Sept. 25, 1999. He readily shared with everyone that he could not believe how fortunate he was to have found Deb, and that such a beautiful and amazing woman agreed to become his wife. Jeff and Deb were blessed with two caring children, Luka (16) and Kennedy (13).

Following college, Jeff worked in sales, with 15 years of his career being spent with New Balance, the athletic shoe company, where he became forever friends with many of his co-workers, as they got together regularly for their annual sales meetings. Jeff aspired for his life to have purpose and meaning, and to leave this world a better place, so in 2012, he decided to serve his community by joining the Monona Grove School Board.

Jeff loved being a father and was always very involved. When Luka and Kennedy were young, he coached their soccer and basketball teams. During their school years, he attended all of Luka’s plays and Kennedy’s dance recitals, showing so much pride while watching them come alive on stage! Throughout his life, Jeff identified with and fought tenaciously for the underdog. His passionate interests included politics, specifically related to education, equity, and labor rights. Jeff was an active political blogger, most recently for Cognitive Dissidence. Through his blogging, and his time on the Monona Grove School board, Jeff was known to be a fighter for truth, for what was right, for educators, and for EVERY student, all based on his foundational belief in the innate goodness of our youth. He was a true champion of humanitarian values, activist for justice, and a strong voice for positive political change. Since his cancer diagnosis in 2010, Jeff has publicly shared his fight against the disease on both Facebook and CaringBridge, always with great honesty and humility, as well as humor.

Kind, witty, courageous, optimistic, strong, and smart, Jeff was most known, and admired, for his deep and loyal relationships and connections with friends, family, and his larger community. His love for his family, big heart, and willingness to help others was absolute and served as the foundation of his identity. Jeff took great joy in traveling with his family, staying at many Bed and Breakfasts with Deb, and being an avid sports fan for the Brewers, Bears, and Badgers, always with Luka by his side. He also loved country music, such as Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, but would thoroughly enjoy a KISS or ACDC concert as well.

Jeff is survived by his wife, Deb Farrar-Simpson; children, Luka Simpson, Kennedy Simpson, and Zach (Janna) Schultzhaus; God Child, Jacquita Wilder; two sisters, Shannon (Rick Brockwell) Ryan and Johna (Dan Moore) Ryan; brother, Larry (Martha) Ryan; parents-in-law, Daniel and Kathleen Farrar; sister-in-law, Kristine (James) Mazzuca and her step-children Brandon and Brooklyn; and Rosie, the devoted family dog. Jeff is also survived by several aunts and uncles, and an abundance of friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Richard S. Simpson; step-father, John C. Ryan; and on July 31, 2019, by his mother, Sandra M. Ryan.

Jeff’s family would like to thank his healthcare team at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center and the compassionate and supportive friends they found through Gilda’s Club and Camp Kesem. They also want to express their gratitude to the multitude of friends who have provided much-needed support throughout Jeff’s cancer journey. Their many acts of kindness and care have been a true blessing.

A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held at MESSIAH LUTHERAN CHURCH, 5202 Cottage Grove Road, Madison, at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, August 23, 2019, with Rev. Jeff Vanden Heuvel presiding. A reception will immediately follow at the church with an opportunity to visit with the family. If you are not able to attend Jeff’s service, yet want to participate, please access the live feed option thru Messiah Lutheran Church’s website http://messiahchurch.com/.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Gilda’s Club of Madison and Camp Kesem UW-Madison.

Jeff will remain in our hearts forever, until we meet again!

Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive
(608) 221-5420
A celebration of Jeff's life will be held on Friday, August 23, at 2 pm.  The celebration will be held at Messiah Lutheran Church, which is at 5202 Cottage Grove Road, Madison, WI. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Rest In Strength, Jeff Simpson


It is with a broken heart and heavy sorrow that I must report the passing of Jeff Simpson, who passed away Friday night after a long and courageous battle with a rare form of cancer

As the gentle reader already knows, Jeff was a proficient writer her at Cog Dis and a very good friend of mine.  Jeff had many attributes and qualities that I and many others appreciated.  Even though I disagreed with him on the rare occasion, I could not help but to admire his passion and sincerity in everything.

He has a fierce determination and unsinkable spirit.  Whether it was beating up internet trolls, calling out politicians who did wrong or fighting the cancer, Jeff never faltered.  A few weeks ago, when I saw that he was declining rapidly, I reached out to him to see how he was doing and if they needed anything.  Jeff replied that the cancer had won a round or two but that he was going to get better and kick its ass again.

But there was so much more to Jeff than just his passion for politics, which actually played a relatively small part of his life. 

His greatest strength of all was his love for his family.  He adored and loved his wife, Deb, to no end and was constantly expressing his appreciation and love for her.  And he lived for his children, Luca and Kennedy.  One would just need to glance through his Facebook page to the pride and love for them that overflowed from him.  After he was diagnosed with the recurrence of the cancer, he put all his time into them. He attended most, if not all, of their athletic events, plays and recitals.  He and his family went on many vacations so that he could give them the greatest gift of all, the memories and knowledge that he loved them more than words could ever describe.

Besides his family, Jeff leaves behind many friends, some of whom he had known since high school.  The fact that he had so many friends is testament to the kind of man Jeff was.

Jeff, my brother, not only will I miss you and never forget you, but hundreds of others will as well.  Godspeed and may you rest in peace and strength, my friend.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Vos Finds Self In Hole, Keeps Digging

Image from Jimmy Anderson for Assembly

Wise people know that if you find yourself deep in a hole, they should stop digging. Wisconsin Republican Speaker of the Assembly is not a wise person at all. In fact, he's rather fricking stupid.

On Thursday, I reported that Vos was refusing to make a small accommodation for Democratic Representative Jimmy Anderson, who is paralyzed from the chest down. Anderson wanted to be able to appear telephonically for committee meetings for when he is unable to be there due to his health concerns or not having a personal care worker available to help him for very early or very late meetings.

That same day, Vos sent a very nasty letter to Anderson, accusing him of grandstanding:
"This is an unfortunate way to communicate," Vos wrote. "It calls into question your seriousness. Instead of resorting to political grandstanding, you could have called my personal cellphone at any time to discuss the matter."
But Vos wasn't done there.

Vos then went on to say that Anderson never told anyone about his need or his request for accommodation. Vos also insinuated that Anderson was a liar because in 2017, Anderson voted against having any sort of telecommunications for meetings.

In reality, in 2017, Anderson wasn't but a month into being in office and didn't know what his needs were going to be at that time. Anderson also pointed out that he had raised the issue in the early part of 2019 when the state assembly was again addressing the rules for that legislative body but that Vos ignored him.

I would also point out that when a person has a serious disability and health related complications, their needs can change, sometimes very rapidly.

But wait! There's more! There's always more.

Image from PRWatch
Vos dug that hole even deeper by offering Anderson a non-compromise. He said that they could videotape the meeting and then let Anderson vote by a paper ballot after the fact. But as Anderson points out, this would not allow him to offer input or ask questions, thereby not allowing him to properly represent the voters of his district.

Quite understandably, Anderson is even more upset and angry than he was before:
In an interview, Anderson said Vos' proposal fell short and he thought he would have to sue the state to get the accommodations he says he needs.

"This doesn't allow me to participate in the legislative process," Anderson said of Vos' proposal.

"It seems like Speaker Vos is going to take every opportunity to denigrate me and act as if I'm acting inappropriately when I'm simply asking for accommodations related to my disability. And so at this point I can't trust him to do the right thing and that's really frustrating. It really feels like we're moving toward having to file a lawsuit."
Just in case Vos hasn't quite proved himself to be the scum of the earth and a miserable excuse for a human being, there is one more thing that needs to be pointed out.

While Vos won't make one simple, common sense accommodation for a fellow lawmaker who has a disability, he had not problem whatsoever delaying actions and votes for Republican fundraisers and special interest funded junkets around country and the world:
Legislative Republicans are delaying the start of their state budget deliberations until at least May 9, according to the office of Republican Joint Committee on Finance co-chair Alberta Darling, as reported by the state news service WisPolitics. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Analiese Eicher noted the delay gives top Republicans, including Senate and Assembly leaders Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos and the co-chairs of the powerful Joint Committee on Finance, the chance to shake down special interests at a fundraiser hosted for them at the offices of a Washington D.C. lobbying firm on May 1.

“It’s a pretty clear sign of the Republicans’ budget priorities when they’re delaying the start of their budget deliberation until after they’ve had a chance to shake down special interests for campaign cash,” said Eicher.

Wisconsin Republicans’ hosts at the Washington D.C. firm the BGR Group were reported to have made over $27 million in income in 2018 from lobbying on behalf of special interest clients including big pharmaceutical, tobacco, oil, energy and insurance companies.

Individual event attendees will need to donate at least $1,000 per person for the general reception. A special “host” reception is available for donors willing to pony up a minimum of $5,000, payable to the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Ironically, the May 1 fundraising event is being held on the same day the Republican-controlled legislature began voting on the state budget in the Joint Committee on Finance in 2017.
It's obvious to anyone who is not a corrupt Republican or Republican apologist that Vos needs to profusely apologize to Anderson and the people of Wisconsin. Then he needs to step down from the speakership, since it is equally obvious he is not fit for the job.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Pettiness of Robin Vos Reaches New Lows


Jimmy Anderson is a Democratic Wisconsin State Representative from Fitchburg. Jimmy was paralyzed from the chest down when a drunk driver slammed into the car that Anderson was riding in. This tragedy also killed his parents and his brother.

Along with being paralyzed, Anderson also has a number of serious health problems. Appearing in committee meetings is not always easy for Anderson due to these health concerns and the difficulty in finding an available personal care worker, especially if the meetings start early or run late.

Due to these concerns, Anderson has respectfully requested to sometimes appear at these meetings via phone, pointing out that he otherwise would not be able to do his job to his best ability.

The Republican Speaker of the Assembly, Robin Vos, in a display of breathtaking pettiness and callousness has denied this simple request, despite strong federal laws mandating that accommodations are made for people with disabilities. Vos' reasoning for this cruelty is that he felt Anderson would be "disrespectful" if he did so:
Vos, of Rochester, noted lawmakers have accommodated his needs in other ways, such as by providing him with a computer that has voice recognition software. But Vos said he was unwilling to change the rule that requires representatives to show up at committee meetings in person.

"It just comes down to the fact that I think it’s disrespectful for someone to be asking questions over a microphone or a speakerphone when individuals are actually taking the time out of their day to come and testify in person," Vos said.
This is beyond absurd and outrageous. Even Wisconsin courts will allow people to appear telephonically for mitigating circumstances less serious than this.

Anderson is pissed, and rightfully so:
"I think it is absolutely ridiculous to say that an accommodation needed for a disability would somehow be disrespectful to people," Anderson said. "I think it's disrespectful to exclude a duly elected member of the Legislature to be able to fully participate when the need for an accommodation arises."

[...]

Anderson said he prefers to participate in meetings in person but can’t always do so. It’s difficult to find personal-care workers who can assist him if meetings start early or go late and it’s not healthy for him to be in his chair for extended periods, he said.

“There are some very personal and private things that are related to my health and disability that no other representative is expected to talk about with Vos,” he said. “It’s crazy that I would have to have discussions with Vos about those issues just to get simple accommodations.”
Anderson is currently looking into whether he can sue under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). He has also has the Dane County District Attorney to whether or not Vos' denial violates the state's open meetings laws. The DA has passed it on to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Vos, blinded by his pettiness, spite, and hunger for power, is willing to gamble even more of taxpayers money that he is somehow above the law.

And to think, Vos has aspirations to gain even more power by being governor some day. Good luck with that.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Is James Wigderson really a dummy?



By Steve Carlson and Jeff Simpson



It’s tough to watch a once great man tumbling into decline. There was a time when human Foghorn Leghorn and occasional Topo Gigio impersonator James Wigderson was a genuine force in Wisconsin conservative politics. A time when the unrelentingly raw, merciless stench of his haphazardly hyperbolic and buffoonishly bellicose rhetoric could not be ignored, much like your aging, alcoholic uncle’s periodontitis scented halitosis wafting across the picnic table at a close quarter family reunion on a hot Sunday afternoon. But no more.
A quick perusal of the Not Quite Right Wisconsin website, where Wigderson serves as editor, reveals a recent body of work woefully bereft of substance, wit or originality.  There are small minded ramblings about Mandela Barnes and bongs, Milwaukee street cars and bikes, that Scot Ross, essentially, is an asshole, and so on and so forth.
The majority of Wigderson’s output, though,  appears to be little more than a parroting of the latest press release from the misnomerly named “ Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty” , the Bradley Foundation funded old white guy club where “ ride to the sound of the guns “ seems to be the corporate motto. Law, Liberty, Guns. Sounds kind of like a Warren Zevon song!
Wigderson’s articles so dutifully repeat WILL’s views on everything from health care policy, to DPI powers, to school choice that, against one’s will, an image slowly comes to mind of Wiggy perched precariously on WILL CEO Rick Esenberg’s lap, his jaw flapping in time to an unseen and unheard metronome while Esenberg’s lips seem to barely move.  Try to unsee that!

It’s a neat trick though one shudders to wonder where Esenberg’s forearm has been. Note to Esenberg: you can now get hand cleaning towels by the bucket!



Friday, July 19, 2019

Duffy Has Meltdown Trying To Defend Trump's Racism



On Tuesday, leading up to the final vote on the resolution saying what we've known all along, that Trump is a racist bastard, former reality TV star Sean Duffy, from Wisconsin, took the floor to defend Trump and deny that he is really a racist. In a matter of a minute or two, Duffy escalated quickly into a full meltdown and ending up calling "The Squad" as being anti-American:
Duffy defended Trump on the floor, saying the president’s remarks could not be racist because they did not cite anyone’s race.

Duffy then went on to accuse the four Democrats criticized by Trump of being anti-American.

“I see nothing (in Trump’s tweets) that references anybody’s race. Not a thing! I don’t see anyone’s name referenced in the tweets,” Duffy said.

“But the president is referring to people, congresswomen, who are anti-American! And lo and behold, everybody in this chamber knows who he’s talking about,” Duffy said.
Duffy got so far out of hand that Representative Pramillya Jayapal (D-Washington) had to ask that Duffy's comments be stricken from the record because they were "defamatory."

However, on Wednesday, Duffy became a profile in courage by saying that his comments were "misinterpreted" and threw Trump under the bus:
Duffy said in the interview Wednesday that when he said, “the president’s referring to people, congresswomen, who are anti-American,” he was referring to Trump’s characterization of those House members as anti-American, not making the charge himself.

Duffy said he was making an argument that if Trump accused unnamed Democrats of being anti-American, and it was widely assumed by Democrats and by journalists that Trump was referring to these four lawmakers, then for Democrats and the media, “they are the four that must match the definition.”

Asked in the interview Wednesday if he thinks those four congresswomen are anti-American, Duffy said, “I think those four have made anti-American comments. I’ve never called them anti-American.”

[...]

Asked in the interview Wednesday if he thinks Trump’s tweets went too far, Duffy said, “I wouldn’t use the president’s language or the president’s tone. I’ve always said that. But did I think he’s making a point that you have some people who don’t like this country and make anti-American comments? I don’t think he went too far (in that regard)."
Duffy should really know better, being a former reality TV star and all. The minute he goes off script, he really makes a fool of himself.

Scott Walker: Rural Votes Should Count More Than Urban Votes



Since being finally ousted from the governor's mansion, Scott Walker has been scrambling to find a soft place to land through the conservative welfare system. One of the empty figurehead jobs he got was the chief national fundraiser for a right wing front group, National Republican Redistricting Trust, which goal is to raise money to help the inevitable gerrymandering the Congressional Republicans are going to try to pull. Because of this, Walker will occasionally throw up some lame rationalization for gerrymandering on social media and/or his podcast, ironically names "You Can't Recall Courage."

Media Matters caught an exceptionally gobsmacking moment form Walker's podcast on July 5:


During the July 5 edition of You Can’t Recall Courage, Walker offered further justification of his tweet. Complaining about high voter turnout in liberal-leaning Madison and “unbelievably big” Democratic margins of victory in districts in and around Madison, Walker said it’s a “flawed argument” to say that “a vote in Madison counts the same as a vote in a very rural community or in a suburban community.”

“Just because a bunch of votes are packed into one given area doesn’t mean the rest of the state has to have an equal number of legislative districts held by Republicans and Democrats,” Walker added.

The logic behind this argument is confounding. For example, high margins of victory are a direct consequence of partisan gerrymandering, where minority-party voters are packed into small numbers of districts with the goal of diluting the impact of their votes. And Walker’s previous citation that the vast majority of districts in Wisconsin -- which, again, have been gerrymandered for partisan advantage -- voted Republican in 2018 is itself an argument that boils down to saying that plots of land, rather than residents, should determine representation in the Assembly.
There's a couple, three things that Walker omitted and Media Matters subsequently missed.

One, Milwaukee is also a Democratic stronghold so it's just not one area that is seriously affected.

Secondly, the Republicans have their own strongholds that they heavily depend on to carry statewide elections, the WOW counties:
Wisconsin’s “WOW” counties — Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington — are legendary for delivering turnouts and landslides that made them among the highest-performing Republican counties in swing-state America.

They aren’t about to turn blue, and they haven’t “abandoned” the GOP the way some suburban counties have in other states. But the Republican vote has now lagged there for two elections in a row.
This only strengthens Media Matters point of how severely gerrymandered Wisconsin is right now.

Thirdly, and most significantly, these urban areas that Walker is disdaining, especially Milwaukee, has the highest concentration of African Americans. In other words, Walker is saying that African American voters aren't as important as the white, rural voters.

While the Republican effort to gerrymander the entire country is obviously a control issue for them because they know they couldn't win in fair elections, but now we have further confirmation on whom they want to disenfranchise to maintain that control.

Cross posted from Crooks and Liars

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Nation’s Fyre Festival?


By Steve Caer

When news broke early in 2019 that the Democratic National Committee had shortlisted Milwaukee as a possible site for its 2020 national convention, many wondered aloud if the city had enough hotel rooms to accommodate the expected 50,000 convention attendees. WDJT Milwaukee reporter Mark McPherson noted at the time that Milwaukee has 18,000 hotel rooms, compared to Miami’s 57,000 and Houston’s 91,000, the other two cities that were still under consideration. Hospitality Marketers International President Greg Hanis told McPherson
“To be realistic you need more rooms than Milwaukee has “and “I would be scratching my head as far as how they could pull this off.”  In spite of these concerns the DNC announced in March that Milwaukee would host the convention, and a great cheer went up from democrats across Wisconsin.
Now, however, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that the city’s hotels and restaurants don’t have enough workers to handle the expected DNC convention crowd, making an iffy situation even iffier. With the convention just a little over a year away this seems a bit of a precarious situation. So how did Milwaukee win over the DNC with these kinds of shortages almost certainly known beforehand?
As we’ve reported previously, it appears the inept, though well compensated, folks at Nation Consulting, the ones who brought us State Supreme Court Judge Brian Hagedorn, have played a central role. Over-selling and under-delivering seems to be standard operating procedure over at Nation HQ, so perhaps it’s no surprise it’ll be a race to the finish to see if the convention comes off as planned.
McFarland lured thousands of unsuspecting fest-goers to a remote island in the Bahamas with promises of a world class music fest replete with top flight accommodations and gourmet chow. Upon arriving at the island, however, attendees abruptly found themselves directed to FEMA tents and cold cheese sandwiches, while a group of local musicians played for a few hours, the only music played during the entire festival. Predictably, lawsuits and criminal charges soon followed and McFarland is currently doing time in Otisville federal prison in upstate New York, the same joint that houses Trump’s former “ fixer “ Michael Cohen.
 We certainly hope the DNC  convention in Milwaukee is a success and that attendees have a good time during their stay here, and we further hope that the event inspires a blue wave that hands Wisconsin to the eventual Democratic nominee in the 2020 November election. But if you’re coming in from out of state, or even out of town, it couldn’t hurt to pack a sleeping bag and a loaf of bread. We have no doubt Nation will supply the cheese.







Friday, July 12, 2019

Lyin' Ryan And Trump Rekindle Their Love/Hate Relationship



Tim Alberta is about to release a new book titled 'American Carnage.' This book takes a look at the tenuous relationships Republicans have with Donald Trump and how they all eventually willingly caved in to him, knowing how bad things were going to get.

Part of the book gives the opportunity to Lyin' Paul Ryan to have his say about Trump and why he decided to retire as he did:
Perhaps no one has had a more tortured relationship with the president than former House speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) — who went from wanting to abandon Trump after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape to working to enact his agenda after the election all while doing his best to avoid commenting on his tweets and controversial statements.

Alberta reports that Trump berated Ryan over a 2018 spending bill because it didn’t include funding for his border wall but then said he would sign it if Ryan were to give him time to build suspense on Twitter. Ryan agreed and then publicly sang the president’s praises after the meeting.

[...]

Now out of office and trading in his power suits for a blue vest, Ryan is back to critiquing Trump in unflattering terms in conversations with Alberta, who writes the former speaker could not stand the idea of another two years with the president and saw retirement as an “escape hatch,” in Alberta’s words.

“We’ve gotten so numbed by it all,” Ryan says. “Not in government, but where we live our lives, we have a responsibility to try and rebuild. Don’t call a woman a ‘horse face.’ Don’t cheat on your wife. Don’t cheat on anything. Be a good person. Set a good example.”

Ryan depicts Trump as uneducated about the government.

“I told myself I gotta have a relationship with this guy to help him get his mind right,” Ryan recalls. “Because, I’m telling you, he didn’t know anything about government . . . I wanted to scold him all the time.”

Ryan says he sees the presidency getting worse, with Trump determined to govern and campaign on his terms, rejecting calls from other Republicans to moderate his message in 2020.

“Those of us around him really helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time,” Ryan says. “We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. Now I think he’s making some of these knee-jerk reactions.”

In Alberta’s telling, Trump calls Ryan a “f---ing Boy Scout.”
True to his nature, Ryan is lying his ass off.

Ryan wasn't looking for an escape hatch. He went along willingly with Trump's agenda since it so closely matched his own, including things like the GOP tax scam; killing Social Security and Medicare; suppressing voters' rights; and a general dislike of brown and black skinned people. The only difference between Trump and Ryan is that Trump would say out loud what both of them were thinking.

No, Ryan didn't want to escape Trump. The real reason Ryan up and quit was because he was afraid of losing to Randy "Ironstache" Bryce. And even if he would manage to squeak out a victory, he saw the writing on the wall and knew he would lose his position as Speaker of the House.

As we all knew would happen, the deranged orangutan had a twitter meltdown over someone saying something less than praising him:



I seriously doubt that anyone would be surprised by this. Just like they wouldn't be surprised by the fact that Trump is also a pathological liar. As they say, there's a tweet for that:

I don't think any fallout between Ryan and Trump is due to any philosophical, ethical or any other type of difference. No, any tiff between these two would be the result of too many similarities and seeing themselves in each other.

But if Ryan felt that strongly about disliking Trump, he really ought to consider challenging him in a primary. Now wouldn't that be fun to watch?