Thursday, December 24, 2020

Hey Mom, I'm On The Radio!

 I'll be on the air with Tony Castaneda on WORT-FM out of Madison at about 8:30 AM.  If you're not near a radio or out of their broadcast range, you can catch it with their live streaming at their website. And if you can't catch it live, they have it in their archives for a couple of weeks.

We'll be discussing a sort of year in review for Wisconsin, especially about the Republican's failure to do one damn thing about the COVID-19 pandemic except for being obstructionists.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Republicans Demand Their COVID-mas Tree

Wisconsin Republicans have been having a conniption fit over the Holiday Tree for over a decade.  Before Scott Walker was elected, it was inclusively called a Holiday Tree.  When Walker was elected, he made a big deal of making sure people knew that he was changing the name to "Christmas Tree." When the current governor, Tony Evers, was elected, it went back to Holiday Tree. This, of course, sent Republicans into a frenzy.

This year, their faux outrage hit new levels when Evers announced that since the Capitol Building was closed to the public due to the COVID 19 pandemic, there would be no tree by any name this year.  The move makes sense.  Why go through the hassle and expense of finding the best tree, chop it down, move it to the Capitol Building, get it inside and erected and decorated if no one was going to be able to see it?

It makes sense, that is, unless you're a Republican.  State Rep. Paul Tittl and Shae Sortwell bought a cheap artificial tree and erected it on the ground floor of the Capitol.  It was promptly removed by statehouse operations workers because they did not have a permit for the display.

So Tittl bought another cheap artificial tree, which met the same fate as the first one.

Now Tittl has scheduled an event for this week to put up a third tree, decorate it and sing Christmas carols. All lawmakers, legislative aides and other statehouse workers are invited. Tittl claims to have applied for a permit this time, but the committee that would approve such permits and which is led by one of his Republican colleagues, won't be meeting again this year.

This would be hilarious in its pettiness if it wasn't so outrageous on two counts.

The first offensive thing about this scheduled event is that these same Republicans banned people from coming to the building in 2013 to participate in a Solidarity Singalong.  At the singalongs, people would sing union protest songs regarding ACT 10 and other anti-worker laws.

Republicans were so outraged by the singalongs, they ordered the Capitol police to arrest the participants.  The police were arrest everyone and anyone, including disabled vets and little old ladies.

This practice was later ruled in court as being unconstitutional.

The even more outrageous part of this whole debacle is that the Republicans have not met for over eight months to take any action on the COVID 19 pandemic. Nearly 4,500 people have died from the virus. The total number of confirmed cases is more than ten times that number.  But the Republicans did not deem it a problem worthy of their attention much less taking any action.

But not to have a Christmas tree that no one will even see?! That simply will not do! I'm surprised that they haven't contacted Trump to ask him to send in soldiers to protect their cheap tree.  They'll probably decorate the damn thing with ornaments that look like little COVID viruses.

It's good to know that we Wisconsinites are less important than a fake tree that started out as a pagan symbol and was taken when the Romans usurped Samhain as a holiday.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

RoJo Dons His Grinch Costume To Block Two COVID Relief Bills

Ron Johnson is having a helluva week and can't get enough of making an ass out of himself.

It started when he held a sham hearing about the elections, using debunked conspiracy theories to lay the groundwork for future voter suppression laws.  Then he couldn't decide whether he would keep a campaign pledge to retire at the end of this term or if he was going to run for reelection.

Now, just a week before Christmas, RoJo dons his Grinch costume and single-handedly blocked not just one, but two, COVID relief bills that would have sent $1,200 to Americans who made less than $75,000:
But Johnson warned that lawmakers were continuing to take a "shotgun approach" to coronavirus relief.

"By and large, the initial relief packages here were a shotgun approach. We had to move fast, we had to do something big, we had to make sure that markets wouldn't seize, that financial relief could be sent to people very quickly," Johnson said. "And so we passed over $3 trillion in financial relief. I knew it would be far from perfect. It was far from perfect, but now we've had far more time and anything we consider for this additional package that we’re considering now, that’s being debated, that’s being discussed, that’s being negotiated ought to be far more targeted."

Johnson said he instead supported a program targeted for small businesses.

"What I fear we're going to do with this bipartisan package and what the senator from Missouri is talking about is the same thing, is a shotgun approach," he said.
I'm more than a little surprised he wasn't pushing for another big tax cut scam for the wealthiest of the wealthy instead.

After all, this is the same doofus that said "stimulus bills don't stimulate the economy," and wanted to lower regulations and tax breaks.  

We all know how well that turned out, don't we? 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

RoJo Is Unsure Whether He'll Keep Campaign Promise

Politico is reporting that our dumb senator, RoJo, is unsure if he'll seek a third term or not:

Ron Johnson is embracing President Donald Trump as tightly as possible as he decides whether to run for reelection to a must-win Senate seat for Republicans.

Johnson, a steadfast Trump ally who has endeared himself to the president with his various investigative pursuits, is defending his approach, even as he faces a possible reelection campaign in a state that President-elect Joe Biden won in November. And Democrats are taking notice.

The Wisconsin Republican, who says he has not yet decided whether to seek a third term in 2022, has used his perch as the chairman of the Senate’s chief oversight body to investigate Trump’s political foes — from Hunter Biden to Hillary Clinton and the slew of Obama administration officials who launched the Russia probe — and is set to hold a hearing Wednesday on alleged “irregularities” in the election even as he recognizes Biden as the president-elect.

The fact that RoJo is even considering another run is not surprising in itself.  I mean, after all, he only pledged to retire in 2022.  In the ten years that RoJo has been in the Senate, I'm still waiting for him to keep  one promise or even show a minutiae of scruples and integrity.

To be honest, who knows why he is even considering another run.  He's not done anything to endear him to the voters.  He is part of the Trump syndicate as well as a Russian asset.  He's repeatedly abused his authority by conducting political witch huts against Trump's opponents.  Most egregiously, he actively participated in the biggest lie of the year by denying and minimizing the dangers of COVID-19.

It should also be noted that it has been rumored that RoJo has been contemplating a possible gubernatorial bid. I doubt that his chances would be as good as getting reelected to the Senate, which is not saying a lot.

Even though RoJo might not be aware of how vulnerable he is, the Democrats sure do.  In fact, one Democrat, Tom Nelson, has already announced he's exploring a run for RoJo's seat, even though there's still two years to go. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

WISGOP To Launch Yet Another Attack on Democracy


So far, democracy, and the election results of 2020 are still standing, despite multiple prongs attacks from all sides.  Although to be honest, the would be assailants, aka Republicans, more resemble the Bungling Brother Circus clown act than a serious threat.

Trump filed lawsuits on both the state and federal levels.  However, his attorneys are incompetent and failed to file the lawsuits properly with each court.  The federal case was rejected outright.  I suppose it didn't help when the attorney, Sidney Powell, submitted blank forms with the petition and outright lied on the parts she did fill in.

The cases on the state level are still pending, but they have only until Monday to resolve them.

Two other cases filed on the state level were denied a hearing by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  

The best part of the three state level cases being rejected by the Supreme Court was that each was due to Brian Hagedorn siding with the liberals and the Constitution rather than doing whatever his right wing special interest funders to him to do.  This sent almost every Republican into conniptions and made several heads explode.

Currently, Kenny Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas, has filed a federal lawsuit against Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia in an effort to force them to order their electors to vote for Trump despite the fact that Biden had won each of those states. The common belief is that the only reason Paxton filed this lawsuit in the first place is that he fishing for a preemptive pardon from Trump for all of the misconduct while in office that put him under a federal investigation.

But now the Wisconsin Republicans are throwing everything they can - including the kitchen sink - in an effort to enforce fascism and kill off democracy.

Robert Spindell, one of the Republicans on the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which is supposed to be administering and protecting the elections, attended a MAGA "Stop the Steal" rally on Monday.  Not only did he attend, he spoke to his fellow Trumpanzees, using the same twisted logic and nonsensical talking points that is so popular among Republicans these days:

While he did not give any specific examples of voter fraud in Wisconsin, Spindell implied, falsely, that it had happened.

“There’s no evidence vote fraud did not occur,” Spindell said, calling for election officials to prove a negative. 

Also, another member of the commission, Dean Knudson, has filed a complaint with his own commission against Governor Evers for certifying the election results as he is required to do per federal and state laws.

In the center ring of this circus of clowns is State Representative Ron Tusler, the chair of the Assembly's election committee, has scheduled a hearing about the elections for Friday.  Tusler has said that he is "unsure if Biden won the state."  To support his point, he spewed out all the same claims and conspiracy theories that have already been repeatedly debunked.  

To further cement his place in the museum of bad clowns, the hearing he is overseeing is making a mockery of itself.  The witnesses that have been called include a Bradford Foundation-sponsored radio squawker and hack writer; a former right wing Supreme Court justice who was voted out; the two tainted election commissioners mentioned above; and a cast of thousands of no-name right wing puppets.

Notably absent are any nonpartisan election officials and any Democrats.  

In other words, it's not exactly going to be a real hearing but more of a organized right wing echo chamber like Parler but in real time and in person instead of an anonymous antisocial social media platform.

This would be hilarious if it were not for the fact that they are going to try to use this parody of a hearing to change election laws for future elections and even try to change the 2020 results, if they can figure out a way to get it past Evers before Monday, when the Electoral College collects and counts their votes.

The question that I want answered by the likes of Tusler, Joe Sanfelippo and the others would be whether they consider their own election as fraudulent and resign from office because no one is sure they legitimately won their seats.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Trump's Legal Strategy: Winning By Losing

 A couple of days ago, I had reported that even before the partial recount was completed, the frivolous lawsuits were flying in fast and furious.

In the short time since then, Trump has managed to add to his losses.  On Thursday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court chose not to accept Trump's case on a 4-3 basis, because state law requires for his legal team to have filed the lawsuit in circuit court first.  Even before ink was dry, Trump had filed appeals in both Milwaukee and Dane Counties.

What was disconcerting about the decision was not just that three of the four conservative judges had chosen to disregard the law and the constitution, but their irrational reasoning behind their decision.  In her dissent, Justice Rebecca Bradley, a Federalist disguised as a Supreme Court Justice, wrote this:

In a separate, scorching dissent, Justice Rebecca Bradley maintained that leaving legal questions to the Elections Commission "deals a death blow to democracy."

"The majority's failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election," she wrote in a dissent that Roggensack and Ziegler joined.

Later on Thursday, the Supreme Court also declined to hear the lawsuit filed by Wisconsin Voters Alliance, citing the ridiculousness of trying to have the entire election declared null and void.  

On Friday, the Court also declined to hear the case filed by Dean Mueller because he did not like the absentee ballot drop boxes, was declined without explanation.

The latter two were decided by the same split of 4-3.

Also on Friday, it was learned that Trump's lawsuit filed in federal court faces a dubious future.  Federal Judge Brett Ludwig, who was appointed by Trump, expressed skepticism and questioned why this lawsuit had even been filed since they wanted the legislature to be given control of the 10 electors.  When Trump's attorney explained that they needed to find the election results to be flawed to that they could take it to the legislature, Ludwig turned up the heat on Trump's team:

Trump attorney William Bock said the president needed the court to determine the election that Biden won by about 21,000 votes was flawed so that the issue could be handed off to lawmakers. 

Ludwig remained dubious that such a question was one a federal court could decide. 

"I get the argument but I have a very, very hard time seeing how this is justiciable in the federal court," Ludwig said. 

He added that Trump's lawsuit was "really bizarre" because it asks to "remand" the case to the Legislature, noting that remanding a case typically means returning it to a lower court for reconsideration. 

"I think the term 'remand' might be inartful," Bock responded. 

Ludwig put Trump in a bigger bind by scheduling the next hearing on December 19th, only four days before the electoral college meets to finalize their count.

As stated before, even if Trump would manage to turn the vote over, it wouldn't matter. Biden would still have enough to be the official winner.

But before you laugh and call Trump a loser, you should be aware that he is actually winning.  In my last article about this, I pointed out that these lawsuits were just a vehicle for him to put the squeeze on his supporters because he's gonna need as much cash as possible to pay off all his campaign debts and to fund a legal defense against all the civil and criminal lawsuits he will be facing on January 21at.

And it is working out for him:

.President Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have raised more than $207.5 million in the weeks since Election Day, his campaign said Thursday, as their claims of voting fraud have generated a financial windfall that could be deployed in future political ventures.

Whoever said that crime doesn't pay hadn't met Trump.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Recount Is Done, Now The Frivolous Lawsuits Fly

Trump's partial recount is done.  It only cost Trump $34,000 per vote for the 87 additional votes that Biden had gained over him. Governor Evers certified the final count on Monday.

Now the frivolous, and sometimes illegal, lawsuits are flying in fast and heavy.

Even before the final results were certified, MAGAts had already filed two lawsuits with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, each one looking for the results to be declared null and void and control of the state's 10 electors to be handed over to the Republican-controlled legislature:
: Besides the Trump campaign, Trump allies have also filed lawsuits challenging the election result.

One filed last Tuesday by the conservative Wisconsin Voters Alliance asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to toss out the results of the presidential election and replace the will of the voters with electors appointed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature.

Another lawsuit filed by a Chippewa County resident called on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to stop certification of the presidential election based on an argument that ballot boxes used to collect absentee ballots are illegal.
It should be notes that the group that filed the first lawsuit had already filed a similar lawsuit in federal court even before the recount.  It was summarily dismissed as frivolous.

The second lawsuit isn't going to go anywhere either. Almost every county used the ballot boxes and there is no way to differentiate those dropped off in a ballot box to other votes cast.

Then Trump filed not one, but two lawsuits.  One was filed with the State Supreme Court and the other was filed in federal court.   If you thought the first ones were ridiculous, wait until you get a hold of these.

You ain't seen nothing yet.

In the state lawsuit, which should have been filed in circuit court instead of with the supreme court, Trump is asking for more than 220.000 voices to be silenced for various reasons. Each one is laughable, especially since he has only until December 8th to get his challenges resolved..

Suddenly, Trump doesn't like early voting and especially loathes absentee ballots, even though he's encouraged people to use both and voted absentee himself.  Trump also complains about the Wisconsin Election Commission, which the Republicans created over eight years ago.  It should be noted that Trump tried the same thing in other states and got absolutely nowhere with them.  I'd expect the same thing to happen in Wisconsin.

The federal lawsuit is so flawed and so ridiculous, it would be surprising if it's not rejected before it's even heard.  To give you the first clue where this is going, it was filed by former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, whom Trump has distanced himself from with all haste.

The first error is that Wisconsin Secretary of State Bob Lafollette is listed as a defendant even though he has nothing to do with elections.  Adding to that, the lawsuit also lists Derrick Van Orden as a plaintiff, even though he never gave permission for his name to be used.

Other errors in the lawsuit include these:

According to a report from Riley Vetterkind of the Wisconsin State Journal, Powell made several mistakes in the lawsuit. She referred to the "Wisconsin Board of State Canvassers," which does not exist, and asked for security camera footage from a convention center in Detroit, Michigan.

And if the cases were somehow accepted by the courts, the defendants could always just call on Bill Barr as a witness. Barr has stated that no significant voter fraud had been found and certainly not enough to change any results.

But I don't think Trump is seriously trying to get the state's election results overturned.  Given his track record in other states and the very limited amount of time he has, he has to know that he doesn't stand a very good chance with these lawsuits either. And even if he did manage to get Wisconsin overturned, Biden would still win the election.

Furthermore, he does know that he faces a world of hurt after he is out of office and will be in a world of hurt, facing a ton of legal issues, both criminal and civil.  Also he is still fundraising like crazy.  That would indicate that he is trying to build up as big a treasure chest as he can as a sort of legal defense fund for when his world come crashing down on him and his family.

Blogging News and Notes

 I am painfully aware that I've been really slacking off for a long time now. I feel like I've let myself down, I've let the late Jeff Simpson down and, worst of all, I've been letting you, gentle reader, down.

Well, that is not only going to change, but it's going to get better than before.

I have taken up a slot at Crooks & Liars as a contributor for several years.  I have been fortunate enough to become part of the regular staff, which I have gratefully and gleefully accepted.  So, the bulk of my writing will be there now.  On top of that, as part of that gig, I will be leaving my comfort zone of Wisconsin-centered stories and taking on the bad boys all over the country.  Can world domination be far after?  

Oh, don't worry, I'll still be writing here, especially the Wisconsin based stories.  So keep this site bookmarked.  But also, please bookmark Crooks & Liars as well.

And finally, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to my 4.3 readers who've stuck it out and waited for me.  Just make sure you let your most hated Republicans and other no-gooders that capper is back and there's going to be trouble.