Tuesday, July 29, 2014

That's Not Debatable

In the Milwaukee area, with two weeks to the primary election, there were two very important debates scheduled for Tuesday night.

Chris Moews
One debate was for the candidates running for Milwaukee County Sheriff.  Somehow, the incompetent failed to show for the debate.  Apparently, he's not interested in keeping his job since he is so willing to insult the voters and/or so afraid of  his opponent, Chris Moews.
incumbent, David Clarke,

At least it gave Moews the chance to shine and show that he is easily the better choice.

The other debate was between the candidates for Assembly District 19, which include Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Jonathan Brostoff, Sara Geenen and Abele Party Candidate Dan Adams.

Marina Dimitrijevic
It has been reported to me that Dimitrijevic was very polished and presented herself very well.  Likewise,
Brostoff showed that he is no slouch and also did well for himself.  Geenen appeared to be very intelligent but timid.

That said, it was Dan Abele Adams that provided the comedic relief for the evening.  Not did he only prove himself to be a dyed-in-the-wool Abelebot, but spent a great deal of time trying to convince the audience he really is a Democrat.  Between that and trying to justify Act 14, which concentrated power in Milwaukee County in Chris Abele's inept hands, he had members of the audience laughing at him.

Here's a pro tip for Abele-Adams: If you're running for office in one of the most progressive districts in the state and you have to waste time trying to convince people that you're really a Democrat two weeks before the primary, you've got serious problems.


What A Country!

By Jeff Simpson



Where else but in the former democratic republic of the United States, could a duly elected Congressman from Wisconsin, charge $10,000(TAX FREE) to  eat lunch with his constituents,and even get a quick digital pic with said Congressman?



Let me save you $10,000  -  Insert your picture here:



  


Imagine what he would charge to come over and do your dishes?



PS:   The fact that this $10,000 deduction is TAX FREE shows how ridiculous and phony the IRS "scandal" is.  

You Have Been Warned

By Jeff Simpson

To all of our friends, neighbors, family, acquaintances, and other public workers who decided to take part in our democracy and emailed your elected representative during the Scott Walker caused protests.


LOCK YOUR DOORS

DO NOT ANSWER YOUR TELEPHONE

MONITOR YOUR CHILDREN

CHANGE YOUR EMAIL 

GET YOUR RESUME READY

Your life is going to be very complicated very soon.

 MacIver spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, to make sure they could get your personal information.  MacIver Institute now has access to your email, and all personal informationMacIver will soon be releasing this information to their rabid followers.  While I am sure that MacIver will tell people NOT to attack/intimidate people on the list, but they will be doing so in a  "wink wink" nudge nudge kind of way. 

For all of you affected by these intimidation tactics, here is the place to contact:

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy

Brett Healy, President
44 East Mifflin Street, Suite 201
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 1.608.237.7290

Email: info@maciverinstitute.com
If you fear for your life, do not hesitate to contact the police!  

Brett Healy


PS:  There is a reason they only wanted public worker's contact info:



Monday, July 28, 2014

Don't Take Your Guns To Tonette

By Jeff Simpson

A restaurant in Madison, that was well known as a place for people who need a gun at all times could gather, recently changed policy.   This restaurant, after allowing people to carry guns at will in their establishment, decided that maybe that was not the best idea, especially on the days when meatloaf was the daily special.  They reversed course, and decided no longer to allow weapons within their establishment(as per the law). 

The right wing, not understanding the free market and how businesses work, attacked(from the comments)!



I can’t believe this!!!
I’ve been there for several of these OC meals (we’re not a “concealed carry group”), and in fact I’m in that picture. We regularly filled the restaurant with dozens of diners.

The only bad thing I know about happening is that someone was showing off her laser sight … by unholstering and pointing her pistol at someone under the table (so they could see the red dot)!
I can’t believe this!!!
I’ve been there for several of these OC meals (we’re not a “concealed carry group”), and in fact I’m in that picture. We regularly filled the restaurant with dozens of diners.
The only bad thing I know about happening is that someone was showing off her laser sight … by unholstering and pointing her pistol at someone under the table (so they could see the red dot)!
- See more at: http://wisconsindailyindependent.com/local-madison-restaurant-that-hosts-conceal-carry-events-hangs-a-no-gun-sign-on-their-door/#sthash.XeB3GSOH.dpuf
I can’t believe this!!!
I’ve been there for several of these OC meals (we’re not a “concealed carry group”), and in fact I’m in that picture. We regularly filled the restaurant with dozens of diners.
The only bad thing I know about happening is that someone was showing off her laser sight … by unholstering and pointing her pistol at someone under the table (so they could see the red dot)!
- See more at: http://wisconsindailyindependent.com/local-madison-restaurant-that-hosts-conceal-carry-events-hangs-a-no-gun-sign-on-their-door/#sthash.XeB3GSOH.dpuf
I can’t believe this!!!
I’ve been there for several of these OC meals (we’re not a “concealed carry group”), and in fact I’m in that picture. We regularly filled the restaurant with dozens of diners.
The only bad thing I know about happening is that someone was showing off her laser sight … by unholstering and pointing her pistol at someone under the table (so they could see the red dot)!
- See more at: http://wisconsindailyindependent.com/local-madison-restaurant-that-hosts-conceal-carry-events-hangs-a-no-gun-sign-on-their-door/#sthash.XeB3GSOH.dpuf
The restaurant made a business decision that the "dozens of diners"  did not outweigh the combat pay to the wait staff.  You can expect that the "dozens of diners" will now be taking their business elsewhere in protest.   Without your gun at dinner, how can you feel safe ordering the Wisconsin beer cheese soup?

While this restaurant will feel the wraith of "responsible gun owners",  first lady Tonette Walker gets a free pass for not allowing guns near her.







What was supposed to be a gentle promotional stroll along the Sheboygan lakefront Friday morning by the state's first lady, became a bit more concerning to those attending when a local gun-rights advocate showed up with a semi-automatic rifle strapped to his back and a holstered pistol hanging from his waist.

Bill Polster, of Sheboygan Falls, said his intention in bringing the AK-47, a Glock and a Ruger LCP pistol to Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker's visit to Sheboygan on Friday was not to scare anyone, but rather to exercise his Second Amendment rights.

"People have the right to self defense and there are so many people that don't realize that carrying a weapon is legal in Wisconsin," Polster said.

Polster has become a recognizable fixture in the region, often showing up at farmers markets, parades and even movie theaters and other public events to make the point that it is legal in Wisconsin to openly carry a properly licensed firearm.
   







One media report said that Walker's visit was delayed about 15 minutes by Polster's presence, but Sgt. David Anderson with the Sheboygan Police Department said one office was on hand for the first lady's visit and that no extra security measures were taken.
While the Friends of Scott Walker campaign sent out the Dept. of Tourism gopher to explain the wait away, but he could not come up with anything better than "waiting for the sun".   In the official "walk with Walker" website there is no mention of only walking under perfect conditions.   Additionally, why would she not be talking to the other 8 supporters of her husbands who were there ready to walk, instead of hiding in a building?   Could it be fear of a loon with an AK-47?

 Polster joined in the walk after stashing his weapons in the trunk of his car.

Finally the biggest tell of all, is that Bill "carrying a weapon is perfectly legal" Polster, did the walk BUT locked his weapon in his trunk!      How could he possibly feel safe on a walk with the first lady of WI with his guns locked in his car?  If it is perfectly legal, why in the world would Mr. Polster put everyones lives in danger by not carrying his gun?

Could it be that guns are welcome everywhere but around the Walker family? 

In case you do not know what an AK47 is or can do, see the instructional video below:


The Abele Party: For A More Perfect Plutocracy

Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele has often bragged about being willing to work with anyone, regardless of political party, in order to get things done.

This is both a true and false statement.

Chris Abele - as he sees himself
He is not willing to work with just anyone.  He only wants to work with people that will be "yes men" to his ideas, no matter how bad they are.  This is why you see him donating to rabid Teapublicans like Joe Sanfelippo and Dale Kooyenga.  And in an area where there isn't a politician he can buy, he puts in his own people, like he has done with Dan Adams and Tia Torhorst, both of whom are running as Democrats.

So, in Abele's view from atop his ivory tower, it doesn't matter what party the person belongs to as long as they are willing to do his bidding.  That is the only requirement to belong to the Abele Party.

But if someone stands in his way of creating his plutocratic paradise - or even tells him "no" - he is more than willing to use his money as a weapon.  Just ask the county board about that.  Or the unions.  If people would even say they didn't support one of Abele's goals, he would use his money to have that person blackballed until they backed down.

Without doubt, Abele has done a lot of good with his money, supporting such noble goals as marriage equality.

Sadly, Abele's involvement in any agenda isn't about being progressive or even just doing the right thing.  In fact, most of the objectives he has done or is trying to do are anything but progressive or the right thing to do.  Based on Abele's own statements and deeds, the platform of the Abele Party include:
  • Taking away representative government
  • Taking away local control of such things such as the mental health system
  • Taking money away from workers
  • Taking money away from retirees
  • Taking public assets - like parks - and selling them off for a song to other wealthy, elitist plutocrats, even if it requires a law changing geographic history to do so
  • Taking public assets that he can't sell - like the transit system - and privatizing them out to other wealthy, elitist plutocrats, even if it hurts the citizens and taxpayers
As the gentle reader can see, the Abele Party's platform is all take and no give.

One might say that this is no different that the platform of any other plutocrat and oligarch, but there is a distinct difference.  While most plutocrats and oligarchs has greed as their motivator, Abele's motivation is different.

Milwaukee Magazine once ran a story about Abele, identifying him as "The Billionaire's Son."  The story appears to be scrubbed from their site, but it can still be found here.  The article describes an insecure and undisciplined man that uses his money to gain affirmation.  He does so by buying influence with an agency and then, once ensconced, uses his money to mold the agency to fit his visions, whether they are good or bad.

This blurb from the article shows just how insecure Abele is and how he uses his father's money to cover up that insecurity:
But many individuals active in the nonprofit sector agree with one foundation head that “a great percent of Chris Abele’s -giving is in the category of the vanity giver.” A major corporate CEO is harsher: “When he does [participate], he grandstands.… The Kellners, Uihleins and Lubars all give away a great deal of money every year, and they don’t have to get their picture in the paper. Maybe it’s just immaturity with Chris.”

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

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

“He’ll say, ‘George and I did this,’ ” says the friend, “and he’s talking about George Soros [the investor-philanthropist-Democratic activist and 28th richest man in the world]. Well, it was a ‘meet and greet.’ Nobody cares. He doesn’t need to do that. But he wants to be considered important.”
The article also goes on to give us some insight to the source of Abele's insecurity:
That was exactly what Abele needed to do, too. Like the nonprofits he advised, he wanted to win the approval of a major philanthropist – in Abele’s case, his father. “Chris always said his father felt he was never successful at anything,” says friend Benson. “I think that explains Chris’ workaholic desire to do well.”

Abele’s inability to distinguish himself in his father’s eyes may have fueled his constant need for approval, which he sought in other places, including Milwaukee’s limelight. But he also found the perfect proving ground for another chance. “In Boston, he’d always be the son of John Abele,” says Theoharis Constantine Theoharis, Abele’s former Harvard instructor. “He had to strike out on his own, away from the inevitable comparisons to his father. And he had a certain excitement about what he could do in Milwaukee.”
In other words, Abele has some unresolved daddy issues and has decided to take it out on Milwaukee County. Isn't that just lovely?

The worst part is that Abele is not going to be satisfied with proving himself to his father with just Milwaukee County.  There has been repeated rumors that Abele is considering higher office - either taking on fellow wealthy elitist Ron Johnson or running for governor if Mary Burke doesn't make it this year.  That would explain why he is already gearing up his campaign machine for 2016.

I certainly hope that is not true.  For all the good things that Abele has done for the community, they cannot even begin to touch all the damage he has done in the past three years, not to mention all the damage he yet wants to do.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Crazy Campaign of Amardeep Kaleka

Last fall, while endorsing Rob Zerban for Congress, I pointed out to some of the bizarre doings from his primary opponent, Amardeep Kaleka.  Among the oddities were the fact that Kaleka was running his campaign from California and some personal beliefs that one might not expect from a serious candidate.

Since then, Zerban has been running a solid campaign - attending events, fundraising and calling out Paul Ryan's nonsense and maleficence at every turn.

Meanwhile, Kaleka appears to be running more some sort of stunt than a serious political campaign.

Over the past month or so, he has sent out not just one, but two, fundraising emails with the same curious sales pitch on why people should donate:


For $10, he'll get one vote? What, is he planning on paying people to vote for him? That might work in California, but it's definitely against the law in Wisconsin (with Republicans thinking that they are exempt, of course).  And he needs $2 to have someone knock on doors? Don't most politicians have volunteers to do that?

Kaleka doesn't end the crazy there either.

On his Facebook page, he's been touting this:


Look past the curious choice of using a picture of a debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon for a minute to look at the wording.  He's saying that the first 100 people can watch this debate for free, but then what? He's going to charge everyone after that to see him lose his butt to Zerban?

Oh, and Kaleka has another problem with this. Zerban has not agreed to anything with Kaleka.  Kaleka is selling a false bill of goods...sort of like his campaign.

It would seem that Kaleka is pretty obsessed with raising cash.  While money, unfortunately, still place way too large of a role in politics, this trickery is way beyond the usual fundraising gimmicks.  Maybe he's still trying to raise money for his UFO documentary.  Maybe it's something else.  

All I know is that he is an unfortunate distraction from the important work that Rob Zerban is doing there in getting a real, progressive message out, supporting working people and small business owners and putting the power back in the hands of the people.

If you can, please help support Rob Zerban as he finally gets rid of that twice-damned fool, Paul Ryan.  

You can learn more about Rob Zerban at his website and you can help support his campaign by donating here.

Congratulations To The 2014 Class of Emerge Wisconsin

From Wendy Strout, Executive Director of Emerge WI:
Every year around this time, 20-25 women officially become Emerge Wisconsin Alumnae.  They receive their certificate of graduation and their orange "e" pin that proudly lets others know they have completed the Emerge Wisconsin program.

This year, Emerge is proud to graduate 21 women from across Wisconsin who have proven their ability to run, their skills to win, and their commitment to increasing the number of Democratic women in office across Wisconsin.

Please help us congratulate our newest Emerge Alumnae:
Image courtesy of Emerge Wisconsin 
Cecilia Anguiano, Racine 
Anne Arndt, Wisconsin Rapids 
Ann DeGarmo, Madison 
Jacki Gackstatter, Janesville 
Sharon Hampson, La Crosse 
Rellen Hardtke, River Falls 
Peggy Jerome, La Crosse 
Emily Kenney, Wauwatosa 
Zonia Lopez Chrostowski, Milwaukee 
Arvina Martin, Madison 
Anne Molineu, West Bend 
Julia McNally, Grafton 
Jackie Moore, Ashland 
Adrienne Oliver, Milwaukee 
Rebecca Ruechel, St. Francis 
Luz Sosa, Milwaukee 
Wendellyn Stallings, Sussex 
Kira Stewart, Madison 
Shelia Stubbs, Madison 
Katherine Svitavsky, La Crosse 
Leanne Wied, Brookfield

Over the past seven months, our graduates have spent hours honing their skills and preparing to run. We can't wait to announce their candidacy!

Friday, July 25, 2014

"A Person's A Person, No Matter How Small" Dr. Seuss




By Jeff Simpson



Some "highlights" from the republican platform:



Support voluntary student-initiated prayer in school

We will continue to work for the return of voluntary school prayer to our schools and will strongly enforce the Republican legislation that guarantees equal access to school facilities by student religious groups. We strongly support voluntary student-initiated prayer in school without governmental interference. We strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s rulings against student-initiated prayer.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 84 , Sep 1, 2004

The Wisconsin Republican's in action:


Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, of Burlington, wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Thursday asking that Wisconsin not be considered a site to temporarily shelter unaccompanied immigrant children who are crossing the border, mostly from Central America.
The letter, posted on the Wheeler Report, was also signed by Republican Assembly members John Nygren, of Marinette; Joel Kleefisch, of Oconomowoc; and David Craig, of Big Bend...

The legislators ask if there's a limit on the number of immigrants that would be housed in the state and the liklihood the minors will be deemed refugees, which could mean getting public assistance.
They also express concern about the potential for the minors to permanently reside in Wisconsin.
Housing these minors will result in a "significant strain" on local and state budgets and impact both public education and health system, the letter said.
It asks that the decision to locate unaccompanied minors in Wisconsin be reconsidered.

Inscription on the Statue of Liberty:

 Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

 


What Jesus had to say about the subject:

Matthew 18:1-35 ESV / 19 helpful votes

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,



God Bless Us everyone.    


We believe the phrase- ‘One nation under God’- in the Pledge of Allegiance is perfectly harmonious with the United States Constitution, protected by the First Amendment.
We agree with the Founding Fathers that religion and morality were fundamentally important to creating and maintaining freedom in this country.
We believe the best way to ensure religious freedom is to protect all religious references and symbols; including those on public buildings, lands, or documents. This includes, but is not limited to, prayer in public schools, thanking God in a graduation speech, and religious symbols being placed on public property during the appropriate holiday season. We reject that such references violate the U.S. Constitution or discriminate against those who are of other faiths or are not religious.
- See more at: http://www.wisgop.org/our-party/republican-party-of-wisconsin-platform/#sthash.Wcn95DHn.dpuf
We believe the phrase- ‘One nation under God’- in the Pledge of Allegiance is perfectly harmonious with the United States Constitution, protected by the First Amendment.
We agree with the Founding Fathers that religion and morality were fundamentally important to creating and maintaining freedom in this country.
We believe the best way to ensure religious freedom is to protect all religious references and symbols; including those on public buildings, lands, or documents. This includes, but is not limited to, prayer in public schools, thanking God in a graduation speech, and religious symbols being placed on public property during the appropriate holiday season. We reject that such references violate the U.S. Constitution or discriminate against those who are of other faiths or are not religious.
- See more at: http://www.wisgop.org/our-party/republican-party-of-wisconsin-platform/#sthash.Wcn95DHn.dpuf
We believe the phrase- ‘One nation under God’- in the Pledge of Allegiance is perfectly harmonious with the United States Constitution, protected by the First Amendment.
We agree with the Founding Fathers that religion and morality were fundamentally important to creating and maintaining freedom in this country.
We believe the best way to ensure religious freedom is to protect all religious references and symbols; including those on public buildings, lands, or documents. This includes, but is not limited to, prayer in public schools, thanking God in a graduation speech, and religious symbols being placed on public property during the appropriate holiday season. We reject that such references violate the U.S. Constitution or discriminate against those who are of other faiths or are not religious.
- See more at: http://www.wisgop.org/our-party/republican-party-of-wisconsin-platform/#sthash.Wcn95DHn.dpuf
We believe the phrase- ‘One nation under God’- in the Pledge of Allegiance is perfectly harmonious with the United States Constitution, protected by the First Amendment.
We agree with the Founding Fathers that religion and morality were fundamentally important to creating and maintaining freedom in this country.
We believe the best way to ensure religious freedom is to protect all religious references and symbols; including those on public buildings, lands, or documents. This includes, but is not limited to, prayer in public schools, thanking God in a graduation speech, and religious symbols being placed on public property during the appropriate holiday season. We reject that such references violate the U.S. Constitution or discriminate against those who are of other faiths or are not religious.
- See more at: http://www.wisgop.org/our-party/republican-party-of-wisconsin-platform/#sthash.Wcn95DHn.dpuf

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Ellis Incident Revisited

On April 9, 2014, soon to be former State Senator Mike Ellis was in a bar, full of liquid courage, and was shown making  some rather bold statements.  One of Ellis' statements included pointing out the truism that Scott Walker worked only for Scott Walker.

Little did Ellis know at the time of his spouting off that he was being secretly videotaped.

By far, the most renowned of Ellis' comments that fateful night involved illegal activities, if they were true:
Mike Ellis
"I am putting together my own super PAC. I have a $400,000 committee and Judi Rhodes will, I am raising the money, she will manufacture the crap," said Ellis in the video.

Ellis was talking about forming a Super PAC to attack his Democratic opponent in the 19th Senate District, Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton).

It is against the law in Wisconsin for a candidate to coordinate with a PAC or any outside groups.
The woman that Ellis says "will manufacture the crap" is Judith Rhodes Engels, who has a long history as a WISGOP fundraiser and operative dating all the way back to the original caucus scandal and has been named more than once in the Walkergate investigation.

Given her background, Rhodes Engels would be well aware that any such activity as Ellis was describing would be highly illegal.  Rhodes Engels was quick to try to distance herself from Ellis after the video went public:
Rhodes said in a statement that “I have never set up any ‘Super PAC’ nor have I had any intention of doing so nor have I ever had any conversation with Senator Ellis about it.

“I will not work for any committee that would imply that I would improperly do so. I have terminated my contract with the Ellis to Madison Committee.”

She resigned Wednesday.
The Ellis Incident raised many questions, the largest of which is could it be true that Rhodes Engels was again breaking the law by setting up these super PACs for Wisconsin Republicans.

Ellis made two statements the night he was unknowingly videotaped that could help us find an answer to that question.

First, he said that he had donors that would give money to the super PAC, specifically naming Stuart Mills of  Mills Fleet Farm as one of those donors.  Secondly, as mentioned above, he named Rhodes Engels as the go to person to get the dirty work done.

As to the first statement, Ellis' campaign finance report (pdf form available here) shows that on March 3, 2014, Mills gave $1,000 to Ellis' campaign, the maximum amount allowed by law for a State Senate campaign. Furthermore, Mills is not the only one that gave the maximum to Ellis.  These types of donors are golden to politicians and these types of relationships are not taken lightly.

It also shows that these donors have the potential to be exactly the types of donors Ellis spoke about as giving to his super PAC.

(It should be noted that it appears that the last serious fundraising happened on April 7, two days before the video.

As for the comments regarding Rhodes Engels, Ellis' campaign finance report shows that he made five payments to Cross Rhodes, the agency that Rhodes Engels had set up.

Ellis paid Cross Rhodes $500 each time on January 17, February 12 and March 14, 2014.  Each payment was marked as solicitation expense, meaning that he was paying her for her fundraising acumen.

On April 18, nine days after the video came out, Ellis paid Cross Rhodes another $322.35 for mailing expenses.

So far, nothing too exceptional.  Ah, but there is more.  There is always more.

Judith Rhodes Engels with another favored
client, State Senator Scott Fitzgerald
On May 2, 2014, nearly a full month after the video came out and Rhodes Engels quit working for Ellis, he paid her a whopping $8,509.10 for "consulting fees."

Holy broken gavels, Batman!

Now, that payment could cover a lot of things, but it stands out by the sheer size of it, especially when compared to the $500 monthly payments leading up to that point.  The amount of that pay out makes it appear that Rhodes Engels was doing a helluva lot more than just fundraising and sending out mailers for Ellis.

Could it be that Ellis was telling the truth about Rhodes Engels setting up super PACs?  His campaign finance report doesn't prove that but it sure doesn't eliminate that possibility.

Wouldn't it be interesting to see who else is paying Cross Rhodes and exactly what they are paying for?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Only In Wisconsin



BY Jeff Simpson


ONLY in Wisconsin could the #morefreedom #moreliberty #lessgovernment Republican party of Wisconsin, advocate for people to be able to bring cameras into polling places and video people as they vote. 


Wisconsin's election board rejected the request of Republican lawmakers on Monday and decided to keep in place a ban on using cameras at polling stations after the NAACP and others raised concerns about voter intimidation.
The Government Accountability Board, on a 4-2 vote, went along with other changes affecting election observers — including requiring them to show photo identification at the polls — and sent the proposed rule to the Legislature.
Republicans in control could choose to rewrite the rule, including allowing cameras, but it won't be done in time for the Aug. 12 primary or the Nov. 4 general election barring a special legislative session.
Republican co-chairs of the state Senate and Assembly elections committees had requested the changes, including allowing cameras. Messages left with those lawmakers — Sen. Mary Lazich of New Berlin, and Rep. Kathy Bernier of Lake Hallie — were not immediately returned.
At least cooler heads prevailed for the moment.  It is a sign of things to come though if we do not turn out and vote in November!   

Joe Leibham

By Jeff Simpson

From Joe Leibhams twitter @joeliebham

Will you stand with me in my fight to restore common sense & fiscal responsibility in Washington?

From Joe Leibhams mouth:


State Sen. Joe Leibham (R) said that if Obama lied about how much he knew about the IRS scandal, that would be “grounds for impeachment.”

“His presidency is a scandal,” Leibham said. “He has destroyed America from the great capitalistic country it used to be.

 I have not even had my coffee yet and Obama destroyed America?  Who knew?  And Liebham is supposed to be the voice of reason?   I wonder if Joe Fadness and Reince Preibus feel the same? 

Walkergate: Hey Doe, Whaddya Know?

As much as Scott Walker would wish that John Doe would just dry up and blow away, the news keeps popping every few days, making sure it stays fresh in everyone's memory as we inch closer to November.  Without further delay, lets look at the happenings of recent days.

Helluva Lotta Cooperation!

The most recent story, and one of the bigger ones, is that Walker's recently released campaign finance another $320,000 for legal defense cooperation:
reports show that he paid out
Gov. Scott Walker funneled more than $320,000 from his campaign account to defense attorneys over the last six months as he and his allies fought a secret probe into fundraising and spending during the 2012 recall election.

[...]

Walker's report showed his political committee sent nearly $213,000 to Sidley Austin, a large Chicago law firm where defense attorney John Gallo is a partner; more than $83,000 to the Mequon-based Biskupic & Jacobs law firm; and $25,000 to Milwaukee defense lawyer Michael Steinle.

All the expenses were labeled "legal fees — compliance/administrative."

They come after Walker's campaign paid Biskupic & Jacobs $86,000 in the second half of 2013. The firm is run by former U.S. Attorneys Steven Biskupic and Michelle Jacobs.

The latest legal expenses come on top of almost $650,000 that Walker's campaign paid to attorneys during an earlier John Doe investigation into his aides and associates during his time as Milwaukee County executive. That brings the total the governor has had to spend on John Doe investigations to nearly $1 million.
That puts Walker well over the $1 million mark in legal cooperation.  That's a lot of money for someone that keeps claiming he has done nothing wrong.  One would think that his campaign would be squeaky clean by now with all that cooperation and compliance.  Apparently, that's not the case, since Walker has been so reluctant to talk about any of this.

I just wonder what Biskupic is going to call his new yacht...the Georgia Thompson?

Delaying The Inevitable Even More

In another front of the John Doe saga, two unnamed intervenors have been trying to do whatever they can to delay the release of more documents stemming from the investigation and the myriad of lawsuits.

Federal Judge Rudolph Randa has granted their request, giving them three more weeks to try to block the release of what could be up to 3,000 pages.

I also note that the propagandists like Charlie Sykes have stopped gloating about the federal lawsuit.  I guess they are finally figuring out that they're not so smart after all now that they are in danger of exposing themselves.

Here Comes the GAB

In news related to the federal lawsuit that the unnamed intervenors are trying to delay, the Wisconsin Club for Growth has asked the political activist Randa to add the Government Accountability Board to their lawsuit.

Like the prosecutors have done, GAB has taken the bull by the horns and have filed a petition with the federal appellate court asking to be added to the proceedings there.  Their reasoning is that they should be allowed to explain that they agree with the prosecutors on what is illegal campaigning.

It should be noted that despite the right's false cries that this is a partisan witch hunt, all of the GAB members are Republicans.

Original Doe Records

Another thing that is making Walker reach for the Maalox is that the first batch of documents from the original Walkergate investigation is due to be released in August.  The release comes after repeated resistance by Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele to do his job in getting the documents.

The amount of material is not nearly as much as Abele led us to believe.  What is disconcerting is that Abele is paying $85,000 to a private law firm to go through the papers and redact information.  Based on previous statements by Abele - including his desire for Walker to go through the documents to approve what is released - there should be concern that the documents being released are all there are and whether Abele is holding some important information back in an effort to conceal something that he or his allies might not want to be public knowledge.

But If It Wasn't Illegal...

Walker and his apologists have all but admitted that his campaign was working hand in hand with these dark money special interest groups.  Their argument has boiled down to the fact that they don't believe that what they were doing (and continue to do today) was illegal.  However, they were fully aware of what the state rules said and what the GAB considered to be the law for years.

If Walker and his cohorts in crime felt that the law was wrong or the interpretation was wrong, they could have easily filed a lawsuit challenging them.  Not only did they not challenge them in a court of law, they also took the exceptional and egregious steps of trying to change the law so that they could legally do what they had been doing all along.

In other words, they were trying to close the legislative barn door after the horses had run out.

While Walker's high priced attorneys might be able to keep him out of jail for now due to technicalities that doesn't mean that the people are going to buy his cockamamie obfuscations.

It's time for Walker to come clean and give the people some straight forward and honest answers.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wild Bill's Wild Bills

As the gentle reader would recall, Waukesha County and Teapublican poster boy, Bill Kramer, finally had his wild ways catch up to him when he was charged with sexually harassing and groping a woman.

There was so much backlash about this that the Teapublicans tried to shove him back under the rock that he had crawled out from.  He was laying so low that my Brother in Blogging, Jeff Simpson, was  looking high and low for him.

Well, Kramer has finally been found!  He was busy cutting checks.  No, not to his fellow Teapublicans, but to his defense attorney.

One problem though...he was paying his attorney with his campaign fund:
The campaign of embattled state Rep. Bill Kramer has paid $10,000 to defend him against sexual assault charges, raising questions about whether the payments violate state campaign law.

[...]


State law allows politicians to use campaign funds for their legal defense, but only against allegations that they had broken election or campaign finance laws.

Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, said that sexual assault charges have nothing to do with election law violations.

"How can Kramer use his campaign account to pay legal bills related to the sexual assault charges against him?" Ross asked.

Reid Magney, a spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board, declined comment on the spending by Kramer's campaign. The board enforces state campaign finance laws and never comments on potential violations.
It sure seems that Teapublicans have a problem understanding the rules around legal defense funds.

Wisconsin Supreme Court (In)Justice David "Chokehold" Prosser also thought he could set up an illegal legal defense fund for his assault on Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

I blame the whole thing on Scott Walker, who blurred the lines by calling his legal defense fund a legal cooperation fund.  He should know that his fellow Teapublicans get easily confused.

The Revictimization Of Milwaukee County Children And What You Can Do About It

Long time readers might recall that I used to work for the Milwaukee County Child Welfare System (the foster care system) in the late 1990's.  It was one of the most difficult and most rewarding jobs I've ever had.  Sadly, in 1998, then Governor Tommy Thompson and his fellow Republicans took over Milwaukee County's system, insisting that they weren't really under-funding the system (even though independent studies found that they were) and could do it better by privatizing it.

The county was able to stay in the system, winning many of the contracts the state was giving out.  By 2001, the state had completely cut the county out of any aspect of caring for its own foster children.

Since that time, the state's Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare has been plagued with problems stemming from extremely high staff turnover to continued abuse of foster children to children being killed.  The problems were traced back to the affects of austerity, including a severe staffing shortage and insufficient training.

Ironically, the state has been pumping tens of millions of dollars into the system since the takeover.  But when that money goes to constantly training new workers - not to mention lining the pockets of the administrators even more deeply - there is little to give to the workers and even less to pay for the much needed services.

The state has only made things worse by deciding that intake workers - the people on the front line who do the investigations into possible abuse and/or neglect - didn't even need to have the necessary education or experience to work in the field.

That is how little they think of our children.

Now they think of them even less, judging from this letter from State Representatives LaTonya Johnson and Chris Taylor to Eloise Anderson, Secretary of the Department of Children and Families:



It's outrageous that nearly 3,000 children who might be in peril have to wait months to have a worker get to them.  The "stick it to them" approach that the Teapublicans and Republicrats have had toward Milwaukee are well known, but to revictimize innocent children is simply unacceptable.

Because of the legislative attention this untenable situation has received, it will be brought up at the Partnership Council, this coming Friday, July 25.  The meeting is from 12 - 2 pm at 635 N. 26th Street in Milwaukee.  If you are able, please attend and demand answers as to why Madison is allowing our children to linger in possible peril for months at a time.

Nearly 2 Million Wisconsinites Will Get To Vote On BadgerCare Referendums

This must be sending Scott Walker and Chris Abele into a tizzy:
One Third of Wisconsinites Will Have BadgerCare Referendums on the November Ballot
Eight counties advance advisory referendum on accepting the federal funds for BadgerCare, covering 1.97 million Wisconsin residents.

Statewide: One out of every three Wisconsin residents will see a referendum in November on accepting federal funds for BadgerCare, based on the actions of Dane and La Crosse counties late last week. Over 1.97 million Wisconsin residents will have a question on their ballot on whether the State of Wisconsin should accept enhanced federal funds for BadgerCare rejected by Walker and conservatives in the Legislature.

Eight counties have officially approved this referendum so far, Lincoln, La Crosse, Clark, Dane, Dunn, Outagamie, Milwaukee and Eau Claire, with more following soon. The support in red, purple and blue counties demonstrates how this issue transcends partisanship and is important to rural and urban Wisconsin.

The negative impact of rejecting these federal funds is particularly devastating at the local level. With fewer people guaranteed access to health coverage they can truly afford, uncompensated care costs will remain high in local hospitals and county-supported clinics, forcing cost-shifting to county-budgets, consumers and local businesses.

If Wisconsin accepted enhanced federal Medicaid funds for BadgerCare, 84,700 Wisconsin residents would gain access to BadgerCare. Rejecting federal money is costing more, while covering fewer lives. Wisconsin is losing up to $1 million a day in federal funds for BadgerCare. See the county by county breakdown here.

These referendum are especially important with the announcement that 38,000 Wisconsin residents forced off BadgerCare by Governor Walker were unable to sign up for private coverage. Because Wisconsin did not accept federal funds for BadgerCare, these residents have fallen into a coverage gap, unable to access affordable health coverage for all of 2014.

"In November voters in counties throughout Wisconsin will have the opportunity to send a clear message to the Governor and Legislature about the importance of guaranteeing affordable access to health care for everyone in Wisconsin," said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
Combine this with the work that Move to Amend has done with getting the Citizens United decision overturned and there's a helluva lot of democracy going on!

It's a damn good thing to see.

The Tools Are Working In Waupaca

As the gentle reader is well aware, Scott Walker's agenda included more than trying to bust the unions and giving away taxpayer dollars to dark money special interests.   It also included destroying the public school system in order to pave the way for privatization of the education system.

It's not only Milwaukee Public Schools getting hit, but also the rural school systems like the one in Waupaca, as reported by Robert Cloud of the Waupaca County Post:
Estimates released this month by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction indicate state
aid to Waupaca schools may be cut by as much as $500,000 in 2014-15.

Not including this most recent cut, the Waupaca School District has seen its state aid decrease by a total of $3.4 million over the past five years, according to District Administrator Dave Poeschl.

Under state law, when a school district loses state aid, it can recoup that money by increasing property taxes.

“Over that same five-year period, we’ve only recouped $1.9 million through increased property taxes,” Poeschl said. “We’ve been fully aware of the effect that the decrease in state aids has on taxpayers. We’ve been doing the best we can to mitigate that effect.”

As a result of not raising property taxes to cover lost state aid, the Waupaca School District’s budget is about $2.7 million below the state-mandated revenue cap.

“We can’t continue to do that and at the same time provide the quality education our community is expecting,” Poeschl said.
The gentle reader should also note that even though it was Walker who cut the education budget by nearly a billion dollars, it is the local school board and administrators that have to try to make it work. Sadly, Walker has sabotaged the education system so much that they can't do that without making up Walker's shortfall by raising taxes, risking the ire of the voters.

In other words, they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Either way, Walker, if given the chance after November, and his fellow corporately-owned Teapublicans will sweep in, declare public schools are failures (even though he was the one that made sure they failed) and say the only way to save the schools are to privatize them.

That was Walker's modus operandi in Milwaukee County and it still is as governor.