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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Paul Ryan Wants To Turn Social Media Passwords Over To Your Boss


Wisconsin State Journal Excerpt:
Password secrecy protections: Members on Tuesday defeated, 184-236, a bid to guard the secrecy of passwords for entering social media sites such as Facebook. A yes vote was to empower the FCC to bar companies it regulates from obtaining worker passwords as a condition of employment. (HR 3309)

Voting yes: Baldwin, Kind, Moore

Voting no: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble

Republicans are pure evil. I wish I was saying that only to demagogue them.

A Few Paul Ryan Cartoons

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Local Republicans

The Center for Media and Democracy Filed a Complaint Asking Wisconsin Ethics Board to Examine Corporate-Funded Gifts to ALEC Legislators.

PRWatch Excerpt:
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) filed a complaint today with the Government Accountability Board (GAB) based on newly discovered documents revealing that numerous Wisconsin legislators have received corporate-funded gifts through their connections to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Although ALEC describes itself as the largest membership group for legislators, over 98% of its $7 million budget is from corporations and sources other than legislative dues. Documents obtained via Wisconsin open records law and other sources show that ALEC corporations are funding lawmakers' out-of-state travel expenses to posh resorts for ALEC meetings with corporate lobbyists, in addition to gifts of entertainment and exclusive parties.

Among those listed in the complaint are Rock County local Reps. Amy Loudenbeck, Evan Wynn and Joe Knilans and nearby district Reps. Stephen Nass, Glen Grothmann, Neal Kedzie and Tyler August.


Bice: Federal Authorities Scrutinize Wisconsin Koch-Cain Nexus

Thursday, March 29, 2012

GAB Recommends Recall: Finds More Than 900,000 Valid Signatures!

Just going with historical percentages from previous statewide recall efforts, I figured they would strike anywhere from 12 to 25 percent of the nearly one million recall signatures on the petitions leaving about 750,000 at the minimum. But over 900,000 valid! Wow!! This is a testament to the determination, courage and meticulous work of the signature gatherers and United Wisconsin.

Beautiful work.

JS Online Excerpt:
State election administrators have determined there are more than 900,000 valid signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker and more than 800,000 to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch - well above the minimums needed.

Staff for the Government Accountability Board struck more than 30,000 signatures each for Walker and Kleefisch. That includes more than 4,000 duplicate signatures the board identified for each of them.

Official certification is expected within days.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Janesville Gazette Publishes Letter Targeting Petition Signers

Today's Janesville Gazette contains a letter to the editor listing the names of Janesville City Council and Janesville school board members and candidates for non-partisan office who signed the Scott Walker Recall Petition. The letter was written by none other than Janesville's hyper-partisan crank, Ed James. The Gazette, famous for their institutionalized anti-union Republicanism and black hole journalism have chosen the cowardly way to "out" our local civic-minded citizens. The Gazette not only lets someone else do the dirty work of combing the petitions for them, but they are more than happy to politicize and broadcast the poisonous message through their newspaper.

The letter was posted next to a regurgitated editorial written by the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram describing a L-T article proudly reporting on and also identifying Eau Claire's city council and school board member recall petition signers. Believe it or not, the message behind the misguided L-T editorial labels all signers of the petition as "partisans."

Below is an excerpt from the L-T editorial written word-for-word except where I took the liberty to substitute a few words with my own. They are in bold.

As citizens and voters, these newspaper media institutions are, of course, free to endorse politicians and attack the opposition or otherwise broadcast their partisan affiliations. But is doing so really a good idea? The deeper they wade into partisan politics, the more politicized - and partisan - their own institution becomes. Voters who traditionally have viewed newspapers as civic minded volunteers who have the best interests of the community at heart may instead begin to suspect they are simply partisan hacks. And such impressions - accurate or not - may undermine public trust in our most accessible democratic institutions.


Rock - Smear and Fear Merchants Targeting Signers Of Recall Petitions

Rock - Anti-Partisan Crusader's Selective Rage Targets Labor Unions

Rock - Gazette's Anonymous Column: A Place To Offend

Reuters - Free The Gannett 25

Monday, March 26, 2012

Trayvon Martin Stood His Ground And Lost

A stand-your-ground law states that a person may use deadly force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first. In some cases, a person may use deadly force in public areas without a duty to retreat. Under these legal concepts, a person is justified in using deadly force in certain situations and the "stand your ground" law would be a defense to criminal charges.

As new witnesses come forward and files are re-opened, the latest story paints a picture of a scared Trayvon Martin who realized he was being stalked. The stalker, 28-year-old self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, claimed he shot Martin in self-defense after being punched and knocked down by Martin.

But certain key elements still remain. That Martin was unarmed. That Zimmerman was the pursuer of a person who was simply walking home. That Martin realized he was being stalked. That Zimmerman asked Martin what he was doing there and that at some point according to witnesses, Zimmerman turned around and was heading back to his vehicle. At this juncture, a scared 17-year-old could be thinking anything, I know, I used to be one. That includes the thought that Zimmerman may be walking back to his SUV to get a crowbar or a gun. Threatened teenagers think fast, oftentimes not making the best decisions under duress. This very well could have been the moment for Trayvon Martin to do whatever it takes to prevent the older Zimmerman from acquiring a weapon.

Under those circumstances, the unarmed Martin had one of only two choices to make. Either turn around and run for his life, or to use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an impending threat. Therefore, it is very reasonable to believe Martin decided to stand his ground and simply because he wasn't packing heat, he lost the battle.

All of this ignores the real possibility that Zimmerman (according to his 911 call) had underlying racial motivations fueling his attitude.

The moral to this "stand your ground" story is an NRA wet dream. It tells every American, regardless of skin color, social or economic class, to hurry and go buy a gun because you can't stand your ground against the center-right America without one.

At minimum, Trayvon was a victim of a gun crime.

Think Progress - What everyone needs to know about the Trayvon Martin Smear campaign

Joan Jett Rocks! Contributes To Rob Zerban's Campaign

Paul Ryan is pushing his budget through Congress at an alarming rate. He isn’t getting the message that his ideas and budget are wrong for his constituents and the country.

It is time to Make Noise for Change!

Yesterday, I opened the mail and got a signed guitar from Joan Jett! Joan wrote on the guitar: “Thank you for supporting Rob Zerban and the U.S.A. Rock this sucker!” She knows what we all know - we need to defeat Paul Ryan!

I am asking all supporters to contribute again before our deadline on March 31. Five supporters will receive one-of-a-kind Rock-n-Roll items .... -- Rob Zerban

For more details, go to this page and make a contribution before March 31 to help Rob Zerban defeat Paul Ryan.

Jett: I Love Rock N Roll

Smear and Fear Merchants Targeting Signers Of Recall Petitions

In a bizarre political messaging ploy to shame their employees and all recall signers in general, a handful of Gannett Wisconsin Media newspapers posted an open letter to readers on Saturday, apologizing for 25 journalists who signed the Scott Walker recall petition.

Wisconsin State Journal Excerpt:
Lovett acknowledged that as citizens, reporters have a right to hold opinions about political issues and to share those opinions with colleagues, friends or family. But she said journalists have an added responsibility to protect their news organization's credibility and impartiality.

Let's be clear here. They claim to be worried about the "news organization's credibility and impartiality?" Yet, these are the same news organizations that publish, often with regular climactic enthusiasm, editorial endorsements for partisan public office, and they think they are protecting their credibility or impartiality by prohibiting their employees from signing public petitions? Someone needs to tell them they lost any credibility they may have had long before some of their employees signed those petitions.

Worse yet, Gannett Media engaged in what should be considered a vicious smear campaign when they willingly used a verify data base and spent barrels of ink to "out" sitting state judges, their spouses and children for signing the recall petitions.

The ugly truth is, anyone engaging in publishing or using the names on a recall petition for anything other than signature verification is engaging in political activity of the worst kind. The politics of smear and fear. Shame, shame, shame on Gannett Media.

I wrote about something similar to this before when the editor of the Janesville Gazette explained that the company's policy forbids Bliss Communications employees from signing the recall petition. With these latest revelations, you now got to wonder how many thousands of Wisconsinites withheld their signature out of fear of retaliation from their employers.

Additional Stories:

Voices newspaper - Scott Walker Is Proof Corporate Media Destroys Democracy

Democurmudgeon - "The “Verify the Recall” Blacklist. Will Democrats stop the retaliation? Have they even noticed?"

Blogging Blue - Verify the Recall – Still Working!

Rock Netroots - Prohibiting Employees From Signing Petitions Should be a Crime

Friday, March 23, 2012

Will George Zimmerman Be The GOP's Next Rising Star?

Trayvon Martin was 17 and looked younger. He was armed with a can of Arizona iced tea and a box of skittles.

Huff Post Excerpt
The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is a heartbreaking tragedy. But make no mistake, it is not a surprise that it happened in Florida, the NRA's closest thing to an armed utopia. In fact, much more so than any of the shills they had promoting their agenda in their big budget propaganda campaign, George Zimmerman is the embodiment of the gun lobby and its vision for America.

George Zimmerman is the NRA.


Usually it is self-appointed authoritarian racist deniers like Zimmerman that the GOP scouts recruit for political office. If enough minorities, poor whites, the disabled, women and any other disadvantaged or second-class citizens condemn Zimmerman for his actions, Republicans take that as a person with courage and will run him for state legislative office. And, if enough Liberals or Progressives, particularly those from the Left join in on the condemnation, for sure they'll elevate his candidacy to Congress. He must be doing something right, they figure.

FYI, it was Gov. Jeb Bush who signed the ALEC/NRA sponsored "Stand Your Ground" gun law that allowed Zimmerman to shoot and kill Martin with impunity.

In Wisconsin, the NRA made multiple contributions to Scott Walker and lobbied republican legislators heavily to pass Wisconsin's "Concealed Carry" and "Castle Doctrine" laws. So far, only one young person is dead after making the mistake of hiding on a porch after police arrived at an underaged drinking party next door. The homeowner shot and killed the unarmed trespasser and remains exempt from prosecution. Many people believe the newly enacted "Castle Doctrine" triggered a soft investigation and are beginning to feel Wisconsin Republicans have blood on their hands.

Strange as it seems, modern day conservatives take all of this steadily growing outrage and social disorder against their backward "reforms" as a sure sign that it's all working according to plan.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Janesville Gazette Does a Comb-Over For Republican Neal Kedzie

What a stunningly gaudy political campaign presentation plastered on the front page of the Wednesday's Janesville Gazette for Republican State Senator Neal Kedzie.

The article headlined, Finding Solutions and Successes was replete with supporting quotes and flattering photographs, served absolutely no purpose other than to defend Kedzie and his "leadership" role on the state's ad hoc mining committee. This is the same mining committee that for all practical political purposes, stands as the symbol of the republican's epic legislative fail in that disaster. Of course I don't blame Kedzie for the committee's failure, afterall, the burden of the blame rests squarely on Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald for abruptly disbanding the committee with two minutes left in the game.

But what I did find out of the ordinary was the Gazette's writing props to defend and elevate what is in all actuality, a legislator who by his own actions serves as nothing more than a GOP party puppet.

JG Excerpt:
Kedzie was out as a leader on the mining issue. Without his leadership, no mining bill passed and the mine withdrew its interest in Wisconsin.

What a strange play on words. Is that why Gogebic Taconite withdrew its business interest? Because without Kedzie leading the way, it was hopeless? I don't buy it at all.

JG Excerpt:
Kedzie, never one to publicly criticize his party or its leaders, accepted the demotion without comment.

Members of his committee and others, all Democrats, jumped to Kedzie's defense.

It figures. Democrats jumped to his defense. But why…why would anyone publicly go to the defense of another politician, be it Democratic or Republican, who would rather stay quiet ...than stand up for himself and speak up for what he believes is right? I can understand Democrats standing with him if Kedzie pushed back a little or defended himself. But to accept the demotion without comment? Yet the writer, the Gazette's ever loyal Stan Milam, spends a half a page afterwards endorsing Kedzie as "standing firm," a consensus builder and leader? A leader who apparently never questions or criticizes his party or it's leaders??

The Gazette published this story as a front-page headline news article. People actually pay money to read that stuff.

I'll leave the rest up to you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Will Shadowy Doctors Group Have Hissy Fit Over Ryan's Devastating Cuts to Health care?

In a defensive response to a political video ad last year showing a Paul Ryan-like figure throwing grandma off a cliff, a group calling themselves "AmericanDoctors4Truth," created a new video ad with a direct reference to Obama (and using his voice) throwing a senior off the cliff. The doctor's ad, (these guys are strictly non-partisan humanitarians) then takes issue with the $575 billion in savings to Medicare over the next ten years that would be used as a down payment expanding coverage to an additional 30 million Americans. The "doctors" note that, “President Obama and those Democrats who supported ObamaCare began throwing seniors off the cliff on March 30th, 2010, when they voted to cut Medicare’s budget by $575 billion.”

The problem for the doctor's group now is, Paul Ryan just offered the GOP's annual Medicare-killing budget again that not only aims to repeal Obama's signature health care reform, BUT intends on removing another estimated $205 billion in Medicare savings in addition to Obama's Medicare budget - THEN - quadruples that figure to $2.5 trillion in cuts to federal health care programs - over the coming decade, thus dwarfing the original $575 billion in federal health care cuts. Health care cuts are health care cuts and patients are patients, right?

Oh, doctors4truth, where art thou?

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there's nothing like getting egg on your face before you throw an omelet.

A member of the doctor's group explains, “Patient-centered health care reform is the only ethical reform any health care provider should support. We are not politicians – we are doctors. We don’t treat Republicans or Democrats – we treat patients.”

Sure, they're not partisans. Oh, yeah.

Below is a nice video mash-up by the Democurmudgeon that includes the original "cliff" video and the new doctors video along with some Ed Show discussion.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Whose Side Is The DCCC On?

It's easy to understand why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) uses Paul Ryans' Randian class war budget manifesto to pound on GOP congressional candidates. Ryan's ideological claptrap is the gift that keeps on giving. For those obvious reasons, the DCCC has anti-Ryan Medicare Killing robocalls, emails and campaign ads running in defense of democratic House candidates nearly everywhere in the country - except for Ryan's challenger, Rob Zerban. That doesn't make sense.

Down With Tyranny rightfully takes the DCCC to task over that and issues a direct challenge to the DCCC to support Zerban with some campaign cashola. But I think there's an even bigger problem here ...

Down With Tyranny Excerpt:
For the last two weeks, the DCCC has urged candidates to found Ryan's anti-Medicare budget. That's fine. But do they do anything for Rob Zerban? Not that I've seen. And when I speak to DCCC-connected major donors, they tell me Steve Israel discourages them from donating to Zerban's campaign.

Say what?

In July of 2011 after the upset victory in upstate New York's special election, Steve Israel had this to say...

Huff post Excerpt:
"We have an excellent Democratic candidate named Rob Zerban who got into the race largely because he couldn't tolerate Paul Ryan's leadership on a plan to terminate Medicare, while funding tax cuts for big oil companies," DCCC Chair Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) told The Huffington Post in a late-night interview Tuesday. "So that's one district where the political landscape may change."

So what has changed?

If there's any truth to the "discouraging donations to Zerban" statement by DWT, and there's no reason for anyone to doubt it, Israel has some 'splainin' to do.

It's one thing to finally recognize Zerban's candidacy in the 1st Congressional District as an "emerging race," and I can even spin the idea that Ryan serves as an able stooge and gift that the Democratic Party hasn't seen in years. No problem. I can even understand some unwillingness to commit some real money right now ...although that seems to be a more indefensible position with each passing day. But to discourage donations to Ryan's challenger? Every dollar pulled away from Rob Zerban is another dollar in Ryan's pocket. That's not only just brutal, but if Israel or the DCCC are actively discouraging donations to a democratic challenger to Paul Ryan, or any viable democratic candidate,  it reeks of an unforgivable duplicity that's ...traitorous. Come on ...say it ain't so.

Ed Schultz or Rachel Maddow should have Israel or Wasserman-Schultz appear on their show to clarify their position and issue their official endorsement for the 1st CD of Wisconsin and back it up with a check.

I'm not purposely trying to make it too difficult for the democrats at the DCCC, but it's either Paul Ryan or Rob Zerban.

Are you kidding me?

Comment From Hullabaloo:
No, it's not "one or the other." But the reason they don't want to fight Ryan is because they would rather keep him around to raise money for the surrender in the battle against privatising Medicare. Without Ryan, there is no one to force them to do what they want to do but what they don't want to be seen as wanting to do. -- yournamehere

Monday, March 19, 2012

Keystone Pipeline Was Meant To Relieve North America's Oil Glut

Due to reduced consumer demand and more fuel efficient cars in the market, it seems like we've now reached the point where Americans aren't filling up our tanks fast enough to support the greed of Big Oil.

Several articles have been floating around the Web that show the Keystone pipeline was meant to act as an oversupply relief valve by shuttling existing domestic oil oversupplies out of Canada and the Midwest, thus boosting prices. In hearings last May and December, TransCanada officials admitted to US legislators that the pipeline will indeed increase the price paid for Canadian oil in the Midwest, but still made a case that resulting tighter oil supplies feeding local demand would eventually bring prices down.

Oil execs even said they'd be willing to pay higher pipeline tariff costs for using the Keystone XL pipeline - just to bring the price of oil down. Ohhh, bless these generous and kind-hearted souls.

CS Monitor Excerpt:
“Prices at the pump will drop when America’s largest refining region (the Gulf Coast) becomes less dependent on the world’s highest priced crude (OPEC),” he wrote. “Foreign importers will have to cut their prices if they want to compete with the cheaper Canadian crude.... We would argue the overall US price per barrel will drop as refiners pay less for foreign and domestic oil competing with a higher volume of cheap Canadian oil.”

Ahhh, "if" they want to compete with the cheaper Canadian crude. Who said they want to compete?

So, why doesn't our current "oversupply" of "cheap" Canadian crude mean America is less dependent on OPEC oil and equate to lower prices now? Why do we have to get rid of our oversupply to bring our prices down? Why are we participating in the global oil market (OPEC, etc.) if the only thing it does best is boost crude oil prices?

Smart planet Excerpt:
... the United States has become a net exporter of fuel for the first time in almost two decades according to new data.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, America — the world’s largest consumer of oil — exported 54,000 barrels more of petroleum products each day in February than it purchased on the global market.

Drill, baby, drill. Because China needs oil?

Over a year ago, I made what I call an easy prediction that Big Oil is fully prepared to take gasoline to $5 - $7 a gallon if Obama's economy starts rolling. There are no valid market reasons for the prices of oil and gasoline to be where they are. Expect record profits ...again.


Blog Critics Keystone XL Pipeline Lies and Higher Midwest Gas Prices

Friday, March 16, 2012

If They Repeat, "Walker Balanced The Budget" Enough Times, Will His Massive Deficit Magically Go Away?

How many times have you read newspaper editorials, blog posts, comments and letters to editors from folks claiming Walker balanced the budget? And I like the way they link it into nearly every state issue over and over again and do it with a straight matter-of-fact face. You know they say, "Walker did not raise taxes AND he balanced the budget," or "Walker didn't lay off any public sector workers AND he balanced the budget" or "Walker cut spending in order to balance the budget." It's practically a daily ritual.

A recent Milwaukee Sentinel editorial repeated the "balanced budget" assumption several times to settle a host of other false arguments exactly the same way in defense of Scott Walker's policies.

But. Nooo duuudes. You can say it as many times as you like, but Walker has not balanced the budget.

Wiscnews Excerpt:
So how about the deficit? On Jan. 11, Bob Lang, director of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, sent a letter to Assemblyman Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee. Lang stated: “In the Budget in Brief that accompanied the Governor’s 2011-2013 budget message, the administration projected that the GAAP deficit for the state will be $2.99 billion in 2011-12 and $3.02 billion in 2012-13.”

Despite cutting 12,500 public sector jobs in 2011 (Look mom! No lay-offs) and kicking thousands of children and seniors off BadgerCare, Walker's own projections show he is running the same structural deficits they crucified Jim Doyle for. He called Doyle a liar for using the cash accounting method to make the budget appear balanced, yet Walker is doing the same thing - but even worse. Say what you will about Doyle, but he did not have to "save" the state from a problem that never existed.

What is it these people aren't getting ...or is it just a matter of media engineering and political convenience? One way to think how conservatives think about Wisconsin's annual budgets is to watch the video below to see how Republican senate candidate, Tommy Thompson, handled a media question about the deficit he handed to Scott McCallum and eventually passed to Jim Doyle.

So why can't everyone be on the same page about this? It's either Thompson, McCallum, Doyle AND Walker are all running structural deficits OR, they all balanced the budget as Wisconsin’s Constitution mandates it. I'd be good with either premise as the official declaration since they all are calculated using the same accounting method. But not the mixing and matching we have now.

So why does the media continue to describe the budgets of previous administrations as deficits while Walker's budget as balanced? Could it be that Walker needed a massive deficit, at least on paper, to give his media-endorsed budget agenda a cause? Could it be that without that great big deception, Walker's entire Act 10 Budget repair bill would have had no purpose for being the solution to a problem that never existed?

I think so.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wisconsin Republicans Join National Party Bang On Women

Keep Your Boehner Out Of My Uterus

According to most conservatives, women aren't smart enough to know themselves or their own bodies.

The GOP's war on women is now fully assimilated throughout their party identity. There's really no need to even politicize their bold-faced gender superiority, arrogance and discrimination against women. It is a hallmark of what it always was and always will be to be a true "conservative" yesterday, today and tomorrow. Sometimes I think we shouldn't try to stop them or ask for apologies. On one hand, I think the intolerant Right will wind up dooming themselves to the ash bin of history and ...what's wrong with that?

On the other hand, I don't blame women one bit for standing up and pushing back against an outrage that threatens their right to control their own individualism and destiny. It threatens their rights and if their rights are threatened - it threatens all of us.

~ Rep. Kelda Helen Roys: Facebook
"Earlier today, I shared that I had planned a response to today's upcoming battles in the War on Women here in the WI Assembly. I am pleased to share the first amendment I will be offering. My amendment will seek to add a rectal examination as a requirement for all men seeking a prescription for Viagra or other erectile disfunction drugs. Sure, it is not medically necessary, but if the legislature is going to impose medically superfluous requirements on women, it should do the same for men."

From Paul Ryan to Jim Sensenbrenner to Ron Johnson to Scott Walker to Glenn Grothman to the Fitzgerald Brothers, few state party delegations excel better at poisoning the well of discourse and fomenting divisiveness than the group we have here right now in Wisconsin. I also know there will always be plenty of self-deprecating voters who will continue to vote against their own interests. For many it's a traditional and cultural value handed down from one generation to the next. That's just the way it is.

But believe it or not, we still have modern-day conservative women who not only allow themselves to be treated like a second-hand possession by their male counterparts - they champion the cause. It doesn't make sense. Like when Arizona Republican Debbie Lesko authored a controversial bill that would allow Arizona employers the right to deny health insurance coverage for contraceptives based on religious objections. The bill would essentially give employers the power to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they're using it for non-sexual reasons. Because Arizona's an at-will employment state, that means that bosses critical of their female employees' sex lives could fire them as a result.


In Wisconsin, we have at least a dozen state legislators to the right of Arizona's Lesko, so I wouldn't put it past any of them to copycat any legislation that is aimed at disempowering women.

But I've got to hand it to our no-nonsense American women, they're not taking any of this lying down. On Tuesday's "Mad as Hell Rally"...

Reality Check Excerpt:
Although the rally may seemingly be coming too late, it is, as Lisa Subeck of NARAL Wisconsin calls it, “just a starting point.” According to Subeck and representatives from Planned Parenthood and other organizations speaking today, the next logical – and imperative step – is to get women out to vote and to get them into office.

Atkinson speaking again to the crowd aptly said, “The great thing about women is we don’t just get angry, we take action.”

If there's one thing I've learned about women and politics, it's most of them that are involved have bigger balls than most men. Look out Republicans. You're about to have your asses handed to you. No pun intended.

In complete Solidarity...ladies

Video: Wisconsin's War On Women

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wisconsin Concealed Carry Permit Records Are Concealed?

According to police, the Janesville man who shot himself to death in front of Rep. Paul Ryan's office last week was apparently carrying a gun loaded with one bullet and intended the shot to be fatal.

JG Excerpt:
Police continued Wednesday to investigate who owned the pistol, Moore said. Wisconsin law prohibits Moore from saying whether Kromrey had a concealed carry permit, Moore said.

Huh? The state Department of Justice keeps lists of people who have concealed carry permits, but people can't access them? Even after a gun is used in a crime in the public airspace, people are not allowed to know whether the identified user had a CC permit? That's crazy.

But the NRA says...

Post crescent Excerpt:
...making sure concealed carry permit holders are abiding the law isn't a job for the public. "That's the function of law enforcement," said Andrew Arulanandam, director of public affairs for the NRA. "There's no need for these people to have their privacy compromised. Anyone who makes any other argument is not being honest."

That's got to be a first. After years of telling folks to never trust government, the NRA is now promoting, "trust the government, the public has no need to know."

Sorry, particularly in cases after the fact, the public should have the right to know whether crimes with guns are being committed by people with CC permits or not. I'd say, "lets's be honest, what are you trying to hide?"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Forward Janesville Puppets Reaffirm Stand For Act 10

Last year, Rock County's state assembly legislators, Joe Knilans, Evan Wynn and Amy Loudenbeck, all broke the trust of the county electorate when they stood with their party and anti-labor special interests to pass the Act 10 Walker classwar budget ending public employees collective bargaining.

Just like Scott Walker, none of the three campaigned on ending collective bargaining rights.

But as expected, they all continue to stand firm with their past legislative voting actions against Wisconsin's wage earners and communities, oftentimes using some of the most worn out and lamest rhetoric for their own defense.

Such was the case in a Janesville Gazette story about Saturday's massive "Reclaim Wisconsin" rally. As usual, Reps. Knilans and Wynn came out swinging against labor union interests.

JG Excerpt:
Wynn said the problem was that unions could organize very effectively to elect the very boards or councils that they would later negotiate with, and that led to abuses.

Some workers were getting excessive benefits, Wynn said

That's interesting. Candidate Evan Wynn never had a problem before standing up with local special interests to influence boards, councils and state legislators. In September of 2010, he not only endorsed the politically active special interest lobbyist group Forward Janesville, a local privileged group comprised of the area's most affluent residents including Diane Hendricks of Koch's Millionaires Club fame, he literally challenged incumbent Rep. Kim Hixson to do the same! Instead of a political candidate earning an endorsement from a individual or organization, Wynn endorses the organization. Forward Janesville may as well run for office. Talk about selling out!

But Hixson wouldn't sell-out to a special interest group and for standing on his principles - he lost the election. Clearly, Forward Janesville knew what they were buying in Evan Wynn.

I knew the handwriting was on the wall when Forward Janesville invades Madison for their annual lobby junket and their members get all uptight if state legislators hang "No solicitors" signs on their office doors. Who would think we reached that point where public officials who aren't on the take - are the ones tossed out. But we've reached that point.

If you want to get a better idea to understand how powerful Forward Janesville really is, look at it this way. We had tens of thousands of people who could not afford a lobbyist protest almost daily for months simply to restore legal authority to collectively bargain for benefits or concessions - to no avail. After a year, there was zero impact on legislation!! Yet, 60 or so very special, unelected self-appointed local "leaders" could march into the capital, draw up legislation for a state-run corporate development slush fund and deficit spend a billion dollars on a highway expansion, and it happens? It can't be any more clear what's going on here.

Candidates and legislators alike however have now learned quickly that you negotiate tax-funded benefits and breaks for Forward Janesville members or else!

The ethically challenged Joe Knilans is also no exception when it comes to his cozy bedtime manners with Forward Janesville's elite cartel, the Rock County 5.0. Soon after his election, Knilans actually bragged about how he was able to cast his vote in Madison on two legislative bills, AB6 and AB8. Those were the bills that transformed the state's Department of Commerce into a shadowy public/private nexus of government leeches and political campaign contributors. In his press release, Knilans explained how he fought through a snowstorm to deliver his vote at the state capitol for the special interest group "Rock County 5.0."

I couldn't make this stuff up no matter how hard I try.

So the next time you hear Wynn, Knilans or Loudenbeck complain about how special interests have organized to elect or influence local boards, councils or state legislators they eventually negotiate with later to their benefit - ask them how Forward Janesville and the Rock County 5.0 fit into that pattern of abuse.

It should be noted that Amy Loudenbeck seems to carry almost a Ryanesque protected status within the Janesville Gazette's propaganda media machine. Although all three local republicans have voted in near perfect lockstep, Loudenbeck is rarely clumped together with the other two on current issues and positions.

NOTE: The link to Wynn's Forward Janesville endorsement and challenge to Kim Hixson to endorse FJ has been scrubbed from his campaign website. But the link title should explain enough -(


Rock Netroots - Notes On Walker's Assault

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recall and Reclaim Wisconsin Vids and Links

Madison WI Recall Walker Rally 1 Year Anniversary

Wisconsin Confidential - Reclaim Wisconsin Massive rally (Story and Photos)

Lost Continents - Madison Labor rally march (Videos and Brief)

Blogging Blue - The epitome of Solidarity (Story with photo link)

DailyKos - Photo Diary

CapTimes - Tens of Thousands Story

WTMJ 4 - News Brief Video

Channel 3000 - SlideShow

JS Online - Photo Album

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cooperating Lawyered Up Governor Forms Legal Defense Fund

Last month, Scott Walker said he "agreed to meet" with John Doe prosecutors and hired two high-powered attorneys to ensure he's "in the best position possible to continue aiding" the investigation.

In an equally surreal context, Walker announced on Friday the creation of a legal defense fund needed in order to fulfill his commitment to cooperate...

Wisconsin State Journal Excerpt:
"I have repeatedly pledged my cooperation with that inquiry," Walker said. "To fulfill my commitment, I have today formed a legal fund to pay for the expenses incurred in cooperating with the inquiry."

JS Online Bice Blog Excerpt:
"If you create a legal defense fund, you are either being investigated, being charged with or have been convicted of a criminal violation of Chapter 11 or Chapter 12," said George Dunst, a retired state election lawyer.

But Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said late Friday that the fund was set up "under the guidance of the GAB."

Lots of polished doubletalk from Walker and his people. But it should be obvious by now that he is a key person of interest in the investigation. The only thing remaining is whether he will be charged.

So, should officials repudiated by an increasingly cynical electorate and facing serious legal scrutiny continue to be involved in making long-lasting decisions for all of us?

Over the past year, Walker has abused his power in the name of moving forward that will have a negative effect on Wisconsin for years to come and with the recall election all but certain and a possible indictment, the people of Wisconsin should demand Walker eliminate himself from legislative influence and shelve his ham-fisted ALEC/Koch Agenda until the last precinct tally is counted in the recall and until the John Doe investigation is fully closed.

It's the right thing to do.

Crooks and Liars - Historic: Scott Walker First WI Gov. to Need a Legal Defense Fund

Friday, March 09, 2012

Civil Discourse Podcast With Rob Zerban

If you're looking for a break away from Bliss Com's stodgy and stale right-wing engineered corporate radio broadcasts, these citizen operated podcast's hosted by could be just the ticket for you. In this episode, Eric from Janesville talks with Rob Zerban, the democratic candidate running against Paul Ryan for Wisconsin's 1st Congressional district. Eric and Rob discuss the GOP's war on women and why it was so important to save the American auto industry. In the second segment, Eric talks about Janesville housing prices and Republican obstructionism.

Check out Civil Discourse here including all their previous episodes.

Local Casino Approved During Problem Gambling Awareness Week

This is more of a whimsical observation than a political statement.

Personally I don't think the Beloit City Council or the Rock County Board of Supervisors gave a hoot that this week was National Problem Gambling Awareness Week when they overwhelmingly approved a proposal by the Ho-Chunk Nation for a casino in Beloit.

One of the big sale points was the promise that payments from the casino to the county/city will replace (offset) property taxes, and who would oppose that?

P.S. I'll make a safe bet right now and suggest no one should start budgeting for or count on a reduction in property taxes any time soon - or ever.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Video: Rob Zerban's County Kick-Off Tour!

Impressive turn-outs for Zerban's campaign kick-off.

Excerpt from Zerban's Video Introduction:

There were no stadium tours, no charges to get in, and no PowerPoint presentations! My goal is to show voters what real representation looks like.

I usually get up at 5:30 AM and don't get back until after 10:00 PM, and I enjoy every minute of it. I am used to hard work. My constituents are used to hard work too. They know that hard work pays off and our grassroots work is elevating the debate and building the foundation for a winning race.

We are bringing in Democrats and Independents, but we are also reaching beyond. More Republicans are joining our campaign every day because they understand the GOP and Paul Ryan have abandoned their principles and lost their way. Everyone understands it is time for new leadership.

-- Rob Zerban

Taxes Seem High? Blame The New Entitlement Mentality Sweeping The Country

If regular working class people really want to know why taxes and fees are taking a bigger bite out of our paychecks and are expected to get worse - don't blame education, public employees, government services or tax rates. Look toward the multitude of loopholes, exemptions, zone tax credits, "jobs" tax credits, taxpayer funded forgivable loans and tax revenue withholding caches like TIF District slush fund gimmicks, all lobbied for and legislated by crony capitalists to favor the rich and powerful few. It's a matter of simple subtraction.

You think when GOPer's like Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan say that rich people don't have to pay taxes, they are joking? Hah, think again. Somebody will have to make up for the difference in lost revenue.

Despite an already increasing tax burden in Wisconsin under Scott Walker, we have yet to see the real effects of the tax shift take place under his massive wealth redistribution plan. But don't worry. The motherlode is on the way.

The Northwestern Excerpt:
(Titled: Walker's tax credits give away the farm)

In fact, under Walker's tax credit, after 2015 a farm or factory owning couple could earn up to about $625,000 a year before owing a single dime in state taxes. And they could earn about $796,000 before they owe that same $1,425 that you have to pay on your measly $50,000 – because with the tax credit, they'll owe only an additional $5 on each extra $600 in agricultural or manufacturing income they earn. more>>>

When you throw in all the other special tax credits, exemptions and artificially low property tax assessments for developers on the state side alone, we will be getting hammered!

The tax hell is only for the little people.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Suicide Victim Connected With Ryan's Office

Very sad indeed. It's always disturbing to hear about someone so distraught with life and hopelessness that they find the only solution is to end it. Such was apparently the case of the person who decided to shoot himself at the front of Rep. Paul Ryan's office in Janesville.

Although Ryan's staff claimed to not have any previous contact with the victim, Mark Kromrey of Janesville, the most recent news brief by the Janesville Gazette Staff reported that he did have correspondence with the congressman when he sent a letter to Paul Ryan in 2010 indicating he might kill himself near Ryan’s office. In 2011, Kromrey interacted again with the congressman over dealings about a lawsuit he filed against the FBI. Details of these interactions with Ryan remain guarded. This is Ryan's hometown.

According to an earlier report, Kromrey carried a note asking that he did not want to be resuscitated, which seems to be an unnecessary request considering he planned to take his own life at the office doorstep of the aloof and callous congressman.

Thankfully however, there are some compassionate and caring individuals still in this world as at least two people from inside the mall came to Kromrey's aid. Despite their heroic efforts, the man passed away at a local hospital.


Coincidentally, the victim and the congressman are the same age - 42 years old.

WKOW - Suicide outside Congressman Ryan's Janesville office

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Apparent Suicide Attempt Outside Paul Ryan's Janesville Office

JG Excerpt:
Police are investigating what apparently is a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the Olde Towne Mall, 20 South Main Street, Janesville.

Witnesses said the male victim was found in the common area of the building outside Congressman Paul Ryan’s office at 4:17 p.m. A small caliber handgun was near the body.

Police reported that they were not aware of any connection to Ryan’s office. The congressman was not at the office.

Temporary Injunction Issued - Voter ID On Hold

JS Online Excerpt:
A Dane County judge has granted a temporary injunction against Wisconsin's new voter identification law.

Circuit Judge David Flanagan granted the injunction Tuesday, meaning the law would not apply for the April 3 presidential primary and local general election.

The NAACP's Milwaukee branch and immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera filed the lawsuit last year. A trial on whether to grant a permanent injunction is scheduled for April 16.

Video: Invaders, Get Out Of Wisconsin

About the upcoming Recall Elections In Wisconsin.

"It's not just about the people of Wisconsin - it's about America" -- Tea Party Moonbat

THAT'S America? To have a group of out-of-state ideologues ignore state process and stick their nose in the business of others? Whatever happened to state's rights and the will of the people to prevail? According to the Tea Party, the people's constitutional right to recall public officials sidetracks democracy.

Another way to view this is to put yourself in Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly's shoes and think what they would say to an outside national union representative sticking their nose in the people's business of another state. They would've painted it up like Pearl Harbor. Wisconsin Democratic Party Spokesman Graeme Zielinki was rightfully fired up during this interview.

Watch it:


Democurmudgeon - Recall Meddling Out-of-State Tea Party Dummy told to "Get out of Wisconsin."

Monday, March 05, 2012

Walker Taking Wisconsin Back To Thompson's Tax Hell Daze

During Terrible Tommy's reign over Wisconsin through the 90's, the burden of state taxes on the average Wisconsin income earner was solidly in the 12 percent range with a few years popping 13 percent. Believe it or not, it was Gov. Jim Doyle who courageously fought the tax burden battle and incrementally brought the tax burden down into the 11 percent range, settling for a bittersweet 11.2 percent in the 2008-09 budget. Ironically, it was Doyle's Wisconsin that the state's GOP support-base business group, Wisconsin Commerce and Manufacturers, branded as a "tax hell."

So it only figures that the WMC-endorsed Scott Walker has reversed the direction established by Doyle and now has the state trending toward those glorious republican days of Terrible Tommy ...

Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance Excerpt:
State-local governments here collected $25.9 billion in taxes and fees in fiscal year 2011, 5.4% more than the prior year. This year's tax burden was 11.9%, up from 11.7% in 2010. Individual income tax collections were $6.7 billion in 2011, up 10% from $6.1 billion in 2010. This year's increase was the largest one-year jump since 2000.

Note: The above paragraph appears on the WTA's Home Page as a summary for the article.

That's right. The last time Wisconsin workers saw the state carve out as large a one-year increase from our earnings - Tommy Thompson was in charge! Who woulda' thunk it? Few states hammer the middle class as hard as Wisconsin - especially households earning less than $88,000 a year, wrote the Journal Sentinel back in 2010, and that was when the tax burden was better - under Jim Doyle! But today? Under Walker's massive transfer of wealth away from Wisconsin families, modest communities and public sector workers to the GOP business elite and coupled with increased state spending can only mean an even larger tax bite is on the way. Wisconsin is clawing its way back into hell.

From Tax Hell To "All Screwed Up!"
If you hear 'Wisconsin' and a job transfer, part of your mind is going to say, 'Isn't that the place that's all screwed up?'
-- Todd Berry, WTA ...saying what others are thinking.

JS Online Editorial - Wisconsin missing out on U.S. jobs gains, under Walker. (Over 1,800 comments)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Rob Zerban's Rock County Campaign Kick-off

This event is free and will be a gathering of elected officials and supporters to mark the kickoff of Rob's Zerban's campaign to defeat Paul Ryan and protect Wisconsin's middle class.

6:00 PM -- 7:30 PM
Monday, March 5
at the UAW Local 95

1795 Lafayette St., Janesville, WI

Event Facebook

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Smoking Pants Video: Walker Talked Up Bargaining Table Before Election

"I support Walker because he did exactly what he said he was going to do." -- Confused Wisconsin Voter or Willful Liar

How many times have you seen or heard that line?

Most us in the battlefield would retort with fact-check articles and video evidence of Walker campaign events that show an absence of the statements that he and his loyal supporters claim existed about collective bargaining. Proof enough in the court of public opinion, but we were only able to prove a negative - that Walker never said he was going to end collective bargaining rights.

But now with the help from a video just released by the Northwestern, we are able to not only provide more evidence for what Walker did not say, but to show exactly what he DID say about collective bargaining rights just one week before election. He not only talked up a strategy using collective bargaining to balance the state's budget, but he went on to convey that he was open to whatever compromise is necessary to get the job done.

Transcript excerpt from video:

Editorial Board Member: Before, we were talking about state employees contributing to their plan, paying their share of the pension plan. Collective bargaining come into that?

Walker: Yep (nodding yes)

Editorial Board Member: How do you get that negotiated and accepted by the state employee unions?

Walker: You still have to negotiate it. I did that at the county as well.

Uppity Wisconsin Excerpt:

Walker then goes on to say that he has used furloughs as a bargaining tool at the county level and that "we'd approach a similar strategy for the state," but said that he was open to compromise, saying "we're not locked into saying it has to be exactly the same" and that if unions could provide alternative routes to saving money he would be willing to explore those ideas.

The truth is, as this video clearly shows, is when it came to balancing the budget using the negotiating table of collective bargaining, Walker wanted voters to know that he was more flexible than Gumby.

The video below is a nice mash-up of the story provided by the folks at Uppity Wisconsin. Watch it:

Quote from Walker After the Election.
"If anyone doesn't know what's coming, they've been asleep for the past two years." -- Scott Walker. What he really meant to say is you had to be asleep - to believe him.

Watch entire hour-long Northwestern editorial video here.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Obama Rocks'em At UAW Event

Obama knows the right-wing's insanity. When workers stand firm and refuse to take a hit on wages, benefits and conditions, they're called selfish and uncompromising. When they make concessions, the haters say "they could have done that without paying dues, so what good are your unions?"

It's impossible to reason with insanity.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Breitbart Dead

STOP HATING!!! You'll live longer.

Caustic commentator Andrew Breitbart died in LA at age 43.

NPR Excerpt:
The conservative media publisher and activist who died Thursday was embraced by anti-tax, conservative tea partiers and reviled by liberals for his Internet investigations that brought down politicians and chastised mainstream journalism.

Breitbart, 43, was behind investigations that led to the resignations of former Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York and former U.S. Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod.
More >>>

Grothman Targets Singles and Unwed Couples with Children As Child Abusers

No doubt, reducing rates of child abuse and neglect is an issue everyone can agree is important. But now, Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman, who considers himself an expert on children and families, wants to legislate a new order of discrimination against single parents and unwed couples by scripting their circumstance as a marker for child abuse.

Since they make up a third of all Wisconsin parents, Grothman figures what better way is there to divide the state even further than to create a new class of citizens to scorn and demagogue with suspicion. The bill was introduced by Grothman and cosponsored by Rep. Don Pridemore.

Here are key provisions of the bill:

Section 1. 48.982 (2) (g) 2. of the statutes is amended to read:
48.982 (2) (g) 2. Promote statewide educational and public awareness campaigns and materials for the purpose of developing public awareness of the problems of child abuse and neglect. In promoting those campaigns and materials, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.

Section 2. 48.982 (2) (g) 4. of the statutes is amended to read:
48.982 (2) (g) 4. Disseminate information about the problems of and methods of preventing child abuse and neglect to the public and to organizations concerned with those problems. In disseminating that information, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.

While observing a Tea Party event in Janesville a couple years ago, I recall seeing Grothman on stage talking about how labor unions caused the break-up of the American family unit. I didn't pay much attention to his speech because I figured who in their right mind would listen to or elect this imbecile.

Was I wrong.


Glenn Grothman Watch - Glenn Grothman: unmarried people cause child abuse?