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Friday, December 28, 2012

Faces Of The Fiscal Cliff

Any discussion about the national debt and the so-called "fiscal cliff" without mentioning the names of the four individuals who have been largely responsible for laying down the framework of the debt as the meme for tax reform and the means to send the government on a path of self-destruction is simply preposterous.

Right-Wing Bloggers Go After Publisher's Employees/Families For Posting Public Information

Just days after a Gannett-owned newspaper in New York State published an interactive map showing the names and addresses of legal firearm owners within their coverage area, a blogger decided to counter the newspaper's action by creating a map of its own showing the names and addresses of the editors and employees of the newspaper.

The blog, "Talk of the Sound" is gaining notoriety for posting a map of Journal News Employees in the New York Tri-State area in a story titled, Map: Where are the Journal News employees in your neighborhood? I have to admit that this "retaliatory" media concept is interesting since it merely categorizes and republishes what is already known to be public information, but it could backfire in a big way.

Now you might not believe this but as a blogger going into my seventh year here in Janesville, I've always made it a point to not make politics personal. By that I mean that I've made a promise to myself to avoid publishing family information or personal information about others in a vindictive way. That too is subject to definition but I'd like to think my blog is about policy, principles and ideas with a twist of lemon-lime humor. Names that do appear in my blog postings have either been published earlier as part of a mainstream story elsewhere or are public officials. As a courtesy, I've even avoided publishing names of many local folks simply to keep search engines off the trail.

But now, considering that so-called "conservatives" on Twitter are willing to include the children of Gannett's CEO for some twisted personal satisfaction, it leaves me wondering just how incredibly soft we in Wisconsin are towards newspapers that reframe public information and stories on law-abiding citizens for their own profit or political agenda, and also the Tea Party goons who keep online data bases of the recall petition signers.

As recently put it in their story on the NY gun license publishing, ...Naturally, their own argument must be turned right back upon them, and, There was one reason publish the names and addresses ...intimidation. The paper meant to scare these law abiding citizens. It was nothing but a bullying tactic. Of course their perception becomes justification to employ the same tactic they consider "bullying" against the publisher.

But that "bullying" is exactly how we've felt all along in Wisconsin about the bogus "verify the recall" data bases. Pure intimidation to scare law-abiding citizens from participating in democracy then or later. Even though it still lingers on in Wisconsin, the victims of the verify witch hunt have remained relatively civil by comparison.

With that, I for one will be watching closely how Gannett newspapers react to this "counter-strike" from the right-wing bloggers and also to see how state legislators from around the country will move to change the parameters of state statute freedom of information requests, if at all.

I did not agree with the newspaper posting a data base of the names and addresses of law-abiding state licensees, but just the same if this aggressive "turn-around" tactic succeeds in its mission to neutralize the establishment media, I would expect these retaliatory strikes to escalate as the new offensive against perceived wrongs and become a vicious new normal in social media publishing. It won't be pretty.

Keep your eyes on this one.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Deja Vu: When Public Information Is Abused, We All Lose.

In a scenario reminiscent of the witch hunt state-based newspapers and Tea Party organizations carried out against Wisconsin citizens for merely exercising their right to petition the government for the recall of Gov. Scott Walker, a New York based Gannett-owned newspaper recently published the names and addresses of individuals with handgun permits in its coverage area.

By NY state law, the gun license information is public record that must be made available through Freedom of Information requests.

ABC News Excerpt:
Hundreds of residents in New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties were surprised to find their names and addresses listed on a map posted by The Journal News on Sunday. Users can click any dot on the map to see which of their neighbors has a permit for a gun.

The map sparked more than 500 comments from readers within a day of its appearance on the website, many of them voicing outrage at the paper’s decision to make the information public.

Just wait until the information is loaded into second and third-party data bases for political or commercial purposes, or better yet, memorized by a few nutjobs with chips on their shoulders. In Wisconsin, law-abiding citizens who hoped to recall Scott Walker know first-hand how it feels to be targeted and demonized after names and addresses from the petitions were loaded into online searchable data bases. Back then, many were surprised and shocked to find their names made public and said it was an outrage against a free democracy. We asked over and over, "what did they hope to accomplish?" Some felt that Wisconsin was going the way of Nazi Germany.

I for one however agree with the license holders who feel their privacy and rights have been invaded by the newspaper, regardless of the subject matter of their licenses. Like with the recall signers, this one is easy to use for political fodder and play gotcha' games with, and just the same, the gun license holders were following the letter of the law just like the folks who signed the petitions to recall Scott Walker. There is no good reason in my view to publish this sort of private information. As far as the Recall Petitions were concerned, they only needed to be challenged by Scott Walker, counted and then destroyed. Legal or not, what Scott Walker and his band of idiots did to fellow Wisconsinites was an outrage whose open wound will last for years to come.

But I DO NOT agree with the NRA-approved ALEC-written legislation that has basically turned our country into an armed society. And, I also don't agree that some states can reserve the right to prohibit state officials and law enforcement from acknowledging after the fact of a crime or suicide, whether the individual possessed a gun or CC permit. That too is an outrage. Again, as far as the law- abiding citizens in New York who feel they've been wronged for doing the right thing - I agree with them on the public information issue.

If you can keep your guns out - welcome to our world.


Tea Party - Who are the Recall Signers in your Neighborhood?

Lohud - Where are the Gun Permits in your Neighborhood?

Lohud - Comments, calls go national, thanks to social media, key websites

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Did Killer Have a CC License? In Wisconsin, You'll Never Know.

While we're at it...

DID YOU KNOW that Wisconsin administration officials and law enforcement are prohibited from stating whether any person who discharges a gun, even after the fact of a crime, possessed a concealed carry license?

What are they trying to hide?

Rock Netroots - NRA State Law Protects CC License Verification Of Killers

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wisconsin AG: Laws Are Unnecessary Because Criminals By Definition Break Them

During an interview in the state Capitol on Tuesday, Wisconsin Attorney General Van Hollen said some lawmakers had taken a "knee-jerk" reaction to the news of the mass shootings in Connecticut and questioned whether new proposals to ban semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines would make any difference.

Van Hollen's exact words were...

WKOW Excerpt:
"I think if you look back in our history, usually criminals by their very definition, people who are gonna commit heinous crimes like this, don't necessarily pay much attention to the law," said Van Hollen.

Yeah sure, Mister Attorney. So why propose laws at all? Why have any laws if they'll only be ignored and broken? Sheeesh.

At this stage, I'm not too surprised Van Hollen would form an opinion drawn on the old, "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" NRA slogan. After all, he is a big NRA supporter. But it's such a knee-jerk pre-determination. Plus, he's the State Attorney General, it's his job to apply state laws for the common good and serve as the counselor to state agencies. Instead, it's as if Van Hollen is promoting the gun, not rule-of-law, as the premier arbitrator of the land. We're not that far gone yet - are we?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Janesville: Drinking Liberally Will Meet this Wednesday

From the Rock County Progressives:

Hello Friends,

Share your politics while you share a pitcher at your local progressive drinking club. An informal gathering of like minded, left-leaners who may want to trade ideas, get more involved, or just enjoy each others company.

Our monthly Drinking Liberally social will be this Wednesday evening (12/19) at 7 PM, at our usual place, The Speakeasy Lounge, downtown Janesville. It will be great to get together again.

Come in and share some holiday cheer with fellow liberals.

Promoting Democracy One Pint At a Time.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Video: Obama Attends Newtown Vigil

Story: Obama reassures Newtown 'you are not alone' at vigil for victims of Connecticut school shootings.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Video: Janesville Media Forum With Sly

Good stuff!

Youtube Video Source

Video forwarded by Rock County Progressives. Thanks to Sly & Vicki S for recording!

Be sure to also check out the petition at giveslythemic.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cheapshot Breitbart Operator Gets His 15 Minutes

I've now watched four different video clips of the so-called fight that broke out during the Michigan RTW protests between a pro-union protester and a Fox News contributor, Breitbart operator and provocateur, Steven Crowder. There appears to be some conflicting stories.

The video seen on the Hannity Show clearly shows that Crowder's story isn't exactly the same as what transpired on the video. The video begins with Crowder wading into the angry group, mocks them, raises his hands abruptly in close proximity to their faces and then runs home when the heat cranks on. Watch closely however at 1:37 to 1:39 where the man who is seen throwing punches moments later at Crowder was first on the ground.

Afterwards, a different person was shouting “he’s got a gun” and “I’ll kill the ***** with a gun.” Crowder hears that and tells Hannity it was his life that was being threatened by someone with a gun. When indeed the person was provocatively shouting he witnessed someone carrying a gun, possibly anti-union, and that the gun doesn't scare him. So, was Crowder carrying?

Lastly, Steven Crowder admits that he expected to be torn apart by these "violent leftists," but that obviously did not happen. The smirking Crowder also says that had he fought back at the time it would have proved nothing, but yet challenges the guy to a fight in a sanctioned ring. No brains. Just all stupid.

If the video cannot be viewed in your browser from here, go to the NewsHounds Story, Steven Crowder Admits He Went To Michigan Protest To ‘Prove’ Union Thugs ‘For Who They Truly Are’

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reminder: Sly Scheduled To Speak At Media Forum In Janesville

John “Sly” Sylvester, the talk show host from Madison’s WTDY radio, is scheduled to speak this Wednesday (Dec. 12) at an educational forum about progressives in the mainstream media.

Basics CO-OP Natural Foods
1711 Lodge Dr.
Janesville, WI 53545

6 PM-6:30 PM cheese & cracker reception (nonalcoholic potluck)
6:30 PM- 7:45 PM, speaker & discussion

Directions: from Madison route 90 until 1st Janesville exit, south on Route 26 past route 14, look for Toys R Us on the right, right on Lodge Drive, on right across from Toys R Us.


Event Facebook

Monday, December 10, 2012

Janesville: Candlelight Vigil Against Cuts Planned For Ryan's Office

We just had an election in which one candidate, Mitt Romney, proposed to lower tax rates for the richest 2% of Americans and cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. He lost.

Now, we are asking Congress to respect the will of the voters by promising to:

1. Let the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans expire.

2. Oppose benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Join us around the state on Monday, December 10 as we participate in a Candlelight Campaign Against Cuts to lobby our Congressperson to do what is right for the American people during the lame duck congressional session.

In Janesville: 4:00 p.m. candlelight vigil outside Rep. Ryan’s Office, 20 South Main St., Janesville, WI 53545.


Click here for more locations around Wisconsin.

Also: "Fiscal Showdown Event" planned for Rep. Sensenbrenner's office in Brookfield.

Friday, December 07, 2012

With DeMint Resignation, Only Half Of U.S. Conspirators Remain In Office

With the announcement by Sen. Jim DeMint that he will be resigning from the US Senate to serve as director of the Heritage Foundation, only seven of the original fourteen members of the pact that conspired to use the power of their congressional office to destabilize the U.S. economy in a treasonous campaign to make Barack Obama a one-term president, remain in office.

Eric Cantor - Continues To Hold Public Office, U.S. Representative (VA-7)

Dan Lungren - Lost his re-election bid in the November 2012 House (CA)election against Democratic challenger, Ami Bera

Kevin McCarthy - Continues To Hold Public Office, U.S. Representative (CA-22)

Jeb Hensarling - Continues To Hold Public Office, U.S. Representative (TX-5)

Pete Hoekstra - served in the House from 1993 until 2011. He was a candidate for Governor of Michigan in 2010 and was defeated by Debbie Stabenow in the United States Senate election in Michigan in 2012

Paul Ryan - Continues To Hold Public Office, U.S. Representative (WI-1)

Jim Demint - Announced in Dec. 2012 that he will resign from the Senate to become president of the Heritage Foundation.

Tom Coburn - Continues To Hold Public Office, U.S. Senator (OK)

John Ensign - resigned from the Senate amid an investigation of an ethics violation in May 2011.

Pete Sessions - Continues To Hold Public Office, U.S. Representative (TX-32)

Bob Corker - Continues To Hold Public Office, U.S. Senator (TN)

Jon Kyl - announced in Feb. 2011 that he would not seek re-election to the Senate in 2012 and would retire at the end of his third term, which concludes on January 3, 2013.

Frank Luntz - GOP Party Operative. Does Not Hold Public Office.

Newt Gingrich - No Longer Holds Public Office.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Paul Ryan Trying To Sucker Latinos through Rep. Gutierrez

You gotta know Paul Ryan's mentality pretty good to understand exactly what he's trying to pull here with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) of Illinois. I've seen this all before with Ryan when he co-opted the local UAW in Janesville for nearly a decade until he threw them under a bus when he politicized the plight of the Janesville GM Plant. Only then did his hometown and county voters figure out that Ryan never was for them. Finally, for the first time in Ryan's career, he lost his hometown at the ballot box to his democratic challenger.

The same can be said for the Tea Party. Always leery that the tea party would run a congressional candidate against him for his position on TARP and his miserable borrowing and spending record, Ryan co-opted them as well when he attended their rallies during the 2009 health care debates and wowed them with his anti-Obama fascism and "pretend" fiscal conservatism. Paul Ryan really thought the state's Walkerized tea party enthusiasm would defeat Barack Obama and carry him to victory into the White House. Well, that didn't happen and as soon as Ryan was re-installed as the House Budget Chairman, he proceeded to kick two tea party congressman off the committee. Who needs them anymore? Not Ryan.

So when I first read that Rep. Gutierrez said that Paul Ryan had reached across the aisle to work with him on immigration reform, I knew immediately that Ryan is simply looking for a new prop for the next publicity phase in his staged presentation.

Politico Excerpt
“I saw my good friend just coming off running for vice president of the United States, Congressman Ryan, we’re going to see each other next week. We’re talking. He says to me, ‘Luis, I want to do it because it’s the right thing. I don’t want to deal with it from a political point of view.’ I think that’s very, very encouraging,” Gutierrez said on MSNBC.

On Capitol Hill, when a politician calls another "my good friend," that is usually code for someone who knows that the only reason why he was approached is because the other guy needs something. From Chicago, the popular Gutierrez was the first Latino from the Midwest elected to Congress. He has also been in Congress for 20 years, so I would think he understands exactly why Ryan injected, "I don't want to deal with it from a political point of view" because THAT is precisely why Ryan breached the subject with Gutierrez to begin with. It's strictly politics my friend. Yes it is.

The simple truth is, Paul Ryan is unconcerned and clueless about blacks, Latinos and minorities. Heck, Ryan doesn't even know the whites in his own neighborhood well enough to understand our struggles and positions to formulate a case of honest representation on our behalf in Congress. To many of us, Congressman Ryan is like an alien from outer space.

Politico Excerpt
Gutierrez said it’s the kind of bipartisan conversations lawmakers need to start having about immigration. And he called the recent rhetoric coming from Republicans and Democrats about immigration reform “flourishing.”

“You know, just think about it, [Ryan] walks up to me – someone that he knows absolutely didn’t vote for him, right, he just lost for vice president of the United States – he walks up to me and what does he say? He says, ‘I want to work with you to make the country better. I want to work with you on immigration reform.

This is beginning to scare me because Ryan did the same thing with Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon who joined Ryan on a proposal to remake Medicare along premium-support lines. In my view, it was a big mistake for Wyden to link his name to any proposal that creates an option out of Medicare. Ryan later attempted to use Wyden as an example of his outreach for bipartisanship.

So there's just no way that he suddenly wants to work on immigration reform with Luis Gutierrez after getting shellacked at the polls by what Ryan racially coded as the urban vote, simply to "make the country better." It's always about Paul Ryan.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Video: Tax The Rich - An Animated Fairy Tale

UPDATED: This is the replacement video. The scene showing the trickle-down effect has been removed. Narrated by Ed Asner. Almost eight minutes long, it's still worth every second.

Once Again Paul Ryan Misappropriating Campaign Funds

Media Matters Excerpt:
CBS News political analyst Frank Luntz had a major undisclosed conflict of interest while appearing on the network. While Luntz used his pre-election platform on CBS to praise Rep. Paul Ryan, his consulting firm, Luntz Global LLC, received $40,000 in consulting and polling fees from Rep. Paul Ryan's congressional campaign.

Wow. There's alot wrong there. Once you get past the outrage from the obvious conflict that political analysts and commentators are being paid to promote political candidates and their campaigns on major network news shows without issuing a disclaimer, you'll then have to understand that Paul Ryan is the sort of politician who has to pay to get positive reviews. In this particular case, Frank Luntz was not only paid to attack Joe Biden and promote Ryan for VP on CBS and Cable Fox News, he was paid by Ryan from funds designated for his congressional campaign.

This latest finding by Media Matters appears to be separate and in addition to a complaint filed in October by One Wisconsin Now with the Federal Elections Commission alleging that Ryan has improperly used his Congressional campaign funds to promote the GOP presidential ticket. According to OWN, Ryan purchased $2 million in ads from his Congressional campaign account, but none of the five ads specifically mention he is running for Congress. Just the same, it appears Luntz never referenced Ryan's house race or his challenger, Rob Zerban, during his paid reviews on network news shows.


The Nation - Is Paul Ryan Making Americans More Inclined Toward Socialism?

Democurmudgeon - Frank Luntz paid by Ryan to spread Media Propaganda on CBS and Fox News

Huff Post - House Budget Committee Drops Tea Party Reps Who Voted Against Paul Ryan Budget OR After Co-opting the Tea Party, Paul Ryan Throws Them Off The Cliff.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Non-partisans On Government Board Don’t Strike The Right Balance Republicans Seek.

From the “reality has a liberal bias” file comes one of Wisconsin’s premier partisan hacks, State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who said the state's nonpartisan Government Accountability Board (GAB) should be reconstituted to include political appointees from the state legislature. This he claims, would create a more "balanced" board. Republicans currently control both houses of the state Legislature.

Wisconsin State Journal Excerpt:
But Fitzgerald said the GAB should look more like the Elections Board, with partisan political appointees. That approach, he said, "seems to strike more of a balance than what we're up against now."

No. Really.

Anything going by the the name of “government accountability board” isn’t supposed to be politically balanced or politically unbalanced - it’s supposed to strive for and be as completely apolitical as possible.


Democurmudgeon - One Party Wisconsin? Sen. Fitzgerald’s Crony Government.

Why Isn't The USA Swimming In Jobs?

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Wisconsin Business Assures Worker They Won't Opt Out Of Obamacare

Scott Walker made a stop in LaCrosse on Thursday and surprisingly accepted a few questions from foundry workers at Torrance Castings. According to the report, many of the questions revolved around the new federal Affordable Care Act that Walker has refused implement. One worker was concerned that his employer would follow in Walker's footsteps and opt out of Obamacare.

LaCrosse Tribune Excerpt:
Many of the questions concerned the federal Affordable Care Act, putting Walker in the awkward position of explaining the law, which he fought politically and in the courts.

One worker worried that the company would opt to pay the new $2,500 per worker penalty rather than supply health insurance, for which he now pays $5 a week. (Owner Bill Torrance assured him that wouldn’t be the case.)