Today is

Friday, August 30, 2013

Janesville LaborFest 2013 This Weekend!

LaborFest Grounds
Janesville, WI

LaborFest is a three day festival that funds the annual Labor Day Parade in downtown Janesville. Enjoy a mud volleyball tournament, car show, Bike show, craft fair, games and food along with great music all weekend long.
5,000 attendees expected.
*Start times estimated*

Official Webpage - LaborFest 2013

For the most up-to-date LaborFest Events Schedule, click here.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen of the RC5: Have You No Honor?

Below is a status check of followers from the Rock County 5.0 Twitter page.

As you probably know, the Rock County 5.0 is Gov. Scott Walker's wealthy "Divide and Conquer" area booster club and self-described "visionaries" for South-Central Wisconsin economic development. The group is co-chaired by Diane Hendricks and Mary Willmer.

The two screen shots below were taken minutes before posting.

Bought and paid for like everything else.

Walker's Staff Asks TV Station To Pull Story On Jobs Pledge

Saw this story first at the Political Environment about Gov. Scott Walker's news secretary asking a Northwoods TV station to pull an article they wrote about Walker speaking at (campaign stop?) a manufacturing plant in Merrill.

The Political Environment Excerpt:
Bad enough that Scott Walker tried to slip away from his 250,000 new jobs promise, but how about this effort by his news secretary to get a TV station to delete the story from its news feed?

According to the TV station: Walker's press secretary, Tom Evenson, called Newswatch 12 on Tuesday, and asked if we could be persuaded to take Monday's story off our website.

The story Walker wanted pulled from Newswatch 12 WJFW can be seen here.

If you thought Scott Walker's attempts to manipulate the media as exposed by the recent O'Donnell email exchanges were just minor aberrations, think again. Walker and his henchmen are apparently fully engaged in media manipulation at all times, not just during the heat or closing of an election campaign.

Another example is an excerpt from a Channel 3000 article I had posted on the blog in late 2010.

Channel 3000 Excerpt:
One forecast shows that even if Walker does nothing the state will add 190,000 jobs over the next four years. Another forecast shows there will be nearly 290,000 new jobs.

Channel 3000 pulled that article a long time ago. Try the (excerpt) link. The page is blank with several commenters asking what happened to the article. I even ran keywords in their search engine, "no results found." Surprisingly, TMJ4 and several others still have articles posted substantiating those job forecasts.

We've now got to consider how widespread this problem really is. How many media outlets are out there that, from fear of losing access or a future interview, never report on politically motivated requests from public officials. But also to thank news organizations like WJFW for having the courage to publish correspondence relevant to a story.

Also, more flashback on Walker's jobs rhetoric:

"I want my cabinet secretaries to have branded across their heads, `250,000 jobs,"' Walker said at a recent meeting of the Dairy Business Association. "I want them to know their job is on the line because my job is on the line to create 250,000 jobs in the private sector."

Scott Walker didn't just promise to create any old 250,000 jobs, he promised to create them "in the private sector."

Monday, August 26, 2013

Capitol Police Go On The Hunt Escalating Fear and Violence.

Watch as a contingent of Capitol Police officers stroll out into a chorus of singers and observers in the state capitol rotunda and find groups of citizen patriots singing "If I had a Hammer."

Unrelenting, the police shatter the peaceful assembly when they target and close in on a casual looking man holding a camera, identified as Damon Terrell. What happens next is disturbing:

Watch the same incident taken at a different angle from the balcony here.

DailyKos - Songs in the Key of Brutality: Young Black Man Tackled, Immobilized and Jailed for Singing.

CapTimes - Capitol protest arrest turns physical

Janesville Appoints Army Colonel For City Manager Post

Surprisingly, there is little information on the Web about Col. Mark Freitag, who will soon be ending his commission as deputy commander of the U.S. Army in Alaska to become Janesville's next city manager.

Expected to begin his new job in Janesville on December 1st, Freitag won the administrative appointment in a unanimous decision by the city council from a final pool of five contestants, including the dedicated and capable assistant city manager, Jay Winzenz. Winzenz has been and will continue filling in as acting city manager until Freitag takes the helm. The city managers' post was vacated when Eric Levitt was appointed to run the city administration in Simi Valley California.

Of course it's way too early to tell as much still remains to be seen what a decorated military man could do to restore public confidence in our city government, a declining morale among civilian employees, or how he will deal with the embedded divide and conquer mentality of the establishment community masquerading as the optimist club. It might be more amusing just watching what their expectations were by choosing military for the position, over choosing one of our own from fiercely proud Janesville - no offense meant to the colonel.

Welcome to Janesville, Sir.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Walker's School Vouchers Turn Wisconsin Families Toward Government Dependency

Once a politician discovers they have created an impossible to win argument, they usually quietly back away from it from fear of being outed as a hypocrite or a liar and hope nobody noticed.

Not Governor Scott Walker.

He recently said Republicans "need to embody courage." An apparent call to boldly stand with their wrong-headed convictions long enough, even double-down on them if necessary, to provoke those who care deeply about the country into a frenzied rage just so republicans can paint themselves the victims to win support from generally sympathetic American voters. That appears to be the core of Scott Walker's "stealth" campaign inside Wisconsin. But I suggest there's more to that than meets the eye.

Such an example was another projection of Scott Walker's when he told a crowd of Alabama Republicans that it's President Obama and his allies who “measure success in government by how many people are dependent on the government.”

Probably unknown at the time to the GOP crowd a few days earlier, it was discovered Walker's signature school choice voucher program will push nearly 1,400 children, previously untethered to government, into the realm of government dependency.

JS Online Excerpt:
Among the 2,069 eligible students who applied to the top 25 schools — located in cities such as Green Bay, De Pere, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Oshkosh, Sheboygan and Wisconsin Rapids — only 503 students attended public schools last year.

The majority — 67%, or 1,393 students — were already attending a private school last year without the help of taxpayer dollars.

I have no idea how Walker reconciles that argument with his "pushing Medicaid patients out from government aid empowers them" narrative - but whatever he says will likely be taken without challenge. He also makes the claim that his priority is about education, not the bureaucracy.

“We care about (children's) education, not about the education bureaucracy,” Walker said.

Apparently then, Scott Walker doesn't care about the health of Medicaid patients enough to place them into a heightened state of government dependency - like he does about children's education.

The contradictions his school voucher rhetoric offers to his Medicaid positions are astounding enough to make my head spin around. An inquiring press at the least should ask Walker to explain how placing more people, nearly 1,400 additional children (and by extension their families), who were previously not part of the "education bureaucracy" he speaks of, into a state of government dependency - measures success in government.

That's a start.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Constituents or Koch Brothers? Rep. Paul Ryan Chose Poorly

From John Nichols at The Nation...

How’s this for irony:

When the City of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was preparing to formally petition Congress to take the necessary actions to get corporate money out of politics and to restore grassroots democracy, the congressman who represents the community was meeting secretly with the Koch brothers to plot election strategies and policy agendas.
Read more here.

It's no longer a question what Paul Ryan stands for. He's not for us.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

O'Donnell Emails Expose Walker's Callous Dishonest Routines

In this review of a few select email exchanges from the 300+ page O'Donnell release, I couldn't help (many others did as well) notice how Walker's foot soldiers routinely suggested manipulating a willing establishment media all the way down to changing terms and phrases of headlines and even complete story lines.

A fair portion of the email exchanges revolve around a blog posting by MKE County Supervisor John Weishan Jr. on the impact of $112 million in cuts over eight years by then County Executive Scott Walker had on deferred maintenance of the O'Donnell parking facility. Weishan does not accuse Walker of being directly responsible for the O'Donnell tragedy, but he does make the case that Scott Walker's budgeting priorities fosters an environment of public facility and structural decline.

Also, the massive amount of media manipulation and spin to pre-empt the truth, including right-wing talk radio attacks, and attacks on liberal bloggers from Walker and his staff are far more than I had ever imagined. These idiots give public service a really bad name.

Excerpts from Weishan blog posting titled, "Why Tragedies Happen."

In 2002, shortly after being elected County Excecutive, Scott Walker was successful in changing that county ordinance enabling him to divert millions in sales tax revenue from the capital budget to the operating budget. Over the last eight years, more than $112 million in sales tax revenue has been diverted from capital fund to the operating budget. [...]Scott Walker's diversion of capital dollars is a major reason for the distressed conditions of many Milwaukee County assets, including county trunk highways and park way roads. [...]

Page 134 - July 12th 1:59 PM Steve Jagler of BizTimes asked Scott Walker's people to respond to Wieshan's blog posting.

Page 136 - July 12th 3:12 PM from SKW (Scott Walker) to Nardelli; RJ Johnson; Fran McLaughlin:
From 2003 (actually my first budget presented in fall of 2002) we spent and budgeted more than $780 million on infrastructure maintenance and improvements. We should tell that story.

Still our debt is down nearly 30% by 2012 and our government workforce is down by 20%.

The above statement from Scott Walker shows how he continued to elevate himself politically through the tragedy. In the wake of a 15 year old boy having the life crushed out of him, Walker's thinking how his previous decisions dropped the debt and cut the county workforce by 20% which by the way, supports Weishan's claim that Walker's austere budgeting style has resulted in inadequate coverage of the county's physical assets.

Had Walker instead maintained or INCREASED the county workforce by 20% for maintenance/inspections OR restored an additional $112 million to the capital fund, none of Weishan's narrative would have been possible. They knew they were in trouble so Nardelli eventually gives Walker advice (Page 136) to disregard Weishan and not respond to the request.

Page 155 - July 12th 4:50 PM from Fran McLaughlin to Scott Walker:
Should I change annex "disrepair" to "signs of irreparable deterioration?"

Again, say and do whatever it takes to cover for the kingpin of the operation. The above statement from McLaughlin should be the current Walker's Administration's official motto.

Page 169 July 14th 11:54 AM from Fran McLaughlin:
Press release: County Supervisors question contract awarded to engineering firm. Excerpt:
Milwaukee County Supervisors Marina Dimitrijevic and John Weishan Jr. are calling for County Executive Scott Walker to explain why an engineering company that has donated to Walker's political campaign was awarded a no-bid contract to inspect county facilities. [...} the fact remains that County dollars are being funneled through Graef, which was one of the contractors involved in building the O’Donnell Parking garage in the first place.

In a response to the supervisors allegations, Fran McLaughlin, director of communications for Walker’s office, said, "...The lead firm on the inspections was NOT involved with the construction of the parking structure at O'Donnell Park. This is one of the many inaccurate statements in the release.”

Hours later same day, McLaughlin finds out otherwise ...

Page 172 - July 14th 4:48 PM from Fran McLaughlin:
I emailed Jack in regards to Aaron Rodriguez question about Graef's work at O'D:
Can you tell me what part Graef played at O'D? I was told the supervisor's release is incorrect in stating Graef took part in the construction of the parking garage. Did they provide engineering consulting after the problems in construction became known?

Jack replied:
Simply yes. They were brought in to review structural documents when the project was approximately 90% complete. Furthermore, they are the engineer of record for that facility.

In short, Graef, a donor to Scott Walker's political campaign was hired through a no-bid contract by Walker to inspect their own finished work. What is THAT? Patronage graft kickback cronyism? Is there even a single descriptive term to describe all that?

More media inquiries regarding Weishan's blog posting continue to trickle into Walker's office. Walker gave this response to his staff about Weishan.

Page 203 - July 20th 3:51 PM from Scott Walker:
I called him and beat down Weishan. We spent $730 million on capital, did all of the work identified on O'Donnell Park and took down the annex parking structure (which Weishan fought). He is a back bencher who the board doesn't listen to.

Lucky for Scott Walker the board didn't listen to Weishan. But what kind of personality talks about "beating down" someone, whether verbally or otherwise?

RECOMMENDED "Doe" reads:

Blogging Blue - My 6 Favorite Walker (Recent) John Doe Emails, Annotated by G. Zielinski

Shep Ex - Walker Was Part of the O’Donnell Park Coverup

Js Online - New emails show Scott Walker played role in O'Donnell Park news flow

Rock Netroots - Email Dump Offers Glimpse Into Scott Walker's Underworld

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

PolitiFact Editorial Makes a Weak Case Defending Paul Ryan

Let me start off by saying that this post is in no way in defense of the organization, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), or any of their positions on immigration.

But what I found strange in this PolitiFact editorial titled, Group says Wisconsin jobless rate was on the rise while Paul Ryan advocated for immigration increases, was that PolitiFact attempts to discredit the ad (rated "Mostly False") based on the core argument that one month does not create a trend. I think most of us can agree with that.

In their video ad, FAIR does quote unemployment rates of several Wisconsin communities from one month (June, 2013), but it's obvious the figures are posted to represent current examples of local rates. FAIR does not detail nor imply the figures form the basis for their "unemployment has been on the rise throughout Wisconsin" overview but they do link to this story as a source showing unemployment rates increased in many Wisconsin counties and cities in June. With that, "throughout" Wisconsin doesn't necessarily describe a single statewide factor such as an unemployment rate, it's just shorter for "a majority of communities."

So, Politifact continues to work on micromanaging statewide unemployment trends by placing them in the narrow window of Ryan's immigration reform advocacy of just three months (May, June and July), and zero in on June by stating, "The time frame matters because the unemployment rate increase in June was not the norm for 2013."

OK, remember that, "the unemployment rate increase ...WAS NOT THE NORM" June for 2013. Or was it a decrease? ...not the norm. Oh well, Politifact ends their convolution of conflicting statements with that final contradiction.

PolitiFact Excerpt:
But saying the rate "has been on the rise" suggests more than a one-month trend -- and there is no such trend in recent months. And for that one month, statewide unemployment in June fell, not rose, undercutting FAIR’s statement.

Basically, they're saying FAIR was desperately wrong for implying one month constitutes a trend - although FAIR never implied that. Got it? And because the rate actually fell in June instead of rising, PolitiFact is confidently right that one month undercuts everything else.

Personally, I think the video ad is well done and difficult to discredit. But Politifact always seems to take on the role of a defender when it comes to Rep. Paul Ryan. By giving the FAIR ad a mostly false rating, readers walk away with a presumption that Paul Ryan was wrongly attacked and that those unemployment rates posted in June can be conflicted enough to mean anything you want.

In the end I thought, why did they bother?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wisconsin School Choice Program All About The Money

This is without question a double-edged sword that cuts through the public school system any way you slice it. The Wisconsin school choice voucher program creates either a new plantation entitlement to grow a new generation of red state dependents OR it destroys the public school system. In the end it will wind up doing both.

JS Online Excerpt: (Feb. 18, 2013)
"Our focus overwhelmingly is on improving public schools in the state of Wisconsin because that's where the majority of our students are. Beyond that, though, if we have schools that are failing to meet those expectations . . . we think it's realistic for parents in those districts . . . to be given a viable alternative for their kids," Walker told reporters Monday at an event in Madison.

Rrrrright. It’s all about failing public schools and the kids. But now the truth comes out …it’s only about the money.

Lacrosse Tribune Excerpt: (Aug. 14, 2013)
The law passed in June by the Legislature only gives preference to public school students if fewer than 500 students apply. If more than 500 apply as expected, a random drawing will be done with the only preference given to siblings of students already in the private school.

The Department of Public Instruction will follow the law as written and perform a random lottery with no preference for public school children if there are more than 500 applicants, spokesman John Johnson said Wednesday. The number of applicants is expected to be released Thursday or Friday.

That law doesn’t even make sense. It’s like a company saying they have 500 hams to give away to the poor. But if more than 500 people apply for the give-away as they expect to happen, they’ll give the hams to their own company employees.

Even if we were suicidal enough to go along with the school choice charade, students who have no intention of changing school systems should not be eligible for the vouchers. That was the whole point right? Big Government collectivism offering an alternative for the kids.

Republican legislators who rammed the bill through knew exactly what they were doing. They knew private schools would be eligible for the money without taking economically disadvantaged children from those "failing public schools," and now have the balls to say that's not how the law was intended?

Private schools are saying, "you can keep your public school students, just give us the money!"

Friday, August 16, 2013

Video: Solidarity Sing-Along Explained

One of the Solidarity Singers participants at the State Capitol, Janesville's own Judith Detert Moriarty, delivered a presentation of little known facts about Wisconsin's Solidarity Singers at the Rock County Progressives picnic held Wednesday evening.

Did you know they may qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running musical protest in history? Moriarty also offered details on the arrests of participants, observers and tourists, and reasons why this is still going on. Keep in mind that the Solidarity Singers have no "leaders" or hierarchy. They are not an organization.

Also, the flag-bearing Marine Vet arrested several weeks ago during a sing-along tells how his Veterans for Peace vest was confiscated by Capitol Police and not returned after he was released. The vet said it took almost three weeks with the help of Sen. Tim Cullen (and other legislators) to get it back.

There's more. Watch it:

H/T to VSM for the video.


The Progressive - Proof that Solidarity Singers Are Not an Organized Group

Thursday, August 15, 2013

While you were away ...

While we are busy signing petitions and out protesting ALEC, Citizens United, Koch Industries, Monsanto, Wal-Mart, the Keystone Pipeline, drones, fracking, factory farms, Gov. Scott Walker, mining in the Penokee Hills of northern Wisconsin, the Tea Party has been been quietly hi-jacking our local county boards, city councils and public school districts.

And, it's not because this recent article says so. It's because this phenomenon is nowhere likely more prevalent in Wisconsin than in the cities and villages of Rock County and more specifically, the city of Janesville.

Yahoo Excerpt:
Local activists say they have focused largely on their own communities since Obama's re-election and the ideological drift of some tea party-backed politicians. Many are running for school boards, county commissions and city councils, focusing on issues such as unfunded pension liabilities and sewer system repairs.

"The positions that people are filling at the local levels are more important for the future of the movement and the future of the country," said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, a national umbrella organization. "It's creating a farm team for the future."

Forget thinking that the recent quiet and internal divide among Republicans and their Tea Party faction is a sure sign of their decline. It's not. It's only a momentary and common lull in the election cycle.

But I've got to give the tea party credit. They came out swinging during the 2010 census elections and won while everyone else was sleeping at the wheel. They laid down the necessary support-base groundwork for a GOTV campaign and quietly won local elective offices on attacks and false pretenses, only to re-juggle their priorities once in office.

Sure, Rock County soon restored a couple of our state legislative seats in 2012 and was one of few areas in the state that gave Scott Walker less support in the recall, but I submit for the most part that all three elected boards, Janesville's city council, the county board and Janesville School District are now majority tea party run.

Need some proof? The fact that the Janesville City Council and Rock County Board failed to pass a resolution against Citizens United is one strong piece of evidence. Heck, they won't even entertain the idea. Second, The county board refuses to discuss seeking funds for the Medicare expansion as well. Third, both boards are over-run with tax-shifting low-wage conservative Forward Janesville and Rock County 5.0 tools. Sure, there's a moderate Democrat or Progressive or two among them, but they are mostly token representation of the area's majority who are regularly shamed into becoming part of the establishment woodwork.

I know it, you know it, we know it. The question is: What are we going to do about it?

The problem is quite complex to be honest with you. For one, the "other side" has the messaging support of the local media machine, the Janesville Gazette and their radio affiliates, and that is a huge obstacle to overcome. Any movement to organize a community based, "We the people" political action committee is demonized by the local establishment and press as a power grab or immediately associated with the area's almost non-existent unions. I'm not saying we give up because of that obstacle, but just saying it so everyone is aware of it. Plus, as our local government boards turned red, we found the majority base comprised of the working poor and middle-class have even more budget pressure placed on their household income than during any other time in recent memory.

Yet, all politics are local.

So how could this be happening in a county that leans democratic, is trending bluer and was one of few counties in Wisconsin that gave Scott Walker even less support in the Recall?

For starters, I submit the first suspects to look at is us, that includes me. When it comes to issues and activism, we seem to be participating as individuals everywhere except on the home front. On the home front, we then look for, or depend on some outside help or angel to act here. I seriously don't get it. I write participating "as individuals" because there is no organized effort locally in place to grow a grassroots issue-based organization.

Because of deflated incomes, funding is another major obstacle and one person can't do it, but outside of this blog and a few courageous individuals including the forums held by the Rock County Progressives, you could hear a pin drop when it comes to people-driven community organizing. Let me put it this way, in my book "community action" and "diversity or neighborhood action teams" are not co-opted labels for local government-run agencies. But in Janesville and in most parts of Wisconsin they are.

In addition to us, in Janesville there is a almost un-American-like creepy silence at the mere thought of initiating citizen, issue-based or neighborhood political activism. A fear mostly instilled over the course of the past decade and propagated onto the population by the politically-active conservative Janesville Gazette and their establishment affiliates.

That, along with a bizarre notion many locals seem to hold that Janesville's city government is a progressive institution because of its "progressive" system of an elected at-large council and appointed city manager administration. So, some liberals, moderates and progressives don't want to rock that boat. But folks, a government is only progressive when we elect a majority of progressives to our boards and councils. Period. At the same time, I'm also not trying to imply that Janesville is majority progressive - because it's not.

But the fact is; a district-less "system" of representative government with a "leader" appointed by a minority can only serve one purpose: To wrest power away from the majority.

Of course there are caveats even with district/ward representation and an elected mayor - we would still need the right people to run for office and win so the majority is properly represented. I'm not looking for perfection, but at least we would have district representative government. The way it is now, all seven council members could be living on the same street block. If there's nothing wrong with that, then there's nothing wrong if they all lived in Delavan or out of state either. Again, elective representative office is best when one from many serves a specific pool of constituents, not an ideology or special-interest. That means district/ward representation. That's the big nut in Janesville that must be turned.

The county board is a different problem. There is a huge lack of common knowledge and awareness transmitted to the public on county matters. Nobody knows anything about anything. Except for the folks paying close attention, who also happen to be our local economic development groups, their wealthy backers and their political tools. Those are the folks getting elected to the board for the past 4 years. Again, I suggest that the communication barriers between the public and the county board are by design: To wrest power away from the majority.

I have to admit the local tea party faction has been playing it pretty cool - in fact, few people knew they even existed here until late. But they are here anonymously and relentlessly working social media forums and the Janesville Gazette in the newspaper's twice-a-week "sound off" column. They have all the response-provoking keywords memorized. They use all the tuned phrases and terminology repeatedly to bash and humiliate their opponents. They know how to associate any person or issue with commonly held negative perceptions and stereotypes. They're working in and promoting a zero-sum political and economic environment. This is where all of their gains never come by winning the debate or adding a positive element to the mix, but only by defeating opponents through radical right-wing legislation, smear campaigns or defunding their opponents support base. Their gains come by our subtraction.

The only way to defend the priorities and values of the majority in this dirty captive environment is by creating a people-driven community organization to bring change. If not now ...when?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rock County Progressives Annual Pot Luck Picnic

The Rock County Progressives invite you to their Annual Pot Luck Picnic: Celebrating Progressive Values with ‘Sly,' Rep. Andy Jorgensen and Judith Detert-Moriarty.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> RAIN or SHINE <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Music by a contingent of The Forward Marching Band

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
6-7 PM Potluck Picnic, Brats (natural & veggie) & Natural sodas provided.

7-9 PM Speakers

John 'Sly' Sylvester, Progressive radio voice for Wisconsin Afternoon radio DJ at 93.7 FM

Rep. Andy Jorgensen, 43rd District

Judith Detert-Moriarty with a short update on the Solidarity Singers

Riverside Park, Janesville - North Pavilion
N Washington St (Business Rte 14)
East on Golf Course Rd (park entrance)
Right at Edge Hill Drive
Left at Riverside Park Rd
Follow river north to end of park and it will be on the right. Park on the Left.

* there is more than one pavilion, be sure to go as far north along the river after turning right!

Source with map.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Update: Ryan Town Hall Schedule Posted By Anti-Amnesty Group Is In Error

After receiving an unusual amount of emails since Saturday regarding the Paul Ryan Townhall schedule I reposted from FAIR, this Monday afternoon I decided to call five of the facilities listed to request a confirmation. All five told me they DO NOT have Paul Ryan on their schedule. Two of them said they received previous calls over the past several days and insisted the schedule is a mistake.

As we know of for almost a full week, the Anti-Amnesty group, Federation For Immigration Reform (FAIR), had maintained a schedule of Rep. Paul Ryan's Town Halls listing 15 locations/meetings over the next three days. No other reference to this schedule could be found on the Web.

I also called FAIR and told them of my findings. The person I spoke to said they have correspondence from Ryan's office (PDF) detailing the schedule and are unaware of a problem, but that they will look into it further. Of added consequence for the timing of the bogus schedule is the group spent over $200,000 beginning August 5th in a Wisconsin ad buy taking issue with Ryan’s position on amnesty.


Turns out the schedule of listening sessions mistakenly posted by FAIR was from 2007.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Paul Ryan Opens Townhall Schedule In New Mexico With The Koch Brothers

Note: I have been getting alot of feedback from readers claiming the locations listed at FAIRUS for the Paul Ryan Town Halls are unaware of a scheduled meeting.

Fresh with new marching orders from a secret meeting hosted by the Koch brothers in New Mexico, Rep. Paul Ryan returns to our district to host a series of townhall meetings. The schedule for the Rock County area is as follows:

UPDATE: Ryan Town Hall Schedule Posted Below is in Error

Wednesday, August 14

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
The Gathering Place
715 Campus St.

1:45 – 2:30 p.m.
Village Hall
301 Cross St.

3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
City Hall Council Chambers, Room 417
18 North Jackson St. - Paul Ryan's full townhall schedule for August, 2013

Friday, August 09, 2013

Email Dump Offers Glimpse Into Scott Walker's Underworld

There's a ton of information to absorb from the newly released O'Donnell parking garage email dump, and being a Janesville guy with our own county board basket-case to worry about, I really appreciate those more familiar with Walker's county executive history offering their expert purview on the matter.

But after skimming through the 300+ pages, I found myself micro-managing every email exchange into a maze of head-spins that offered no single tangible finality, but left a ball of yarn comprised of hundreds of loose ends. To me, there were too many unknowns still remaining. This is where I believe those more familiar with MKE county politics have an edge.

With that, I decided to back away from the trees and look over the forest the email dump offered, and laid that outline over my own "image template" of how I perceive Scott Walker's personality and political style. This is how I believe the dump offers not only evidence of an organized cover-up for pure political gain, but also a rare glimpse into a mafia-like command system Walker has since perfected from his college days. A system that would eventually catapult him to the governorship and possibly beyond.

So, here we are presented with a county-paid staff unwilling or unsure to make a move without Walker’s blessing, yet Walker rarely issues orders directly to the county staff who are in fact, eager to carry them out, but instead are passed instructions down through a chain of command by the underbosses of his political campaign apparatus. Of course one of the more noticeable fouls gleaned from the emails was the fact that county "workers" were directed to produce material and develop responses to defend Scott Walker from any political fall-out, instead of retrieving county documentation leading up to the O'Donnell tragedy and presenting it in raw form to all involved parties. In essence, they have what amounts to a political campaign controlling county issues, the county's informational timeline and "fixing" content. That is something nearly everyone agrees on.

I'm also not naive enough to think all of Walker's interactions with his staff are done by email, but I submit that the tone, focus and direction even of the limited quality seen in the emails reflects Walker's offline style as well.

Easily missed by way of default (looking at the trees instead of the forest), the highest level of the organization, in this case Scott Walker, is insulated from law enforcement attention if the lower level members who actually break administrative laws should be investigated. This invisible architecture removes nearly all traceable links back to Walker and provides what the intelligence community calls plausible deniability. Welcome to the John Doe investigation, which by the way then adds the final touch to eliminate any remaining loose ends of Scott Walker's culpability. Walker then becomes Teflon coated.

Look, Scott Walker was the chief executive of an office whose closest associates (not just a lone rogue employee) were busted, and the feds could not string it together and tie their work back to its prime beneficiary? County prosecutors spent nearly three years investigating his office for campaigning on state time and other alleged infractions, so that final outcome was nearly impossible to reach without Walker getting immunity from John Doe protection.

Outside of Walker's obvious media manipulation and politicization of the O'Donnell tragedy, it might not be worth rehashing the nuts and bolts of the O'Donnell investigation until the courts release the full John Doe docs.

I still however intend on posting additional perspective on a few selected email excerpts. But what should become more noticeable to many can be seen by combining the roots of Walker's 20 years of on-the-job-training perfecting his modus operandi of blacklisting, cronyism, malice and revenge style politics with his current cult of personality; the insecure person within the man more resembles the Don of a crime syndicate, destroying anyone seen as a threat to his power, than a cool and capable public servant.


Democurmudgeon - Scott Walker Uses O'Donnell Tragedy

JS Online - New emails show Scott Walker played role in O'Donnell Park news flow

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Video: Grandma and Grandpa Visit The Wisconsin Capitol

I was actually working on splicing together a short Wisconsin tourism video similar to this one created by SpontaneousEventBand. Well done!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Lawmakers, Tourists Threatened With Arrest. Children Leave Capitol Scared Of Police

Yesterday was just another day of mayhem in the State Capitol brought to you by Gov. Scott Walker and the Capitol Police.

The buzz around the Capitol on Tuesday confirms what we first heard about a week ago. Yes, Capitol Police are targeting any and all spectators with arrest for simply watching the Solidarity Sing-Along. Those targeted include legislative staff, legislators, tourists, children and of course journalists and videographers.

It's beginning to appear like Walker's display of power and police action to squelch political dissent has been strong enough to abridge the press first. With an obvious decline in establishment media coverage beginning this past Monday in the Capitol Rotunda, most of the up-close reporting, with few exceptions, is now being done by citizen journalists and Sing-Along participants.

First about the children:

Susan C. writes:
"As I was walking out of the capitol today I overheard two women, shepherding four children, aged 6-10, talking about how "horrible it was in there today." I turned around and engaged them. It turned out they had to leave because one of the little girls was so scared she never wanted to go back in the capitol again. I asked, "Afraid of the singers?" Her mom looked at me like I was crazy. She said, "No, the police."

They were standing up on the second floor and the kids started clapping along with the singers when a Capitol police officer told them to stop or they would be arrested. The kids were terrified and their moms were livid. They wanted to know just what was going on.

This group was from Janesville, I think; teacher, of course. I encouraged them to write up a complaint but they were on their way to get ice cream."

The last thing a parent needs is for the police to imprint their impressionable young children with the "bad cop" stereotype. Good grief!

Then the visitors. One man explaining to the police that he is only watching says, "but, I'm NOT with them! Watch it:

And more visitors:

And yet another, watch here.

Then there is the lawmaker, Rep. Sondy Pope, or according to Capitol Police Chief Erwin rules, a lawbreaker.

Isthmus Excerpt:
State Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Middleton) was threatened with arrest Tuesday for watching the Solidarity Sing Along from the floor above the noontime protest.

Tia Nelson, executive secretary of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, who was standing with Pope, was also threatened with arrest. Nelson said she had stopped to observe the sing-along after leaving a meeting at the Capitol.

"I was told [by a Capitol Police officer] that if I didn't move I was subject to arrest," said Nelson. "They were also telling tourists that."
Pope said she didn't say anything to the Capitol Police officer who threatened her with arrest, but she did leave her spot by the banister. "As a legislator I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I think what [the police] are doing is unconstitutional. How can you arrest me for observing?

"I have a duty to observe what is happening to my constituents who are expressing their discontent," Pope added.
Read more here

A question asked in a comment posted at the Isthmus story:
Why did this never happen in Wisconsin's 165 years of history until Scott Walker became governor?

A huge Thank You to all the courageous Sing-Along participants, observers, citizen journalists and videographers for risking arrest to bring us the latest news from the Capitol.

More From The Netroots:

Common Dreams - Wisconsin Activists Rebuke Gov. Walker's Crackown on Dissent

Blue Cheddar - Wisconsin Senator Erpenbach's Letter to Capitol Police Chief Erwin

Working America - PHOTOS: In Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, Teachers and Others Arrested for Singing

The Devils Advocate Radio - Facebook Collection of recent videos, photos with discussion

Solidarity Sing-Along - First Amendment protection Fund

Monday, August 05, 2013

Permit Singers Show How Easy Daily CCW Permits Could Be

Imagine this: Every time a gun owner wants to strap on their firearm and go outside their private property, whether to run on daily errands or perhaps visit the State Capitol Rotunda with a loaded gun, they’d need to fill out a new permit – every day for every event. You could jot down the reason why you need to carry for each event, even draw out a map with the route and locations you expect to carry in. Umm, it's for our safety.

To make the process easy, we’ll let the background checks stay valid for a two-year period. And, everyone who wants to CC could stop in at the nearest DMV or sheriff’s office and fill out the form …every time. Or, if you give yourself enough time, you could just mail it in. Why not? Because that’s what CCW permit holders think Solidarity Singers should do just to assemble and redress the government under language set forth in our nation’s 1st Amendment.

In the video below, the leader of the "Permit Singers" explains how easy it is to acquire a daily 1st Amendment permit and then juxtaposes that process against his acceptance of the state concealed-carry permit, as if the burden or principles between the two permits are equal. He says, "so, the Second Amendment is just as valid as the First." Watch it:

Under current state law, a 5-year Wisconsin CCW permit holder can walk in the Capitol Rotunda with a loaded gun every day, anytime, for 1,825 days using just one permit. But a person holding a 1 by 2 square foot sign carrying the words from Article I, Section 4 of Wisconsin’s state constitution or singing a few songs of protest for an hour at the Capitol requires a daily permit? No, even worse, a permit per event, or face arrest and a fine. Where’s the constitutional justice? Or the "validity" equality?

I understand the need to require a permit for many functions folks might want to hold under the state capitol dome during business hours. It is my belief that any one person, couple or group assembling NOT for the common good, or NOT for the purpose of redressing grievances with the government SHOULD have a permit. With a few additional reservations, that’s a fairly simple concept. Weddings, parades or gathering for a private cause or making pronouncements of grievance against a constituency of “the people” like the permit singers did among many others should not only require a permit, but may indeed justify close scrutiny for approval. That’s where I stand.

So, if Wisconsin’s Right want to make their case in favor of stronger governmental regulations and permits for our constitutional rights, and promote the ease for the governmental process for acquiring daily permits to exercise those rights and justify that particular argument by pitting the 1st and 2nd Amendments against each other …be my guest. Just don’t forget, the words “well-regulated” are not anywhere in the 1st Amendment.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Congressman: You're Doing Something Wrong If You Need Government Aid

During a House Budget Committee hearing Wednesday, Sister Simone Campbell, a Catholic nun and executive director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby, testified to lawmakers about the effectiveness of government subsidized welfare programs. In a response to her pleas, Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) asked, "What is the church doing wrong that they have to come to the government to get so much help?"

Ribble's ridiculous indictment of Campbell and the Catholic Church for failing to fix poverty on their own came only a few weeks after he gleefully voted "aye" to make devastating cuts to the Food Stamp program for 46.6 million low-income people, half of them children, while maintaining farm bill subsidies for fatcat agri-business collectivists who are expected to reap almost a trillion dollars from taxpayers from the House Farm Bill over the next ten years.

Think Progress Excerpt:
In his opening statement, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) claimed that in America, “If you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead.” Ryan’s comments, combined with Ribble’s, invoked an old conservative stereotype of the lazy, unemployed welfare recipient, living off of government funding instead of working for her family’s well-being. Under their logic, those who receive welfare—or faith-based social justice charities that ask for government assistance—are just not working hard enough.

Think Progress - Congressman Scolds Nun For Asking The Government To Help The Poor

Wonkette - Congresscritter Yells At Nuns About How Poor People Are All Their Fault

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Rock Not Among Wisconsin Counties Seeking Enhanced Medicaid Funds

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Excerpt:
On a media call today (audio here), highlighting a joint letter signed by leaders from 20 counties to the Department of Health Services, county leaders proposed an alternative means for accepting federal Medicaid funds that Gov. Walker and the Legislature initially turned down.

Citing the experience of Cuyahoga County in Ohio, county leaders called for a demonstration waiver to be submitted to the federal government which would allow Wisconsin county governments to access enhanced Medicaid funds rejected by the state.

Rock County is not on the list and it will be very unfortunate for more than 8,000 poverty level Rock County residents who will be kicked off of BadgerCare or denied Medicaid under Scott Walker's latest anti-health care budget proposal. After first reporting on this more than three months ago, I'm a little surprised no one within the targeted group bothered to organize a petition drive to nudge county supervisors on this matter.

And that's the way it is.

DHS Letter here.

Winona Daily News - 20 Wisconsin counties press for Medicaid funds