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Mon Nov 03, 2014 at 11:27 PM PST

A homemade yard sign says it all

by scribeboy

This summer i bought a new bike, because I really needed to do something about my lack of physical activity. I am self-employed, and too many stressful 60-70 hour weeks sitting at my computer left me burned out, irritable, and carrying a few extra pounds. So I bought this new bike in July, and started pedaling around a few miles every afternoon. At first it was hard; I have back and leg issues, but every day got easier, and soon I was up to seven or eight miles every day. The great scenery helps--I live in a small village right along Lake Michigan, north of Milwaukee.

I'm telling you this because riding a bicycle offers a good opportunity to check out political yard signs. Not that I'm a big fan--this time of year is beautiful in the Midwest, and nothing ruins a leafy view more than a political sign for a candidate you don't like. I don't like Scott Walker, and I don't like his signs. Especially this one: I Stand with Scott Walker.

Standing with Walker--it really sounds quite brave, doesn't it? Standing with Walker against those overpaid teachers, those brown and black and gay people who live in Milwaukee, those students and union members who spoke truth to power during the protests. This sign is everywhere, and it makes me sick.

So imagine my delight when I pedaled past a new homemade sign yesterday. I was so happy to see it that I circled around and snapped a photo--scroll past the orange squiggly to see it.

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Madison's Capitol Times shares this little tidbit from wingnut la-la land:

A conservative news website is reporting that right-wing organizations are the target of a new John Doe probe launched by the Milwaukee County district attorney.

"For the second time in three and a half years, a Democrat District Attorney of Milwaukee County has launched a secret investigation into conservatives, with the apparent goal of bringing down Gov. Scott Walker," writes Wisconsin Reporter, which is part of a national network of conservative investigative news websites run by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a libertarian group based in Virginia.

Targeted organizations include the Republican Governors Association, the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, a group largely financed by Charles and David Koch. WR reports that Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf is investigating these groups for alleged campaign finance law violations, likely in connection with efforts that benefited Gov. Scott Walker or legislative Republicans.

There have been some excellent diaries recently on all the electoral shenanigans going on in Wisconsin, including diaries by Eman and Puddytat. This second John Doe investigation only recently came to light, and leaks have been almost non-existent. But the fact that Wisconsin Reporter is pre-emptively lashing out is interesting to say the least.  

For almost three years, the Wisconsin GOP and its leaders have been drunk with power. Cutting corners, ignoring laws and rolling in dark money are just standard operating procedure. Let's hope it is all about to catch up with them.

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Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 07:51 PM PDT

Charlie Rose ♥ entitlement cuts

by scribeboy

I used to enjoy watching Charlie Rose on PBS, but he has become increasingly insufferable. All the money and access to political and entertainment celebrities has made him a Very Important Person who knows what's best for us. And apparently he has bought the austerity/entitlement reform bullshit, because he simply can't shut up about it.

I don't watch him regularly, but I do catch a few minutes here and there while I am channel surfing. The last three times I've tuned in, I've caught him babbling about the need for entitlement "reform", including raising the Medicare/Social Security age and chained CPI. He seems really eager to see these "reforms" enacted, because apparently all the little people have it too good in this country.

I am tired of affluent talking heads assuming that these "reforms" would be no big deal for working and middle-class citizens. Have any of these blowhards ever worked a hard day of physical labor?

I am lucky enough to work at a comfortable desk myself, but as a young man I did a lot of physical labor. I watched my father's body break down after a hard life of farming. All his brothers were tradesmen who struggled to keep working until they could retire. My aunt was a nurse whose feet ached so badly she could barely get out of bed in the morning, but somehow she did it. Because she didn't have a choice.

All these austerity assholes have absolutely no clue what it means to have to keep working while in pain. None of them can imagine being an elderly person who can barely make ends meet. There is such a disconnect between the media elite and the ordinary citizens of this country. Maybe Charlie should get out of the studio and talk to someone other than hedge fund managers and corporate CEOs. I won't hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

Poll

Which pompous austerity ghoul annoys you the most?

31%35 votes
32%36 votes
36%41 votes

| 112 votes | Vote | Results

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Scott Walker famously ran on creating 250,000 jobs, but things haven't turned out as planned. Anyone who lives here knows that things have been getting worse since his radical, divisive, austerity-on-steroids budget was enacted. But that hasn't stopped Walker from telling us how great things are, including his recent claim that his administration has created "just under 100,000 jobs".

Problem is, that number is as phony as a $4 bill, and even Politifact is noticing. In today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Politifact shines a harsh light on Walker's ridiculous numbers and spanks him with a pants on fire rating:

During the 2012 recall election, Walker touted about 33,000 new jobs.

So, where did a figure of nearly 100,000 come from?

That’s the number Walker cited Dec. 12, 2012 in response to questions at a workforce development event in Pewaukee, when he said he thought he still could reach 250,000.

"We're just under 100,000" jobs,  he said. "It's going to be tough, no doubt about it."

Yes, Scotty, it's going to be tough to spin your way out of this one. You tore our state apart when you shoved your stealth agenda down our throats, and the results are pathetic. And even your own people aren't buying your bullshit:
However, several within his own administration, including his primary spokesman, have said that is the wrong way to measure jobs -- you can’t combine partial and full year data sets. As one aide said: It would be "misrepresenting the truth."

By his administration’s own yardstick, his statement is false. We think it’s ridiculous to -- after private admonitions -- publicly present it this way.

So at least for one day I can stop ragging on Polifact, which generallly annoys me to no end. It appears they did some math and reported the findings without falling back to their false equivalency comfort zone.

As for Walker, he will continue to lie and cook the books. It's what he does best, and it's worked wonderfully for him in the past. Phony numbers and $35 million won him the recall, and there's a lot more cash where that came from. Meanwhile, the State Senate will soon revert to GOP control, and the crazy is about to be unleashed. Through the power of secret gerrymandering comes FitzWalkerstan 2.0: even scarier than the original.

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It looks like Adolf Hitler and Mickey Mouse did not repeatedly sign the Recall Walker petitions. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) just announced that more than 900,000 signatures were found to be valid.

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.

The board is to consider the staff's findings at a Friday meeting in the state Capitol. It is expected to order recall elections that day (link).

Only 30,000 signaturees struck. Only 4,000 duplicates struck. This is an astounding achievement and shows the GOP claims of recall fraud are absolutely ridiculous. Thank you to all the people who worked so hard to pull off this monumental task.

Game on, Governor Bait and Switch!

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Just this morning I was wondering when we would hear something about the ongoing John Doe investigation involving Scott Walker's Reign of Error as Milwaukee County Executive. This afternoon we learned a little more than we knew before. Two people have already received immunity, and it looks like a third may be coming.

Officials have tried to grant immunity to a new person in a secret investigation of current and former aides to Gov. Scott Walker going back to his time as Milwaukee County executive, court records show.
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The two Walker associates already granted immunity are Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie and GOP official Rose Ann Dieck. There has already been a conviction in this matter:

William Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., was sentenced to two years' probation after pleading guilty to two felony violations of state campaign finance laws for exceeding the donation limits and laundering donations to Walker and other Wisconsin politicians.

This investigation was launched almost eighteen months ago and is being run by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office. I was hoping the shit would hit the fan before the 2010 election, but it wasn't to be. Now things seem to be heating up again. Some of the little rats are squealing, and we can only hope that the Big Rat himself is the primary target of this probe. All of these Walker staffers had to be taking direction from someone--could it be our angelic Governor? (The son of a preacher and former Eagle Scout should know better!)

All I want for Christmas is this investigation to blow up in Walker's face. It would be devastating if he were indicted just as the recall campaign started. It truly could be the final nail driven into Walker's political coffin.

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Poor Dan Kapanke--every time he opens his mouth another "WHOOPS!" pops out. The besieged and soon to be recalled Wisconsin State Senator shared his thoughts last week at Cedar Creek Golf Club in Onalaska:

In a secretly recorded talk to La Crosse County Republicans last week, Kapanke said he is hoping that all the public employees in his district "are sleeping" on Election Day.

"We’ve got tons of government workers in my district - tons. From La Crosse to Prairie du Chien and to Veroqua and to Ontario and to Hillsboro, you can go on and on and on. We have to overcome that. We gotta hope that they, kind of, are sleeping on July 12th - or whenever the (election) date is."

Here's a news flash for Kapanke--his district will NOT be napping on recall election day. Every day brings another outrageous power play by Walker and his legislative puppets, and Kapanke just keeps going along with Walker's agenda. And soon he will pay the price for his mindless loyalty.

Now the story does not mention who taped Dan's comments, so perhaps he thought this was off the record. I have noticed that most of these endangered Senators are spending a lot of time raising money at country clubs. It's much more pleasant when union agitators and other hippies can be barred from entering a "public" event!

One more thought from the loose-lipped incumbent:

"If they gain control of the Senate, it might be over for us. Because redistricting will play a role, as you know, and we lose that power."

Precisely, Dan. Your constituents are wide awake and ready to make it happen.

Discuss

More dramatic news out of Wisconsin. Looks like one of Walker's corporate cronies is in serious trouble.

Railroad executive William E. Gardner was charged Monday morning with two felony counts of violating campaign finance laws for reimbursing his employees for making donations in political contests, including to Gov. Scott Walker in last year's governor's race.

Gardner was charged with one count of exceeding the campaign contribution limits, which is $10,000 per person in the gubernatorial contest. The other felony is for giving money to other individuals so they could make campaign contributions.(link)

In addition, the Milwaukee County DA and Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is holding a press conference at 2p.m. to discuss the results of a "significant operation". Solidarity Wisconsin reports it may have something to do with another developing Walker scandal that broke last year.

It is far more likely that the announcement will have to do with the ongoing John Doe investigation into possible illegal campaigning and Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign.

To refresh the reader's memory, there was quite the scandal last May, when Darlene Wink, who was one of Walker's aides as well as an officer in the Milwaukee County Republicans, was caught leaving comments on Journal-Sentinel Online during work hours.  She immediately resigned and has since lawyered up pretty heavily, from what I've been told.

Three months later, another Walker staffer, Tim Russell, had his office literally raided and rifled through by Milwaukee County Sheriff's Deputies. They took his computer, his cell phone and who knows what else.  

By the end of the year, these events led to a formal John Doe investigation being conducted, presumably about these two people and their alleged activities.  I haven't heard much about Wink, but I have heard from a number of reliable sources that Russell could be in real big trouble.

Wisconsin used to have a reputation for clean government--but no more. Every day a new revelation comes to light, and the stench of corruption and vote tampering is getting pretty foul. Seven more months until the gubernatorial recall process can begin. It's going to be a long wait.

Update

The 2pm press conference was about Gardner. There is no breaking news on the John Doe investigation I mentioned. Juicy tidbit fromthe updated Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel link:

Gardner had tried to keep the scheme quiet. He sent an email to Dale Thomas, the chief mechanical officer for railroad cars, telling him to donate $4,900 to Walker once he received the same amount from the railroad.

Thomas agreed, and Gardner wrote him back: "And let's not blab this around." Responded Thomas: "I kinda figure that, my lips are sealed."

Gardner's attorneys told investigators Gardner didn't want it out because he didn't want employees thinking lavish payments were being made at a time when wages were being cut.


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Today the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity launched a "Stand with Scott Walker" bus tour across Wisconsin. I decided to drop by their noon visit at Serb Hall in Milwaukee. I don't think this event was publicized widely, I saw it on the Wisconsin AFL-CIO site yesterday and decided to go. Serb Hall is in a working class neighborhood on Milwaukee's south side.

When I arrived a saw a LOT of protesters marching and yelling on both sides of the street. I arrived a few minutes after the Koch-fueled bus pulled up, so I missed the jeering at the Walker people as they left the bus. The shouting was intense and tons of cars honked as they drove by. This crowd was not a bunch of smelly college slobs--they were mostly tradesmen. I saw signs for Pipefitters, Sheet Metal Workers, and Electricians. This was an agitated group. The police were friendly and everyone was well-behaved but the anger was palpable.

My guess is there were about 300 people there. Local TV news was covering it.

Eventually the Walker people left. There appeared to be only 5 people who boarded the bus, they did so individually. The crowd really started chanting when the bus started up! We started yelling "KILL THE BILL! KILL THE BILL! KOCHSUCKERS!" As the bus pulled away many in the crowd shook their fists at it.

Two of the protesters were well-dressed woman who looked to be in their late 70s. They were chanting "kochsucker!" along with everyone else. Hey Scotty, if little old ladies are willing to scream this in public--you might have a problem.

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Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 07:50 AM PDT

Our Carolina-Lovin' President

by scribeboy

I see The Big O picked North Carolina. When asked if he could find the time to catch a bit of the tournament on TV, he smiled and said, "I think there is a pretty good chance of that."

The man has been working 24/7 to deal with the megashitpile W left behind--he could work around the clock for four years and never repair all the damage. El Presidente, I demand you kick back and watch hoops all day long! God knows you can multitask, peruse some briefing papers while you watch the action.

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Sun Nov 02, 2008 at 11:02 AM PST

Canvassed by a Little Wingnut

by scribeboy

My wife and I ran some errands this morning, then headed home. As we pulled into our driveway, I noticed a woman and a young boy standing at our front door. Turns out they were canvassing for McCain. I was in a good mood and I did not want it ruined by a McPalinator encounter, so I started raking in the background while my wife walked up to them.

The boy told her she should vote for McCain. My wife asked why. The boy responded that Obama has "bad personal habits". My wife asked him what kind of habits, and the boy responded "Because Obama smokes."

Poll

Children who canvas are:

7%16 votes
61%138 votes
31%72 votes

| 226 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 02:32 PM PST

3 Huckabee Wingnuts in Badgerland

by scribeboy

Huckabee campaigned today in my hometown of Waukesha, WI. Waukesha County is deep red--midnight red--a darker shade of cinammon. And the wingnuts are coming out of the woodwork--below the fold are three quotes that might chafe your refined sensibilities.

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