Archive for wisconsin

Calling Robin Hood -- Nefarious Sheriff of Nottingham Has Just Returned

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Robin Hood

As a boy growing up outside Boston, I had a wild imagination and a lot of heroes. There was cowboy favorite Roy Rogers, future space adventurer, Buck Rogers, but most fun was the legendary outlaw, archer Robin Hood. He and his men (plus Maid Marion) were a band of outlaws who found ways to disrupt the mad rantings and oppressive actions of the evil and despotic Sheriff of Notttingham. Let's face it. Without a really awful foe, there's just not a great hero or heroes. And the meanest of the mean was the Sheriff raiding Sherwood Forest.

Paul RyanPAUL RYAN AKA SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM

With the good king Richard away fighting religious wars on behalf of  his people, the royal brother and evil, calculating Prince John took the reins of England and trampled justice wherever he found it. His pleasure was in sticking it to the masses and stripping them of all of their earthly possessions. And his did it with his man, the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The results were catastrophic for all but the rich. That select few thrived while the Sheriff demonstrated villainy at the highest level. This guy stopped at nothing as he represented the top 1% of the richest royals out there.

So much for folklore. Whether there really was a Robin Hood or a Sheriff of Nottingham is debatable. The same could be said for Superman, Mighty Mouse, even Underdog.

Mighty Mouse vs Underdog

To get a taste of what's going on in real life, we have to look at the real Sheriff of Nottingham who comes to us straight out of the the Sherwood forest of Wisconsin . The kings of the rich, the Koch Brothers, have deigned him with the powers of the purse-strings. The Sheriff is merely a puppet and he's doing their bidding. With the new Ryan budget, the GOP kings have unleashed the Sheriff on the US masses.

To provide more riches and power for the super rich, they want to destroy every and all of the people's programs of survival. They wish to cut Medicare, education funding and loans, Social Security, women's rights, Food assistance, and Health Care. In return the rich get tax relief and the poor get worse living conditions. It must sound fair if you're a royal, but most of us aren't.

There is a Robin Hood who is trying to once again split an arrow down the middle to show up the mad and unconscionable Sheriff Paul Ryan. He's Bernie Sanders. And if you want to see his proclamation of war against the evil doers and their merry band of morons, check this out:

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First evidence that ALEC effort to rebrand as being legislator-driven is “sham”

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ALEC general

ALEC is a topic I write about often. Allow me to refresh your memory:

ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) is an organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions. They literally write legislation for Republican Congress members, who then do whatever they can to pass it. The Nation:

Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.

Now that you have some background, here is some good reporting by Madison.com that should hopefully inspire you to vote (Koch-owned) Republicans out in November and get others to do the same. It involves Wisconsin Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa who "voted on a policy allowing only lawmakers, and not lobbyists, to introduce model bills":

At the same meeting, she sponsored a model bill under the direction of a lobbying group, according to documents released Thursday following an open records lawsuit that cost state taxpayers $15,000 to settle.

Brendan Fischer, a lawyer for the liberal Center for Media and Democracy, which filed the lawsuit, said the more than 100 pages of documents provide the first evidence that an effort by the American Legislative Exchange Council to rebrand itself as being legislator-driven is “just a sham.”

“This demonstrates that ALEC is really a lobbyist-driven organization,” Fischer said. “The lobbyists are the ones calling the shots. The legislators are just following along.”

That's what we in the bloggy biz call a big oopsie. And it's about time someone went very public about how legislators are nothing more than puppets with people like the Koch brothers pulling the strings. I mean other than Harry Reid:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In one email, Christie Herrera, vice president of policy for the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank with a registered lobbyist, wrote to Vukmir and three other legislators from other states thanking them for sponsoring a resolution opposing the expansion of state Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act and coaching them on what to say.

More details here.

Kochtopus

Speaking of legal issues, here are a couple of good Progressive lawyers, should you ever need one: Barry Scheck and Seth Price. We have a complete list of those we like to occasionally recommend at the bottom of our right sidebar.

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WI GOP State Senator not "willing to defend them anymore... There is no massive voter fraud."

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doonesbury jim crow voter suppression single panel WI GOP state senator

tweet voter suppression

Link

Per The Cap Times, WI GOP State Senator Dale Schultz was on on The Devil’s Advocates radio show discussing voter suppression, specifically bills that cut back on early voting. Schultz's own party, the party o' dirty tricks, has been doing whatever it can to make voting harder, because when turnout is high, it usually translates into Democratic wins.

So of course, rather than fighting for victories in the good old fashioned, all-American, patriotic, apple pie honest way, Republicans resort to cheating, because they know they'd never win by approaching elections, you know, fairly.

Democracy, schmemocracy. Endlessly long, discouraging lines rule!

This isn't the first time WI GOP State Senator Dale Schultz has bucked his own party. See: GOP State Sen. Dale Schultz Slams Walker, Calls Union-Busting "Classic Overreach". Now he's expressing his disdain and distaste for the way they're obstructing Wisconsinites from voting.

Schultz:

“I began this session thinking that there was some lack of faith in our voting process and we maybe needed to address it. But I have come to the conclusion that this is far less noble...

"We are not encouraging voting, we are not making voting easier in any way shape or form by these bills...

"I don't see how you can claim to be improving things by actually reducing hours... but maybe this is Never Never Land, who knows?

"It’s just, I think, sad when a political party — my political party — has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics. And again, I’m a guy who understands and appreciates what we should be doing in order to make sure every vote counts, every vote is legitimate. But that fact is, it ought to be abundantly clear to everybody in this state that there is no massive voter fraud.

"The only thing that we do have in this state is we have long lines of people who want to vote. And it seems to me that we should be doing everything we can to make it easier, to help these people get their votes counted. And that we should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future, rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at our voting sites and trying to suppress the vote...

“I am not willing to defend them [his colleagues] anymore. I’m just not and I’m embarrassed by this...

"[Voter suppression is] plain wrong...

"It is all predicated on some belief there is a massive fraud or irregularities, something my colleagues have been hot on the trail of for three years and have failed miserably at demonstrating.”

And that concludes another episode of "Republicans eating their own."

eating their own

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Sunday Links

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links

Sunday Links from The Political Carnival

Rome's Unwritten Epicurean Rules

Bill Maher Calls God a Psychotic Mass Murderer

Pussy Riot Joins the Cause of Wisconsin's Solidarity Singers

Glossary of European Union Jargon

"The Gherkin" Building in London - 30 St. Mary Axe

Russian Lawmaker Wants to Abolish Strange-Sounding Letter from Russian Language (Not an 'Onion' Story)

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WI GOP fast-tracks "dark money" bill in midst of "John Doe" campaign finance violations probe

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citizens united check republic Koch brothers dark money

By now you've probably heard of dark money. I've written about it often. It is when nonprofits spend money on elections by exploiting loopholes in campaign finance disclosure laws. In other words, they don't reveal who their donors are, but use their wealth to influence election outcomes by funding "issue ads." Thank you, Citizens United.

Here's how Rachel Maddow described the practice:

...Millions and millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars, that are intentionally made difficult to trace, funneled to networks that build networks that you can disown when you want to, if you want to.

In that particular segment of her show, she was describing how the Koch brothers operate.

Now we get to see how Republican legislators in Wisconsin operate, or as I like to call it, Dark Money Central.

Via PRWatch.org:

A proposed bill that would keep the public in the dark about the sources of money in Wisconsin elections could also make it easier for dark money groups to coordinate with candidates, an issue of particular salience given the ongoing "John Doe" probe into alleged campaign finance violations in the state. [...]

And most importantly, it could open the door to direct candidate coordination with issue ad groups, potentially undermining what remains of Wisconsin campaign finance law. Prosecutors in the John Doe campaign finance probe are reportedly pursuing a theory of illegal coordination between independent "issue ad" groups and the Walker campaign during the 2011-2012 recalls. [...]

Wisconsin courts have held that if a group is coordinating on issue ads with a candidate, their spending -- regardless of whether it includes express advocacy -- can be considered a contribution, which under Wisconsin law encompasses both cash donations and the giving of anything of value.

If those "contributions" exceeded donation limits and were not reported to the state elections board, the group running coordinated issue ads would be violating election law.

And that is the whole reason for the bill. It would change the "political purpose" definition which would also end up changing the interpretation of "candidate contributions."

Nothing new here, just your typical GOP approach: If you can't get what you want honestly and openly, cheat, lie, defraud, slither, smear, steal, and/or hide.

what's the big secret

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Accused GOP sexual harasser dumped from WI Assembly leadership post

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sexual harassment, sexual harasser

It was but a few days ago that I posted about an alleged sexual harasser in Wisconsin: Top GOP WI lawmaker accused of sexual harassment. #FamilyValues. Again, it's about the hypocrisy. Both parties have had their share of scandals, but Republicans insist on crowing about how moral and upstanding they are, because, see, they're the party of squeaky clean values.

wrongAt the time of that writing, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his people claimed to be oblivious to the situation, doing their best collective Chris Christie/Sgt. Schultz "I know nothing" impressions. That takes talent, you know.

Flash forward a couple of days: Walker is now saying that Kramer the Alleged Groper shouldn't hold any elective office at all if the allegations are true. And Dems are turning it into a campaign issue. They're no fools:

"Allegations of a Republican leader sexually harassing multiple women while raising money for his caucus is yet another reprehensible example of Wisconsin Republicans' callous treatment of women in our state," said a statement from Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Shorewood), the assistant Assembly minority leader.

Additionally, Assembly Republicans have booted the creep from his leadership position. Please note that Kramer is not just any creep, he's a multi-faceted creep. Groper Bill is a single guy who has voted against women's reproductive rights, was in favor of Voter I.D. (read: suppression) laws, and in favor of a bill that "repeals punitive and compensatory damages for workplace discrimination." How outreachy of him.

He's also checked himself into a "treatment facility." I don't know about you, but I take that as a tacit admission of guilt.

Yes, this is who gets elected by Republicans in Wisconsin: A sexual harasser (allegedly) who is anti-women's rights (not allegedly) and anti-civil rights (not allegedly).

walker world

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Top GOP WI lawmaker accused of sexual harassment. #FamilyValues

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sexual harassment

Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer, a Republican, a top lawmaker, a member of the so-called "family values" party, is submerging himself in sexual harassment hot water. Allegedly.

Here we go again, the very people on the right who profess to be fine, upstanding, virtuous citizens reveal themselves to be just the opposite. Yes, both parties have issues like these, but it's the GOP that loves to trumpet their moral superiority. It's the hypocrisy, stupid.

Let's see who this Kramer (apologies to the far more virtuous Seinfeld character) is: He is a single man who has voted against women's reproductive rights, was in favor of Voter I.D. (read: suppression) laws, and in favor of a bill that "repeals punitive and compensatory damages for workplace discrimination."

Oh those wacky, zany Republicans and their outreach efforts.

Apparently, Kramer is also in favor of sexual harassment involving a 33-year-old female lobbyist and at least one other woman. Allegedly.

JSOnline has the story:

Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer may resign from his leadership post as soon as Saturday after being accused of sexually harassing at least two women while in Washington, D.C., for a GOP fundraiser. [...]

Kramer is accused of groping at least one of the women and making lewd and inappropriate remarks to at least two women.

"Part of it is supposedly verbal and some of it is physical," said a source.

Do jerks like this actually believe that this kind of behavior will:

1. Attract women?

2. Be met with any kind of appreciation or approval whatsoever?

3. Not be reported and exposed for the disgusting, unwelcome, abusive conduct that it is?

As expected, Gov. Scott Walker's people said that they were unaware of the creepy allegations about one of their party's top guys. What a coincidence! Chris Christie said he was unaware of what was going on with his BFF's unscrupulous little Bridgegate antics, too. Allegedly.

GOP: The Glaringly Oblivious Party.

gop family values

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