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GOP Sen. Shultz Calls for Return of Public Intervener, Calls Falk "Smart, Thoughtful"

Uppity Wisconsin - Tue, 2012-03-06 08:04

Hilarious-- the rightwing MacGruber Institute is attacking Schultz for advocating bringing back the Public Intervener to handle environmental issues on behalf of the public and calling Falk "smart, thoughtful."  Here's the clip MacGruber posted: (H/T CogDis)

Democracy in action!

Fighting Bob - Tue, 2012-03-06 00:00
In a last minute sneak attack, GOP legislators introduced a bill that will profoundly alter MATC in Milwaukee starting with a new board that will not reflect the make-up of the City or the student body. The diverse board will be replaced with people who look like James Sensenbrener even though the student body, mostly from Milwaukee. The result will be control of MATC by the communities surrounding Milwaukee rather than the City Of Milwaukee.

One would think that such a drastic change would require lots of discussion. Students, faculty as well as administrators who would feel the impact of the changes oppose the plan introduced by the guy who called the demonstrators "slobs" just a year ago. They started planning a trip to Madison to engage the legislators in debate. They are coming to Madison today to testify. Ah, but the anti-democrats are a clever lot. They will hold the hearing in a secret session. Can you believe it? 324 Northeast in the Capital------------------------

The Mining bill is still on the stove. Rep Vos, and Alberta Darling are trying ever so hard to persuade Dale Schultz to join them in risking Wisconsin's ground and surface water with the 21 mile long four miles wide Lake to contain pollution! Let's call it "Lake Walker".

So far Schultz has been steadfast in opposing the bill that would, among other things, eliminate contested case proceedings, set absurd deadlines for approval, while giving a paltry sum of a million dollars a year to be split between state and local bodies. C'mon Alberta, think about future generations just once.

The mining company pulled a rabbit out of a hard hat by reaching a deal with building trade unions. The union members will demonstrate at the capitol today! The deal? The company will use union labor to build the mine! Whoa Nelly! Save us from our friends.

Big Ohio primary today. No, not the presidential race, but the choice between Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich. The redistricting plan adopted in Ohio created this tough choice. Both are worthy of support.

Technically speaking, this is nuts

Fighting Bob - Tue, 2012-03-06 00:00
Republicans race against the clock to take control of Milwaukee Area Technical College away from the community it serves.

Walker Blames Job Losses on Recall, Says 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' for Next Jobs Report

Uppity Wisconsin - Mon, 2012-03-05 20:12

This morning, Scott Walker sat down with WLUK's Good Day Wisconsin and was asked why Wisconsin has lost jobs for six months in a row.  Walker responded with his usual irrelevent line that 'Wisconsin had lost 150K jobs in the last three years, but because he added jobs in the first six months, we're a lot better of than under Doyle. 

Of course, what Walker is conveniently leaving out is that when Doyle's left office, Wisconsin was on an upward trajectory out of one the worst recesssions in our nation's history and Doyle added  about 20,000 jobs in his last year in office.  

Walker then went on a long riff blaming the recall effort for killing Wisconsin's economy, before the host asked about him what he was expecting in the job's report coming out this Thursday. Walker grimaced and said, "I think we're still going to see some challenges out there."

He then tried to pivot and mentioned Illinois 13 times and its supposedly horrible economy-- even though Illinois experienced more job growth last year the Wisconsin. 

Gov doesn't look happy... watch for yourself:

Quote, unquote

Uppity Wisconsin - Mon, 2012-03-05 12:50
"Pity poor zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan. There he was, being a serious man of ideas and being all policy intellectualish, and dying to lay out a precise plan for two decades of granny-starving, and suddenly, all anybody wanted to talk about [on CBS This Morning] was lady parts and what should be done about them..."  --  Charles Pierce of The Politics Blog.

More at The Paul Ryan Watch

Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) Should Support Metropolitan Milwaukee

Uppity Wisconsin - Mon, 2012-03-05 00:07

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce is backing the wrong horse in the MATC board Senate Bill

It is time for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) to be serious about supporting Metropolitan Milwaukee. The MMAC support of Senate Bill 275 is a case in point. The Republican Party is not a friend of Milwaukee, and the MMAC, if it is serious about working more closely with MATC, should have taken their case to all of the Senators who represent the MATC District, after discussing options with the MATC Board itself.

The Republican's agenda is to further reduce the power of the citizens of the MATC district, especially those pesky minorities and unions. The MMAC's agenda, I would hope, is to work more closely with the MATC board so that the 100 years of successful preparation of a regional workforce continues to be responsive to changing conditions. (Unless MMAC's agenda is also intended to disenfranchise citizens).

Here is why MMAC is supporting the wrong Senators. There are sixteen technical college districts in Wisconsin. Only the Milwaukee Area Technical College Board makeup and selection process are addressed by Senate Bill 275. Here are the Senators who introduced the bill (with their home towns and Technical college districts in their home towns.)

Senator Grothman ( R-West Bent, Moraine Park Technical College)

Senator Cowles (R-Green Bay, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College)

Senator Darling (R-River Hills, Milwaukee Area Technical College)

Senator Galloway (R-Wausau, Northcentral Wisconsin Technical College)

Senator Lasee (R-De Pere, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College)

Senator Lazich(R-New Berlin, Waukesha County Technical College)

Although pieces of Senators Grothman's and Lazich's Senate Districts reach into the Milwaukee Area Technical College District, only Senator Darling actually lives in the district. Contrast the above list with the list of State Senators who actually live within the Milwaukee Area Technical College District

Senator Coggs (D-Milwaukee)

Senator Carpenter (D-Milwaukee)

Senator Darling (R-River Hills)

Senator Larson (D-Milwaukee)

Senator Taylor (D-Milwaukee)

Senator Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa)

This is the group of senators who should be representing MATC in Madison and this is the group that MMAC should be dealing with if they are serious about their commitment to MATC. The Republicans have blind sided MMAC by politicizing this process.

This is just another tragedy as a result of the Walker/Fitzgerald/ALEC administration that continues to damage our State. It is time for those who have traditionally supported Republicans, such as the MMAC, to step back and see what they have created.







What? No tip?

Fighting Bob - Mon, 2012-03-05 00:00
I think I have now seen almost every fundraising scheme ever used--"Our candidate will be 50 next week--please join the celebration by sending $500 or $50, even $5 dollars but for God's sake send something." Or, "My FEC report is due on Friday--we must be able to show strength in fund raising or the media will not take us seriously--send all you can by COB Thursday" Or, "The Mayor of Chicago is coming to Serb Hall"...finish the thought!

Here is the most recent effort to get into your pocket. This came, not to me, but to a friend: "Attached is the first Democratic Party video spot in opposition to Walker. Please view it and pass it along to friends." Here it comes, sit down, head between knees: Leave a tip of 10 percent or 20 percent to pay to air this (awful) spot. A tip? A tip? Whoa Nelly.

I have a tip to offer. Join the Tin Cup Brigade and stop playing the game handed to us by the Supremes in Citizens United.


JS gets worse and worse with the so-called truth-o-meter. They simply cannot find the jugular so they go for the capillaries almost every time. Today they provide a perfect example of why they should either drop it or save it for some big fish. The PolitiFact folks ask this morning if Walker has solved our fiscal woes or if his deep cuts have harmed Wisconsin.

Wow! Do they still write editorials? They throw numbers around like a three year old in the sand box heaving toys, but reach no conclusion. What is missing is qualitative analysis but JS goes for anecdotes. Real journalism would take too much time.

So, it is "quality be damned" Walker is on track--who cares about public education?


Then it is on to another capillary hunt. Walker says we are the "Badger" state because miners in the 1800s lived in caves and abandoned mine shafts like badgers. As we all learned in grade school, it was the living conditions not the number of badgers scurrying around. But Walker, decidedly not the Education Governor, posits we should return to the badger days of lead mining by approving the environmental disaster the proposed open pit iron ore mining is likely to cause! I am not kidding. Read it.

JS doesn't ask what the living conditions were nor do they touch upon the wages of the miners or the premature deaths caused by lead. Nope! just a BS question if people lived like animals or if animals lived like people.

Today the lead mines are closed. Lead is not good for humans or badgers!

Journal-Sentinel to Walker on Jobs: "You're Going the WRONG WAY!"

Uppity Wisconsin - Sun, 2012-03-04 10:08

In a scathing article that simply reported facts, the Journal Sentinel reports that what we in the nerdary have known for a long time:  Walker's job plan is not only not working, its literally the worst in the nation:

Wisconsin has lost more private-sector jobs (an estimated 27,700) than any state in the country since the middle of last year (July through December), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only one other state, Missouri, is close, losing about 19,000 jobs in that stretch.

My favorite line in the article is this one:

But Wisconsin has been moving in the opposite direction, a trend that not only threatens Gov. Scott Walker's campaign promise but could cloud any message of economic renewal as the state heads into an all-but-certain recall election this summer.

"Could"?  Yah think?  The Journal-Sentinel, which is clearly weary of carrying water for Walker, is despartely trying to tell Walker he's going the wrong way, which reminds me of the classice scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles where two drivers on the other side of the interstate are shouting at Steve Martin and John Candy that they are GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!


Fighting Bob - Sun, 2012-03-04 00:00
Representative government is an endangered species.

Many states--most of which are in the western and mountain time zones and are relative newcomers to what is now the United States--have long ago expressed their distrust in the idea of fully empowering the representatives they elect by incorporating the populist idea of initiative and referendum in their constitutions.

Other signs that states have misgivings about the idea are the enactment of term limits for representatives and/or by keeping the pay for them so low that only the super rich or super abstemious could keep body and soul together on their legislative stipends. These measures militate against lifelong and fulltime representation.

Wisconsin has joined the list of doubters by using its loose recall process to threaten its representatives with as little as one-year terms of office if they should happen to vote in ways that ignite a movement large enough to make them run for the office they had already won again, and again, and again.

The vision of representatives threatened or cowed by a mideast kind of street protest expressed by lots of people, with blessedly fewer firearms so far anyway, has been widespread recently.

The Tea Party and Occupy movements come from different places, but have in common a clearly expressed disdain for the people who claim to represent them.

Whatever else they want, and it is not entirely clear what that may be, it is obvious that they want the people they elected to pay attention to them.

If anyone has asked the participants in these leaderless movements who they think their so-called representatives are really representing I am not aware of any cohesive or even coherent response.

It is going to be difficult for representative government to function in a world with all this static and with an electorate whose mood can best be characterized as “throw all the rascals out.”

Governing was never simple. Governing with representatives who are widely viewed as no longer responsive or even legitimate or cannot be trusted with something as basic as funding the public sector through taxes is somewhere between unwieldy and impossible. Proposition 13 in California is the poster child for the “starving the beast” school of fiscal responsibility. TABOR, wherever it shows up, is another. The Wisconsin Legislature is being asked to enact a kind of “We trust you, but not really” constitutional amendment. These come in several flavors. Vanilla says that it takes more than a majority to rule on taxes. Chocolate says that neither a majority or a super majority can rule; that tax increases must be approved by the people in a referendum.

As for me, I’m in favor of representative government. I’m in favor of the people participating by recruiting and electing the best among them to deal fully with all the matters that have devolved to the public sector, including defining what those matters are and paying for them.

If the people they elected don’t do this or do this badly, the people can resort to the classic remedy embodied in the system of representative government. They can elect someone else at the next election.

Awaken Wisconsin

Fighting Bob - Sun, 2012-03-04 00:00
While the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) prattles on about its so-called independent agenda, neither the WSJ nor the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has said much about the incredible fundraising opportunity given to Scott Walker because the recall process is now in slow-motion. (Recall targets are permitted to raise as much money as they want until the recall process morphs into an election.) Walker has received 50 donations (legal bribes) over $10,000 and one for $500,000. Democrats are in the same boat, but they have little money available for politics. Big, bad WEAC is hurting and so are AFSCME and SEIU. Add up all the money "big bad labor" could donate to a Democrat and it would not amount to pocket change for the Kochs.

So what's the delay, GAB? Walker says he will not contest a single signature, so what's left before the process is complete? A cynic might conclude that the powers that be are stalling to dissipate the momentum of the million who signed petitions calling for a new governor, and to give more time for Koch-inspired fundraising.

More than 30,000 canvassers stood in the cold on street corners and bus stops, urging people to sign the recall petitions. And they did! Incredible! More than one million people signed! Never before had that happened, and it might never again, particularly if nothing results from that explosion last February. Get the horse out of the barn and saddled up.

The WSJ seems to take in stride the incredible threat that the Koch boys will take over our state while warning that union support for Falk might doom her candidacy.

Be careful of pollsters.

Who is Charles Franklin? He is now described as "a longtime pollster and Marquette University Law School political scientist." Really? He once, not long ago, was engaged with the Bradley Foundation's Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. Then he became a Marquette law school University pollster. Is he paid to be at Marquette?

Recall that the Bradley Foundation's front WPRI entered into a Faustian deal with the University of Wisconsin Political Science Department. UW was to do the polling but WPRI had total control--when to poll, questions to ask, spinning results. And agreeing that Wisconsin's Open Records would not apply. I am not kidding. After Fighting Bob.com made an open records request that was granted by the UW, the profs at UW Poli Sci changed the deal. Polling would no longer be done on UW time or equipment and a new group would be formed with at least one major player, Poli Sci prof Charles Franklin. Franklin then supposedly became a professor at Marquette Law School and his new poll is now the Marquette Law School poll.

Franklin is a go-to source. First he was on sabbatical; then he was on leave, and today's WSJ describes his role: "Charles Franklin, a long-time pollster and Marquette University Law School political scientist."

Art from the ashes

Fighting Bob - Sun, 2012-03-04 00:00
Despite the efforts of Republican legislators, Art In Protest lives on.

Mary Lazich (R-ALEC) Fails to Represent Senate District 28 Again

Uppity Wisconsin - Sat, 2012-03-03 15:12

Mary Lazich (R-ALEC) Fails Senate District 28 Again.

The recent attack on the board of Milwaukee Area Technical College (SB 275) was co-sponsored by none other than Mary Lazich who ran unopposed to represent ALEC in  Wisconsin State Senate District 28.

There are sixteen technical college districts in Wisconsin and at least three are partially in Senate District 28. The Milwaukee Area Technical College includes the Whitnall, Greendale, Greenfield, and Franklin School Districts which are all in senate district 28. Currently the board chair of each of these districts is on the MATC Board Appointment Committee. This board appointment process was agreed upon by each of the school districts as they formed the MATC District back in the mid 1960's. It was specifically to give the elected members of each of the school boards an input into the governing of the MATC District.

Let me make it clear that when the MATC District was formed each of the school districts had to give up authority which they previously had and transfer it to the new district. In exchange for this transfer of authority they were given input into the appointment of members of the new board. There are currently four members of the MATC Board Appointment Committee who represent the school districts in Senate District 28 which are also within the MATC District.

Senate Bill (SB 275) will do away with that appointment committee and replace it with the County Executives of Ozaukee County, Washington County, Milwaukee County and the Chairman of the Milwaukee County Board.


There are significant numbers of students from Senate District 28 who attend MATC, yet residents of Senate District 28 will have no input (under Lazich's Senate Bill 275) into the makeup of the Board.  While on the other hand, there are few students from Washington County who attend MATC, but Senator Grothman's Senate District will have 50% of the input into the MATC Board under SB 275.

Senate Bill (SB 275) will replace five members of the board (two employers, two employees and one citizen at large) with five members from private for profit businesses or hospitals with at least two being from companies that employee over 100 and none from companies that employee less than 15.

This eliminates small business people, public employers, public servants, and citizens. This lack of multiple stakeholder input flies in the face of 100 years of participatory traditions in Wisconsin.



OLD NEWS: Paul Ryan's tired comments on health care reform make for yet another banner headline in Milwaukee

Uppity Wisconsin - Sat, 2012-03-03 09:18

When Rep. Paul Ryan says the same thing over and over, it's always brand new and hot news, at least in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which today features on the top of its front page Ryan's by now familiar litanies about health care reform.

The Janesville Republican spoke Friday at a Milwaukee Press Club forum and said, in essence, that health care reform is vital to the country's overall economic health. Gee, guys, that's why Democrats and President Obama worked so very hard for a year bending over backwards to get enough votes to enact ... health care reform! Old news!

Of course, Ryan and his GOP colleagues insist that "Obamacare" is unworkable and wrong-headed and should be repealed. Not that they offer any specific alternatives except to claim over and over that solution lies in the private, for-profit health care markets that already have given this nation far and away the most expensive health care on the planet. Laissez faire, in other words.

It takes the Journal Sentinel story 22 paragraphs to get around to mentioning that of the other panelists at the press club forum, one criticized Ryan's proposed changes in Medicare -- changes that would, in the opinion of many critics, not only destroy the program but lead to even larger federal deficits. Now, the newspaper's editors might say that's old news. But Ryan's old news makes the lead paragraph and headline on the top of the fold on page one, while old news from his critics is buried on the jump page. But in lamestream medialand thinking, that's is as it should be, because Ryan's a political superstar, dontcha know.

Ryan did make a little bit of news: He allowed that there might be a compromise in which slowing the rise in health care costs and health insurance costs might involve both government regulation and reliance on the marketplace.

Clue train for the House Budget Committee chair and the Journal Sentinel: That's what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act already does. Indeed, the compromise law, for all its pluses and minuses, depends heavily on the private market side of the equation. But we're to ignore that and pretend otherwise, apparently.

To his credit, the Journal Sentinel reporter did label as seemingly quixotic Ryan's statement that "bipartisan" agreement on reforms are possible. This from the party that almost unanimously refused to engage in such a deal two years ago -- Ryan included. What's changed? This is an election year! Republicans -- well, at least some of them including Ryan -- feel they have to look moderate even when they're trying to ban obvious and long-standing health care featues like female contraception. 

The press club's forum theme was about "how to get health care right," but all Ryan is selling is how to make any further attempt at health care reforms less progressive and more right-wing. And that's old news.

Related Links


Fighting Bob - Sat, 2012-03-03 00:00
Our hopes for peace were rising--no more fighting in Iraq, and Afghanistan is almost done--but before we can uncork the bottle of good stuff Obama races to AIPEC to assure the extreme right-wing Israelis that they can count on him if they decide to bomb Iran! Are you kidding me? This nation would risk blood and treasure because right-wing nuts like Benjamin Netanyahu want us to? How about calling on Israel to give up its nuclear stockpile as a way to get negotiations started? Think about it. Romney, Gingrich and Santorum have promised to bomb Iran if elected. Not to be outdone, Obama says, "I will bomb them before you can." Only Ron Paul says no to another war.

In what can best be described as bar talk, President Obama said, "I don't bluff." Really, Mr. President. "I don't bluff"? How about something like, "I don't participate in pre-emptive strikes against any country." How about saying that Israel damned well better not bomb Iran, and, if they do they are on their own.

I think we have all had just about enough of the GOP war on women. What is going on? Listen to the presidential candidates "explaining" why it violates the First Amendment to provide health care for women. Rush, the intellectual leader of the GOP, calls a strong young woman a "slut" and a "whore" because she wants contraceptives covered in health care. Who speakes up? None of the Republican candidates. Romney: "I would not have used that language"! Whoa Nelly!

Meanwhile, the federal judge who de-humanized women and African Americans with his awful email, has asked for a review of his conduct. Review my eye! This is crazy. Impeach him now! There is no time to waste.

Wisconsin Dems air first anti-Walker TV spot in the effort to defeat Walker and it is, to say the least, disappointing. At a time when Democrats could explain why they offer a much better alternative or go beyond the public union issue at the heart of the uprising, they had a Chicago firm produce a confusing comparison of Walker with Watergate.

Feingold was on Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, and other national programs, but did not have enough time to let the country know that in Wisconsin we plan to defeat the Koch brothers' money with a grassroots campaign. Russ did make it clear last night that he has no interest in running for governor.

The Tin Cup Brigade will lead the way.

Breaking: Video of Walker One Week Before Election Promising to Negotiate With Unions

Uppity Wisconsin - Fri, 2012-03-02 15:59

Footage of an Oshkosh Northwestern's editorial board meeting with Scott Walker, which took place one week before the 2010 election, has just been released.  

In the hour long video, which I have edited down below, Walker has a back-and-fourth with an editorial board member that went like this:

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

Walker: Yep (nodding yes)

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

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

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

Previously, it had been documented that, despite Scott Walker's claims to the contrary, that he had not campaigned on ending collective bargaining.  This, however, goes one step further and documents that Walker had not only not said he wasn't going to end collective bargaining -- he explicitly promised to negotiate-- via collective bargaining-- with public sector unions before the election!

This is the King Kong of all bait and switches.

Is there an end to racism?

Fighting Bob - Fri, 2012-03-02 00:00
Many of us shed tears the night President-elect Obama walked out onto the stage in Grant Park. Finally! Finally, we, as a nation, will put racial hatred in a box and seal it. No more segregation, no more Jim Crow, no more poll taxes or lynching or racial preferences. No more segregated schools. No more all-white juries deciding cases against a black person in the South. The dream of King would become reality. Jesse cried, and one could feel the boulder being lifted from his shoulders and ours.

But then there was Judge Cebull!

Federal Judge Richard Cebull, Montana, sent this through the Internet: "The message describes Obama asking his mother why he is black and she is white and her response, 'Don't ever go there Barack!' From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark." And then there was a photo ID required in order to hold down black voting. We became fully aware of the danger of "driving while black" thanks to Gwen Moore. And then there came a George W. Bush-appointed judge with that shameful "joke."

The judge must have known he crossed the line, but instead of resigning he asked the 9th Circuit to review his conduct. Q. Is this guy trying to become a national hero on the right or is he simply a bigoted oaf? Good lord, have we no shame?

Move from Montana and Judge Cebull back to Milwaukee, one of the most segregated cities in America. Unemployment among black adult males is roughly 50 percent. The city cries out for help from the white suburbs forming a sort of Maginot line around the city. Instead of helping to reduce racial tension, Glenn Grothman, in secret meetings, developed his plan: a gut-kick for Milwaukee. The JS reported that there may be a shake-up of the Milwaukee Area Technical College board. How about calling it what it is: a coup to replace nearly all African-American board members with whites.

Remember when Joseph Welsh asked Joe Mcarthy, "Have you no shame, sir?" I would ask Judge Cebull the same question. And you should ask Grothman to justify his outrageous move.

Milwaukee Area Technical College has more students of color than the rest of the state's colleges and universities combined! Yikes! What the hell is going on, Mr. Grothman? (I am just scratching the surface. More next week.)

Perhaps someone could ask Justice Michael Gableman how he sees it.

Yes, The People's Legislature will be Sunday, March 25. We expct a big crowd and several candiates as we develop the "Tin Cup" Brigade! Stay tuned but get ready for the meeting. It will change gow we deal with campaigns.

As Jerry Seinfeld would say: "NEUMANN....!"

Uppity Wisconsin - Thu, 2012-03-01 14:27

Running for US Senate, Republican businessman Mark Neumann is proving to be Wisconsin's very own Mini-Me version of Newt Gingrich on budget policy. As in, taking credit for stuff he essentially has opposed.

Like Gingrich, the former House speaker who is now running for president, Neumann is currently campaigning on the meme that when he was in the Congress in the 1990s, he "helped balance the federal budget." His campaign says, "Mark wrote [in 1995] a plan to balance the federal budget. Later, his plan would become part of the framework for the 1998 budget that was balanced for the first time in decades."

Uh, yeah, that would be the 1998 balanced budget made possible by the '93 Omnibus act, passed entirely by Democrats, a measure that Gingrich and all other Republicans then in Congress voted against -- not including Neumann, because he wasn't in office yet. He'd come along later to propose solutions fundamentally similar to past and later GOP failures.

Neumann campaign sleight-of-hand aside, what actually happened was this: Bill Clinton took over the presidency when the federal budget was seriously out of whack after 12 years of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush at the helm. In August 1993, Clinton signed into law the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which passed Congress without a single Republican vote. That measure raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.2% of taxpayers, cut taxes on 15 million low-income families and made tax cuts available to 90% of small businesses.

All of this was very similar to more recent initiatives by President Obama, also opposed unilaterally by Republicans. The Clinton-era Omnibus act mandated that the budget be balanced over a number of years and the deficit reduced, also in part through the implementation of spending restraints.

Now, as we all know, Republicans love spending restraints, except when those restraints involve the military, and they'll take credit for any of them, even if, alone, non-military cuts could not balance the budget then or now, and even if they voted against a balanced package of targeted tax hikes on the rich and spending cuts that actually did do the job.

Neumann, as we noted, wasn't in Congress when Clinton narrowly succeeded in achieving his balanced budget plan. Neumann two years later supported something else he thought would balance the budget. Meanwhile, Republicans in general shrilly warned that the Democratic/Clinton balanced budget plan would prove disastrous.

You can look at the attached graph and see for yourself how things actually transpired. Neumann and the other Republicans were wrong. Nevertheless, here come Neumann and Gingrich and other Republicans, still claiming they were instrumental in balancing the budget. Never mind that many of their ideas -- later implemented in the George. W. Bush era and also since promoted anew by the likes of Rep. Paul Ryan, proved fiscally disastrous, raising federal deficits to record highs.

Neumann's latest balancing act is old news. It includes repealing President Obama’s health-care law (which actually will cost tens of billions) and making the Bush tax cuts or equivalent tax cuts permanent.

True, Neumann would support enacting spending cuts totaling $1.36 trillion cumulative over five years, and making $368 billion in so-called tax cut offsets from existing subsidies or tax loopholes, but even Obama supports that level of action on those items and, in any event, the devil is in the details. 

All of which once again goes to show that in the modern conserve-o-verse, just because a progressive policy is proved right after enactment doesn't mean that it actually is right. At least not ideologically or politically.

FURTHER READING: Democurmudgeon has another take on Neumann's budget claims, including one pretty cool chart I've not seen before. Check it out here: http://democurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2012/03/obamas-spending-compared-to-fiscal.html

2011 WISCONSIN RECALL: On mining and other issues, it's the gift that keeps on giving

Uppity Wisconsin - Thu, 2012-03-01 10:35

Dale SchultzThe word in the state Capitol is that the awful, anti-environmental, Republican mining deregulation bill is probably dead for the current legislative session. Assembly Republicans had passed the measure, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald dissolved a committee in his house looking at the bill in an apparent attempt to ram it through more quickly.

But then came one of those benefits of last year's state Senate recall elections that Republicans still pretend were a failure.

Thanks to the recalls, in which Democrats captured two of three GOP seats in play, Republicans now control the Senate by only one member, 17-16. However, one Republican, State Sen. Dale Schultz of Richland Center, is more moderate than many of his party colleagues and has served as a swing vote on a number of issues.

With Democrats locking arms behind him, that means Schultz can be very powerful. While he has voted with his party leadership any number of times, Schutlz has also taken thoughtful, more independent approaches to some major public policy issues, including legislative reapportionment and now the mining bill.

Schultz made it known in his caucus that he had problems with the bill. Critics including environmental groups and native tribes in northwestern Wisconsin say the measure would greatly accelerate and automate the state's review of mining applications, while removing public contested hearings, handcuffing the Department of Natural Resources, and otherwise greasing the skids for mining interests.

Which provisions were punctuated by the GOP leadership's pointed effort to avoid public hearings in the region of the proposed Gogebic Taconite LLC mine -- a miles-long, thousand-foot-deep monstrosity that would be the first project to benefit from the "streamlined" mining approval process.

Schultz and Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) introduced a compromise mining bill which was not as strong in regulatory protections as current law but much stronger than the measure backed by Republican leadership and the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce lobbying group -- a measure apparently drafted in close concert with mining interests.

Schultz met with Senate committee leaders this week and said the result was a stalemate. While he held out hope a compromise could be reached, most observers think the mid-March end to the current session is too near to accomplish any heavy lifting. And so the GOP's main "job creation" (and environment killing) measure of the past two years could expire.

The new makeup of the state Senate is the main reason why Gov. Scott Walker is suddenly making kumbaya noises about finding accord on the mining bill and other issues. Insincere? Undoubtedly. But he clearly thinks he needs to look like a moderate, now, because Democrats and one moderate Republican in the state legislature are forcing the issue.

Schultz's efforts also put the lie to Majority Leader Fitzgerald's claim that Democrats are out to kill jobs and will "do anything" to stop the bill. The significant involvement in the effort to slow this bill by a key, veteran member of his own party means Fitzgerald and Republican campaign strategists are now caught in a lie. If it was only Democrats, why couldn't the supposedly all-powerful GOP enact legislation?

Of course, GOP leadership has long since been busy trying to undermine Schultz because of his independent streak, and there's every chance they'll try to come up with a more conservative, compliant Republican challenger to run against him next election.

Recalls, in other words, have slowed the Wisconsin GOP blitzkrieg of bad, far-right policy initiatives and highlighted just how reckless and unyielding GOP leadership has been -- to the point of disaffecting one of their very own.

The next round of recalls -- all but certain to happen -- are sure to put not only the governor and lieutenant governor offices into play, but also a number of Republican-held state senate seats. Schultz has not been a target fo recall, and that's a good thing. While his views don't always coincide with those of progressives, Schultz is willing to think for himself, for his constituents and for the sake of the state as a whole. And, he has been willing to work with Democrats to find badly needed common ground. There are preciously few models for that in Republican politics these days.

For all those reasons, we should be grateful for and take pains to thank Sen. Schultz. We should continue as well to thank the many, many Wisconsin residents who worked very hard last year to bring the Democrats to near parity in the Senate, slowing the Wisconsin Republican high-speed train wreck.

The job is not over, but already the benefits are manifest.

For some further thoughts on the fate of the mining bill, there's a great post over at The Political Environment which covers all of the GOP's shenanigans in trying to pursue this terrible bill. Visit: http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/2012/02/beware-those-mining-...

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A mine is a wonderful thing to waste

Fighting Bob - Thu, 2012-03-01 00:00
Possibly some great news. The Journal Sentinel reports that Dale Schultz is refusing to be bamboozled into voting for a potential environmental disaster. He explained that when we are dealing with the environment we don't get "do-overs." Imagine that! A thoughtful legislator who looks like a profile in courage this morning.

The JS reporting reminds me of the time the JS turned the paper into a PR machine for state support of Miller Park. The JS hired lobbyists to push for the new stadium and used the "news" pages to act as cheerleaders. The JS doesn't hide their belief that the mine would be good for Wisconsin. Proceed with caution when reading the JS on the proposed mine. Here are the opening lines: "The marquee job-creation bill of the Republican-controlled Legislature appeared all but dead Wednesday..." JS, so quick to use PolitiFact on minutiae, accepts without question that thousands of jobs will be created if the mining regs are all but eliminated.

JS cares more about the promise of jobs to the certainty of the result of a 21-mile long, 4-mile wide, 1,000-feet deep hole that will create a lake of pollution the size of Lake Winnebago!

JS doesn't even look at the damage already done to relations with the Tribes. No serious look at the impact on tourism. Not so much as a glance at the impact on our ground water, air and surface water.

The mining company "estimates" 2,834 total jobs. Not 2,833 or 2,832 jobs! Nope. Exactly 2,834! If you believe that hogwash you probably look under your pillow for a half dollar from the tooth fairy.

The WMC folks and the equipment manufacturers are pushing Schultz hard. Give him a hand. Stop the mine!

Shame in their game

Fighting Bob - Thu, 2012-03-01 00:00
One year ago the question we kept asking was, 'How low can they go?'

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