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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
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Journal Archives

Another stall tactic in John Doe investigation of Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Club for Growth

Wow, even the Urinal/Sentinel is calling this straight. They still endorse Walker, but are now open to at least investigating the campaign coordination allegations against him and the Koch's right-wing PACs.


Eric O'Keefe is throwing what amounts to another handful of nails out the car window, hoping to slow down the pursuit of prosecutors who are chasing Wisconsin Club for Growth. That's how we see the letter that O'Keefe, a director of the conservative group, sent last week to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. Chisholm launched the secret John Doe investigation into the organization and its ties to Gov. Scott Walker's campaign. The letter asks Chisholm to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate ... Chisholm.


O'Keefe's claim of misconduct by Chisholm is specious — one more attempt to put a roadblock in front of a legitimate investigation. It is based on a questionable report that Chisholm, a Democrat, had personal animus toward Walker, a Republican, because Chisholm's wife is a public school teacher and union steward who was affected by Walker's decision to push for a law to limit bargaining rights for public workers.


The Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice later reported that the source for that story was Michael Lutz, a criminal defense attorney and former police officer, who last year threatened Chisholm and his family in a voice mail message. And that thin reed is all that O'Keefe seems to have. That contrasts with the care that Chisholm and the others involved with this investigation have demonstrated. The investigation is headed by a prosecutor with ties to Republicans and has been joined by four other prosecutors representing both parties. It is overseen by a state judge. Chisholm should ignore O'Keefe's request — and so should Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen if O'Keefe approaches them.

The investigation should continue so that the public learns what happened during the recall elections of 2011 and 2012. We understand that throwing nails onto the highway in front of an oncoming investigation might seem like a reasonable legal tactic to O'Keefe and his attorney. But that is all that it is — a tactic — and one that has no merit.

Dells of the Eau Claire, Marathon County Park, near Hatley, Wisconsin

On Monday, I visited Dells of the Eau Claire, a 190-acre park in Marathon County, Wisconsin. Here in the north-east part of the state, the Eau Claire River runs through a jumble of hard granite and creates an incredibly scenic area.

Unsurprisingly, traditional Democratic Party policy played a role in creating this park.

"The forces of nature were not the only influence on the park. The forces of economic hardship during the Great Depression led to the formation of the Civilian Conservation Corps under President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs. The CCC boys came to the park to build hiking trails, the shelter building and a bridge across the Eau Claire River. The CCC program was the beginning of the transformation, development and growth of the park." (Source)

The local granite provided materials for everything from the park sign, to shelters, to bridges and the steps down to the falls.

The myriad of waterfalls and rapids keeps the air moist. Mosses find a foothold wherever they can.

So do trees!

The tumbling water courses powerfully through the granite, even in low water conditions.

A "bowl" in the granite, smoothed by centuries of running water.

Some of the trails are primitive ...

While others are an easy stroll ....

All in all, it was just another spectacular day in Wisconsin.

Harper's Index


Percentage of U.S. Republicans who say they could not live on the minimum wage : 69

Who support raising it : 37


Amount the federal government has budgeted this year for IT maintenance : $58,400,000,000

Percentage of federal agencies whose servers have failed in the past twelve months : 94

Value of a cloud-computing contract awarded by the CIA to Amazon last year : $600,000,000

Estimated number of customers whose data was stolen from Amazon subsidiary Zappos in 2012 : 24,000,000


Amount Americans spent last year on UNICEF donations to trick-or-treaters : $3,731,057

On Halloween costumes for their pets : $330,000,000

Many more at the link.

Business Lobby to Women: Get Back in the Kitchen


Is thinking that I should be paid the same as a man if I do the same work a radical, anti-business threat? According to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce--the largest business lobby in the state of Wisconsin--it most certainly is. This “threat” appears to be a compelling reason for businesses across the state to open up their checkbooks and donate to the WMC Issues Mobilization Council, Inc.

Right now Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is soliciting contributions for a fall media campaign to make sure big business “voices are heard.” A graphic intended to promote checkbook-opening fear amongst corporate CEOs includes the ominous silhouettes of protestors and their signs. Among the slogans characterized as a real threat, radical and anti-business, is one that simply says: pay equity now.


In 2009, a state law was enacted to allow women, seniors and others who felt they were the victims of wage discrimination to pursue legal remedies via state courts, instead of more costly and time consuming federal litigation. In 2012, with Gov. Walker and the legislature in Republican hands, this law to hold the bad actors who would discriminate in the workplace based on gender and cost Wisconsin families fair wages accountable was repealed.


Based on their past behavior, it’s not unexpected that the state big business lobby is attacking supporters of a higher minimum wage or workplace rights of employees. But calling the men, women and families of Wisconsin threatening, radical and anti-business because they have the temerity to support measures to help make sure that people, regardless of gender or age, get paid the same for doing the same work is a message that’s not just sad and out-of-date, but downright offensive.

Wisconsin: Mary Burke says she would stop expansion of voucher schools


Madison — Democrat Mary Burke told education officials Friday she would fight as governor to stop the expansion of voucher schools but would leave alone the long-standing program in Milwaukee. "This is something that may sound like a good political sound bite, but it is bad public policy," she said of expanding the voucher program. "I think it is the thing that most threatens a vision of a public school system and an education for students in Wisconsin to be the leaders in our country."

Her comments — which re-emphasize ones she's made earlier in her campaign — drew applause from her audience at a Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators conference at the Concourse Hotel in Madison.


For more than 20 years, the state has run a program in Milwaukee that allows certain students to attend religious schools and other private institutions at taxpayer expense. In recent years, a similar program was created for eastern Racine County and a more limited one for the rest of the state. Burke said she would leave alone the Milwaukee program, but indicated she wanted to halt the statewide voucher program. (She did not mention the Racine County program, but a campaign spokeswoman said she would leave that program in place.)

"For the rest of the state, vouchers have no place and they are a drain on our public school system at a point at which we have very, very limited resources," she said. "So I do not see the research after 20 years in Milwaukee that says this is a way of improving student learning throughout the state.

War on Drugs — a form of racism that prevents African-Americans from full participation in democracy


Author Alexander urges crowd to end mass incarceration

Author and civil rights leader Michelle Alexander on Friday urged citizens of Milwaukee and the nation to begin a new movement for justice and an end to mass incarceration. "It's time to end the madness now," Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow" and a law professor at Ohio State University, told an enthusiastic crowd at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Her book lays out the argument that the mass incarceration of black men in the United States — prompted by the "War on Drugs" — is a form of racism that prevents African-Americans from full participation in democracy and subjects them to "discrimination, exclusion and social contempt." Blatant discrimination based on race has been replaced by a more subtle form: disproportionate imprisonment of black men, which results in lack of "employment, housing, access to education and public benefits," according to her book.

"There is no better, no more important, time for us to be having this conversation than right here, right now," Alexander told about 2,000 spectators at the full-to-capacity event. "Here in Milwaukee, more than anywhere else in the nation, the crisis that we are experiencing can be seen in full relief. There is nowhere in the entire world where the crisis for black men in the criminal justice system is more acute."

Citing statistics from a recent University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study, Alexander said that Wisconsin has the highest black incarceration rate in the nation. "Here in the state of Wisconsin, more than half of young black men from Milwaukee County have been incarcerated in state correctional facilities and then stripped of their civil rights — rights supposedly won during the civil rights movement," she said. "These young men in Milwaukee and nationwide comprise a growing under-caste in America. Not class. Caste. Relegated to a permanent second-class status by law."

Walker thinks Supreme Court justices who got aid from his pals can objectively consider the Doe case


Gov. Scott Walker offered up his usual tasty looking but utterly non-nutritious word salad when asked by a news reporter why the four conservative justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court should not recuse themselves if civil lawsuits aiming to blunt the John Doe investigation are taken up by the court. That, of course, is the John Doe investigation looking into Walker's own campaign activities.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today noted that those four conservative justices, forming the court's majority, all have received heavy financial support from three conservative interest groups. The Doe inquiry has looked at those same three groups for possibly breaching the firewall between candidate campaigns and supposedly independent political action. How, asked the reporter, could “justices” who collectively have benefited from more than a million dollars of “independent” campaign support fairly rule on a case involving that very same kind of support from the same groups on behalf of Walker and Republican state senators in recall elections? Walker, to no one's surprise, replied that he did not think any of the justices needed to recuse themselves from any case involving the Doe inquiry.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted the governor's strange, meandering argument, in which he tried to claim that the potential conflict of interest “cuts both ways,” because (this is so silly, but he said it) the justices who didn't receive such support would be embittered as a result and thus face their own apparent conflict of interest. In fact, he suggested they might have an even bigger conflict! "You can make the argument that they'd be even more bitter about money being spent against them,” Walker said.

Yes, Walker's argument is that any partisan bias by justices who benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars of independent political expenditures is totally if not overly counterbalanced by the mere possibility -- thought up by Walker -- that justices who didn't get the same financial help would be embittered and thus themselves even more biased in the other direction! Wow. Word salad, indeed.

The Progressive: Obama's U.N. Hypocrisy


Pres. Obama’s speech to the U.N. was full of hollow rhetoric and hypocrisy. He said the nations of the world must “renew the purpose of the UN’s founding” and “observe and enforce international norms”—all this just two days after he violated those norms and undermined the purpose of the U.N.’s founding by waging war in Syria without the U.N. Security Council’s authorization.

Then he had the gall to say that Russia believes “might makes right,” while the United States believes in “right makes right.” But what is this new war in Syria but an exercise in might makes right?

And then he whisked under the rug more than a whole century of U.S. interventions in the Third World (Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Brazil, Chile, Iran, Iraq, the Congo, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, just to name a few) when he said the United States believes “that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones, that people should be able to choose their own fate.” History, give me rewrite!

It didn’t seem to trouble him, either, somehow, that as he was hailing “the path of diplomacy and peace,” he was waging war. And he even said, “It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of the world to eradicate war,” as he sent more cruise missiles and bombs into Syria.

More at the link.

The Progressive: Eric Holder's Five Crucial Failures


So Eric Holder is finally resigning as Attorney General. Good riddance! He failed miserably in five crucial areas.

First, he refused to prosecute George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld for breaking the treaty against torture and the statutes that also prohibit it.

Second, he let Wall Street CEOs off the hook for messing around with mortgage derivatives, misleading investors and clients, and crashing our economy.

Third, he prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other Attorney General, and he used the hideous 1917 Sedition Act to go after them. He even pursued James Risen, the terrific New York Times reporter, threatening him with jail.

More at the link.

Fox News: "Black South Carolina man tries to steal white cop's bullets. More at 11."


Just another day when planet Earth is saved from invasion after aliens notice an Open Carry guy in Walmart. You’re welcome, world.

Now that Eric Holder has resigned, Republicans will have nothing more to complain about and we'll enter a new era of cooperation in DC.

Ann Romney: “It’s offensive to say there’s a #WarOnWomen just because the GOP denies women equal pay or control over their bodies.”
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