Friday, August 28, 2009

Mac, Scott Walker is on the line

I wonder if Scott Walker placed a call to Racine County Executive Bill McReynolds while he was campaigning in that area last night? Perhaps he would have asked "Mac why aren't you following my script about the stimulus!?!" As we all know, Walker hates the federal Recovery Act and he is trying to push a fictional narrative about it that doesn't stand to even a cursory examination. But even as he is trying to convince us that the stimulus money isn't helping "real people", his Republican County Executive colleague to the south is talking about how it is saving Racine County taxpayers money.

Yesterday McReynolds issued a press release rightfully bragging about the fact that his county was the first in the state to issue capital improvement bonds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus). With what are known as Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds, the U.S. Government will reimburse Racine County for 45% of the interest that it pays on those bonds. Because of that the county's effective interest rate is lower and it saves Racine County taxpayers money. But I suppose that Walker doesn't consider Racine County taxpayers to be "real people".

So why didn't Bill McReynolds follow the narrow Walker script about the stimulus, I mean he is certainly a Republican team player isn't he? After all he did run as a failed Republican candidate for state senate in 2006, so what gives? Maybe it is because, unlike Walker, he is not running for any other job right now. Racine County has projects that need to get done and the Recovery Act allows them to do it in a way that saves money. Period. It may not fit Walker's talking points about the stimulus but it is reality and it is working all over the state (including in Milwaukee by the way).

Perhaps the more interesting question here is where does Racine County Supervisor and perennial candidate for higher office, Van Wanggaard stand on this issue? He is normally a reliable rubber stamp for Mac on the Racine County Board. Since the board voted on a resolution designating Racine as a "recovery zone" I have to wonder how Van voted. Did he vote to take advantage of the opportunities available for Racine in the Recovery Act or did he side with the Scott Walker's of the world and condemn the stimulus?

If Scott Walker did call Mac last night, I think that he maybe should have placed a call Van as well. After all, they might end up sharing a stage at some point over the next year. Maybe Scott could teach him how to perfect the double talk. While he is calling local Republican officials, perhaps he should just start calling all of them all across the state. I have a funny feeling that Mac is not the only one that knows a good thing when he sees it. Contrary to Walker's talking points about the stimulus, that is exactly what it has been to communities all across the State of Wisconsin, Racine County is only the latest example.

Now read the second installment: "Dan, Scott Walker is on the line"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pep Rally for Privatized Death Panels?

Yesterday the industry-funded Astroturf group Americans for Prosperity held a pep rally supporting the dysfunctional status quo. From all indications there was a lot more of the same hooting, hollering and conspiracy theories. Naturally the headliner at this gathering of the paranoid continued to pimp the widely debunked idea of government "death panels" and other tall tales. Apparently these people don't mind railing against imaginary monsters while ignoring a hard cold (and privatized) reality that has been killing people for years. That being our monopolized system of health care dominated and abused by the private insurance industry.

Death panels and rationed care? Yep, we've already got that, it is just privatized and profit based. Apparently the right wing doesn't mind it, they only care about the imaginary scenario involving a boogie man government bureaucrat. But the scary reality of insurance company bureaucrats getting in between you, your doctor and your health? Not only is it A-OK but they will even hold pep rallies to support them!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is Scott Walker Wisconsin’s Sarah Palin?

I have a hunch that Scott Walker is trying very hard to be Wisconsin's Sarah Palin. I don't mean to be demeaning to Scott but many of his actions support such a statement. Just take a look at some of them:

  1. Hate on the Recovery Act. CHECK!
  2. Make comments about which people are "real" and which are not. CHECK!
  3. Talk a lot and whip up the base but say nothing of real substance. CHECK!
  4. Become the fav of GOP Fairgoers in Kenosha County. CHECK!

Do you see what I mean now? He seems to be following in Sarah Palin's very footsteps! Maybe this is the only kind of (fringe) candidate that appeals to members of the GOP in Wisconsin. Unfortunately for them, it is not something that appeals to the Democrats and Independents that make up the majority of the voting public in Wisconsin.

Since he clearly seems to be following Palin's play book I'm just wondering when we can expect him to quit his current job?

Sudden Love Fest Over “Death Panels”

Remember all of the yelling and screaming at health care forums when Democrats were holding them? Remember how people were holding signs and asking why we wanted to "pull the plug on grandma"? Well, there was none of that at the Paul Ryan health care forum even though he actually voted for the same kind of funding that is behind the "death panel" hysteria.

As we have previously mentioned, Paul Ryan voted for the gigantic Medicare prescription drug bill (wait… isn't that a giant government run program? he a "socialist"?). Within that bill was funding for optional end of life counseling, with almost the same exact language of the current legislation that is being attacked by the right wing today. So why the sudden love fest at the Ryan health care forum when he clearly has supported the expanding of "socialist" govmint run programs and "death panels"? I hate to suggest such a thing, but could this actually mean that recent mob madness was nothing but naked and angry partisanship?

In their obligatory puff piece about Paul Ryan, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dutifully tells us about the blessed event. It slaps the story and an accompanying picture right on the front of the metro section. If they were going to make this front page news, why didn't they force a few very obvious and tough questions about Ryan's various health care positions? They mention that Ryan wants to kill health care reform (I wonder why) and they even mention the total knock-off that he calls a health care plan. What they didn't do is actually press him on his various claims and conflicts on the matter.

If they were really interested in reporting perhaps the MJS could have bothered to approach Ryan with some of the points raised by our friends at Heartland Hollar today.

  • Ryan's plan is just a warmed over version of the same McCain plan that Americans soundly rejected in November.
  • Ryan's plan would tax employer health benefits.

  • It would weaken consumer protections and sharply increase costs for many low-income elderly individuals.

Heartland Hollar didn't just think up these criticisms of the Ryan (old McCain) plan, they actually relied on sound independent analysis of it. Good thing that they could find it somewhere, because the only thing in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today was another full on love fest.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

When Do the Witch Trials Start?

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has officially started his reelection campaign and it is on the backs of the LGBT Community in Wisconsin (as if that is a surprise). Although he is the Attorney General and is supposed to defend the State of Wisconsin in court, he has refused do so now that some of his fellow fringe dwellers are suing the state over very limited domestic partner benefits. Van Hollen is wildly extreme and he has already proven that he has no problems with misusing his office for political/ideological gain. Trying to silence others by filing a frivolous law suit days before an election, chasing out law enforcement professionals for partisan cronies, strategically trying to obstruct certain voters, and now refusing to do his job because he would rather display his own extreme personal beliefs.

Others have already made some very interesting observations on Van Hollen's latest abuse of his office:

One Wisconsin Now points out Van Hollen's hypocrisy after comparing his last campaign statements with his actions today.

Emily at the Lost Albatross observes that Van Hollen apparently has dismissed his own job description.

Illusory Tenant points out that Van Hollen has absolutely no authority as AG to attack a state statute. (btw, doesn't this make him an activist AG?)

Capper adds a few more examples of Van Hollen's questionable actions as AG.

I don't have much to add to these insights except this one question…when can we expect the Van Hollen-led witch trials to start?

A Couple Notes for Readers

1. I have been getting a ton of spam comments lately and have decided to moderate comments do a certain degree. I tend to leave my comments section wide open to most things but increasing spam isn't one of them. Chances are if you comment to a blog within a couple days of it being posted, you will not notice anything different. I'm trying to avoid searching for old posts just to remove recent spam. Again, most of you won't even notice a change unless you post a comment on a blog that is more than a couple days old.

2. I have added a number of blogs to my blogroll today. Some of them are things that I have read for a long time but just missed (somehow) and others are very good new(er) blogs that I enjoy. Please let me know if there is someone that I have missed. Here are the latest additions:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Healthcare Polling, It’s All in the Words

Polls can certainly be a guide to the perceptions that people have about a person or a given subject, but they are certainly not perfect. Everyone knows that a poll can be constructed to support just about any idea, depending on the choice of wording. The recent polls on healthcare reform is absolutely no exception. Just take a look at some of the more popular polls on the subject in the past couple of months. Notice how the questions are asked and how it influences the numbers:

  • The NBC/WSJ Poll (June 2009) asked if it is important for people to have a "choice" between public and private healthcare options and 76 percent said that it was important to have that choice.
  • The NBC/WSJ Poll (August 2009) asked about a government plan that would "compete with private insurers" and just 43 percent supported such a plan.
  • The new Survey USA poll released yesterday used the same language as in the June NBC/WSJ poll and came up with almost the exact same results (actually it was a point higher). It found that 77 percent supported having the choice between a public option and a private health insurance plan.

ht: Daily Kos

Walker Talking Points for Eau Claire Radio

If Scott Walker's early morning tweet was accurate, he should be on Eau Claire radio station WAYY soon. Given his most recent comments, we wanted to be helpful and offer him a list of suggested talking points. We believe that they might be the most accurate way to relay his real positions to the listening public in Eau Claire.

  • Western Dairyland should give back nearly $400,000 of federal stimulus money. It is slated to help people with a job referral program, a fresh start program, foreclosure intervention counseling, job training/placement and case management. It is clear that these will not help "real people" because "real people" don't have these kinds of problems and if they did, they wouldn't want help. So Eau Claire should send back the money!
  • The people whose jobs were saved at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center because of the federal stimulus are not "real people" ("real people" don't work in the "arts") and they should be dismissed and the money given back!
  • Eau Claire should give back their share of the federal stimulus money that is paying for the education needs of homeless kids, because they are not "real people" (heck, those little brats don't even pay taxes!).
  • Eau Claire should halt their efforts at securing $1.8 million of stimulus money for new buses because we all know that "real people" drive SUV's. Additionally those new buses might be driven by public employees and we know that they are not "real people".
  • Most importantly Eau Claire County should give back the nearly $11 million that it has received in federal stimulus money. We all know that county governments don't do anything to actually help "real people".

UPDATE: Heartland Hollar includes the $25 million in tax cuts that has gone to people in Eau Claire as a result of the Recovery Act. I realize that the radio show is over now, but maybe Walker should have advocated repealing those tax cuts if he has such a problem with the federal stimulus. Apparently these are not "real people" anyway.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No “Vindication” for Kapanke in Court

Last week state Senator Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) saw a member of his staff get fined because of his office's questionable mixing of campaign work and state resources. The fine came after a limited review by the Government Accountability Board. Imagine what could have or might still happen if GAB actually takes a more complete look at the Kapanke office shenanigans. Either way, it might have been wise for the senator to withhold his claims of "vindication" until after all of the facts were fully examined.

It seems that as one examines the Kapanke office more, it only opens new areas of concern. One major example of this is Senator Kapanke's apparent obstruction of an open records request filed by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. The DPW filed a lawsuit against the legislator because his office did not properly comply with an open records request. Today that case was heard in a Dane County courtroom and lets just say that Kapanke was not claiming any "vindication" afterwards. In fact I didn't see much in the reporting of today's activities that wasn't embarrassing for Kapanke, his staff and more importantly his constituents.

First, one of his top aides admitted during her testimony that she routinely conducts state business on her private email. This is not cool for a number of reasons, but perhaps more problematic was the fact that she didn't search these emails before denying the DPW open records request. Testimony also showed that some of the information requested was actually destroyed. Although this top Kapanke aide is the records custodian for the office, she stated that she has never had training to serve in that role. After hearing all of the testimony and the arguments, it looks like the judge is now ready to rule against Kapanke over the records dispute. The judge will have to decide the amount that Kapanke must pay for legal fees and whether he will make Kapanke pay any punitive damages for the open records obstruction.

Even Kapanke couldn't claim any level of "vindication" after this day in court.

Where Does the Madness Stop?

ht: Center for American Progress, via the Cartoonist Group

The Twit Off and the Biz Times Poll

As most readers will already know, we have been bringing you our award winning coverage that we have dubbed the Twit Off. The original idea was to track how Mark Neumann and Scott Walker compared in their numbers of followers for the Twitter accounts. We even went so far as to measure the machismo of their Twitter feeds. Now we have a new installment of the Twit Off: the Biz Times Edition.

After Governor Doyle formally announced that he was not going to run for reelection, the folks at the Biz Times ran an online poll asking who people supported for governor. Today Steve Jagler points out the very interesting online activity that played itself out as their poll remained open. Here is his description of the events:

By the afternoon, the groundcampaigns of Walker and Neumann had seized the poll.
Walker opened up an early lead with 50 percent of the votes, followed by Neumann
with 40 percent. Later Tuesday evening, some of Neumann's supporters mounted a
Twitter campaign to rock the poll. They did just that, and Neumann opened a
commanding 56 to 40 lead over Walker. Walker's supporters did not let that surge
go unanswered. By Tuesday evening, Walker had rebounded to take a
50 to 46 lead. However, Neumann's supporters fired the final volley, claiming a 52 to 45 lead as the poll closed Wednesday morning. By the time the poll was done,
more than 5,350 votes had been cast. To give you an idea of the fervor of
that particular poll, consider that most of the daily polls at
attract only a few hundred votes.

In case you are wondering, the most current raw numbers in the Twit Off are as follows:

Mark Neumann: 2,361 Twitter followers

Neumann Campaign Staff: 924 Twitter followers

Scott Walker: 2,649 Twitter followers

So who is in the overall lead? Obviously it depends on how you count them (do you include Neumann's campaign staff?). Even if you consider Walker to be in the lead in raw Twitter numbers, the Biz Times poll shows that he has failed the online action chapter in the Twit Off. I fully agree with Jagler's eventual conclusion, "it is going to be an intense and expensive primary." And that gives us all the more reason to continue bringing you our award winning coverage of the right wing Twit Off.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Scott Walker Tweets Sarah Palin

Who can forget when Sarah Palin was a vice presidential candidate and made her various declarations about "real Americans"? Well, it is pretty clear that Scott Walker hasn't forgotten those comments and he has decided to go even further off the right wing. Yesterday Walker decided to categorize millions of Americans as not being "real people". It all happened, as most things with Walker lately, on his Twitter account. Despite his followers protests he again made it very clear that he despises the idea of the federal stimulus otherwise known as the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In Walker's tweet he made the following comment (emphasis mine):

Just as I said in Jan: The "stimulus" is a big deal 4 govt + not 4 real people

Really? Not for "real people"? Walker's Twitter account is fast becoming the gift that keeps on giving!

Heartland Hollar has already identified the 95 percent of Americans that have already received tax cuts because of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Obviously those 95 percent don't count in Walker's view of the world and they are not "real people". Just take a look at the State of Wisconsin's site that tracks where the stimulus money is going, take a look at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interactive map, or heck try doing a simple Google News search for stories about the people that the stimulus money is helping.

According to Scott Walker, none of these are "real people":

Obviously the list goes on and on and on of the millions of people that have been positively impacted by the Recovery and Reinvestment Act already. Similar to his political soul-mate Sarah Palin, Scott Walker has decided that none of these are "real people". Actually, I think if people will start pressing him on his statements and actions, Scott Walker could start causing himself some very REAL PROBLEMS.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gentlemen, Go to Your Corner!

Now that Governor Doyle has officially decided not to run for governor, it is time for Scott Walker to start letting us know where he stands (specifically) on policy issues. Thus far he has done little more than take pot shots at Governor Doyle without really giving any substance for what he would do if elected. His opponent in the Republican primary, Mark Neumann, has said even less in terms of actual policy. Once again our friends at Heartland Hollar were right on target when they declared, "Let the Answers Begin!"

Absent any real policy statements by Scott Walker, we have had to rely on his tweeting of policy. The obvious problem with merely tweeting policy is that 140 characters doesn't really provide a whole lot of information. So Walker should be forced to answer the questions drawn from his tweets. If he really wants to "phase out tax on retirement income" exactly how does he plan to pay for it and how quick of a "phase out" will it be? Does Walker really feel that voters should approve all new taxes or was that a mistaken late night twit? If he really stands by that policy position (which would be the latest version of the oft-rejected TABOR) then he should have to state his case, get specific and defend it. He can't hide behind his instinctive bashing of Governor Doyle forever, he should have to answer these specific questions and fully explain his positions. Likewise, Mark Neumann needs to start pretending like he really is a candidate and start stating his specific positions as well.

Health Care reform is a major debate right now both in the state and on a national level. What are Scott Walker and Mark Neumann's policy positions in that area? Walker in particular has had great fun bashing Governor Doyle, but on Doyle's watch Wisconsin has the second highest percentage of people covered with health insurance in the country. That is an amazing accomplishment and we didn't always rank that high! Both Walker and Neumann should answer exactly how they plan on making us number one. Do they even think that we should be number one or will Wisconsin move down that list if either of them gets elected?

We know that Scott Walker hates the idea of the federal stimulus money. He has tried to be on every side of that issue but his real position is very clear. We have suggested that as he tours the state that he should be honest with people and explain why their communities don't really need the stimulus money. We already know where he stands on that issue, but where does Neumann stand on stimulus? Does he share the extreme views of his primary opponent or does he think that Fond du Lac should get to keep the return on their federal tax investment?

Gentlemen, I hate to break it to you but Governor Doyle is quite literally not your opponent anymore. You are facing each other in a Republican primary not him. Now please go to your corners and start stating your real positions on actual policy! Given your extreme views, I fully expect both of you to promptly paint yourselves into the same one on the far right. Maybe that is why you are avoiding a real policy discussion in the first place.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sorry Fond du Lac, No Stimulus for You!

Yesterday Scott Walker stopped for a campaign event in Fond du Lac. It was a Republican event, so I was thinking that he might actually state his real opinion on the federal stimulus money that has been pouring into our state in recent months. Despite his cheerleader's desperate defense, Walker has been all over the map on the issue. Unfortunately I couldn't find any reporting on the event in the local Fond du Lac media, so I don't know if he even brought up his opposition to the federal stimulus money.

Absent any report on the event, I will do Walker the favor of proclaiming his position on the issue myself. What an honest Walker might have said yesterday is "Sorry Fond du Lac, you need to give back that terrible stimulus money! You don't need it and I don't like it!" Unfortunately what that means for that community is that they would not get to fund some of the following project examples in their area:

  • Just announced a few days ago: Community development block grants to the tune of $471,305 for the Fond du Lac and nearby counties. It will pay for job training, job development, and help for domestic abuse victims (among other things).
  • Fond du Lac is in line for over $7.5 million for education related funding provided by the federal stimulus.
  • Over $1.6 million for energy efficiency grants, transit funding and more.
  • Fond du Lac County is receiving over $2.4 million for economic development, child support enforcement and in immunization funding. The county is also receiving over $500k for its Farm Service Agency.
  • Over $5 million in area road construction and bridge related projects.

Now I realize that Scott Walker probably didn't level with the folks in Fond du Lac yesterday (even if it was a strictly partisan crowd), but he is simply not a fan of the federal stimulus plan and apparently doesn't approve of these (and other) local projects that have been funded because of it. Sorry Fond du Lac! In a world run by Scott Walker, there would be no stimulus for you!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ryan and Petri Voted for “Death Panels” in 2003!

It will be interesting to see if the right wingers that are running around talking about "death panels" are going to punish Congressmen Paul Ryan and Tom Petri for voting for the very same thing in 2003. That's right folks! Remember the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act that was pushed by George W. Bush and passed with massive support from Congressional Republicans? Well, it turns out that it also had funding for the same kind of end of life counseling that has the right wing whipped into a frenzy today. It even has identical language with the only difference being that the current language expands the funding beyond just people that are already terminally ill. Here is the 2003 language in question:

The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary's need for pain and symptom management, including the individual's need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning.

How did Wisconsin Republicans vote on that 2003 legislation? Both Paul Ryan and Tom Petri joined 205 Republican colleagues in the House to pass that massive bill, "death panels" and all. So exactly when can I expect these right wing conspiracy theorists to shout down Paul Ryan and Tom Petri at one of their forums this month? Are they equally going to cheer Democratic representatives that voted against it? Does this at all change the views of so-called "pro-lifers" regarding George W. Bush who signed this legislation into law? Naturally these questions are rhetorical as I don't expect to ever get an honest answer from the right wing nuts, at least not an intellectually honest one.

Here Comes the Next Astroturf Campaign

The extreme right wing must be fairly happy with their corporate funded Astroturf efforts this year. First special interests helped stir up tea bagging extremists all over the country and now they are sending out crazy mobs to ignore reality and simply shout down any efforts at real health care reform. All yelling and crazy conspiracy theories are welcome and no substance, reality or dialogue is required. The whole point is to push enough right wing extremist buttons and pretend that it is a legitimate grassroots movement. That is why it is appropriately referred to as Astroturf, because it is corporate funded, professionally organized and it is just plain fake.

Now it looks like this same model is going to be picked up and used by the poor neglected billionaires from the big oil industry. An internal memo has reportedly been leaked spelling out the next Astroturf campaign. In the memo, the American Petroleum Institute discusses its plans to help fund and organize what they are calling "Energy Citizen" rallies. The memo spells out how they want to recruit their own employees, retirees, vendors and contractors to attend such staged events. The memo even states that API is willing to bus company people into key Congressional Districts to help organize and attend such rallies. It appears that they have even taken to hiring a management company that has experience in putting together such Astroturf events. According to the memo, these "Energy Citizen" events are to happen at the end of the August recess and should happen just like the corporate funded tea bagging and the current health care nuttiness.

Basically, this leaked memo just gives us a heads up that Big Oil is now going to do a repeat of what we have already seen (twice now). It will just have a particular focus on their own very narrow interests. More yelling, more misinformation, more screaming, more right wing conspiracy theories, and more Astroturf instead of legitimate grassroots. Instead of telling us that "we don't need no stinking health care reform", this time they will tell us that our addiction to oil, pollution and climate change are actually good for us. Once again there will be the same segment of angry and irrational political losers that will dutifully come and rant on whatever crazy idea that hits their email box next. But hey… they are going to give away hot dogs and soda, so who can blame them!

It never ceases to amaze me how special corporate interests can not only get people to vote against their own best interests but then whip them into an irrational frenzy and cause them to embarrass themselves on national television. For these special interests, it's really about money and power and these mobs of idiots are merely useful tools toward those very narrow ends. How long will these people allow themselves to be used against their own best interests? How long will the media ignore the Astroturf nature of this stuff? Unfortunately it looks like we are going to witness another fake "movement" later this month. I just hope that people will start cutting through the B.S. and planned chaos long enough to see what is really happening here.

UPDATE: And now it begins. WMC and a Republican State Rep start laying the groundwork. Crazed "Energy Citizen" rallies to follow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So Where’s that “Vindication” Kapanke?

After being busted for possibly misusing state resources for his campaign, State Senator Dan Kapanke (R-Denial) compounded the problem by obstructing an open records request. Now he faces all manner of complaints filed not only with the Government Accountability Board (GAB), but also the La Crosse County District Attorney and now a Dane County lawsuit. For weeks Kapanke has been crowing about how he would be "vindicated" at the August 10th GAB meeting. That day has come and gone and no such "vindication" has materialized.

As it turns out GAB took no action regarding the Kapanke complaint and it should also be noted that they are not commenting on the situation. This is important because if the matter was resolved in any way, they could absolutely comment on it. The only situation on which they cannot comment is an open and ongoing investigation.

Given the Kapanke office's statements that he is "always available for comment", someone in the media may want to ask him a few questions right about now. The first one could be: "So where is that 'vindication' that you were so confident about a couple weeks ago?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Walker’s Bad Habits Die Hard

The same week that Scott Walker filed his latest campaign finance report, both Capper and I raised serious questions about it. While most of the media were focused on the amount that he raised, we were both looking deeper and finding questions that needed to be answered. I questioned why Walker's general consultant was apparently working for free and further wondered if he was still getting paid by the corporate funded Wisconsin Club for Growth. Capper questioned why Walker didn't report his private plane costs from the day of his "very special announcement" (among other things). It is a new month and now there are new and disturbing questions that are being asked about Walker's campaign finance reporting shenanigans.

This morning WKBT is reporting that the Walker Campaign has "failed to report the required employer information of top donors who gave him over $172,000." They further report that this is a violation that affects one of every six dollars that he received in his first finance period. They also state that each violation can result in a $500 fine which could total over $150,000. WKBT goes on to report:

Walkers widespread reporting negligence includes:

•Two contributions of
$10,000, the
maximum contribution allowed under the law;

contributions between $2,500 and
$1,000 totaling more than $38,000;

•235 contributions between $750 and
$200 totaling more than $71,000.

A review of the most recent report filed by Gov. Jim Doyle reveals no missing employer information for contributors over $100. A similar look at Appleton resident Mark Todd's campaign report shows $5,700 in contributions over $100 do not have the required employer information. Todd raised $6,250 total.

The money quote from the story comes from One Wisconsin Now's Scot Ross who observed, "Looks like Scott Walker treats campaign finance laws the same way he treats Milwaukee's seniors, working people and people with disabilities -- with no respect."

This is certainly not the first series of campaign finance/ethics issues that Scott Walker has been on the wrong sideof during his never ending quest for higher office. He has had many ethics and other complaints filed against him and he owns the dubious distinction of being one of the largest fined candidates on record in Wisconsin. For Walker, it looks like questionable campaign finance habits truly die hard.

Update: The link to this morning's original WKBT report has apparently been removed. Now the only thing running on the site is an AP blurb which states that the Walker Campaign is trying to correct their latest screw up.

By the way, the original WKBT story wasn't exactly clear but it appears that the original analysis was done by our freinds at OWN (see their press release on the subject which is linked above).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Health Care is Being "Rationed" Right Now!

With all of the misinformation and downright nuttiness that is being passed around about health care reform, the White House has introduced a Reality Check website. It is meant to dispel some of the wild myths being promoted by the right wing and their industry puppet masters. The new site is not targeted at the rabid right wing, which is clearly not interested in reality or in real problem solving. It is directed at the silent majority of Americans that know that the status quo is a disaster and something has to be done to change it.

One of the golden oldies of right wing obstruction is treated to a well deserved reality check on the new White House site. Whenever we talk about real health care reform we always hear the chant about "rationed" care. Reality check: We have "rationed" care right now! It comes at the hands of the private health insurance industry that is so beloved by the right wing (and as the above linked story states, sometimes with fatal results).

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Twit Off: Did Neumann Just Take the Lead?

Since last month we have been monitoring the Twit Off between Republican Gubernatorial candidates Scott Walker and Mark Neumann. So far we have learned that Neumann nearly caught up to Walker in only a matter of weeks. Then we analyzed how macho each candidate's Twitter feeds were (sadly lacking). Now we have a couple additional updates in our award winning coverage of the great Twit Off.
  • First Capper alerted us to the fact that Scott Walker may be cheating in a desperate attempt to win the Twit Off.

  • Second, it appears that Neumann has started a second feed exclusively for his campaign staff (I didn't know that he had one yet).

Here are the latest raw numbers in the Twit Off:

Scott Walker: 1,718 followers after 493 Tweets

Mark Neumann: 1,386 followers after 148 Tweets

Neumann Campaign Staff: 496 followers after 31 Tweets

So who is really in the lead? Do we combine both of Neumann's Twitter feeds? Do we penalize Walker for possibly cheating? Either way, it remains much closer than we thought it would at this point. Given Walker's huge head start, I guess that makes him the big loser for now.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Fake Conservative Protests: A History Lesson

Has Walker Finally Earned the Mob’s Approval?

I just posted the new web ad on the angry right wing mob and then I came across a blog posting from what appears to be a card carrying member of it. The blog posting is promoting a new image of the President as a Heath Ledger-style joker and with their favorite word, "socialism" below it.

Then the angry white guy takes us down memory lane recounting his interaction with "up and comer" Scott Walker back in 2000. Apparently the angry white guy spoke with Walker while doing campaign work for the disaster from TX/CT (I haven't seen his birth certificate) George W. Bush. He talks about how he expressed to Walker that the GOP should call Al Gore a "socialist" and how Walker thought that such rhetoric might be considered "over the top". Although this angry white guy was not happy with Walker's comment at the time, he appears to be warming to him as he is promoting Walker's campaign site on his blog. This little shout out for Walker made me wonder if he has finally earned the approval of this kind of angry right wing tea bagging mob?

At least in fundraising appeals, Walker has thrown out plenty of the red meat to them. Who can forget the fundraising letter that he sent out after Republicans were tossed out of office in November? He went as far as comparing the Governor of Wisconsin to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and then threw around the words "thugs" and "mercenaries" for good measure. The Scott Walker from 2000 may consider such rhetoric "over the top" but the current one, that constantly yearns for higher office, will clearly say and do whatever it takes no matter how shameful.

I wonder just how "over the top" the current Scott Walker is willing to get with his rhetoric and will the angry right wing mob reward him for it? Some would make a solid case that he has already locked up the angry right wing mob vote and that it has become his base. The problem for Walker is that this wild eyed crowd makes up a small minority of Wisconsinites and as he continues to cave to mob rule, he will end up isolating himself on the furthest of extremes (see Stimulus).

Calling Out the Angry Right Wing Mob