Friday, October 29, 2010
Based on some of the following Leah Vukmir official emails, I would certainly have to concur with some of those sentiments (of her fellow Republicans). *Note-all emphasis is mine but all inappropriately placed smilie faces belong to Vukmir.
When her fellow legislators were asking for signatures on a letter seeking to save the Chrysler Kenosha plant, Vukmir had an "interesting" response. She forwarded the emailed appeal to her apparent BFF, right wing talker Vicki McKenna. The real disturbing part was not that she forwarded the email but what she said when doing it. She said, and I quote, ":-)". Because we all know how funny it is for plants to close in Wisconsin and for working people to lose jobs. [Vukmir email, 5/5/09]
In one long email thread a few cheap shots at MMSD were taken. One of the people involved in the conversation clearly didn't get the point of the cheap shot so Leah offered an explanation, followed by the ever sensitive comment, "...it's government-run water containment. Ask New Orleans how this works out. :-)" Oh my, I can barely stop laughing! [Vukmir email, 8/14/08]
Apparently Leah Vukmir isn't concerned about the oft-mentioned "brain drain" in Wisconsin. Her office received an email from a progressive organization asking for help in sending progressive youth to Washington DC for a conference. She forwards the email to one of her staffers commenting, "Yes. Lets send them to Washington - but they have to promise that they will never come back." [Vukmir email, 4/16/09]
A person (name was redacted by Vukmir staff) sent an email to Vukmir and right wing loudmouth Mark Belling. The subject of the email read, (annoying caps are not mine) "HOW ABOUT OUR REP LEAH VUKMIR V RUSS (I AM ARROGANT) FEINGOLD-SMARTASS???" Vukmir responds saying, "We can only slay one senator at a time (redacted name). I thought about it, before running for state senate." Not only does the over-the-top rhetoric speak for itself, but I wonder how close Vukmir came to the line here? Should she be talking about her political plans and state senate campaign on her official state email account? [Vukmir email, 1/21/10]
Then there is Vukmir's exchange with epic gay-hater Julaine Appling regarding the bullying legislation that she dutifully voted against. Why? The best that I can tell from the email is because a gay org might have had some input in trying to protect our kids from bullying at school. Oh my god, better vote against it! [Vukmir email, 1/13/10]
Then there is the intelligent email from (name redacted) with the following subject line, "Thanks Cong Pence et al for fighting against fascists under our national dome that used to stand for liberty and the pursuit of the American Dream-All of that has been replaced by numb nuts who want solutions via the Tire Pressure Gauge-Led by Captain Planet Gore and Mrs Save The World From Meanie America-Our Lib Marxist Queen-Pelosi//Tear Down The Medias Iron Curtain and learn from Reagan, Friedmann, Alexander Sol.." Vukmir responds to the nut by apparently trying to reaffirm their thinking saying, "They are fighting the good fight...and I am glad they are!!" [Vukmir email, 8/5/08]
Finally, Vukmir takes a moment to let us know what she really thinks of Social Security. In an email to (name redacted) she comments, "...do you know who the geniuses were that developed the benefit structure for the auto industry? They were the same wiz kids who gave us social security." [Vukmir email, 6/6/09]
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
State records show that Ron Johnson has been using prison labor at the family company since 1998. He has been doing this even as the unemployment rate in Oshkosh has nearly doubled. So maybe WPRI and Sykes should ask Ron Johnson why he is still employing felons, some with violent histories, instead of working families in Oshkosh?
They have not and will not ask Johnson that question but I have a few ideas about the real answer. I suspect that it just might be because Johnson is able to offload health care costs to the state while still having people do the work for him. Again, it seems like this is yet another example of Johnson's double-talk on "small government". It apparently should be small unless it is helping his own bottom line. The AP has reported that the prison labor is saving Ron Johnson about $10,000 per employee per year. Rather than call out the hypocrisy WPRI and Sykes prefer instead to join in with a bit of their own, by remaining suddenly silent.
WPRI, Sykes and the rest of the right-wing brigade continually attack Governor Doyle for the "earned release" program. Usually they go about chronicling the name and criminal record of dozens of people who have (and have not) qualified for the program. So why aren't they raising even a whisper about the inmates — who are still serving time —who are allowed to get out to work in Ron Johnson's factory? While on work release, these people are monitored by the company, but not always by corrections employees. And some of them have serious charges for which they have been found guilty. Consider this listing of offenses by those that work for Johnson:
Where is the right-wing fear mongering about these individuals? Where is their feigned outrage over the program itself? Apparently WPRI and Sykes have no problem with the situation because them being consistent would hurt Ron Johnson. Not only would it hurt his campaign but it would hurt his pocket book. That kind of right-wing hypocrisy is breathtaking, in fact you might even say that it is almost "criminal".
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Regarding the MHC the audit shows that violence has rapidly increased over the last five years. It's not really a surprise when you consider that Scott Walker has had a longtime policy of cutting staff. In 2001 there were 1,053.1 funded position equivalents. In 2008 that number went down to 890.9 and in his 2010 proposed budget he wanted to put it all the way down to 746.7. In addition, in 2008 there were 113 positions at BHD that were fully funded but not filled. Considering all of the tragedies happening on his watch, no wonder Scott Walker is stonewalling nearly everyone that wants to get to the bottom of the problem.
Regarding the widespread problems with building maintenance/inspections, the audit found that "Milwaukee County has taken a haphazard approach to building inspection, with no formal policy and inconsistent follow-up." Again, it is the policy stupid! Consider the following:
You can see this same failed Walker formula in his ($200 million) deferred maintenance approach to parks, and his overtime (218% increase) approach to the House of Corrections. How much mismanagement and short-term policy do we have to see before we collectively come to terms with reality? Here is that reality check: Scott Walker will do and say anything to promote his own political career, even if that means a much higher long-term cost for the rest of us.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
In their endorsement they say that Walker's "experience in running Milwaukee County has given him the right skill set". Who knew that the following qualified as "running" and who knew that it involved any level of "skill" at all? As a public service to future candidates for public office, we would like to provide the apparent criteria necessary to get the endorsement and endless promotion of Journal Communications:
- Bring it to Bankruptcy
- Constant mental health crisis, (deaths, escapes, threatened funding, shotty conditions)
- No economic development/jobs effort (other than for political cronies)
- Transit crisis: less service but ever increasing prices, cutting off more people from jobs
- Buildings literally crumbling
- Hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred parks maintenance
- Being fined/successfully sued for poor performance and then losing control of welfare programs altogether
- Losing control of the House of Correction after a damning federal audit, short staffing, 218% increase in overtime, an escape and a overdose death
- Raiding sales tax revenue which was supposed to be for things like roads, while owning "the worst road in the state of Wisconsin".
- Building phantom budgets based on assumed revenue that has no basis in reality
- Complain about government spending and debt when you actually lead the way in both categories (35% and 85% increases)
- Constant sniping on the sidelines and having a generally nasty attitude toward the constructive efforts of everyone else
- Never actually reforming the thing that got you elected in the first place - pension system, (still massive backdrop payments, workers still don't contribute eight years later)
- Multiple long-time staffers investigated by the District Attorney's office
- Awarding multiple no-bid contracts to politically connected companies that have given to your campaign
- Privatize everything, even if it costs more for less
- Short-term politically motivated approach to everything, no matter the long-term costs to taxpayers
- Break most of your original promises but continuously parrot that you've kept them.
- Whenever possible flip-flop on key issues, and then flip-flop again (be on all side of nearly every issue)
It seems that what Journal Communications really meant to say is that Scott Walker's "experience in ruining Milwaukee County has given him the right skill set to receive our inevitable endorsement".
Friday, October 22, 2010
We all know about Walker's long standing mismanagement of Milwaukee County's Mental Health Complex (MHC), but recent reports show us that this social services crisis is quickly turning into a public safety problem. WISN News did two stories recently on two different families that are unfortunately being forced to deal with this mismanagement directly.
One family consists of the father and aunt of the women that was repeatedly sexually assaulted at the MHC. Twice this year that same victim was allowed to simply walk away from the long-term facility. The first time she was found walking amongst dangerous traffic. Less than a month ago, after again walking away from the facility, she was found forcing her way into a local family's home and getting into a physical altercation with the unsuspecting mother of the house. Now, as WISN reported earlier this week, that mother and her husband are calling on Scott Walker to release a security report on the facility that he has so far tried to hide from the public.
This is only the most recent example of Scott Walker's public safety failures. This past summer I highlighted some of the others including the following:
•Walker's disastrous policies at the Mental Health Complex have also generated problems for local municipalities and their police departments.
•In the 2002 Budget there were 1,125.3 funded position equivalents for the Sheriff. In the 2009 budget that number was down to 952.9 (Walker’s recommended budget would have brought it down to 946.0)
•In the 2002 Budget there were 638.1 funded position equivalents at the House of Correction. In the 2009 budget that number was down to 486.0 (Walker’s recommended budget would have brought it down to 482.0). It should be no surprise that while Walker was in charge the overtime surged to record levels and there were even escapes from the facility.
•Even Walker's political ally Sheriff David Clarke described Walker's budget as a "patchwork" and promised that he would have to release 120 inmates and reduce freeway patrols.
•Then there was Walker's privatization scheme which brought this guy to supervise security at the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
On the stump Walker has attacked the idea of raiding the state's transportation fund to fill budgetary holes. Earlier this week he made the same kinds of comments at the annual meeting of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. As usual with Scott Walker, there is another side (consisting of his actual record) to this story.
Scott Walker's history as Milwaukee County Executive shows that he is most definitely willing to raid transportation funds to fill the endless holes in his budgets. Milwaukee County's sales tax revenue was supposed to only be used to pay debt or to fund capital projects such as road repair and construction. Almost immediately after taking office in 2002, Walker sought to change those county statutes, so he could raid the fund. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/5/02, 5/23/03, 5/7/06]
Scott Walker was successful in raiding it and proceeded to raid it every year since to fill the ever gaping holes in his budgets. Milwaukee County numbers show that his total raiding of those transportation funds totals over $109 million!
So we are supposed to believe Scott Walker's rhetoric about raiding transportation funds even though his record as county executive shows him doing the exact opposite? This Walker hypocrisy is shameless enough but what makes it worse is that it is coming from the guy that owns the "worst road in the State of Wisconsin".
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
During that interview Johnson was rattling off one of his substance-free talking points, but was quickly rattled by what should have been an easy question. They simply asked him to describe his jobs plan for the middle class. He had no answer, and he has no plan. Involuntarily imitating the title of his favorite book, "Johnson Shrugged" off the middle class.
The Green Bay Press Gazette endorsed Russ Feingold saying in part that "Johnson seemed unable to further articulate his plan for job creation — especially for the middle class..." Even with all of his sound-bytes, bumper stickers, and expensive ad buys, that statement should really tell us all that we need to know. Everyday Wisconsinites are not the major priority for an out-of-touch elitist like Ron Johnson. UPDATE: Johnson Shrugged (off homeless vets)
As far as I know right wing stations around here may be misusing public airwaves all the time to directly raise money for specific Republican candidates. God knows they have been misusing the public airwaves for purely partisan ends for many years. This just seemed to cross a new line in my opinion. So was all of that expensive air time with Sykes specifically promoting a fundraiser for a partisan candidate an in-kind contribution? Should it be? Are there any lines here at all?
A few things seem pretty clear to me after hearing the very specific fundraising efforts on WTMJ last week, 1. The right-wing must be a bit concerned about the race in the 5th state senate district. and 2. It appears that WTMJ is not only the major communications arm for the GOP (we already knew that)but now they seem willing to serve as a direct fundraising arm as well.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Let's face it, I could go on like this forever. Sadly Scott Walker has given us an endless flow of material. The bottom line is that, based on his actual record in Milwaukee County, Wisconsinites simply cannot trust Scott Walker to follow through on his fanciful campaign promises. Basing campaign promises on "but this time I really mean it" kind of reasoning is hardly convincing.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
As I commented on Twitter, I would like to try doing my own budget like Scott Walker does it for Milwaukee County. The only thing that I need to know is exactly where do I list my assumed revenue from a big lottery win? On second thought, maybe I shouldn't do that...you know what they say about assuming.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Here is a perfect example of this delusion from the story:
"...other gay Walker supporters believe his personal openness signals that, if elected, he would not pursue the conservative social positions he’s adopted on the stump."
Newsflash: Scott Walker actually has a track record as an elected official right now, and it shows that he will not hesitate to make LGBT families first class taxpayers but second class citizens. Just last year Walker successfully vetoed a measure that sought to simply study the idea of treating the families of all Milwaukee County workers equally. The study would have focused on the actual costs of allowing LGBT families to take advantage of the same benefits as every other family of a county employee (including Walker's). We don't even know what the costs for fairness would have been and Walker clearly didn't want to know. Likewise, Walker also has repeatedly sought to cut funding for things like important programs at the Aids Resource Center of Wisconsin. Those are only two examples of him actually pursuing "the conservative social positions he's adopted on the stump."
The desperate delusions about Walker then transfer into equally delusional attacks against Democrats who have repeatedly stood up for LGBT families. It was the Democratic minority in the legislature that did every single thing that they could to keep the Republican majority from putting the discriminatory constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2006. It was our Democratic governor and a Democratic majority in the legislature that gave LGBT domestic partners basic rights and protections through the creation of the state registry (rights that Scott Walker has specifically promised to take away). It was Democrats that sought to protect LGBT and other youth by including bullying language in a school security bill earlier this year. Republicans like Leah Vukmir followed the lead of the most rabid anti-gay voices and voted against it. I could go on and on to list the endless efforts of Wisconsin Democrats that have been outstanding partners with the LGBT community.
I hate to break it to Log Cabin Republicans, but what you are seeing is Scott Walker being Scott Walker. He is saying what you want to hear while talking to you and saying (not to mention actually doing) the exact opposite while talking to those that rabidly fight equality. Again, with this issue as with so many others, Scott Walker will say and do anything to get elected. In this specific case that appears to include the feeding of "log cabin" delusions that he will at some point change his pattern of anti-LGBT policies.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
These nasty Republican reviews of Vukmir reminded me of a few similar quotes that were presented by Milwaukee Magazine last year. In that piece they named Leah Vukmir as "one of the worst" legislators in Madison. A key reason for this ranking appears to be because of the bad perception of her by fellow Republicans. Here are some of the choice quotes that were offered in the Milwaukee Magazine piece:
“Vukmir should be a star but is an absolute dud,” says another Republican. By withholding her vote and claiming the “more conservative than thou” pose, Vukmir forced her caucus to cut deals with the Democrats and give up more ground. “She just has no strategic sense,” he despairs, adding that Vukmir is despised by most fellow Republicans.
“It’s all about Leah,” grumbles a current Republican staffer. “Given the choice of reaching a compromise or having an issue to campaign on, she will choose the latter.”
If these statements are any indication, it seems that Vukmir carries quite an auroa of right-wing condescension toward those that don't share her extreme views. This sense was verified for me through a couple of emails that Vukmir wrote in 2008. They were about referendums that were being promoted by a large coalition of groups. Those referendums called for legislators to act on health care reform in 2009 and to guarantee that every Wisconsinite received the same quality health care that legislators receive.
Responding to the issue on August 13, 2008, Vukmir emailed Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's RJ Pirlot. In that email she commented:
"It seems that the flowery language of this referenda question can capture even the stalwarts of community taxpayer groups. You may need to do some outreach work."
The very next day she sent an email to right-wing talker (and apparent BFF) Vicki McKenna. In that email she suggested the following plan of action:
"You may want to talk about this issue. Please don't single out Jean or the Tosa Taxpayers Alliance. She is pretty sharp and means well, and that is what concerns me."
I don't know exactly what she means by this comment but it sounds like this normal ally may have expressed some level of support for the referendum. What I do know is that Leah Vukmir's email about her absolutly drips with right-wing condescension.
Vukmir also suggests that McKenna "could blast SBT for not being better journalists..." I assume that she is referring to the (Small?) Business Times who reported on the referendum issue the day before. In the end it doesn't really matter exactly who she was referring to there. What does matter is that it didn't meet Leah Vukmir's extreme standards...but then again who actually does?