Monday, February 28, 2011

Walker Bill "Unconstitutional," Says Milwaukee's Conservative, Cautious And Independetly-Elected City Attorney

Grant Langley is as legally-conservative as they come - - so for him to opine that Walker's budget-repair-cum-home-rule eradication measure is "unconstitutional" is a heavy and significant legal development.

From Poland, Workers In Solidarity Send Support To Wisconsin Protesters

Reaganites take notice:

Solidarity sends Wisconsin labor support.

More here.

New Walker Budget Targets: Children And The Poor

Not content to disable the middle-class, Scott Walker and his plutocrat allies have fresh political targets to throw onto the chopping block: children and the poor.

Walker is quoted in The Washington Post calling his approach an "adaptation[s]."

Right.

A tweak, like two pinches of salt in a recipe instead of one, or his calling the bomb he dropped on unions in his budget-repair bill "a modest proposal."

No wonder he is closing the Capitol Tuesday where he will announce their fate.

Selling A Political Strategy With Public Resources: Looks Like Walker Is On The Taxpayer's Airplane Again

When gas prices were lower. it cost $4-$7 a mile to operate state aircraft. (See this February, 2010 story..."The state says passenger aircraft cost between $4 and $7 a mile to operate...")

Looks like the second statewide trip in a few days to help Scott Walker fight what he told the fake David Koch in that taped phone call was a political battle with national implications.

Governor Walker
Great stop in Superior.
»
Governor Walker
Good stop in Eau Claire. It is time for Senators to come home. Plenty of affirmation on that belief.
»
»
Governor Walker
Went to La Crosse to make the case for the 14 Senators to come home.

Walker, Aping The Imperious, Appears Completely Hapless

It is hard to know where to begin getting a grip on Scott Walker's lack of same - - from his inability to be honest to his tendency towards braggadocio - - but closing the Capitol on the eve of his budget speech that he now seems bent on delivering to the equivalent of a selected studio audience as police keep the public away suggests a definite tendency towards self-destruction.

While there are obvious qualitative differences between Madison, Cairo and Tripoli, it is Walker's miscalculations and overt behaviors - - quashing freedoms, issuing ultimatums, trying to force protesters to go home, manipulating his appearances - - that give him more in common with foreign dictators than the Wisconsin Governors he is following and the office he and they have held.

Only a profoundly tone-deaf chief executive - - or one on a serious power trip - - would fail to see the self-destructive image he is cementing in the minds of a public that can throw him out of office in ten months.

And some of his legislative allies even faster.

More Outside Agitation: Walker Needs Big Funders For Political Bailout

The Republican Governors Association is said to be putting up ads tomorrow to help prop Walker up.

From Twitter:

  1. RGA going up with TV and radio ads in support of @govwalker tomorrow.5 minutes ago via HootSuite


You will remember that the RGA was a big spender for Walker in the 2010 campaign, with the Koch Brothers donating  $1 million to the group.

Polling Shows Republicans Bailing On Walker

Walker's self-inflicted wounds are deepening, says this poll.

Another poll shows how Walker is hurting himself and his colleagues.

Looking like the wurst governor in our history.

Polling Shows Walker Walking Off The Cliff - - And Taking Allies Along

Sure it's by a Democratic pollster, but his work is respected.

Precision Political Analysis By Door County High School Basketball Coach

No wonder Scott Walker and his conservative allies are so threatened by local educators - - they are great thinkers and communicators.

A Story About Remaining Senatorial Courtesy And Sanity In Madison

I don't know how veteran Republican Senator Mike Ellis is going to vote on the budget repair bill, but you will want to read this anecdote about Ellis - - buried in a Wisconsin State Journal timeline story - -  his big heart, and how with some common sense guidance the State Senate can work in a most non-Walker way - - it it wants.

I'm hoping against hope that Ellis can be the history-making moderating force that helps avoid a history-making Wisconsin catastrophe, presaged by closing the Capitol in advance of Walker-delivered harsh news.

Walker can and will always be Walker: Ellis can be Solomon. 

Ellis came often to Milwaukee when I worked for Mayor John Norquist to check in and talk about politics and government and urban issues.

He and Norquist had served in the legislature together; the Neenah Republican was old school, and had none of the anger and antipathy towards Milwaukee that is widespread in the Republican caucus now.

And which Scott Walker carried to Madison from his days in Milwaukee County government and is about to unleash in his budget against the City of Milwaukee and specifically against MPS to bury it, the teachers union and public education in the state's largest city.

Walker Substituting Confrontation With Leadership, Ruling For Governing

The isolated and power-mad Scott Walker is now speaking in ultimatums.

To Democratic state senators, public employee unions, 175,000 union members and the democratic process - - from good-faith bargaining to truth-telling from the Chief Executive to enabling access to the State Capitol itself - - Walker.s imperious message is:

"You have one day to surrender and kneel before me."

That is not the Wisconsin Idea.

It's Ghadafi-speak.

Marc Levine At UWM Speaks Tax-And-Fairness Truth To Power

The argument is simple: tax people who can afford it and stop the fake crisis and class warfare unleashed by Scott Walker.

After all, Walker and his legislative allies promptly gave away $121 million in tax breaks to businesses, and have promised billions more - - yes, billions - - so enough of the one-sided attack on unions and the demand for sacrifice that is hardly shared.

Closing Wisconsin Capitol A Confrontational Tactic By Walker, Allies

Closing the Wisconsin State Capitol to protesters suggests that the authorities do not want people inside if there is no deal on his so-called budget repair bill, thereby triggering Walker's promised layoffs.

Nor do they want protesters around when Walker introduces his two-year budget bill, which is going to contain his $1 billion cut in public spending, triggering more layoffs at the local level, along with Draconian cuts to Medicaid and other safety-net programs - - but is also likely to contain tax cuts that work most to the advantage of upper-income earners.

Will Walker deliver his budget address Tuesday to a hand-picked audience so TV broadcasts and records a lovefest? Are we reaching this stage of propagandizing?

Closing the Capitol is a bad sign and a bad move.

After weeks of missteps and blunders, this may be Walker's biggest yet.

It is a sign of weakness that insults democracy.

Scott Walker Had The Wurst Week In Wisconsin

The Washington Post has a regular, breezy news feature - - "Who had the worst week in Washington?" - - and if we were to shamelessly rip it off, we'd have to hand our version of the trophy - - perhaps a bratwurst that isn't up to par or cooked all the way through  - - to the political figure in Wisconsin whose own words told us he had no shame:

The union-busting, falsehood-fomenting Gov. Scott Walker.

You could argue that the winner might have been State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, for being unable or unwilling or too scared of the above-mentioned Scott Walker to negotiate a deal with Democratic Senators whose absence in unison has brought important matters in the Senate to a halt.

Or for haplessly dispatching State Troopers in the early morning hours across the state to Democratic Senators' homes, waking up the kids and annoying the neighbors, but finding no errant state senator over-sleeping or in the shower.

But while Fitzgerald was doing a poor imitation of this man - -



- - Walker locked down the prize when he rambled on for twenty-minutes about his clever anti-union strategery the way this guy might have played a Governor-in-training - -

- - when he chatted on the phone with a Buffalo, NY blogger who pretended to be industrialist and Tea Party financier David Koch.

Walker sounded so self-centered and insincere that the state's biggest newspaper, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - which supported Walker in the 2010 campaign - - was officially and editorially creeped out.

Scott Walker, come on down and claim your prize. You had the wurst week in Wisconsin.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Walker Used Cops To Divide Labor: Tonight They Join Madison Capitol Occupation

The oh, so-clever Scott Walker exempted them from benefit and negotiating give-backs - - but add this to the list of Walker's miscalculations: tonight police in large numbers joined the protesters in the Capitol.

Easy To Forget The Milwaukee County Executive Race: Help Elect Chris Abele

Republicans want Scott Walker 2.0 in the form of State Rep. Jeff Stone, (R-Greendale), as the new conservative Milwaukee County Executive.

Stone says he supports Walker's budget repair (sic) bill, and is also the lead sponsor of the anti-student, anti-poor people's voter suppression bill masquerading as a benign law mandating Voter ID's at the polls.

Shame on all of us if Stone keeps Milwaukee County government a cog in the right-wing machine and we fail to elect Chris Abele.

Get involved.

Forcibly Clearing The Madison State Capitol Would Be Another Huge Scott Walker Mistake

It's one thing to ask people to leave so the building can be cleaned.

It's another thing to then bar the doors and close off also the right to peaceably assemble and exercise free speech in a public place.

Walker has blundered deeply by trying to eliminate collective bargaining rights.

Curtailing First Amendment rights would further establish in the public mind the belief that Walker is authoritarian, arbitrary and disrespectful of peoples' rights.

George Lakoff Frames The Wisconsin Issue: Conservatives Are Out To Capture The Country

A must-read from the master of political language and framing strategy.

A sample:

"The real issue is whether conservatives will get what they really want: the ability to turn the country conservative on every issue, legally and permanently. Eliminating the public sector unions could achieve that. Collective bargaining rights are the immediate issue, but they are symbolic of the real issue at stake. That is the story the media should be telling -- and that Democrats everywhere in America should be shouting out loud...
'That is the obvious half of what the Wisconsin protests are about. The other half concerns the rights of ordinary people in a democracy -- rights conservatives want to deny, whether gay rights, women's rights, immigrant rights, retirement rights, or the right to the best health a nation can provide to all its citizens. Unions, through their political contributions, support the basic freedoms, protections, and resources we all require to have a decent life and live in a civilized society. If those unions are destroyed, American life will become unrecognizable in a remarkably short time.

"Democracy as we know it is at stake in the Wisconsin protests, not just budgets and unions"

Scott Walker, Miscalculator-In-Chief

It occurs to me that Walker may have considered his first big move - - killing the Amtrak extension to Madison and returning its federal funding - - as a winning template from which to launch "the bomb," as he described to the fake David Koch prank caller the union-busting plan.

Big difference.

Huge miscalculation.

[Update: And if the State Capitol is forcibly cleared Sunday afternoon, add that to Walker's miscalculations.]

Here's why.

When Walker made his kill-the-train move, there were some small demonstrations, and then he, his opponents and the issues moved on.

Mainly because Walker had said throughout the campaign that he would do what he did. He even had a website put up dedicated to killing the train.

Audacious, yes.

Surprising, no.

But Walker's anti-union plan came out of nowhere, as has been verified by PolitiFact.

Yes, Walker said he wanted economic concessions from unions - - for which he had pressed during his years as Milwaukee County Executive and repeated often in the campaign - - but he never said he'd move to strip away a half-century of bargaining rights, or that he would reject those very economic concessions when they were offered by the unions because he was playing for an end-game that ended collective bargaining.

To crush unions and tilt elections towards Republicans indefinitely, meshing with Citizens United, Voter ID and other purely political "bombs."

His extremist budget-repair (sic) proposal and subsequent rejection of concessions made him look devious, power-mad and downright irrational.

Walker thought because he'd gotten away consequence-free with one big policy change - - killing the train - - so he could get away with "dropping the bomb."

Look what's happened since.

His secret scheming has fueled unprecedented democratic action - - a genuine movement.

Labor is energized, when his goal was to weaken it.

Polls are against him after less than eight weeks in office.

He told the fake Koch caller that he, Walker, was "the first domino" in a national, conservative anti-union offensive.

Now the dominos are falling right back on him.

Meet The Press: First Impressions - - Walker Pushing "No" As Leadership

Tough questions from David Gregory.

From Walker, slick answers, but he continued to say "no" to negotiating with unions, which, in Walker World, constitutes leadership.

I laughed out loud when Walker said how difficult it was for him to consider layoffs - - especially since the Milwaukee County Courthouse security people he did throw out are all getting their jobs back with lost wages because that firing was illegal.

So when he says collective bargain has costs - - his weak response to Gregory's tough questions - - he forgot to mention that there are costs when you blow up collective bargaining, too.

Walker also wants credit for standing up and telling the truth - - whopper right there - - about how other administrations kicked the can down the road, and then managing to say he's going to cut a billion dollars from local governments and school boards.

Walker dodged the questions about whether his proposals require shared sacrifice, and whether his exempting police and firefighter unions was picking winners and loser, or dividing workers.

In fact, by exempting these unions, Walker is picking winners - - the exempted unions all endorsed him for Governor - - and is making financial and program choices for local governments far more difficult because public safety employee costs make up a majority of municipal payroll costs.

Which means the sacrifices elsewhere in local budgets, programs and payroll, will be distorted at Walker's behest.

Talk about Big Government mandating reality at the local level, sending huge problems someone else's way.

Scott Walker Benefits From Union-Won Benefits, Bargaining "Virus"

Scott Walker has been a state or local elected official since 1993.

During which time he's been piling up pension credits and eligible for health insurance (I'm assuming he used these excellent health plans and provided them to his family), because unions and public sector managers before him - - many of whom were Democrats, and all of whom respected collective bargaining - - negotiated them into being.

If the bargaining process that Walker is now trying wipe out is the "virus" he claims, how come he isn't sick as a result.

Scott Walker Limping To Meet The Press, 9:00 A.M. Central Time

Our Gov. gets his big national audition later this morning on NBC's Meet The Press, but look at the baggage he's lugging on to the set:

Multiple findings of "False" by PolitiFact on key elements of his budget-repair/union-busting plan, and taped audio framing his goals as political, not fiscal.

These are all self-inflicted wounds.

He's not up to the task.

Wisconsin State Journal Cartoonist: "I Can No Longer Support The Governor"

Phil Hands draws a line in the sand.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

More Fracking News; Got Your Attention, Didn't I?

The New York Times brings us up-to-date on the noxious underground energy recovery plan that is ruining aquifers and setting drinking water afire.

While Huff Post totes up some of the hidden costs associated with Scott Walker's union fracking bill, too.

While Politico says tens of thousands of Medicaid patients in Wisconsin could get drilled by Walker's bill, too.

Hat tip, M in Oakland...

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President, Also On Meet The Press Sunday

From WTMJ-4's online schedule, here's the lineup of guests for tomorrow's Meet the Press:

Sen. John McCain; Gov. Scott Walker; Gov. Haley Barbour, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Richard Trumka.
Cleaver is an Ohio Congressman. Not sure why there are three Republicans. Maybe Trumka or Cleaver are that strong.

A Republican Legislator In Wisconsin Votes "No" On Walker's Union Assault

Dean Kaufert, (R-Neenah), is the kind of experienced, level-headed Republican who understands that the state's fiscal picture does not justify  Gov. Scott Walker's attack on collective bargaining.

Neenah is in deeply red, Republican territory, yet Kaufert had the courage to vote against a bad bill.

Hats off to a real leader in the Wisconsin Assembly.

Closed State Capitol In Madison Sunday: No Live Shot For Today Show

Coincidence?

Sure, the Today Show has file footage, but a live shot would have been better, could have included an interview with the other side.

And is the other side on the show?

Hat tip, JB.

Lueders On Walker

This is what we call a home run.

Among Scott Walker's Deficits: Moral Authority

Scott Walker's poll numbers are dropping as he accelerates his anti-union worker offensive - - starting with his out-of-the-blue abolition of a half-century of collective bargaining, to declining to accept the very economic concessions he'd also demanded, to threatening layoffs into the thousands if he doesn't get that final, suicidal agreement to permanently end nearly all public worker bargaining.

Public employees already conceded - - "Walker Wins! Walker Wins!" could already have been his headline suitable for framing and fund-raising -  to substantially reduced pay.

In effect, they swallowed hard and conceded against their will, but as realists, to be used as political cannon-fodder exactly the way Walker laid it out to the fake David Koch in that famously taped, prank call - - but still Walker wants everything - - without negotiations, without discussions or even adequate notice - - and here is the rub: after less than two months into his first term as Governor, having arrived there with 52% of the votes cast.

So why the peaceful but powerful uprising that followed Walker's pronouncements in Madison, across the state and throughout the country in solidarity with Wisconsin's public employees?

Why the still-growing crowd at the Capitol?

I think people feel Walker lacks the moral authority to so swiftly, so stealthily, and so profoundly change so many people's lives, careers and family stability.

If he were in his second or third term as Governor, if he had a reputation as a Wise Old Man, if he had a track record of crisis management or big thinking and successful problem-solving, if he had or could display sincerely a shred of compassion - - maybe he could justify what he is proposing and the way he went about it.

And only maybe.

But he does not have that background, and cannot conjure up its impression.

If Walker could communicate moral authority, the protest crowds would have been smaller and the counter-protesters who briefly showed up would have been present, in large numbers, because they had rushed to follow their leader into the struggle.

Walker sways no one.

He doesn't have the experience, language, influence and intuition required.

Yes, he has an all-consuming interest in political strategy and personal advancement, but those traits fail in solving this mess of his own creation because they enabled him to blunder his way in.

And they illuminated the path to the dark side he traveled in his talk with the fake David Koch (transcript here), where he displayed no real leadership while chit-chatting about planting provocateurs in the peaceful crowds and using the situation to push a far-right political and personal agenda.

I think when Walker is on TV, and certainly as he reveals himself on the prank call tape, he comes across as an arrogant whipper-snapper, intoxicated with his newly-gained position and power, but with no ability to consider a different course or display real empathy.

I think people when they see or hear Walker are saying some variation of "Who is this guy?"

The younger, harder-edged conservatives now running the GOP nationally and in Wisconsin have chased off the moderates, so there is no calm and deeper presence around Walker to fill in his internal deficits and pull him back from the brink.

There has been ample talk about de-coupling the economic concessions that Walker demanded and won from the bargaining rights' issue - - the politically-driven "bomb" that Walker said he dropped (again, see the tape transcript), and which now threatens to push everyone off the cliff.

Walker knows how to defuse the situation, but his ambition to be Reagan 2.0 by firing today's equivalent of the air traffic controllers, and to be Rush Limbaugh's new best friend, are probably too great a lure to such a one-dimensional, small-picture guy.

A leader with a stronger core would never have made this crazy proposal in the first place, then undercut himself so deeply in that narcissistic phone call, and stood by it so inflexibility as his powers of moral persuasion were exposed as nil.

That leader would have found a way out that was principally in the public interest, along with his own, too - - but first you'd have to have the willingness and awareness to have a pressing and genuine conversation with yourself before you could possibly hope to communicate effectively with people whom you have injured.

Abusing Power, Wisconsin Traditions, Walker Losing Badly In Court Of Public Opinion

Republicans have majorities in both houses of the Wisconsin legislature, and powerful allies on talk radio, right-wing TV and at well-heeled national advocacy organizations, but Scott Walker's bullying tactics are the reason that polling - - even by Fox News conservative Dick Morris - - shows public opinion moving away.

Most people, it seems, don't like this variation of Big Government taking away rights, playing with law-and-order and acting dictatorial at the very moment that far worse dictatorial actions in faraway places are giving arrogance and exclusion a bad name.

Let's begin with Scott Walker's surprise plan - - the term he used in the infamous taped prank call was "dropping the bomb" - - to virtually end collective bargaining for public employees and bust their unions.

And Walker said he wanted the legislature to approve this historic change within six days, along with the rest of a 144-page bill few had time to read, but that filled with radical ideas including cuts to medical care for the disabled to no-bid sales of state assets.

The anti-union, which he laughingly called "modest," was, in fact, so extreme that Fox News anchor Shep Smith called it "union-busting." Because that was a fact.

This was followed by a long list of additional GOP missteps, but all involving abuse of power.

* Dispatching state police - - in some cases more than once, and early in the morning - - to the homes of Democratic legislators who left the state to slow down the process.

*Walker's continuing refusal to meet with unions, which agreed to all his economic demands, thus not accepting their offer and repeating his intent to end their ability to negotiate ever again on matters of working conditions and other non-economic issues. The unions gave him nearly everything, and he said, "No, I want everything."

* Having the State Assembly at one point begin a vote before Democrats had taken their seats, then cut off public testimony, and finally rush the bill through using parliamentary technicalities to close out representatives' voting before all members had actually been able to vote.

* Chatting up the fake David Koch in the taped prank call and bragging about schemes to lure Senate Democrats back to Madison and trick them into creating a quorum in the Senate chambers so majority Republicans could instantly pass his stalled bill.

* Telling the fake David Koch that he had considered sending trouble-makers into the crowds of protesters - - peaceful assemblages that included families with children - - but decided against it for political reasons.

Now Walker is threatening layoffs, after obliquely threatening to replace unionized corrections officers with National Guard members if there was a job action in the corrections system - - something none of those officers had remotely suggested.

The pattern is clear: Walker and his legislative allies are willing to use power to get what they want without justification, explanation, negotiation, discussion - - all hallmarks of mature leadership in a democracy.

Walker's inner circle may tell him he's winning, but the people are saying otherwise. Most people look to government chief executives for leadership and crisis management, not ideology and crisis creation.

But Walker is off to Washington, DC for an hour on Meet the Press - - so don't expect him to come to his senses after that kind of ego overdosing.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Xoff In The New York Times

Great letter:

To the Editor:

David Brooks repeats a claim that Gov. Scott Walker makes: As governor, he is simply doing what he said he would do.

In fact, while he said repeatedly that he would ask public employees to pay a bigger share of pensions and health care costs, Mr. Walker did not during his long campaign make clear that he would move to take away bargaining rights, essentially putting public employee unions out of business.

Given the strong reaction to his post-election surprise actions, it is not a stretch to say that if he had been honest with the voters about his plans, he might not have been elected.

Bill Christofferson
Milwaukee, Feb. 22, 2011

State Rep. Scott Suder Makes Fool Of Himself On National TV

In a split-screen debate tonight on MSNBC's "The Last Word," Wisconsin State Assembly Majority leader Scott Suder, (R-Abbotsford)), called Gov. Scott Walker's anti-collective bargaining demand a request for "reasonable concessions."

His opponent, State Rep. Cory Mason, (D-Racine), called Walker's bill, and Assembly Republicans' quickie vote of approval this morning, using a technicality, "disgusting."

Suder was echoing Scott Walker's earlier, inaccurate and ignorant talking point when he said his plan was "a reasonable proposal."

Advantage, Mason, who had a better grasp of the issues and the English language, too.

Is Walker Is Using State Airplane For Highly-Political, PR Flights Today?

Remember when Acting Gov. Scott McCallum, (R), another fiscal conservative (sic), got in trouble for using state aircraft for questionable trips?

Some governors - - such as the new Republican Gov. of New Mexico - - are grounding their planes, or selling them, as just happened in Florida at the new Governor's request - -  for financial reasons.

I see Walker has held a news conference at the Kenosha airport, and has a day of trips planned - - including Rhinelander and Green Bay?

Is the stressed state budget - - meaning taxpayers - - covering the cost of these flights?

Skyrocketing fuel prices?

Fuel up the bird!

I'll Reprint One Of My Favorite Scott Walker Stories Below

The posting excerpt - - about how Scott Walker could be in favor of a rail project, but with right-wing media to be served, against it, too, is taken from this posting last year - -

I attended a meeting with [my then-boss, Milwaukee Mayor John] Norquist about commuter rail with all six regional elected leaders from here to the Illinois border.

In attendance were the Mayors of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha, along with their County Executive counterparts.

I remember that the meeting was held in the office of the Racine County Executive, and was very cordial.

All agreed to support the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter train plan - -  the KRM - - but no one, if asked, was allowed to say that Walker was even at the meeting.

This was not surprising.

Through the years that Walker and Norquists' terms overlapped, word was always coming back from people working on transit - - other than buses - - that you always needed to be careful not to paint Walker into a corner as even remotely pro-rail because he'd come out swinging to mollify his talk radio supporters.

So when the Journal Sentinel called to report on the executives' KRM meeting, and the question was about attendance and who supported or said what, and specifically about Walker - - I paused, tried to figure out how to respond, and said you'll have to call Walker's office about that.

Awkward!

My point is that Walker does not see urban or high-speed rail (if he's for Amtrak, well, fine, and who knows where he is on the KRM?) as vehicles to move people through congested areas, or stimulate investment along the corridors or at stations, or to employ people or offer transportation choices here or in a large regional economy...

To Walker and talk radio, trains are political vehicles only...

Watch "Union-Busting" Break On To Fox News

Facts surface, even there.

Editorial About Walker Is On Point, Tardy

The Journal Sentinel says the Walker prank call lifts the veil on Walker administration thinking and doesn't reveal anything attractive.

I'd argue that various sources, including PoltiFact, have been making that case for some time.

Jeff Bentoff On The Walker/Labor/Politics Story - - And Media

Food for thought here.

For The Record, We Have Seen Walker's Bad Staff Work Before

While we're focused on the damaging prank phone call that inexplicably got put through to the boss with laughable ease by Scott Walker's staff, let's not forget that during his campaign, his website used big type to expand the length of a jobs' proposal to 67-pages - - to out do opponent Tom Barrett's honestly-paginated and detailed plan.

Put this together with their post-election screw-ups, and it makes me think that Walker's people are not up to the task.

WTMJ Channel 4 Adds Walker-Only Interview Program Sunday Morning

Sunday is WalkerFest on TMJ4.

After Walker is on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday at 9:00 a.m., Charlie Sykes' half-hour program that follows will be a taped Walker-only interview instead of a pundit/media panel discussion.

Smart move by the station, given Walker's national exposure and Meet the Press appearance.

Object lesson also about how conservative media and politicos feed off each other.

Campaign Walker: Stop Raiding Segregated Funds! Gov. Walker: Start Raiding Segregated Funds

No doubt Walker will say a) this isn't happening, or b) he said he'd do it all during the campaign - - both of which will be false - - but now the Cap Times shows Walker looking to raid a segregated fund after ripping Gov. Jim Doyle for doing the same thing with transportation and patient compensation accounts.

He's been caught in these contradictions before.

I'm still looking for an editorial board or influential donor to take back an endorsement over Walker's brazen pattern of deception and double-talk.

More Outside Agitators Getting Into Wisconsin Fray

Another conservative group no one has ever heard of wants to raise money in Walker's name.

Friends - - Use The Search Box At The Upper Left To Access The Walker Files

Commenters from time to time ask questions that can be answered faster than waiting for me to see the comment.

Yes, there is a lot to read on this blog about Scott Walker going back a couple of years, so use the search box at the upper left on the face page by inserting the word "Walker" and then whatever else is your preference.

And you will probably find what you are looking for, along with links to more information here and there.

Examples: "Walker talking poins," 10 posts.

"Walker false," 22 posts.

"Walker bargaining," 42.

"Walker Milwaukee County," 211.

Walker Will Be On "Meet The Press" This Sunday

Scott Walker, our new Wisconsin Governor and even fresher Oval Officer dreamer, will crash the media big show "Meet The Press" this Sunday.

Personal victory, for sure, but a definite political risk in the "be-careful-what-you-wish-for-category." Them's real journalists across the table, sir. They will let not you prattle on with stump speech remembrances of your Delavan childhood, Boy Scouts and meeting Ronald Reagan.

What I mean is, Jeff Wagner doesn't get a seat there.

Now everyone in America will get to see Walker do his patented dance around a question - - pretend to be listening while the talking-point retrieval disk is whirring, then tossing out a little word salad, and, if necessary, making stuff up.

There will be some serious briefings and mock panels run for him all day Saturday at the Mansion, guaranteed.

After all, there is a lot to counter: Google "Scott Walker Wisconsin False" and you get 318,000 links.

I hope the panelists have their Walker bio, prank call tape transcripts and PolitiFact clips handy.

There have been so many recent Walker falsehoods documented...it's so hard to choose a favorite...but this one from a few days ago is a keeper because it shows how boldly Walker will twist and deny:

Says under his budget-repair bill, "collective bargaining is fully intact."

Asssembly Democrats, Stars Of Democracy

The Assembly Dems knew they could not stop Scott Walker's attack on bargaining, but they did a masterful job of pointing out the bill's true intentions and forced Republicans to underscore every mean-spirited and extremist line in the document.

Congratulations seems an insubstantial word, but these elected officials have done an extraordinary service to all Wisconsin residents.

Walker Now Compared To 19th-Century Throwback

Are we sure that all publicity is good publicity?

How about this conclusion from a Washington Post story about Walker's now-legendary, punked, taped phone call:

"...the call ripped the lid off of this story, revealing the crude throwback nature of Walker's intentions. It exposed Walker as almost a 19th century figure, nodding along as a (fake) fat-cat donor chortled about crushing unions, through violence if necessary."

Those Pro-Walker Ads Echo The Real Sound Of That Pranked Call

The conservative deep-pocket advocates Club For Growth and Americans for Prosperity are paying for ads supporting Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union measures.

These groups helped Walker in his campaign; Americans for Prosperity is a Koch interests' creation and that's why Walker was excited to get the chance - - he thought - - to bring David Koch up to speed on how things were going in Wisconsin, the Right's union-busting test case.

Of course we know now that David Koch wasn't really on the line, but every time these pro-Walker ads hit the ear we can hear the missed connection being completed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Will Brian Williams Stop Crying About Disappearing Incandescent Bulbs?

Third time in the last few days. It's demeaning to hear someone of his stature talking about "the light bulb police." Besides, I'll bet he's got a stash of these babies in a storage locker.
GE Incandescent Soft White 100 Watt Light Bulb, 4/pk

Walker, Again, Makes Statement Rated "False" by PolitiFact

His repetitive falsehoods are beginning to appear pathological.

This is the Governor of the State of Wisconsin we are talking about, but he and his State Capitol allies keep saying things rated false.

According to Politifact, this is Walker's sixth public falsehood since January 27th (I had previously said back to Feb. 11th. My error).

Is Wisconsin open to honesty-in-Government?

Barrett Offers Plan To Address Budget, Union Rights' Issue

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett sees a way to address state fiscal matters, plus union labor costs and municipal finances, too, without eliminating collective bargaining.

It's a solid, creative plan - - the Journal Sentinel's first take on it is here - - but there is no chance Scott Walker would accept any advice from Barrett, over whom he eked out a win in the November gubernatorial race.

Walker is interested in an ideological victory over unions and deification as the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan and wants a solution to the crisis he manufactured only on his terms.

When Conservatives Say Government Should Be Run Like A Business...

I wonder if they mean like the seventeenth recent US bank failure and second in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin Is Closing To Quality Education

Yeah, who needs all those teachers? We're whipping the world already in student achievement, right?

Hey - - here's a district that is preparing to lay off its teachers. Home schooling - - er, TV - - here we come.

Republicans Playing With Public Safety; Walker Says Legislators Urged "Riling Things Up"

Scott Walker and his power-tripping allies in the legislature are carrying out careless, politicized law enforcement in the state.

For the former law-and-order party, it's surprising, but this is what happens when politicians think their mandate extends without limits.

The exhibits in this case:

*  Taunting  state correctional officers with a National Guard replacement preparations even though the correctional officers have not said a word or made a gesture about a work stoppage.

*  Pulling both national guard officers and DNR wardens off their regular duties to tour prisons and prepare for [phantom job actions, further pressuring corrections personnel while leaving poachers and other field offenders a freer hand.

It was just the other day that DNR wardens broke up a wildlife thrill-killing ring. Isn't this, along with deer herd management and safe outdoors pursuits what the public really wants the DNR field staff to do?

*  Sending State Patrol officers repeatedly to look for absent State Senate Democrats.

I'd rather have those officers assisting drivers.. Or pulling over speeders, drunks or overweight trucks.

*  Finally, there is the admission by Governor Scott Walker in that now-infamous prank call with someone impersonating industrialist and conservative kingmaker David Koch that the Walker administration had considered sending provocateurs into peaceful crowds of protesters to stir up trouble.

Koch wasn't on the phone; the concern is that Walker disclosed political strategies to mislead Senate Democrats, roll unions and work with other governors nationally to do the same. And Walker said on the recorded call that political and PR considerations led him to dismiss the provocateur idea - - not its dangerous implications for people in the crowd and for real law enforcement.

Why did Walker take that call? Probably because the Koch brothers, major conservative funders nationally, had through Kochpac given Walker $43,000 in his run for Governor.

The Madison police chief correctly wants an explanation from Walker about the troubling remarks on the tape about trouble-makers, and further investigation is certainly merited.

*  And now we have a further disclosure by Walker on Fox last night that legislators were in on these provocateur conversations, too:

"VAN SUSTEREN: But you thought about it.
WALKER: We do. We had people contact -- I'd had people -- I even had lawmakers and others suggesting riling things up."
Which raises an interesting question: Can Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen do it?

Well -- that's a potential problem - - because Van Hollen is a Republican, a Walker ally and - - side note - - recipient of $12.500, from Kochpac.

Now I'm not a lawyer, but Walker's words have civil rights' suppression, color-of-law implications. Was this all talk, or did anyone instruct anyone to do anything?

Someone completely separated from Walker's orbit and any issue raised on that tape should run an investigation free of favoritism or conflict-of-interest.

The bottom line:

A 24/7 Machiavellian administration is doomed to undermine good public policy and smart use of resources - - producing a completely upside-down outcome if budgets are indeed stressed.

Walker now seems bent on dragging us into a deeper quagmire.

Walker Tells Fox Legislators Urged "Riling Things Up" In Peaceful Crowds

That's what he told Greta last night.

"VAN SUSTEREN: ... in the transcript, when you brought up the part about, basically, dirty tricks in the crowd, you said, Well -- he says, You -- as least you're quoted as saying, "You know, well, the only problem with that, because we thought about that, the problem that my only gut reaction that is right now, the lawmakers I've talked to have just completely had it with them. The public is not really fond of this."
"WALKER: Right. Because in the end, the protesters have not overwhelming. They realized they've come in from other states...
"VAN SUSTEREN: But you thought about it.
"WALKER: We do. We had people contact -- I'd had people -- I even had lawmakers and others suggesting riling things up.
Read the whole transcript.

Larger context, here.

More Pesky Facts: State Deficits, Unionization Not Correlated

I would suggest Walker & Co. read this, but fact-based argument and action is not their strong suit.

And speaking of suits, if your pants keep catching fire, I think Jos. A. Banks is having one of those sales where you get two pairs of pants and two shirts thrown in if you buy a jacket or suit.

Transcript Of Fake Walker Call With Kingmaker Posted

The Wisconsin State Journal should be thanked for this documentary service.

And here's the actual audio.

State Patrol Sent To Senators' Homes: Waste Of Resources With Troubled Highways

In the state that leads the nation in drunken driving and binge drinking and drunken-driving fatalities, sending Wisconsin Stare Patrol officers to all fourteen Senators' homes early Thursday morning to flush them towards the Capitol for voting is a foolish and dangerous waste of resources.

State Sen. Tim Cullen, a Janesville Democrat, reports visits on two separate days.

Worse, the Walker administration just appointed Stephen Fitzgerald, the father of the Republican leaders of both Wisconsin legislative houses, superintendent of the state patrol.

So nepotism meets abuse of power.

Noted earlier.

The State Patrol is staffed with sworn, armed officers. It should be free of political influences, with officers assisting motorists in distress, or pulling over unsafe vehicles, overweight trucks, speeders, and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Audacity Of Duplicity: Walker Gets His Presidential Dreams Into Print

And he wants us to believe his budget repair (sic) plan is just about money?

That prank call recording showed Walker bragging to one kingmaker, and now another influential Republican is touting Walker for President.

National Journal Bio Of Scott Walker Links To Underreported Walker History

The biographical article  - - "Who is Scott Walker" - - in the respected National Journal is a good resource because it has links to episodes in Walker's life you don't hear much about.

Like the election he lost for the state legislature to now-US Cong. Gwen Moore, (R-Milwaukee), and the tacky, losing campaign he ran for student body president at Marquette University, which brought him condemnation on campus.

Here's how the Marquette Tribune described that election:

His sophomore year, Walker ran for president of the Associated Students of Marquette University (ASMU, the former title for Marquette Student Government). He was accused of violating campaign guidelines on multiple occasions.

The Tribune reported then that he was found guilty of illegal campaigning two weeks before his candidacy became official. Later, a Walker campaign worker was seen placing brochures under doors at the YMCA. Door-to-door campaigning was strictly prohibited.

Walker initially denied this but later admitted to the violation, which resulted in lost campaign privileges at the YMCA.

In the run-up to election day, the Tribune’s editorial board endorsed Walker’s opponent John Quigley, but said either candidate had the potential to serve effectively.

However, the Tribune revised its editorial the following day, calling Walker “unfit for presidency.” The column cited Walker’s distribution of a mudslinging brochure about Quigley that featured statements such as “constantly shouting about fighting the administration” and “trying to lead several ineffective protests of his own.”

The revision also expressed disappointment in Walker’s campaign workers reportedly throwing away issues of the Tribune after the endorsement was initially made.

Walker dismissed this, saying he had no knowledge of what his supporters did, according to a Tribune article from February 25, 1988.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Indiana Deputy AG Who Advocated Shooting Wisconsin Protesters Loses His Job

Great news: the "live ammunition" guy is out.

Earlier story, here.

Via Twitter, Walker Suggests Everything's Back To Normal

Governor Walker

Working out early. Trying to stay healthy.
12 hours ago  
 
Really.

Walker Keeps Racking Up "False" Claims On PolitiFact

Again!

This time claiming that most protesters in Madison are out-of-staters .(Though had he pointed out this group of agitators from Utah, he'd have been on solid footing.).

A missed opportunity.

Why, it was just yesterday that he got another "false" rating, as have many in his party - - recounted here.

Outside Agitators Are Descending On Madison

This group from Utah is in town.

Alert Gov. Walker.

Separate perspective from Ricardo Pimentel, here.

DNR Wardens Go To Prison

I'm hearing that some Department of Natural Resources game wardens are also touring state correctional facilities, as have National Guard officers, to learn the ropes should there be a job action by corrections officers.

Wardens were also seen in the State Capitol serving as security officers there.

I guess we can see where the Walker administration thinks DNR personnel should be assigned.

As if that's what they signed up for.

Ego Trips Up Walker

If you listen to the Walker taped prank call, you will hear a politician talking himself up to a person he thinks is a kingmaker.

He thought he was talking to billionaire David Koch, of Koch Industries.

Walker brags about his strategies, his appeal to other governors, his appearances on television, his swaggering introduction to David Alexrod, his putting down of the President, and more.

It's almost twenty minutes of "How Clever Am I!"

Walker's rise has been meteoric. The guy is in the middle of a media high not seen since Sarah Palin burst onto the scene in 2008, but look at her now - - an over-exposed punch line with waning influence.

I had said a few weeks ago that transience is the real truth of political influence and fame, with elected officials suffering from a dangerous lack of self-awareness.

Walker today is a case study in the perils of narcissism - - Chuck Todd of NBC calls it a "P.R. disaster."

In this posting, I wrote:

These are heady times for Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan and Scott Walker.. 
But if history is our guide they will bump up against an iron-clad political rule - - that Nothing Is Forever.

And the corollary: There's a lot you can't control, and it can do you in.

And another corollary: You can do it to yourself, too.

Just ask George Bush the first, Jimmy Carter, or Karl Rove and his permanent Republican majority (b. 2000- - d. 2008).

It can come in the form of outside, unforeseen - - even stupid events - - that upset carefully laid plans and upend careers (see: Elliott Spitzer, Mark Sanford, Mark Foley).

There's also deflation through overexposure, turning can't-miss phenoms into a bumbling irrelevancy (for different reasons, Sarah Palin, John Edwards)...
Power and publicity have a way of insulating an office holder while overdosing the ego (see, Palin, and Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney/Libby/Wolfowitz/Firth/, et al)), and fooling leaders into thinking they actually are destiny's political children - - Right and always right, immune from fallibility...
It means over-reaching is just around the corner...
It amazes me that Walker has suffered a self-inflicted political wound so quickly, unmasking for all to see a shady, devious, scheming, dark side - - thus handing his opponents ammunition and advantage.





They Still Like Their Government Big In Waukesha County

Another contradiction out in Tea Party land.

More Commentary On Walker's Taped Gaffes

Story is growing.

Indiana Deputy Attorney General Repeatedly Advocated "Live Ammunition" Against Madison Protestors

Now there's a public employee who should be laid off.

Walker Tape: He Spills The Beans, And More

Interesting that he had almost 20 minutes for a person he thought was David Koch, and in that time felt comfortable enough to give away all his plans for the next few days.

You can hear the tapes in two segments, here.

Creepiest parts:

When the fake caller says, why not plant some some trouble-makers in the crowd, Walker says, yeah, we thought about that and has only a strategic reason why that isn't necessary.

Also: Walker refers to his proposal as "dropping the bomb" - - but remember when it was just a "modest proposal?"

Chuck Todd, NBC Political Correspondent, Says Walker Pranked Call "P.R. Disaster"

Via Twitter:

Chuck Todd
This gonzo entrapment "journalism" is a bad precedent; but it doesn't change fact Scott Walker stepped in it BADLY. It's a P.R. disaster

TMJ4 Viewer Doesn't Like Station's Spin - - And Lets Management Know

From time to time, I pull out a comment left by a reader and turn it into a stand-alone posting.

I thought this communication to a local television station and copied onto a posting about language made worthy points:

To Today's TMJ4:

I have always trusted and respected WTMJ-Ch.4 for thorough and unbiased coverage of local news. But the station's coverage of the rallies in Madison has stunned and appalled me, making me wonder if Fox has taken over the station.

The headline used daily - "Chaos in the Capital" - is grossly misleading. The dictionary definition of chaos is "a condition of great disorder and confusion." In contrast, the rallies have been peaceful and orderly, as the national media have noted, and the protesters are certainly not confused about why they are there. Please drop this misleading tag!

Furthermore, the reports over the weekend left viewers with the impression that the numbers of Tea Party attendees and Walker supporters were as large as the tens of thousands of protesters against the union-busting bill. Your producers and reporters should be ashamed of this sloppy coverage. WTMJ can do better!

Eva Augustin Rumpf
Milwaukee

More Bad Walker Staff Work; Walker Pranked By Phony Taped Koch Brother Caller

I'd been commenting that Scott Walker's staff work was uninformed and wobbly - - the "modest proposal" talking point, a fire-free fireside chat when Walker is about as far from FDR as you can get, but letting Walker be duped into thinking that he was talking to one of his most controversial supporters - - probably unforgivable.

In the call, which was taped and posted, Walker talks about working with other governors to help the cause go national.

There's talk about keeping a baseball bat handy in the Governor's office, and no correction from Walker when the fake Koch brother talks about crushing the "bastards."

And in his own words, Walker likens his push against unions to Reagan's dismissal of the air controllers, a dynamic which Walker glowingly compares to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

If Walker thinks unions are like the dictatorial, murderous Communists who fell from power when the Wall came down, ouch: There goes all the Right's huffing and puffing about a civil debate and the occasional stupid picket sign with a crude Hitler analogy.

A friend opines that we know where the state government layoffs are going to begin.

On Chicago Public TV, Norquist Supports Collective Bargaining, Demolishes Conservtive 'Think Tank' Rep

Former Milwaukee Mayor and State Senator John Norquist was on a public television panel last night in Chicago to discuss the Wisconsin political uproar over Scott Walker's anti-union agenda.

Among the highlights: Norquist called Walker's approach "radical," the portion of his bill that allows the no-bid sale of state assets "gross," and corrected a spokeswoman for the right - - she was identified as Diana Rickert, a former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter; her LinkedIn page says she was a summer intern - - when she said that Walker had campaigned on the plan to end collective bargaining for public employee unions.

PolitiFact yesterday rated Walker's claim "false"

Norquist - - for whom I worded between 1996-2004 - - made the point that the Senate Democrats' absence had created time to allow important information to come out about the bill, such as the asset transfer that looked like a payoff to contributors, he said..

Norquist never ran with public employee union endorsements, but always supported collective bargaining.

You can see the entire segment, here.

Even Richard Nixon Recognized, Expanded Public Employees' Collective Bargaining Rights

Memo to Scott Walker:

Even Richard Nixon seemed to know how to end a messy management-labor issue.

He helped settle the historic 1970 federal postal workers strike - - an illegal strike, at that - - and agreed to a grant to workers of the right to bargain wages, benefits and working conditions:

"The strike ended when union officials, including NALC President James Rademacher, convinced the strikers that union officials would secure their best interests through negotiations and that strikers should return to work.
"In response to this show of good faith, the Nixon Administration and the postal unions agreed on an immediate and retroactive pay hike, with another increase to follow after the completion of postal reorganization.
"The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, included Postmaster General Blount’s provisions.(6) These provisions included an independent financing authority, removal of the postal system from the political realm in an effort to ensure management continuity, and the guarantee of collective bargaining for postal unions.
"The Act created a corporate structured agency, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and gave postal unions the right to negotiate on wages, benefits, and working conditions. The Act was signed into law by President Nixon on August 12, 1970.(7)"
I can predict the comments.

Nixon. That RINO!

Walker Mentor NJ Gov. Chris Christie Says There's A "New Normal"

Let the countdown begin now - - 12:20 AM Wednesday, 2/23/11: How long will it take for Scott Walker to work that Christie phrase (story, here) into his soulless delivery?

Perhaps as a hybrid talking point, as in..."a modest new normal."

Koch Brothers Open Madison Lobbying Office, Urged Walker Earlier To Confront Unions

Helluva story in the Cap Times. Documented and sourced:

The Koch Brothers have a brace of lobbyists in Madison and one of their national leaders confirms he urged Walker before the election to confront the unions.

Walker is being used by the Koch Brothers, and vice-versa.

It's a scandal.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Walker, Again, Gets False PolitFact Rating; I'd Hoped Here This One Would Get The Treatment

The issue: that Walker somehow campaigned on killing off collective bargaining.

I hoped PolitiFact would take it on.

Says PolitiFact: False.

Seems the GOP just can't tell the truth. Follow the facts...

Walker's Speech Predictable: As Is His Ongoing Grab For Power

Nothing new. I suggested earlier today that he'd be low-key, but unyielding...

"...in a low-key, rehearsed and scripted delivery, Walker repeats his talking-point justifications, reiterates his refusal to negotiate - - now or ever - -  and says his 52-47 margin of victory in November was a 100% mandate to rule, not govern.

Those odds I'd put at 99 out of 100."
...and he was. (text here).

The speech won't move a single person to his side, or a percentage point in any poll.

It will harden the opposition, however, for these reasons:

First, his cheap shot at out-of-state protesters was an unnecessary, gratuitous throwback to the 60's, when right-wing Republican legislators couldn't imagine a nice Wisconsin kid being opposed to the War in Vietnam.

And what a dig at Wisconsin public employees, students and others who pay taxes and work hard in their communities, but abhor as state residents what he is doing to the Wisconsin Idea.

Secondly, his deliberate confusion of civil service with union collective bargaining continues, which I find fascinating as he is simultaneously taking positions in all departments out of civil service and converting them to at-will, appointee status.

Third, Walker loves the attention from conservatives as he rides his plan and the reaction to it.

As I said this morning:
"Scott Walker is addressing the state Tuesday night in what he's calling a "Fireside chat," but I'm guessing this is less a signal that he's mismanaged things or is performing damage control, and more an effort to showcase himself to a national audience and build his image as an ascendant conservative force."
The Journal Sentinel noted it Tuesday night, too:
"Tuesday night when he gave a fireside address at the state Capitol, Walker wasn't just talking to Wisconsin residents - he was talking to those around the nation who have been riveted by an unfolding drama."
Bottom line: Walker is all about his image and concentration of power in his office, which is what the attack on union rights is all about - - as is his plan to concentrate in his office key state rule-making now shared with the legislature.

In Wisconsin, those rules have the power of law.  It is a big deal.

No wonder the Club for Growth is out there clubbing for him.

Walker's Spin About Civil Service; No Mention Of His Assault On That, Too

Walker is confusing civil service protection with union collective bargaining. I know he know the difference, but he said:

But here is the unbelievable miscalculation that many of the protesters are being told by union leadership. What they believe is the protections they have as workers are brought to them by collective bargaining. That's not true. Just after the turn of the last century in 1905, Wisconsin passed the strongest civil service system in the country. Strongest that means in terms of civil service protections you have to be hired based on merit you can only be terminated under just cause.
Interesting, also, that his administration is taking some positions out of civil service, like departmental attorneys, legislative liaisons, and communications' staffers and converting them to political, at-will appointees.

So he is weakening civil service while also misrepresenting it.

Slick.

Walker Blames Out-Of-State Agitators

Echoes of the 60's, when right-wing Republican legislators blamed out-of-staters for the antiwar movement.

Said Walker, dissing the teachers and firefighters and plow operators from Madison to Milwaukee to Manitowoc...

"As more and more protesters come in from Nevada, Chicago and elsewhere, I am not going to allow their voices to overwhelm the voices of the millions of taxpayers from across the state who think we’re doing the right thing. This is a decision that Wisconsin will make."

Scott Walker's Immaturity

You can bet that to the extent Scott Walker is getting any advice, it's from a small circle of job-holders and sycophants who are telling him exactly what he wants to hear - - and it's the wrong thing:

"Be strong.  Don't give in. Compromise is weakness," etc.

In fact, a willingness to adapt is a sign of maturity, and strength, because it shows an ability to listen, process and think more than one simple step ahead.

Right now, he's on too much of a high to see the opportunity, so misses a chance for leadership.

Club For Growth Ad Tips Walker's Hand

A few hours ago I posted about the Club For Growth.

Here comes the club, again.

I Keep Reading That Walker Is Doing Exactly What He Said He'd Do, But...

When did he say he'd go as far as ending nearly all collective bargaining for public employees, forcing their unions to win a certification election every year and so on?

I've been searching and I don't see it, and certainly not on Walker's campaign website.

Politifact? What say you?

Telecommuting Has A Lot To Do With The Drop Off In Driving

We didn't get personal jet packs, but telecommuting is here, so let's hear it for the home office.

Priebus Joins Long List Of Fact-Checked Republican Failures

Add new GOP national chairman Reince Priebus to the long list of Wisconsin Republicans rated "false" or "Pants on fire:" Walker, Ryan, Kleefisch, Darling, Grothman, both Fitzgeralds....

The Road To Sprawlville, Chapter 48: Wetlands Filled, But Franklin, WI Grand Scheme Unravels

Here's a cautionary tale - - made even more relevant by Scott Walker's developer-friendly brainstorm to allow small wetlands' fillings by developers without all that pesky permitting and appeals:

Tom Daykin reports that a project once touted as the salvation of Franklin faces foreclosure.

Others of us remember that wetlands were filled to make the miracle happen.

It didn't look pretty from the get-go.

The Koch Brothers Can Go Shopping In Wisconsin - - Power Plants, Forests - - In A State Up For Sale

No fire in the fireplace, but a no-bid fire sale is coming.

Pants-on-Fire would see apropos.

Privatization? How about an entire takeover of common properties?

And as they have proven during Walker's campaign, the Koch Brothers have the checkbook.

Others will line up.

Wisconsin is open for business - -a going-out-of-business sale.

No Fire In Walker's Fireside Chat - - Self-Parody Or Ignorance On Display

Team Walker continues to provide what little humor - - his motives are debatable - - can be found in the paralyzing mess he has made of state government since taking office six weeks ago.

He has called his tumultuous and expansive attack on public employee collective bargaining "a modest proposal," when the phrase has always been code for "the exact opposite" ever since Jonathan Swift coined it nearly 300 years ago in a satire by the same name that argued, with a straight face, that the English poor could escape their horrible poverty by selling their toddlers to rich people - - for food.

Is that out of ignorance, or a subtle message to the poor he is said to be planning to boot from Medicaid? Or to the parents of kids in four-year-old kindergarten that Walker allies in the legislature keep saying, surely with his approval, should be eliminated?

Now he's scheduled a "fireside chat" for tonight, when it was a Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who introduced the term and form to American politics.

A Democrat who vastly expanded the size of government, created what today are called entitlements and made government the employer not only of last resort but often as the first option, too.

FDR...A Democratic icon? Is that the best you've got?

Didn't Ebeneezer Scrooge have some sot of signature move Walker could more accurately imitate instead?

Again - - we have no way of discerning if this is Walker and Co. poking a fresh stick in Democratic eyes, or another example of not knowing where our political or literary language originates.

Finally, there will be no fire in the fireplace because State Capitol fireplaces long ago were rendered inoperative.

So how is it a fireside chat? An empty fireplace is essentially just a hole in a wall.

It's a prop, a fake.

FDR, delivering his talks via radio, expected listeners to sit around their fireplaces and listen.

Did he suggest people gather around bare fireplaces?

And what's message there on a cold Wisconsin night?

"Get ready for the big chill."

"No warmth to my talk."

"You think it's cold now...just wait!"

From Walker Tuesday Night: Finger-Pointing, and "No!"

Scott Walker is addressing the state Tuesday night in what he's calling a "Fireside chat," but I'm guessing this is less a signal that he's mismanaged things or is performing damage control, and more an effort to showcase himself to a national audience and build his image as an ascendant conservative force.

Knowing what we learned about Walker as Milwaukee County Executive, and know even better about him now, I think his speech will take one or more of these three paths.

1. He truly becomes FDR, assumes leadership, and takes initiatives to end the stalemate with Senate Democrats and public-employee unions.

That would mean speaking the words "I will negotiate," and "I will withdraw my attack on collective bargaining," and "I will stop saying "No" to everything."

The chances that this happens are about zero.

2. He could ratchet up the pressure on absent Senate Democrats by announcing a fresh set of legislative and policy threats. He blames unions, Democrats, Jim Doyle, Tom Ament, Barack Obama, Lee Holloway, light rail, voter fraud and Big Government back to the New Deal - - oops, scratch that - - for the state's economic woes.

That would stir his base, outrage the opposition, make news and make him the news, too. I'd put these odds in the high 90's out of 100.

3. Or, in a low-key, rehearsed and scripted delivery, Walker repeats his talking-point justifications, reiterates his refusal to negotiate - - now or ever - -  and says his 52-47 margin of victory in November was a 100% mandate to rule, not govern.

Those odds I'd put at 99 out of 100.

And if combines #2 and #3, the odds go to 100 out of 100, because they are both variations on "No," a simple and pure Tea Party message, which Walker has long mastered.

Transit? Who Needs That? Walker Hoped The Poor Would Buy Cars

It was nearly four years ago to the day that Scott Walker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board that he wanted to grow the economy so much that poor people would be able to buy cars and leave the bus behind.

I'm still looking for a good link to his preposterous argument - -  and brother, did he ever fail to grow the economy or lead the transit system in Milwaukee County - - though at the time I quoted from it in the very first month of my blog, here.

"Here's what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Walker told the paper's editorial writers Tuesday about why he opposed transit improvements in the county he purportedly leads:

"...Walker said he would like to grow the local economy enough so lower-income people don't have to rely on transit and could instead afford to buy cars if they chose.'"
So as we prepare for deep state revenue sharing cuts to local transit systems ("we're broke, we can't afford transit...) and perhaps the ending of some federal transit aids if Walker's budget-repair bill strips bargaining rights from local system employees, remember that he was mouthing his marketplace talking points years before he had a chance to translate them into real-world service cuts.

Keith Wessel Madison Protest Photo Archive Posted

Keith Wessel, one of Madison's outstanding photographers, has uploaded 1,000 images. I've known Keith for more than 30 years. Keith is a dedicated Wisconsin progressive and a genuine human being, so take a look.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rumor Knocked Down About Tuesday GOP Legislative Surprise

Let's hope this is the final and accurate word dismissing the budget-repair-bill-procedural-trick rumor tonight.

Peeling Back The Walker/Koch Brothers Onion

The New York Times notes the Koch Brothers influence in the Walker campaign, the state's economy and the conservative support movement for Walker as his union-busting plans head towards a vote.

Raise your hand if you think the Koch Brothers gave Walker's campaign $43,000 because they liked his proposal to name a deer czar at the DNR?

Koch Brothers Facilities In Wisconsin Laid Off Workers In 2009

The big Scott Walker donors to his jobs, jobs, jobs campaign laid off employees at Georgia-Pacific.

Koch Brothers presence in Wisconsin drawing NY Times attention.

Walker As FDR?

Walker is making a "fireside chat" on statewide television Tuesday night. I'm thinking it's on Comedy Central.

Labor Exhibit In Madison; Timely Opening, Timely Remarks

Former Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman offers some passionate and poignant remarks about Wisconsin working people as an arts exhibit in their honor happened to open last week at the Overture Center in Madison.

I'm thinking there are a few dozen Republican legislators and one Governor who ought to stop by and see how and why labor should he honored.

I'm reprinting her remarks below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Remarks of Roberta Gassman, Former Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

At opening of exhibit at Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters:

“Wisconsin Labor: A Contemporary Portrait”

February 18, 2011,

James Watrous Gallery, Overture Center for the Arts

Thank you to Executive Director Margaret Lewis and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.

Your support for this exhibit of beautiful photographs of Wisconsin workers helps tell the story of the importance of labor and working people to our state.  I am so proud, as Wisconsin’s past labor Secretary, to have sparked this project, with my terrific Department of Workforce Development colleagues, and the help of the Wisconsin Arts Board and an amazing group of artists.

I will share with you, as I was asked to address, how we came to launch this project, but first I will offer a few thoughts, especially given some of the labor issues now before our state.

For me, this is very personal.

My grandparents were immigrants who came to this country with nothing except the skills of their hands, a rich heritage and their will to escape deadly religious persecution.  One grandfather was a tailor and the other a baker.  The baker was a union member, and this protected his hours and safety and working conditions and he, eventually, with my grandmother, was able to build a middle class life for his family.

I was the first in our family to go to college.

It was a thrill to work at DWD because it is Wisconsin’s labor department.  Its work, carrying out Workers Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, apprenticeship and more, all national models and started right here in our state, follows over 100 years of thoughtful, deliberative and principled “Wisconsin Idea” work by University of Wisconsin-Madison and state elected leaders.

Before Wisconsin’s landmark labor laws, workers were unprotected when losing limbs and even dying on the job; they were destitute as the Great Depression hit.

Great thinkers came together because they knew workers, families and our economy and state would be better off with safe, stable and protected workers and working conditions.

At DWD, it was an honor to work closely with our department’s labor unions to promote harmonious labor relations.

I sat around the table in my office, quarterly, with the leaders of all of our department’s unions to talk through challenges and problem-solve together.  I continued this practice that had been launched by previous administrations and not my political party.  This informal process supported over 50 years of Wisconsin collective bargaining law and this has been a proud Wisconsin and now national tradition.

So regarding this project, when I came to the department our walls were bare and so was our pocketbook.  Then we learned that we had funds in our Percent for the Arts account that we had earned through various past building remodeling projects. 

I thought, let’s beautify our building and inspire our employees and our visitors through exhibiting images of Wisconsin’s diverse, talented and hard-working employees, whether in the private sector or the public sector: the farmers who grow our food; the machinists who make the highest quality products in the world; those who teach our children, keep us safe and care for our parents and the sick; those who innovate and create new technologies; and more. 

These images are now on permanent display in the Department of Workforce Development, thanks to this project.

I am so pleased that many more will get to appreciate them through this now very timely exhibit.

Many thanks to the terrific state employees, the Arts Board volunteers, the Academy and the extraordinary photographers who have brought us these amazing photographs.  May they inspire us to honor our workers everyday and keep Wisconsin’s labor legacy strong, now and forever.

Thank you.