Monday Afternoon Reads

I got to spend the weekend with both girls and their guys which is a treat these days since both are adults and live far away. No matter how old they get or I get, it seems that seeing them leave is a challenge.  My goal was to raise independent women who could make good decisions and act in ways that do no harm to themselves or others.  I wouldn’t have them any other way. But, the fact they’re so independent is difficult on their old mom sometimes. So, this post is a little late because I slept as late as I could.

14ANNOUNCE-web-master675I’m going to start out with some items on Scott Walker since he’s the latest KochBot Governor to enter the race and appears to be the anti-government pony that the Kochs are backing.Just like Louisiana and Kansas, Wisconsin has become a failed state through experimentation with right wing libertarian cult fetishes.  Walker has been particularly rough on unions. Turning workers into hapless, powerless wage slaves is one of the key Koch goals. Union money and campaign work has been one of the linchpins in the election of Democrats.  It’s one of the few offsets to big money coming from billionaires like the Kochs.

The anti-union law passed here four years ago, which made Gov. Scott Walker a national Republican star and a possible presidential candidate, has turned out to be even more transformative than many had predicted.

Walker had vowed that union power would shrink, workers would be judged on their merits, and local governments would save money. Unions had warned that workers would lose benefits and be forced to take on second jobs or find new careers.

Many of those changes came to pass, but the once-thriving ­public-sector unions were not just shrunken — they were crippled.

Unions representing teachers, professors, trash collectors and other government employees are struggling to stem plummeting membership rolls and retain relevance in the state where they got their start.

Here in King, Magnant and her fellow AFSCME members, workers at a local veterans home, have been knocking on doors on weekends to persuade former members to rejoin. Community college professors in Moraine Park, home to a technical college, are reducing dues from $59 to $36 each month. And those in Milwaukee are planing a campaign using videos and posters to highlight union principles. The theme: ­“Remember.”

But recalling the benefits that union membership might have brought before the 2011 law stripped most public-sector unions of their collective-bargaining rights is difficult when workers consider the challenges of the present.

“I don’t see the point of being in a union anymore,” said Dan Anliker, a 34-year-old technology teacher and father of two in Reedsburg, a tiny city about 60 miles northwest of Madison.

b8Walker made his presidential ambitions official.

Scott Walker made it official today, breaking the news that he is a Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential race first in a Facebook post this morning before a formal announcement event in Wisconsin later today.

“I’m in. I’m running for President of the United States because Americans deserve a leader who will fight and win for them,” the two-term Wisconsin governor says in the Facebook post, which includes a video in which he argues that his track record as governor sets him apart from the rest of the Republican field as a proven leader who has succeeded in winning elections and taking on big policy battles.

Walker’s policy battles usually mean taking on the little guy and the middle class by promoting the interests of the very rich and powerful.  He would become the first president since Harry Truman to do so without a college degree having dropped out of university prior to graduation.

Walker is not very charismatic and has little national appeal at the moment.  However, his former political rivals say this only leads folks to underestimate him. Given his strong Koch backing, he’s got the ability to go the distance even though he’s less than appealing physically and personality-wise.  My impression of him has always been of a very dull and lifeless man.  He’s characterized by former opponents quite a bit differently.

Since 1990, the Wisconsin governor’s name has appeared on a ballot 14 times, and he’s failed just twice — a winning record that’s central to his pitch to Republican primary voters. Along the way, he’s left a trail of defeated challengers, many of them gripped by resentment toward a foe they recall as crassly opportunistic, loose with facts or blindly ambitious.Yet for all the lingering enmity, as Walker prepares to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, his rivals also grudgingly respect him as a rare and exceptionally canny politician who’s constantly underestimated and always outperforms expectations.

He’s a sneaky-smart campaigner, they say, a polished and level-headed tactician, a master at reading crowds. He learned the value of ignoring uncomfortable questions, rather than answering them. In hindsight, the many politicians he pancaked on the road to the national stage — in races for the state Assembly, county executive and governor — almost invariably see his career as an elaborate practice run for the White House.

To David Riemer, who fell to Walker in a 2004 bid for Milwaukee County executive — a nonpartisan race — Walker’s wiles can be summed up by a single moment during one of their debates. Riemer, sensing Walker’s desire to run for higher office, recalled placing a sheet of paper on Walker’s lectern that included a pledge to fulfill an entire four-year term. Sign it, Riemer demanded.

“He just let it sit in front of him. He didn’t get it back to me. He didn’t rip it up. He didn’t turn it into a paper airplane … he ignored it,” Riemer said. “He understood very well, one of the key lessons in political life is they can’t print what you don’t say.”

Walker is managing to dismantle education in ways that Bobby Jindal only dreams.  Wisconsin–unlike Louisiana–is known for good education and institutions.  He’s managed to attack teacher unions and Screen_Shot_2015-04-23_at_94822_PM_590_477benefits.  Just recently. he went after and back dismantling tenure.  Attacks on higher education are necessary for the right since any form of critical thinking skills in voters is a danger to demagoguery.  Tenure protects freedom of speech and thought at university campuses.  These are dangerous freedoms for folk wishing to push an agenda that is not reality-based.  It’s no wonder that most of the Koch puppets are loose with the truth, data, and facts on the ground.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s trailblazing effort to weaken tenure protections at public colleges and universities is now a reality with his signing of a $73 billion budget on Sunday.

The effort has outraged unions and higher education groups, leaving them fearful that other lawmakers will follow suit to unravel labor protections in higher education that have long been considered sacred ground.

Walker downplayed the changes at Sunday’s signing at a valve manufacturing facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin, emphasizing instead that tuition was being frozen in the University of Wisconsin system for two more years at the rate it was two years ago.

“We made college more affordable for college students and working families all across the state,” Walker said.

Walker signed the budget as he prepared to announce his run for the Republican presidential nomination Monday. The tenure fight could further endear him to conservatives skeptical of what some perceive as the ivory tower of higher education, and it serves to remind voters of his earlier effort to scale back collective-bargaining rights of public employee unions — including K-12 teachers — when he was first building a national profile.

The budget sent to Walker also includes other labor-related issues that frustrated unions, including a provision that rolls back a minimum pay protection for laborers working on local public construction projects like schools.

walkerScott Walker looks like the typical Midwestern Goofus.  He was raised a Baptist as the son of a Baptist preacher. Walker  pushed through the typical christianist culture crap.  Maybe because he appears so ineffectual is one of the reasons that he actually gets his desired outcomes.  His current fundraising efforts are less than stellar and national polls do not favor him.  He is doing well in Iowa, however.

Mr. Walker’s strategy is now focused on building a political operation in Iowa and campaigning aggressively there with an increasingly conservative message. He recently endorsed amending the United States Constitution to leave laws blocking same-sex marriage up to each state, and he is preparing to sign Wisconsin legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except when the life of the mother is in immediate jeopardy.

With those positions and others, Mr. Walker is aiming to sway conservative and evangelical voters, two dominant groups in the Iowa Republican caucuses. They may now have a particular affinity for Mr. Cruz and Mr. Carson, who had a combined 19 percent support of likely Iowa caucusgoers in a recent Quinnipiac University poll. But other Republican candidates like Mr. Perry, a former Texas governor, and Mr. Rubio are angling to appeal to the same voters, and Mr. Rubio and his supporters have more financial resources than Mr. Walker does right now.

“Walker had a great winter but maybe got a little cocky, a little ahead of himself, and now he really has to take the time to work Iowa and build up the resources to compete harder in the early primary states,” said Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican consultant who has worked with David Polyansky, one of Mr. Walker’s advisers in Iowa.

To distinguish himself, Mr. Walker, a 47-year-old career politician, is building his bid for the White House around his style of leadership, reflected in slogans like “go big and go bold” and “a fighter and a winner,” and his record as governor since 2011.

He has also sought to enhance his understanding of national affairs and foreign policy by taking time away from the campaign trail this year for dozens of briefings with experts, heads of state and military officials. As a result, not only has he spent less time fund-raising than other candidates, he has also been absent for long stretches from New Hampshire and South Carolina, which have early nominating contests and where his poll numbers have slipped as well.Wisconsin, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

“I think he waited too late to get into the race, because there was such excitement for him when he was here in March,” said Catherine Welborn, a South Carolina Republican who heard Mr. Walker speak that month in Charleston. “South Carolina doesn’t have much time to get to know him, but one thing is for sure: He needs to come down here and tell the story about beating the unions. That’s the kind of person we need to stand up for America.”

Other admirers of Mr. Walker said he was poised to regain momentum because of his fiscally conservative record in Wisconsin, where he signed a two-year state budget on Sunday that holds the line on taxes and cuts funds for University of Wisconsin campuses while also freezing tuition there.

But Mr. Walker is best known for taking on Wisconsin’s public employee unions, shortly after taking office in 2011, by proposing a bill to repeal collective bargaining for most government workers to give control over pay and benefits back to the state. Championing the measure as a way to deal with the state’s budget deficit, Mr. Walker drew support from his extensive network of conservative backers, as well as Republican leaders in the State Legislature.

There are many interesting comments on that last NYT thread including many from his constituents.   Listen to this from folks that know him best.  They remind me of those of us from Louisiana that are telling the country to run away from Jindal as fast as they can.

pczisny

Fond du Lac, WI

As a Wisconsinite, I can attest to the damage that Scott Walker has done to our state. After promising to create 250,000 in his first term–and insisting that he be held accountable for that pledge when he ran in 2010–the state ended up with half that number (over 50,000 behind same-size but Democratically controlled Minnesota). By 2014, he insisted that the promise was merely a goal.

Our state now ranks in the bottom ten nationally in job creation. It ranks number ONE in middle class decline, according to a Pew Center analysis. We are now among the top 10 states in people moving away.

Scott Walker raised taxes on 140,000 Wisconsin families. What did those families have in common?–they all had a breadwinner who worked for a living, they all had kids to support, and they are all below the poverty line.

Here are some other stories that you might find interesting.157666_600

Study Finds Nearly 100 Percent Of Women Who Had An Abortion Say It Was The Right Choice

According to a new study that tracked hundreds of women who had abortions, more than 95 percent of participants reported that ending a pregnancy was the right decision for them. Feelings of relief outweighed any negative emotions, even three years after the procedure.

Researchers examined both women who had first-trimester abortions and women who had procedures after that point (which are often characterized as “late-term abortions”). When it came to women’s emotions following the abortion, or their opinions about whether or not it was the right choice, they didn’t find any meaningful difference between the two groups.

These findings contradict the notion that women experience negative mental health effects after ending a pregnancy, as well as the idea that later abortions are more psychologically traumatic.

Though there’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that abortion is linked to a greater risk of mental health problems, this framework is often used to justify passing additional restrictions on the procedure. Seven states, for instance, have mandatory counseling laws that require pregnant women to receive information about abortion’s negative psychological consequences before they’re allowed to proceed. Some of those materials specifically reference “postabortion traumatic stress syndrome,” a supposed disorder that isn’t recognized by the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association.

The President commuted sentences for 46 non violent offenders held on drug charges.

Hillary Clinton and  Jeb Bush go at each other over worker hours and pay. Bush also seems to be on the offensive against Rubio and Walker.

Hillary Clinton laid into Jeb Bush’s remark that Americans need to work longer hours on Monday during her first economic policy speech at the New School in New York City.

“Well, he must not have met very many American workers,” Clinton said to applause and cheers. “Let him tell that to the nurse who stands on her feet all day or the teacher who is in that classroom, or the trucker who drives all night. Let him tell that to the fast-food workers marching in the streets for better pay. They don’t need a lecture. They need a raise.

“The truth is, the current rules for our economy do reward some work, like financial trading, for example, much more than other work, like building and selling things,” Clinton added.

Bush made the suggestion last week during an interview with New Hampshire’s Union Leader, urging the need for people to work longer hours because workforce participation is at all-time modern lows.

It’s not the first time Clinton’s campaign has taken a shot at that remark. Her campaign tweeted a graph by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute showing stagnating wages as productivity has risen over the past four decades.

Well, that’s it for me today.  I have to catch up on some grading!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


22 Comments on “Monday Afternoon Reads”

  1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact Information:
    AP Action Fund: Erik Altieri, Director of Communications 703.231.2325 / ealtieri@agendaproject.org

    Granny Off the Cliff and Romney Girl Creator Launches Anti-Walker ‘Puppet for President’ Ad in Iowa and DC
    Campaign targets Scott Walker’s Koch Brother connection

    TV video: ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HUSynvukIc ) / Uncensored web version: ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhYJ5iRUY6s )

    Monday, July 13, 2015 – Waukesha, WI — Today, the Agenda Project Action Fund – known for hard-hitting ads such as “Romney Girl,” “Republican Cuts Kill,” and “Granny Off the Cliff” — launched a new campaign with American Family Voices targeting Governor Scott Walker’s ties to the Koch brothers. The campaign includes ad buys in Iowa and DC.

    “Puppet for President” is the first in a series planned against Walker which will focus on his relationship with the billionaire Koch brothers. The series will paint Walker as a bought and paid for PUPPET of the GOP mega-donors.

    “Americans are fed up with the influence of money has on our political leaders and they will vote accordingly,” said Agenda Project President Erica Payne. “Our goal is to highlight the most egregious offenders and force them to pay a political price. The relationship between the Kochs and Governor Walker is an embarrassment to our democracy.”

    AP Action Fund partnered with American Family Voices for both the ad and an anti-Walker rally to be held in Wisconsin next to the location where Walker will be making his presidential campaign announcement. Hundreds of rally goers will sport Puppet for President stickers to amplify the ad campaign’s message.

    “Walker’s record shows that he is the ultimate puppet for the priorities of the Koch brothers: eviscerating protections for the environment, and eviscerating the power of working people to negotiate for better wages and working conditions,” said AFV President Mike Lux. “This was a natural fit for American Family Values because we stand on the side of working people and against big-money special interests.”

    • dakinikat says:

      Hi! Thanks for sharing! I believe we have a few Wisconsin folks that read us!

    • Gregory says:

      I am just wondering WHEN the majority of so-called Republicans are going to start figuring this stuff out. This has been going on for quite a while in their party. It is bad for them. It is bad for us. It is bad for everybody. Walker isn’t fit for any office much less POTUS. The unmitigated gall of these folks is just surreal. Seriously, buying political candidates to run for office is just so wrong and offensive.

  2. janicen says:

    Yeah, of the entire clown car, Walker is the one who concerns me. How the hell did he get reelected as gov? I could understand the failure of the recall election but I just don’t get how he got reelected. He’s got some kind of ability to appeal to the masses and that could be a problem.

    There should be tee shirts with his picture on them that say, “I suck Koch”.

  3. Beata says:

    Hillary outlines her economic plan in a clearly-written chart:

    http://hillaryforhigherincomes.tumblr.com/

    • NW Luna says:

      Clear, forthright, smart. She gets right to the heart of things.

      The Republican candidates are all coming from Wackoville.

  4. Mary Brown says:

    Very apt blog post today! This was in my email today (and I have NO IDEA) how on earth I got on this email list, and he even knows my name!) Oh well, at least it has no deniability.

    Mary,

    My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life. Each day I pray and then take time to read from the Bible and from a devotional named Jesus Calling.

    As you can imagine, the months leading up to my announcement that I would run for President of the United States were filled with a lot of prayer and soul searching.

    Here’s why: I needed to be certain that running was God’s calling — not just man’s calling. I am certain: This is God’s plan for me and I am humbled to be a candidate for President of the United States.

    Now, it is up to the voters to decide who will win the election. If you support my conservative campaign, please join my team right now with $10, $35, $50, $100, or even $250 today.

    As the son of a Baptist preacher, my faith comes first. It is the guiding force of my life both in politics and in private. For example, I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe in the covenant of marriage. I believe in strong families. I believe in protecting religious liberties. And I believe these things are worth fighting for — and I have.

    A lifelong supporter of the pro-life movement, my work defending the unborn goes back to my college days where I was a leader of Marquette Students for Life. As a state lawmaker, I helped write and pass legislation banning the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. As Governor of Wisconsin, I prohibited abortion from being covered by Wisconsin health plans in a health insurance exchange, signed an ultrasound bill into law, and defunded Planned Parenthood while maintaining health services for women throughout Wisconsin.

    Earlier this year, I called for legislation to protect unborn children once they can feel pain at five months. The members of the State Legislature just passed the bill and I will sign it into law next week. Yet another pro-life victory here in Wisconsin!

    If elected President, I would be honored to sign similar legislation at the federal level. I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.

    Please stand with me today to help elect a pro-life President.

    Our conservative values were handed a big blow with the recent Supreme Court ruling. Let me be very clear: this decision was a grave mistake. Five unelected judges took it upon themselves to take that responsibility away from the states and redefine the institution of marriage.

    In 2006, I voted to amend my state constitution to protect the institution of marriage because I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.

    I believe that the states have the right to define marriage.

    To protect this right, I support an amendment to the United States Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.

    Going forward, we need to focus our attention on protecting the religious rights of Americans. Our U.S. Constitution calls for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The founders of this exceptional country took religious freedom very seriously and we must redouble our efforts to protect these freedoms today.

    Mary, I have been a tireless advocate for religious liberty. And my state’s families and children are better off because of our pro-life, pro-family agenda that promotes life, freedom, and opportunity.

    As President, I will stand up for these same values. And I will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully uphold the Constitution — without injecting their own political agendas into legal matters.

    Our country is at a crossroads and we need a proven conservative leader who is not afraid to fight for what is right — even when it’s not politically expedient. My decisions are guided by my relationship with God — not by what might win me a few votes.

    I am proud to have earned the early support of conservative and religious activists across the country and hope to earn your support today. Visit here to become a leader of our conservative team with a contribution of $10, $35, $50, $100, $250, or whatever amount is right for you.

    Every day I pray that our best days of peace, prosperity, and freedom are ahead of us. As President, I will uphold the traditional values that have made our country great, but I need your help to win.

    Your enthusiastic support will help us build much-needed momentum in these early weeks as we take our conservative message to voters across the country.

    God bless you and God bless America,

    Scott Walker

    • dakinikat says:

      I bet he got that old Omaha rtl list that you snuck on to … Thx for sharing and send it to Rachel Maddow!

      • Mary Brown says:

        Nope, they never had my email. Just remembered a weirdo WA State legislative group did have my email from years ago when I did oppo research. They’ve changed their name several times and I haven’t heard from them in years, but I bet that’s where they got it. Conservative Values Coalition maybe? It’s like the flu!

        Yep, I’ll forward to Rachel Maddow, good idea.

    • dakinikat says:

      p.s. How come every one of these idiots think gawd told him to run?

    • janicen says:

      Thank you for sharing this. It’s illuminating to know they are going to run strong on the God angle.

  5. NW Luna says:

    He needs to come down here and tell the story about beating the unions. That’s the kind of person we need to stand up for America.

    Translation: “…stand up for America’s 1%”

    How is this guy still in office?