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Member since: Thu Dec 23, 2004, 11:30 AM
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Scott Walker and the GOP Turning First Amendment Rights Upside Down


And how, if Republicans have their way, it may get even worse...

originally posted at BradBlog.com

It's been an entire year since the First Amendment suffered a gigantic blow as a result of the 2012 Scott Walker recall campaign in Wisconsin, though it's one that very few Americans above and beyond astute Brad Blog readers, even know about. And now, there is another threat to free speech, stemming from that same recall of GOP presidential hopeful Walker looming at the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.

Walker's attorneys are now arguing at the Wisconsin State Supreme Court that it is a violation of the First Amendment rights to even investigate whether the Walker campaign broke state law by the controversial candidate personally soliciting funds from non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups so donors to his campaign could remain secret. In a separate gambit, they also tried to make that case to the United States Supreme Court, which early Monday sent the case back to Wisconsin.

And it now appears that Right Wing Radio talkers -- at the core of a very real First Amendment blow suffered one year ago --- are, once again, in the thick of all of it.

This is all related to what Media Action Center (MAC) members discovered during the 2012 recall campaign when talk hosts on Wisconsin radio giants WTMJ and WISN gave hours of free airtime for GOP luminaries like Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus and Wisconsin GOP Vice Chair Brian Schimming in order to promote and recruit volunteers for Walker during that contentious campaign.

Wisconsin governor sued for withholding records on bid to change university’s mission


A nonprofit watchdog group filed a lawsuit in a Wisconsin circuit court against Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Tuesday, alleging that he is refusing to make public documents relating to an effort by his office to change the mission of the University of Wisconsin that is embedded in state law.

Earlier this year, Walker submitted a budget proposal that included language that would have changed the century-old mission of the University of Wisconsin system — known as the “Wisconsin Idea” and embedded in the state code — by removing words that commanded the university to “search for truth” and “improve the human condition” and replacing them with “meet the state’s workforce needs.”

The change is not insignificant; the traditional mission speaks to a role for the university system of broadly educating young people to be active, productive citizens in the U.S. democracy, while Walker’s suggested change would bend the school’s mission towards becoming a training ground for American workers.

Walker didn’t mention the suggested change in a speech he gave about the budget, but it was discovered by the nonprofit Washington -based Center for Media and Democracy and widely publicized. Walker quickly backtracked and said it was a “drafting error.”

John Nichols: Russ Feingold is running to restore our economic well-being Read more: http://host.ma


Russ Feingold is running again for the U.S. Senate. That’s got D.C. insiders excited, because the former senator is way ahead in the polls and his victory in 2016 could play a critical role in tipping control of the Senate back to the Democrats.

But Feingold has never been one for simple partisanship. His independence is legendary — as is his determination to stand on principle against not just Republicans and Wall Street but his own party and its leaders.

To a greater extent than anyone who has served in the Senate in recent decades, Feingold has a reputation for getting ahead of major issues and getting them right. It is a reputation forged not by reading polls or accepting the compromise-prone Washington way of doing things, but by rejecting a failed political “consensus” and instead choosing to champion civil liberties, peace, clean elections, and, above all, economic fairness.

Russ Feingold cast the sole Senate vote against the Patriot Act in 2001. He was right about that, and most people who pay attention to politics are aware of his visionary stance.

Russ Feingold was in the minority that voted against authorizing George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to take the United States to war with Iraq in 2002. He was right about that, and most people who pay attention to politics are aware of his visionary stance.

Watching Scotty Blow, Cont'd: The Supreme Court Declines To Help


In which we learn that the law is not Scott Walker's friend.

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court declined to take up the case of O'Keefe v. Chisholm. The reason this is important is because, by denying cert in this case, the Nine Wise Souls have guaranteed that Scott Walker will spend a little more time on the hook. The case began with an ideological hack of a federal judge in Wisconsin named Rudolph Randa. Almost a year ago, Randa handed down a decision that pretty much turned off the John Doe investigations in Wisconsin that were looking into possible election-law violations by Walker during his campaign to stave off recall. The suspicion was that Walker illegally coordinated his campaign with the efforts of outside groups and outside money. Randa found a constitutional right to this kind of coordination -- a finding that, as this study from the Brennan Center demonstrates, ran contrary to a half-century's worth of election law, including the Citizens United decision. Last December, the Seventh Circuit knocked Randa's arguments out of the way and, on Monday, the Supreme Court declined to take the case at all, leaving it to the Wisconsin courts to sort the case out amongst themselves.

Scott Walker Dissolves Into Gibberish When Asked About His Foreign Policy Credentials


One sentence is all it took for Scott Walker to reveal himself as the next in a long line of failed Republicans.

Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer asked Gov. Walker what his foreign policy credentials are, and the answer was revealing.

Walker said:

Well, I think as a governor, it’s really ultimately about leadership. To me, in my lifetime, one of the best presidents when it comes to foreign policy was a governor from California. My lifetime, one of the worst presidents when it comes to foreign policy, was a freshman senator from Illinois. So I think it’s not just about past experience. It’s about leadership. As a governor, you have to put a cabinet in place. Hopefully, you pick people who are as smart or smarter than you on any given topic.

I think that’s something that’s required of a successful president is putting people in place, be it Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor, Secretary of State and others, and then having the good sense to listen to them and to others, chain of command in the military, consulting with the Congress. All of those sorts of things I think are important to the president, and I think a successful governors in either party have to do that every day.

Scott Walker Talks Foreign Policy On Face The Nation

Published on May 17, 2015

Scott Walker highlights the need for strong and bold leadership on foreign policy.

Scott Walker Doubles Down on Ronald Reagan Firing Air Traffic Controllers


For a Republican thinking about running for president, it's almost always good to talk about Ronald Reagan, the man many of the party faithful view as the best modern commander-in-chief.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did just that Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation when asked about what some have labeled as a gaffe he made in February. That's when he told a Club for Growth gathering in Florida that the most significant foreign policy decision of his lifetime was Reagan's decision to bust a 1981 strike of air traffic controllers, firing some 11,000 of them.

"Don't you think there may have been a few things—while I agree that that was a significant development—a few things maybe a little more important, like Nixon's opening to China, for example?" moderator Bob Schieffer asked. "The decision to go after Osama bin Laden? Do you really think that was the most significant foreign policy statement of your lifetime?"

Honeybees’ Mysterious Die-Off Appears to Worsen

Source: The New York Times

A prolonged and mysterious die-off of the nation’s honeybees, a trend worrisome both to beekeepers and farmers who depend on the insects to pollinate their crops, apparently worsened last year.

In an annual survey released on Wednesday by the Bee Informed Partnership, a consortium of universities and research laboratories, thousands of beekeepers reported losing 42.1 percent of their colonies in the 12-month period that ended in April. That is well above the 34.2 percent loss reported for the same period in 2013 and 2014, and it is the second-highest loss recorded since year-round surveys began in 2010.

Honeybee deaths rose sharply last summer compared with the previous year, and commercial beekeepers, who rent their hives to farmers during pollination seasons, were hit especially hard, the survey’s authors stated.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/us/honeybees-mysterious-die-off-appears-to-worsen.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

The Destruction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court


Last week, the United States Supreme Court upheld a Florida judicial rule that prohibits candidates for election to state judgeships from personally soliciting money for their campaigns. “Judges are not politicians,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., wrote in the majority opinion in the 5-4 decision, “even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot.” He went on, “Simply put, Florida and most other States have concluded that the public may lack confidence in a judge’s ability to administer justice without fear or favor if he comes to office by asking for favors.”

There is no need for “may” in that sentence. In many of the thirty-nine states that elect judges, a dramatic rise in campaign contributions and related spending has caused a well-documented erosion of public confidence in state courts. The Supreme Court’s decision advanced the cause of fair courts. But it addressed only a tiny part of the problem that money and politics have created in American justice. A decision the same day by the Wisconsin Supreme Court provides an illustration of how destructive the problem can become.

Under a newly approved state constitutional amendment, which ended the practice of having the court’s most senior justice serve as chief, the justices chose their chief justice for the first time since the court was created, in 1852. By a vote of 4-3, reflecting the Wisconsin court’s split between conservatives and others, they picked Patience Drake Roggensack, a conservative who has been on the court for a dozen years. They ousted the liberal Shirley S. Abrahamson, on the court for thirty-nine years and, as chief justice from 1996 until last week, the longest-serving chief in state history...

...This is the latest drama in a decadelong saga that, largely through money-fuelled and often nasty judicial elections, has intensified the turn of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from a congenial, moderately liberal institution into a severely divided conservative stronghold. More to the point, the elections have reduced it from one of the nation’s most respected state tribunals into a disgraceful mess.


X-posted in Politics

The American Dream is a myth, says Nobel-prize winner


It has become increasingly difficult for Americans to climb the economic ladder, says Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel-prize winning economist.

The U.S. has one of the highest levels of income inequality among its peers and is among the worst in offering equal opportunities for advancement, said Stiglitz, who spoke Tuesday in New York City. Whether an American gets ahead is also more dependent on the income and education of their parents, he said.

"The American Dream is a myth," said Stiglitz.

A left-leaning authority on income inequality who teaches at Columbia University, Stiglitz is on a publicity tour for his new book, The Great Divide, which is a compilation of his articles on unequal societies for the New York Times, Vanity Fair and other publications.

His timing couldn't be better. Income inequality and economic mobility have already emerged as hot topics for the 2016 presidential election, with candidates on both sides of the aisle offering their prescriptions for solving the growing income gap. Stiglitz is one of several economists who has spoken with Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on these issues.
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