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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 44,040

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US Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) thinks Iowa is part of Wisconsin


Ron Johnson Chooses Out-of-State Chain to "Showcase Local Businesses"

As his re-election looms, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is making a desperate attempt to fix his image of being Senator Snipe-- the Senator who is rumored to exist, but who nobody ever actually sees.

So, his staff came whipped up the idea to do a "Supper Club Tour," which is described as a two-fer: It gives his constituents the opportunity to verify that he is actually real and it gives Johnson the "opportunity to showcase local businesses." After all, what says, "I am not the elite gazillionaire that married into ridiculous wealth" more than going out for a beer and burger at the local supper club?


The next stop on his Supper Club Tour will be at a place called the Thunder Bay Grille in Pewaukee. This would be the same Thunder Bay Grille that is found in Illinois. And Iowa. And owned by Mike Whalen, the Iowa millionaire who owns 31 restaurants and hotels in six states. (That would also be the same Mike Whalen who ran against then-Congressman Bruce "The guy who lost to Joni Ernst" Braley in 2006-- small world, eh?)

Nothing says "local Wisconsin business" like a chain restaurant that is owned by some rich guy in Iowa.

Everyone knows the winner of the Super Bowl gets a call from President Obama, but few know ...

Everyone knows the winner of the Super Bowl gets a call from President Obama, but few know that the loser gets a call from Mitt Romney.

When asked asked which team he’s rooting for in the Super Bowl, Chris Christie answered “the one from Iowa.”

That awkward moment when the Koch brothers whine that they're not public figures and then pledge $900 million to buy the 2016 election.

NOTE TO BLACK WOMEN: Before you have feelings about racism you experience, check with a white man to make sure your feelings are legitimate.


Have you seen this? I saw it a minute ago for the first time and I'm quite taken with it.

This nation has exactly one fiscal problem.

The utter lack of political will to tax the people who have all the money.

Milwaukee's Forty-Year War On Unions


For generations, Milwaukee boasted of a large, unionized, blue-collar middle class. It was a place to put down roots and raise a family. Neighborhood culture was often defined by industrial bowling leagues and neighborhood taverns owned by former factory workers seeking to be “their own boss” and escape assembly line drudgery.

While highly segregated, economic inequality was at historic lows. Milwaukeeans enjoyed the nation’s second highest median household income in 1969. The black poverty rate was twenty-two percent lower than the US average in 1970, and African American median family income was nineteen percent higher than the US African American median.


All of this changed in 1975 with the Meatcutters’ strike. The very day the strike began, the eight companies represented by the Milwaukee Independent Meatpackers Association began hiring replacement workers, some recruited from as far away as Nebraska and Texas. In response to this first attempt by Milwaukee employers to bust a union since World War II, the Menominee Valley filled with angry picketers––black, Latino, and white––rallying to protect their jobs. After fifteen months the employers association had their victory and decertified the union. Hundreds of hard-working union members lost their jobs. Full-time permanent employees were replaced by low-wage workers frequently hired through temp agencies.

The strike legitimized replacement workers, beginning waves of attacks on unions and the city’s working class. When UAW workers struck Master Lock in 1979, Milwaukee police officers escorted replacement workers across the picket line. Two years later A.O. Smith built a non-union plant in Tennessee, the first nail in the coffin of its Milwaukee Automotive Works, which had dominated the city’s north side since the early 1920s.

Emphasis mine.

Milwaukee is now one of the nation's poorest cities. Our African American poverty rate is now forty-nine percent higher than the African American national average, and median income is 30 percent lower.

Wisconsin: A Tale of Two Headlines, Courtesy of Scott Walker


This just speaks volumes about the state of our state under Gov. Scott Walker.

While I understand that Gov. Walker’s decision to cut $300 million in funding from the UW system is not tied to his decision to borrow $220 million to help build a basketball arena for the billionaire owners of the Milwaukee Bucks, it says something about Gov. Walker’s skewed priorities that he’d borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for a basketball stadium at a time when the state is cutting hundreds of millions in dollars of funding from the University of Wisconsin system.

The third headline says a lot too. Yet the Urinal/Sentinel still endorses this criminal.

Wisconsin: Walker proposes 13% cut, more freedom for UW System

The ever elusive-to-define "freedom", catch-all justification for shit that can't otherwise be justified.


The UW System had asked for an increase in funding of $95 million over the next two years — money that it argued was needed given that Walker was calling for another two-year tuition freeze. Walker is going forward with the tuition freeze but is calling for the $300 million cut in exchange for something university leaders have wanted for years: more independence.

UW System President Ray Cross said he supported the structural changes, but he would work to reduce the budget cut. "It's going to be a very significant challenge," he said of the cuts. "It's not something we look forward to."


University officials, along with both Democrats and Republicans, have been wary, voicing concerns before Walker released details of his plan.

Under Walker's proposal this year, the Legislature would have no ability to stop the university from raising tuition as much as it wants starting in 2017. Before the most recent two-year tuition freeze, tuition had gone up 5.5% each of the previous six years. That was the most allowed by a law that would no longer be in effect under Walker's plan.

Ron Wyden's petition: Hold CIA Leaders Accountable

from my email ...


The CIA leadership continues to make headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.

Too often, they have stepped on our Constitutional principles. That includes violating the privacy rights of American citizens and hacking U.S. Senate computers in the midst of an investigation of the CIA.

It’s time to hold its leadership accountable. Sign our petition and let them hear you today!

Make no mistake: The CIA does important work to keep us safe here at home and around the globe. But they can’t have free reign to do as they please without any check on their authority.

This is why I’ve led the fight for rock-solid, continuous oversight of their work to keep the agency in line with our Constitution and the law.

Now, it’s time for the CIA leadership to respect the Constitutional limits of their authority, and we’re calling for Director John Brennan to keep the CIA in check. Add your name today and help us lead the charge!

So far, leaders in the CIA have refused to get on board and take responsibility. Let’s make them hear us!

Ron Wyden


The Progressive: Obama's Cynical India Visit


President Obama’s visit to India was an exercise in cynicism. To serve U.S. corporate and strategic interests, he ignored the problematic record of his host, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The roots of Modi and his party, the BJP, lie in an organization called the RSS.

“The RSS was founded in direct imitation of European fascist movements, and like its 1930s fascist models, it still makes much of daily parading in khaki drill and the giving of militaristic salutes,” wrote British journalist William Dalrymple in the New Statesman last summer. “The RSS sees this as an attempt to create a corps of dedicated paramilitary zealots who, so the theory goes, will form the basis of a revival of a golden age of national strength and racial purity. The BJP was founded as the political wing of the RSS, and most senior BJP figures have an RSS background.”


The visit paid off dividends on this front. The United States and India “agreed to a ten-year framework for defense ties and struck deals on cooperation that included joint production of drone aircraft and equipment for Lockheed Martin Corp's C-130 military transport plane,” Reuters reports.


Another issue on which Obama nudged India is nuclear energy. President Bush signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with previous Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but a major stumbling block had been India’s unwillingness to cap liability for U.S. firms in the event of a disaster. An understanding between the two sides seems to bode well for U.S. corporations (and ill for the Indian people).

“After Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama issued a joint statement on Sunday, giving the broad outline of the discussions and agreement reached between the two countries, India’s foreign secretary, Sujatha Singh, said: ‘The nuclear deal is done. We have reached an understanding on liability,’ ” reports Down to Earth, an Indian environmental publication. “After the sealing of agreement by the leaders, private firms will now negotiate the modalities, say officials.”

Well, as long as Westinghouse and GE are happy, eh?


Both GE and Westinghouse have already been given land in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh to begin construction of reactors.

Wisconsin's Controversial Schools Bill


Over the course of the 11 ½ hour hearing, only one person spoke in favor of the measure: Rep. Thiesfeldt himself. American Federation for Children lobbyist Scott Jensen and School Choice Wisconsin lobbyist Jim Bender spoke "for information purposes only," since neither they nor their organizations appeared to be legally registered as lobbyists in the State of Wisconsin at the time of the hearing. They both argued that private and religious schools receiving public voucher money should not have to be measured by the same standards nor face the same consequences for failing to meet those different standards as public schools.

Public schools advocate Heather DuBois Bourneane called out Jensen and Bender on their claims that voucher schools have produced “pockets of success.” “We all know what pockets of success are full of – money!” She went on, “If we’re serious about creating successful schools, lets fund them at rates that provide equitable opportunities for success for every single student in the state. Period. This is not a complex idea.”


"You use the failures you have engineered to justify an exclusionary education system. That is as transparent as it is dishonest," said retired teacher Sheila Plotkin. “It is immoral to turn our children into cash cows for your campaign donors!”

Milwaukee Public Schools’ new Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver worked in Philadelphia during the roll out of the charter school takeover of public schools there. Rep. Knudson noted that portions of AB1 were modeled after that “turn around” concept of closing public schools and re-opening them as private charters. He asked if she would recommend that model for Wisconsin. “The initial optics—buildings are fixed up, uniforms are there, there’s a lot of excitement around the Promise Academies and the Renaissance Schools—but then when you talk about progress and change over time, it’s still not there,” Driver replied. She recommended that the committee look critically at similar “turn around” projects in other states, “But I think to be fair you should start here with the people doing the work and that doesn’t seem to have happened.”

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