Thursday, July 31, 2014

Racine Equality Project: Dumb Lawsuit, Nice Float


If the Racine Equality Project spent as much time drafting their federal lawsuit against assorted public officials downtown as they did on their 1st place float in the 4th of July parade - it might not have been dismissed as a gigantic waste of time by a judge yesterday.

In a 29 page order,U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller gave the plaintiffs a mostly polite lesson in law which boiled down to "WTF?"

For readers who aren't familiar with this potboiler, it basically goes like this:

A bunch of bar owners who got their licenses pulled - not because of an alarming rate of police calls, shootings and mayhem, but because they are minorities - sued the present Mayor of Racine and the previous one and a random assortment of aldermen, city hall staff, the retired County Sheriff, the Tavern League along with the Downtown Racine Corporation for running a criminal syndicate.

The lawsuit alleges they were all conspiring together without actually showing any one person did any one illegal thing. Seriously, even if you don't live in Racine, you should read Stadtmueller's dissection of the case.
"By filing such a broad and vague complaint, the plaintiffs imposed significant burdens on a broad swath of defendants. Many of those defendants seem to have had little involvement in the activities that the plaintiffs complain of. Thus, the Court admonishes the plaintiffs to carefully consider what claims they are bringing and against whom and avoid bringing meritless claims against blameless defendants. The plaintiffs’shotgun approach in their initial complaint is likely one of the reasons that the plaintiffs felt the need to make their individual claims so vague."
This is our favorite:
"The complaint is so broad and vague as to be virtually functionless." 
Ouch. Good people can argue whether or not whether racism played a part in any of this. Racism is a serious discussion. But these knuckleheads didn't try to make that case - they said what happened to their bars was a result of organized crime and racketeering by nearly everyone who has walked through the doors of City Hall.

This was a RICO case, not a discrimination case. As Stadtmueller points out:
"Under federal law, there is no extortion where the sole beneficiary is a governmental entity."
So, whether or not one likes John Dickert and the cast of thousands mentioned in the case, this was a giant waste of time that cost Racine nearly $100,000 in legal fees - so far. The lawsuit they filed could have been written better using a Madlibs template and their attorney, Vince Bobot, should get some kind of creative writing award...just after they take away his legal license.

Amazingly, the judge is allowing the plaintiffs to resubmit their case - with very clear instructions on the burden of proof they will need to meet in the next round. Something tells us, they will refile, and refile sucking up more taxpayer dollars while managing to prove nothing.

Perhaps it is the Racine Equality Project that is the real criminal syndicate - funneling cash to Vince Bobot and his law partners.

Racine got sued, and all we got was a $100,000 parade float.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Scott Walker's Prison Problem


Wisconsin spends double on prisons than Minnesota. No one disagrees, because it is a fact.

Wisconsin crime rate isn't noticeably different from that of Minnesota's to justify locking up around 25,000 people compared to Minnesota's 5500 inmates.

Even Paul Ryan came out last week and talked about prisons in his "poor people just need a life coach (or a parole officer)" poverty plan.

It's a real problem and that problem isn't more apparent anywhere else than in Wisconsin.

Like marriage equality, women's rights, pay equity, veterans and his jobs promise, Scott Walker does NOT want to talk about prisons.

Why?

Because, for the very first time, under Scott Walker, spending on corrections entered the top three things Wisconsin spends its money on after education and Medicaid (which of course could have been totally slashed if Stupid had just taken the Obamacare money), surpassing what the state spends on the UW system.

Why is spending so high? Fancy prisons? Tasty food? No because Walker instituted his own version of truth in sentencing upon taking office. Walker even rescinded court promised parole for inmates who should have gotten out years ago, but are stuck in his system.

See, Minnesota puts their non-violent offenders on parole and back in the community - Wisconsin locks them up and sends you the bill.

Add to the money and the population that Wisconsin incarcerates more black males than any other state in the country and you've got yourself a racist, expensive, boarding house for people who are not working or paying taxes - leaving behind families missing a bread-earner that might help keep them off the public dole.  

Wisconsin state faith leaders have been active for quite awhile about Wisconsin's dirty little secret for the last two years - this week they got loud about it in a report focusing on rampant abuse at Wisconsin prisons across that and particularly at Waupun Correctional.

Now, when the Siren and Paul Ryan actually agree the corrections system and spending are out of control - you know this not a some libtard talking point. So what gives? Why aren't more people, besides a bunch of gentle ministers, yelling about this?

Read the comments. People are fucking stupid.

It isn't just the lack of sympathy for folks who are doing serious time for nonviolent drug offenses, we already know they don't give a shit about their fellow man.

It's the moronic inability to do simple math.

These jerks who rally against paying taxes because the government is inept and inherently greedy - never stop to let that one poor brain cell knocking around their gigantic bobbleheads connect to the idea that 1/3 of the money they so bitterly complaint about is going to lock up a shit load of people who would be better off working, going to school or just spending some money at stores in their own towns.

These dumb fuckers puff out and beat their chests, proud of the idea they are "tough on crime" and never stop to figure out how much it costs them.

Scott Walker's 2011-13 budget spent $2.25 BILLION on the prison system which factors down to a cost of $3.1 million PER DAY it costs the state. Minnesota - which is very similar to Wisconsin, spends a fraction of that.

If the state started sending out a bill to taxpayers every month with their share of the prison bill, we might actually see some prison reform in our state. Until then, the "lock 'em up and throw away the key" crowd will not talk about it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Governor M.Y.O.B.


Listen up Wisconsin, you are officially on a need-to-know basis with Scott Walker, starting today.

On Friday, when no one was looking, the Governor's office decided that it will no longer announce where Scott Walker will be staying when he travels out of state.

Citing "security issues" as if Scotty was Tupac, they don't want any stalkers to predict where he might be staying as he travels the country shaking his ass for billionaires - a move sure to make the folks adding up his skyrocketing security detail work a little harder to figure out how much he's spending.

That wasn't all Scott Walker decided the people who pay him don't need to know.

Also announced on Friday, was the tidbit that Walker's public/private personal Frankenstein known as WEDC, will no longer reveal the names of the companies they are working with to give state subsidies and grants.

Since Walker created WEDC, it has been scandalized by outrageous mismanagement, losing track of millions of dollars, giving lots of money to companies that didn't create jobs - but did donate to Scott Walker and most recently, gave $20 million to companies that outsourced jobs to Mexico and Asia.

That inconvenient detail totally fucked up Walker's campaign plan to paint Mary Burke as the outsourcing queen. Having been forced to return to their weaker smear about a property deal in Pleasant Prairie more than a decade ago, that actually resulted in Uline and their upcoming expansion - no one really cares.

So, Walker has decided that WEDC is going to no longer publicly discuss the companies they are working with. He can't say it's because the whole thing has been such a colossal train wreck - he's blaming his decision on the public:
“Harmful information could include, for example, that a business is considering relocating to or from Wisconsin, expanding or downsizing, moving its headquarters, shifting its focus to a new industry, developing a new technology, or experiencing a hardship,” the statement said. “If businesses hesitate or simply refuse to deal with WEDC because they fear disclosure of this information, the people of this state suffer the consequences.”
In other words, we can't have anyone know who they are because they may have outsourced jobs, contributed to my personal campaign or failed to live up to their previous agreements - and that would be bad for me, Scott Walker.

Mind your own damn business. If you want to know how things are going, you'll just have to trust us.

We know Republicans follow an authoritarian model of behavior, but we think this is a bit too much even for the most ardent authoritarian. It's public-fucking-money.

The Siren has always assumed Scott Walker was a conservative ideologue as well as a competent and ambitious politician. Lately, the really moronic things Walker has said and done makes us wonder if this isn't the beginning of a complete implosion?


Friday, July 25, 2014

Statesman Robin Vos: Immigrant Children Pose "Health Risk" In Wisconsin


Robin Vos is a statesman for the ages, there can be no doubt. When historians look to the douchiest of Wisconsin politicians, it won't be Joe McCarthy they find, it will be Robin Vos.

Having received the official GOP talking points from buddy, Reince Priebus, Little Lord Pops-the-Corn wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, concerned about "health risks" associated with sending 50 refugee children from Central America to Wisconsin. Vos thinks they should be kept near the border instead of with family members in Wisconsin.

Mind you, the "health risks" aren't for the children but for Wisconsinites who might catch whatever imaginary diseases they could be carrying.

It's a particularly despicable meme originated by other Republican colleagues who went so far as to say refugee children from Central America could be carrying the Ebola virus, causing a bunch of white people to rally with awful and misspelled protest signs instead of spending the day at Walmart.

Not only does Vos insert the "health risk" doomsday scenario (used against immigrant children by American assholes for decades) Vos insists on calling them "illegal immigrants" instead of correctly identifying them as refugees, which have very specific laws about how they are processed.

Vos accuses Washington of not following the law - which they actually are, thanks to George Bush.

Let's also point out that Vos represents an area of Wisconsin which has the highest infant-mortality rate among African American children - not just in the entire state, but one of the highest in the country.

Health risk, my ass. It's a health risk for a lot of Wisconsinites just being born in Racine County, buddy.

With a primary coming up, Little Lord Pops-the-Corn needed a press release to calm the teabillies with pitchforks. Hating on some children trying to escape the violence and crime ruining their country is just what he needed. Calling for these children to be locked up and kept along the border instead of with family and friends is the kind of position only a guy with no children of his own could imagine is appropriate.

He's such an asshole.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Scott Walker Goes After The Pill Because Jesus Hates Vajayjays


In a perfect world, no woman would have to explain their vagina's (and what they do with them) aren't an appropriate subject for political discussion.

Seriously, even conservative vaginas are tired of being a "thing" but Republican politicians just won't leave them alone.

Yesterday we learned that Scott Walker, emboldened by his really shitty poll numbers with women in Wisconsin decided to interpret the Hobby Lobby supreme court case as an excuse to allow Wisconsin businesses to stop paying for birth control in their insurance plans if they should happen to feel some religious objection to it - that has absolutely nothing to do with money.

Yes, Scott Walker decided he will no longer enforce the Wisconsin law that says employers offering insurance must cover birth control. Scott Walker now decides which laws he will enforce (but only the ones that involve women's vagina's, otherwise he has absolutely no opinion about those laws).

Like his Common Core reversal, Walker is trying to appeal to the zealots in his party who are starting to turn their attention to lesser races this November - because Mark Burke is beginning to look like a freight train of inevitability. No one likes to be seen rallying for a loser, better to plan rallies for Paul Ryan and Van Wanggaard.

The Marquette Law School poll, which came out yesterday, only underscores Walker's huge problem with women. The Siren has no idea what the Walker campaign is thinking - maybe they don't need women to win? If so, they are wrong.

When the first Wisconsin company decides to take up Scott Walker's offer, people are gonna get pissed-off and sue someone, maybe even Scott Walker.

Birth control is expensive. Birth control keeps abortion rates down. Men like birth control. Women use it for a variety of reasons that having nothing to do with being sluts. What a stupid line in the sand the Walker campaign has drawn - please, don't stop.

  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Swift Bike Republicans File Complaint On Trek


The amazing, Ruth Conniff, at The Progressive magazine called Scott Walker's weird attack on Trek Bicycle Company - "swift-biking." Ruth sure did nail it.

The "swift-biking" became laughably weirder yesterday, when the state GOP party filed a complaint with the GAB, alleging John Burke's full page ad (defending his family's company) amounted to a illegal campaign contribution.

They say John Burke and his sister, candidate for Governor, Mary Burke, coordinated illegally to place the ad in the Journal Sentinel. Yes, you heard that right - illegal coordination.

The same people who tried to stop the John Doe investigation because their right to coordinate with charitable organizations was an infringement of free speech. Free speech for me and not thee?

This is either sheer stupidity or desperation.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Walker's Trek Gamble Misfires, Badly

Harley Davidson, Wolf, Johnson Wax, Trek Bicycles. Just a few retail names associated with Wisconsin. They are as "Wisconsin" as the Dells and Door County.

So, what happens when a sitting Governor takes a giant crap on one of the most beloved and respected companies in the state?

Nothing good, as it would seem from the response to Scott Walker's "Fortune" ad that attacks opponent, Mary Burke, via her family's company, Trek. In the ad, Walker claims Burke made her fortune outsourcing jobs overseas, since a whole bunch of their bike are made there in addition to the ones built in Wisconsin.

A bold and risky move. Some might say, ignorant and cynical too.

It is as if Scott Walker came out and criticized Harley Davidson for making motorcycles overseas. No one running for office in Wisconsin would dream of doing that. (BTW: Harley does produce some of their motorcycles and plenty of parts outside the U.S.) It hasn't stopped Walker from appearing on his Harley with his HD jacket made overseas has it?

John Burke, Mary's brother, took out a full page ad in Sunday's Journal Sentinel defending the family company. He was not happy.

Also worth noting, is that Trek was one of five Wisconsin companies featured on WEDC's website just two years ago, praising Trek and its "pioneering spirit."

Walker doubled down on his attack by responding to Burke's ad through Twitter, by saying Burke didn't address their criticisms. This is not going to end well for Walker, which is a good thing for Mary Burke.

 

Friday, July 18, 2014

PWNED: Mary Burke Shuts Down Walker's Creepy Grandma Ad

Earlier in the week, the Scott Walker campaign released an ad taking a swipe at Trek bicycle for outsourcing jobs to China.

(Like it was some master plan to fuck over Wisconsin workers. There are seriously a half BILLION bikes on the roads in China. Compare that number to that of Wisconsinites one sees on bicycles every day - in all fairness their bikes could be loaded in the back of their SUVs, but we doubt it.)

If you were a company who wanted a piece of that kind of bicycle action, where would you build them? Never mind that Trek is the ONLY American bicycle company who actually builds ANY in the U.S.

Walker's ad was a creepy, mock comedy, of a Grandma (with some really disturbing teeth) reading a fairy tale to a child of Trek's story to take jobs away from Wisconsin workers. (These kind of wink and nod ads are only effective when the topic is not quite so serious, otherwise they come off as churlish and dumb.)

The timing was also a little stupid after newspapers across the state ran with articles this week about WEDC funding three Wisconsin companies who outsourced jobs to Mexico and China after they got awarded some nice taxpayer dollars. (Perhaps Walker's campaign advisors were too busy trying to figure what was mentioned in the John Doe emails set to be released to consider how ill-timed the ad would seem.)

Not taking that sitting down, Mary Burke came back with an ad that is smart, pointed and hits Walker right between the eyes. Enjoy...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Scott Walker's Obamacare Problem


The Siren has nearly made it a part-time job writing about how Scott Walker screwed up his side of the Obamacare rollout. In spite of our best efforts, Scott Walker is still screwing it up, months after the fact.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services came out today with a report which says that nearly 70% of people (roughly 54,000 residents) who were kicked off of Badgercare under Scott Walker's plan, did not purchase health insurance through the marketplace.

Why? Because insurance on the marketplace was too expensive and not designed for people at that level of income. Something Scott Walker knew and was warned about, but did anyway.

That is why the President and the federal government offered Wisconsin 100% of the cost to keep them on Medicaid (Badgercare) and Scott Walker said no.

Not only did Walker say no, he said his plan made sure that everyone in Wisconsin had access health care. He didn't mention the part about because he turned the President down, Wisconsin taxpayers were footing 40% of the bill to cover less people instead of 0%.

The DHS report highlights not only are 54,000 people without health insurance in Wisconsin (driving up health care costs when they become sick and can't pay for it) but we're paying more for a shitty outcome.

Just to make your head explode, our gentle reader, the Siren reminds you that Walker's "Weaslecare" is in the red - to the tune of about $100,000,000 million. Worser and worser.