Category Archives: recall

How to Be an Insufferable Bore

Be born George Will.

Yes, I know I’ve written too damn much about politics lately, but only because that’s all that’s on the damn television, damn radio, and in the damn newspapers because Walker and the Kochs have purchased all the television stations, radio stations, and newspapers north of Illinois so we can’t even talk about the weather because the forecast every day for the past three months has been, “and we’re predicting a continued period of sunshine for billionaires with another 30 months of Scott Walker.”

And it’s not just here: popinjays are using national platforms to publish puff pieces praising Walker that endlessly repeat the same poppycock.

Like George Will.

Enough, I say sir. Enough.

Dear George,

Perhaps the rarefied atmosphere at your altitude is the reason for the fractured fairy tale you authored that appeared in print and online beginning June 1, 2012, parroting Scott Walker’s propaganda about public workers. Back here on earth we call it balderdash.

First: lack of fact checking. Nobody here in Wisconsin has ever heard of anything called a “5 and 12” plan.  And the other stuff you spit out, seemingly at random?  Many public workers already contributed significant percentages toward their health plans and pension fund out of their regular paychecks – and all of them also paid with pre-tax dollars in the form of deferred compensation.

Second: try the truth, it shall set you free.

You said “For 16 months, Wisconsin … has been riven by furious attempts to punish Walker for keeping his campaign promise to change the state’s unsustainable fiscal trajectory driven by the perquisites of government employees.”

Where does one begin? No one is furiously attempting to “punish Walker” – although he never campaigned on ending collective bargaining for public workers (he also admitted eliminating it had no fiscal impact on the state budget). Nor were we on an “unsustainable fiscal trajectory” nor was that nonexistent trajectory “driven by the perquisites of government employees.”

Scotty didn’t inherit a “$3.6 billion deficit” from the prior administration. What we had was a structural deficit (difference between expected revenue and expected budget requests from public agencies) for the next budget period. We always have a structural deficit because public agencies always ask for more than they think they will get.

We also have a state constitution that requires a balanced budget. So we also always have a balanced budget (at least on paper). As in prior years, the challenge was to reconcile the difference between estimated revenues and estimated budget requests.

Estimated revenues were down because of the recent global economic meltdown. So what does Scotty do? He immediately gives massive tax breaks to his cronies ($2.3 billion worth over 10 years).

And please stop telling tales like this one: “what really motivates the unions and elected Democrats is that Walker ended the automatic deduction of union dues from government employees’ pay.” A federal judge has already ruled that the ban on automatic dues deduction is unconstitutional.

(Seriously – you need some help with the problem you have using excessive amounts of overwrought and unfounded rhetoric. Maybe a 12 step program?)

What you coastal talking heads keep ignoring are the facts.

Walker is being recalled (by hundreds of thousands of residents who are neither union members nor public workers) because he: gave tax breaks of more than $2.3 billion to special interests while slashing funding to local governments and for public education, is kicking thousands of children off Badger Care, converted 37 high-level, high-paying merit selection state jobs into personal appointees, made himself the final authority over all rules made by any state agency, pushed through a far-right conservative agenda benefiting a select few (who happened to be his campaign donors), converted the state into a “pay to play” system of cronyism, rolled back worker’s rights, women’s rights (including the Equal Pay Enforcement Act), consumer rights, tenant rights, voting rights, homosexual rights, comprehensive sex education, wetland and environmental protections, and killed off what had been a growing wind energy industry.  And that was just the beginning. He also lied about not raising taxes (increasing taxes on the poor by $49 million), lied about balancing the budget, and is actually running a $143 million deficit.

But that’s not all. He ended up with the worst job record in the country in 2011, raided the mortgage bank settlement designed to help homeowners by diverting more than $25 million toward his budget deficit, and is at the center of a John Doe criminal investigation into illegal campaign activities which has already resulted in criminal charges against multiple former aides (including theft and child enticement) and immunity to several others.

Walker is a man who seriously considered planting instigators in peaceful crowds, laughed about beating people with a bat with his name on it – and sold his soul to the Koch brothers. As the real David Koch said, “We’re helping him, as we should. We’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years. We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”

Please stick to writing about baseball – you’re much better at that – and people expect tall tales.

Idiocracy in action or “Yes, they really are that stupid.”

Back in the olden days, it was difficult to let people know you were a bonehead. If you weren’t the official village idiot, how would they know? Unless they were personally acquainted with you,  so had firsthand knowledge of your abilities or lack thereof, or you did something so spectacularly stupid that it made national news, you could quietly go through life without most people learning that you were a world class twit.

Thankfully, technology has changed all that, allowing people everywhere the opportunity to see for themselves that you are, in fact, a clueless wonder who decided in kindergarten that knowledge was a waste of your time.

The most excellent examples appear online.

For example – facebook.

There are dimwits who post pictures of themselves at the beach after they called in sick. Dolts who post their status as “single” which comes as a surprise to their wives. Dunderheads who brag about the crime they just committed.

And the dummies who entertain the rest of us with their lack of weapons when attempting to engage in a battle of wits.

For example – the comments below, exactly as they appeared on the official “Governor Scott Walker” facebook page, a sampling of typical posts by ordinary, average, run of the mill Walker supporters. Which for some reason did not surprise me.

“So the Dems gravy train has ended and there voters baught with perks upset. Meanwhile in the real world my childs school has hired more teachers, reduced class size, and has more money for learning materials. My property taxes have gone down and theres more money in my pocket. Awsome Job Walker you’ve got my vote. And Gab why don’t you hold yourselves accountable for the tax dollers you are waisting through the shear fact of your existance.”

Oh my. Mrs. Higgins doesn’t teach English or logic but she’s got her red pen and is coming closer. Just a minute … okay – she left the room – I promised her I’ll give this one to her later. First I’ll take a shot at it.

“So the Dems gravy train has ended [What in the world is this person talking about? What gravy train? And if there is one, is it brown gravy or that icky looking white stuff out of a can?] and there [Can’t these people spell? For crying out loud, it’s “their.”] voters baught [okay – so they can’t spell] with perks upset. [This is so illogical I’m thinking we’re being punked.]  Meanwhile in the real world my childs [It’s “child’s” you moron.] school has hired more teachers, reduced class size, and has more money for learning materials. [Wow – he must live in some other state.] My property taxes have gone down and theres [“there’s” – have these people never learned about apostrophes?] more money in my pocket. [guess he didn’t hear about the tax increases]  Awsome [Seriously??] Job [job] Walker you’ve got my vote. And Gab [Gab who??? Gabby? Gabbie? Gabriel? Gabriella?] why don’t you hold yourselves accountable for the tax dollers [Argh! “dollars” you muttonhead – and why should Gabbie be accountable?] you are waisting [Okay – this guy can’t be for real.] through the shear [Really – he must work for “The Onion.”] fact of your existance [definitely].”

The next guy struck the trifecta of facebook fatuousness.

“So let’s get this straight libs fight voter id because minorities and whatnot can’t afford or drive to dmv to get free id. But now there arguing its a good thing to pay extra to bus kids or drive them to school. Anybody else see all the hypocrisy on the lib side?”

“I live in a liberal town the teachers bitch about walker. But yet busing is free no teachers have been laid off have assistants in every class. They also got 20 I pads for k-2. But I have also found out the bad teachers are horrible they have sent pre k and kindergarten outside with no supervision there’s alot of bullying. Principle said teachers are suppose to be out there but it was cold blah blah. We can barely afford but my daughter starts private school next yr all parents love it teachers are very happy and spend lots of time with kids and only 1k per yr. Screw union teacher greed I want my kid to learn.”

“climate change should not be taught in school more scientists against it than for it. I’ve read many reports from scientists the earth has heating cooling trends we have been in warming trend since iceage hence we aren’t surrounded by ice.”

You know what scares me the most about this guy? He reproduced.

And the next one gets his science information off a matchbook.

Let me ask you a question.How far back does our weather data go??? 150 years. So everyone can base climate change on that little amount of info. When you get thousands of years of data then you can talk. Until then it’s just hear say. The global warming bullcrap was proven wrong because some people put out false data and were caught. This was so they could try for a worldwide carbon tax. Who would get all of this money??? The same people who lied in the first place. That’s why these scientists lie to get money,grants. the sky is falling the sky is falling. But did it. Remember the hole in the ozone. they blamed it on freon. Yes all the freon in the world went south and made a hole. so they banned it. But before they could stop everyone from using it around the world the hole was gone. How did that happen??? They were still using the very product that they said caused the problem. It was a lie!!! It’s funny but the very same company that had made the first product also made it’s replacement and in record time and made billions because of it. Stop believeing in what your told and look it up and do some real reseach. The media tells you only what they want you to know. Real knowledge is power. Your tax dollars paid for a lie and the false research etc…. Keeping you baffled with B.S. just keeps the money flowing.”

He’s baffled all right. As is this guy:

“if you are in debt can not grow. History be minus in Checkbook and get hit 1,000 day. People need to grow up like him.”

But I’ve saved the best for last. Because no matter what else – at least the village idiots keep us entertained.

Their are plenty of job openings. Unfortunately because of some immature folks, they want the six figure salaries and everything handed to them. You can’t spell perserveirence without serve!!

Earth: Final Conflict

Hello.

In case you hadn’t already guessed, I’m on the planet Earth. In Wisconsin. USA.

Here in the Dairy State, we’ve been a little busy since Scott Walker was elected governor by the Koch brothers, running on bland promises to create jobs and balance the budget without raising taxes while the Kochs spent millions in negative ads attacking Walker’s opponent, Tom Barrett, as a kitten-killing, tax-and-spend, possibly Muslim, anti-American elitist who would cause a tsunami of economic disaster to sweep across the state leaving only devastation and dead cows in its wake.

So Scotty got elected because nobody wants a tsunami. We all saw what one of those can do in 2012, Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, and The Poseidon Adventure and I think I speak for all of us when I say that the prospect of being stranded in an upside down boat while a comet destroys the planet is not where any of us wanted to be.

But then Scotty got elected, dropped “the bomb“, and we realized the tsunami had struck anyway.

He gave tax breaks of more than $2.3 billion to special interests while slashing funding to local governments and for public education, tried to kick thousands of children off Badger Care, converted 37 high-level, high-paying merit selection state jobs into personal appointees, made himself the final authority over all rules made by any state agency, pushed through a far-right conservative agenda benefiting a select few (who happened to be his campaign donors), converted the state into a “pay to play” system of cronyism, rolled back worker’s rights, women’s rights (including the Equal Pay Enforcement Act), consumer rights, tenant rights, voting rights, homosexual rights, comprehensive sex education, wetland and environmental protections, and killed off what had been a growing wind energy industry.  And that was just the beginning. He also lied about not raising taxes (increasing taxes on the poor by $49 million), lied about balancing the budget, and is actually running a $143 million deficit.

But that’s not all. He ended up with the worst job record in the country in 2011, raided the mortgage bank settlement designed to help homeowners by diverting more than $25 million toward his budget deficit, and is at the center of a John Doe criminal investigation into illegal campaign activities which has already resulted in criminal charges against multiple former aides and immunity to several others.

But it’s not his fault.

It’s the fault of the Big Government Union Bosses.

How do I know? Because he keeps saying so. Not just once, but twelve times in one fund raising letter, and fourteen times in another. And on his campaign website. And on his official Wisconsin Governor website. The “Big Government Union Bosses,” “Big Government Unions,”and “Public Employee Union Bosses” are “really in charge” of the recall. I’m even getting phone calls from people hired by PACs that definitely do not coordinate with him telling me that “Big Unions” are railroading Scotty.

This is no ordinary conflict. This is Union Armageddon.

And it’s not just any scary big union bosses that are to blame. It’s big union bosses from the scariest group of all: teachers.

How do I know? Because Scotty keeps telling me so. He mentioned them more than ten times in just five days on his official facebook page and just about once or twice on all other days. But he didn’t mention firefighters or police officers or emergency personnel or public workers or snowplow drivers or sanitation workers. Only teachers.

That’s right, teachers are railroading Scotty. Teachers are to blame for all his problems. Teachers are to blame for all our problems. Teachers are to blame for the global economic meltdown, the Lindberg kidnapping, the extinction of the passenger pigeon,  soured milk, and spilled beer.

(Mrs. Higgins just made a gagging sound. I hope she’s all right.)

He told the NRA that he’s their target, because he is the only thing in “their way of getting their hands on money and power.” And we all know that people become teachers because of their insane lust for money and power.

Only Scotty can protect us. He’s not facing a recall because he cut taxes on the richest, raised taxes on the poorest, rolled back rights for most of us and generally did everything possible to help his campaign donors by adopting an agenda that hurts the rest of us. And he’s not being recalled because he’s an amoral liar who out-Nixons Nixon.

Nope. He’s being recalled because he wants to keep the power in the “hands of hard-working taxpayers instead of [a] handful of big govt union bosses” like Mrs. Higgins (who pays taxes but her taxes don’t count because she is a teacher and big govt union boss).

Even as I speak, gangs of Big Government Union Boss teachers armed with grade books and Number 2 pencils are gathering, seeking to recall Scotty and install their personal puppet, Lamb Chop, as governor.

So it’s all about focusing like a laser on keeping teachers the evil scum scapegoats he wants us all to believe they are. Even though they don’t work for the state. So can’t be blamed for the state’s economic woes. Or the deficit.

And to help Walker help us, billionaire David Koch is hard at work. “We’re helping him, as we should. We’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years,” he says. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”

Welcome to Salem or Joe McCarthy Redux

Ssssshhhhh! Evwebody be veh-we, veh-we quiet. We’re huntin’ some wascawe witches. They signed a wecaw petition so we know exactwe where they wiv!

A mob of Elmer Fudds has gathered with pitchforks and torches, intent on hunting down, shaming, exposing, and otherwise intimidating as many people as possible that they can identify on any recall petition.

[Note to mob: signing a recall petition is not a partisan activity. The recall petition is merely a document the signing of which makes possible the recall of a public official by the citizens of this state through the exercise of a constitutional right. It’s not based on a political “party” and therefore is not party-san – get it? If you still don’t understand, Mrs. Higgins wants a word with you]

I saw this coming. As soon as the GAB announced it would post copies of the petitions online, I knew – because Walker supporters tend to be ignorant, violent show a bigoted lockstep mindset that would make Hitler envious (Seig heil!) – that it would be open season on anyone who had the temerity to exercise a constitutional right. [And no – before anybody starts, I am NOT comparing Walker to Hitler. Walker’s not that smart. I’m only talking about mindless followers.]

Walker supporters had already demonstrated their capacity for blind hatred, through foul language, bullying, and criminal behavior including assaulting recall volunteers and vandalism.

So I knew that they would love to have access to names and addresses.

But it didn’t have to be facilitated by the state.

So, when I learned the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) had posted the signed petitions on its website, I wrote the director of the GAB:

Walker supporters who oppose the recalls are doing everything possible to intimidate and harass those who support the recall (including assaults and death threats) as has been documented in numerous incidents around the state. You are making it easier for them to do so. You also will make people think twice about signing anything in the future.

As a public servant and in light of your responsibilities, you should be doing everything possible to protect the public and the process, not harm them. Your “practice” harms both, which is especially offensive because you are doing it voluntarily, on your own initiative.

The law allows the public to ask to examine, inspect, and copy public records upon request. The law does NOT require the records to be available 24/7 or without a request.

I ask you to respect all of us and comply with all portions of the open record law – including requiring a request be made to examine the record – and applying the balancing test before releasing the record. And I ask you to remove the online versions.

Kennedy refused.

I wrote again:

On Facebook, someone has started a page called: “I Will Be Getting Your Info off the Recall Petition,” complete with a picture of a burning home. https://www.facebook.com/groups/WIwillbeSaved/?notif_t=group_activity#!/pages/I-Will-Be-Getting-Your-Info-Off-the-Recall-Petition/176773262429358

The first comment? “Crazy right wingers know where you live. Imagine the possibilities!”

People were already getting death threats and being verbally and physically assaulted – including rocks thrown through windows.

Why in the world do you want to expose people to more harm? You may not care about that – but I hope you at least care about the potential liability of your agency.

He still refused.

I wrote again:

And here’s another comment posted by “I Will Be Getting Your Info Off the Recall Petition” on his facebook page:

You know who you are. WE know who you are. This is gonna get FUN!!

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/I-Will-Be-Getting-Your-Info-Off-the-Recall-Petition/176773262429358

I again ask you to change your practice and not put the petitions online.

He still refused. That was in January.

Enter “Verify the Recall,” an effort by “Skew the Vote,” “We the Wingnuts of the Republic,” and “Wisconsin Grandsons of the KKK.” (They call themselves True The Vote, We the People of the Republic, and Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty, but learn anything about them and you’ll agree with me.)

In a group effort by thousands of (crazy, insane, obsessed, deluded) people around the country who were concerned about the fraud committed by thousands of union thug Wisconsinites (because no way would they ever get enough real signatures), they took the information from the GAB website and made it their own. Only better. Their online version was searchable.

And thus the hunt began.

Individuals, public officials, public employees, judges, employees of newspapers and television: anyone is a possible victim. Why? Because under the guise of “transparency” the witch hunters are launching a rabid attack against those who dared disagree with them.

Of course “Verify the Recall” says this is about “transparency” not intimidation.

Right. And Walker says he likes teachers.

But I say, look for yourself. Take a gander at the VTR facebook page. Some of the “transparent” posts are copied below.

So you be the judge. And jury. And executioner. Just like the good folks at VTR. All you need is its database – and your own firewood.

From the Verify the Recall facebook page:

“Have you investigated your own ‘corner of the world’ at iVerifyTheRecall.com yet?”

“Recall signatures include those of local elected officials, school leaders…”

“The University of Wisconsin System’s chief spokesman said he regrets signing a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker”

“MMSD’s New Superintendent Daniel Nerad’s Signature Highlights the Challenges Faced by VTR Data Entry Volunteers”

“29 Wisconsin Judges Signed Gov. Walker Recall Petitions. Verify The Recall Volunteers: your data entry efforts continue to pay dividends!”

“Landmark Legal Foundation is requesting an investigation of 29 Wisconsin circuit court judges who signed a recall petition”

“Verify The Recall Volunteers: Your efforts have allowed for stories like this to break into the news!!! Click on the recall petition images — they are ALL from iVerifyTheRecall.com! YOU HAVE MADE A REAL IMPACT IN WISCONSIN! BREAKING: Wisconsin Judicial Commission Stacked with Democrats, Prosser Investigation Led by Democrat”

“This is what vetting our representatives looks like. Check to see if their views are similar to your own, and if not, defeat them”

“Verify The Recall provides media transparency as reported by Breitbart’s Big Journalism… More Wisconsin Journalists in Trouble for Signing Walker Recall http://www.breitbart.com Media Trackers reports that a news anchor and a colleague at WISC-TV, the Madison, WI affiliate of CBS, have both signed recall petitions against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, and that both are under investigation.”

“Verify The Recall More transparency in the media thanks to Verify The Recall! EXCLUSIVE: Madison TV News Anchor Appears to Sign Recall | Media Trackers mediatrackers.org”

“Verify The Recall: Bringing transparency to election races at all levels! Are Partisan Politics Finding a Seat On The School Board? Although it’s a nonpartisan elected position, the politics is playing an increased role on the Menomonee Falls School Board and the upcoming election. And it’s not just happening in Menomonee Falls.”

‎”Verify The Recall: Bringing transparency to the media!Genia Lovett column: Post-Crescent journalists shouldn’t have signed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker”

“Verify The Recall introduces transparency in the UW System … On Campus: The University of Wisconsin System’s chief spokesman said he regrets signing a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker.”

“Verify The Recall More transparency out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin … Recall signatures include those of local elected officials, school leaders. More than a dozen local public officials, including a majority of the Eau Claire City Council and school board, were among those who signed recall petitions aimed at Gov. Scott Walker and other state Republican lawmakers.”

“6 State Journal staffers signed recall petitions; all but 1 not involved in news Wisconsin State Journal editors learned this week that six staff members signed petitions calling for the recall of Gov. Scott Walker.”

“In addition to other discoveries VTR has made, I found one of our local school board candidates listed, but not the other three. Their candidacies do not designate a political party, so this helped make up my mind who to vote for…”

“I would also suggest that you look up your school board members who have run as non-partisans. If they publicly show their partisansip and want to recall our Governor and his Act 10 which gives the school boards tools to help with the budgeting, they will probably not be good representatives of the taxpayers when negotiating new teacher contracts.”

“I would definitely suggest also that you look up your aldermen, school board members etc to see if they signed. Know the sussex hamilton has a couple of instances where certain officials changed the spelling of their names and one who signed twice, 1 correctly and 1 wrong..interesting also the guy ran as a republican for another office..and the other also signed recall for Darling not spelling her name correctly..all I can say is WOW , this is how these public officials fool people into thinking they are conservative and they are not…so THANK YOU VTR and all who worked on this transparency!

“Remember you can look up those running for office to see if they signed. Hannah C. Dugan running for judge branch 23 signed”

“Whoever came up with the idea to put the Scott Walker recall petitions at IVerifytheRecall.com might be in line for some kind of journalism award.”

Scott Walker: the Great Divider

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently published an “opinion piece” which, in essence, stated that recalls should be limited to cases of misconduct in office, because recalls are distracting and divisive and “too easy.”

Excuse me? Thousands of people across the state, many of them enduring threats and assaults, spent countless hours standing in the rain and snow during two cold Wisconsin winter months to collect almost a million signatures and that was “too easy”?

And Walker’s not the one doing the dividing????

Codswallop. I wrote the editor of the editorial page:

Dear Mr. Haynes,

Should I ever doubt the reason why the newspaper industry is dying, all I need do is re-read the recent “opinion” piece, “Tighten up rules governing reasons for recall elections.” to erase all doubts from my mind.

First thing is: if you’re going to publish an “opinion,” make sure it’s an informed opinion based on facts, not fiction.

The person who wrote the piece (nice how it’s anonymous) based the entire premise on this misstatement: “It’s bad enough that recall fever has dragged Wisconsin into the muck of bitter and ugly political contests such as the kind we saw last summer. Worse is that it’s taking attention away from legitimate political fights such as the Republican presidential primary and local contests on April 3. And even worse is that it’s contributed to such a poisonous atmosphere in Madison that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to get the people’s work done.”

(Please note: “the people’s work” is not eliminating consumer and tenant rights, women’s rights, repealing equal pay, disenfranchising voters, cutting people off from medical insurance, raising taxes on the poor, or otherwise harming the vast majority of “the people.”)

You must be living in another dimension, because in this one, “recall fever” isn’t to blame for anything. The “poisonous atmosphere” is due to Scott Walker and his Republican sidekicks. It’s due to their lies, their secrecy, their back room, behind closed and locked doors deals, their late night votes, their blatant violations of the constitution, state laws, and court orders, their abuse of power, their selling out the people of this state for their campaign donors and special interests, their throwing the poor, the elderly, students, women, consumers, tenants, the environment and minorities under the bus to advance their private agenda.

Scotty made clear from the beginning that this was all about him and his power to do what he wanted – and he would negotiate nothing.

The mining bill died because it was a bad bill, a bill written by a private company for its sole benefit, a bill that would poison our pristine north woods and the watershed of the Bad River tribe in exchange for unsubstantiated claims of “high paying jobs” (which likely would have gone to out of state workers).

So when you (or whoever the anonymous author was) blame an inability to compromise and “political gamesmanship” due to “bitter feelings” arising from the recalls you ignore the truth and you slaughter the facts.

Walker lacks the ability to compromise; Walker and his Republican sidekicks chose to jam through not just the mining bill, but numerous bills using “political gamesmanship” including calling votes before the time scheduled for the vote and while the members of the other party weren’t even in the room.

And the statement that “the recall” is “taking attention away from legitimate political fights such as the Republican presidential primary and local contests” eliminates facts all together and proceeds straight to complete fabrication.

People aren’t paying attention to the Republican presidential primary because of the Republican candidates. When the choice is between Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, and Tweedle Dumber, most folks would rather have a root canal then have to pay attention to what can best be described as the “Titanic” meets “The Three Stooges.”

If it’s impossible “to get the people’s work done” then point your finger in the right direction: at Scott Walker.

Not long ago, your paper endorsed him for Governor, claiming his experience as Milwaukee County Executive (a job he obtained through a recall – imagine that!) showed he was better qualified than his opponent. Of course, news reports have shown his time was spent running up debt as he kicked the can down the road for the county and took actions that exposed the County to millions of dollars in liability. And there’s that little matter of the John Doe investigation (it seems much more likely that Walker’s illegal campaign activities have dragged Wisconsin into the muck, if muck there is). And perhaps you should listen once again to his conversation with “David Koch.”

The Fourth Estate should be supporting Walker’s recall, demanding his resignation, and staunchly defending the existing recall/democratic process – not supporting Robin Vos’s plan to change it.

His proposal to change the recall process only protects the guilty. Misconduct as the only reason for a recall? These guys took secrecy pledges, have wasted millions upon millions of tax dollars to implement special interest laws – were willing to send bounty hunters to Illinois to kidnap the 14 and drag them back to Madison: they wouldn’t recognize misconduct if it bit them on the ass – or looked back at them in the mirror.

Instead of blaming “the recall,” place the blame squarely where it belongs –  on Scott Walker.

“Truth: conformity with fact or reality”

Dear Republican Party of Wisconsin,

I’m worried about you. You’ve been sending me expensive three-color 8.5” by 11” fliers telling me how wonderful Scott Walker is. I found three in my mailbox yesterday, and another one today. I’m assuming you sent them to persuade me to believe you and support Walker during the pending recall.

It’s nice of you to think of me – and I know the Post Office can use the business – but I’m starting to wonder if you’ve been consuming something which might impair your judgment.

Why do I wonder? Two of the ones from yesterday went on and on and on about the “do-nothing” Congress in Washington D.C. (yes, that’s right, the Congress in which the Republicans vowed they would block any attempts to do anything until the next election).

I must caution you that when it’s your party doing the nothing, you might not want to remind me of that when you’re asking me to support a Republican – even if you do call him a “do-something” governor. Because I might not be crazy about the something he’s been doing.

And then there’s that whole “wiped out a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes” spiel. Please – I mean, I think we both know that: 1. the forecast deficit was only on paper and 2. the budget has always been balanced in Wisconsin because our state constitution requires it and 3. Walker’s budget raised taxes on the poor and 4. Walker admitted that he didn’t really balance the budget, just paid it forward with accounting tricks. (“Wisconsin has or projects to have a budget deficit during state fiscal year 2012″ and “projects a budget deficit for the  state fiscal year 2013.”)

Now let’s address your pronouncement that Walker is “creating Wisconsin Jobs.”

I understand denial. I have a whole wardrobe waiting for when I finally lose those extra 5 pounds. But it’s not healthy. I know the truth can be difficult to confront. I know you want to pretend otherwise, but in the long run you’ll feel much better if you just accept it.

Take a deep breath. Then another, and repeat after me: “Wisconsin has lost jobs every month since Walker’s budget became law.” There now, don’t you feel better? (And by the way, saying that public workers “now contribute to their health care and pension benefits” conveniently overlooks the reality that they already did through deferred compensation. And what is it with you treating them like a separate species? You know – the “they’re not like ’us’ ” bit).

And it strikes me that you think Walker is some kind of magical job fairy, with jobs popping into existence wherever he goes: “Walker visits Whitewater Generac plant, company announces 400 new jobs.”

I’m not a psychologist but even I can sense a certain disconnect from reality going on here. If it were true, shouldn’t he be traveling from town to town like Johnny Appleseed, magically creating jobs instead of wasting his time at NYC fundraisers hosted by AIG bigwigs? (Yes, that AIG, the one which cratered the economy.)

Maybe the disconnect from reality is why you are able to say things like “Walker is saving Wisconsin taxpayers $848 million” while citing Walker’s own website as the factual source. Or announce (with no factual basis) that “Wisconsin’s job creators agree: With Scott Walker as Governor, Wisconsin is moving forward.”

First, let me say that that I really don’t want the state moving anywhere, but if you do move it, could you put it between California and Oregon? (They get some great weather out there.)

Second, what is it with “job creators”? You showed me nice pictures of smiling professional models and actors who look happy to be professional models and actors. They also look like they live someplace that’s not in Wisconsin (like the guy who’s standing on the prairie somewhere in Colorado).

I’m really interested in learning who these job creators really are. Because you don’t say. What you do say is that 94% of them “feel Wisconsin is now heading in the right direction.” Even though that’s not what the survey question asked. This is supposed to persuade me?

The actual question was “Do you think things in Wisconsin are going in the right direction?” (Please note – NO “now” included.) That survey was answered by 281 members of the conservative Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which gives Walker a lot of money in exchange for favors.

I understand you skipped your reasoning classes but try to follow me. Isn’t this about the most useless question ever? What does it mean? What are “things”? What is the “right” direction? What if they were talking about Blu-ray vs. DVD’s?

And who could presume that either the question or the answer had anything to do with a magical job fairy? Or could ever be stretched beyond recognition to justify saying that “Wisconsin’s job creators agree: With Scott Walker as Governor, Wisconsin is moving forward”?

And I understand you also skipped math class, because 94% of 281 is 264. So what the survey really says is that 264 random (probably wealthy) people, none of whom I might call a job creator (which my economic text books define as “consumer demand”) feel “things” are heading in the “right direction.”

We don’t know what things. And we don’t know what direction (east, west, north or south), only that it’s the “right” one.

Which is why I’m writing to you. Because, quite frankly, this level of inaccuracy passes beyond mere embarrassment to become outright mortification. While I hesitate to call you a dirty, deceitful, no good, lying sack of excrement, I will say that your veracity seems less than reliable.

Maybe it’s denial. Maybe you cut class whenever logic and the economy were being discussed. Maybe it’s hallucinogens. Maybe you’re fact-challenged. Maybe you’re plumb crazy. Maybe you’re just plain dumb. Whatever the reason, I know you can be helped.

It’s easy. All you have to do is repeat after me: “the truth shall set you free.”

You’ll feel better. Really. Although you might suddenly find yourself supporting the recall.

At The Front

I did my duty yesterday: I volunteered for a shift at a drive-up recall petition signing station. I am of course referring to the recall of our proud leader, Scott Walker, and his loyal sidekick and former television personality, Rebecca Kleefisch.

I stood at an intersection in the freezing grey off-and-on again mist holding a large recall sign. A really busy intersection.

First mistake: believing a weather report that said it would be sunny and 40 degrees and dressing accordingly.

Three hours of sign waving allows plenty of time for observations: way too many people run red lights. Way too many people use cell phones while driving. Way too many people still don’t wear seat belts. And it’s astounding that we don’t have way too many more accidents caused by the hordes of idiots driving and using cell phones while running red lights. And a 5 pound sign feels like 50 after holding it over your head for 3 hours.

And Walker supporters are illogical and very angry people.

Mind you, we weren’t exactly being confrontational. We didn’t chase people down, push a pen into their hand, then hold a gun to their head (which might tend to invalidate the signature anyway).

Nope, we stood on public property with signs and clip boards waiting for people to come to us. We aren’t trying to convert anyone, merely offering an opportunity to people who want to exercise their right to sign to do so. (We live in one of those wacky states with a constitution protecting the unconditional right of voters to recall elected state officials: Article XIII, Section 12.)

Yet Walker supporters, seemingly affronted by the notion of protected rights, feel compelled to shout things their mothers would not approve of, wave their middle fingers, gnash their terrible teeth and roll their terrible eyes and show their terrible claws. (And rev their terrible engines to make terrible clouds of exhaust to choke the obviously terrible recall volunteers.)

They also spit (which is becoming increasingly popular) – and yes, we are talking about grown ups.

Recalls apparently are something Walker and his supporters don’t like when he’s the one being recalled. (Otherwise they are just fine. When he became Milwaukee County Executive because of a recall, Walker gushed enthusiastically about the process: “You saw people standing up shoulder to shoulder, neighbor to neighbor and saying we want our government back. And in doing so the real emotion on display was about hope.”)

So he doesn’t like it now, even though it started when one of his own supporters filed recall paperwork with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB, which handles recalls). Yes – you read that right. No you aren’t hallucinating. A Walker supporter filed the paperwork ten days before the anti-Walker recall would start. Yes that seems nuts. Until you learn it triggered an exception to the limits on campaign donations: the incumbent in a recall may collect unlimited amounts (none of that wimpy $10,000 per person maximum nonsense). So his supporter gave him an extra 10 days to pass the hat, allowing rich Texan conservatives to send him $250,000 checks.

Making sensible people wonder why rich people from Texas would give him money.

His recall defense strategy continued with supporters fraudulently collecting signatures they announced they would trash  or burn, actions which are considered felonies.

The illegal fraud by Walker supporters concerned voters who wanted to make sure their signatures would be counted, so they took the perfectly legal step of signing again, which caused Walker supporters to accuse them of fraud (and ethically-challenged Wisconsin legislator, Jeff Fitzgerald, to propose a law making it a felony to sign more than once).

This all seems perfectly logical if, in fact, you belong to the fact-challenged Flat Earth Society. Or are an ethically-challenged Wisconsin legislator with the last name of Fitzgerald.

The illegal actions by Walker supporters continued with damaging recall signs, damaging recall petitions (in more than one place) – sometimes ripping them up and walking away,  or ripping them up then driving away, or calling themselves George Washington.

Sometimes supporters attack recall volunteers while shouting seasonal greetings like, “I’m going to kill that blankity, blank, blank”  – and destroying personal property. Other supporters express their unbridled enthusiasm for Walker through “a torrent of abuse and obscenities” and unwanted physical contact.

Meanwhile, some Walker supporters share holiday wishes in the form of death threats or by delivering personal greetings by throwing rocks through windows.

Not to be outdone are supporters who advocate illegally signing petitions as “Adolph Hitler” with a home address of “666 Hell Street (your city),” while falsely claiming it’s perfectly legal to do so.

Now if none of this was enough to convince you that Walker supporters might be illogical and very angry people (if not completely unhinged) consider this: recalls are perfectly legal. Why would anyone interfere with a legal process – unless they feared the outcome. Desperately feared it.

Even though Walker and his supporters insist “it’s working” as Wisconsin hemorrhages thousands of jobs month after month, and even though Walker and his supporters insist that the vast majority of voters overwhelmingly support Walker and that Walker would win in a landslide.

So of course they have nothing to fear and could let the recall proceed without disrupting or interfering with it because Walker cannot lose, right?

Which would mean that Walker would decry the illegal actions of his supporters and demand that they cease and desist and not resort to unlawful conduct. And would mean that he would never have found it necessary to his job security to sue the GAB to slow down or subvert the recall process. If what Walker said was true. But his record for “truthiness” is dubious at best.

Even the less than fair and balanced PolitiFact determined that nearly 70% of the 38 Walker statements it examined are false. He seems to live in an alternate universe where just saying things makes them true. For example in a recent letter, he falsely claimed that, because of his actions,  “Wisconsin is debt-free for the first time in a decade,” when in fact, Wisconsin continues to carry billions of dollars of debt.

Which may be why Walker supporters who aren’t billionaires are all honorary members of the Flat Earth Society, fanatically denying the truth and doing anything – including committing felonies and harassing recall volunteers – to stop a recall they “know” Walker can’t lose.