From Wisconsin’s Department of Unmitigated Gall

I received a charming little missive in my inbox today from none other than our illustrious guv himself:

E-update from the Desk of Governor Scott Walker
One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. In an effort to improve communication, periodically I will be sending out an e-update to provide you with more information about what is going on in state government.

The e-mail smells like a pathetic effort at damage control. Um, guv? Kinda late, dontcha think? You have the nerve to send an e-mail bragging about your accomplishments? Yeah, right. All over Wisconsin we feel the weight of your many accomplishments: slashed education funding, rescinded collective bargaining rights, less access to health care, voter disenfranchisement, and 15,000 fewer jobs since July. This is like getting a missive from the devil crowing about how it’s even hotter in hell these days.

Then I stumbled on this statement made to Talking Points Memo by the Wisconsin state GOP communications director, Ben Sparks:

The Republican Party of Wisconsin is committed to ensuring that Wisconsin electors are not disenfranchised during this recall process. The Democrats have shown they are committed to preserving the status quo, where a man is able to sign a recall petition 80 times, and their frivolous attempt to intervene in this lawsuit only reinforces their willingness to force this baseless recall on Wisconsin voters at any cost.

Say what?!? There’s enough unmitigated gall in those two sentences to make your eyes water.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin, the same outfit that brought you voter suppression a la mode, is “committed to ensuring that Wisconsin electors are not disenfranchised”? Whoa. I want to hear Sparks say that to the college students, the working poor, the elderly, and every other disenfranchised voter in Wisconsin.

And which “status quo” do you suppose Sparks is accusing the Democrats of being committed to preserving? I’m guessing he was not thinking of the status quo of state workers having collective bargaining rights. Or the status quo of clean, transparent governance. Or the status quo of Wisconsin’s great public education system. The people of Wisconsin long for a return to that status quo, Mr. Sparks.

But wait! There’s more! The lawsuit Sparks is referring to is the one brought by the Walker campaign and the Wisconsin Republican Party against the Government Accountability Board asking that the GAB eliminate duplicate or false signatures on recall petitions. Because, of course, it’s not enough that the nonpartisan GAB just do its job as clearly stated in state statutes.

This nonsensical lawsuit actually claims that the guv’s “constitutional rights are being violated by the state’s petition review process.” And Sparks calls the organizers’ request to be involved in the judicial process “frivolous”? Really?

In an interview with Talking Points Memo, Jeremy Levinson, the attorney for the recall organizers, said, “It’s the first time I’m aware of a recall-related lawsuit where only the official who is being targeted for recall gets to be a party, and the folks who are working to recall that official are shut out of the process.” Apparently its frivolous for all the players to ask for a seat at the table.

It's Not Over

And who is Sparks to talk about the “willingness to force” anything “on Wisconsin voters at any cost”? This from the people who used every dirty trick in the book to cram their loathsome “budget bill” down the throats of the people of Wisconsin, who repeatedly refused to listen in spite of unprecedented protests and vehement objections. The people of Wisconsin wouldn’t have had any chance to make themselves heard had it not been for the fourteen Democratic state senators who fled the state in February.

Finally, only someone who has never listened to anything the people of Wisconsin have been saying for the last eleven months would refer to the Walker recall as “baseless.”

7 reasons Republicans and Big Media look like 9/11 responder-hating-asshats.

On Wednesday, December 22nd, a bill originally sponsored by Hillary Clinton in 2006 finally got through congress to help 9/11 first responders with health ailments that they suffer due to paid and unpaid work they did at ground zero. The reason it got through is Jon Stewart. The folks who almost killed it were Republicans and Big Standard Media.

The “party of no” gambled and lost on fighting these heroes. Let’s review the embarrassments the Republican party has heaped upon itself, with some help from the networks.

1. Back in July, Republicans threatened to tack on a “poison pill” amendment to block illegal immigrants from getting any 9/11 healthcare help even if they helped to clear the twin towers wreckage. I am pretty disgusted with any representatives of any party affiliation when they use this status of “illegal immigrant” to try to make heroes less than human. I think if you can verify that you got elbow deep into ground zero and inhaled the toxic dust and cleared the rubble,  you get a free pass on something in this life. Who gives a rip if the hero is or is not a legal immigrant at that point? End of story.

2. In the bill that was in front of the Republicans on December 9th, multiple protections against fraud, multiple options for pay-out, were put on the table. One crucial matter I see in few write-ups: Coverage for health conditions was already  limited to certain 9/11 illnesses only, for example, granulomatous pulmonary diseases which result from a swirling pattern of dust matter in the lungs

3. So much for the media being “liberal”. December 9th, every single Republican senator voted against the Zadronga health bill AND the big media giants ignored it:NBC, CBS, and ABC. But Jon Stewart did not ignore it. But Jon Stewart is a comedian. Working on a COMEDY CHANNEL. It was Jon’s last show on the 17th that finally ensured that a unilateral push would be made to pass this bill.

4. Number two Republican in the Senate, Jon Kyl, on Monday the 20th said he had no idea what was in the bill because there were no hearings. THERE WAS A HEARING IN JUNE 29th. Tom Coburn also had the same line. Even though he was on the same committee that discussed the matter on June 29th-though he did not bother to show up. And according to Robert Livingston, over 20 hearings have been conducted on the matter of 9/11 responder health over the past 9 years.

5. It wasn’t about making sure the bill was “right”. It was about putting priority on tax cuts for the rich, or as Republicans said “tax cuts for ALL Americans”. Senate Republicans on December 9th said they would refuse to deal with anything related to 9/11 responders until the Bush tax cuts & government funding were dealt with.  Meaning: we can’t discuss heroes getting a few billion when our richest friends are waiting to get hundreds of billions of dollars.

6.  Pataki and Giuliani remained silent when their help was needed on this bill. Giuliani only opened his mouth in the last few days when pressure from both conservative and liberal press was building. Pataki is a Republican and former Governor of New York. Giuliani’s silence is most galling, since every other syllable out of his mouth spoke “9/11” when he was running for President. For the record, Republican Rudolph Giuliani was mayor of New York City January 1, 1994 – December 31, 2001.

7. I usually don’t even point out how dark are the workings of FOX. But in this case, it seems unavoidable. FOX blew off the 9/11 responders health bill as “sentimental” as late as December 21st. And Media Matters points out HERE that Peter Johnson Jr. of Fox whitewashed the failure of the bill in the house, assigning equal blame to the GOP as to the Dems. Plus their set of talking heads dismissed Democrat Weiner’s anger in the House.

Whatever is out there to heap blessings upon 1 human being-be it a god or an audience, an executive or Santa-I hope it notices Jon Stewart’s good works this month, and richly rewards him.

Cenk Uygur gives the play-by-play on how comedian Jon Stewart’s actions snowballed into actual political support for 9/11 responders’ healthcare.

Grab bag of blogging, Dec 1: High-speed rail | Republican recipes | NYTimes studies Palin | Die already, DADT | Melee at Isthmus

What’s up with Wisconsin’s rail?: This haunts me. Madison’s Mayor and Common Council President Mark Clear have told the city’s Economic Development Committee to keep its mouth shut and let the mayor diplomatically broach the subject of high-speed rail with Gov-Elect Scott Walker.  And by “diplomatically broach” I mean wait around for Scott Walker to meet with him. I agree with Julie Stone who says: “I think we’re losing a battle of publicity, not politics.”

And what are those Republicans cooking up?: Jack Craver of Isthmus lists 8 actions Wisconsin Republicans will likely implement with their total control. None of which looks capable of creating 250,000 jobs. Representative Jon Richards of Milwaukee went on Public Radio and pledged to keep Republicans to their knitting: ““It’s been a little troubling to hear that one of the first things they’re doing is trying to derail the high speed train project that’s expected to create 5,000 jobs in Wisconsin. That also should be part of the agenda to make sure that project is on track so we keep those jobs in Wisconsin.

Repubs are surely coming in demanding photo I.D. voter registration requirements. I fear eventually they will turn their attentions to the Pro-Life Wisconsin agenda:  opposing abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk, halting embryonic stem cell research, and opposing any artificial birth control.

Palin still here?: New York Times figured out Palin just won’t die or go away, so they did an exhaustive 7 pager on her. We learn that Palin is too secretive and controlling for her own good, she’s an organism hated as much by the Republicans as by me, and she’s rented office space in Iowa — prepping for primary action in 2012.

Cut the DADT crap already: President Obama calls on Senate to act ASAP and repeal “Don’t ask don’t tell” so he can sign it into law. From the study: “We have a gay guy. He’s big, he’s mean and he kills lots of bad guys. No one cared that he was gay,”-quoted member of special operations force.

Gentlemen, start your melee!: Bill Leuders, Dave Blaska, and Jack Craver had a spirited discussion at David Blaska is not telling the truth. I see even Emily Mills popped in! Afterward, I hope they had a beer together.