Daily Archives: March 15, 2011

The Examiner: Fascism is Alive and Gaining Strength in America

March 13, 2011- “They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesman for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”

Sound like anyone you know?

The quote is actually from FDR’s Vice President, Henry Wallace — in 1944. He was talking about the rising tide of fascism in America.

Fascism was defined most succinctly in the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary as: “a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”

It’s no accident that this all has the ring of vague familiarity. The parallels between recent events in the U.S. and the international rise of fascism that led to the Second World War are inescapable.

Talking Points Memo: Walker’s Budget Would Make WI Labor Mediator A Political Appointee

March 15, 2011- As part of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's biennial budget, the general counsel for the commission that handles labor-management disputes in the state would become a political appointee. And according to The Wisconsin State Journal, that commission, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC), will now have final say in disputes that were previously covered under contract provisions for state employees.

"It puts this person is a very difficult position ethically," George Fleischli, a former WERC general counsel, told the State Journal.

Peter Davis, the current general counsel, has held the position since 1981.

"Being a civil servant, he doesn't have to worry about whether we're going to agree with him or going to get upset with him, and we really need that," commission chair Judy Neumann said.

When asked about the proposal, Wisconsin Democratic Party Communications Director Graeme Zielinski did not mince words.

Talking Points Memo: Wis. GOPers Restore Voting Rights To Senate Dems, Lift Fines

March 15, 2011- The Wisconsin state Senate Republicans backed away Tuesday afternoon from a controversial sanction they handed down against state Senate Democrats, who had fled the state in an attempt to block passage of Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union proposals. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Senate President Mike Ellis will not enforce the contempt declaration handed down against the Dems — which, as Fitzgerald said Monday, stripped the Dems of the right to vote in committee proceedings.

In addition, Republicans will not enforce the fines, of $100 for each additional missed session day, that they handed down late during the Dems' absence,

"The name of the game is moving this state forward, putting this stuff behind us," Ellis said. "Let's get on with the people's business. Let's stop all the bickering."

Talking Points Memo: Schumer: House GOP Freshman, Conservatives Are ‘Scott Walker Republicans’

March 15, 2011- The political consequences for Republicans in Wisconsin are paying dividends for Democrats in DC.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is now pressuring House Speaker John Boehner to make a choice: negotiate with us, or side with the conservatives in your party, whom he described on a conference call with reporters Tuesday as "Scott Walker Republicans… using the budget to try and shoot the moon on [right wing] policy measures."

This is of a piece with Schumer's heads-you-lose, tails-you-lose offer to Boehner Monday, to dismiss the tea party constituency in his caucus and reach a bipartisan spending agreement with Democrats. Now he's citing Republican defectors as evidence that the real goal in this spending fight is to impose a conservative agenda via the budget process, just like in Wisconsin.

"In the recent battle in Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker went to war on his public sector unions…unions agreed to reduce their benefits," Schumer said. "[Walker] went further and insisted on ending collective bargaining entirely…it's not really about budget cuts."

Talking Points Memo: Ohioans Having Incredible Buyers Remorse Over Gov. Kasich

March 15, 2011- Just a few months into his first term, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) appears to be immensely unpopular with his constituents, a clear majority of whom disapprove of his job performance, according to a PPP poll of registered voters. What's more, if a do-over election were held today Kasich would lose — by a resounding 15-point margin.

Kasich barely defeated incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland (D) last November, winning by a slim 49% to 47%. But if they could do it all over again, 55% of voters now say they would vote for Strickland, while only 40% say they'd go with Kasich.

Kasich's short tenure has been marked by several mini-scandals, including an incident last month when he called a police officer who issued him a ticket an idiot — three times, on camera. Then came the contentious budget debate, when he forcefully pushed for a bill to strip state employees of their collective bargaining rights. That bill goes even further than the one recently passed in Wisconsin, which prompted weeks of enormous protests and has sparked a recall petition for the state's republican senators.

Talking Points Memo: Wis. GOPer Whose Home Was Picketed To Propose Bill Outlawing Pickets At Homes

March 15, 2011- Wisconsin state Senator Van Wanggard, one of the Republican legislators whose home has been picketed in the political battle over Gov. Scott Walker's newly-passed law curtailing public employee unions, told the Racine Journal Times that he will be writing a new bill — to outlaw picketing at private homes.

"When they come to my house it's intimidating and threatening," said Wanggard, a freshman who defeated a Democratic incumbent in the 2010 Republican wave.

He told the paper that some municipalities already have ordinances against such demonstrations at private residences, but he would like to see a statewide statute, and is in the early stages of writing a proposal.

Also from the report:

When people went to his house picketing he wasn't even there, he said.

He doesn't have a problem with them going to his office, he said, but when people picket in neighborhoods that is a different story.

Talking Points Memo: Three WI Republicans Trail In Recall Election Against Generic Dems

March 15, 2011- Three of the eight Wisconsin Senate Republicans eligible for recall, who just last week voted to strip state employees of most of their collective bargaining rights, trail generic Democratic challengers in hypothetical recall matchups, according to a PPP poll of registered voters commissioned by Daily Kos.

Democratic activists in Wisconsin have been circulating petitions to gather the requisite number of signatures to trigger a recall election for each of the GOP Senators legally eligible to be recalled this year, with a goal of overturning the current Republican majority. Democrats would need to flip three seats in order to reclaim the majority.

In the poll, Sen. Dan Kapanke trailed a generic Democrat 55% to 41%, while Sen. Randy Hopper trailed 49% to 44% in his theoretical contest. Sen. Luther Olsen also lagged behind an unnamed Democrat, but by a slimmer 49% to 47%.

In two other contests, the Republican incumbents, Sen. Rob Cowles and Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, led by two-point and four-point margins respectively, indicating that those races could also be competitive.

Talking Points Memo: Wis. GOP State Senator’s Wife: He Had An Affair, ‘Now Lives Mostly In Madison’

March 15, 2011- As Wisconsin Democrats mobilize recall campaigns against Republican state Senators, in response to Gov. Scott Walker's newly-passed law curtailing public employee unions, one targeted GOP legislator is facing a negative side story: A messy divorce — and claims by his estranged wife that he "now lives mostly in Madison" after having an affair.

As the local NBC affiliate in Milwaukee and the CBS affiliate in Madison report, state Sen. Randy Hopper's (R) wife Alysia Hopper has written a letter stating:

"It is correct that my husband, Randy Hopper, started an affair in January 2010 with a then-25-year-old Republican aide. This affair has caused great emotional pain for my children and me. Randy moved out, without attempting marital counseling, as of May 2010 and now lives mostly in Madison."Randy Hopper's campaign spokesman Jeff Harvey told the Milwaukee NBC station: "Senator Hopper maintains an apartment in the district where he lives and works. He and his wife separated roughly a year ago and are divorcing, which is a private family matter."

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Low-income elderly could lose drug plan

SeniorCare enrollees face costlier program

March 13, 2011- Gov. Scott Walker's proposed two-year budget would effectively end the state's SeniorCare prescription drug program in its current form, forcing tens of thousands of people to enroll in more-expensive private plans available through Medicare Part D.

The SeniorCare program, introduced in 2001, provides low-cost prescription drug coverage to low-income people over 65. About 91,000 people are in the program, and for most of them, switching to private coverage could cost hundreds of dollars more per year.

"Most people now in SeniorCare will not be better off in Medicare Part D," said John Hendrick, governmental affairs director for the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups.

The least expensive prescription drug plan through Medicare Part D in Wisconsin this year costs $177.60 and has a $310 annual deductible as well as co-pays. Most cost more: The average plan costs $43.96 a month, or $527 a year, based on estimated enrollment, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Think Progress: After Passing Anti-Union Bill, Gov. Walker Seeks to Gut Medicaid

March 15, 2011- As a Madison native, I have experienced conflicting feelings for the last several weeks. I continue to be inspired by Wisconsinites rallying and denouncing the budget repair bill that the Republican Senators passed without the consent of their Democratic colleagues. This bill is a political attack on Wisconsin citizens’ rights and not, in fact, an attempt to ameliorate the State deficit challenges.

Yet disappointingly there has been a complete lack of action on Walker’s proposed reforms to Wisconsin’s Medicaid program. A fifth of all Wisconites — more than 1.2 million people — rely on BadgerCare. Walker and the state’s GOP are trying to put control of the program in the hands of Walker’s conserative appointees.

Copyright Kochwatch 2014. All rights reserved.