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In 2011, Scott Walker famously declared, "We're broke," and used that as cover to make the biggest cut to education in state history and make historic cuts to everything else-- including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Now, here we are, four years later, and Wisconsin has an almost identical budget deficit as when he came into office.  We're broke... Again!  Accept, this time Wisconsin's budget deficit isn't because of a Great Recession brought on by Walker's banker friends.  Nope, this time it's 100% Walker's fault.

Walker likes to use shopping at Kohl's to illustrate the old saw that cutting taxes will actually increase tax revenues.  You see, he says, 100 sales at a low profit margin is better than 10 sales at high profit margin and taxes are exactly the same way.  Except, when they're not.

The reality is that when you cut taxes, especially when it disproportionately benefits the super-wealthy, revenues are going to go down.  

Yes, everyone agrees that taxing at 80% or higher would put a damper on incentives to earn money and tax revenue would go down, but this is a strawman argument to a situation that doesn't exist.  Currently the effective tax rate of the super wealthy is less than 20% and their incomes at are at a historic high.

So, here we are again.  This time, Walker is using it as an excuse to fire half of the scientists at the Department of Natural Resources... on Earth Day, no less.  

Nevermind that the founder of Earth Day was former Wisconsin Governor and Senator, Gaylord Nelson.  Or that the idea of having science-based government is the Wisconsin Idea... which... of course, he also literally tried to delete out of the Wisconsin statutes.

But, the fringe right wing that votes in the Republican primaries will like it and that's what its all about in Walkerland.

Discuss
Oh, this is perfect.

Walker's favorite campaign stump speech is a story about how he got a one dollar sweater at Kohl's-- the store of choice for the Walker clan.

He then transitions into why his economic and tax policy is based on his shopping experience at Kohl's, saying something along the lines of, "yes, you don't have as much of a profit margin on a one dollar sweater, but you make up for it volume... just like my low-tax philosophy brings in more revenue... less is more... blah... blah..."

Of course this is multi-layered tiramisu of all different kinds of stupid.

The whole glorious story is over at The Progressive, but the long and the short of it is that the sweater (of course) wasn't really a dollar and everything else at Kohl's isn't all that great of a deal when you do the math.  Kohl's make their money by selling cheap, imported crap and paying their workers poverty wages that are even lower than Wal-Mart.  And Kohl's pay no state taxes. And the sweater in question? Made in China.

And the fact that Walker-- governor of a state that is plagued by dropping wages and a rapidly declining manufacturing base-- is not only not condemning, but embracing the Wal-Mart/Kohl's economy that is causing such great harm to his own state and country, is the single biggest reason to derail his mad run for the presidency.

 

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The Reagan Library has two parts-- the Reagan Foundation that is pretty much the political arm, and the Reagan Library branch of the National Archives.

When I initially started researching this story, I contacted the Reagan Foundation and asked if it was accurate that no one had touched President Reagan's bible since his passing in 2004.  They said that was not accurate, that the Bible has been moved (and touched) several times since President Reagan's death.

I then contacted the National Archives and asked, specifically, if Nancy Reagan or Scott Walker made the request to handle the Reagan Bible and if they could verify the Foundation's assertion that others have touched the Bible since Reagan's death.

The National Archives' curator for the Reagan Bible, Jennifer Torres, emailed a statement to me (and cc'd the Reagan Library's other National Archive curators) that confirmed that others have touched the Bible since Reagan's passing. She also said that Walker, not Nancy Reagan requested to have Walker handle the Bible. I followed-up and asked if Walker is the only visiting dignitary to make such a request and she said that she believed that was correct.  

With that information in hand, I again watched Walker's video where he tells a group of Milwaukee County Republicans that Nancy Reagan requested that he hold the Bible for the first time since her husband passed a way.  Clearly Walker was trying to convey to the audience that Nancy Reagan was making a special gesture toward him.

With that information, I wrote the story in The Progressive and cross-posted a summary of it here at Daily Kos.  The next day, the Associated Press's Scott Bauer ran with the story and contacted the Walker campaign.  They did not contest the story.

Then today, the Reagan Foundation (the political arm of the Library) came out swinging for Walker...  but they're doing a really lousy job.

They insist that it was all a "simple misunderstanding" and that Walker's story is  actually true.

However, they're not willing to confirm that Nancy Reagan made the request and they still confirm that many have touched the Bible since President Reagan's passing.

They are willing to say, however, that Walker didn't personally make the request.  That it was actually someone at Reagan Foundation or someone from Walker's advance team that made the request to take the Bible out of its glass case and show it to Walker.

And, even though The Foundation confirms that they show all visiting dignitaries the Reagan bible, they can't explain why they decided, for no apparent reason, to go to the trouble of having a gloved archivist get the Bible out so that Scott Walker could flip through it.

Walker's story of going to see Nancy, her being so impressed with him that she arranged for him to be the first to hold the Reagan Bible since her husband past away is still not true.

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This is a developing story brought to you by your's truly in The Progressive.

In a nutshell, Walker frequently tells a story about how he got a special invite from Nancy Reagan to speak at the Reagan Library, how he got a special sit-down meeting with Mrs. Reagan, and how she was so moved by his amazing similarities to her late husband that she arranged a surprise for Walker when he went to the Library:  Walker would be the first person to touch the Reagan inauguration Bible since the Gipper past away.

I contacted the Reagan Library and the archivist in charge of the Reagan Bible said that it was Walker, not Nancy Reagan, that made the request to get his picture with the Reagan Bible and that many people have handled the bible since it came to them in 1992.  

In other words, Walker's story was total BS and there was nothing at all special that happened to Walker during his visit to the Reagan Library.  

This is just another case of Walker making-up a story in a desperate attempt to impress people.

I've got all the details over at The Progressive.  

Discuss
Today Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will sign the Orwellian-named "Right-to-Work" legislation at a company whose CEO recently threatened to move the company's few remaining Wisconsin jobs to Mexico if the union-busting bill did not come to fruition.

The clear point that Badger Meter's CEO Rich Meeusen is making is that the unions are hurting the company's earnings so much that they would have to send jobs to Mexico to keep the shareholders from going to bed hungry.  

This is really strange.  Because just last month, apparently a different Rich Meeusen bragged to the Milwaukee Business Journal about an apparently different Badger Meter that had record earnings in 2014.  

That Rich Meuusen at that Badger Meter said “2014 was a very good year for Badger Meter, we achieved record sales, earnings and earnings per share from continuing operations."

Discuss

This just in from Wisconsin's best reporter, WORT's Dylan Brogan, who asked University of Wisconsin's College Republicans President Courtney Mullen to elaborate on claims by her organization that opponents of Scott Walker's deep UW budget cuts were spreading "mistruths."

Mullen (whom agreed to the interview in advance) couldn't... umm... eh... umm... quite think of one.  But that didn't stop her from going on to say that the budget protesters were "misinformed."  Asked to follow-up on that, Mullen said she had to go.

Take a listen to some of the clips (above)-- it really is hilarious.    

Note:  Picture in above video is the profile picture on Courtney Mullen's twitter page.

Discuss

Welcome to How Walker Lies 101.

A few days ago, class, Walker was gracious enough to give us a fresh example.

A questioner--in this case, Fox News correspondent Brett Baier--asked or started to ask Walker about his position "supporting a path to citizenship" and Walker quickly interrupted, saying, "Actually, I'm glad you asked me about that, because the Wausau newspaper erroneously quoted me on that, they listed a video on their website that actually showed that the person who asked the question said that, not me."

Baier, then said, "so that's wrong?" and Walker agreed saying,  "That's wrong, that's not what I said."

But Walker most certainly did say that--he just didn't say exactly that.  

As the above video shows, in the Wausau Daily Herald's interview, Walker says, "sure, yeah, I mean I think it makes sense" when asked if he supports a path to citizenship. For you sticklers out there, here is the exact exchange:

Reporter:    Can you envision a world where, with the right penalties, waiting periods, and they meet their requirements, where those people could get citizenship?

Walker: Sure, yeah, I mean, I think it makes sense.

So, class, was Walker lying when he said that he had been misquoted in the Wausau Daily Herald?  Answer: No, Walker is correct that the newspaper had incorrectly attributed the question to Walker. However, Walker agreed with the question.

Second question: In his recent interview, was Walker being deceptive in his answer regarding his prior stance on a path to citizenship?  Answer: Heck yes! Although he truthfully stated that he had been misquoted, he deceptively left off the fact that had in fact stated his support for a path for citizenship.

Bonus question: What type of deception do we call that type of response? Answer: It is a lie of omission, or possibly even an act of dissimulation.

Walker's answer to the Fox reporter would be like if someone asked you, "Do you agree that the color green is the best color?" and you respond "yes, I strongly agree" and then they mistakenly quoted you as saying, "The color green is the best color."  Yes, you were wrongly quoted, but you did agree with everything in the quote.

What he did in his response to Baier, is classic Scott Walker:  Lying with truthful, but irrelevant information for the sole purpose of misleading.

In fact, Walker's support of a path to citizenship voiced in the Wausau Daily Herald interview, is in line with Walker's previous statements on the issue.  As the National Review pointed out, in 2003 Walker even signed a resolution calling for immigration reform that included a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.

Walker clearly flip-flopped on this one to be more palatable to the uber-conservatives in the Republican primaries.  But, like anything Walker, his first instinct is always to try and weasel out of the moment at hand, hoping he never gets asked a follow up question.

While this has usually worked in Wisconsin, it won't work on the national press corps*

*Not including Fox News in definition of national press corps.

 

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The latest Daily Caller, Inquisitr and Fox headlines scream out, "State Takes Over School District That Had to Make Teachers Wear Underwear."  

I don't know about you, but seriously?  I'm for the teachers and all, but teachers not wearing underwear?  You people have lost your minds!  You're supposed to be teaching basic chemistry, not Basic Instinct.  And, everybody knows you've got to wear a bra, when you're teaching algebra!  

In other news... what?  ...There's more to the story? Shut the front door!

It turns out, that never was a case of a teacher not wearing underwear in the school district in question.   Yes, teacher unions often object to dress codes because they are degrading, not because they have an objection to their specific contents... such as wearing underwear.

For example:  If I'm a sheep-sheerer and you're my boss, I might object if you post a rule on the wall that says "no __ ing the sheep." Not because I want to __ the sheep, but because your rules makes it sound like I do.

You don't need to make a rule banning every ridiculous behavior that might randomly float into someone's mind, because doing so is not only unnecessary when you're dealing with a group of well-trained professionals, but it’s also is inherently humiliating to infer that employees need to be told to wear underwear.

Such ridiculous rules are not by accident, however. They are tee balls set up to feed the narrative that public schools are out of control... the school "had to make teachers wear underwear" for crying out loud!

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Wisconsin was once the flagship manufacturing state of a United States that exported far more than it imported.  Milwaukee, in fact, was once known as the "Machine Shop of the World" because, you name it, it was made there.  

Today, not so much:  Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin's manufacturing is a shell of its former self.   Wisconsin now actually imports more products from foreign countries than it exports.

In 2014, Wisconsin imported $22.2 billion in manufactured products and exported only $20.2 billion worth.  That's an imbalance of two billion dollars in a state that that should be leading the nation in trade surplus.

Overall, non-manufactured commodities (mostly agriculture) do help out Wisconsin's trade balance, but this category of exports offer a fraction of the jobs that  manufactured commodities bring to the table.  And even if you look at Wisconsin's total trade balance (manufactured commodities plus non manufactured commodities), Wisconsin still imports more than it exports, bringing its total trade deficit to about 100 million.

In particular, Wisconsin has been devastated by trade with China.  Not only is the rest of the world buying fewer things made in Wisconsin and more things made in China, but so is the United States and even Wisconsin.  Wisconsin is now is buying fewer things made in Wisconsin and more things made in China.  In fact, since Scott Walker was elected governor, Wisconsin's trade deficit with China has increased by about 10% to $4.4 billion.  

So, I was pretty much knocked of my chair when Scott Walker recently went to London and bragged repeatedly about Wisconsin's foreign trade triumphs. He even sidestepped the now-famous evolution question by saying "I love the evolution of trade in Wisconsin."   And in a press release on the same day, he described Wisconsin's "evolution of trade" as "great news."

Truly "great news" on the "evolution of trade in Wisconsin" would be turning around a failed trade policy that has translated into a trade deficit that has cost Wisconsin hundreds of thousands of good jobs.

 

Discuss

Long before Scott Walker dusted off the statutes and tried to put "search for truth" and the rest of the Wisconsin Idea in the 'ol wood chipper, he successfully obliterated something almost as big:  he deleted "fair and peaceful" and the rest of the  Declaration of Policy for labor peace from the State Employment Labor Relations Act (SELRA), which was a general mission statement for how Wisconsin should deal with its public servants.    

I know this going to shock you, but Wisconsin hasn't always had peaceful labor relations.   Strikes and other labor unrest were common and a huge inconvenience to the public.  Historically speaking, Wisconsin was home to the Bayview Massacre, where seven unarmed workers were shot and killed by the Wisconsin National Guard during protests for a little bitty thing called the eight hour workday.

To ensure that labor conflicts were resolved peacefully, Wisconsin passed a wide variety of laws and developed "suitable machinery for fair and peaceful adjustment of whatever controversies may arise."

This "machinery for fair and peaceful adjustment" led to forty years of labor peace in Wisconsin.  But in 2011, Walker changed all that. He literally tore-up the longstanding peace agreement between Wisconsin and its public servants, in what is now known as Act 10—even removing "fair and peaceful" and the rest of the Declaration of Policy for labor peace from the statutes.  

Most disturbing is that like his (attempted) deleting of the Wisconsin Idea, his axing of the this labor peace section had no legal basis-- he was just doing it to poke progressives in the eye.  

Unfortunately, unlike the Wisconsin Idea, controversial words of reason like "friendly," "peaceful" and "fair" were successfully ripped out of the Wisconsin statutes.  

Were those drafting errors as well?

Discuss

Yesterday, Scott Walker finally jumped the shark:  He introduced a budget that removed several lines from the University of Wisconsin System's mission statement (aka a little thing known as "The Wisconsin Idea"), including the phrase, "basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth."  

However, after what can only be described as a biblical, huge __ storm developed in all parts of the state, including in both Republican and Democratic quarters, Walker tried to un-jump the shark by claiming that it was all just a big misunderstanding.  Neither he nor his staff ever intended to delete Wisconsin Idea-- it was just a "drafting error."

In fact, Walker even went so far as to blame the University of Wisconsin's administration, when he inferred in an answer to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice, that the UW people "somehow overlooked" the error when his staff gave it them to look over.

You know how it is... you write a budget, you get everybody to look at it, and somehow things like this just slip through.

I'm sorry, I know you're not supposed to say someone is a liar or lying, but there is no amount of sugar-coated word-smithing that can hide that Walker is lying in every conceivable way on this one.

First of all, today I obtained copies of the original records from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau's drafting office, which show that there was a long chain of correspondence during which the Walker administration actually proposed deleting the Wisconsin Idea. The records also reveal that numerous officials within the administration proofed and approved of deleting the Wisconsin Idea.  

Second, this wasn't "somehow overlooked" by University of Wisconsin officials.  They objected on several occasions to it, but the Walker administration refused to back down.

It was only after the huge __ storm that happened yesterday that Walker realized that he had seriously miscalculated this one and tried to do what he always does:  Lie his way out of it.  

This time though, the search for truth won the day.  

For the latest Walker updates follow me on twitter.

Discuss

Tonight, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will officially release yet another budget that slashes state aid to public education in Wisconsin.  

Before he does, let's take a stroll down memory lane.  Back in 2010, then-candidate Walker made a big and bold promise to Here and Now's Frederica Freyberg that he wouldn't cut state aid to the public schools or the university system.

In fact, first Walker mocks former Governor Doyle for calling himself the "pro-education" governor when he cut hundreds of millions out of public education:

Freyberg: How do you avoid steep cuts in education?  Obviously the biggest piece of the state budget...

Walker: Well, and ironically, the governor, Jim Doyle, who called himself the pro-education governor cut hundreds of millions out of public education.

Then Walker discusses how he would allow school districts to buy into the state insurance plan and reinstate the "QEO" or the Qualified Economic Offer, which existed between 1993 and 2009 and allowed school districts the option of automatically renewing the existing union contract if they agreed to increase total compensation (salary + benefits) by 3.8% per year:
Walker: For me, its not about pouring more money in, its allowing school districts at the local level to better spend the money they have, giving them back reasonable caps on wage and benefit compensation for school district employees, making sure there are no more state mandates that are unfunded or under-funded and pulling back on those that are there.
Freyberg then follows-up and asks Walker if that will prevent cuts to public education:
Freyberg: Does that prevent cuts, in your mind, to public education?

Walker: Well, I think it allows us to keep on track... the key for us, you know there are costs to continue and many school districts will point to that, but I think that allows us to keep intact the commitment the state has made to public education all across the state of Wisconsin.

Now, of course, neither of these things proposed by Walker were warmly accepted by the teachers union before the election, but restoring the QEO, which has essentially been the status quo for the last 20 years and letting school districts go to the state insurance system are a far, far cry from what Walker proposed after the election:   Walker not only went back on his promise to keep state aid "intact," he made the deepest cuts to education in state history.  And while it is true that most states had to make some cuts to education, Walker's cuts back in 2011 were the deepest in the nation.

Fast forward to 2015:  While nearly every state in the country is restoring education funding that they had to cut because of the budget crunch caused by the Great Recession, in Walker's Wisconsin they have to continue to cut education funding to make up for the budget-busting tax cuts Walker has handed-out like candy to Wisconsin's wealthiest citizens.  

Sadly, the teachers unions in Wisconsin can't oppose these cuts with the same vigor as they once could because they are a shadow of their former selves-- the victims of Bait and Switch I.

Discuss
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