Ron Johnson makes it up as he goes

Senate candidate Ron Johnson has developed a new campaign technique, and the news media seem happy to let him use it.

Caught in a contradiction, or taking a position he can't defend, Johnson simply restates the question he was answering -- although it wasn't the one he was asked.

He's done it twice -- and both times when Russ Feingold began running a commercial telling the voters about what Johnson had said.

First it was drillling for oil under the Great Lakes, something Johnson was not opposed to until it became a political issue.  Then he threw up so many smokescreens about what he thought he was saying, and what he was being asked, and claiming he didn't hear the whole question, just the parts he liked, that the media gave him a pass.  Johnson has always been against Great Lakes drilling, don'cha know?

Now it's guns.  Here's his latest statement;

“In my first days as a candidate, I used the wrong terms when discussing my strong support for gun rights and concealed carry here in Wisconsin.  I’m a first time candidate and I made a mistake. I used the term ‘licensing’ when I meant permits for the right to carry a concealed weapon.  Wisconsin is one of only two states whose citizens do not have that basic Constitutional right.  I do not, nor will I ever, support licensing or registration of firearms.

What's wrong with that? 

Sing along; You have no choice

Republican gubernatorial candidates Scott Walker and Mark Neumann sing the same tune when it comes to women's reproductive rights.  They're all for freedom from government interference, except when they're not.

Planned Parenthood Advocates captured the duet singing from the same hymnal, as it were. More info here.

Extremist Singers

Birth control could be hazardous to your job

Good grief!

From the Wis. State Journal:

A state law is forcing the Madison Catholic Diocese this month to begin offering its employees insurance coverage for birth control.

However, a diocesan spokesman said employees will be warned against using the benefit and that open defiance of Catholic teaching on the issue could ultimately lead to termination.

And he wasn't just talking about the priests and nuns, either.

Too late, Clarke denies reality

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke tries to explain away the report of a two-hour meeting where he repeatedly cursed and verbally abused a deputy for his union activity:

"Keep in mind that the person making the accusation is a political opponent who wants me out," Clarke said. "He is working against me while fighting the positive changes I have made along the way, and he has endorsed my opponent in the upcoming election."

Clarke would be much more believable if he and a toadie who was in the room during the meeting had not refused to comment when Dan Bice asked them before he wrote the column.

Here's Clarke's lame damage control.

Do you think one reason the deputies union opposes Clarke is that he treats them like dirt, as in this case? Or are they just "politically motivated?"

Clarke still refused to discuss any specifics about what he said in the meeting, by the way.

Meet the Acklands

We've been hearing a lot of nonsense from the right-wing ankle biters lately about how a Russ Feingold commercial uses the name of someone who's not a real person.

A lot of the noise has come from Charlie Sykes, so consider the source. Does the name Liz Woodhouse ring a bell?

It should. Liz was Charlie's paramour when he invited her to be a guest on his show, using a phony name. She's now his wife, and happily employed under the name of Janet Riordan at the right-wing Bradley Foundation. But that's another story.

There were plenty of reasons for Feingold not to use a real person's name in his ad, including the harassment some people have experienced from the likes of Michelle Malkin. It's the same reason you use phony phone numbers that usually start with the nonexistent 555 prefix.

The real David Clarke shows his face

If you believe that truth will out, sooner or later, Dan Bice's column on Sunday should reaffirm your faith.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is exposed as the egomaniacal, profanity-spewing tyrant he has been been behind closed doors all along, while posing for holy pictures in public.

The revelation, of Clarke's abusive, two-hour tirade against a deputy who happens to be a union officer, gives the public a rare glimpse of the real David Clarke. It is not a pretty picture.

Let's diclose that I have a personal interest, having run Clarke's first campaign for sheriff in 2002. Of all the campaigns I worked on in 20 years as a consultant, that is the one I regret the most. Clarke completely misrepresented himself to me -- lied about who he was and what he was all about, in other words -- and I swallowed it.

I recall introducing Clarke to a number of union leaders, and the presentations he'd make to them, displaying the management books he'd been reading and talking about how he wanted to "change the culture" in the sheriff's department, from a quasi-military operation with a strict chain of command to one that empowered the front-line workers to make decisions.

On Saving 319,000 Jobs, Or, Legislation Keeps Teachers Teaching

As I pick up the pace of work again, coming into the midterms, I have to get some stories cleared off the desk in order to make room for some others, and that’s what we’re about today.

We’ll be talking about saving more than 300,000 of this country’s most important jobs, and paying for it in a way that is not only good policy, but is a real problem for Republicans who are yelling “no new taxes!” once again while pretending they care about actually paying for actual spending and actually want to cut actual unemployment.

We have a bit of work to do today, but we want to keep it somewhat short...so let’s get going.

Walker's budget 'plan' a fraudulent waste

Scott Walker, the guy who wants to double the state's budget deficit with tax cuts for the rich, but hasn't come up with one credible idea about how to balance the budget, has outdone himself with his latest idea.

His latest gimmick, which is a waste of the paper it's printed on, and of any staff time spent preparing it: Create a new commission to find waste, fraud and abuse in state government.

Pulling a number out of the air, or perhaps his rear end, Walker "estimates" it would save $300-million.

Why so modest? If you're making up numbers, why not say $5-billion and take care of the whole deficit? It would be just as credible, which is to say not at all.

For years, people in politics and government have joked that the right wing seems to believe there is a Department of Waste, Fraud and Abuse operating at every level of government, and that if we just shut down that agency everything would be OK.

But Walker's simple-minded scheme doesn't even suggest that. It proposes another new commission -- just what the taxpayers have been clamoring for.

The Journal Sentinel reports, with a straight face:

Making Health Care More Affordable

Health care costs are very much on people’s minds.

As I travel our Senate District, I hear concerns about cost; from a farmer paying $1900 a month for just his own health insurance, from local county board members worried about rising employee health costs, from union members worried about losing health benefits, from small business owners with double digit increases in health costs.

Why are health care costs so high?  As compared to other countries, higher prices for drugs, doctor and hospital care make all of us pay more for health insurance.  Did you know an MRI scan in the U.S. costs eight times more than a similar scan in Britain?

In addition, we use more services. We don’t see the doctor more. (The Japanese see the doctor 14 times a year compared to the American average of five visits.) But when we do see the doctor, we get more tests, scans and other procedures – which cost more.

Finally, paperwork costs us. The U.S. spends about fifty-percent more on paperwork than our Canadian neighbors.

On Organized Fearmongering Revealed, Or, “Lock Up The Kids…It’s The Gay!”

The airwaves (and the print and blog waves, for that matter) are filled with the news that a Federal Judge in California has declared that State’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, which could clear the way for the resumption of same-sex weddings in the State.

Ordinarily, this would be the point where I would present to you a walkthrough of the ruling,and we’d have a fine conversation about the legal implications of what has happened.

I’m not doing that today, frankly, because the ground is already well-covered; instead, we’re going to take a look at some of the tactics that were used to pass Prop 8, as they were presented in Judge Vaughan’s opinion.

It’s an ugly story—and even more than that, it’s a reminder of why it’s tough to advance civil rights through the political process, and what you have to deal with when you’re trying to make such a thing happen.

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