Wisconsin

Wisconsin GOP Lawmaker Argues Income Limits on School Vouchers 'Penalize Married Couples'

Wisconsin state legislators are in the final days of negotiations on a plan that would expand private school vouchers statewide (they are currently only available in Milwaukee and Racine). The current deal on the program would cap voucher enrollment at one percent of a districts students, but Gov. Scott Walker and other lawmakers would like to expand them further. That includes Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman, who told Jack Craver of The Capital Times today that not allowing wealthy families who can already afford to send their children to private school to participate in the program would “penalize married couples.”

One of the major concerns in recent years about school vouchers is that they often benefit families who already have the money to send their kids to private schools.

At the same time, the Legislature expanded the state-paid voucher program to Racine. And now, data show that nearly half of the students receiving vouchers in that city were already enrolled in private schools before the program was put in place.

But Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, an outspoken advocate for expanding vouchers to all people and all school districts, says he believes there’s a good side to higher-income families participating in the program: It promotes marriage.

“I think the major thing is we cannot allow the voucher program to penalize married couples,” he told me in a brief phone conversation Monday morning. “In Milwaukee, we raised (the limit) to 300 percent of the federal poverty line and we began to get more married couples in the program, and I don’t want to back off on that.”

The veteran legislator is worried that current negotiations over a further expansion of vouchers to other districts may result in lower income thresholds for voucher recipients and thus reduce the number of two-parent families participating in the program.

Grothman is the same state senator who authored a bill last year to label single parenthood as “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”

Wisconsin Republicans Try to Limit Power of Courts Blocking Their Agenda

Last week, we reported on the creative and constitutionally questionable efforts by Iowa Republicans to punish the state supreme court justices who issued the state’s landmark marriage equality ruling.

Now, Wisconsin Republicans are up to something similar, seeking to strip county circuit court judges of the ability to issue preliminary injunctions on laws that may be unconstitutional. The measure, which was introduced last month and had public hearings yesterday, is widely seen as a reaction to judicial injunctions on efforts by state Republicans to impose voter ID requirements and limit collective bargaining rights.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains:

With some of their major legislative achievements thwarted by trial courts in the past two years, Wisconsin Republicans have been looking for ways to rein in local judges, particularly in liberal areas such as Dane County.

Since 2011, circuit court judges have blocked all or parts of laws backed by Republicans that required voters to show photo ID at the polls, limited collective bargaining for public employees and expanded the governor's power over administrative rules. Under a measure announced last month, such injunctions would be automatically stayed as soon as they were appealed - meaning laws that were blocked would be put back in effect until a higher court issued a ruling.

The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Council is now warning that the bill is likely unconstitutional.

Incidentally, one of the bill’s sponsors is state Sen. Glenn Grothman, who last year tried to get a state public health agency to list single parenthood listed as “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”
 

Reince Priebus, Ron Johnson to Headline Dinner Hosted by Birther Alabama GOP Chair

Sen. Rand Paul isn’t the only prominent Republican hanging out with birthers these days. Next month, RNC chairman Reince Preibus and Wisconson Sen. Ron Johnson will travel to Alabama to headline a dinner hosted by state GOP chairman Bill Armistead. Armistead raised eyebrows last year when he publicly recommended “Dreams From My Real Father,” a “documentary” that promotes the alternate birther theory that President Obama somehow inherited a Marxist worldview from his “real father” Frank Marshall Davis. Somewhat unbelievably, Armistead stated that he had “verified that it is factual, all of it.”

Interestingly, Priebus and Johnson will be stepping into the middle of a fight over whether Armistead will keep his job. (He faces a challenger backed by his longtime rival, state House Speaker Mike Hubbard.) Charles Dean at the Birmingham News reports that Priebus might be attending as a political favored to Armistead:

Some saw Tuesday's late announcement by Armistead that Priebus had accepted the invitation to attend the dinner as a sign that maybe Armistead had convinced the GOP national party chairman to support him.

Late last week Armistead announced that he was supporting Priebus for a second term as Republican Party Chairman. So far Priebus is unopposed for a second term but rumors have persisted for months that a challenger might step up.

UPDATE: The RNC tells the Birmingham News that Priebus is not taking sides in the party chairmanship race.

LaBarbera: Tammy Baldwin 'Hardly a Role Model,' Lacks 'Healthy, Wholesome Behaviors'

Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality was indignant about the “shocking” election of Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate, making her the first openly gay Senator. He told Jim Schneider of VCY America on Crosstalk that Baldwin is “hardly a role model for young women,” whom he says should uphold “healthy, wholesome behaviors, not lesbianism.”

LaBarbera: All of the sudden I wake up to the news and look on the TV and see that Tammy Baldwin, a radical homosexual and pro-abortion feminist, everything’s on the left in her policies, is now elected Senator in Wisconsin. It was quite shocking.

Schneider: The Human Rights Campaign, they call themselves ‘the largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality,’ they celebrated this, they attribute part of this, to ensure her victory they said ‘they raised and contributed well over $500,000 for her campaign’ and they said Tammy Baldwin is ‘a role model for LGBT youth and young women across the country.’

LaBarbera: Human Rights Campaign should be called the Human Wrongs Campaign; it’s a homosexual pressure group and we would expect them to be celebrating Tammy Baldwin’s victory. But she’s hardly a role model for young women, we want women to embrace marriage and healthy, wholesome behaviors, not lesbianism. Her policies are to the far-left, she’s pro-abortion, in so many ways she represents what’s wrong with the left and now she’s going to be in the Senate for six years.

Recounting the other defeats gay equality opponents suffered in the election, LaBarbera warned that more Americans are embracing the “complete blasphemy” of same-sex marriage and that we are “seeing a civilization’s moral decline” with the rise of the “side of sin, of evil, the pro-homosexual side.”

The idea of homosexual marriage is a complete blasphemy and you would think that with most Christians the vast majority would get it and not affirm such positions, but sadly I think our society is de-Christianizing, it is becoming more secular, a recent study showed that a shocking number of Americans are unchurched. You see in such an environment, basically you are seeing a civilization’s moral decline, the secular forces, the sin movement which is homosexual rights, has more momentum. Unless we see revival in this country, we’re going to see more of this where the side of sin, of evil, the pro-homosexual side, has more energy than the side of good, which is the defense of marriage.

LaBarbera also attacked UPS for ending its financing of the Boy Scouts because the organization conflicts from the company’s anti-discrimination policy, and said that “I think most Americans agree that we don’t want homosexual men out camping in tents in forest with young boys, I certainly wouldn’t want a homosexual man, an open homosexual, with my young son.”

Look who the real discriminators are, it’s UPS, they are saying if you adhere to a certain policy, which happens to be the Boy Scouts’ moral creed, their morally straight policy which precludes homosexual Scout Masters, and I think most Americans agree that we don’t want homosexual men out camping in tents in forest with young boys, I certainly wouldn’t want a homosexual man, an open homosexual, with my young son. Yet that is called discrimination and they lose the funding while the Human Rights Campaign, which has multimillions of dollars, this hugely funded homosexual group, will continue to get UPS’s funding.

Kuhner: 'Gay Gestapo' Will Have Opponents 'Burnt at the Stake'

Janet Mefferd brought Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner on her radio show yesterday to shower praise on his wildly anti-gay column attacking Tammy Baldiwn, the openly gay Democratic congresswoman running for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin. They kicked off the program by mocking gay Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank’s marriage to his “male husband or wife” and Kuhner joked that he will support same-sex marriage only if Frank or his husband can get pregnant.

Mefferd: I love this line, the left got so mad at you for saying this, you say, ‘the last thing Wisconsin needs is Barney Frank in a dress’ and I thought, who is that insulting, Barney Frank’s manhood? I’m not even sure. Aren’t they transgender-friendly, why are they mad about that?

Kuhner: He’s married now and I’ve issued a challenge to Barney Frank. I said, Barney, the purpose of marriage is to have children, now if you and your male husband or wife, I don’t know how to put this, your male partner, if one of you can get pregnant because now they’re in the honeymoon phase, they’re lovers, I said if one of you can get pregnant and you can pull off a miracle I will openly support gay marriage. So I am waiting for a miracle from Barney.

Mefferd: That’s very magnanimous, well good for you.

Kuhner had previously told Mefferd that the LGBT community promotes “civilizational collapse” and is “even worse than the radical Islamists” and “brutal dictatorships,” and yesterday maintained that the “gay gestapo” is the “most frightening, scariest lobby” in politics. He said Baldwin’s Republican opponent Tommy Thompson should not have apologized over a campaign aide’s smear email targeting Baldwin for attending a gay pride rally, arguing that a pride parade is like a “bordello” and “pornography on asphalt.” Kuhner advised Thompson to remind voters that homosexuality is “destructive” and “harmful” to children.

Kuhner: Here you have a woman who is not just an open lesbian, she’s been an active promoter of the gay lifestyle, she’s an active promoter of gay pride, she’s always in these marches. I’ve been to some of these marchers, for example, you go to the one in San Francisco, it’s a bordello. The public displays, this is not fit for people to see. It’s basically pornography in public, on asphalt. When I look at this and I see the way Tammy Baldwin has behaved and conducted herself and the values that she preaches and champions I don’t understand why Tommy Thompson is apologizing, in fact I would do the opposite. If I were Tommy Thompson I would say very simply: marriage is between a man and a woman, we do not believe that homosexual behavior is natural and moral. Every major faith: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, going back thousands of years, in most cultures today, in most civilizations today, understand marriage to be between a man and a woman. 

If Tammy Baldwin wants to be lesbian in the privacy of her own bedroom, that’s her business. But when she makes it a public issue, when she starts promoting a lifestyle that we know is immoral and we know is destructive and we know has a harmful impact, especially on children. Children who are adopted by homosexual couples clearly don’t do as well as children that are adopted by heterosexual couples. Why? Because children need — newsflash to the liberals — a mommy and a daddy. Instead what we have is the gay gestapo who go out and try to intimidate morally, economically, professionally and personally anybody who speaks out against the homosexual agenda. After my piece came out—Janet I said this on your show before and I’ll say it again—the homosexual lobby is to me the most frightening, scariest lobby whenever I publish a piece. They are the worst.

They ended the show by warning that gays promote a form of “totalitarianism” and “will do everything possible to destroy” those who are in their way. “Either you accept homosexuality or you are burnt at the stake,” Kuhner said.

Kuhner: There’s nothing tolerant about it, there’s nothing inclusive about it, there’s nothing compassionate about it. They preach an intellectual, moral totalitarianism. Either you accept homosexuality or you are burnt at the stake, professionally your career will be finished, and they will do everything possible to destroy you. Well to me, that’s not America.

Mefferd: No, that’s not America and that’s why this agenda has to be stopped. As you said very well, it’s one thing to allow people the personal freedom to conduct themselves the way they choose in their own home and not have the state intrude into people’s bedrooms, but when it becomes a matter of public policy, as you say very well, it affects all of us, it affects our religious freedom when it comes down to it.

Scott Walker Blames Labor Protests for Job Losses, Boasts of 'Pro-Women' Policies

Yesterday, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) stopped by Crosstalk, the flagship radio program of the far-right group VCY America (Voice of Christian Youth). While speaking with host Vic Eliason, Walker, who had pledged to create 250,000 jobs in his first term, tried to spin his disastrous record on job creation by deriding the protests by supports of collective bargaining rights in Madison last Spring as “one of the biggest challenges” to job growth:

Walker: Well it’s interesting, look at the March to march numbers, March of last year to March of this year, there’s a reason why we had some challenges there, particularly early on. In March, April and May, people can remember what was happening, thank goodness its passed now, you can remember what was happening last Spring in our state’s Capitol. There was a lot of uncertainty, particularly for small businesses, I know having held listening sessions all around this state, small business owners more than anything want certainty, they didn’t see that around the Capitol last year so that was one of the biggest challenges out there.

But the Christian Science Monitor reports that under Walker’s leadership the “state’s lead in job losses is significantly greater than the rest of the 50 states,” including 4,300 lost jobs just this March, long-after the protests took place:

Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s lead in job losses is significantly greater than the rest of the 50 states: No other state lost more than 3,500 jobs.

The majority of the losses in Wisconsin, 17,800, were in the public sector. However, the state lost more private-sector jobs, 6,100, than any other state. The only other states to report private-sector job losses in the same time period (instead of private-sector gains) were Mississippi and Rhode Island.

Governor Walker has been campaigning on a message that jobs are up in Wisconsin, responding to positive data for January and February that 17,000 jobs were added in his state. The loss of 4,300 jobs in March reversed that trend.

He attacked the state of Illinois during the interview and painted them as a laggard in economic growth:

However, Bloomberg Businessweek noted on April, 20 that Illinois is actually leading Wisconsin in job growth:

Illinois ranked third while Wisconsin placed 42nd in the most recent Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States index, which includes personal income, tax revenue and employment. Illinois gained 32,000 jobs in the 12 months ending in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found. Wisconsin, where Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs with the help of business-tax breaks, lost 16,900.

Towards the end of the interview, Walker boasted of supporting “pro-patient, pro-women” policies. However, Walker made it more difficult for women seeking justice as a result of pay discrimination lawsuits by repealing provisions of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, made it more difficult for women seeking an abortion and birth control, and defunded Planned Parenthood, which “cuts off 12,000 women who do not have health insurance from getting preventive health care” and hurts a program that saved the state money by focusing on preventative care.

Walker: In our state it is today, and will continue to be as long as I am governor, against the law for any employer to discriminate against a woman for employment or a promotion or anything else to deal with the workplace. It has been and it continues to be and it will be as long as I am the governor. They just love trying to make things out of nothing out there. When it comes to the pro-life legislation we passed, I would argue the things that we did are pro-women.

They’re pro-patient, they’re pro-women, they’re making sure that patients get all the facts at their disposal. And for those who claim to be about giving people a choice, shouldn’t it be an informed choice? Shouldn’t it be a choice without pressure from others out there?

Scott Walker: Anti-Union Policies are 'Very Pro-Worker'

Wisconsin’s embattled Republican governor Scott Walker sat down with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network this week where he defended his union-busting record ahead of the June 5 recall election. Last year Walker pushed through a bill stripping the collective bargaining rights of public worker unions (except for the ones that endorsed him) while passing pricey corporate tax giveaways, which even his fellow Republicans in the state legislature admitted was a ploy to hurt Democrats by crippling unions.

But Walker denied that his move was “anti-union” and said he was committed to creating jobs by “building infrastructure, roads and bridges and rail and things of that nature,” which is ironic since Walker rejected funding for a high speed rail line connecting Milwaukee and Madison. “I put the power back in the hands of the taxpayers,” Walker told Brody. “What I did is also very pro-worker.”

Brody: What is your response to folks that say you are anti-union? When you hear that, what do you think?

Walker: Well, you know on two counts, it’s just completely wrong. In the private sector, I’ve got great partners in unions. You look at unions like the operating engineers; they endorsed me, they are still very supportive of our efforts. Why? Because their guys are back to work, they’re working again. Unlike my predecessor who made it very difficult for people building infrastructure, roads and bridges and rail and things of that nature we put the money back in that had been raided there. You look at other big issues that we’ve done in terms of infrastructure in the state, we’ve had the support of other private sector unions, because they want work. They want their guys to go back to work, and those unions in the private sector have largely been my partners in economic development. The other part though, even on the public employee standpoint, it is kind of interesting, I may be anti-big government union bosses, because I think in the past, one of our problems has been they’ve been the ones calling the shots, instead of the hard working taxpayers in the state of Wisconsin. I put the power back in the hands of the taxpayers. What I did is also very pro-worker.

Cain Weighs in on WI, Claims He Could Have Fired Godfather's Employees for Unionizing

Herman Cain was on American Family Radio's "Today's Issues" program today with host Tim Wildmon where he was asked what he thought about the upcoming June recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Cain responded by warning that if Walker is recalled, businesses in Wisconsin will leave the state and unions "will continue to destroy the state."  Cain then went on to assert that when he was in charge of Godfather's Pizza, his employees had every right to try and form a union, just as he had every right to fire them for trying to do so. 

That last bit might come as a surprise to the National Labor Relations Board, which states quite clearly that it is illegal for an employer to fire employees for attempting to form a union:

The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes, or from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment, or refraining from any such activity. Similarly, labor organizations may not restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of these rights.

Examples of employer conduct that violates the law:

  • Threatening employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they join or vote for a union or engage in protected concerted activity.

If Governor Walker is recalled, the unions win and Wisconsin loses. I already know businesses in Wisconsin that say if the unions prevail and Governor Walker loses, they are packing up and leaving. We will have the first look at what America will look like if we do not stop this mess ... If the unions win, that means that they don't want balanced budgets, they still want to continue to destroy the state and we will be looking at the first instance, along with California, of what America is going to look like if we don't push back and start to win against some of these forces.

When I ran Godfather's Pizza, my employees had every right - every right - to unionize if they wanted to. The good news is, because of the kind of work environment we created, they didn't want to unionize. But they had every right to unionize. Now, if they had decided to unionize, I could also decide to fire all of 'em.

Romney and Santorum Rally with Corrupt Lobbyist Ralph Reed in Wisconsin

Tomorrow morning in Waukesha, WI, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, among others (Gov. Scott Walker is listed as an invited speaker), will rally with corrupt former lobbyist Ralph Reed and the state chapter of his Faith & Freedom Coalition, which Reed created to rehabilitate his image in the wake of his deep involvement in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Here are the event details:
It is our distinct pleasure to invite you to the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Presidential Kick-Off, sponsored by the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Coalition, to be held at the Country Springs Hotel on Saturday, March 31st in Waukesha, WI.  Come hear from CONFIRMED speakers Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Rick Santorum, and Speaker Newt Gingrich.
 
When Romney and Santorum – the standard–bearers of the GOP – appear on stage tomorrow with Reed, they’ll be embracing a corrupt hustler who has survived scandal after scandal by delivering cash and foot soldiers to Republican leaders (and not for the first time).
 
It wasn’t long ago that Ralph Reed was damaged goods in Republican circles, and for good reason. Reed came to national prominence as the first executive director of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, beginning in 1989. However, by 1997 the groups finances were collapsing, the FEC had found that the group violated federal campaign finance laws in 1990, 1992, and 1994, and federal prosecutors were investigating allegations of financial misconduct made by the organization’s CFO. So Reed resigned and moved to Georgia to become a lobbyist.
 
In 1999, Abramoff hired Reed and ultimately paid him $1.3 million to generate opposition to legalizing video poker and a state-sponsored lottery in Alabama. The money came from the Choctaw Tribe, which runs a casino in nearby Mississippi. Reed used his extensive Religious Right contacts and engaged James Dobson and the Alabama Christian Coalition, which had a policy against being the “recipient of any funds direct or in-direct or any in-kind direct or indirect from gambling interests.” He funneled $850,000 to the group, but made sure to launder it through his longtime friend Grover Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform.
 
Before the wheels came off Jack Abramoff’s criminal lobbying enterprise, he described Reed to his business partner as “a bad version of us.” Abramoff, explaining the comment after being released from prison, said that Reed was “a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money.” And Abramoff knows more than a thing or two about Reed. He gave Reed his first job after college and, along with Norquist, formed what some called the “triumvirate” at the College Republican National Committee.
 
After the Abramoff scandal broke, Reed claimed that he had “no direct knowledge of [Abramoff’s lobbying firm’s] clients or their interests,” but the Senate Indian Affairs Committee determined that Abramoff told Reed as early as 1999 that he was taking casino money. In an interview last year with Alan Colmes, Abramoff called Reed’s denial ridiculous:
Abramoff: It's ridiculous. I mean, even the tribes that had other business, 99% of their revenue came from gaming. But a lot of those tribes had nothing but gaming.
Colmes: So, in other words, Ralph Reed was saying "hey, I'll work with you but I don't want to be paid with gambling money, I'm too clean for that." But are you saying that conversation never happened?
Abramoff: No. Never happened. Ralph didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money and, frankly, that was his choice and I think it was a big mistake.
Reed went on to become the chair of the Georgia Republican Party in 2001 and ran for lieutenant governor in 2006. However, the Abramoff scandal had broken by then, and Reed “suffered an embarrassing defeat” in the primary. The New York Times described Reed as a “close associate of Jack Abramoff” whose “candidacy was viewed as a test of the effects of the Washington lobbying scandal on core Republican voters.”
 
In 2009, Reed founded the Faith & Freedom Coalition to help resurrect his image and stature in the movement. Faith & Freedom, which Reed described as a “21st Century version of the Christian Coalition on steroids,” is really just a Tea Party-stained version of the original, and much smaller despite the steroids.
 
However, Reed is an operator in the truest sense, and knows how to “tap dance” and “constantly ask for money” with the best of them. He has apparently earned, and I do mean earned, his way back into the good graces of Republican leaders. It’s unclear, however, how long Reed can go without another scandal.

Rebecca Kleefisch Appears on Show Whose Host Compared Unions to Terrorists, Called for Ellen DeGeneres to Be Fired for Being Gay

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch appeared Monday on the American Family Association (AFA) radio network with host Sandy Rios. AFA, which has been classified a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, recently added Rios to its lineup. 

Rios gained notoriety early last month when an incredulous Bill O’Reilly suggested she was engaging in McCarthyism for calling on J.C. Penney to fire Ellen DeGeneres because she’s gay. Earlier she wrote that accepting Ellen would lead to “the complete eradication of the traditional family and the acceptance of any sexual choice anyone wants to make.” This month she lamented that “the Jewish vote in this country is so confused” and said that secular Jews have been some of “the worst enemies of the country.”
 
This kind of thing is nothing new for Rios, as Kleefisch had to know. Last year, debating the Obama administration contraceptives mandate, Rios equated birth control and abuse counseling with pedicures and manicures. She also compared unions and the Obama campaign to a terrorist group, writing that “Organizing for America, the SEIU, the NEA and many of America’s labor unions have … more in common with the violence and intimidation of Hamas than with protecting ‘workers.’”
 
Rios, introducing Kleefisch, spoke of her Chicago roots and fondness for Wisconsin. Then, wasting no time, she began attacking Wisconsin workers and students:
You probably saw it every night on your television. You saw union members holding out in the state capitol. You actually saw them trash the state capitol. It was just an amazing thing. Playing music, there’s nothing wrong with music. It was just strange behavior. They even got out from school to do this. […]
 
They were furious. As a matter of fact, they took some steps. They threatened State Senator Dan Kapanke with recall, they did recall him. They staged protests outside of his home. They issued death threats. They sent his wife disgusting letters in the mail. They spread nails and glass all over his driveway, and they managed to get him out of office.
Following that introduction, Kleefisch gave an update on the recall effort and echoed Rios on how mean and nasty the union supporters were. Both used the despicable actions of a few to tarnish a broad-based citizen movement:
Folks spent their entire winters collecting these signatures in hopes of recalling us, essentially trying to remake a decision that the majority of voters in Wisconsin just made in fall of 2010. And voters overwhelmingly elected the governor and me because we said we’d do a budget without raising taxes. And in 2008, the Great Recession hit Wisconsin hard. People are still being pinched by it, and that’s why there was this desperate need to do a budget without raising taxes.
 
Well, the result of that is what you’ve spent the last couple minutes describing. We all got death threats, and our capitol was trashed. People were intimidated right and left. It was scary times. Even my little kids were scared to go to the capitol. People would shout at them, and you know, it’s kinda creepy when you work in a situation like that.
Kleefisch mostly let Rios do the dirty work for her, like in this exchange:
Rios: I’ll try to be clearer now about what this means. Basically unions in all of the states have been able to, through their union leadership, have been able to raise their salaries, their pensions just on and on, and their benefits without any kind of restraint.
 
Kleefisch: Well, that’s what’s called collective bargaining. And so we’ve put some restrictions on collective bargaining.
Rios sounded the alarm that “union folk from Chicago are flooding” into Wisconsin, with the backing of the Obama administration, to throw the election. Kleefisch, however, expressed confidence in her prospects, saying “I think we’re gonna win. I think we’re gonna win because if you go to the ballot box, and you vote on the facts, then you vote for us every time. Because the facts are, it worked.”
 
As Kleefisch noted repeatedly during the interview, Wisconsin is very purple state. It’s unclear, then, why she thinks appearing on a right-wing show with a notorious host will help her prospects.
 
Listen to excerpts from the show:
 
 
Listen to the entire interview here (starting at 18 minutes).

 

Wisconsin Senator Who Introduced Anti-Single Parent Bill Says Women 'Trained' To Lie About Planned Pregnancies

Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman went on the Alan Colmes show on Friday to discuss a controversial new bill he authored that would require the state’s Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to officially label single parenthood as “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”

The bill was seen as a slap in the face to single parents in Wisconsin, who are raising 31 percent of children in the state.

Grothman told Colmes that the country’s out-of-wedlock birth rate is the “choice of the women,” who should be “educated that this is a mistake.” When Colmes countered with statistics about the high number of pregnancies that are unintended, Grothman said that many women are “trained” to lie and say that their planned pregnancies are actually unintended:


Grothman: There’s been a huge change over the last 30 years and a lot of that change has been the choice of the women. There’s a reason why in the 50s and the 60s you had less than ten percent of the births illegitimate, and now we’re over 40 percent. It’s not that there weren’t abusive men in the 40s or there was a problem with child support. It is the popular culture, led by the social service professions, who are saying…

Colmes: Well tell me what you would change.

Grothman: I think the first thing we do is that we should educate women that this is a mistake.

Colmes: You think women need to be educated, are they not smart enough on their own?

Grothman: They do have to be educated, because right now the culture encourages a single motherhood lifestyle.

Colmes: You think women choose to be single moms…

Grothman: Oh absolutely

Colmes: You think women want to have homes without fathers? You think women look to the opportunity to have to raise kids and not be able to get work because they have to stay home and take care of the kids. Women want to do this?

Grothman: I think a lot of women are adopting the single motherhood lifestyle because the government creates a situation in which it is almost preferred.

….

Colmes: According to data published in USA Today, at least four in ten pregnancies in every state are unwanted or mistimed. According to the analysis that was released last May, more than half of pregnancies in 29 states and the District of Columbia were unintended, 38 to 50 percent were unintended in the remaining states. This mitigates against the argument that women are purposefully wanting to have kids. Their unintended for the most part. They’re unintended pregnancies, which is the argument for health care services and birth control for women.

Grothman: I think you undersell these women.

Colmes: Undersell them?

Grothman: Undersell them. I think when you have an epidemic of this great proportion, people are not so dumb that it’s surprising when they get pregnant. I think people are trained to say that ‘this is a surprise to me,’ because there’s still enough of a stigma that they’re supposed to say this.

Religious Right Activists Blame Idolatry for Labor Protests in Wisconsin

Today on Truth that Transforms, John Rabe of Truth in Action Ministries and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission agreed that idolatry and the worship of government is to blame for the recent protests and recall movement in Wisconsin over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s push to eliminate the collective bargaining rights of public workers, calling it a “theological issue.” Rabe said that the Wisconsinites who have rallied against Walker’s move are people who have made government “a replacement for God” and even went on to claim that government employees shouldn’t look to government to provide for them.

Rabe: It does seem that there is a theological issue at stake here as well. When we are trained to look to government to supply our every need, it is very tempting for that government to become a replacement for God in our lives. You know, we tend to worship our idols and I think we’ve seen from the uprisings in places like Greece and frankly even in the United States in the Wisconsin state capitol last year, what happens when that god stops providing.

Land: That’s right, that’s exactly right.

Right Wing Round-Up

Understanding Where Michele Bachmann Gets Her Extreme Views

Ryan Lizza has a long profile in the new issue of The New Yorker in which he explains that "Bachmann's views have been shaped by institutions, tracts, and leaders not commonly known to secular Americans, or even to most Christians" and that "her campaign is going to be a conversation about a set of beliefs more extreme than those of any American politician of her stature."

As Lizza explains, one of the people who played a key role in shaping Bachmann's views was John Eidsmoe, her professor at Oral Roberts Univeristy: 

At Oral Roberts, Bachmann worked for a professor named John Eidsmoe, who got her interested in the burgeoning homeschool movement. She helped him build a database of state homeschooling statutes, assisting his crusade to reverse laws that prevented parents from homeschooling their children. After that, Bachmann worked as Eidsmoe’s research assistant on his book “Christianity and the Constitution,” published in 1987.

Eidsmoe explained to me how the Coburn School of Law, in the years that Bachmann was there, wove Christianity into the legal curriculum. “Say we’re talking in criminal law, and we get to the subject of the insanity defense,” he said. “Well, Biblically speaking, is there such a thing as insanity and is it a defense for a crime? We might look back to King David when he’s captured by the Philistines and he starts frothing at the mouth, playing crazy and so on.” When Biblical law conflicted with American law, Eidsmoe said, O.R.U. students were generally taught that “the first thing you should try to do is work through legal means and political means to get it changed.”

“Christianity and the Constitution” is ostensibly a scholarly work about the religious beliefs of the Founders, but it is really a brief for political activism. Eidsmoe writes that America “was and to a large extent still is a Christian nation,” and that “our culture should be permeated with a distinctively Christian flavoring.” When I asked him if he believed that Bachmann’s views were fully consistent with the prevailing ideology at O.R.U. and the themes of his book, he said, “Yes.” Later, he added, “I do not know of any way in which they are not.”

Eidsmoe has stirred controversy. In 2005, he spoke at the national convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a defiantly pro-white, and anti-black, organization. (Eidsmoe says that he deeply despises racism, but that he will speak “to anyone.”) In Alabama last year, he addressed an event commemorating Secession Day and told an interviewer that it was the state’s “constitutional right to secede,” and that “Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than did Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster.” In April, 2010, he was disinvited from a Tea Party rally in Wausau, Wisconsin, because of these statements and appearances.

Bachmann has not, however, distanced herself, and she has long described her work for Eidsmoe as an important part of her résumé. This spring, she told a church audience in Iowa, “I went down to Oral Roberts University, and one of the professors that had a great influence on me was an Iowan named John Eidsmoe. He’s from Iowa, and he’s a wonderful man. He has theology degrees, he has law degrees, he’s absolutely brilliant. He taught me about so many aspects of our godly heritage.”

When Bachmann spoke at the Rediscover God In America conference in Iowa earlier this year, she prasied Eidsmoe for the influence he had on her:

She also pointedly praised David Barton, calling him "a gift to our nation":

So the next time Bachmann says something absurd and you wonder "where does she get these extreme ideas?" ... well, now you know.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Brady Swenson @ RH Reality Check: Man Arrested, Charged with Intent to Murder Abortion Providers in Wisconsin.
  • Good As You: Openly gay Bayard Rustin used to put words in MLK's mouth. Now Harry Jackson thinks it's his turn.
  • Towleroad: FOX News Chair Roger Ailes Installed Bombproof Glass in His Office for Fear of Attacks by Gay Activists.
  • Ryan J. Reilly @ TPM: James O'Keefe's Group Gets Non-Profit Status, Took In Only $2,367 In 2010.
  • Joe.My.God: Oh Noes! The Revenge Of GOProud!
  • Simon Maloy @ County Fair: Glenn Beck's timeline of American history.
  • Steve Benen: What happens when a criminal becomes governor.

Right Wing Round-Up

Random Book Blogging: The Biblical Guide to Light Bulbs and Playground Equipment

Lately I have been working my way through Wayne Grudem's textbook-like tome "Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture" because I have seen it mentioned by several of the organizations and people we monitor and it's been blurbed by the likes of Chuck Colson and Timothy Goeglein.

In it, Grudem lays out the proper Biblical position on everything from abortion and taxes to tariffs and farm subsidies ... but I haven't gotten to those issues yet as I am still working my way through the introductory chapters where Grudem lays out how the government is stealing precious seconds of his liberty and making the nation's children fat and cowardly:

Every incremental increase in governmental regulation of life is also an incremental removal of some measure of human liberty. When small losses of liberty occur again and again and again over a period of years, people can become essentially slaves to the government without ever realizing its happening.

Here are some examples: If my local government would prohibit grocery stores from providing plastic bags, as San Francisco did in 2007, it would force me to use paper bags. This deprives me of my liberty to choose which kind of bag I want. But I cannot carry nearly as many paper bags as plastic bags from the car to the house, because the paper bags break and tear more easily. Therefore every trip to the grocery store will now require some additional trips between the car and the house, an incremental loss of human liberty for every citizen. The paper bags also take up more storage room an don't work as well for certain other tasks, so there is another small loss of liberty. Perhaps some people thing this is insignificant, and perhaps others think there is an environmental benefit that comes from avoiding plastic bags, and that is worth the price of depriving the citizens of a small amount of liberty in this way. I do not. But my point is simply to note that my freedom to use my time as I wish has been eroded a bit, and no one seems to notice that this has happened.

Almost all of the really fun playground equipment that I loved as a boy growing up in Jim Falls, Wisconsin, has disappeared from playgrounds across America. there are much fewer merry-go-rounds or teeter-totters or high slides or high swings. Because of the threat of bankrupting lawsuits (and the lack of laws that place commonsense limitations on liability and damages for injuries), everything is padded and "safe," and children are growing fat and timid and lazy, and they have lost the excitement of that great adventure of testing your courage and strength and balance and endurance against the playground equipment and against every else playing on it. Because of our nation's failure to have some commonsense legal reforms, our children have lost much of their freedom (and health!) and nobody seems to notice or care.

...

Recently the US government required that all incandescent light bulbs (that fully light instantly) have to be discontinued by 2014. We have started to switch to cheaper energy-efficient bulbs, but when I walk into the closet or the kitchen pantry and turn on the light, it now takes several seconds until the room is fully lighted. So I wait, and another tiny bit of my liberty has been eroded - liberty to choose the kind of light bulb I prefer for each room, and liberty to use those few seconds of time as I wish. 

Scott Walker’s Latest Pro-Voucher Gambit Exposes Dishonesty Of The Voucher Movement

Private school voucher advocates and their allies in the so-called “education reform” movement readily talk about the need for rigorous, constant testing along with the application of free market principles to education: reward high-performing schools and teachers and punish bad ones.

Over the last decade, Milwaukee has been a laboratory for private school vouchers, and the results have been poor: numerous studies have shown that vouchers failed to make any difference in student performance. Just like in Washington, DC and Cleveland, private school vouchers in Milwaukee failed to produce the gains their supporters promised as students, with students in the Milwaukee voucher program actually performing worse than comparable public school students.

But now Republican Gov. Scott Walker wants to expand the ineffective voucher program while cutting funds to public schools. And so much for the emphasis on testing -- voucher students will now be exempted from the tests that revealed the program’s failure.

The Wausau Daily Herald reports:

Milwaukee’s voucher school program would be expanded under a Republican-backed bill expected to pass the state Assembly on Tuesday.



State Superintendent Tony Evers has questioned expanding the voucher program at the same time Walker is proposing cutting public school aid by more than $800 million over the next two years.



Walker is also proposing eliminating in his budget that voucher students take the same statewide achievement tests that public school students must take.

This year, results were released for the first time comparing public school and voucher students. They showed voucher students lagging behind their peers in public schools.

That’s right, even though voucher students are “lagging behind their peers in public schools,” voucher programs are being rewarded with expansion while public schools are punished with cuts. With little care for accountability and testing, this move by Walker and the Wisconsin GOP demonstrates how the push for private school vouchers is really about the Right’s ideological war against public education.

The pro-voucher American Federation for Children is even launching an ad campaign to defend Wisconsin Republicans facing recall votes, and recently hosted an event where they honored Walker for his voucher advocacy. AFC was founded and funded by Betsy Devos, a Religious Right activist and wife of Dick Devos, the son of the founder of Amway and an unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor of Michigan. Today, AFC is one of the most aggressive pro-voucher groups, and aims to fully privatize public education.

Through their advocacy for private school vouchers, the Devos family merged their anti-union and anti-public school beliefs with their mission to chip away at the separation of church and state. The Devos family is a key benefactor of Religious Right groups across the country, financing major social conservative organizations like Focus on the Family and the Council for National Policy, and provided almost the entire funding for Maggie Gallagher’s Institute for Marriage and Public Policy.

With Scott Walker admitting that the private school voucher movement’s emphasis on testing, results and accountability is hogwash, it is abundantly clear what the real goal is: privatizing public education.

Creationists Warn That Teaching Evolution Leads To "Homosexual Indoctrination"

The Creation Studies Institute is warning members that, like the Nazis, gay-rights activists are using public schools to indoctrinate students. While many Religious Right groups have alleged that safe-school and anti-bullying programs lead to “homosexual indoctrination,” the Creationist Studies Institute claims that the “gay agenda” has taken over schools because schools have “fully embraced Darwinian Evolution.”

“Indeed, the rampant teaching of evolution in our schools that is effectively undermining belief in God and absolute moral standards is not only creating an atmosphere of ‘tolerance’ for homosexuality, but for just about anything,” writes Tom DeRosa, the organization’s founder and executive director, who adds: “Of course, in a purely evolutionary world, homosexuals would naturally be bred out of existence.” DeRosa goes on to compare homosexuality with polygamy and pedophilia, and asks members to purchase Focus on the Family’s Secure Daughters, Confident Sons booklet:

Those who hold godless ideologies have long understood that the best way to transform societies and change the way people traditionally think is by indoctrinating children from the earliest stages of education. In the last century, this methodology was effectively employed by those who held the atheistic ideologies of Nazism in Germany and Communism in countries such as the Soviet Union, where the state assumed total control of the educational system—even to the extent of turning children against parents. Of course, both of these worldviews fully embraced Darwinian evolution as a way to justify their actions and nullify the beliefs of their largely Christian populations. While U.S. federal government does not have that kind of authority in our school system (not yet, anyway), is it any wonder that those who lack a biblical worldview in our country, including those with a gay agenda, have seized upon our primary schools as the main vehicle of transforming our nation more to their liking?

In America, the adoption of evolution in our schools has paved the way for the introduction of the gay agenda. Those pushing it understand that nothing will more thoroughly and quickly undermine the traditional biblical foundations of our country than the normalization of homosexuality among our nation’s school children, regardless of their parents’ beliefs. Currently, under the banner of “tolerance” or “equal rights,” states like Massachusetts, New York, California, Wisconsin and Minnesota are actively implementing a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) curriculum in their public schools. But those behind the effort to legitimize LGBT lifestyles won’t be content until this kind of curricula is taught in all of our nation’s schools. So what is being taught, you might ask, that should concern those of us in the creationist community?



From the patriarchal days of Sodom and Gomorrah to the Law of Moses to the New Testament, God’s Word consistently declares that homosexuality is sin and warns of the condemnation it brings to the individuals who practice it and to societies that promote it. Indeed, the rampant teaching of evolution in our schools that is effectively undermining belief in God and absolute moral standards is not only creating an atmosphere of “tolerance” for homosexuality, but for just about anything. As the truism goes, “Without God, everything is permissible.” So, in reality, there’s nothing to prevent the same rationale being used today to justify homosexuality and homosexual marriage from being used tomorrow to sanction polygamy or pedophilia or… As one very honest evolutionist wrote a while back (a piece that quickly disappeared from public view), if evolution is true, then rape is a very valid and/or efficient way for a man to spread his genes. After all, why not? It’s the survival of the fittest. Of course, in a purely evolutionary world, homosexuals would naturally be bred out of existence, as well. But you won’t hear that from pro-evolution advocates.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 4/19/11

Michele Bachmann

Book: Considering a proposal to write her memoirs (AP, 4/18).

South Carolina: Rally in South Carolina a bust (CBS News, 4/18). 

Birther: Continues to float birther conspiracy on Fox News (The Atlantic, 4/18). 

Budget: Falsely claims that the top 1% pay 40% of taxes (PolitiFact, 4/13). 

Haley Barbour

South Carolina: Wins Charleston County GOP straw poll (The State Column, 4/18). 

New Hampshire: Takes two-day swing in New Hampshire (Boston Globe, 4/15). 

Mike Huckabee

South Carolina: Meets with supporters from the 2008 campaign (RCP, 4/18). 

Iowa: Volunteers from 2008 bid work to build new campaign (The Ticket, 4/15). 

Jon Huntsman

South Carolina: Organizes campaign in the Palmetto State (CNN, 4/18).

Obama: Conservative website features laudatory letters from Huntsman to Obama (Daily Caller, 4/15).

Roy Moore

2012: Forms presidential exploratory committee (AP, 4/18). 

Religious Right: Travels around Iowa with staffer from the far-right The Family Leader (Des Moines Register, 4/18). 

Sarah Palin

PAC: Launches new website for leadership pac (The Caucus, 4/18). 

Tea Party: Addresses small rally for Koch front group in Wisconsin (TPM, 4/16). 

Ron Paul

South Carolina: Tops the field in the Lexington County straw poll (CNN, 4/16). 

2012: Opens fundraising account for potential presidential bid (Politico, 4/14). 

Tim Pawlenty

Tea Party: Keynotes tea party rally in Boston, slams health care reform (Boston Globe, 4/16). 

Budget: Criticizes compromise budget deal (The Fix, 4/13). 

Mitt Romney

Florida: Leads in early poll of Sunshine State Republicans (Taunton Daily Gazette, 4/17). 

Fundraising: Benefits from network of state leadership PACs (Boston Globe, 4/15). 

Donald Trump

GOP: Presidential campaign gains increasing interest among Republican activists (AP, 4/19). 

Tea Party: Addresses Tea Party rally with Florida Congressman Allen West (The State Column, 4/17). 

Poll: Leads other likely candidates in poll of Republicans nationwide (WSJ, 4/15). 

Rick Santorum

Campaign: Rejects pro-union line of Langston Hughes he used as a campaign motto (The Guardian, 4/18). 

Equality: Supports reinstating Don't Ask Don't Tell policy (Think Progress, 4/18). 

Religious Right: Plans to join The Family Leader's Iowa presidential lecture tour (RWW, 4/18).

New Hampshire: Plays in mini golf tournament in Granite State tour (Foster's Daily Democrat, 4/17).

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