Month: December 2014

16 elected officials and soon-to-be elected officials I’d like to meet in person

Since this will be my last blog post of 2014, I’d like to take the opportunity and list 16 elected officials and soon-to-be elected officials that I’d like to meet in person someday.

16. Minnesota State Representative Carly Melin (D-Hibbing) – Melin, a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from the Iron Range region of the state, is like me in many ways: Progressive on a wide range of issues, millennial, not from a large city, loves to use Twitter, and not afraid to criticize Republicans and corporate Democrats.

15. U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston, Illinois) – Schakowsky is one of the most progressive members of my home state’s delegation to Congress, especially on economic issues like the minimum wage and worker’s rights. We don’t have too many politicians who are willing to stand up for worker’s rights here in Illinois, but she’s one of them.

14. Montana State Representative Amanda Curtis (D-Butte) – Curtis won’t be an elected official for much longer after losing her bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Montana, but Curtis is surprisingly progressive for a Montana Democrat. She’s a supporter of background checks on gun sales and she’s progressive on many other issues. Also, she also seems like a wonderful person to be around.

13. Michigan State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) – Whitmer won’t be an elected official for much longer, but, during her two terms as a Michigan State Senator, she was a fearless advocate for progressive ideas and a vocal critic of the far-right Republicans that run Michigan’s state government.

12. Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette (D-Kenosha) – The only member of the La Follette political family (which produced legendary progressive Robert M. “Fighting Bob” La Follette) that is still in public office, Doug La Follette has served as Wisconsin’s Secretary of State for decades (although his office has very little power nowadays); prior to that, he was a Wisconsin state legislator who was known for championing environmental protection.

11. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Hennepin County, Minnesota) – Klobuchar is perhaps the nicest elected official in the entire country, and she’s built up a solid track record of serving her constituents in Minnesota as a U.S. Senator. I’m not exactly sure what Klobuchar’s hometown is, so I’ve listed her by her home county instead.

10. U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-Atlanta, Georgia) – Lewis, one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, is an important person in American history, as he fought to end the Jim Crow laws that discriminated against Black Americans for over a century after slavery was abolished.

9. U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison, Wisconsin) – Pocan, by some measures, has the single most progressive voting record of any member of either house of Congress, and he’s also a cool guy.

8. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Burlington, Vermont) – Sanders, who is considering running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, is a strong progressive, especially when it comes to his opposition to rampant income inequality.

7. Dane County, Wisconsin Supervisor Jenni Dye (D-Fitchburg) – Most of you probably don’t know who Jenni Dye is, since she’s a local elected official in Dane County, Wisconsin (specifically, a county legislator), but she is a Twitter master, an all-around cool person, and a strong supporter of women’s rights. Dye is elected to an officially non-partisan office, although she is a known Democrat, so I’ve listed her as such.

6. U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-Tuscon, Arizona) – Grijalva is a strong progressive from a congressional district that includes much of southern Arizona. Grijalva understands better than anyone else the issues that Hispanics face in this country.

5. U.S. Representative Alan Grayson (D-Orlando, Florida) – Billed as a “Congressman with Guts”, Grayson is a notorious progressive firebrand who is often willing to speak his mind in support of progressive values and ideals on a wide variety of issues. More importantly, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get progressive ideals enacted into law, even against conservative opposition.

4. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Cambridge, Massachusetts) – No, she’s not running for president, but, make no mistake about it, Elizabeth Warren is the elected official that scares Wall Street fat cats more than any other. She is a fearless advocate for protecting consumers from Wall Street greed and is progressive on many other issues as well.

3. Illinois State Representative-elect Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) – The only person who is not currently an elected official (although, in just a couple of weeks, he’ll be sworn in as one), Guzzardi ran as a progressive for a state house seat in Chicago’s North Side, took on the corrupt Chicago Machine in the Democratic primary, and won.

2. Wisconsin State Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) – One of the most progressive members of the Wisconsin State Assembly, Taylor is a fearless advocate for progressive ideals on a wide range of issues. Prior to entering electoral politics, Taylor ran Planned Parenthood’s Wisconsin political operation.

1. Wisconsin State Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) – If I could only meet one elected official that I like in my entire lifetime, it would be Melissa Sargent, the Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from the East Side of Madison. Sargent is a fearless advocate for collective bargaining rights, raising the minimum wage, reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, internet privacy, legalization of recreational marijuana, and many other progressive ideals. More importantly, Sargent is a down-to-earth person who cares about people.

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Scott Walker compares immigration reform to union busting, has no immigration reform plan of his own

Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who will likely run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, attacked President Barack Obama, who is legally prohibited from seeking a third term in the White House, over, among other things, Obama issuing a lawful executive order on immigration:

Gov. Scott Walker criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of a range of national and international issues, including immigration and foreign policy, in his annual end-of-the-year interview with the Wisconsin State Journal at the Governor’s Mansion Monday.

Walker, who is mulling a run for president in 2016, joined a lawsuit earlier this month seeking to block Obama’s executive action sparing as many as 5 million people living illegally in the United States from deportation. Obama announced the action in November, saying it was an important step to fix the nation’s broken immigration system.

Perhaps the most moronic comment that Walker made in his interview with the Madison, Wisconsin-based Wisconsin State Journal newspaper was his bizarre comparison of immigration reform and union busting:

Citing his controversial 2011 measure to all but end collective bargaining for most of the state’s public workers, Walker likened Obama’s executive action on immigration to trying to “invoke Act 10 without the Legislature.”

For those of you who are not familiar with Wisconsin politics, “Act 10” refers to 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, a state law that was enacted by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Legislature in violation of the state’s open meetings law, signed into law by Walker, upheld by courts controlled by far-right supporters of Walker and his destructive agenda, and stripped Wisconsin’s public employee unions (except for what few public employee unions supported Walker in his 2010 gubernatorial campaign) of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights. Walker is a total moron for comparing immigration reform to stripping collective bargaining rights from public employees.

Furthermore, Walker has no plan whatsoever to reform the broken immigration system in this country:

On how he would resolve the problem of the estimated 12 million immigrants living in the United States illegally, he said he’d “leave that up to the people who are running for federal office or in federal office to decipher.”

I find it hypocritical and downright asinine that Walker, who is considering running for federal office, has no plan to reform the immigration system in this country, and then turns around and says that he’d leave the issue of immigration to those “who are running for federal office or in federal office”. He’s already passing the buck on immigration, and he hasn’t even officially entered the presidential race yet!

In addition to immigration, Walker also criticized Obama over the fact that Obama hasn’t (yet) started a full-scale war with the Islamic fundamentalist terror group ISIS and over Obama’s plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. In other words, Walker wants to return to the failed George W. Bush-era hawkish/neoconservative foreign policy of fighting multiple full-scale wars at the same time that drive up the national debt and is whining about a lack of democracy in Cuba while, at the same time, he’s trying to destroy democracy in Wisconsin and the rest of America.

Make no mistake about it, America can’t afford four years of the Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush-Scott Walker police, surveillance, and military state. America needs Bernie Sanders to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, because he’ll bring real progressive leadership to the White House.

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise spoke at white supremacist conference run by organization led by David Duke

When he was a Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, Steve Scalise, who is now the majority whip (#3 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives), attended and spoke at a 2002 white supremacist conference led by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), a deceptively-named white supremacist group led by 1991 Republican candidate for Governor of Louisiana and former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) grand wizard David Duke:

Twelve years before he was elected by his colleagues as House Majority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) spoke at a conference hosted by white supremacist group European-American Unity and Rights Organization.

Louisiana political blogger Lamar White Jr.dug up a number of posts on Stormfront, one of the original white supremacist websites, that place Scalise at the 2002 gathering. According to one user who attended the conference, Scalise — then a state representative — spoke to the organization at a workshop “to teach the most effective and up-to-date methods of civil rights and heritage related activism.”

According to another Stormfront post, the National/International EURO Workshop on Civil Rights was held from May 17 to 18, 2002, at the Landmark/Best Western Hotel in Metairie, Louisiana. The conference was also listed on an Anti-Defamation League list of extremist events for that year.

This was originally reported by Louisiana political blogger Lamar White, Jr. and has since been picked up by numerous news media outlets, including CNN and The Huffington Post.

Make no mistake about it, EURO is a far-right racist hate group that believes that white people are superior to all other people, and most, if not all, of their members would rather see blacks and other people who they don’t consider to be of their “master race” expelled from their home countries or killed en masse. In fact, Ian Mosley, who wrote articles for EURO’s now-defunct website, wrote this racist screed calling for a return to fascist rule and a Second Holocaust in Germany:

The beautiful Germany of the 1930s with blonde children happily running through every village has been replaced with a multi-racial cesspool. Out of work Africans can be seen shuffling along the same streets, which used to be clean and safe in the days of the National Socialists. One day, people in Germany will grow tired of the politically correct police state that is destroying their lives. They will recover their national pride and start speaking the truth about their past regardless of what the militant lesbians or thought police tell them. Once that happens, Germany may finally be a great nation again -free of foreign control.

The fact that Steve Scalise would even consider showing up at, let alone giving a speech at, a white supremacist gathering organized by a David Duke-led organization proves that he is far too conservative for a leadership position of any kind in this country, let alone the #3 position in the majority party in the U.S. House. What is even scarier is that there is the possibility, even though it’s a slim possibility, that the Tea Party Republicans in the House could decide not to re-elect John Boehner as House Speaker and elect Scalise to be the new House Speaker instead, which would put Scalise second in the line of succession to the presidency. I have zero tolerance for white supremacists and those who attend their gatherings.

My computer’s hard drive may be failing

As I turned my laptop computer on a little while ago, I received an error message saying that my computer detected that a failure of the computer’s hard drive may be imminent. I use an HP Pavilion g6 laptop, and the HP model number for the hard drive is A6Y43UA#ABA. If one can find out whether or not a replacement hard drive from HP with that model number is available, please leave a comment on this blog post.

If my hard drive does fail, that will mean that I will be unable to use my computer to write this blog, use social media, and other tasks, my upcoming book will have to be postponed for an indefinite period of time, and my parents are probably not going to be able to afford a new computer or hard drive. If I’m forced to be offline for a while and this blog and my social media pages are not updated for weeks or even months, you’ll know why.

How pregnant women in Wisconsin are treated like second-class citizens

Tamara Loerstcher at 35 weeks pregnant (photo by Wendi Kent)
Tamara Loerstcher at 35 weeks pregnant (photo by Wendi Kent)

In Wisconsin, pregnant women are treated like second-class citizens. Republicans, who control Wisconsin’s state government, have enacted numerous laws that, among other things, require pregnant women who wish to have an abortion undergo an ultrasound regardless if they want or need an ultrasound or not and cut public funding to women’s health clinics.

However, arguably the worst piece of anti-abortion legislation that has been enacted in recent years in Wisconsin is the so-called “Cocaine Mom Law” (officially 1997 Wisconsin Act 292), enacted in 1998, that allows Wisconsin officials to arrest, detain, and imprison pregnant women for up to the duration of their pregnancies if said officials believe that the pregnant woman is abusing substances, such as alcohol and other drugs, to the point that the egg, embryo, fetus, or child upon birth will be “seriously affected”. In effect, Act 292 gives fetuses more legal rights than pregnant women.

One of the worst examples of Act 292 trampling over the constitutional rights of Wisconsin women is the case of Tamara Loerstcher, who was jailed, had her constitutional rights violated, and was subjected to horrible treatment after she went to an Eau Claire hospital in order to receive a pregnancy test and treatment for a thyroid condition and Loerstcher told the hospital that she had self-medicated with drugs prior to going to the hospital:

According to Loertscher and her attorneys, unbeknownst to her, as hospital workers were preparing a prescription to treat Loertscher’s thyroid condition, they were also initiating unborn child protection proceedings on behalf of Loertscher’s then 14-week-old fetus.

Loertscher and her attorneys claim that within days of Loertscher seeking care, hospital workers had already turned over Loerstcher’s hospital records to the state without Loerstcher’s knowledge or consent. They also claim that with those records in hand, state officials filed a petition accusing Loerstcher of abuse of an unborn child and held a hearing in which the state had appointed an attorney, known as a guardian ad litem, for the 14-week-old fetus, but granted Loerstcher no meaningful representation.

At the hearing, Loertscher and her attorneys allege she was ordered by the court into in-patient treatment even though she had not used drugs recently and voluntarily sought medical care. When Loerstcher refused to go to in-patient treatment, she was held in contempt of court and sent to jail, where she was held for 17 days without prenatal care and subject to abuse and harassment.

“This was my first pregnancy, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Loerstcher told reporters. “I was having lots of cramping and a lot of stress from everything and they [jail officials] wouldn’t allow me to see the doctor. They told me I would have to see a jail-appointed doctor who told me she wanted me to take a pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy even though that’s why I was in jail, because I was pregnant. They knew that’s why I was there.”

Loerstcher claims she refused the pregnancy test, and in response, correction officials put her in solitary confinement and threatened to use a taser on her. “The jail doctor told me if I chose to miscarry, there wasn’t anything they could do about it anyways,” Loertscher said through tears.

[…]

In order to be released from jail, Loertscher had to sign a consent decree agreeing to additional drug tests, so she remains under state custody to some extent, her lawyer said.

Even worse, despite the fact that she was never tried or convicted of child abuse, Tamara Loerstcher will appear on Wisconsin’s child abuse registry for the remainder of her life unless this is overturned on appeal.

To summarize, Wisconsin officials jailed Tamara Loerstcher, granted her then-14 week old fetus legal counsel but refused to grant her any meaningful legal representation, took her medical records from the hospital without her knowledge or consent, ordered by a court into in-patient treatment despite not needing in-patient treatment and not having been tried or convicted of substance abuse, held in contempt of court and jailed for 17 days without prenatal care, subjected to abuse and harassment while jailed, forced her to take a pregnancy test despite her pregnancy having been already confirmed, and even threatened to use a taser on her while jailed. How Tamara Loerstcher was treated by the legal system in Wisconsin is some of the most barbaric treatment of someone I’ve ever seen in my entire life, in fact, Loerstcher’s story is so shocking, I’ve had nightmares about it. Her constitutional rights were repeatedly violated, she was not granted due process of law, and she was effectively convicted of child abuse without a trial. Sadly, Loerstcher isn’t the only one who has had her constitutional rights violated by Wisconsin’s Act 292.

I hope that Tamara Loerstcher gives birth to a healthy child in a few weeks (she is expecting to have a son) and that her name is cleared by the legal system.

Bloomberg News gives Scott Walker a lump of coal for Christmas

All right, Bloomberg News didn’t literally give Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker a lump of coal for Christmas, but they did figuratively give Walker a lump of coal for Christmas in the form of this article about how Walker, who is a likely Republican presidential nomination candidate in 2016, and his Republican allies in the Wisconsin State Legislature have wrecked Wisconsin’s economy:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has his eye on the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, and as he tries to boost his national poll numbers, there are numbers at home that also bear watching — his state’s finances.

Tax cuts and Medicaid spending are contributing to a projected budget deficit that may reach $2.2 billion in the two-year period starting in July 2015, according to his administration’s analysts. While Walker aides call the projections premature, Democrats say the figures prove the governor’s policies — especially income and property-tax reductions — turned a $517 million surplus at the end of June into a shortfall.

Tax collections and decisions by Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature will determine the size of the deficit. Yet the swing to a shortfall limits Wisconsin’s financial choices as the governor prepares his February budget presentation. Last week, he called for more property-tax cuts.

What they’ve opted to do is a policy choice of cutting taxes,” said Gabriel Petek, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s in San Francisco. “They’ve changed the fiscal trajectory of the state that had been on course for higher reserves.”

(emphasis mine)

Obviously, Scott Walker deserves at least a figurative lump of coal for Christmas. That’s because his policies of cutting taxes for the wealthy, implementing a statewide school voucher program in Wisconsin, and handing out corporate welfare to his campaign donors have completely wrecked Wisconsin’s economy, finances, and business climate. Despite the fact that Walker’s policies of cutting taxes and spending money on bad policy that only benefits the politically connected have clearly wrecked Wisconsin’s reputation, Walker wants to hand out even more tax cuts to the wealthy. That’s absurd, since cutting taxes does absolutely nothing to reduce or eliminate a budget deficit, in fact, cutting taxes makes budget deficits even worse.

Penn State Professor Sophia McClennen delivers brilliant response to Rush Limbaugh smear attack

Sophia McClennen, a professor at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), wrote this piece for Salon magazine, in which Professor McClennen talked about how Steven Colbert’s style of comedy during his tenure as host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report brilliantly mocked conservatives who (figuratively) wrap themselves in the American flag by constantly talking about their patriotism.

Obviously, Rush Limbaugh, a right-wing misogynistic talk radio shock jock who is best-known for his infamous remarks in which he called attorney and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke a “slut” on his nationally-syndicated radio program The Rush Limbaugh Show, was not happy after reading Professor McClennen’s column, so he called her a “professorette” on his radio program and whined about how he couldn’t “escape these professors and these lies and all this crap that’s in the media about everything that’s so-called wrong with America”.

Professor McClennen wrote a pair of responses to Limbaugh’s sexist smear attack against her at Salon magazine and at the progressive website DailyKos. In her DailyKos diary, Professor McClennen called out Limbaugh for claiming to love America but hate a majority of American citizens:

This leads to another persistent flaw in Limbaugh logic: How can you claim to love your country, yet hate so many of its citizens? It turns out that people of color, women and folks who vote with the “Democrat Party” are all part of the very same nation that Limbaugh professes to love. And yet, he seems to have a never-ending ability to spit bile at his fellow citizens, constantly hurling invectives at those with whom he disagrees. Professorette? (His term for me.) Infobabe? Feminazi? And we can’t forget Limbaugh’s treatment of Sandra Fluke. […]

I want to make three points about this.

First, Professor McClennen’s piece about Colbert’s character on The Colbert Report is certainly not a pack of lies and crap about everything that’s wrong with America. It’s a factual and very informative piece about how Colbert parodied right-wing talking heads like Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and others in the corporate media in order to gain a large following among the left in this country and how Colbert fought to redefine what patriotism means in this country.

Second, for Limbaugh to publicly call Professor McClennen a “professorette” is flagrantly sexist. “Professor” is a gender-neutral term, and for Limbaugh to use the term “professorette” to describe a female college professor implies that female college professors are somehow inferior to male college professors, which, at least in my experience, is certainly not the case. I attended a small junior college in the east central part of Illinois on a part-time basis for a few years before dropping out, and, even though my college experience was horrible (mostly because I wasn’t interested in attending college at all), every professor who taught one or more courses I took, regardless of whether it was taught by a man or a woman, taught their courses exceptionally well.

Third, as someone who is a left-wing nationalist and damn proud of both America and my progressive political views, I believe in a different kind of patriotism than right-wing talking heads like Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, and so on do. Right-wingers in this country believe in the “wrap-self-in-the-flag” kind of patriotism, in which they talk about how great America is while they support policies that are turning America into a third-world country, such as free trade agreements like NAFTA, deregulation of the banking industry, and cuts in government spending on things like education and social safety net programs. On the other hand, I believe in a kind of patriotism simply known as making America exceptional. I believe in raising taxes on the wealthy, protecting and expanding the social safety net, providing affordable health care to the American people, providing a better public education system for future generations, repealing free trade agreements, protecting the American economy, protecting and enacting regulations to protect workers, consumers, and the environment, raising the minimum wage, granting equal rights to all Americans, ensuring that all American citizens who are of age are able to vote in free and fair elections, and protecting the civil liberties of the American people, among other things. I don’t believe in all of that because I hate America, I believe in that because I love America and want to make this country an exceptional place to live!

Conservatives and police unions try to blame Democratic public officials for senseless murder of two NYPD officers

Earlier today, Wenjilan Liu and Raphael Ramos, two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers, were shot and killed in Brooklyn before the gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, shot himself to death.

Make no mistake about it, the senseless murder of Officers Liu and Ramos is absolutely disgusting. The fact that a NYPD officer, who was not one of the two people murdered, killed Eric Gardner by using a banned chokehold was just as senseless as the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos.

However, many Republicans and conservatives have tried to blame the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos on President Barack Obama, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other Democratic public officials, as well as Reverend Al Sharpton and other advocates for increased police accountability and criminal justice reform:

Additionally, the union that represents NYPD officers reportedly put out an extremely divisive statement claiming that de Blasio’s hands “are literally dripping with our blood”, asking NYPD officers to disobey their supervisors, and claiming that the NYPD is operating as a “wartime” police force:

Starting IMMEDIATELY- At least two units are to respond to EVERY call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the opinion of the patrol supervisor happens to be. IN ADDITION: Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest. These are precautions that were taken in the 1970’s when Police Officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis. The mayors hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a “wartime” police department. We will act accordingly. FORWARD MESSAGE IN ITS ENTIRETY TO ANY AND ALL MOS.

To blame the senseless murder of Officers Liu and Ramos on Democratic officials and advocates for police and criminal justice reform is absolutely absurd, since A) Ismaaiyl Brinsley murdered the two officers, B) Obama, de Blasio, Holder, and Sharpton have all issued statements strongly condemning the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos, and C) virtually all Democratic public officials in this country and most political activists who support police accountability and criminal justice reform don’t use political rhetoric that is actually “anti-cop” in nature. Right-wingers, racists, and law enforcement unions who are trying to blame this senseless murder on Democratic officials and supporters of police and criminal justice reform are doing absolutely nothing but dividing the country, politicizing the senseless murder of two police officers, and making tensions between law enforcement and the public even worse in order to promote a divisive, far-right political agenda.

CONFIRMED: Plexus shipped jobs to foreign countries after being awarded tax breaks from Scott Walker’s WEDC

The administration of Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is giving me a ton of material for my upcoming book about corporate welfare that I intend to release sometime in February of next year.

Greg Neumann, the host of a Wisconsin political talk show called Capitol City Sunday on WKOW-TV, the ABC affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin, confirmed that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) had given millions of dollars in tax credits to Plexus Corporation, a Neenah, Wisconsin-based manufacturer that makes electronic components, after they had laid off 116 workers at its Neenah plant and moved the jobs to a foreign country.

Earlier this year, Neumann originally reported that Plexus had announced in July of 2012 that they laid off 116 of its Neenah workers after having been awarded $2 million in tax credits from the WEDC in 2011, as well $15 million in tax credits in 2012.

Neumann’s follow-up report noted that, according to an official petition filed with the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, Plexus actually laid off the 116 workers in May of 2012:

In July of 2012, Plexus announced it was letting go of 116 workers from its facility in Neenah.  But the layoffs actually came a few months before that.  A Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petition filed with the U.S. Department of Labor on behalf of the impacted workers states the layoffs were actually implemented by Plexus on May 7, 2012.

Additionally, Neumann reported that the laid-off workers are still receiving federal trade adjustment benefits:

The review concluded only that Plexus is no longer shifting such production, but did in 2012 when it laid off 116 workers from its Neenah facility.

Still the TAA benefits are being allowed to continue flowing to the impacted workers. According to the new ruling, the criteria for benefits has been met because “a significant number or proportion of the workers in such workers’ firm have become totally or partially separated, or are threatened to become totally or partially separated.”

The ruling goes on to state that the production of printed circuit boards by Plexus has “decreased absolutely” and because “customer imports of articles like or directly competitive with the printed circuit board assemblies produced by Plexus Corporation have increased.”

The ruling states those imports also contributed to further workers losing their jobs at Plexus.

It has been confirmed without a shadow of a doubt that Plexus was awarded tax breaks from the WEDC, Scott Walker’s corporate welfare agency, after Plexus had shipped American jobs to foreign countries. This proves that Scott Walker’s corporate welfare agenda has done nothing but waste Wisconsinites’ taxpayer money and effectively ship their taxpayer money to foreign countries.

Minneapolis (MN) police officer Christopher Guelcher apparently thinks that people who litter or urinate in public should be shot to death

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune published one of the most vile op-eds I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The op-ed was written by Christopher Guelcher, a police officer with the Minneapolis, Minnesota police department.

In his op-ed, which he wrote in response to recent police killings in numerous cities across the country, Guelcher strongly implied that he thinks that people who have committed even minor crimes, such as public urination and littering, should be shot to death by police and that police officers should shoot anybody who they see is committing a crime:

Could this be the future of today’s demands for reform and change? Would people be happy and fully support the federal, state or even local governments if they passed laws restricting the police from proactively enforcing low-level misdemeanor crimes committed in an officer’s presence, such as littering or public urination, because the crime does not warrant the possibility of police use of force and possibly death?

People like Christopher Guelcher are the reason why real reform of the police and criminal justice systems in this country are badly needed. Far too many police officers think that their badge gives them a right to hunt and kill people, especially black people, even for minor offenses like pissing in public and throwing trash on the ground in a public place, when, in reality, their badge doesn’t give them that right.

I found Guelcher’s remarks to be downright vile, and he owes the people of Minneapolis an apology and a resignation from the police force.

Here’s my audio blog about Guelcher’s op-ed. Please note that my attempt at speaking in a Minnesota accent sucked badly.