Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!!

My Thanksgiving post here, from last year.
[Especially see the 'message' part, at the bottom.]

Best wishes to you and yours, for a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

CRNC Biennial Convention 2011 (The Midwest is the best!)


Things have been moving quite fast here, so (like for prior events), I'm setting up a Twitter-feed. This one has some of our Midwest Caucus CRs, who are live-Tweeting. The entry below is the general Tweet stream, for this 2011 Biennial Convention.

The Midwest is the best!!


CRNC Biennial Convention 2011


See entry above... That one has the explanation, & live-coverage, from our CRNC Midwest Caucus!

This however, is the general Twitter stream, for live coverage of the 2011 Biennial Convention of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A sustainable economic plan

While driving home from Washington D.C. yesterday, I had the opportunity to listen to lots of talk radio and got some wonderful ideas for some blog posts.  I'll share more about my trip at another time, but one thing I find it important to write about is the looming default of American credit and talks to corral our spending.

Mark Levin outlined, on my drive home, an important message to Republicans in the deal-making process.  While Republicans are attempting to make strides to ensure a brighter American future in negotiations with the President, Levin offers this:
"We all know where the country is headed, we all know what the problem is.  We all know that the Tea Party movement is not only right, but it's the only thing saving this nation.  So the paradox is, that it's treated as some small, insignificant force, when in fact they are urging the only way out.  Another paradox; in order to change Washington, George [Will], you gotta change Washington.  Right?  And so what the Tea Party movement is trying to do, what the Reagan Revolution is trying to do and what the conservatives in the conservative movement have been hoping and trying to do is to reverse course. You can't reverse course without reversing course.  You can't slash spending without slashing spending.  In other words, talk is cheap and now it's time to act."
The American people should not be satisfied with a clandestine deal involving a minimal reduction in spending in exchange for an expansion in our already-crippling debt.  We need a balanced budget, lower taxes, and a stable economy.   We the people are engaged with the political process and will not settle for the selling of our future and a mortgage of our children's future.  We want the Republican party to be the people's advocate in Washington, D.C., and we sent that message loud and clear in November of 2010 and we will do so again in November of 2012.  But if those for fiscal responsibility haven't found an advocate in D.C. by this upcoming election cycle, we'll send in a new round of even-more-conservative men and women to Capitol Hill.

Obama, who was a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Chicago, has said he will veto the Tea Party-backed plan and balanced budget amendment.  For those that aren't familiar with the process, a Constitutional amendment must pass both the House and the Senate by a 2/3 majority and would then need to be ratified by 3/4 of the states.  Missing from this process, as a Constitutional Law professor should probably be able to see, is the Office of the President.  Even more embarrassing is the fact that there is even a Con Law case that re-states the President's absence from the process, Hollingsworth v. Virginia.

A balanced budget amendment is not out of reach.   49 states, Vermont being the lone hold-out, have a balanced budget policy, and as recently as March of 1995, an amendment to balance the budget passed the House and was just one vote short of passing the Senate.   Now is the time for the citizens that believe in saving the economy to contact Congress and urge them to save America's future with this sustainable economic plan.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

RightOnline 2011: A Kansas Perspective (#RO11, #TheUndefeated)

I was fortunate enough to be among the almost two thousand attendees at this year's RightOnline Conference in Minneapolis, MN. It was a very productive weekend, filled with networking and putting faces with Twitter handles. I came away with a greater appreciation of our power as bloggers and social media users and am excited to continue our fight for conservative values.

Below, I've excerpted a few RightOnline 2011 posts, all of which originally appeared on my blog at

"RightOnline is a conference dedicated to teaching conservative activists on how to use online technologies and how to purpose them to help move America forward. Of course, for people like me, Melissa Ward, Jayvie Canomo, Tabitha Hale, and Teresa Oelke, it’s a great place to meet the people with work with everyday on Twitter and other online avenues.

"In fact, I met Nansen Malin, a true #tcot Twitter superstar, in her Twitter breakout session. I kind of… hijacked the session, too. Oops… This tweet sent Nansen an @ reply and displayed on the giant screen in the front of the same room this happened in… The crowd started chuckling, and then I had to ‘fess up!"
-from RightOnline 2011 Opening Breakout Sessions (#RO11)

"Members of the NetRoots Nation Conference tried to crash RightOnline 2011. Hotel and AFP security had to push them back." [photos]
-from RightOnline 2011: NetRoots Comes to Visit (#RO11)

"Friday night at AFP Foundation’s RightOnline Conference, we were fortunate enough to be some of the first in the nation to screen the almost final version of 'The Undefeated: The Sarah Palin Documentary.'

"Over the next two hours and fifteen minutes or so, the six hundred or so in the room at RightOnline got a glimpse into Palin’s life through the eyes of some of her most trusted advisors. It wasn’t a film that maliciously dug into her life; it just showed us the world from the point of view of those who knew her before she was thrust onto the national stage, and this perspective really helped explain her recent actions. Moreover, it reintroduced the room of conservative activists to the Palin we once knew and strongly admired and showed us once again why we felt she was a true leader."

-from RightOnline 2011: Screening “The Undefeated” (#RO11 #TheUndefeated)

"Our favorite liberal online rag Huffington Post decided to carry one of my tweets (and one of fellow Kansan Beka Romm’s, too) as part of the back story for one of the weekend articles covering U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)."
-from RightOnline 2011: My Cameo in “Huffington Post” (#RO11)

For my RightOnline 2011 Wrap-up post, which includes photo highlights of the conference, please visit this link.

Click here to view all of my coverage of RightOnline 2011.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Right Online 2011

[Note: I don't know if the Widget isn't loading, or if it's just slow, on my end. In case it isn't, just follow the link: Thanks!]

I've had quite the experience (!!) at RightOnline - or more-specifically, on my way to it, etc...

I'm trying to rush off right now, to one of the breakout-sessions, but didn't want any more time to pass, before loading one of those [quickly-put-together] Twitter-stream, of our CRNC-Midwest Caucus members, who are here!

[There's unfortunately no time to post actual blog entries right now, while partaking in all the other good stuff!]

And, I apologize for those here, who I've left out. I'm behind today (as well as yesterday!!), not to mention, severely under-caffeinated.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Minnesota College Republicans on Governor Mark Dayton (D-MN) & the Budget Bill

The Minnesota College Republican Federation (MNCR) recently unveiled a new website... During this past week's [HIGHLY-contentious!] Minnesota legislative session, the MNCRs posted a good analysis, at their blog.

From May 23, 2011, @MNCRs blog...

Minnesota Budget Bill:
Dayton Should Learn from Pawlenty’s Policies

The budget battle continues in St. Paul as the deadline approaches. As our Republican representatives stand strong against job killing taxes, the Democrats persist that taxes are the only way to balance the budget.

This battle seems fairly familiar. Last year, the Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature insisted on hurting businesses across Minnesota with costly tax increases while Governor Tim Pawlenty said no. Governor Dayton would do well to take a page from Pawlenty’s economic playbook...

====> Check it out, at the MNCR blog...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

OP-ED: Debt Isn't Compassionate

From the Co-Chairman of the Ohio College Republican Federation (OCRF), Sam Bain - an OP-ED published @ FOX Nation!

Debt Isn't Compassionate

A few weeks ago the College Republican National Committee released a television ad in Iowa titled "What's Your Plan?" detailing the staggering national debt and prompting candidates to tell us their plan to balance the budget. Though, the line which stood out most during the ad was the phase, "Debt Isn't Compassionate."

When I heard this I was (sarcastically) at war with myself. The Democratic Party has been in power and has spent more than all previous administrations combined. Yet at the same time, this is the party that claims to stick up for the little guy, promote the middle class and defend any other category one could call a victim. They have used the public education system and strong armed the media into having Americans believe that they are entitled to everything under the sun. You can't even touch Medicare and Social Security without Democratic telling grandmas the GOP will push them off a cliff.

You can't cut Planned Parenthood without being a misogynist who loathes women and if you cut National Public Radio, you, of course, hate free speech. And if you even think about balancing a state budget by paying public workers more responsibly, be careful as you will be deemed an anti-cop, anti-teacher lunatic who wants to destroy the middle class.

The Democratic Party exerts all these claims in the name of compassion for the American people, but can they hold truth to these? Do parents rack up thousands of dollars in credit card debt to buy their children everything, only to sacrifice the security of their future prosperity? The answer is no because that's bad parenting and for the government to do the same is simply bad government.

You would think that reaching the debt ceiling would cause some to wake up...

===> Read the rest:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Martin Castro: Obama appointee injects traditional Commencement ceremony with national politics

Around this time of the year, we often see reports, from universities throughout the country, about Graduation ceremonies dominated with liberal (& in some cases, ULTRA-liberal) Commencement speakers.

Fortunately, the capital-city university in our state (UIS) has been able to avoid overly-politicized (re: current affairs) Commencement speeches. Last year's UIS Commencement speaker is a former Republican elected official, but she avoided promoting her personal viewpoints, regarding the contemporary controversial national topics.

The Hon. Karen Hasara is now a member of the statewide University of Illinois Board of Trustees (BOT), and an alumna of our university (the University of IL at Springfield) was on stage again, this year, but the Commencement speaker was Martin Castro, a member of the Obama Administration, serving as Chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and a Chicago Democrat.

Still, I was expecting a motivational talk at yesterday's Commencement ceremony, reflecting on his life & career experience, and dealing with certain topics, but not pushing his personal opinions, regarding current, national-level hot-button issues. (The latter type of speech is common at other university Commencements, but not for the University of Illinois at Springfield [UIS].)

I was surprised therefore, at the topics Martin Castro chose to inject, within his speech. He praised the "Illinois Dream Act" - and said that Interim UIS Chancellor Harry Berman supports this measure, to help "undocumented immigrant students" (who may include some of those, "here" in the audience!). I was surprised to hear that the UIS administration was supporting the "IL Dream Act"... Was this decided upon, at a "Campus Senate" meeting (of which most UIS students are unaware)? I see that the UIS Student Government Association (SGA) did vote to approve this. However: Other than a representative of a student group, supporting that proposal (& the reporter the UIS Journal sends), I doubt anyone else was at the meeting! I'm almost-sure the SGA members heard no differing viewpoints, and were most-likely unaware that this bill would, in fact, require taxpayer-funding of new services, for illegal aliens. [The podcast of the meeting might make interesting - or uninteresting, that is! - listening.] Despite these circumstances, the supporters of this state legislation can (supposedly) now claim that "the University supports" the Illinois Dream Act.
Update: Upon watching the video of this SGA meeting, I see that the members were relying on 3rd-hand information about the Illinois legislation, which was partly-inaccurate. Almost no one was in the audience, & no one presented the opposing view. Despite these circumstances, the SGA passed the "Resolution" by just a one-vote majority (6 out of 11).

(Apparently, some members of the Illinois Senate may also be unaware of what specifically this piece of legislation does!)

[I will be doing a separate post, about the aforementioned issue.]

...Castro blasted efforts to "change the 14th Amendment"; How many of those here, he said, would be so-dramatically hurt, by that?

He praised affirmative action, and discussed how the Commission successfully helped stop the University of Michigan lawsuit that sought to end those programs, in collegiate admissions.

He heaped praise on the President, and repeated several other hot-button issue talking points.

I wonder if this was the most politicized Commencement Address that the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) has ever had.

Maybe that's just the "Chicago way"?! ;-)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Best of luck!!

Best of luck, to all students, on [remaining!] finals, papers, projects, etc.!!

And also: CONGRATULATIONS, to all who are graduating!!

Thank you for your involvement, in the College Republicans ("the best party on campus!" :-). Please keep in contact with us, and best of luck, on your current and future endeavors!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Live-Tweeting the first GOP President Debate

Like we set up, for a past Primary Election night, I've put together a quick Twitter-List, to so we can stream the live coverage & commentary, from tonight's Presidential Debate.

Let me know, if you would like to be added to this. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Release of Bin Laden Photos would Jeopardize American Lives

As the whole world now knows, the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist’s attacks, Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Military operatives at his home in Pakistan. Ten years later and after thousands more American lives were sacrificed, justice has finally been served on behalf of the victims of 9/11 and Americans can sleep a little more peacefully in their beds at night. Credit should be given to our Armed Forces and both President Bush and Obama for demonstrating the leadership and resolve to bring justice to this terrorist ten years later.
However, in light of this monumental American victory, I am taken aback by all the uproar to release pictures of Osama's corpse. While it is understandable that the victims’ families would want closure of his death, what kind of uncivilized country do we live in to revel in such satisfaction at the expense of uniting those of Muslim faith against the Western world and putting American lives at an even greater risk?
While the killing of Bin Laden no doubt brought justice to almost 3000 victims killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the ten years of military operations in the Middle East, the lives of thousands of American soldiers, and trillions of taxpayer dollars were expended to keep the American people safe in the future, not necessarily bring justice to one man.
To release photos under the pretense of bringing closure to the American people that justice has been served, would compromise the most important reason why began such a costly endeavor; our national security. No, the terrorist movement will not drop their weapons and surrender because their worshipped leader was killed by the U.S. We can expect another such figure to fill Osama’s void in the near future. Releasing photos of Bin Laden’s mutilated corpse will not prove to our enemies anything. Will that deter them from attacking again? Of course it won’t. These terrorists will commit suicide by blowing up their own bodies to kill at least one “infidel”. The pundits that claim these photos will hamper the terrorist’s efforts and resolve are kidding the American people. The contrary would be the case. If history is a teacher, the uprising in Iraq after the execution of Saddam Hussein is sufficient proof. Did terrorists falter or lose faith in their cause? No, attacks on U.S. forces in areas of Iraq increased by 300% within days Saddam’s death.
Imagine the scenario inside a terrorist training facility. Young boys are taken from their peaceful Muslim families and forced to join the ranks of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. At this age, the boys’ minds are moldable and can be easily influenced. The terrorist leaders use propaganda to incite hate into the hearts of these young men. These are the same boys that strap on suicide vest and commit egregious acts of terror at the expense of their own lives. The pictures of Osama’s slain body are unclassified and released to the Arab world; being used to show these young recruits and galvanizing their hatred against the Western world. There cannot be a more effective instrument used to rally resolve and anger in the hearts and mind of the terrorists and terrorists-in- training than their worshipped leader, Osama Bin Laden.
Thousands of American lives have already been sacrificed in this war. Hundreds of thousands more hang in the balance in the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. There are sleeper cells currently living within our own borders. Regardless of the reason why you think the photos should be released in the light if this information and past history, is it really worth the cost of more lives? At a time when the terrorist threat level in the U.S. is the highest it has been in years, would it really be the responsible thing to do to anger the Muslim world by parading and trumpeting their prophet’s death? Not only are such actions short-sighted, but this would hamper the United States efforts to win the hearts and minds of the next generation of Arabs in these war torn countries. Not all of these people can be responsible for the actions of 18 hijackers. The release of these photos would ruin years of progress in these countries in addition to turning this war into a war of revenge instead of conquest. The last thing the fanatic terrorists need is a martyr. We should not advertise the fact that we have given them one because of our craving to satisfy our yearning for justice. Trust should be place in our Commander in Chief and our Armed Forces that they are handling this delicate situation correctly. They understand the intricacies of this situation and the dynamics of its consequences far better than those of us who aren’t involved in foreign policy and national defense.
Thousands of American lives were sacrificed to bring this man to justice on May1st. Let us be content with this sacrifice and not endanger more lives by perpetuating support for the un-classification of graphical evidence.

Brandon West
Vice-Chair Kansas Federation of College Republicans
Veteran Operation Iraqi Freedom V-VII
1st Army Division Soldier of the Year 2008

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Congress doesn't need to raise debt ceiling.

There is no doubt that America is amid a great financial crisis, but while those of us in the real world are tightening our belts to adapt to the current economic environment, Democrats in Washington want permission to spend even more and add to our crippling national debt.

The conversation in Washington D.C. for weeks had centered, for the most part, on how much our leaders are willing to listen to the American people and head down the path to financial responsibility by taking steps to curtail the burden on our sons and daughters. The budget produced by the House of Representatives that passed Friday was more of a flinch than a step in the right direction. The final amount cut from spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office, was a less-than-whopping $352 million. This rate is much lower than the $38 billion advertised and the $100 billion promised earlier, to be exact the actual cuts made are just under one percent of the promise and they are just minutia compared to the $3.8 trillion national budget. To put this in comparison, the average income in Southwest Missouri is about $33,000, so the cut that Congress man is equivalent to you cutting your annual budget by about $3.05.

Now with these modest budget cuts, that were nearly to blame for shutting down the government, behind us, the discussion will soon turn to raising the debt ceiling. In February of last year, the debt ceiling was raised to $14.294 TRILLION with an unprecedented increase of $1.9 trillion dollars (over double what it had been raised before.) Currently, our national debt is approaching 96% of our Gross Domestic Product, around a 35% increase of what it was only four years ago.

Increasing the debt ceiling has been characterized by those on the left as necessary, Obama has claimed that defaulting on the debt could "plunge the world economy back into a recession" and Treasury Secretary Geithner claimed that the discussion regarding NOT raising the debt ceiling could be "catastrophic." Geithner told news sources this weekend that "Congress will raise the debt ceiling" and seemed unperturbed by anything to contrary. Now, it seems that Republican leadership may continue to pander to the left instead of fixing government spending. But what would be the implications if they refused?

Some experts suggest that the danger implied by the left is overstated and that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would simply require the federal government to use its revenue to pay the interest in lieu of contributing to our bloated budget. Options are not limited to blindly raising the ceiling, and must include either putting a hold on the ceiling or pairing the raise with large, meaningful cuts. No family could be sustained by increasing their credit limit amidst encumbering debt, especially without making a serious budget overhaul to ensure that debt is corralled. The government shouldn't be afforded the option, either.

If Republicans are serious about restoring fiscal sanity, they need to say no to increasing the United States' already-maxed-out credit. Conservatives in Washington must show leadership on this issue to regain the people's confidence that was lost in them after failing to make legitimate budget cuts.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!! (and, a thought from President Ronald Reagan)

[Note: I'm a little late, getting this posted... But it contains wisdom that's pertinent, at ANY time! :-]

...J. Brandon West, who is one of our bloggers, was going to do an Easter-themed post here; This morning however, there was a tragic situation. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.]

A thought for this occasion, from President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004):
"Meaning no disrespect to the religious convictions of others, I still can't help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history.

No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion. the miracle I spoke of? Well consider this and let your imagination translate the story into our own time—possibly to your own home town:

A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father's shop. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father's shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside, walking from place to place, preaching all the while, even though he is not an ordained minister. He never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most.

He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal, so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing—the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place for him so he is interred in a borrowed tomb.

End of story? No, this uneducated, property-less young man who...left no written word has, for 2,000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived—all of them put together.

How do we explain that? ...unless he really was who he said he was."

- President Ronald Wilson Reagan

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Announcing the 2011 Annual Kansas Federation Convention

Kansas Federation of College Republicans

It's that time of year, again! Announcing the 2011 Annual Kansas Federation of College Republicans Convention in Topeka, KS on April 30th at 8:00, hosted by the Kansas Republican Party.

Invited Guests include:

Kansas State Executive Officials
Governor Sam Brownback
Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer
Attorney General Derek Schmidt
Treasurer Ron Estes
Secretary of State Kris Kobach
Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger

Kansas Federal Officials
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS02)
Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KS01)
Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS04)
Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS03)

Kansas State Legislative Leaders
Speaker Mike O’Neal
Majority Leader Arlen Siegfried

RNC Officials
National Committeeman and former Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS04)
National Committeewoman Helen Vanetten

Republican Activists

Registration is required for this free event and can be completed by visiting

For more information, please contact

Paje Routhier, Chair
Kansas Federation of College Republicans

Federal Delegation Should Butt-Out of Missouri Redistricting

For quite some time now, Missouri's state legislature has been working on the new Congressional maps based on the 2010 census data. The redistricting has not been without struggle as leadership in both the House and Senate have been bogged down trying to appease members of their own chambers and the egos attempting to pull the strings from Washington D.C.

As the AP reported last week, U.S. House members met with top ranking GOP members of the Missouri legislature. The purpose for all of this is to influence the legislators in getting the new Congressional maps drawn in a way that would optimize their chances at re-election. Aside from being an affront to standards of personal decency and ethics, the meddling of our Congressional delegation also flies in the face of Missouri's Constitution, which clearly states that "the general assembly shall by law divide the state into districts corresponding with the number of representatives to which is it entitled." Our federal delegation should have no further say in the proceedings than any other citizen of the state, and limiting their entanglement may be good for the state as a whole.

Congressmen having to maintain positive professional relationships with legislators from their district could have a positive impact on the entire political dialogue and clean up ugly election rhetoric. With Congressmen at the mercy of their state senators and representatives, we would be less likely to see personal attacks and outright lies during election season as potential candidates may actually have face consequences for what they say. Besides with the economy in the tank and three military conflicts, don't Congressman have better things to than worry about being re-elected?

Read more by William Lynch at his blog: Life as a Law Student.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Taxing Reminder

As the deadline, for filing your taxes, is now imminent (& will have passed, by the time this is published), here are some selections, pertinent for this time of the year (aside from Easter - and Earth Week).

TAX DAY 2011

From WorldNetDaily:

- Economic Sense Left D.C. a long time ago, Herman Cain

===> Note: The Purdue College Republicans are hosting a big event, featuring "the Herminator," this Wednesday night!! (It's FREE and OPEN to the public!!)

From TownHall:

- Obama's Tax Hypocrisy, Lurita Doan
- There's No Fairness in Taxing E-Sales, Jeff Jacoby
- Tax Congress!, John Ransom
- Obama Invents a New Word: Tax Expenditures, Floyd Brown
- Tax & Debt Bomb, Larry Kudlow
- Fertilizing Farms with Tax Dollars, Stephen Chapman
- Taxes and Politics, Thomas Sowell
- Eat the Rich, Walter Williams

From National Review:

- ‘Fairness’ on Tax Day (Most Americans get their government for free.) - Douglas Holtz-Eakin
- 'Regulation Day'? (Regulations cost us nearly as much as taxes do.), Iain Murray
(...and Roger Clegg replies)

And, from the paleo side:

- Become a Multi-Millionaire… as a Tax Snitch, Simon Black
- Eat the Private Rich?, Walter Williams
- Eat the Government Rich?, Thomas Sowell
- Eat the Savers?, Doug French
- Loopholes are Freedom, Thomas DiLorenzo

- No Taxation, Art Carden
- CNBC Says: Pay Your Fair Share

Via RushLimbaugh:

- Tax Day: Half of US Pays Nothing
- Wall Street Journal - Where the Money Is: Obama Taxes Middle Class While Pretending to Tax only the Rich
- AP: Nearly half of US households escape federal income tax
- AP Spin: Super Rich See Federal Taxes Drop

And check out:

[New Online Tool: Marginal Tax Rates Calculator]


==> Center for Fiscal Accountability:
==> Alliance for Worker Freedom:


Government Bytes: The Official Blog of the National Taxpayers Union

National Taxpayers Union asks: Does the IRS owe you money?

No New Energy Taxes!

Beyond Bailouts

National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates Congress


FairTax ball cap! = = = = = Fair Tax Nation

IL FairTax || FairTax IN || KS FairTax || MI FairTax || FairTaxMN || MO FairTax || OH FairTax || WI FairTax

Show Me!! Missouri College Republicans - Convention recap

[The entry below links to a recap, of the Minnesota State College Republicans Convention, last (April 16th) weekend. And another recent one recaps the Wisconsin College Republicans Statewide Convention.]

Missouri Federation of College Republicans (MOCR)

...And now, the Show-Me State! Missouri was the other CRNC Midwest Caucus state to have held their statewide CR Federation Convention, the weekend of April 16th.

I was glad to have been at last year's MOCR Convention; I've participated in prior Missouri GOP campaigns, and have thoroughly enjoyed me experiences, doing politics in the Show-Me State (very-different, from across the river, here in Illinois ;-)...

Here is a Convention recap, along with some recent news, from the Missouri Federation of College Republicans!!

I regret I was not in attendance. CONGRATULATIONS to new Missouri Chairwoman BRENNA MEDLIN, and the newly-elected Executive Board!!

Chair: Brenna Medlin, Saint Louis University
Vice-Chair: Matt Baker, Missouri State University
Treasurer: Andrew Schwartz, Truman State University
Secretary: Michelle Wertz, University of Central Missouri

Keep up the great work, in the GREAT state of Missouri!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Minnesota College Republicans - Convention Recap

...And also last weekend was the annual statewide Convention of the Minnesota College Republicans. (For a recap of the Wisconsin Convention last weekend, see Scottsblog's always-excellent entry, below.)

Thanks to Nick Amell and others, for the live-Tweeting! Many of us, who weren't able to be in the Twin Cities last weekend, greatly appreciated that, especially while trying to follow along, with what was happening! :-)

Bess Folsom has also provided a GREAT recap, of the MNCR 2011 Convention, at her weblog!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Minnesota College Republicans Display Passion and Compromise

The University of St. Thomas was overwhelmed on Saturday by College Republicans from around the state. The Minnesota College Republicans arrived at 10 am for their annual convention, during which the next year's board of directors is elected.

Minnesota College Republicans logo

It was clear to guest speakers Tom and Jacquie Emmer and Tony Sutton that the day was going to be long and tedious when the convention convened late due to delegate qualification problems. It took until lunch to approve the rules for the convention and still not everyone was happy.

The lunch hour consisted of trips to Chipotle, Tea Garden, and Davanni's to refuel and lots of tweeting and gossiping with CRs across the state. By the time the convention re-convened at 12:45 it was clear that the group was divided and rumors of not even being able to elect a new chairman started circulating.

While delegates continued to argue over delegate qualifications and even impeachment, current chairman Tyler Verry and candidate Bobby Benson had a surprise up their sleeves. Rumors started flying so much that the room of delegates was literally buzzing....

========> Curious about what happened at the #mncr11 convention? Check out Bess' recap, at "The Girl's Right" blog!


Thanks to the MNCR leadership, for your service, and for coordinating a great Convention! And congratulations to incoming Minnesota College Republicans State Chairman RYAN LYK!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Happy CR Birthday

Congratulations, on two fronts ;-) to Caleb Hays, an officer of the Kansas Federation of College Republicans, a registered blogger at this site, who also has his own (well-designed!) weblog.

Caleb was elected, this evening, as the new Chairman of the Pitt State University College Republicans. Facebook image foursquare

And also, this happens to be Caleb's 21st birthday! (Guess this was a good birthday present! :-)

Draft saved at:
4/14/11 @ 11:08 PM (CST)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wisconsin College Republicans elect new leadership at annual convention

College Republicans at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire (UWEC) with State Rep. Warren PetrykThe UW-Eau Claire Chapter of the Wisconsin College Republicans gathered with Representative Warren Petryk (front-center) to host the 2011 Wisconsin College Republicans State Convention

Over 60 Wisconsin College Republicans gathered in Eau Claire this past Friday and Saturday for the 2011 College Republican State Convention, electing new leadership and amending a slew of constitutional articles. The proceedings began at 4 PM Friday afternoon with a social gala and check-in at the Holiday Inn at Craig Road in Eau Claire, followed by a reception at 7 PM that included 5 legislative speakers, mostly from districts around Eau Claire. Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder of Abottsford opened the festivities with an inspiring ten minute speech, telling the youth in the room to not let anybody stop them from "achieving anything they've set out to do". Suder's speech, which set the tone for the convention, was followed by an Asian-themed banquet dinner complete with chicken-fried rice and egg rolls and while the contingent of student relaxed after the meal, the main speakers stepped up to the mike with Warren Petryk, 93rd Assembly representative, headlining first.

Petryk gave his speech about service, tying in his calling to public office and sacrifice as a duty he didn't take lightly.

"Someone asked me what it was like to run for office and many of you with campaigns know how crazy it is and some of the description lack of sleep, etc, are there," he said. "And many of you have worked or will work on campaigns and I read a quote one time that pretty much sums it up. . . 'He who mounts the wild elephant goes where the wild elephant goes.' and that's pretty profound because it takes you on journey. . . I've been told oftentimes we define our dreams and sometimes they define us and that's what happened in the process as I humbly accepted the call and I am so happy to be here. In spite all of the challenges, it is incredible to spend time with these gentlemen and these ladies and to turn this state around."

Tom Larson, 68th District Representative from Dunn County, told the students a little bit about his experience struggles with representing his constituents in the way he believed most accurately reflected the silent majority view on the Budget Repair Bill. Kathy Bernier, 67th Assembly Representative from Chippewa Falls then got up and told the group a little bit about the trying times and the emotional challenges of dealing with the protestors, upset constituents, and the support of her male colleagues during the recent budget repair battle.

"Some of us had people out our doors and down the halls and we were determined to stay in our offices and meet those folks who were angry and upset and speak with them and I had law enforcement in my office from time-to-time, I had other legislators, my male neighbor legislators in my hallway would come and rescue me and they would take me out for a little break and they were wonderful. . .As you know my district is pretty much 50/50 and when the media called and told me that the City of Eau Claire passed a resolution telling me to vote no, I asked them how did Howard Ludwigson (a conservative on the city council) vote and he voted no. On election night when it came to the City of Eau Claire, I had a 1000 vote lead from the surrounding townships and I only won by 93 votes and so my thought was that the City of Eau Claire was not going to tell me how to vote because that is not indicative of what my district really looks like and who got me elected."

Senator Terry Moulton of the 23rd Senate District talked about how his business (Mouldy's Tackle) in Eau Claire gained a boost in revenues from the attention given to it by a union protest at the end of February as people who were on the conservative side flocked to it from surrounding areas during that time to show their support. Lori Forcier, 3rd Vice Chair of the Wisconsin GOP talked about her passion and support for the College Republican groups around the state and how she would throw her weight behind them as "Chair of the 72 County Chairs" of Wisconsin. Forcier was Eau Claire County GOP Chair for several years and was a strong mentor for the College Republicans at UW Eau Claire.

The keynote speaker was Senator Glen Grothman from West Bend, whose speech highlighted the budget hearings being conducted in Superior and Steven's Point over the last few days concerning Scott Walker's 2011 to 2013 budget and how many of the people who show up for the meetings are not representative of all of the people in the state.

"And they're all asking for more money," said Grothman. "Unless you're a grounded person, people get confused and begin to think that people want more money spent because that's what you usually hear as a legislator, that's what you usually hear as a county board member, that's what you usually hear as a city council member. There must have been over 500 people testifying and I'd be surprised if 10 of those were supportive of Scott Walker's budget and the reason is because the average guy is too busy working. If you're somebody who works at the University, K-12 education, at the county board, or what-have-you, your paycheck does not depend on making the public happy, it depends on getting the politicians to get you more money, which is why we had the problem we had yesterday and today."

The convention kicked off at 9 o'clock Saturday morning with 48 amendments to the College Republican State Constitution, several of them major. The changes were made within the first 2 hours. Awards were handed out with Eau Claire winning Chapter of the Year for the second straight year. UW-Milwaukee’s Kate Edwards won individual activist of the year. The last item on the agenda was to nominate new leadership for the coming 2011 year. Charlotte Evans, the UW River Falls student who was elected chair in 2010 is stepping down due to time constraints due from her other commitments. Evans is credited with rebuilding both the image and the operation of the Wisconsin College Republicans after the organization fell into complete turmoil when former chair Lora Rae Anderson completely changed parties the day after the 2010 convention concluded. The shakeup made national headlines and destroyed the credibility of the Wisconsin CRs in the eyes of the State and National GOP, as well as created a PR battle between the Democratic Party and the Democrat College Republicans and the Wisconsin CRs. Evans and the executive board that she appointed fought back and neutralized both the fallout and the war of words against the GOP borne from Anderson's action. Evans, a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, divided time between her Guard duties, her University physics studies, and restoring trust and connections between the Wisconsin CR organization, other state organizations, as well as the individual chapters in the state. Her executive board worked hard to refurbish the reputation of the College Republicans by making them a big part of the State GOP Convention in Milwaukee last May and by sponsoring numerous campaign weekends and Get-Out-the-Vote efforts for GOP candidates all over the State during the 2010 election cycle.

During the convention on Saturday, Matt Rossetto was elected new chair for the 2011 Wisconsin College Republicans. Johanna Conrad was elected Vice Chair, Neil Isono treasurer, and Peter O'Reilly secretary. Conrad took over as chair of the UW Eau Claire College Republicans a year ago when former chair Bobby Hamill graduated. She was instrumental in keeping the CRs operating at a high level in Eau Claire and was responsible for guiding the club to it's second "Chapter of the Year" award. New chair Matt Rossetto will now appoint a new executive committee.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Is the Political Landscape in Washington a New and Better Place or Business as Usual?

The political divisiveness in Washington DC has been an ever present topic in our newspapers and news channels since the election of President Obama in 2008. With Democrats in control of both the Legislative and Executive branches, there was little the Republican Party could do to advance its agenda, but to voice opposition to any Democrat legislation and hit the campaign trails. Democrats got their way for two years, pushing through bailouts, the health care bill, and refusing to work with House and Senate Republicans on the 2010 budget. Then the elections of 2010 came around and Republicans recaptured control of the U.S. House with the largest majority that they had seen since the 1940’s. President Obama and new House Majority Leader Boehner exhibited a glorious show of pomp and ceremony over their willingness to “work together for the American people”. Many Americans held a semblance of hope that, for once, Congress and the President would forsake the political wrangling and come to a consensus on what was best for the nation instead of their respective political parties. The show of civility was short-lived and by the time President Obama gave his State of the Union Address, politicians from both parties had taken to the trenches once again.
At the forefront of the epic legislation battles, is the present debt crisis and how much to cut the federal budget. The Democrats want to keep all the entitlement programs that keep the base of their electorate happy, while the most outspoken Republicans want cuts across the board on all programs. Meanwhile, President Obama has decided to send American military forces into Libya to aid NATO nations that are attempting to deescalate the oppression of civilians by Col. Muammar Gaddafi. In the midst of all this chaos, the possible Republican presidential contenders are launching their campaigns for 2012, and just this week, President Obama announced his re-election campaign. Suddenly the emphasis has been shifted from righting the nation’s wrongs, to vilifying the opposing party. Many Republicans are not conservative in their withering criticism of President Obama’s military interventionism in Libya. If a correlation can be made between Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Odyssey Dawn, it seems like the Democrat and Republican parties have traded foreign policy doctrines. This hypocrisy can be the most glaring give-away that politics in Washington DC is indeed, back to business as usual. Similarly, the budget cutters are all for abolishing those programs that do not benefit their districts. Senator Coburn (R-OK) wants Defense cuts while Senators Boxer (D-CA) and DeMint (R-SC) want to cut Ethanol subsidies. Any form of federal spending will “bankrupt the country” unless it pays out to that particular Senator’s state or Congressman/woman’s district. Once again, politicians have not failed to show the American people that their legislative priorites will be based on how such decisions influence their re-election chances.
The majority of Americans are Americans first, and party affiliated second. Instead of focusing on the “big picture” politicians are again entrapped with yielding to the special interests that shout the loudest and line the most pockets. The most vocal voices on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum are clamoring for the advancements of their own particular vendetta and forsaking what might be in the best interests of the nation. The politician that can sift through such na├»ve approaches to policy making is a rare one indeed. These politicians are presently in the minority in Washington DC or are drowned out by those who toe the party line. When times are tough, tough men and women take action. We can only hope that those men and women will wake up one day and re-establish this country’s faith in its elected leaders.

Brandon West
Vice-Chairman Kansas Federation of College Republicans

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

JB Van Hollen Insists Act 10 is in effect

Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen says the recently passed Budget Repair Bill, now referred to as Act 10 by State officials, is in full effect after publication Friday on the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's Web site. The publication of the new law via the LFB was deemed permissable by the Department of Justice because the Legislative Fiscal Bureau was not named in the suit that was filed in Dane County Circuit Court by District Attorney Ismael Ozanne last week. The DOJ believes that the LRB has full power to implement the collective bargaining restrictions in the new law due to State Statute35.095(3(a) that says the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has a ministerial duty to publish laws signed by the Governor within 10 days of passage. As a result, the Department of Justice, and particularly Van Hollen, has issued an appeal with the District 4 Appellate Court in Madison to vacate the temporary injunction issued by Judge Mary Sumi last week that kept the Secretary of State from putting the Act into law.

"These motions argue that the requested relief is appropriate because Act 10 is now in force due to its publication by the Legislative Reference Bureau on March 25, 2011. The Legislative Reference Bureau was not named as a party in the Ozanne case and was not bound by any order issued by the Dane County Circuit Court. Because the law is in force, the appeal, which was based on the harm caused by enjoining the legislative process, is moot. The briefs explain that the Secretary of State made a good faith attempt to comply with the temporary restraining order and did not cause the publication of Act 10," said Bill Cosh in a press release from the Department of Justice.

The appeal was issued yesterday and was not directed to the State Supreme Court as the Supreme Court has not officially accepted the case involving the original injunction and therefore has not yet become a conduit for settling the conflict. The DOJ's insistence on the LRB measure adds even more intrigue to a debate that runs on both sides of the aisle, with the Democrats, including LaFollette himself maintaining that the Secretary of State's Office has the sole authority to publish the law and Republicans maintaining that the Department of Justice is correct in its assessment of Statute 35.095. Legal scholars are divided in their opinions as well.

“It’s now my legal responsibility to begin enactment of the law," said Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch during a Monday afternoon conference call. “It’s clear that for as many attorneys as you wish to ask you are going to get an opinion on this particular law and the status of it,” “We have looked at the statutes and are defining them as clearly as we can as it states in the statute as to the requirements that must be met.”

Meanwhile, Madison Judge Mary Sumi has convened the first hearing this morning on the injunction and has gone ahead with testimony regarding the lawsuit. Ozanne filed papers yesterday to motion Sumi to declare the LRB publication of Act 10 as not being an act of public law and include LRB in the injunction.

Legislative Reference Bureau Chief Stephen Miller today said he believes his agency has a distinct duty to publish new laws within 10 working days of their signature by the governor. But he also does not believe that LRB action alone implements the law.

"I did not think that this act of the LRB made the law effective," Miller said today during testimony in the injunction case.

The Department of Justice argued against Sumi proceeding with the injunction hearing. Assistant Attorney General Maria Lazar argued the court may not assert itself in the legislative process and that since Republican lawmakers in the suit have not been served and are not in the courtroom, their due process rights are being violated.

Huebsch says that all of the changes made the State Payroll program to implement the 5.8% contribution to pensions and 12.6% contribution toward health care insurance premiums and that the first set of checks to be printed with the changes will be on April 21st. However, if a State Court orders otherwise, the changes can be quickly undone.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Budget Repair Battle shifts to the State Supreme Court

As was expected by many, the ruling over the constitutional legality of the CBA restrictions in Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill has been sent on to the State Supreme Court. A panel of appellate justices made the ruling yesterday, stating prior cases have both ruled equally in favor of the Dane County District Attorney's case against it and the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice's position favoring it. At issue is the complaint filed by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne that the Special Conference Committee called to convene to pass the bill on the evening of March 9 violated the State's Open Meetings Law by now allowing sufficient public notice and by restricting public's access to the Capitol to attend the meeting. Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued an injunction on March 18, barring the Budget Repair Bill that had been signed by the Governor on March 11, from being allowed to take effect, citing that Ozanne's complaint had merit and the law needed to be reviewed before being put in place. Wisconsin Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, had filed the appeal with the 4th District Appellate court in Madison on Monday to lift injunction saying that Judge Sumi had ruled on the conduct of a separate branch of government.

The appeal was conducted before the judges Paul Lundsten, Paul Higginbothum, and Brian Blanchard. In the ruling, the 3-judge panel cited four cases, two that ruled in favor of the judicial branch voiding or interfering with an application of the legislature's violation of it's own procedures and two that ruled that the legislature was not subject to oversight or rulings by the judicial branch. Because the Appellate Justices didn't lift the injunction, it is in effect until it is lifted by another court and, therefore; Secretary of State Doug LaFollette did not publish it today, when it had been originally scheduled to be put into effect. At the heart of the matter is essentially State Constitution Article IV, Section 10 that makes up the backbone of the legislature's Open Meetings Law:

The doors of each house shall remain open, except when the public welfare requires secrecy, it is declared to be the intent of the legislature to comply to the fullest extent with [the open meetings provisions set forth in] this subchapter.

The four cases revolve around the premise as to whether or not certain operations of the Legislature, including procedural rules like the State Open Meetings Law, are subject to the constitutional provision before legislation is published into law. They are:

Goodland v. Zimmerman (1943), Lynch v. Conta (1976); State ex rel. La Follette v. Stitt (1983) and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel v. Wisconsin Dept. of Admin., 2009.

In summation the appellate panel said, "Goodland and Stitt appear to favor the Secretary of State’s (La Follette's1983) position that courts lack authority to invalidate legislation enacted in violation of the Open Meetings Law or, at the least, to do so before publication. In contrast, Lynch and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel support the District Attorney’s (Ozanne in 2011) view."

"It is appropriate to certify to the Supreme Court appeals raising issues which that court might otherwise ultimately consider on a petition for review, in order to reduce the burden and expense of the appellate process on both the parties and the judicial system," said the panel in final summation."

Judge Sumi has scheduled hearings on the injunction on Tuesday March 29 and Friday April 1 but until any ruling is made to the contrary of the original injunction, the Budget Repair Law is on hold and as of this time it is not very clear when the Supreme Court will take up the case.

"I don't know how the court's going to react to that" case, Justice David Prosser told Journal Sentinel editors and writers Thursday. Prosser, for his part, has to weigh the consequences of involving himself in a fight that may make him look to some on both sides as if he has a conflict of interest.

"I know it would not be proper for me to react to that," he said. "To delay the case (past the election) because it might be embarrassing to me politically."

He could also be criticized for taking the case and looking like a Walker backer but he isn't backing down.

"This is my business," he told the Sentinel. "I'm a judge. I hear cases."

Janine Geske, a Marquette law professor and former state Supreme Court justice, told the Sentinel that the high court may not want to address the case at this stage because it is ongoing and another legal challenge to the collective bargaining law has been filed.

"The likelihood that anything is going to be decided before the election is not very great," she said.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wisconsin after the Union Takeover

"Are you wearing a bulletproof vest?"

Click. Michael Hintze's phone line went dead -- the caller never identified himself. A prominent Wisconsin Tea Party leader, Hintze is the latest recipient of anonymous death threats.

Maybe you thought it was finally over in Wisconsin. Walker overcame the liberal blitzkrieg, elected Republicans decided that there's no moderate stance between bankruptcy and prosperity, the bill was passed and signed, and the fourteen Democrats gave up their life on the run.

But there's more. Though chapter one undeniably ended with a resounding victory for Walker, the next part may easily become a forgotten chapter among thousands in the left's annals of Alinsky-style combat.

Wisconsin has become the latest setting for organized liberal activism. Pro-union forces are setting out to execute the power-plays of leftism: divide, intimidate, and conquer. Community organizers are working tirelessly to increase the opposition through lies and distortion in the hope of building cold-blooded hatred for Walker and his allies.

Traditional Wisconsin symbols have been co-opted to foment anti-Walker sentiment. UW Madison mascot Bucky Badger is portrayed as a victim of Walker's budget cuts, cheese is promoted as union-friendly, and some even claim that Walker has cut state funding for the Green Bay Packers.

Shockingly, the absurdity doesn't end there. The Wisconsin Dog Rescue is joining others in vilifying Walker as a dog-hater, and liberal blogs steadfastly avow that "Governor Scott Walker wants to kill puppies."

Common citizens and private businesses are the next objects of union wrath. Director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association Jim Palmer signed a letter giving businesses who donated to Gov. Walker's campaign one week to publicly denounce Walker or face a union-organized boycott.

Sendik's Food Market has refused to capitulate. Consequently, their doors were super-glued shut at one of their Milwaukee locations.

In Merrill, a group trying to recall Democrat Sen. Jim Holperin set up a table outside the Lincoln County Courthouse. Soon union protestors arrived and surrounded the group's table, waving signs and screaming through megaphones. In a press release, the group reported that even as the pro-union crowd chanted "this is what Democracy looks like," one of the protesters, "pretending to be interested in signing the petition, wrote profanity across a partially collected petition form, then began ripping up the completed petitions that were in close proximity."

Pro-union forces remained around the table and prevented people from reaching the petitions. According to the group, police officers stood by and did nothing.

In another incident, during school hours, a supposed teacher posted this on the Madison Craigslist:

So you Tea Bags want to take away my hard earned blue ribbon bennies. Well guess what you scum sucking Tea Bags, I got your kids all day long in my classroom and with just a few slick questions I know who the little tea bags are! And you think you'll have the last laugh HA-Ha-ha

I, too, a twenty-year-old college student, have been subject to this union onslaught. Nearly two weeks ago, I captured incriminating video of doctors handing out sick passes on the streets of Madison. The video went viral, and I consequently appeared on Fox News and several radio shows to discuss the fraud. The left has yet to forgive me.

I've been stalked, chased, and verbally assaulted by several individuals. One woman drew a crowd around me and proceeded to rattle off my full name, my age, my hometown, and the exact size of my family. She noted that I am the second-oldest of thirteen children. She also recited the very dates I had been on Fox News and the time period of my visit to New York.

Creepy though it was, this woman's knowledge of my personal life was impressive. She knew information that many of my friends were not aware of.

This is the new norm in Wisconsin: an unrivaled, systematic assault is leveled against anyone who refuses to carry the union's water. It's a war zone where the left seems driven by Saul Alinsky's motto: "The end justifies almost any means."

Democrats and their union allies are making their agenda clear: retain power at all costs. If they can raise enough money, silence enough foes, recall enough senators, intimidate the opposition, and strong-arm enough businesses, they believe that they will ultimately win.

If they lose the fight to preserve collective demanding, Democrats fear that Republicans will review every other liberal policy failure. Entitlement reform could be the next target -- or worse yet, America's growing economic quagmire, also known as the national debt.

Gov. Walker is a new kind of Republican -- a leader whose steadfast convictions break from the indecisive muddling that has forever defined the right.

Such fortitude is a dramatic shift from past eras, where Democrats routinely bullied Republican leaders onto their list of tribute-paying victims. Walker's victory changes all that. It sends a simple but clear message to the overpowering bully: "Take my name off your list."

That is something the left can't afford to tolerate.

Originally posted on the American Thinker

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tension Explode Between Wisconsin Governor and Democrats

The impasse in the Wisconsin State Senate led to a firestorm of words Monday between Governor Scott Walker, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and Senate Minority leader Mark Miller. The reaction resulted from a letter Miller sent to Governor Walker suggesting they meet to find a compromise solution to the problem. Citing instances of mismanagement on Miller's part, the Governor would have none of it.

“For the last several weeks both Sen. Fitzgerald and my administration have been reaching out to reasonable senators, many of whom are very interested and willing to come back to the state of Wisconsin, and time and time again the person standing in the way of making that possible is Sen. Mark Miller,” Walker shot him down during a press conference on Monday.

The letter, sent by Miller on Monday morning, plainly asks for the two legislative leaders to meet together to end the stalemate created by the disappearance of the 14 Senate Democrats who fled the State on February 17.

"Over the past several weeks we have witnessed an unprecedented public debate in Wisconsin over the value of

Public workers and the importance of collective bargaining rights," the letter begins. "I write today to offer to meet, in-person,

as soon as possible to resume discussions on how we reach a bipartisan solution to our differences on the January

2011 Special Session Senate and Assembly Bill 11."

"It really leads to a question of who's in charge," Walker further said of the Senate Dems in the press conference where he was accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald fired off his own response to Miller in which he also excoriated the absent Senate Minority Leader.

"Thank you for your hand-delivered letter with an offer to meet, in Illinois, about the business and future direction of Wisconsin. Let’s set aside how bizarre that is for a moment," Fitzgerald's letter began. "As you know, this legislation is designed to finally balance the state budget, prevent layoffs and create jobs in the real world. There are hundreds of thousands of unemployed or underemployed Wisconsinites, and at least 1,500 more whose jobs are in the balance because of your media stunt. We all deserve better than this.

In the meantime, members of your caucus have been meeting with the governor’s staff, talking to the media, trying to find a way back to Madison, and contradicting your message in public. In case you don’t remember, you were present yourself at one of those meetings with the governor’s staff. Your grasp of reality, and control of your caucus as minority leader, continues to amaze me. "

Two other Senators involved in recently disclosed negotiations with Senate Republicans, Tim Cullens and Robert Jauch, then took the opportunity to defend their minority leader and express how offended they were by the Republican statements.

"I was furious when he suggested that Tim and I were willing to cut a deal to find a way to go back," Jauch said told theMilwaukee Journal Sentinel.  ". . . There was no agreement. We were just trying to build that staircase"

"Never, never has there been a suggestion that Tim Cullen and I would somehow abandon the other 12 for the sake of cutting a deal," Jauch said. "That's just an outrageous lie."

"Our understanding in our discussions was always that they had to take where the discussions were at back to the governor, the (Senate) majority leader and the (Assembly) speaker and we had to take the discussions back to our caucus," Cullen said.

Both Senators reiterated their viewpoint that the Democratic Senators weren't thinking of holding out forever and would eventually have to return to the State to take up business in their districts; however, it was up to Scott Walker to compromise on the Budget Repair Bill and both said they were involved in talks with Walker’s Chief of Staff Keith Gilkes and Deputy Chief of Staff Eric Schutt as recently as Sunday morning to talk out details about how they could come to an agreement. Walker, himself also said that he has been meeting with the wayward Dems in negotiations. Jauch and Cullen actually met with Fitzgerald last week in Kenosha and Walker said at the press conference that his staff had met with Miller last Wednesday at a McDonald's in Kenosha and also had met with other Democratic Senators in South Beloit on Sunday.

A spate of recent polls, including a Rasmussen report from over the weekend continue to show that a strong majority of Wisconsinites favor the Governor reach a compromise with Democrats over the collective bargaining provisions of the bill. Walker seems to be showing a posture toward compromise but it is hard to tell if he actually means it. Throughout the course of the debate, the Governor has held firm on his stand that the collective bargaining restrictions will remain in place. The Democrats want them stripped out. Walker and Fitzgerald have both signaled that the restrictions are not up for compromise.

Fitzgerald said today that despite calls for compromise from the other side of the aisle, Republicans are "rock-solid" behind Governor Walker's proposal. Jauch, meanwhile, stated this afternoon that he has been in constant talks with various GOP lawmakers behind the scenes and that "6 or 7" of them have reservations about the CBA restrictions and have felt pressured by Governor Walker to support it. He also says that he has talked with a number of Assembly Republicans who supported the bill but would like to see a compromise measure come out of the Senate.

“My view is it’s time to get back,” Cullen told Wispolitics. “Others just as honorably and just as sincerely believe there’s more to be accomplished by staying here. That’s the different views that human beings have about things.”

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Senators Order Missing Dems Arrested; Judge opens Capitol to Normal Business

The Republicans in the Wisconsin State Senate acted Thursday to hold the 14 missing Democrats in contempt after having been AWOL from the Chamber for two weeks in their standoff with the GOP and Governor Scott Walker over his proposed Budget Repair Bill. All 19 Republicans passed the resolution soon after calling the Senate to order yesterday morning. The measure called for all of the missing Democrats to return to the Senate body no sooner than 4 PM in the afternoon on March 3 and if they failed to show up, each member would be declared guilty of contempt and disorderly behavior and the Senate Sargent At Arms would be given the legal authority to use any lawful means or measure necessary to bring them back to the Senate Chamber. The Democrats, not having appeared by that 4 PM deadline, may now be subject to the actions of that resolution. The passage came on the advice of Jim Troupis, attorney for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Troupis, a Madison attorney, was involved in a related lawsuit Wednesday when an Oconto County Judge ruled that missing Wisconsin Senator James Holperin could not be compelled by the State to return to the Capitol. Troupis, however, advised Fitzgerald that such a measure could be passed by the Wisconsin Senate to order the missing Dems back to Madison.

"It's the same as an arrest. It is an arrest," Fitzgerald said about the Senate resolution. "They have pushed us to the edge of a constitutional crisis."

Though the Dem Senators are camped out in Illinois and the Senate ruling does not cross State lines, Fitzgerald has said that he is confident that all of the Senators have been moving back and forth between their homes and Illinois and that anybody who witnesses any of them in the State can report to law enforcement and have them apprehended. The order will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the Senators can be compelled to appear in the Capitol Chamber.

"It's a sad day in the Wisconsin state Senate," he elaborated at a press conference after approval. "This wasn't about the bill. This wasn't about politics. This is about protecting the institution."

It remains unclear as to whether there is a true constitutionality to the order. The Wisconsin State Constitution does mandate The Senate and Assembly "to compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide."

However, the same Constitution also explicitly states that legislators can only be arrested for crimes of "treason, felony, or breach of the peace" and it may be impossible to reasonably state what crimes the Senators committed.

The order is not truly an arrest because the Senators are not suspected of committing any crimes, Troupis explained to theWisconsin State Journal. Instead, the resolution seeks to enforce a legislative process.

"The Legislature has its own powers - that's the principle here," Troupis said. "The constitution is quite explicit in providing our Legislature with independent authority."

Democrats believe the Republicans are overreaching.

"The Republicans have gone around the bend," said Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee. "They've just increased their bullying tactics and are producing an even greater divide in our state."

Meanwhile, A Madison Judge on Thursday ruled that there would be no more overnight stays for protestors in the Capitol; however, the Capitol would be reopened to the public for any and all business during normal hours. Department of Administration Executive Mike Huebsh originally began restricting access to the Capitol early in the week and union protestors responded by filing the suit. Judge John Albert ruled on Thursday afternoon that the Capitol would be immediately cleared at the close of business day at 6 PM and Huebsh would have until 8 AM Tuesday morning to comply with the order.

Former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager represented the union in the lawsuit and said that the result of the ruling indicates that the protestors won the battle.

Huebsh revised the rules for Capitol access this morning. The new rules as they currently stand are:

- Visitors to the Capitol must enter and exit at the North and South Hamilton doors. Employees who display their ID's may enter at the MLK entrance

- Members of the public can enter the Capitol for meetings, committee hearings, tours or other purposes.

- Members of the public participating in a rally or protest must remain in the ground floor rotunda area.

- Carry-ins including sleeping bags, mattresses, musical instruments or noisemakers, cooking appliances and other items prohibited by the administrative code will not be allowed in the building.

- Visitors are prohibited from affixing or removing signs taped inside the Capitol. Retrieval of signs and other materials left behind can be made next week after the building is professionally cleaned.