Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Third Time is a Charm for Double Dipping Tommy?

I always find it remarkable to hear "conservative" politicians complain about spending too much taxpayer money but then they never seem to pass an opportunity to help themselves to it personally. Take for example Tommy Thompson and his absurd comments about everybody knowing that he was "broke" when he left government. Give me a break, Tommy has been double dipping at the public trough for so long that he has lost touch with reality. Now he apparently wants to triple dip if Wisconsinites give him the chance next week.

After leaving the governorship and accepting the salaried position as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Thompson began collecting his state pension, which he took every year he was Secretary. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/19/2002]
  •  In 2001, Thompson took a state pension of $77,748 and earned a salary of $157,000. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/19/2002; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/4/2001] 
  • In 2002, Thompson took a state pension of $99,414 and earned a salary of $166,700. [Personal Financial Disclosure Filed 5/15/2003; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/22/2002] 
  • In 2003, Thompson took a state pension of $91,955 and earned a salary of $171,900. [Personal Financial Disclosure Filed 5/20/2004; San Antonio Express-News, 2/3/2004] 
  • In 2004, Thompson took a state pension of $91,955 and earned a salary Of $171,900. [Personal Financial Disclosure Filed 5/19/2005; Washington Times, 5/14/2004]
"Broke" Tommy didn't stop there because he continued taking a state pension even after he went on to make millions peddling his influence for Washington D.C. special interests. In 2012, the Associated Press reported: “Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson reported Friday that his net worth is more than $13 million and that he earned more than $5 million in income since 2010.” [Associated Press, 1/28/2012]

Despite his significant wealth and position on multiple corporate boards, Thompson continued to accept his state pension.
  • In 2006 he took $137,932 from the state. [Personal Disclosure Form filed 8/13/2007]
  • In 2011 Thompson accepted his pension, taking $85,700 from the Wisconsin pension fund. [Personal Disclosure Form filed 1/27/2012]
Tommy has more houses that he can remember and even though he is now referred to simply as "Tommy Inc." apparently Thompson wants to go in for a remarkable triple dip at taxpayer's expense. As with most right wing politicians, you can't rely on their rhetoric, you have to scrutinize their actions. In Tommy's case you need to pay very close attention to his financial investments and disclosures to learn the truth. In this particular case it seems that he just can't get enough public cash to deposit in his own personal account.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Can't Trust Tommy with Medicare Trust Fund

We all know that Tommy Thompson declared that he would "do away with" Medicare and Medicaid.  He has tried to spin away from his declaration to the tea party extremists but we have more than that moment of honesty.  We have an actual track record showing just how Medicare fared under Tommy Thompson's care.

In 2001, when Tommy Thompson became Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund was projected to be exhausted in the year 2029. [2001 CMS Trustees Testimony to Congress]

In 2005, when Tommy Thompson left Health and Human Services, the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund was projected to be exhausted in the year 2020. That is a loss of 9 years on Tommy's four year watch.[2005 CM Trustees Report]

Even though Tommy Thompson served as George W. Bush's HHS Secretary, in 2008, he criticized the failure of the Bush Administration to address the problems of Medicare. Thompson then said that "Medicare is going broke by 2012, 2013."

Fast forward to the point where President Obama took office and before the Affordable Care Act passed. The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund was projected to be exhausted in the year 2017. That is where the Bush Administration (including Tommy) left President Obama. [2009 CM Trustees Report]

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) reduces the rate of growth in Medicare spending, with savings that eliminate waste and inefficiencies. The ACA targets wasteful programs and ensures that taxpayer money is efficiently filtered back into the health care system, allowing seniors to get preventive care without copays. Regardless of Tommy's ridiculous lies on the subject the $700 billion in identified savings actually help extend the life of Medicare.

Tommy Thompson wants to repeal ACA and in doing so he will be undermining the long term prospects of Medicare.  We have no reason to doubt that he would sacrifice Medicare to his new found right wing ideology. He has said as much, he has pledged allegiance to Paul Ryan's voucher-care concept and lets face it his track record on extending the life of Medicare has never been a good one.

Tommy predicted that Medicare would go broke by 2012 or 2013 and if his policy positions and history are any indication, he apparently intends to make that prediction come true.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tommy's False 9/11 Attack Ad is Backfiring

Tommy Thompson is apparently so desperate that he has decided to politicize a national tragedy.  Not only is he willing to politicize 9/11 but he is clearly being dishonest along the way. In fact only hours after Thompson's desperate ad was released described it as a smear and described it as a "false and vicious" ad.

This desperate attack is quickly and thankfully backfiring on Thompson.  The Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin put out a release saying "It's desperate and disgusting for Tommy Thompson to play politics with the loss of human life and the 9/11 tragedy".  Since then criticism has been steadily coming in from Wisconsin bloggers, Russ Feingold and others both in and outside our state.

Perhaps some of the most jarring comments about Thompson's disgusting ad came from first responders and other advocates for 9/11 workers and victims.  "I don't think he's right and he never should have brought something like that up, because it's not true," said Judy Wolff, a Red Cross volunteer from Holmen, Wis., who got ill after spending three weeks at Ground Zero.

John Feal, a 9/11 advocate who lost half of one foot at Ground Zero and runs the group the FealGood Foundation also gave some harsh criticism.  He turned the issue against Thompson saying, "When we went to Tommy Thompson in the Bush administration, to get health care funding ... they kept fighting us."  He wasn't the only person that was unhappy with Thompson's response to 9/11. New York area members of congress said in a statement, "Tommy Thompson didn't make 9/11 health a priority when he was HHS secretary..." 

Tommy Thompson's 9/11 problems didn't end when he left the Bush administration because he then started to cash in on the tragedy. He got involved with Logistics Healthcare and scored a contract to treat 9/11 responders.  In fact, according to his own financial disclosures, Tommy actually got wealthy while running Logistics. Although he made a ton of money, he continued to get blasted by the same people that criticized his time at HHS.

Here is an additional sampling of the criticism against the Tommy-led company related to their contract to help 9/11 first responders. It all comes from a Wisconsin State Journal story on November 16, 2008.
  • Thompson's health care company enrolled less than 75% of eligible first responders five months after the start of the contract. 
  • New York Rep. Towns accused Thompson's health care company of overseeing "one of the worst-managed programs I've seen." 
  • Red Cross ended up paying medical bills that Logistics Health was supposed to cover.
  • An executive with a first responder organization said, "I lose enough responders with cancer and leukemia and suicide. I don't need to lose them because they couldn't get their medications" (from Thompson's health care company). 
Tommy's dishonest and disgusting attack ad had to be an act of desperation  Why would he ever knowingly open himself to the kind of justified blow back that he is currently getting? Given his own troubling history related to 9/11 and the sleaziness of his ad, it is good and just that it is now backfiring on him.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Reacts to Thompson 9/11 AD

Mahlon Mitchell, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, today released the following statement condemning the new television ad by the Thompson US Senate campaign. "It's desperate and disgusting for Tommy Thompson to play politics with the loss of human life and the 9/11 tragedy. For Tommy Thompson to attack Tammy Baldwin's patriotism and make dishonest claims about her strong record of accomplishment supporting first responders is simply disgraceful. We stand with Tammy Baldwin against these dishonorable political tactics that have no place in Wisconsin." 

(The PFFW represents over 3,200 fire fighters and EMT/paramedics in 57 communities across Wisconsin including those in every Milwaukee County community except the City of Milwaukee and West Milwaukee.)


Desperate Tommy Politicizes September 11th

As the campaign for U.S. Senate continues, it is increasingly clear that Tommy Thompson has become desperate. The over $10 million in dishonest special interest ads have only helped marginally and Tommy is still behind in most polls. His campaign tried to launch a major foreign policy attack on Iran last week only to have their candidate totally bomb both the debate and their entire strategy. All of those things are bad enough but Thompson has taken his campaign to a new low today.

Yesterday it was reported that Tommy Thompson launched a new misleading attack ad. This isn't just another Tommy attack ad, now he has desperately taken to politicizing September 11th. It is disgusting that Tommy would cynically try to politicize a historic and national tragedy that still directly impacts so many people. The mere existence of this ad is bad enough but it is made much worse by the fact that it attempts to mislead the public into questioning Tammy Baldwin's patriotism.

The Thompson ad attacks Tammy Baldwin for voting against a 9/11 resolution that Congressional Republicans decided to politicize in 2006. Republicans substantively changed that resolution from being the usual kind of 9/11 anniversary resolution into something that endorsed the Patriot Act, punitive immigration policies and other highly controversial measures. I suppose if Congressional Republicans would have the gall to misuse the memory of 9/11 in this political way in 2006, we shouldn't be too surprised that desperate Tommy would try to misuse and politicize the issue today.

Members of the media noticed that the 2006 resolution had been needlessly politicized by Congressional Republicans.

  • The Capital Times noted that "the resolution included much more than an expression of support for 9/11 victims, U.S. troops and the police officers, firefighters and paramedics who responded to the attacks. For instance, among the accomplishments it celebrates is the 2001 passage of the Patriot also paid homage to the House's then-recent approval of a bill designed to crack down on illegal immigration..." [Capital Times Politiscope blog, 9/11/12]
  • CQ Weekly noted that this 2006 resolution was very different from past 9/11 resolutions in that "Republicans stuffed the bill with references to GOP-crafted measures." [CQ Weekly, 9/18/06]
Another way that you can tell this 2006 resolution was different is that Tammy Baldwin voted for all other resolutions honoring the victims of 9/11. The different thing about this 2006 resolution is that Congressional Republicans were shamelessly trying to play politics with it.  Now their candidates like desperate Tommy is shamelessly trying to politicize the issue once again.

The idea that Tammy Baldwin somehow isn't patriotic enough because she didn't vote for the politicized version of a 9/11 resolution is twisted and the Thompson campaign should be ashamed of themselves. I've already pointed to the fact that Tammy Baldwin voted for all of the other (non-politicized) 9/11 resolutions. But Baldwin also has voted in many ways to honor the 9/11 victims and first responders.  In fact many of her supportive votes were less about words and much more about substance.
To make matters worse, the Thompson campaign uses veterans in this disgusting new ad.  I've written about this extensively before but Tammy Baldwin has constantly voted to support our men and women in uniform. Here is only a small sample of Tammy's votes in this area:

  • In 2002, Tammy introduced the Dr. James Allen Disabled Veterans Equity Act. After years of fighting Washington gridlock, it was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007.  
  •  Tammy was also a strong supporter of President Obama’s Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which gives businesses that hire unemployed veterans a credit of up to $5,600 per veteran. 
  • She also supported the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit, which gives businesses that hire veterans with service-related disabilities a credit of up to $9,600 per veteran. 
  •  Baldwin supported the Post 9/11 GI Bill Of Rights for the 21st Century, the largest expansion of veterans’ education benefits since the enactment of the original GI Bill in 1944. Conclude
The Thompson campaign should be ashamed for misleading so badly on Tammy Baldwin's actual record. They should also be rejected by voters and the media for questioning Baldwin's patriotism in the face of such a long and distinguished record on these issues. In the end I think that we are learning that there is no shame in the Thompson campaign and they will desperately try anything including the politicization of September 11, 2001.

UPDATE: The Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin reacted today to Tommy Thompson's dishonorable 9/11 ad.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Tommy Bombs Debate & His Own Strategy

You could see it coming a mile away.  Tommy Thompson, his campaign and his special interest allies were planning to attack hard on the issue of Iran policy yesterday.  Just think about the premeditation that went into it for a moment. Someone poured over contributions to his opponent and found a group that they could misuse in an effort to feed their false narrative.  Then someone likely gave the information to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which ran it as front page news.  On the same day the Thompson campaign had John "Bomb Bomb Iran" McCain come into town to endorse him. In a surprise to absolutely no one John McCain brought up Iran policy.

Now I could be wrong here but something tells me that a campaign does not put in all of this effort and coordinate all of these elements unless they are planning to use it in what they think will be a major attack.  But what they probably didn't count on was the keen ability of their own blustering and arrogant candidate to drop his own bomb on the entire effort in the middle of a statewide televised debate.

As was first revealed in the Huffington Post and then in the middle of the debate, in spite of Tommy's bluster and tough talk on Iran, he actually had significant investments in companies that did business with Iran. Not only did these companies do business with Iran but at least one of them specifically worked with Iran in the mining of uranium. Here are the specifics from the original report:
According to Thompson's personal financial disclosure, he owns up $50,000 worth of stock in such firms. Some of the smaller investments include up to $1,000 in the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation, which were all cited in a recent Government Accountability Office study as having done business with Iran. Thompson owns up to $17,000 worth of stock in Royal Dutch Shell, which the GAO also named, and between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of stock in oil services firm Schlumberger, which has been probed by the Justice Department over its Iran work. Perhaps most significantly, Thompson owns between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of stock in the mining operation Rio Tinto, which is partners with Iran in mining uranium. Iran owns 15 percent of a uranium mining operation in Namibia with Rio Tinto.
When this issue came up in the debate, Tommy tried plead ignorance.  Rather than taking personal responsibility for his own personal investments he decided to blame his stockbroker.  As Jeff Simpson has already pointed out, this excuse simply does not pass the smell test.  Tommy is the person that signs his own financial disclosure forms and he is the person that is responsible for knowing what is in them and that the information is accurate.  These disclosures were the source for the Huffington Post story and those documents had been filed some time ago.

During the portion of the debate where this issue was addressed, Tommy managed to get audible reactions from an otherwise polite live audience.  But he didn't get reactions in a good way. First they moaned and booed him for using bully tactics and then they laughed AT HIM when he admitted that he just sold those investments in Iran "today".  The debate garnered strong ratings last night and I can't imagine that the audience at home had much of a different reaction than those actually at the event.

Yes, the Thompson campaign strategy on Iran policy was misleading but you have to admit that they certainly planned it out from beginning to end.  What they apparently didn't plan on was that their own bombastic candidate would bomb so badly in the debate and then proceed to carpet bomb that carefully crafted campaign strategy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

McCain & Tommy Duet: "Bomb Bomb Iran"

Tommy Thompson continues to lead a parade of national Republican personalities into Wisconsin.  Today Arizona Senator John McCain will be in Wisconsin.

I wonder if this means that Tommy Thompson shares John McCain's often cavalier and careless attitude about bombing Iran? It seems that John McCain has been itching to go to war with Iran for some time.  I often wonder if this desire is simply to make up for the fact that McCain & Co. were not allowed to continue the unnecessary war in Iraq? It also seems that the same cast of characters want to keep us in perpetual war in Afghanistan.  Since they have failed on those two points it seems that McCain and others are oddly obsessed with going to war with Iran.

Tommy Thompson might want to take a closer look at John McCain's often reckless policy regarding Iran before he jumps into the "Bomb Bomb Iran" Chorus Line.

McCain supported the Kyl-Lieberman amendment to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and which expressed the Sense of the Senate that it is "a critical national interest" to prevent Iran from "turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force which Sen. Jim Webb said it "could be read as a back-door method of gaining congressional validation for military action, without one hearing and without serious debate." [Vote 349, 9/26/07;, 6/5/08]

Discussing whether the president needs Congressional authorization to attack Iran, McCain said, "it obviously depends on the scenario. But I would, at minimum — I would, at minimum, consult with the leaders of Congress because there may come a time when you need the approval of Congress. And I believe that this is a possibility that is, maybe, closer to reality than we are discussing tonight." [CNBC, MSNBC, WSJ GOP Presidential Debate, 10/9/07]

John McCain embraced the Bush Administration's refusal to actually engage Iran's leaders. McCain said "It is a serious error on the part of Senator Obama. It shows naivete and inexperience and lack of judgment to say that he wants to sit down across the table..." [CNN, 5/15/08]

McCain's blind support for the war in Iraq has actually led to an emboldened Iran. By eliminating Saddam Hussein and the Taliban and replacing those governments with security vacuums, the United States allowed Iran to dramatically expand its regional influence.  [Ray Takeyh, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2007. Rand Beers, Testimony Before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, 2/28/08]

And let's not forget John McCain expressing his Iran preferences in song.  Will Tommy Thompson join him in singing this "Bomb Bomb Iran" chorus at today's event?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chris Christie on Birtherism

Earlier today I highlighted the fact that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was campaigning in Wisconsin for Tommy Thompson today.  I also mentioned that Christie might want to chastise Tommy for using what Christie has called "the oldest dodge in the book".

If Christie was planning on being consistent then perhaps he could also take Jason Thompson to task over his repeated birther talk about the President.  Here are some of Chris Christie's attacks on all of the wacky birther rhetoric:

In April 2012, Politicker NJ reported: “‘I think that the whole question of the President’s birthplace is ridiculous and has been settled by the President,’ Christie said. ‘He’s released his long form birth certificate and I think that should end the conversation. So for me it’s a non issue.’… ‘I think the President resolved this issue a long time ago and I think we have much more important issues in our country to be discussing,’ he said.” [Politicker NJ, 4/17/2012]

In August 2012, the Huffington Post reported: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who was rumored to be on the shortlist for the vice presidential nod, said Tuesday that he suspects GOP candidate Mitt Romney ‘wishes he could take’ his birther joke back. ‘I think if he had to do it over again, he wouldn't make the joke," [Huffington Post, 8/28/2012]

Tommy and the "Oldest Dodge in the Book"

Tommy Thompson made millions peddling his influence among the big D.C. special interests.  He worked for much of the last decade at a well known law firm and lobby shop.  Even though this is well documented and everyone knows exactly what he was doing, he continues to insist that he was not a lobbyist.  Even when presented with FEC documents that lists him as a lobbyist, he still tries to deny it.

Even with his many denials, some in the media have verified in multiple ways that Tommy Thompson was functioning as a lobbyist during his decade in Washington D.C.
  • Thompson Was Hired By D.C.-Based Lobbying Powerhouse Akin Gump After Leaving HHS. [Wisconsin State Journal, 1/12/06]
  • Politifact has said that “Thompson Has Sold His Influence And Connections To Firms To Whom It Would Benefit On Capitol Hill.” 
  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described Thompson as Tommy Inc. when they described his influence peddling in D.C.
  • Both the Wisconsin State Journal and the Associated Press described Thompson as a lobbyist.[Wisconsin State Journal, 9/14/11; Associated Press State & Local Wire, 8/18/11] 
  • Even Tommy's Republican primary opponent Eric Hovde described him as a "corporate lobbyist"[Press availability, 7/12/12] 
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be in Wisconsin stumping and attending fundraisers for Tommy Thompson. However I wonder if the bully governor will put Tommy in his place on this denial about being an influence peddling lobbyist? Christie has been known to go on the attack when people sell their influence to special interests in D.C. but still claim not to be an actual lobbyist. 

In a Meet the Press interview, Mitt Romney surrogate Chris Christie said of Newt Gingrich’s claim not to be a lobbyist, “The speaker, and I heard his comments just now, a strategic adviser, that is the oldest Washington dodge in the book. That's because he didn't want to register as a lobbyist.., He got paid $1.6 million. First, he said he was a historian, now he's a strategic adviser. I mean, let's be serious. It's the oldest dodge in the book. He was using his influence that he obtained in public office to try to help them. That's why they paid him $1.6 million. He can call it whatever he wants to call it, but that's what it is.” [NBC, Meet the Press, 1/22/12]

So will anyone in the Wisconsin media actually ask Chris Christie how Gingrich's lobbyist dodge is any different than Tommy's?   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tommy and the Privatization of Social Security

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities came out with a new report today about how Social Security has lifted millions Americans out of poverty.   This is no surprise to many of us but sometimes it is important to put actual numbers on these kinds of results. Based on 2011 census data they have determined that without Social Security, 21.4 million Americans would be in poverty today.  The study then brakes down numbers by state and it determines that from 2009-2011 approximately 307,000 Wisconsinites were lifted out of poverty because of Social Security.

In 2004 while Tommy Thompson was trying to support George W. Bush's push to privatize Social Security, he made the following statement as reported by local media in Iowa.
In addition to living healthier lives, people should be setting up private retirement accounts and investing in long-term care policies. ‘Americans have to start taking responsibility for ourselves,’ Thompson said. [Dubuque Telegraph Herald, 10/30/2004]
Try to set aside his arrogance for a moment and ask a few of the obvious questions.  Does he still support a Bush style privatization effort of Social Security? We already know that he plans to "do away with" Medicare and Medicaid, so does he support something similar for Social Security? Wisconsinites deserve to know his answers and the full details of his plan before the election. This is especially true for those 307,000 Wisconsinites that have been kept out of poverty directly because of our current Social Security system.

Tommy's Benefactors Taking Hands-On Approach?

Tommy Thompson's special interest benefactors from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are apparently going to take a hands-on approach at this point in the campaign.  They have already bankrolled over $2 million in deceptive television attacks ads against Tammy Baldwin. A total of $1,333,161.00 (including $490,851 in unregulated spending not filed with FEC) in attack ads during the primary and $714,702.00 during the general. Now their national political director is tweeting that he will be joining Tommy Thompson for an "important announcement".

What is the announcement? Tommy Thompson has already outsourced his campaign to this exact kind of D.C. special interest.  Are they going to literally control his campaign message and its day to day operations now? Perhaps the U.S. Chamber of Commerce official is going to coach Tommy about using some of the same talking points that the Chamber President Tom Donohue has offered in the past.

In 2004, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said, "there are legitimate values in outsourcing ‐‐ not only jobs, but work ‐‐ to gain technical experience and benefit we don't have here, to lower the price of products, which means more and more of them are brought into the United States, used, for example, I.T., much broader use than it was 10 years ago, create more and more jobs. But the bottom line is that we outsource very few jobs in relation to the size of our economy."

In July 2004, the Associated Press reported “Donohue acknowledged the pain for people who have lost jobs to offshoring ‐ an estimated 250,000 a year, according to government estimates. But pockets of unemployment shouldn't lead to ‘anecdotal politics and policies,’ he said, and people affected by offshoring should ‘stop whining.’” [Associated Press, 7/5/2004]

Whatever the reason for this special interest liaison with Tommy, we know at least one result that will come from it.  He will owe them big and he will be no one's senator but THEIRS.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Media Trackers Unregulated Math

The right wing group Media Trackers has a long record of distortions, innuendo and absolute lies.  They have repeatedly shown that they have no problem smearing people in just about any way to advance their extreme political goals.  They are now applying this approach to their use of normally objective things like math and counting.

Sleazy Washington D.C. special interests have been trying their best to prop up their exhausted candidate Tommy Thompson.  In fact they have spent over $10.7 million attacking Tammy Baldwin with some of the most dishonest ads in recent memory.  Media Trackers has decided to dispute this number by using what I'll generously call "fuzzy math".

Media Trackers falsely claims that the outside attack ads against Baldwin total only $5.4 million. However they completely ignore the amount of unregulated spending on paid media that is not even filed with the FEC.  It doesn't seem like the kind of thing that Media Trackers should "forget" since they receive the very same kind of unregulated and unfiled funding.

But again, given their history, Media Trackers exists to distract, muddy the waters and distort reality for partisan purposes.  So when they encounter real numbers that dispel their propaganda, they employ the kind of fuzzy math that simply omits those numbers.  Apparently the people at Media Trackers adhere to a kind of mathematical relativism.

Here is a full listing of the special interest spending against Tammy Baldwin.  Unlike (unregulated funding recipient) Media Trackers, this listing actually includes the unregulated money.  When you take all of the numbers together, you quickly see that the Baldwin figures are completely true.  You also find that Media Trackers' funding is not the only thing that is is their use of math.

Primary Spending Against Baldwin by Outside Groups 
NRSC (Radio) $32,179.00
US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE $1,333,161.00 ($490,851)*
TOTAL $2,253,083.00

General Election Spending Against Baldwin/for Thompson 
CROSSROADS GPS $3,939,029.00
60 PLUS $520,800.00*
NFIB $145,587.00*
NRCS/THOMPSON $733,332.00
NRSC $840,171.00
TOTAL $8,468,463.00

GRAND TOTAL:$10,721,546.00

*Unregulated, not filed with FEC, $4,540,397
 [Source, Wisconsin Radio and Television Stations]

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tommy Thompson: "I don't need this"

Apparently Tommy Thompson is not having a good time on the campaign trail (to the extent that he is actually on it).  The New York Times reported the following today: 

“Mr. Thompson, usually gregarious, sounds anything but upbeat as he talks about his reason for running now. Is he having fun? No, he says twice. “I don’t need this,” he said.”
Actually, you can't really blame Tommy for not having a good time when you consider some of these recent events:
Tommy says, "I don't need this" but he will continue doing his duty because his special interest benefactors certainly do need something...another lackey in the U.S. Senate that will implement their agenda. Hopefully voters in Wisconsin will clearly declare that "we don't need this" in our next U.S. Senator.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Voter Intimidation is Also a Crime

The voter intimidation continues this election season. I spotted this sign twice today within only a few blocks of each other.  Both were conveniently displayed in largely African American areas of Milwaukee.  I wonder how many went up in largely white areas?

Sadly this isn't anything new, the same thing happened in 2010 as I recall.  Although that time they were a bit more direct in their messaging featuring actual people of color pictured behind jail bars.  Still, someone should remind these sick individuals that voter intimidation is also a crime.

Racism bravely brought to you by an anonymous "Private Family Foundation".

Update: National News and a National Shame

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A Taxing Pattern for John Macco?

During the Republican primary for the 30th state Senate district Ray Suennen unsuccessfully ran against John Macco.  During that primary Suennen's campaign was particularly noticeable for how directly he challenged Macco on the basis of his court case history. Republican Ray Suennen was quite aggressive in calling out Macco for the various court cases.  Suennen commented that "this is not 'leadership' and are the type of actions that taxpayers are fed up with."

While Ray Suennen aggressively questioned John Macco's qualifications based on all of his court cases, it seemed that extra attention was paid to a tax warrant case filed against Macco in 2000.  Suennen reportedly brought up this issue at conservative candidate forums. Apparently someone thought that it was important enough to anonymously send the case information to right wing radio host Jerry Bader.  Bader read listener emails that were critical of Macco for having the tax warrant case. He also read a written Macco response on the air and said that the public deserved a more complete answer.

Macco went on the Jerry Bader show to give an explanation about the various court cases that have been filed against him.  I've already mentioned some of his lame responses regarding the civil cases against him.  But his responses to the tax warrant case were not much better.  He  admitted that he "missed one" and that "it was pure ignorance" and a "simple mistake".  Whatever brand of mistake it was, it probably isn't the type that is common among the voters of the 30th District.

If we are expected to believe that Macco's  tax warrant case was just a "simple mistake" then we should also expect that he hasn't had any similar tax related issues since then.  However today One Wisconsin Now released research that suggests a pattern that has extended well beyond Macco's 2000 tax warrant case.
Over the last fifteen years, Macco has been late paying his local property taxes eight times, including settling his 2007 tax bill over one year late. The state Department of Revenue was also forced to file a tax warrant against Macco for almost $3,500 in unpaid income taxes.
One Wisconsin Now's review of local property tax records found that Macco failed to pay his property taxes on time for tax years 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. In fact, Macco failed to pay his 2007 taxes, due January 31st of 2008, until March 2009, racking up nearly $1,100 in interest and penalties on the overdue bill.
Again, when you combine all of these things it appears much less like a "simple mistake" and much more like a disturbing pattern of behavior.  John Macco should give a complete and total explanation to the voters of the 30th District.  In fact he should go above and beyond that and release 10 years of his full state income tax information for both himself personally and for his business. Given the many bipartisan questions that have been raised on this subject, voters should be entitled to full and complete disclosure.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Tommy right at home with lavish lifestyle

If you were to listen to Tommy Thompson talk about himself on the campaign trail, you would think that he has been a farmer in Elroy for the last 10 years.  During the current campaign he has said "I lived my whole life in Wisconsin" and that he "never left".

Unfortunately for Tommy most people know that he has actually been very busy peddling his influence among the special interests in Washington D.C. for most of the last decade. He has become so successful at shilling for them that it has made him a multimillionaire.  In fact he is so rich at this point that he has run into a John McCain problem recently.  Dan Bice is reporting that Tommy apparently couldn't remember all of his million dollar homes and condos. 
As Bice provided in his column, several of these properties were listed as Tommy's residence on various campaign finance documents. In fact there are such filings in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.  So exactly how does that gel with with Tommy's claim that he "never left" Wisconsin? How does any of this gel with the false image that Tommy is trying to promote on the campaign trail?  He seems right at home with his new lavish lifestyle even as he tries to convince us that he is just some simple farmer from Elroy.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Tommy's Idea of "Bipartisan"

Today Tommy Thompson actually told reporters at the Milwaukee Press Club that he would "forge bipartisan relations" in the U.S. Senate.  However it wasn't that long ago when he vowed that he would not compromise.

And who could forget Tommy working so hard at forging "bipartisan relations" in this video?

Republican Parody or Real Press Releases?

I'm having difficulty telling if Republican communications in the U.S. Senate race are parody or actual press releases. They have been taking stale right wing talking points on any given issue and pushing it over the edge into the totally absurd and offensive.  The latest example? Ridiculous attacks against Tammy Baldwin on the issue of veterans.  I realize that the Republicans and their "exhausted" candidate are feeling rather vulnerable but this kind of overreach is nasty and very transparent.

Today Tammy Baldwin addressed the Wisconsin members of American Disabled Veterans.  Tommy Thompson was at the event dodging questions about revitalizing Wisconsin's VA facilities.  After he spoke his handlers continued their practice of rushing him out with members of the media in hot pursuit.

Tommy Thompson has proposed a 5% across the board cut.  That would translate into a $6.48 billion cut from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, just when Wisconsin veterans are coming home and need our support the most.  This is even more disgusting when you consider the fact that Tommy supports doing this while also cutting taxes for millionaires. Perhaps Republicans are trying to overcompensate for this in their over-the-top press releases today.

Although Republican parody press releases attempt to create an absolute fiction, Tammy Baldwin has a clear record of standing up for veterans.
  • In 2002, Tammy introduced the Dr. James Allen Disabled Veterans Equity Act. After years of fighting Washington gridlock, it was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007. 
  • Baldwin introduced the Veterans Jobs Act to involve local community business leaders in an additional effort to help returning service members find jobs in the private sector. 
  • Tammy was also a strong supporter of President Obama’s Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which gives businesses that hire unemployed veterans a credit of up to $5,600 per veteran. She also supported the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit, which gives businesses that hire veterans with service-related disabilities a credit of up to $9,600 per veteran. 
  • Tammy also supported the VOW to Hire Heroes Act which also expands veterans’ training and education, and helps guide them through the federal jobs application process.
  • Baldwin supported the Post 9/11 GI Bill Of Rights for the 21st Century, the largest expansion of veterans’ education benefits since the enactment of the original GI Bill in 1944. 
  • Baldwin also introduced the Make Our Veterans Smile Act. This legislation would expand dental coverage to all veterans enrolled with the VA who have received a Purple Heart. 
If you don't give Tammy Baldwin credit for her actual legislative accomplishments in this area, then why don't you simply ask a vet like this one?
“Tammy is committed to keeping the sacred trust we hold with members of our nation’s military. She has fought to expand and improve care and benefits for Wisconsin veterans and their families and will continue fighting as our next U.S. Senator.” -Veteran Anthony Hardie
And given all of this context to the contrary, Republicans are still trying to defame Tammy Baldwin on this issue? That act is despicable but it has come to be expected.  After all, we are dealing with people that have chosen the lowest road campaign that special interest money can buy.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Tommy Says He Has Never Been a Lobbyist?

Today "exhausted" Tommy Thompson emerged from his D.C. fundraisers to join right wing radio host Charlie Sykes for free air time courtesy of Journal Communications Inc.  During the free air time on WTMJ he insisted that he has never been a lobbyist, which seems to defy logic and the millions that Tommy Inc. has made influence peddling in D.C. over the last ten years.  The statement also conflicts with the black and white information in this video.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tommy Fishing for Special Interest Cash in D.C.

Earlier I wrote about the fact that Tommy Thompson is not out working hard on the campaign trail. He is not holding many public events and when he does he is not taking time to answer many important questions from the media.  So how appropriate that as I was writing earlier Tommy was busy preparing for a fundraiser this afternoon in Washington D.C. 

The invite is for a Luncheon for Tommy Thompson at the Oceanaire Seafood Room in D.C.  Contributions are set at $2,500 PAC and $1,000 personal.  You can eat high end seafood and watch Tommy do push-ups for the afternoon!

By the way, this morning Tommy was doing the exact same thing at a special interest "breakfast" in D.C. It was held at Charlie Palmer's and cost $1,000 (PAC) and $500 (individuals).

Somehow it seems appropriate because Tommy INC has spent a decade selling his influence to the highest bidder in D.C. It shouldn't be a surprise that instead of working hard and talking to Wisconsin voters, he is busy collecting cash from the same D.C. special interests that made him rich.

Note to Wisconsin Media: If you want to find Tommy, you better try a Washington D.C. fundraiser.

"Exhausted" Tommy Propped Up by Broadcast Lies

Only a few weeks ago we learned how Tommy Thompson had essentially "gone silent" on the campaign trail since the Republican primary.  At that time I wondered if it was because he felt entitled, was lazy or that he planned to outsource his campaign to the same special interests that made him rich in Washington D.C.  The more time that passes it seems that it may be a combination of all three.

Today I learned about Tommy's comments to the National Review online saying that he was "exhausted" after the Republican primary. So maybe this explains why he has virtually been absent from the campaign trail since that time.  I'd be surprised if the media didn't report him missing at some point before the election.  Sadly, even when Tommy does manage to hold an actual public event, he isn't exactly keen on answering any questions from the media.  What? Are his handlers worried that he will make another "do away with Medicare" comment? Is Tommy's sense of entitlement so great and ego so large that he doesn't feel the he owes the public direct answers to important questions?
Whatever the reason for Tommy's "no comment" campaign, Republicans have certainly been getting worried. As evidence we have seen some of the following:
Right Wing Radio Host: "Tommy Thompson has been running a brilliant campaign, if it was 1998." 

Perhaps the direct result of these right wing worries is the cranking up of deeply dishonest ads that the Republicans and their special interest allies are running right now.  They just keep running the same long debunked lies over and over hoping it will stick.  Apparently I wasn't too far off a few weeks ago when I suggested that Tommy was essentially outsourcing his campaign.  It looks like worried Republicans and right wing special interests are trying their best to prop up their "exhausted" candidate with a deluge of broadcast lies.

UPDATE: Although Tommy is apparently too "exhausted" to talk to voters or the media across Wisconsin, he has no problem with raising money in Washington D.C