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Pierce writes: "The election (twice!) of Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, has caused a radical redefinition of the political culture unlike that taking place almost anywhere else."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis, 04/13/12. (photo: AP)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis, 04/13/12. (photo: AP)



The Walker Way

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

20 February 13

 

he election (twice!) of Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, has caused a radical redefinition of the political culture unlike that taking place almost anywhere else. The Wisconsin Idea - from which came many of the progressive notions that made the 20th century superior to the 19th, and the political manifestation of what became known as the Social Gospel - was the animating force behind Wisconsin politics for so many years that watching Walker recklessly destroy it is like watching the political equivalent of paving paradise and putting up the parking lot.

Much of the attention was paid to Walker's attempts to drain the power from organized labor. But he also was serving up almost the entire movement conservative buffet, including "tort reform." Working with the folks at ALEC, and with the assistance of the complete roster of the state's profiteers, Walker got passed the Wisconsin Omnibus Tort Reform Act of 2011. One group of profiteers was composed of the people who run the state's nursing homes and, as their participation ribbon in the game of dismantling The Wisconsin Idea, these gombeens got a provision in the law whereby any state records of abuse and/or neglect in the state's nursing homes has been ruled inadmissable and unavailable to attorneys seeking damages on behalf of the victims of said abuse and/or neglect. In other words, you have to prove abuse and/or neglect of some of the state's most vulnerable citizens without the help of the state to which they paid their taxes most of their lives. You can see where this is headed, right?

The Wisconsin Center For Investigative Reporting did.

Wisconsin's nursing homes have descended into deregulated chaos. The industry now combines all the worst elements of a monopolistic business model with the basic bureaucratic inhumanity of a spread sheet. What regulations are still in place are paralyzed because there aren't enough investigators to make them function. And the most obvious remedy outside government - the threat of huge penalties deriving from civil judgments - has been defanged by the tort reform bill.

But critics say making state investigation reports of nursing homes inadmissible in civil and criminal lawsuits - a change that took effect after Wisconsin adopted tort reform legislation in 2011 - means that more cases of alleged neglect or abuse will go undetected and unpunished. "Especially if it's a Medicaid facility, I really believe transparency is essential," Hanrahan said. "We need to see how tax dollars are being spent and what quality of care is being provided." In fact, the Wisconsin health department has cut its staff of full-time nursing home surveyors from 100 in 2002 to 64 in 2012. Smith said staff was reduced because the number and capacity of nursing homes in Wisconsin have decreased. She provided data showing that, during this same period, the number of facilities fell from 412 to 398, and that resident capacity declined from 43,268 to 35,183. The drop in inspectors (36 percent) was greater than the drop in facilities (3 percent) or capacity (19 percent). Meanwhile, the number of complaints the state received about Wisconsin nursing homes and assisted living facilities rose from 1,684 in 2000 to 2,562 last year - an increase of more than 50 percent.

I will grant you that I am a little bit bughouse on this because I lived in Wisconsin for five years and came to deeply love its tradition of progressive politics, which is now being trashed for private profit by a jumped-up county executive with his eyes on bigger prizes. Give Paul Ryan credit. He only wants to starve granny slowly.

Oh, and the state's supreme court is still a mess, too. But it does give me another opportunity to write, "Patience Roggensack."

Fallone and Megna argued that Roggensack is part of a dysfunctional Supreme Court that has suffered through high-profile altercations, including in 2011 when Justice Ann Walsh Bradley accused Justice David Prosser of choking her during an argument. Prosser denied the allegation and a special prosecutor declined to bring charges. Roggensack has tried to distance herself from that incident even though she witnessed it."I'm not connected to that inappropriate interaction," she said Tuesday.

She's "not connected" to it even though she witnessed it.

Profiles In Jell-O.

 

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+95 # Barbara K 2013-02-20 12:23
Wisconsin, at least, had a chance to rid themselves of that freak. We, in Michigan, didn't get the chance yet. As our recall petitions are being held up by a Tbagger Secretary of State and the Tbagger court. That should be illegal. We will vote him out and some others out and they know it. We don't want the Koch Bastards running anything in Michigan. We have public schools and want to keep it that way. We should not have to pay for our kids to go to private schools where the teachers are not even required to be certified or even gone to college to be a teacher. That is what the private schools are about, more money for the ones who own them. I hope Michigan has learned its lesson and gets these Tbaggin' crooks out of our government at all levels.
 
 
-5 # HowardMH 2013-02-20 14:39
Wisconsin had their chance, had the people in the capital and all around it and what did they do? Stood there like a bunch of manikins. Until there are several thousand really, really pissed off people on Capital Hill (all at the same time – with base ball bats, or 2 x 2s) raising some serious hell against the Lunatics, absolutely nothing is ever, ever going to happen to these totally bought and paid for by the richest 50 people in the world that are becoming more and more powerful with each passing rigged election thanks to the stupid people.

How much success have you had with the TOTALLY NON VIOLENT protests over the last few years?

I’m no fan of Sarah’s but this comment is just so appropriate. So how is that Hopei, Changie working out for you now?
 
 
+57 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-02-20 12:54
And now Walker is proposing diverting more public education funds into vouchers for private schools.
 
 
-88 # Depressionborn 2013-02-20 13:35
sure hope it goes through. Empowering the disadvantaged is a very good thing.

Progressive liberals hate it though.
 
 
+28 # ER444 2013-02-20 15:06
OK. I have read this comment 10 times and I still don't understand it.As a progressive I would love to know what I hate.
 
 
-18 # Depressionborn 2013-02-21 22:27
Progressives hate vouchers. It empowers the poor, giving poor the same choice of schools as the rich. Many inner city kids here can't fill out job applications. It is not their fault. It's yours. (And the teachers union?)

I like vouchers. Libs give away their meanness in stopping them. Good for Walker!

And please tell the rsn redFcherkers to go jump in the lake.
 
 
+31 # Texas Aggie 2013-02-20 15:43
It's only the regressives that consider disadvantaged people to be takers, but what does diverting public education funds from the schools teaching disadvantaged children to the schools enrolling children from the top echelons have to do with empowering disadvantaged kids?

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2013/02/16/Are-Booming-Charter-Schools-Cherry-Picking-Top-Students.aspx#page1
 
 
-12 # Depressionborn 2013-02-22 01:23
It simply gets the kids A chance to be out of the bad schools If they get to chose, public schools will become good. Why continue to fund bad schools.

It makes no sense
 
 
+15 # flippancy 2013-02-21 08:45
Quoting Depressionborn:
sure hope it goes through. Empowering the disadvantaged is a very good thing.

Progressive liberals hate it though.


No way buddy. Disenfranchisin g the disadvantaged is solely a conservative thing. It's the exact opposite of liberal belief and the bedrock of current Republicanism.

Vouchers for private schools is intended mainly sa a perk for the rich. BTW, public schools overall, despite having to take everyone, have a slightly better record than private schools.
 
 
-9 # Depressionborn 2013-02-22 01:51
quote flippancy

Vouchers for private schools is intended mainly sa a perk for the rich. BTW, public schools overall, despite having to take everyone, have a slightly better record than private schools.


Nope, not always

But amidst this bleak overall record, there is one federal education program that has been proven to both improve educational outcomes and dramatically lower costs. That is the Washington, DC Opportunity Scholarships Program. Research conducted by the Department of Education finds that students attending private schools thanks to this program have equal or better academic performance than their peers in the local public schools, and have significantly higher graduation rates. This, and very high levels of parental satisfaction, come at an average per pupil cost of around $7,000. By contrast, per pupil spending on k-12 public education in the nation’s capital was roughly $28,000 during the 2008-09 school year.

The OSP program is thus producing better results at a quarter the cost. So why can't we have good public schools? No competition allowed, maybe that's why.
 
 
+8 # noitall 2013-02-21 14:52
Quoting Depressionborn:
sure hope it goes through. Empowering the disadvantaged is a very good thing.

Progressive liberals hate it though.

delusional! Alleged "empowering" is what has created the disadvantaged. It is code-talk for "here's some money to help the disadvantaged, advantaged, have at it!"
 
 
+50 # tm7devils 2013-02-20 12:55
I'm going to go out on a limb here...but don't these actions(among others) prove that democracy doesn't work...?

"Profiles In Jell-O"...NO... Profiles in moral decay!

As far as I'm concerned, Walker and Roggensack should be hung by the two ends of the same rope...they have proven, in the major scheme of things, to be useless human beings...and an anathema to human decency. (And that goes for the special prosecutor, also)
 
 
+51 # Todd Williams 2013-02-20 14:09
Democracy doesn't work with big cash injected into the game. $$ is what's screwing up the system.
 
 
+1 # Regina 2013-02-21 01:44
Money is inanimate. The screwups are the manipulative monsters who have access to, and control of, the money and communication outlets, both print and electronic.
 
 
+3 # Todd Williams 2013-02-21 07:50
Of course it's inanimate. You know what I meant.
 
 
+15 # genierae 2013-02-21 09:04
There are two parts to the problem. Money is one, but the apathy of the majority of Americans is the root cause. If most of us were citizen-activis ts, and did our part to make politicians accountable, the money people would not be allowed into our political processes. There would be enough responsible citizens to make sure our elections were publicly funded, which would make billionaires politically irrelevant.
 
 
+6 # noitall 2013-02-21 14:59
Quoting genierae:
There are two parts to the problem. Money is one, but the apathy of the majority of Americans is the root cause. If most of us were citizen-activists, and did our part to make politicians accountable, the money people would not be allowed into our political processes. There would be enough
responsible citizens to make sure our elections were publicly funded, which would make billionaires politically irrelevant.


You are SO RIGHT! A lot of the BIG money that is weaving the rope that we are hanging from, comes from the diversions that the American People have taken to like a fly to a turd. Case in point, no matter how lame a "super bowl" game match-up is, the crowd is enormous as are the costs of the seats, ranging into the thousands of $. Even the commercials become "stars". We is "Dumb all over, a little ugly on the side"-Zappa
 
 
+5 # genierae 2013-02-22 12:57
We need citizenship classes in every school to foster a love for public service, and an appreciation for those who eschew work for the sake of money alone. Good character must become more important than IQ if we are ever to leave this greed-engendere d mess behind. Our government must create programs that nurture and support the kind of citizens who will become good candidates for elections, and local communities must do everything they can to encourage these citizens to run for local office.

The root problem for Republicans is their total lack of integrity, and I don't see this changing any time soon.
 
 
+31 # ER444 2013-02-20 15:08
Democracy works in the few places where it exists. Real democracy simply doesn't exist in the USA.
 
 
+58 # engelbach 2013-02-20 12:56
I wonder if that law about sealing nursing home records can be ruled unconstitutiona l, on the grounds that as a matter of due process evidence demanded by a legal subpoena cannot be arbitrarily withheld.

The sight of the legacy of Robert M. La Follette ("Fighting Bob") being destroyed by pipsqueak Scott Walker ("[Expletive Deleted]") is most disheartening because Wisconsin voters who elected Walker were apparently unaware of their own state's distinguished history of progressive politics.
 
 
+4 # kelly 2013-02-21 09:04
It should be because the amount of money a state pays out for medicare 80% vs. 20% for the medicaid are often linked. Sometimes medicaid is asked to pick up the slack. If the states can't give an accurate accounting of how the money is spent then the Tea Partiers should actually be furious because this is an example of government waste and extra spending not savings. The Fed is having to pick up even more of a bill when you figure in all of the costs. Transparency should be a requirement.
 
 
+8 # genierae 2013-02-21 09:08
Didn't the recall end up being rigged by a Republican poll worker "finding" several thousand votes after the vote was decided against Walker? These corrupt Republicans will lie, cheat and steal to gain or keep power, so we can't really say the recall failed can we?
 
 
+19 # Todd Williams 2013-02-20 13:25
I call Walker a Limburger Cheese Head because he stinks to high heaven!
 
 
+28 # tuandon 2013-02-20 13:39
Well, we can always hope that zombie Walker ends up in one of his degregulated nursing homes...and we can HOPE he is abused without recourse. Unfortunately, I don't want to wait that long to see him suffer. I am glad I don't live in Wisconsin. Oh. Lucky me, I live in Pennsylvania. OUR governor is selling the state to the...well, not always...highes t bidder. Privatise, privatise, privatise.
 
 
+23 # Texas Aggie 2013-02-20 15:47
Corbett cancelled all taxes on the firms destroying PA by fracking and then to make up the deficit in the budget, he cut public education funding. He has also been pushing the idea of voter ID and dividing up the electoral college vote in order to protect his buddies. Corbett was also up to his earlobes in protecting the Penn State football coaching staff before he became governor. May he burn for all eternity.
 
 
+40 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2013-02-20 13:55
This is the Republican modus operandi — pass laws that inhibit the prosecution of those who break existing laws - laws their rich campaign contributors don't like.

In my state — the puppy mill capital of the USA — they made the filming of any animal husbandry facility without permission illegal. They scream, "Enforce the gun laws already on the books," but then they slip laws into the Patriot Act that inhibit the keeping gun sales records to fight terrorism and that limit the number of annual unannounced visits to a gun dealership by the ATF to ONE.
 
 
+38 # propsguy 2013-02-20 14:06
i know this will be difficult, but take your aging parents out of homes and care for them yourselves. sadly, that might be the only way to make this stop. it would certainly rob these criminals of their income.

in italy, old people live with their adult children and take care of their grandchildren and are in generally much better shape than our old folks. they are connected to their families and to the world more.

would you want to put your parents in a place that was immune from disciplinary action for abuses committed? and will you want to go there yourself when the time comes?
 
 
+29 # Alice 2013-02-20 14:52
Most people end up in nursing homes because they require 24-hour care for a reason, especially if they are Medicaid patients. Trying to care for an aging parent or grandparent who has Parkinson's or Alzheimer's or bed sores, incontinence of urine and stool, inability to eat without a G-tube, etc., is more than most people are qualified to do. Most people of the age group who could take them in are stretched to the limit, trying to work for less money just to get by. I do not recommend it unless one is in a position to put everything else on hold.
 
 
+10 # Texas Aggie 2013-02-20 15:50
If there is a chance for having 24 hour care for the elderly, then absolutely. But Italy has a lot more families with only one breadwinner than we do, and therefore someone is available all the time.
 
 
+4 # Smiley 2013-02-20 17:18
There are some grandparents who can't handle the energy and noise of little kids in the house ALL the time. They want out no matter how much you want them there.
 
 
+4 # genierae 2013-02-21 09:28
Thank you propsguy, I agree wholeheartedly. Here in America, elders are not respected as a group, they are usually seen as burdens and their care shifted to nursing homes. This warped society is set up to make them irrelevant, especially if they are not wealthy. I worked in several nursing homes and many of the residents there were purposely put out of their homes by children who had gotten power of attorney. These seniors were shocked that they had been treated so badly by those who were supposed to love them. Yes there are some who must be put in these homes, but seniors need to stop thinking of themselves as old and useless, that just turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don't listen to what society says, it is ignorant and cruel. Make your own life, take good care of yourself, and NEVER give up your power to ANYONE! Love and invest in your grandchildren, they are usually smarter and more loving than their parents, and they will appreciate you for it. No one has to get old if they don't want to. Your thoughts make your life what it is, change your thoughts, change your life! As the poet once said, "Youth is wasted on the young."
 
 
+23 # BobbyLip 2013-02-20 14:41
Don't worry about it, boys and girls. Since very soon everyone will be required, by virtue of a new reading of the 2nd Amendment, to pack concealed heat, all disputes, whether about nursing homes or supreme court judges choking each other or who put the overalls in Mrs Murphy's chowder will be settled the way God intended--with hot lead. And if you don't like it, you and your aged parent can move to a civilized country.
 
 
+23 # cafetomo 2013-02-20 15:04
How kind of Wisconsin, to serve itself up as a warning to others. Watch for absence more than presence, as results become arguable and profits are vacuumed away by stateless corporations. The effect will be as profound as it is inexcusable. It not only manufactures premise, but provides precedent for an egalitarian victimization of all.
 
 
0 # dondweld5 2013-02-20 15:50
I'm sympathetic with the author's position,but does it help at all to call Walker a goggle-eyed homunculus? I don't see how. It does, however, add to the lack of civility in our public discussions. This is what we always accuse the other side of doing.
 
 
+10 # tm7devils 2013-02-20 22:52
If it quacks like a duck...waddles like a duck...looks like a duck...it's an ass, ..oh..er...a duck.(sorry, got carried away)
 
 
+9 # Anarchist 23 2013-02-20 16:21
The new National Health Care Plan: a gun with two bullets in case you miss the first time. To treat our elderly in such a shocking way is to see how far down the path we have come from an idealistic democratic country (or so we thought) to a nightmare of Fascist repression by the Corporate state run by the thieving oligarchs. I hope I die before I get too old or sick to care for myself.
 
 
+13 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-02-20 16:26
If Wisconsin is going to turn into 1930s Louisiana, it better remember what happened to the Kingfish.
 
 
-17 # mpatrick 2013-02-20 18:00
Suck it up, bleeding hearts....WI is red...period (despite the fact that Obama and Baldwin won...that's due to those overpopulated black, brown, and pointed-headed white areas ...which have been carefully sculpted not to spread their tentacles }. Guardians of the Koch and T-Party are now the guards of backsliding into progressive ideas: Walker, Johnson, Ribble, etc. Face it, Walker has a hold on the office for life, given the bent of those outside the ghettos of progressiveness ....meaning most of the state. Vouchers = giving disadvantages a break.....OMG.. .give me a break, dummy
A Bleeding Heart
 
 
+6 # kelly 2013-02-21 09:17
Since when did the governorship of WI become either a monarchy or a dictatorship in anyone's head but Walker's(or your's obviously)?
"Face it, Walker has a hold on that office for life..."
That's both extreme and arrogant, don't you think?
And by the overpopulated black, brown and pointed headed white areas, either you mean cities or college towns. Which tells me that the only reason that people like Ryan win because the districts are drawn so that people like him can win. Can you say "gerrymander"? I thought you could...Hmmm, so you have a problem with the urban areas and the educated folks. Santorum backer, right?
 
 
+2 # genierae 2013-02-22 13:02
Well said!
 
 
+13 # Archie1954 2013-02-20 22:02
All walker's election tells me is that American elections are now so corrupted that they are at the breaking point. Today elections can be legally bought with truck loads of money.
 
 
+7 # LAellie33 2013-02-21 05:21
All TeapubliKKKlan governors are one election away from extinction, and boy, we, decent Americans can hardly wait!
 

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