a terrible situation that should be stopped before it continues to stain our country any further

The title is a paraphrase by the Washington Post from one of President Trump’s morning tweets. The president was referring to the Mueller probe, but may I suggest it should actually apply to the president’s tenure in the White House?

As the Manafort corruption trial gets underway the president described it as a ‘hoax’ and that these were ‘old charges’. I am not sure what he meant by either reference but he should butt out and get on with the work of the president and let the justice system take its due course. If he isn’t complicit in obstruction already, he is certainly looking like he’s going in that direction with these tweets.

Now the president did say in one of his tweets:

These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!

He’s right. The charges against Manafort have nothing to do with collusion. They are all about under reporting income for tax purposes and lying to get loans and they have nothing to do with Russian interference with the 2016 campaign.

But here again the president doth protest too much. The Mueller investigation is looking into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential campaign. And although the word collusion keeps getting bandied about, it seems to be pretty much being mentioned by the president and not anyone connected with the Mueller team. Where there’s smoke there’s fire? Besides as Mr. Giuliani pointed out earlier, even if there was collusion, it isn’t necessarily against the law. Ahem….

So essentially, President Trump can’t separate the various moving pieces of the various investigations. And he doesn’t realize that by continuing to try to put his nose back in joint by putting it in the business of the Department of Justice…it starts to smell like rotting obstruction.

But never fail, he forges right ahead and calls for Attorney Jeff Sessions to call off the Mueller probe…which would require him to end his recusal, or worse yet violate it, two things which seem beyond Mr. Sessions’ sense of propriety. Good for him on this one.

So plan B for President Trump is the old tried and true, distance himself from the ‘bad guy’.

In his tweets, Trump also sought to distance himself from Manafort, saying he “worked for me for a very short time” and had also served Ronald Reagan, Robert Dole and “many other highly prominent and respected political leaders.”

Manafort was hired in late March 2016 as Trump’s campaign chairman and resigned in mid-August of that year — a stretch that included the Republican convention at which Trump was formally nominated.

Yes March to August isn’t that long for a job just looking at a calendar, but on the Trump campaign, or even the Trump White House, that can be construed as an eternity. And Mr. Manafort wasn’t just an apparatchik, he was the campaign chairman for crying out loud…right through the convention.

And then of course the president mused:

Writing on Twitter, Trump…questioned why the government didn’t tell him Manafort was under investigation before he hired him to be part of his 2016 campaign.

How would they know you were going to hire him AND investigations don’t work like that. And once again, as we’ve seen time after time, the president’s campaign team and White House staff seem to have no time or no skill or no interest in vetting those President Trump wants to hire on.

The fallout from this will be interesting to see.

House GOP moves to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

This is breaking news…Republican Lawmakers Launch Move to Impeach Justice Department’s Rosenstein.

A group of Republican lawmakers on Wednesday introduced articles of impeachment to remove Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, escalating a fight over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Representatives Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, who belong to the conservative House Freedom Caucus, joined nine other House members in accusing Rosenstein of hiding investigative information from Congress, failure to comply with congressional subpoenas and other alleged misconduct.

Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, has become a frequent punching bag for supporters of President Donald Trump for appointing Mueller to investigate whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton. The president has denied such collusion took place.

“The DOJ is keeping information from Congress,” Jordan said, referring to the Department of Justice. “Enough is enough. It’s time to hold Mr. Rosenstein accountable for blocking Congress’s constitutional oversight role.”

Congress’s constitutional oversight role? Give me a fuckin’ break. With all of the nonsense that has come out of the White House over the past 18 months and particularly the last sixty days…they are going after Rosenstein? They haven’t the spine of a helgramite. We’ll have to watch what happens next but this is unconscionable. Let the DOJ do its work. Let Rosenstein finish his job. Let Mueller finish his job. It doesn’t make anymore sense for Congress to meddle in the work of the DOJ than it does for the White House to do that.

For Rosenstein to be removed from office, a majority of the House must vote for the articles of impeachment and then the Senate must convict him on a two-thirds vote. Republicans control both chambers but have only a 51-49 edge in the Senate.

Just another instance of the Republicans breaking faith with the rule of law and the US Constitution.

Former Milwaukee County Sup. Peggy West charged with election fraud

Good.

Former Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West was charged with election fraud Milwaukee police said Thursday.

The Milwaukee police said in a news release that it investigated a complaint referred from the Milwaukee County Ethics Board regarding nomination papers that West circulated and filed.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office has not released a criminal complaint, and no charges have appeared on online circuit court records as of late Thursday.

Trump Completes His Employee Performance Review

President Donald Trump went to Helsinki Finland and met privately, for two hours, with Russian President Vladimir Putin for his employee performance review. President Trump is making great progress on completing President Putin’s agenda:

1: Disrupt the European Union by supporting and undermining Brexit at the same time.
2: Threatening and undermining NATO, the defense organization created to defend Europe specifically against Russia.
3: Remove American leadership from climate change agreements.
4: Remove American leadership from the Iran agreement to allow additional Middle Eastern influence to fall to Russia.
5: Remove American leadership from pacific rim trade agreements leaving the TPP in disarray and despite allowing added Chinese influence, allowing additional Russian influence in Asia.
6: Undermining and ruining trust in America’s first line of defense against corruption, totalitarianism and fascism: the free and independent press.
7: Undermining trust in major American law enforcement agencies like the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal courts.
8: Disrupting that ‘special relationship’ between the US and the UK by aggressive and boorish behavior against the Prime Minister and Queen.
9: Disrupting trade and alliances between our two closest neighbors, Mexico and Canada.
10: Disrupting international trade via unneeded and irrational tariffs.
11: Pulling out of human rights groups to stave off taking positions against Russia or having any called against the US.
12: Bullying our friends, neighbors, allies about anything in general that doesn’t meet this greater agenda.

and that’s all I could discover in the first 7 minutes.

More GOP Budget Insanity In Wisconsin: Dept of Corrections Edition

There have been competing articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the issues surrounding the various Wisconsin Department Of Correction facilities. Much of it relates to budget issues and employment issues. Apparently the DOC can’t hire enough guards and security personnel to keep the facilities safe and running correctly.

And on Tuesday, MJS ran an article front page just below the masthead: A Wisconsin worker nearly tripled his pay last year by working 95 hours a week and others cashed in, as well. Apparently one employee worked enough overtime to out earn his bosses and the governor and then retired! I don’t begrudge the officer making his move…the system let him and he gamed the system.

But 95 hours a week? Can anyone effectively do their job working 95 hours a week, no matter what it is? Doesn’t this put the guard at risk? Doesn’t this put the other guards at risk? Doesn’t this put the other staff at risk? Doesn’t this put those incarcerated at risk?

So we are short handed and can’t staff the facilities that we have. And these facilities are full to capacity. So what does Attorney General Brad Schimel think we should do? Well this is pulled from an article where the AG is criticizing the prison plans of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates…but it certainly exhibits the total disconnect in Madison around law enforcement and incarceration:

Schimel said the state’s current approach on addressing recidivism is appropriate, and he supports building a new prison to reduce crowding in existing facilities to ensure safety for correctional officers and that rehabilitation programs are effective.

So how do we staff new facilities if we can’t staff current facilities?

And just this morning, the good old MJS featured this story on the front page: Pay raises not on table despite prison staffing shortage!

Facing ballooning overtime costs amid a stubborn staffing shortage in Wisconsin prisons, lawmakers in control of state government are not yet putting forward a pay bump to entice new correctional officers.

Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislative leaders acknowledge that having too few workers in state prisons is a long-standing challenge, but none are voicing support for putting more money into salaries or benefits following a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report showing staffing shortages opened the door for more than 500 state workers —most of them at the Department of Corrections — to make more than $20,000 in overtime last year.

But Republican leaders say prison officials have offered current and prospective employees significant financial incentives to cure the staffing problems, and that the strong economy exacerbates the challenge in hiring new workers.

“With a record low 2.8% unemployment rate and more people working in Wisconsin than ever before, we can’t afford to have anyone on the sidelines,” Walker spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg said. “The worker shortage is a nationwide challenge, and we will continue our historic investments in worker training and education moving forward to help get more people into the workforce.”

Hey! The word out of Washington is lower unemployment yields higher wages. It’s all part of the master plan. If you want quality employees in quantity…you need to pay up!

By the way, according to the linked article, officers have gotten a number of pay increases over the past few years…and in January the starting wage will be $16.55 per hour. Think about that. The national push is $15.00 minimum wage for…you know…minimum wage jobs…do you want fries with that? And we are asking men and women to take jobs that put their personal safety at risk for $16.55? Really?

New hires are getting $2,000 signing bonuses though.

From our quotable GOP leader in Madison, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald:

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said state officials could try increasing wages and benefits, but the nature of the job of a correctional officer will always be a hurdle if there are less-stressful alternatives.

“You can always look at wages and benefits and try to pump those up but I think in the environment that we’re operating in, it’s gonna be tough,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t know that that’s the solution right now.”

Shrug!

Oh and then there is the issue of finding the money in the state budget. Well obviously if you hire more people some of the money will come from the overtime no longer being paid…but guess what…we had a budget surplus working that could have been reassigned…but no…the governor had to do his election year gimmick give back and sales tax holiday instead.

Shrug!