As gubernatorial candidates start to throw their hats into the ring, I anticipate that the media and blogosphere will create somewhat of a political circus. Politicians will embellish their accomplishments; the media will create stories rather than report them; and local bloggers will ratchet up unfounded personal attacks. Such is life in the arena of politics, but there are some who go way beyond the realm of appropriateness.
Liberals are very good at creating organizations under the pretense of fighting noble causes, and they use the political machinery of their organization to promote and push a strict liberal ideology. The National Organization of Women, for example, fights for the rights of women, unless of course you are pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and believe that it's okay to be a stay-at-home mom. When Sarah Palin and her adolescent daughters were attacked by the media, N.O.W was nowhere to be found. Another example of liberalism masquerading as noble causes are conglomerate unions. They fight for the working man, but they are quick to use their funds to champion Democrat causes almost exclusively. Currently, the AFL-CIO is pushing universal health care despite the costs it will incur on its members.
Getting to the thesis of my article, a few months ago, local blogger Chris Liebenthal had created himself a non-profit organization called "Milwaukee County First", which he is now using as a leftist tool to propagate unverifiable anti-Walker rubbish. For some of you who may not know, Liebenthal is a blogger of Cognitive Dissidence, a site nearly devoted to the destruction of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. In just the past 8 months (from January to August), Liebenthal has written over 208 articles attacking Scott Walker on his blog. Yes, I said 208 articles. That is an average of 26 posts a month devoted to just one person. Can anyone say obsession? In these blog posts, Liebenthal routinely calls Walker a liar, a weasel, and a phony. Actually, it's rather interesting that Liebenthal uses the word "phony" to describe Walker since his little non-profit organization is, well, a phony itself.
Milwaukee County First dubs itself as a grassroots organization trying to stop the decline of Milwaukee County. Ironically, Milwaukee County is fairing well in the current economic downturn. It's among the few Wisconsin government entities that consistently show a budget surplus at the end of their fiscal cycles. Even more interesting is that Milwaukee County First emerged shortly after Scott Walker announced his gubernatorial candidacy. Coincidence? Can it be more obvious that Liebenthal is trying to undermine Scott Walker?
Below are a few quotes from Milwaukee County First that concern Scott Walker. Hopefully this will shed some light on their partisan activity. Keep in mind that MCF has been publishing content for only two months.
Because of these growing concerns, the County Board repeatedly tried to get a referendum to the voters to see if they would approve of a sales tax increase to save these systems and give the voters relief on their property taxes. But each time, County Executive Scott Walker blocked the people from having the right to express themselves.
Unlike Scott Walker, County Board Supervisors actually come to these to hear what the people want.
Also from Dan Cody, on his personal blog, is a listing of some of the devastating cuts that the parks are facing in the upcoming budget from Scott Walker:
We are not alone in our outrage. Several local bloggers also addressed this issue, including Dan Cody, who appropriately called Walker’s proposals as “downright immoral“
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is also reporting that many advocates of the homeless are decrying Walker’s proposals:
MCF commends Supervisor West for her willingness to stand up for Milwaukee County, and to point out that Scott Walker doesn’t.
Scott Walker had first continued to advocate for the dedication of some of the State’s sales tax on new cars be earmarked for Milwaukee County’s transit system. He did this for years, even after it was made clearly known to him that this was not going to happen. Now for the last couple of years, Walker has been pushing for privatization of Mitchell Airport, even though this has been proven to be a bad course of action.
In Liebenthal's newest scam, he's using his non-profit organization to host a petition site to help save the Milwaukee County's transit, parks, and EMS. Only one problem. The transit, parks, and EMS don't need saving. Let's deal with each of these fictions one at a time starting with transit first.
In a recent audit sponsored by the state, an independent consultant concluded that when compared to its peers, the Milwaukee County Transit System consistently delivers more rides for less cost, has the lowest per passenger cost, and has the highest ridership per capita. Another study conducted by the Reason Foundation concluded that Milwaukee County's transit system "efficient and effective."
To be fair and balanced, however, this does not mean that the transit system is without its problems. The costs of the transit system have increased significantly in the past 8 years due to decreased state funding (down 5% in 9 years), increased fuel costs (almost doubled last year alone), and rising property taxes which puts additional constraints on transit funding. These three factors, especially the upsurge fuel costs, can cripple any transit system. However, recent audits still show that the Milwaukee County transit system is outdoing its competitors in other states even during a time when the entire state is suffering high unemployment and a massive budget deficit. This is not an area where Walker is vulnerable.
Milwaukee County First's mission statement says that county parks are "unkempt and overgrown". Earlier this year, however, the Milwaukee County Parks Department was selected as one of the top four finalists for the 2009 national Gold Medal for Excellence. The award is based off a 12 minute video and a copy of their master plan, which was submitted to a distinguished panel of experts in parks, recreation, and conservation management. In other words, Milwaukee County Parks is among the top four in the nation to receive such a nomination. It doesn't sound like the County parks need saving, does it?
Also, Milwaukee's EMS has proven to be a beacon of light. According to a 2008 analysis of EMS services, Milwaukee ranked 2nd in the nation for survival rates after cardiac arrest. According to Ronald Pirrallo, a doctor and a professor of emergency medicine at the medical college, "these data reflects the fact that Milwaukee County EMS system is a center of excellence."
And as a paramedic, I can speak to the difficulty of reviving a patient after they have gone into cardiac arrest. It requires good training and a clear skill-set to provide a rapid on-scene assessment, relevant diagnostics, and a concise treatment plan capable of bringing patients back from a pulseless state. Furthermore, the South Milwaukee Fire Department received an award for their incident management skills involving "flight for life" from the Flight for Life-Wisconsin. So, it certainly doesn't sound like the County's EMS needs saving either.
So how is it that Milwaukee County First is creating a petition site to save the very facets of Milwaukee County that are receiving special recognition and awards for excellence? The answer is quite simple, the petition is nothing more than a sham in an attempt to use the charitable lure of a non-profit organization to get press during the throws of a campaign season. As long as Milwaukee County First pretends to be a legitimate organization interested in the welfare of Milwaukee County, I will continue to show just how deceptive liberals are willing to be to get what they want.