Monday, November 21, 2011

Sensenbrenner blasts Ryan on balanced budget vote

Big Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin Congressman from hell, goes after those who voted against a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution:

My  colleagues ... who voted against this amendment are either  burying their heads in the sand or trying to misrepresent this effort  to score political points.

Thing is -- and this has got to be somewhat embarrassing for Big Jim -- one of the "no" votes was from his side of the aisle. A guy from Wisconsin.  A buddy of his. A guy named Paul Ryan.

More at The Paul Ryan Watch.



Friday, May 13, 2011

Ryan and Sensenbrenner, sitting in a tree

Who knew? Jamie Sensenbrenner and Paulie Ryan BFF? From a Fox6 gusher about Ryan:

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin's longest tenured member of Congress, pushed Ryan to run for Congress...

One of the lessons Sensenbrenner taught Ryan early on was to approach the serious job with a sense of humor. Sensenbrenner said, "Not only do the two of us have a sense of humor, but we're very good friends.". The two now say they work more closely together than any two members of congress. They frequently go out to dinner, and even exchange gag gifts every Christmas.

Sensenbrenner says, "I gave him for Christmas, a pooping reindeer that pooped out brown candy...I got the cow-talytic converter, because we spent thousands of tax payer dollars trying to investigate bovine flatulence, and we know a lot about that in Wisconsin.
That explains a lot. Heartless Jim Sensenbrenner -- the guy who voted against relief for hurricane victims in New Orleans -- would throw grandma out of the lift raft in a second. Maybe he's the brains behind Ryan's Medicare plan, otherwise known as the Republican Road to Ruin.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Frequent flyer makes the airways safe

After experiencing a near-collision on a plane in which he was a passenger, frequent world traveler Jim Sensenbrenner got on the phone with the Federal Aviation Administration to demand action, reports.

"Upon landing at Reagan National Airport, I immediately called the FAA to alert them of the situation and requested that they examine the conditions that led to this near collision over a heavily populated area," Sensenbrenner said in a statement. "While no one ever wants to be in such a circumstance, I am pleased that the FAA acted quickly to identify the error with air traffic control operations."
If he can get that kind of action, maybe we should consider sending him on a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan. If he came under fire, maybe he'd call the Pentagon and end the war.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Big Jim's stamp collection vs. Moore's net worth

Jim Sensenbrenner's stock portfolio has gotten a little ink lately, what with all of his shares in BP not presenting a conflict, in his mind, to him sitting on a panel investigating BP's mess in the Gulf.

There's also the annual Journal Sentinel story about the finances of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation, which says Sensenbrenner, who's worth $9.9-million but has disposed of all of his inherited stock in Kimberly Clark, his grandaddy's company.

Missing was the annual measure that's always been the most intriguing one: Is Sensenbrenner's stamp collection worth more than Rep. Gwen Moore's total net worth? Two years ago they were equal at about $110,000 each.

The stamp collection's value keeps going up 10 grand a year, to $130,000 now. Moore's net worth may surpass $130,000 now, but it's not clear. She reported assets worth somewhere between $19,000 and $110,000, plus a house valued at $95,000. So she may now be worth more than Big Jim's stamp collection, but not by much.

We're talking about dollars, of course. By almost any other measure, Moore is worth a lot more than Sensenbrenner.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Selfish, self-centered Sensenbrenner


Rep. F. Jim Sensenbrenner, who always puts himself first, has outdone himself on the BP disaster in the Gulf.

AP reports:

WASHINGTON — A multimillionaire House Republican who owns thousands of shares of BP stock has no plans to recuse himself from a congressional investigation related to the Gulf oil spill or from votes on Capitol Hill that could affect his investments in the oil company.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin has avoided directly criticizing BP for the spill itself. At the same time, he has watched his BP stock tank in value.

Worth more than $251,000 just a few years ago, Sensenbrenner’s 3,604 shares of BP PLC stock had plunged in value to just $118,000 by the end of trading Thursday. That’s roughly half their value the day before the April 20 oil spill. Sensenbrenner has said his net worth is about $10 million.

The No. 2 Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and a former chairman, Sensenbrenner has kept a low profile on the issue, but now he’s coming out swinging: He has written a letter to President Barack Obama questioning BP’s actions and the adequacy of the White House response — but refrains from directly criticizing BP for the spill.

Sensenbrenner, you may recall, is one of the few members of Congress who voted against relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Heartless is the word to describe him.

Sensenbrenner's complaints about Obama hurting his stock value provided some fodder for the Cheddarsphhere:

Illusory Tenant: Sensenbrenner angry he didn't sell BP in April.

Rock Netroots: BP Stock Plummets -- Congressman Throws Tarballs.

The Political Environment: His BP share in decline, Sensenbrenner rips Obama

Even in this anti-incumbent, anti-Washington year, Sensenbrenner's conservative suburban district is so safe that he is probably not in any danger, no matter how crazy, petulant or selfishly he acts. His biggest threat would be an opponent in the Republican primary, but he doesn't have one.

There is a Democrat running against him, despite the long odds -- Todd Kolosso, a young Menomonee Falls small business owner.

We could not do worse than Sensenbrenner.

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Sensenbrenner not a crook -- just a dumb jerk'

I've heard of damning with faint praise, but this Capital Times editorial defending Sensenbrenner's honor takes it to a new level.

"Jim Sensenbrenner's probably not a crook," the headline says, leaving the dooor open a crack.

The "defense" of Sensenbrenner against a claim by the Shepherd-Express concludes:

The congressman has been on the wrong side of science, the law and common sense more times than anyone can count — on issues ranging from global warming to civil liberties to immigration reform.

That may make him a jerk — indeed, his record suggests that, rather than a “jerk of the week,” Sensenbrenner is a more a “jerk of the year” or “jerk of the decade.”

But he is not necessarily a crook who has been bought by the special interests.

It may well be that the congressman simply is not the sharpest tack in the box.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Rules or no rules, Sensenbrenner still flying high

The House of Representatives can pass all the stinking rules it wants, but nothing's going to get in between Jim Sensenbrenner and a free junket.

That's the message in today's New York Times story, where Sensenbrenner gets top billing in the top story on page one:
WASHINGTON — Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican, toured a prince’s vineyard and castle in Liechtenstein and spent an afternoon at a ski resort in the Alps — all at the expense of a group of European companies.
Sensenbrenner has long been at or near the top of the Freddy Freeloader list of Congressional members taking trips at anybody's expense but their own. Even though he is a multi-millionaire, he's a tightwad looking for every freebie he can scarf up.

The House has tried to crack down on the practice of flying at lobbyists' expense (it looks unseemly), but left more than enough loopholes in the law for Big Jim and his wife to fly right through. More from the Times:
While lobbyists are not supposed to pay for a lawmaker’s travel, for example, Mr. Sensenbrenner’s $14,708 trip to Liechtenstein and Germany in 2009 was organized by a nonprofit group whose president is a lobbyist. It was underwritten by European companies that, in many cases, lobby in the United States...

When Mr. Sensenbrenner and Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, traveled to Liechtenstein in February to learn about its banking system, they attended business meetings. But they and their wives also visited the Malbun ski resort, stayed at a first-class hotel and toured the wine cellar at the prince of Liechtenstein’s historic vineyard, according to their itinerary.

The cost of the trip — $14,708 for Mr. Sensenbrenner and his wife alone — was picked up by a nonprofit group called the International Management and Development Institute. Just since 2005, International Management has paid for 34 trips to Europe for lawmakers and staff members, totaling more than $400,000, including five for Mr. Sensenbrenner to Germany, Liechtenstein, Norway and France.

The trips were largely financed by contributions from companies like Deutsche Bank and Lufthansa, which have American lobbyists and therefore would have been prohibited from directly paying for the weeklong trips. Top executives at these companies were often offered special meetings with the lawmakers. The president of the institute, Don Bonker, is a Washington lobbyist, whose firm, APCO Worldwide, has served as a registered agent for the German government.

Foreign agents are also prohibited from sponsoring travel.

Because International Management is an American nonprofit and does not retain a lobbyist, none of the rules applied. As a result, a group of big corporations were able to indirectly pay for a weeklong visit to Europe, and their executives got to meet with powerful lawmakers.

Mr. Bonker, the lobbyist, and Mr. Sensenbrenner, the congressman, said they stuck to the rules, and that the trips had been approved beforehand by the House ethics staff.
Sensebrenner's flack explained with this bit of gobbledegook:
“Many organizations that are seeking to educate Congressional leaders on a range of topics receive money from a variety of sources to better enable them to do so, without any cost to taxpayers,” Wendy Riemann, a spokeswoman for Mr. Sensenbrenner, said in a written statement.
Right. Thanks for clearing that up, Wendy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Surprise! Obama doesn't ask Big Jim's advice

Big Jim Sensenbrenner is unhappy that (a) Louis Butler has been nominated for a federal judgeship and (b) even more importantly, that Sensenbrenner wasn't consulted. Sniffs Jimbo:

"The fact of the matter is that Mr. Butler lost a state-wide election, held by the people of Wisconsin, to continue serving on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court," Sensenbrenner said. "Now, the man who was voted off the bench in Wisconsin is being given a promotion, a lifetime appointment and a pay raise."
Speaking of elections, we had one for President last year and Sensenbrenner's guy lost. We also had one awhile back in which Democrats took over the House. All of that helps explain why Big Jim, former House Judiciary chair and friend of the Bush White House, is out of the loop these days.

And, speaking further of elections, we find that Louis Butler received 402,798 votes from the citizens of Wisconsin last time he ran. Jim Sensenbrenner got 47,144.

Illusory Tenant has little patience for his whining:
Neither your advice nor your consent are required, Congressman. So why should they even be solicited. When the Sarah Palin/Sean Hannity ticket triumphs, then you can nominate Michael Gableman.
And Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now asks:

"Where was Sensenbrenner's outrage when George Bush made John Ashcroft the Attorney General immediately after Ashcroft lost a statewide election to someone who had died?"
Good question.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sensenbrenner's consistent -- consistently wrong

Big Jim Sensenbrenner isn't one of those politicians who says one thing to one audience and something else to another. Whether he's in Washington, Wisconsin or China, Sensenbrenner sticks to the same kind of unfounded, misleading rationale for ignoring climate change.

Cory Liebmann has the details.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cow fart tax just a lot of bull

Jim Sensenbrenner's been getting some media mileage with a claim that Democrats want to tax cow flatulence as a way to fight climate change (which he doesn't believe is happening.) Actually, prim and proper F. Jim says farts, not flatulence, because that's more likely to get attention.

Only one problem: His "fears" are total bullshit.

Hard times for the Sensenbrenners

Who says Jim Sensenbrenner doesn't have any empathy for poor folks who are hit hard by the economic recession?

He no doubt feels their pain, even if he doesn't vote to offer them much in the way of help.

The Journal Sentinel reports that hard times have befallen the Sensenbrenners:

The Menomonee Falls Republican reported a net worth of $8.9 million as of March 31, a more than 20% decrease from the previous year. Most of the $2.4 million drop in the value of his assets could be attributed to declines in the stock market that have posed serious investment losses for millions of Americans.
It's a good thing he lets the special interests pay for his all-too-frequent junkets or he might have to consider trimmming the family travel budget -- or sell the stamp collection, valued last year at $110,000. the same as Gwen Moore's net worth.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sensenbrenner meets his match

Separated at the dinner table?

Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. [l] and His Serene Highness Johannes "Hans" Adam Ferdinand Alois Josef Maria Marko d'Aviano Pius von und zu Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf, Count of Rietberg, Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein and Sovereign of the Princely House of Liechtenstein, pictured at Vaduz Castle, the Royal Residence.

Lichtensteiners celebrate another Sensenbrenner visit.

Michael Horne has the gory details.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sensenbrenner to run again on Obstructionist ticket in 2010

From F. Jim Sensenbrenner, some kind words:
some of the goals of the Obama plan are admirable, like improving our economy and reducing the federal debt
Unfortunately, he totally disagrees about how to do those things, so will work his heart out to try to stop anything Obama might propose.

That was the gist of his message as he announced to the Repubs in his district that he will run again in 2010, despite having recently reached Medicare age. Sayeth Big Jim:
“The residents of this District certainly know by now that I say what I mean, and I do what I say. There isn’t a lot of sugar-coating here. What you see is what you get. I am humbled by the support and faith from those I represent. Together, we can dig our heels in and show our resolve."
Humbled? We'd like to see that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Sensenbrenner should resign'

From Milwaukee BizBlog:

Dear Congressman Sensenbrenner:

I believe it may be time for you to move on.

To say I was flabbergasted by what I read this morning about your trip to Liechtenstein would be an understatement.

What color is the sun on your planet?

Your constituents are fighting for their economic survival. They are struggling to keep their homes. Some of them have been laid-off or experienced foreclosure. Your actions are a slap in the face to each of us trying to work harder, create and save jobs, and set an example for our employees, neighbors and children...

Mr. Congressman, as the owner of three businesses, I see every day the anxiety in my clients' and customers' eyes. They struggle to keep their doors open. Worry about getting credit from the bank to make payroll. Or question if they even have enough money in their grocery budget to buy a six-pack of beer.

Junkets and freebies are no longer acceptable...

You have had a long and impressive career. I have admired your conservative voice in the crowd of moderates. But perhaps there are other conservatives standing in the wings who know what it is like to sign the front of a paycheck, not only the back...

You no longer have my support or my vote.


Craig J. Peterson
Chairman and CEO
Zigman Joseph Stephenson
Buffalo Water Beer Company
Hunter Industries
Does Peterson see himself as a conservative alternative "standing in the wings who know what it is like to sign the front of a paycheck?" Don't expect him to run, but maybe it's crossed his mind.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sensenbrenner boo hoos; Who cares?

Long time no post.

F. Jim Sensenbrenner seems irrelevant these days.

In fact, that's what prompts this post. He doesn't want to be treated like he doesn't matter, even if he doesn't.

Now that there is a Democrat in the White House the Democrats control both houses of Congress, and both of Wisconsin's U.S. Senators are Democrats, no one is consulting Sensenbrenner -- who used to be in the loop when there was a Republican president -- about federal judicial appointments.

And why should they? They are playing by the rules, which say:
According to the (federal nomination) commission's charter, the senators each appoint four members to the body when they belong to the same party as the president.
F. Jim boo hoos.

Who cares?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

JS picks challenger in GOP primary

Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial endorses Jim Burkee, a 40-year-old college professor who began his campaign as a political science experiment:
Jim Sensenbrenner has the support of the party apparatus in the 5th Congressional District. He consistently earns high ratings from taxpayer rights groups and conservative organizations. He has a strong sense of constituent service. He’s tough. He’s outspoken.

But Sensenbrenner too often has been a roadblock in Congress, even to the point of splitting his own party over illegal immigration because he couldn’t find it in himself to compromise...

Sensenbrenner, though solidly conservative, did little to advance Republican priorities while entrusted with the powerful chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee. Instead, he alienated an entire voting bloc — Latinos — with his dogmatism on the immigration issue.

His extreme stance on illegal immigration helped inflame the public, split his party and poisoned the atmosphere in Congress for reform. Sensenbrenner authored an enforcement-only measure that would have made felons of undocumented immigrants, split up families and built a 700-mile border fence.
At least Burkee will have something nice for his scrapbook.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bllnd pig finds an acorn

Jim Sensenbrenner makes an admittedly small gesture to help Tibetan refugees, as reported by the International Campaign for Tibet:
U.S. Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act on July 17 to provide 3,000 immigrant visas to long-staying Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal. Congressmen Miller and Sensenbrenner traveled to Dharamsala, India, as part of the Congressional delegation led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in March to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, express concern for the volatile situation in Tibet, and explore ways to demonstrate support for the Tibetan people. The Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act extends support by providing 3,000 immigrant visas to qualified Tibetans over a three year period...

"The plight of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhists is well-known," said Representative Sensenbrenner. "During the course of the trip in March, I had the opportunity to experience one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life - the privilege of meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet. The meeting provided the delegation with the opportunity to have a frank and comprehensive discussion about the plight of the Tibetan people...with very few options available to them...the legislation Congressman Miller and I introduced today will provide relief..."
That trip to Dharamsala actually did some good. Pelosi should share the credit for bringing him along, assuming she had a choice of traveling companions.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Since Dems took over, it's all gone to hell

Emergency! Emergency!

Those damned entitlement programs are eating up the whole budget, and those damned Democrats won't do anything about it, says Jim Sensenbrenner in a recent op ed. He says, among other things:

While these statistics may be shocking to some, my constituents know I have spoken out about this looming crisis for years...

In recent years, Republicans in Congress have introduced a number of legislative and administrative proposals in an attempt to slow the growth of Medicare spending, only to be criticized for trying to cut the program...

It is time for Democrats controlling the agenda in Congress seriously to debate the crushing costs of entitlement programs and start implementing real reforms.
OK, here's the rub: Weren’t the Republicans in control of the House from 1995-06? And didn’t they control both houses of Congress and the White House 2003-06?

Why, pray tell, didn't they do something? Now that the Dems are in charge, the sky is falling.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Crossover time?

While fielding a candidate for nearly all 99 Assembly seats, Wisconsin Democrats did not find an opponent against Jim Sensenbrenner for the Congressional seat he's held for 30 years. But he has a Republican primary and an independent in November.

There is a hot Democratic Assembly primary for Sheldon Wasserman's seat, so that may keep those Democrats in their own primary. Those northern suburbs are probably the most Democratic part of the district, but that's only about 10 per cent of the voters.

But what an opportunity for the other 90 per cent of the Dems to vote against F. Jim, in the privacy of an open primary voting booth.

In practice, however, many people find it very difficult to vote in the opposing party's primary, even if there is no good reason to vote in their own. When they do, they generally vote for the candidate they like the best, not to try to do any malicious damage.

It looks like Big Jim probably skates again.

Here's the Journal Sentinel story.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Better gas mileage is ruining the economy

Well, Jim Sensenbrenner's certainly not one to follow the crowd. He has a mind of his own -- or half a mind, anyway.

The Journal Sentinel says Big Jim has figured out who's to blame: It's those darn Democrats!

Washington - As his Democratic colleagues blamed globalization for some of the problems facing the U.S. economy, Rep. James Sensenbrenner said Tuesday many of those problems are being exacerbated by Democratic tax and energy policies.

"This is not a question of outsourcing jobs to China, India or any foreign country," Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, said after attending a House hearing on American job losses in a new global economy. "It's a question of Congress advocating for policies that make it impossible to sell."

For instance, he said policies that have limited domestic oil production and increased the fuel economy standards in vehicles have hurt the economy.

He seems to have put his finger on it. Better gas mileage. That's what's wrecking the economy.

What planet does he represent again?

Skinflint Sensenbrenner stiffs House GOP

Roll Call, the Capitol Hill insider newspaper, reports:
House GOP leaders are privately grumbling about the level of fundraising and donating by some committees’ ranking members, suggesting that would-be chairmen should be steering more money to the party’s effort to retake the majority.
Hmmmm. Who could they be talking about?

Our guy, Jim Sensenbrenner, didn't accumulate his big campaign warchest or his personal fortune by throwing money around. He's a well-known cheapskate who never pays his own way if he can find someone else to buy the ticket or pick up the tab.

No surprise, then, that Sensenbrenner, the top Republican on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, hasn't given a nickel, according to the Indianapolis Star. Next lowest is Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana, the top Republican on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, who's given or raised $28,500.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sensenbrenner's stamp collection

equals Gwen Moore's net worth

Apparently tired of running the same story -- "Herb Kohl richest in Wisconsin delegation" -- every year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel instead decided to write that all Wisconsin members of Congress are better off than the average Wisconsinite.

They led with Gwen Moore, "the least wealthy member of Wisconsin's congressional delegation", saying correctly that her $170,000 salary and the pension she will receive makes her better off than her constituents:
Moore estimates her net worth is at least $110,000 - almost double the median household net worth in the country in 2002, the most recent census figures available.
The paper was so busy telling us how well off Moore is that you had to read the small print in a box next to the story to find this:
Jim Sensenbrenner owns a stamp collection worth $110,000.
His stamp collection equals her net worth. For some reason, Sensenbrenner's net worth didn't even make the story, although all of the others' did. The Center for Responsive Politics pegs it between $21-million and $31-million.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Let the unemployed eat cake!

From Scot Ross at One Wisconsin Now:
Gazillionaire Kotex heir F. Jim Sensenbrenner spent today doing his best to keep Wisconsinites who have lost their jobs because of the endless Bush economic policies he has supported away from extended unemployment benefits.

Sensenbrenner, famously characterized by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone as…well, read the story here, was the only member of the Wisconsin House delegation to vote against a plan to extend unemployment benefits for workers by 13 weeks.

This despite the jobless rate skyrocketing by the largest percentage in over 20 years and despite the fact 325,000 jobs have been lost so far due to the failed Bush economy.

F. Jim’s birthday is this Saturday. How appropriate his message to Wisconsin’s unemployed is “let ‘em cake.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Is Sensenbrenner's son a leaker?

Was it Jim Sensenbrenner's son who leaked the Canadian memo awhile back that caused Barack Obama some problems over his stance on NAFTA?

Dan Bice asks the question in the Journal Sentinel "Dogged" blog.

Young Sensenbrenner indignantly denies it.

And at this point it doesn't much matter.

More intriguing are questions of how and why he got the job in the Canadian embassy in Washington in the first place. The Toronto Star reports:
The ambassador, Michael Wilson, didn't want him there.

The diplomatic corps on Pennsylvania Ave. didn't want him there and ultimately were so distrustful of the son of a right-wing Republican congressman, they muttered that they wanted his door left open so they could hear who he was talking to.

But officials in Stephen Harper's office wanted him there and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day particularly wanted him there, based on Sensenbrenner's long links, dating back to school days, with the former Reform party, the precursor of today's government in Ottawa.

It wasn't the first time a partisan posting trumped diplomacy at a Canadian mission, but his appointment was rare in that he seemed to work under the radar, having won the post by telling his buddies in Ottawa that he could do a better lobbying job of Congress than the diplomats already there.

When the Toronto Star first looked into Sensenbrenner's short-lived, no-bid contract last year, he had not registered as an agent for a foreign government, even though he won plaudits for opening some Republican doors on Capitol Hill.
But here's the strangest part of the story:
The push to get him on the payroll came particularly from Day, sources said, when he took over the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative file, the name given to the Republican move to require all Canadians crossing the U.S. land border to carry passports or secure driver's licences.[Canada opposed that move.]

His father also stood as an impediment to everything the embassy staff was fighting for.

Jim Sensenbrenner, chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee before Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, is a hawk on immigration and authored the Enhanced Border Security Act of 2002. He was also the man who introduced the U.S. Patriot Act.
Young (27) Sensenbrenner's name is Frank, named for the great-grandfather who was president and CEO of Kimberly Clark and who invented Kotex. F. James Sensenbrenner's first name is also Frank, as is his cousin's, F. Joseph Sensenbrenner, onetime Madison mayor. (What you can learn on this blog is endless, although perhaps useless.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

'The Sensenbrenner Tax' and Real ID

Last year, Wisconsin legislators raised the driver's license fee by $10 to pay for state compliance with Real ID, the national ID law authored by Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner. The fee, which raised Wisconsin taxes by $22 million, will now be used to balance the Wisconsin state budget.

Now Congressman Sensenbrenner is mad. He calls the deal, negotiated by Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) and Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston), a "breach of faith with the people of Wisconsin" and a "fiscal shell game."

This turn of events leaves many Wisconsin conservatives scratching their heads in wonder: Congressman Sensenbrenner purports to be a foe of big government. So why is he complaining that Wisconsin legislators aren't spending his tax increase the way he wants them to?
That's the question asked by Sensenbrenner's opponent in the Republican primary, on the Small Business Times blog, which -- besides calling the new fee the Sensenbrenner Tax -- includes a lot of reasons for both the left and right to oppose Sensenbrenner's Real ID law. Read it here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sensenbrenner meets the enemy,

and it's the Assembly GOP

Republicans are eating their young at the state GOP convention, Mike Mathias says, and who's there to get a big helping but Jim Sensenbrenner.

We've got to get our metaphors straight, though. Mathias says Sensenbrenner "threw Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch under a bus" by ripping on him for the budget repair bill the GOP Assembly recently passed.

But the headline says the GOP are "eating their young."

That would seem to suggest that Sensenbrenner is dining on roadkill.

Says the Recess Supervisor:
If Democrats are attacking Republicans and Republicans are also attacking Republicans, this is going to be one hell of an election season in Wisconsin. In throwing Huebsch under the bus (and for what, cheap applause?), Sensenbrenner once again proves that the only guy he cares about is Jim Sensenbrenner. He's just another wealthy pig with a nose for the populist breeze, constantly rooting out issues that he can use to exploit Joe and Jane Sixpack, all the while supporting tax policies that pad his own wallet.
We'll drink to that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Top 10 reasons Big F. Jim has to go

Why should Jim Sensenbrenner be replaced?

Let us count the reasons.

So, is no Democrat even going to run? Bad strategy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

GOP challenger lands punches on F. Jim

We've been more than a little skeptical and more than a little cynical about Jim Sensenbrenner's challenge by a pair of college professors, a Repub and Dem running in tandem. The Dem dropped out awhile back, but the remaining challenger, the Repub, takes off after F. Jim and lands several solid punches in a Small Business Times commentary.

Jim Burkee, the Concordia professor, says, in an article titled, "The public's disdain for Congress is justified:"
In a recent Milwaukee Biz Blog, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) played politics as usual by attacking plans by the "Democratic majority" to "spend, spend, spend."

This, after he voted for 28,000 earmarks over six years and cast one of the deciding votes for Medicare Part D - one of the largest and costliest entitlement programs in American history. In short, he overlooked the log in his own eye to find a speck in his opponent's.

He also called on Democrats to act on tax cuts passed a few years ago when Republicans were in charge which are set to expire, or "sunset," soon. What he's not telling you is that he voted to "sunset" the legislation in the first place. Why? So Congress - while Mr. Sensenbrenner was a leader in the Republican majority - could continue to falsify the long-term budget projections, assuring us that in spite of all those earmarks and entitlement expansions (combined with tax cuts), tomorrow's books will magically balance (they won't).

An added benefit was that Republicans could set themselves up to do exactly what Mr. Sensenbrenner is doing today - bash Democrats for wanting to "raise taxes" when the sunset approaches.

"Total integrity" means being honest about the numbers. It means dealing fairly and honestly with your colleagues.

It also means striving to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Earlier this month, the Center for Responsive Politics issued the results of a study of congressmen invested in defense contractors. Over one fourth of all members of Congress own stocks in the same companies that received hundreds of billions of dollars in defense contracts - and many congressmen benefited financially.

At the top of the list was our own Congressman Sensenbrenner, who earned at least $3.2 million between 2004 and 2006 on defense-industry investments alone.

Similarly, Mr. Sensenbrenner voted in favor of Medicare's Prescription Drug Program in 2003 - a $9 trillion entitlement expansion - while having massive holdings in pharmaceutical industry stocks.

In any other industry, this would be considered insider trading. To avoid the appearance of impropriety and the temptation to vote for legislation that personally benefits them, many congressmen and senators voluntarily put their investments into "blind trusts." But Mr. Sensenbrenner did not support legislation mandating that members of Congress put their funds into blind trusts.

A judge would not rule on a case involving a pharmaceutical company he owned stock in. So why would a congressman vote for legislation that positively affected the value of stocks he owned in pharmaceutical companies - or defense contractors?

Even if it's not corrupt, it sure looks bad.
Indeed it does.

Having lost the Dem half of the ill-conceviced dual candidacy, are the Dems going to field a candidate, or it is time to start rallying behind Birkey?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The system works great -- for Sensenbrenner

F. James Sensenbrenner makes an appearance in Jack Lohman's blog, Moneyed Politicians:
My recent visit to Jim Sensenbrenner’s Town Hall meeting would have been comical were it not so sad.

Sensenbrenner gets very offended when you imply that we have a corrupt political system. Like, this is the first time he’s heard about it?

“The system is working,” Jim says in his defense. “People are in jail!”

Of course some congressmen are in jail, Jim. Just not enough of them.
That's a good start, but there's plenty more. Read it here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Big Oil execs testify before big shareholder

Hawaii Reporter:
The ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy and Global Warming has owned $1.2 million in stock in the oil and gas companies whose executives testified this week before the panel. Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin reported at least $100,000 of his own money in each of four of the five companies represented at Tuesday's hearing -- Exxon, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, but not Royal Dutch Shell -- according to his most recent personal financial disclosure form, for 2006.

Sensenbrenner, who CRP estimates to be the House's 16th wealthiest member with a net worth of at least $21 million, also owns stock in Halliburton and El Paso Energy. One other member of the committee, Democrat Earl Blumenauer, reported between $50,00and $100,000 invested in a natural gas company in his home state of Oregon.

As Democrats lambasted the oil executives Tuesday for collecting tax breaks while earning record profits, Sensenbrenner gave them credit for pursuing alternative energy sources. "Any reasonable energy policy must recognize that we need affordable supplies of energy, and that oil and gas must continue to play a dominant supply role for the foreseeable future," he said in his opening statement.
That's our guy. Taking Care of Business, as Elvis used to say.

A dollar hardly covers his emissions

WisPolitics reports on the recent "Future Wisconsin" conference held by conservatives:
U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, made a surprise appearance.

Sensenbrenner began by giving a dollar to the master of ceremonies, WISN-AM talk radio host Jay Weber. He joked that it was to buy a carbon credit to offset the hot air that he was about to give off.

"This issue is back. This issue is alive and well and our beloved governor has signed onto this," Sensenbrenner said, referring to global climate change.

Sensenbrenner believes that conservatives will be able to use climate change as an issue to show that conservatives are on the side of the people in the state of Wisconsin and throughout the country.
After 39 years as a state and federal legislator, Sensenbrenner clearly owes more than a buck.