Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer Entering Treatment Facility

This mess has unfolded with speed like that in Ukraine.  Every hour there seems to be something new.

Political events has forced  Republican Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer into a treatment facility.   Perhaps Kramer can attend the same facility that Bob Filner, the former San Diego mayor who was forced out of office in a storm of sexual harassment, found his inner healing.

While all should applaud Kramer for dealing with the issues that cause him to act recklessly around women one does have to ask how sincere his desire for change really is considering entering of a facility was not done until the press got a hold of a story they could finally print.  Where was Kramer’s wish to be a better man several days ago?   Hopefully  he can gain some insight into why he treats women as he does.

A major Republican today toasted Kramer for his actions towards women.

I ask of Speaker Robin Vos and all his fellow Republicans why Kramer was placed in a leadership position if they all knew of his issues with women and drinking?

Or is this just another example of the GOP not recognizing the problem they have with women voters, and then wondering why?

Wisconsin Republican Representative Bill Kramer Has Women Problems

Charlie Sykes lays it on the line.

There is likely no woman in state politics who was unaware of Kramer’s pattern and practice of conduct.  Sometimes it was simply inappropriate humor aimed at colleagues, staffers, lobbyists, or wives. But sometimes, including on out-of town-trips in which he was representing the state, it crossed the line into offensive and embarrassing.  The stories were legion. Alcohol was often involved.

OUCH!

I think we now know why Kramer is single.

But this does raise a serious question.  If all these Republicans were aware of this guys problems why did elect him to a leadership position?

They’ve Got The Salute Down, Where Are The Swastikas?

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This story just underscores some of the posts on this blog to prove how deranged some are in the nation over the fact that laws are being made to ensure all people are treated with equality and fairness.  Good Lord, one would not want to inculcate the main themes of the Bible in our youth about love and hope.  Instead lets try and spin the ones that have been proved to have tortured linguistic hurdles as their foundations and make them serve as a centerpiece.  One simply can not make this stuff up as evidenced by the following story.

Do not be shocked to learn the story comes from Texas.

Boys are boys and the over-night camping trips will result in the same frolicking regardless of the label of the organization.  The same percentage of those boys will be gay regardless of how their parents try to spin the matter.  These parents who pretend otherwise are just plainly wrong.  Worse is the bigotry they are pushing onto their kids as an acceptable way of behaving.  Meanwhile the bulk of society has moved onwards to the road of civil rights.

Can you image a group like this not being laughed out of Madison?

Chatting in the living room one night, Ron Orr gave his 15-year-old son Andrew a choice: He could stick with the Boy Scouts of America and his mission to become an Eagle Scout, or he could join Trail Life USA — the new Christian-based alternative that excludes openly gay boys.

This was no small decision. Four generations of Orr men had been Eagles, including Ron and Andrew’s older brother. Andrew had spent years working toward Scouting’s highest rank, and was just months from reaching it.

But the Boy Scouts had decided to admit gays, and Ron Orr, a tall, soft-spoken man with a firm handshake, is clear about his Christian faith and what it says about homosexuality: It is a sin that cannot be tolerated.

His son agreed. He would forgo the century-old BSA for Trail Life, which officially launched just last month. 

“It felt like I’d be hitting something higher than Eagle in terms of achievement,” Andrew said, in an interview.

So Orr and his son left BSA and set out with other families to build a new organization based on what they believe to be Christian values. Orr is a regional organizer who speaks to churches and groups about Trail Life. His son now aspires to achieve a Freedom Award, the new group’s highest rank.

The Orrs and others in Trail Life say they are fighting for the traditional values of Christianity and of Scouting, which includes a command in the Scout Oath to be “morally straight” — even as a changing America grows more accepting of gays and gay marriage. They are leaving an organization central to many of their upbringings with heavy hearts, but also with the belief that the Scouting they knew no longer exists.

“As Christians from a scriptural basis, we love all folks, but the Scripture is very clear that being homosexual is a sin,” Ron Orr said in an interview. “We’ve got to be able to hold a strong line and set a consistent example for our young men.”  

Governor Scott Walker Finds Way To Increase Campaign Donations

There is no way to view the news that Governor Walker is delaying a decision on the Hard Rock casino in Kenosha until after–gasp–the election as anything other than a blatant political move to garner more campaign cash from the players who have a stake in the final decision.

The U.S. Department of Interior has already blessed this proposal that will create an $800 million gambling hall and entertainment complex at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park.  For better of worse that part of the process has concluded.  Now it is up to Walker to make the final determination on whether to allow for the project to proceed forward.    Asking for another 180 days to make that decision has nothing to do with gaining more information or having time to think it over.

The delay has everything to do with an election and the amount of political gain that can be wrung from the various players in the process.  The request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for a time extension should be denied.

Perhaps if Walker spent more time in the state focusing on matters of concern here rather than on trips around the nation for his own political aggrandizement he would be able to come to a decision.

 

Understanding Ukraine With Maps

I think these two maps are helpful in understanding some of the internal dynamics playing out on the world stage.

The Ukraine is a split country.  The eastern party is heavily ethnic Russian, while the west is primarily Ukrainian.  Moreover, the Crimea itself was given to the Ukraine by the Soviet Union in 1954, when it didn’t seem to matter what was actually in Russia.  13% of the Crimea’s population are ethnic Tartar, who were brutalized under Stalin and oppose being annexed by Russia.

To Russian nationalists, the Crimea is an integral part of “Mother Russia.”  Yes, Ukraine has internationally recognized borders, and allowing Russia to change them with force violates fundamental tenets of international law.  However, the alternative might be civil war and bloodshed, for a conclusion that probably is no better.   The Crimea has been part of Ukraine for only 50 years, has hardly any ethnic Ukrainians, and would be a small price to pay to get true independence and the capacity to move towards the West.

Still, hardliners in Kiev do not want to give up any sovereignty, and there is fear that this could spiral into other conflicts.  If other former Soviet Republicans disintegrate into ethnic fragmentation the result could be cascading instability.

Yet when Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke from Georgia in 2008, it ironically made it easier for Georgia to pursue its own path without constant crises with Russia.  A Ukraine without the Crimea may be “freed” to turn to the west.   If Ukraine resists to try to keep the Crimea, that could be an incentive for Putin to up the ante, and take more of Ukraine – the places where ethnic Russians still make up a large part of the country.   So would Russia be satisfied with just the Crimea, or might it demand Ukraine be split on broader ethnic grounds?

Compare these maps – it is clear that the vote followed ethnic lines, meaning that Ukraine is an ethnically divided state.  It is not at all clear that it will be possible to avoid some kind of division, given that there appears to be no compromise between tilting west to the EU, or east to Russia.

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Perhaps The Perfect Image Of Ukraine Story Thus Far

As the world watches developments play out in epic fashion concerning Ukraine comes a reminder of how utterly profound what we are witnessing happens to be for the people who are impacted the most.  The citizens of Ukraine.

While the video of Russian Federation helicopters flying into Crimea are a menacing site I found the simple words of a news reporter producing within me a more powerful feeling.

Mr. Yanukovych (the former President of Ukraine and now staying in a residence outside Moscow and needing to give his statement in a mall–need I say more) did not directly address the zoo, the greenhouses, the golf course or the wooden ship that served as a private restaurant (on his Kiev estate), except to say that there were other owners of parts of the estate whose lawyers would soon be in touch with officials in Kiev to reclaim their properties. He did not name the other owners. “I don’t own anything, and I’ve never had accounts abroad,” he said. “I’m a public person. Everything I have, everything, was declared.”

At the estate, several protesters added to his indignity by watching his remarks on one of his own big-screen televisions, sitting on plush leather sofas in one of the mansions. They scoffed at his claims and heckled the screen when he protested that he had lived in one modest structure.

One can only image the sight of those people sitting in the former president’s residence and the power they felt.  And justifiably so.  At the end of the day for the vast majority of Ukrainians it is the desire to shape their nation in the way they want with the trade relations they desire so their nation can prosper and grow like so many of their neighbors.     For the vast majority they do not want Russian intrusion or any more domination.

Wisconsin Republican Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer Likely To Resign Leadership Post Over Sexual Harassment Incidents

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Where I come from folks like Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer are slimeballs.  I am sure there was a pro-family position that Kramer took at election time, but that fell into the ditch in Washington, D.C..   Though Kramer is single, and apparently for good reason, does not give license for such behavior.

Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer may resign from his leadership post as soon as Saturday after being accused of sexually harassing at least two women while in Washington, D.C., for a GOP fundraiser.

Sources said the allegations against the 49-year-old Republican lawmaker involve a 33-year-old female lobbyist and at least one other woman. The Journal Sentinel has decided not to name the women.

Kramer, 49, could not be reached for comment and was not at his Waukesha home Friday night. His chief of staff, Cameron Sholty, said the lawmaker would be meeting with staff Saturday and would be talking with fellow Republican lawmakers over the next 48 hours. He declined to comment further.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos issued a statement calling the alleged conduct “reprehensible.” He said the issue would be resolved quickly.

“Recently I was made aware of serious allegations regarding inappropriate behavior by Rep. Kramer. Since I learned of those allegations I have been consulting with legal counsel and other legislators to understand what options are available.

“The alleged behavior is reprehensible and won’t be tolerated.”

Top Republicans from the Senate and Assembly were in Washington on Wednesday for their annual fundraiser at the offices of the lobbying and public relations firm BRG Group.

Donors could give up to $5,000 to host the event supporting Republicans in the state’s two legislative houses.

Saturday Song: The Whites “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”

Our larger family suffered the loss of a member this week when cancer took the life of Scott King.  Throughout the last few months when chatting with King over Facebook there was no doubt in his mind where he got his strength or what the future held for him.  Cancer may claim his life, but his faith would prove victorious.   When thinking about a song for this weekly post there was never a doubt what it would be.  The only question was who would sing the song.  I chose The Whites.