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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Trump Effect? Could It Be That Walker And State Republicans Are On the Ballot? Nah.

Was it welcome? Yes. Is it surprising or an upset? Not so much.

It's just been a long time coming and much, much more is needed.

But I was surprised to hear so many point to the Donald Trump effect for the 25-point swing toward Democrats in those traditional Wisconsin republican districts. Fact is, no matter how much Wisconsin would like to rescind voting for Trump in the last presidential election, Trump is not on the ballot in our state houses. I contend that our state's direction, priorities and values are on the ballot and people have had enough.

Donald Trump just happens to tell it like the Paul Ryan's and Scott Walker's are. Is there some negative residual effect from Trump? Oh absolutely. But keep in mind it was Scott Walker, not Donald Trump, who created and fueled deep political and social divisions in Wisconsin. Trump merely exploited those divisions to propel him into the White House.

Also, after winning election, Trump has been giving Wisconsin's two darlings, Walker and Ryan, nearly everything they want. The tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations are exactly the "reforms" Ryan and Grover Norquist always wanted but only needed for someone with enough working digits willing to handle a pen for. Trump gave them those digits. Trump is their guy.

In other words, Trump should be flying high in Wisconsin.

The unfunded federal Foxconn mandate costing Wisconsin state taxpayers $4.5 billion and counting, enough to pay for eight Solyndras, is supposed to be an electioneering boon for Walker and the Wisconsin Republican Party - has instead turned into an unforgivable doggle for anyone who considered themselves even a part-time free market small government conservative.

Toddlers ...yes toddlers, now have the right to bear arms in Wisconsin. Republicans are expanding central state control and mandates on local governments. They have also granted a giant wealthy foreign corporation judicial immunity and special environmental and tax exempt privileges over every resident in the state. For crying out loud, if those things aren't enough reason to drive common sense voters to the polls, without even mentioning the decline of our roads and schools, I don't know what is.

Truth is; the longer conditions from Walker's economic and budget "reforms" remain in play, the fewer jobs are created and the more state taxpayers have to pay to attract jobs or keep the ones that we have. In a nutshell, the state of Wisconsin under Scott Walker is in retrograde.

So, no matter how much some might want it to be a strike against Trump, local and state elections have almost zero impact and are of little consequence or reflection on Washington.

What was on the ballot in that special election were local and state priorities in a rare Wisconsin political vacuum. For more proof, consider that Walker is now refusing to hold special elections for two open state seats. His fear is that when voters base their choice on leadership, policy and personal merit alone, without the big out-of-state PAC money pouring in to prop up the GOP's candidates, democrats will pick up those seats. There is no way around that.

So when I see Wisconsin folks who really should know better, the state's mainstream media including the Left and Right establishments, point to Trump or anti-Trump (13% turnout isn't raging enthusiasm in anyone's book) for driving the local ballot results from this past Tuesday in Wisconsin, they are putting Walker and state republicans in protective custody with a full "get out of trouble" free pass.

I get it, but given Walker's failed reforms and republican misleadership, I don't and I completely disagree. It gets a little tiring to point this out.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Monday, January 08, 2018

Facing Little Opposition, Emboldened Dark Store Parasites Roll Wisconsin Communities

Not too long ago, elected officials sitting on their hands to allow an outrage like the Dark Store problem to fester would be facing an army of pitchforks and torches, or the Dark Store businesses themselves would see organized boycotts from the local citizenry. Apparently, those days are over.

Nowadays, either people just don't care or they don't want to be targeted by the corporate media or their social media tools for engaging in activities of civic dissent. Either way, the Dark Store problem, much like TIF District "incentives" cash grabs, seems to be just another one of those unexciting issues about trickle-down economic policies the public prefers to ignore.

It is why when I read yet another story about the Dark Store scourge in Wisconsin, this time infesting West Allis, city officials there appear to be firing blanks when talking about a major property tax shift to hit homeowners.

It's the same old warning we heard in Janesville.

MKE Journal Sentinel Excerpt:
If the legislature doesn't close the loophole, allowing the dark-store argument to stand, other property taxpayers will see their taxes shoot up, officials said.

"Costs will be picked up by residents and small businesses," said West Allis Mayor Dan Devine.

"People need to realize a tax shift is going on." said Todd Michaels, village administrator in Greendale, a community that could be hit hard if the loophole isn't closed.

Or, Wisconsin cities, counties and school districts could take the advice from the state's most powerful political business cartel and start cutting personnel and services by an equal amount - instead of raising taxes - AND make it show ...every day. Why not? The WMC would have their backs. The rule is; if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

But unfortunately, with the year's most important and busiest shopping season behind us, the best window of opportunity the taxpaying citizenry and shoppers had to impact dark stores passed without a whimper. There were no "How the Dark Store stole Christmas" or "Silent night, Dark Store fright" messages, pickets or protests at any of the Janesville dark stores I drove by. It was by appearance, business as usual. People just don't care.

And, Janesville municipal officials didn't help much either. After crying about the Dark Store lawsuits and delivering the tax shift warning, officials did not make budget cuts. Instead, they increased spending and added personnel when presented with a $583K earmark from state coffers. The WMC nailed the municipality's faux sincerity. To use the earmark for leverage or a statement against the dark stores and lost revenue wasn't even in the equation.

So pardon me if I call BS when city officials make a bunch of noise about the Dark Store tax shift. When it came their time to show - they folded. History says their outrage is hollow and they don't deserve our support.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Top Ten Local Stories - Janesville 2017

Let's just say, this isn't the Janesville Gazette.

As usual, my blog postings about Scott Walker could have hogged half of this compilation, but since I wanted to keep the top ten local, they are not included. Also, the recent story about Paul Ryan quitting Congress was big news locally, but I left it out since viewing numbers were only moderate to start and interest decayed quickly.

The following are the ten most-viewed local stories from Rock Netroots.

#1 In Janesville, The People Are Gerrymandered Into Irrelevancy

#2 Janesville's Dark Store Community Grows

#3 Bizarre Meeting Between Paul Ryan And His Hometown Newspaper's Editorial Staff

#4 Comparing Foxconn To GM Janesville Is Idiotic

#5 Use Janesville's $583K Earmark For Dark Store Relief

#6 Janesville Council Members Gruber and Marklein Should Resign

#7 Newspaper: Awful Legislator Can Redeem Herself With Public Notice Payoff

#8 Hendricks Estate Doesn't Appear On Property Tax Rolls

#9 Invite-Only Celebration: Janesville Dark Store Will Host Mike Pence And Paul Ryan

#10 Paul Ryan Inaccessible? Hometown Newspaper Blames Protesters

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Paul Ryan's Retirement Trial Balloon Pops Into Full Congressional Golden Parachute

Although the recent story from Politico about a "retirement" trial balloon pushed apparently by Rep. Paul Ryan's closest confidants seemed to generate only eyerolls and shrugs, I tend to think that Ryan will retire soon after he is sworn into office in 2019.

Outside of the more typical political maneuvering we should expect regarding a GOP power vacuum or Ryan's lame-duck status (if it's true), the timing of his planned retirement, as explained in the story, soon after winning again (assuming) in November 2018, gives me reason to believe he will quit.

Politico Except:
More recently, over closely held conversations with his kitchen cabinet, Ryan’s preference has become clear: He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority—all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season.

For a guy who spent a great portion of his long miserable career in congress preaching collectivism vs individualism, makers vs takers and conspiring to collapse Social Security, push corporate sponsored legislation designed to lessen employer's contributions into private pensions, bust unions and their pension requirements, shrink public employees benefits and pensions, block grant Medicaid and blame government-funded future obligations for mounting national debt ...when Paul Ryan is sworn into office in early 2019, he will be eligible for full government-funded congressional benefits and early retirement at age 50. That amounts to $139K a year for the rest of his life.

Funny how Politico skipped that part.

But the irony and karma to that prospect is just unbelievable.

It's a very fitting comeuppance for those who have elected him again and again. That Paul Ryan will go out with a bang exploding "entitlements" while he pulls the cord on his baby-soft fully-vested early retirement congressional parachute. A fully funded pension from a government he helped put $20 trillion in debt and teetering on insolvency.

Bravo Mister Congressman Paul Ryan. Bravo. That will be your greatest achievement!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Paul Ryan's Trial Balloon Retirement Unites GOP Base. Draws In Bannon, Breitbart

It was an easy call for Breitbart operations to support and endorse Paul Nehlen last year when Donald Trump was a candidate most expected to lose. But Trump's win changed all that.

Last year, the mostly unknown Nehlen offered voters in the First Congressional District of Wisconsin a once in a lifetime opportunity to defeat Paul Ryan in the republican primary and begin a new era with a new congressman.

Rejecting my grassroots voting strategy to Rock The First, voters said they want to keep Paul Ryan instead. They re-appointed the $100 million Koch puppet Wall Street charlatan rather than chancing renewal with Jason Lebeck, Paul Nehlen, Tom Breu or a Ryan Solen.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not naive enough to think 100,000 voters were going to hypnotically follow my directions. I never expected that. What I was looking for was some movement, but outside of a few loyal retweets, there was zero.

If anything, Rock The First succeeded in exposing a solid chunk of Wisconsin democrats and progressives as an empty in-the-tank misguided group of establishment sadsacks. Particularly today as I watch them scramble in the annual donation ritual to defeat Paul Ryan. We'll beat him this time they say. Sure you will.

Pardon me if I sound bitter because I'm not. Not at all. I actually relish in the fact that Rock The First was fully rejected and that many of the out-of-the-box ideas, suggestions and political strategies articulated in my blog, are outliers. Democrats can't run far enough away from it. In other words ...I'm not part of whatever Democrat's are doing in Wisconsin. You know ...all that winning.

With that said, my true blue friends should have no doubt about my progressive democratic leanings.

So the recent story that Bannon/Breitbart operations finally put the kibosh on Paul Nehlen did not come as a surprise for me. The reasons are many and obvious.

First and foremost is Bannon junked his campaign in November to challenge GOP House (RINO) incumbents in 2018. Second, Paul Nehlen is now a known commodity. His message is in retrograde and after Roy Moore, Bannon can't afford to be tied to another losing campaign. Third, Bannon will never shout this from the rooftops, but there is no one in the House Bannon wants as House Speaker right now more than Paul Ryan.

Also, and this is equally as important, Paul Ryan's "retirement" trial balloon sent Trump into a tizzy. He raged against Bannon to clean up any doubts about Ryan and that meant terminating Nehlen. Look at it this way. It was a presidential order.

The spectacle of it all is now watching Paul Ryan's far-Right and establishment hacks including some on the Left continue to deny Bannon's announcement. "Nobody Should Take Their Disavowal Seriously" they're saying. Right. Because the last thing they want people to focus on is the inevitable truth that Paul Ryan, Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are the holy trinity of today's republican party with Ryan being the center of their universe.

It's not about rejecting Paul Nehlen. They don't care about him at all. It's about protecting Paul Ryan. And, it's about power. Nothing else matters to the establishment.