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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

One For The Archives: Paul Ryan On Free Choice

Rep. Paul Ryan (#WI01) disputed reports that 22 million people would lose insurance under his health care plan. He said if they're not forced to pay for it like they are under Obamacare, they won't buy it.

Raw Story Excerpt:
“What they are basically saying at the Congressional Budget Office, if you’re not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you’re not going to force people to buy something they don’t want, then they won’t buy it,” the Speaker opined. “So, it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan, it’s that people will choose not to buy something that they don’t like or want.”

“And that’s the difference here,” he added.

Is Paul Ryan also suggesting that some taxpayers, in the name of freedom, can exempt themselves from the mandate of paying his handsome annual salary, health care benefits and retirement funding if we don't want or like the product? Sure sounds like it to me.

And, if freedom of choice is so important to everyone's pocketbook as he implies, why hasn't he made it a priority to dismantle that constitutional mandate forcing taxpayers to pay congressional salaries and compensation?

And, why would 22 million Americans, as Paul Ryan seems to imply, want to continue contributing to his health care insurance when they refuse to pay for their own? When given the choice. You know, for freedom.

Conversely, is he suggesting that health care in the United States should be free to all? Just like his? Mandated by law. That's another possibility we can draw from his remarks and build into a valid argument.

I will say this. Why hasn't any one of Paul Ryan's democratic challengers pounced on those statements immediately with the above or something similar?

Here's my other point. Nearly every time Paul Ryan opens his mouth, gifts pour out. That's how this has to be framed. His statements are not based in workable solutions or a sustainable reality, but are founded in fictional books of wrong-headed right-wing ideologies, pledges and theories. Think Atlas Shrugged, Laffer Curve and Grover Norquist.

In short, because Ryan has nothing tangible to show for in his nearly 20 years in office, he plays the rhetoric game for the win. He has to. And he wins. When his challengers don't respond, the voting public silently takes notice. He wins again.

Many voters think that when Ryan's statements go unchallenged - he must be smart. Challengers have to know there is no calvary to rescue them. Don't depend on journalists to challenge Ryan's remarks, most of them won't. When his challengers look the other way or pretend not to notice. He wins again.

So here's some free valuable advice that you can take or leave. With his national stature, ALL THE TIME is the right time to respond to (almost) every statement he makes. When Ryan opens his flapper, it's an opportunity for free publicity you could not afford to pay for at this stage in the game. And believe me - IT IS A GAME. Respond to his name tag on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter AND your other favorite social media sites AND call in to local popular radio shows in the First District of Wisconsin. Do that and more IF you're serious about having any chance to win. Remember, you're campaigning.

Of course you just can't respond willy-nilly without having the ability to back your argument up with sound common sense.

As of right now, I see the same drip, drip, drip rhetoric from Ryan that I've seen in the past that will carry him to an easy victory while his challengers have protested in front of his house, begged him with petitions to change his ways or complain that he's not the guy they thought he was. Get out of the race if that is your strategy. I've seen it all before. He'll win by default. By a large margin. Again.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Janesville Council Members Gruber and Marklein Should Resign

Wisconsin Statute 19.46
1) Except in accordance with the commission's advice under sub. (2) and except as otherwise provided in sub. (3), no state public official may:

(a) Take any official action substantially affecting a matter in which the official, a member of his or her immediate family, or an organization with which the official is associated has a substantial financial interest.

(b) Use his or her office or position in a way that produces or assists in the production of a substantial benefit, direct or indirect, for the official, one or more members of the official's immediate family either separately or together, or an organization with which the official is associated.

Wisconsin municipalities are expected to follow, at the minimum, state statutes regarding public officials conflicts of interest. In fact, I don't think a city council gets to vote on whether or not to follow state statutes. It's state law. However, cities can enact their own conflict of interest rules providing they are in addition to, or stricter than state statutes.

With that, the Janesville city council approved a bizarre set of different resolutions (instead of stand alone proposals) under one resolution. One of those resolutions affected the city's "conflict of interest" rules and mentions Wisconsin State Statute 19.46.

It appears however that the city council weakened the city's previous COI laws because, according to their Memorandum, it "Rewrites the “Conflict of Interest” section to only reference Wisconsin Statutes 19.46."

That can only mean they've lowered the bar on city hall conflicts of interest. Believe it or not, the policy change was approved unanimously under a broader resolution that purportedly creates a tougher code of conduct on council members. The deception of the power play here is so unbelievable it had to be planned.

However, 19.46 still covers the conflicts of interest two council members bring with them to each meeting.

Janesville Council Members Doug Marklein and Richard Gruber are members of Forward Janesville. To make matters worse, Gruber sits on the Forward Janesville board of directors. Of course that alone shouldn't demand their resignations. But while sitting on the council, both have voted on various resolutions regarding Forward Janesville proposals including the organizations' ARISE project. That includes a TIF District and amendments that are expected to fund the organization's downtown projects for the next 25 years. Their conflict of interest doesn't end there because they also vote on proposals that could be seen as competing with or not in the best interest of Forward Janesville.

Simply put, they regularly vote on proposals that benefit or protect an organization they are directly associated with. Both should resign.

Tunesday: R.E.M. - Crush With Eyeliner

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ron Johnson: People With Preexisting Conditions Are Like 'Somebody Who Crashes Their Car'

I remember when Ron Johnson would repeatedly hyperventilate, "Obamacare is the greatest assault on freedom in our lifetime."

In an interview with Chuck Todd, Johnson compares people with preexisting conditions to people who crash their cars. Todd also plays video of Johnson on the campaign trail using rhetoric that never matched the reality on health care. Yet, Wisconsin voters fell for him ...twice!

Watch it:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

SHINE Lobbies For $100M Worth Of Paul Ryan's Decentralized Bootstrap Stimulus

Somehow, some way, the Janesville Gazette was able to publish a story (front page headlines) about a well-connected Janesville "entrepreneur" hiring three lobbying firms to schmooze the federal government out of $100 million for their business project ...and not mention Paul 'Mr. Money' Ryan even once.

I have to give the Gazette some credit however for uncovering the story in the first place. For some reason lately, they have decided to do a little investigative reporting. That's not the norm, so it's a good thing.

But leaving Rep. Paul Ryan out of the SHINE story however is so obvious and of such major consequence, it's nearly impossible to think it was done by accident. That's a shame because it shows the Gazette has a huge political blindspot.

Here's why. When Paul Ryan used to hold town hall meetings, he would remind his constituents that he is the area's "federal go to guy." That was before he was speaker of the house. Ryan would say, "if you have any problems with or requests of the federal government, I'm your guy." He said that repeatedly. SHINE is in Janesville. Janesville is in Paul Ryan's congressional district. The Gazette knows all that.

Secondly, the internet is full of essays, articles and reports about Paul Ryan's philosophy on crony capitalism, centralized control, statism, subsidized jobs and make-believe markets.

Here's just one of many dozens...

Fox Excerpt: (On Solyndra)
This is industrial policy and crony capitalism at its worst. It's exhibit A for how this kind of economic policy doesn't work," he told "Fox News Sunday." "We shouldn't be picking winners or losers in Washington. We should be setting the conditions for economic growth so that the private sector can create jobs. Washington is not good at picking winners and losers, so we shouldn't try."

Remember when President Obama said, "if you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." Oh my Lord. That was blasphemy to Paul Ryan, back then...

American Enterprise Institute Excerpt:
It was Rep. Paul Ryan’s wife, Janna, who first saw — via Twitter — President Obama’s recent comments about American entrepreneurs, that “if you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Paul Ryan at the time — thought to be on Mitt Romney’s running-mate short list — couldn’t believe it. He thought someone must “have been putting words in the president’s mouth.”

But Obama said it all. And Ryan absolutely tore into the president in a chat I had with him earlier today. Among the highlights:

— “The idea that these entrepreneurs owe all their success to some government bureaucrat or some centralized planner just defies reality.”
— “Every now and then, President Obama pierces the veil. He’s usually pretty coy about his ideology, but he lets the veil slip from time to time.”
— “We believe in free communities and this is a statist attack on free communities.”

So how does any of that reflect on Paul Ryan's position now with hometown pal SHINE CEO Greg Piefer? Well, it doesn't.

First, Ryan doesn't have Barack Obama around anymore to juxtapose his goofy ideas against whether to draw contrasts with, scapegoat or for political expedience.

Secondly, SHINE held a private invite-only "celebration" party a few months ago and among the area's elite in attendance was Rep. Paul Ryan.

Believe it or not, Ryan was taking bows for SHINE and called his pal, Greg Piefer, "the head, the brain, the bird dog.” He told the crowd that SHINE's plan was a "great, fantastic breakthrough," and said it shows Janesville has begun to “decentralize” its local economy and bounce back. The Gazette knows all that. They reported on it.

But, Janesville's "decentralized" economy? LOL. Do you know how disconnected Ryan must be to think that? More than I even thought.

Nothing, and I mean this literally, nothing is done or accomplished in Janesville's economy without the big hand of government at every level, from federal grants, to state tax credits, central "comprehensive" planning and of course millions of dollars in wealth transfers through TIF District abstracts, property tax kickbacks and free land. The other thing is, all of that is escalating. I'm not knocking it all, just saying.

So, if Paul Ryan calls that his idea of decentralization, then I can't blame his local cronies for lobbying DC for $100M in stimulus to bootstrap their decentralization. Particularly with Ryan, now House Speaker, as the area's federal go-to guy.

In days gone by, the national media would be all over a story about a hometown pal of the House Speaker busting on the federal government for $100 million.

Those days are officially over.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Janesville Gazette's Criticism Of Paul Ryan Ran Rings Around Challenger

In a recent Janesville Gazette editorial, Democracy drowning in flood of campaign cash, the newspaper's editorial staff appears to be taking issue with our fleebagger congressman, Paul Ryan.

Don't believe the hype.

The barbs of criticism they threw at Ryan were made of rubber, though necessary to provide cover so as not to appear partisan for taking shots at their intended target - declared 1st District democratic challenger David Yankovich.

To shift our focus, the Gazette claimed there's too much money in politics, yet they belittle Ryan's last democratic challenger, Ryan Solen, for raising "a paltry $23,749." If they were true believers in their own hype, Solen's lightweight campaign cash would have been the blessing they were looking for in a candidate and not the curse they mock in their editorial.

The Gazette also trumpets the fact that Rock County voters knew better about money in politics when we overwhelmingly (86% to 14%) approved the "Amend Citizen's United" referendum last fall, yet I don't recall the Gazette's endorsement of the referendum when they were posting their political recommendations in November. According to my blog records ...they didn't have one.

As far as their concern for Democratic challenger David Yankovich goes, the Gazette calls him a "carpetbagger" from Ohio. Yet again, although previous challenger Ryan Solen is a Wisconsin native, it wasn't enough quality to turn the key for an endorsement from the Gazette last year.

Yeah. No. The Gazette's editorial about democracy drowning in a flood of campaign cash wasn't meant to show the Gazette's worm has finally turned against Paul Ryan or big money in politics. It was a shrewdly written stringer of red herrings to take down democratic challenger David Yankovich, balanced by their faux support for overturning Citizens United while excusing Ryan's big money machine with "they all do it" and perfectly legal. In short, they equalize any blame among the political parties - not at Paul Ryan.

As of now, the chance the Gazette will endorse "Mr. Money" Paul Ryan for re-election in 2018 stands at 99.999367%, so their hollow criticism of him was a very small price to pay to take a clean shot at Yankovich and democrats in general.

If anything, the Gazette sees Ryan as a victim of circumstance.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Janesville Continues To Lose What Little Good Government It Has Left

The current Janesville city council led by authoritarian activist Council President Doug Marklein voted on Wednesday to protect the council's performance review process of city manager, Mark Freitag, from public scrutiny.

After getting some mild push back earlier when the council rejected Marklein's campaign to dismantle the city's "just cause" standard for city employees, Marklein is back with more proposals to chip away at open government and consolidate power.

JG Excerpt:
JANESVILLE—Going forward, performance evaluations of the city manager should be more consistent but less public, the city council decided Wednesday.

More accurately, "performance evaluations of the city manager will be more consistently less public."

Once again only one member of the city council, Jens Jorgensen, voted on the side of good government insisting to keep documented review forms open to public records. City Manager Freitag of course, was in favor of dropping form evaluations and making his performance review an oral feedback session.

The Gazette wrote of Jorgensen, "In the interest of transparency, he argued the council should continue to use them so individual council members' evaluations can remain public."

Sorry, but transparency lost.