Tuesday, May 21, 2013
We don' know for sure. He's not talking.
TMJ4 - Walker keeps secret the names of donors who contributed to his legal defense fund
Cap Times - Why is Scott Walker pushing 'rent-to-own' deregulation? His office won't say
Posted by Lou Kaye at 1:11 PM
Monday, May 20, 2013
Once the story broke on May 2nd that Gov. Scott Walker was not going to release the names of those who paid for his legal defense fund regarding the criminal investigation of his county office before he was elected governor, not one Wisconsin newspaper since issued an editorial demanding Walker release the information. At least to the extent that I could find no editorial combing through the April/May archives of the Wheeler Report.
But woe onto the law enforcement agency that dares institute a new policy of hiding information that previously was available to the public. Such was the case regarding a recent Janesville Gazette editorial titled, "Edgerton Police Wrong To Keep Residents In The Dark." The Gazette ripped the EPD for instituting a new policy of releasing little to no details - other than the last name - of anyone in a official police report.
Look, the Gazette's criticism is all well and good here, but where were they on Walker's refusal to release the names of those paying for his legal fees?
When I compare the apples to the oranges, I could care less about knowing the names and details of the average schlub getting a speeding ticket or fine for jaywalking, but as a voter I expect full transparency regarding any public official receiving huge cash gifts from donors. Folks, we're not talking about a governor getting a couple of Packer game tickets here for free...
SOMEBODY PAID THE GOVERNOR'S $447,000 BILL!
Where is the Fourth Estate? No need to answer that one.
Granted, Walker's legal defense fund is not subject to open records law and the state's GAB said the governor is not required to name them, but Wisconsin Law states it is a matter of declared policy...
Wisconsin Laws 19.31 - Declaration of policy
19.31 Declaration of policy. In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. Further, providing persons with such information is declared to be an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of officers and employees whose responsibility it is to provide such information.
This has nothing to do with digging into the governor's emails or looking to blacklist somebody to make a nasty political statement. It has everything to do with the public's right to know that taxpayer revenue or government power is not abused or used to payback any favors. It's fundamental clean and transparent government and according to state policy, we're entitled to know.
Posted by Lou Kaye at 12:16 AM
Thursday, May 16, 2013
According to a story percolating out from St. Paul, comments made by the CEO of Mercy Health System in Janesville, Javon Bea, are at the center of a federal age discimination lawsuit against a company that manages Kahler Hotels in Minneosta. Bea has a financial stake in Kahler and was hired to be the top executive liaison between the investors and the management company.
Post Bulletin Excerpt:
In an executive committee meeting in February, Bea was allegedly recorded referring to Berman as an "older gal" and "older lady" as he discussed eliminating her position and that of three other employees, the complaint says.
Bea, who also is CEO of Mercy Health System in Janesville, Wis., is alleged to have made multiple comments about Woodford's age, the complaint says, including this remark during an executive management committee meeting in January: "Clearly Sandy W. is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid; she should have been retired." Bea then told the group he needed someone younger and more vibrant in Woodford's position, the complaint says.
In a email from an undisclosed source, the complaint also said Bea intends to eliminate union employment at Kahler properties through, "illegal and immoral" means. Read full story here.
Posted by Lou Kaye at 11:42 AM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Way back around the time when the Janesville GM Plant was winding down in its final days, I recall the editors of the Janesville Gazette writing a short series of editorials about the culture of manufacturing jobs and its related union affiliation. They wrote about how the culture of high school educated or less workers earning $50,000+ annual with benefits actually helped keep the Janesville economic and social set down. Not in those exact words, but they weren't very nice about it and in fact implied we'll be better off without manufacturing jobs and the union culture that tends to follow.
Since that time however, quite a few things have changed. Top officials in the local business lobbies were filmed gloating over the suggestion that the area's remaining unemployed will have no choice but to take much less in wages if they expect to land a job because local employers will no longer have to compete with GM wages for skilled labor.
These same groups ironically enough, along with their media enabler Gazette, have since embarked on a publicity campaign to encourage new graduates to consider manufacturing for their career. It's a complete about-face.
In fact, last year the Janesville Gazette published an article about all the glory that awaits job seekers in the manufacturing sector in the state of Wisconsin. The article titled, "State Manufacturers Have jobs, Need Workers" was written by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and helped build the mime about Wisconsin's so-called skills gap. The core of the story was that students perception of manufacturing jobs is outdated. That those are the jobs that are indeed in demand.
At the time I countered that those workers might be in demand by manufacturing employers, but because of the steady beat down of unions, wages and benefits, those jobs are not in demand by students and other able-bodied working age adults.
I'll admit, there's a pretty big reality gap here, but until something changes on the compensation front, students and other working age adults are left with no choice but to pursue higher education if they expect to afford raising a family in the near future.
A recent survey conducted by the area's divide and conquer business group, Rock County 5.0, of Rock County area students confirmed my suspicions and produced an expected result.
-- Of those thinking about technical careers, just 2.1 percent indicated an interest in manufacturing.
Gotta' wonder what did the Rock County 5.0 expect? But they'll say that is precisely the perception they want and need to change.
Except, when you beat down unions and the wages and benefits they represent, you end up with killing off student demand for jobs unions not only covered, but also other staples necessary to bolster a vibrant U.S. economy such as jobs in education and the many skilled trades. The workers are in demand, but fewer and fewer want those jobs. Because of the beatdown, the leverage is backwards. That is the reality.
This steady beatdown is what most folks who are paying attention call the race to the bottom, and yet nearly everything I've written here is the reality the smiling folks at our local business groups are trying to change.
One last observation for this post is how our single party rule red state government and their media enablers are shifting the pursuit of the American Dream away from an individual's pursuit of happiness to the corporation's pursuit of happiness.
In a Gazette feature presentation about the area's economic future, Vision 2020, there are multiple passages that allude to that shift in perception and pursuit. One example is this statement from the Gazette about the Director of Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development on Page 12 ...
Vision 2020 Excerpt:
Borremans is concerned that schools have for too long tried to satisfy students’ passions instead of the local economy’s needs.
Sure, there is some merit to that reasoning. But it’s suddenly no longer about our own individuality, or to control our own destiny or to be the master of our own pursuit of happiness. It’s become about satifying somebody else’s version of happiness – and that version could be society’s, a corporation’s or the state’s plans for our happiness.
That in my opinion is not what America is about ...at all.
Posted by Lou Kaye at 12:37 AM
Monday, May 13, 2013
In the aftermath of Janesville's Economic Development Director ending his employment with the city, city officials are asking community members for input on the next step. Several officials are worried that losing momentum could hurt the city’s economic development.
Janesville's City Council President weighed in and implied that things are not getting done without the city's government assistance ...
“We have a vacancy in our economic development department right now, and we have people, businesses that want to expand right now, and we have businesses that want to move into the city of Janesville right now,” she said.
Open up the floodgates and let 'er rip ...
Of course I believe the modern local economic development director has devolved into little more than a welfare program coordinator and lobbyist for businesses. But outside of possible changes in zoning, which should be applied for by the business and falls under the jurisdiction of the city council, I have no idea what kind of municipal laws and regs are preventing businesses from entering or expanding in Janesville.
Posted by Lou Kaye at 5:03 PM
Friday, May 10, 2013
"Not one dime gets added to the deficit because of Social Security." -- Rep. Mark Pocan (2nd CD WI)
Keywords to remember - "because of."
Well, Politifact gave that statement a "Mostly False" rating. Here's the heart of their explanation...
JS Politifact Excerpt:
Although Social Security used to run surpluses, over the past few years it hasn’t collected enough in taxes to pay in benefits.
And the trust fund consists not of prior Social Security surplus funds, but of interest-bearing securities provided through federal government borrowing -- thus the link to the deficit.
Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system: Payroll taxes paid by current workers and their employers go to pay benefits to current retirees and other Social Security recipients.
From 1984 to 2009, Social Security collected more money in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits. That surplus was transferred from the Social Security program to the federal government's general fund. In return, the Treasury gave Social Security bonds that it could redeem to pay future benefits.
The government, in turn, incurred obligations to repay the bonds, plus interest, to the Social Security trust fund.
In simpler language, Politifact and their sources said: Because you borrowed money from my stockpile, you will at some point have to pay it back to make me whole again. Assuming you will have to borrow from a different source (Treasury) to pay me back, the interest incurred resulting from your borrowing increased your debt load - so it's my fault.
In effect, according to Politifact and the American Enterprise Institute, because Social Security must begin drawing on its own surplus to meet its obligations, SS adds to the nation's current annual deficit and accumulating debt because congress borrowed it.
Fact is, the money coming into Social Security is real cash from payroll taxes. It's not SS's fault that the government borrows from it, and it's not SS's fault that government debt might grow in order to pay it back. It is totally absurd to misconstrue the loan transaction by implying Social Security adds to the deficit because of the borrower's obligation to pay it back.
The bottom line is, money the government borrowed will have to be paid back and those transaction events will have an effect on the government's balance sheet whether the lender is China, Saudi Arabia or Social Security OR whether the government has its own surplus or deficit to pay out from. By the way, Politifact assumes the government will have to borrow to buy back SS notes.
ProTip: Borrowing yet again to pay back loans will effect your debt. Don't blame the lender.
I give Politifact "Full Asshat" on this verdict.
Posted by Lou Kaye at 1:15 PM
Thursday, May 09, 2013
A MEDIAite Double-Header.
On her Wednesday show, Rachel Maddow tore into Republican outrage over Benghazi as the latest example of conservative conspiracy theories seeping in the mainstream.
Read story here - with video.
Daily Show host Jon Stewart mocked Fox News for over-hyping yet another congressional hearing on the attack in Benghazi.
Read story here - with video.
Copy and paste below for your Twitter fans. Change/Add hashtag to your liking.
Maddow Destroys GOP Conspiracies: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/rachel-maddow-tears-apart-benghazi-outrage-in-epic-segment-on-gop-conspiracy-mongering/ Jon Stewart Exposes GOP False Rage: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/stewart-rips-fox-news-over-benghazi-coverage-denizens-of-bullsht-mountain-have-cried-wolf-before/ #Benghazi
Twitter will shorten URL with room to spare.
Posted by Lou Kaye at 12:29 AM
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
First saw the story on this at the Root River Siren. Apparently, Gov. Scott Walker has kicked off a series of (unscheduled?) statewide economic listening sessions to learn how the state can best help create jobs. Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee. But seriously. This is not funny.
Problem: Businesses blame "low performing" schools for lack of jobs in Racine. Solution: Government should offer more tax credits to incoming companies so they too cannot hire for lack of "educated" workers.
Journal Times Excerpt:
Modine President and CEO Tom Burke weighed in, affirming, “It’s hard to recruit from schools because they’re performing below level.”
What the government can do, Kacala said, is continue to work with the county to offer tax incentives to incoming companies, something he said many have come to expect.
For developers, there’s a pervasive idea that “if you’re not asking for significant incentives, you’re missing the boat,” Kacala said. “Unfortunately, it’s still ‘show us the money.’
It never was "show us the skilled workers." Ever. This is unbelievable, almost Onionish.
Like most Wisconsin bloggers, I've been writing about the wrong-headed business incentives and phony "skills gap" narrative for several years now, so this is nothing new. It's also escalated to the point where the tax credits and cash incentives are now an absolute necessity, not to create jobs, but to retain businesses who are offered competing free cash deals to move to other states. They've turned the term," free market competition" into a mockery with state governments competing, really stealing, for each other's businesses. So, this is not about education, innovation or entrepreneurship and it's not about creating businesses, industry and jobs from the ground up. It never was.
Tax credits and cash kick backs are simply not the reason or the incentive for any business to create jobs. The idea has become nothing more than a bold-faced game of extortion in a zero sum national environment. Taxpayers will always lose.
Posted by Lou Kaye at 1:05 PM