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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why The Super-Rich Deserve A Tax Cut

Or 15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wealth And Inequality In America.

1. The gap between the top 0.01% and everyone else hasn't been this big since the Roaring Twenties.
2. Half of America owns 2.5% of country's wealth. The top 1% owns a third of it.
3. Half of America owns only 0.5% of America's stocks and bonds. The top 1% owns more than 50%!
4. The share of capital income earned by the top 1% and the bottom 80% Is wider than ever.
5. The last two decades were great...if you were a CEO or business owner or banker or trader. Not if you were anyone else.
6, Real average earnings have not increased in 50 years. That's HALF A CENTURY!
7. Savings rates have sunk, as Americans borrow money to keep up (though they're rising now).
8. Despite the myth of social mobility, poor Americans have a SLIM CHANCE of rising to the upper middle class.
9. Republican tax cuts significantly increased the wealth gap.
10. Income tax just keeps getting lower and lower for the rich.
11. America redistributes its wealth FAR LESS than other developed countries (via government transfers).
12. America's income spread is nearly twice the OECD average.
13. The income gap is NOT growing in other countries, like France
14. Inequality is worst around Wall Street and Oil Land.
15. If you aren't in the top 1% of America's earners, you're pretty much screwed.

For more on this appalling trend, don't miss...22 Stats That Show How America's Middle Class Is Being Wiped Out Of Existence

Monday, November 29, 2010

Selfishness Is a Virtue?

If we create a society where there is no personal moral obligation to help a penniless or starving person (assuming that we can afford to help), why would a society absent of morals bother to create laws preventing people from growing wealth by starving the people?

Ayn Rand Nutters Explain Their Morals

Friday, November 26, 2010

Michael Moore Battling The Axis Of Ignorance

After Usama Bin Laden released a videotape just days before the 2004 election, President George W. Bush at the time said the two, Michael Moore and Bin Laden, sounded very much alike.
Washington Note Decision Points Excerpt:
In 2000, our October Surprise had come in the form of the DUI revelation. In 2004, it came from Osama bin Laden. On October 29, the al Qaeda leader released a videotape threatening Americans with "another Manhattan" and mocking my response to 9/11 in the Florida classroom. It sounded like he was plagiarizing Michael Moore. "Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country," I said.
What a terrible thing to say. Comparing the fact-based watchdog work of activist Michael Moore to the murderous Usama bin Laden is really sickening and demonstrates how George W. Bush and his ilk ultimately disrespect American citizens who question their leaders and government and its course in the aftermath of 9/11. Bush and his administration did more to undermine the system of checks and balances in the US government than any other leadership team in modern American history.

Video: Moore's Response To Bush's Book


In the ensuing years unfortunately, Bush had plenty of help from many of his political allies to further blackball Moore, including one from within our very own county of Rock in Wisconsin.

As it turned out, the owner of ABC Supply (Hendricks) was among the first Bush visited after coming out of his cave and just weeks before officially embarking on his book tour.
JG Excerpt: (Oct. 1, 2010)
There, the Bushes were guests of ABC owner Diane Hendricks for a private event closed to the press. Hendricks said she shares many values with the former president and supports his efforts to create a public policy institute that focuses on education, global health, economic improvement and human freedoms.
It didn't dawn on me at the time of the nexus between Bush, Hendricks and Moore simply because I was unaware of Bush's book, "Decision Points" and its slimy passage against Moore. But now we know that Hendricks and Bush shared the same value of attempting to destroy the reputation of the American icon.


Without the financial support from Hendricks of ABC Supply, the character assassination movie "An American Carol" would have not existed. Anyone would really have to have a serious hate festering inside to spend over a million dollars on a movie meant solely to target an American citizen and mock Liberalism. Well, at least Bin Laden would be in your corner.

But the purveyors of hate and our corrupt status quo happen to also be Moore's most deep-seated enemies, and they were beginning to line up six deep and ten wide in what now is best described as a coordinated smear campaign against Moore. Especially after the health care documentary, "Sicko."
Crooks and Liars excerpt:
A surprise to no one who cringed through some of the nasty and personal smears against Michael Moore as "Sicko" was released, reformed health care executive Wendell Potter admitted that there was a systematic plan and campaign to discredit both the filmmaker and documentary.
Health Care Brass Apologizes To Moore


Although I applaud Potter for finally taking a stand for truth, honesty and fair play, their smear campaign was only a small part of a much larger self-styled "borg" conspiracy to crucify one of health care reform's most outspoken symbols.
NY Times Excerpt:
According to tax records unearthed by Bloomberg News, the health insurance lobby secretly gave $86.2 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009 to try to prevent the health care bill from becoming law. The huge contribution — 40 percent of the chamber’s spending for that year — allowed the group to run ads against the bill without tainting the insurance industry, which was negotiating with Democrats on the bill at the same time.
It was effective and did create the dent they were hoping for -- since single payer and the public option never even made it into the health care reform bill along with the obviously tempered public reaction to his "Capitalism" video.

It only figures that Moore's fact-based documentaries and their subject matter continue to stand up so well against the test of time and criticism that the only thing left for the haters of American individualism and exceptionalism to attack is his character - attack the messenger. I think the work Michael Moore does is so unique and vital to our country that he very well could be among only a handful of our national figures with enough integrity and self-respect to retake the current narrative away from the nattering nabobs of negativism and restore common sense.

But he can't do it alone.

Related:
Local Firm Targets liberals

Moore's Love Story Is a Haunt

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Buying Citizenship From The United Sell-Outs Of America

A sprawling sports complex planned in the village of Lakewood - Illinois, would feature baseball fields, bicycle trails and restaurants meant to draw families from throughout the region. In return for kicking in $500,000 apiece, foreign investors in the project would jump to the head of the nation's often-tangled line for legal immigration and win a route toward U.S. citizenship for themselves and their families.
Chicago Tribune Excerpt:
"Nobody here wants to sell their birthright to a foreign investor just because he has money," said Al Stenstrom, who lives in a subdivision near where the McHenry County sports complex would be built. "Excuse my French, but, as a nation, we're becoming whores."
Oh, please sir – you’re tickling me. You know - that kind of talk could get you in trouble. Haven't you heard of capitalism?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

City Hides Developer's Payment Request During Council Presentation

During last night's Janesville city council meeting, the city administration and council had another one of those increasingly trendy hidden-government-crony-favoritism-double-standard-class-war-Janesville-style-politics moments when they quickly approved without discussion a request from a development investment firm to extend the term payback period for road and infrastructure assessments from 5 years to 10 years.
Janesville Online Excerpt:
Economic Development Director’s Recommendation. Staff recommends that SARA Investments be granted a ten year payback period for the extension of watermain and sanitary sewer along with road improvements instead of the normal five year period.
Much like the last time Janesville's city government reframed a corps-favor by burying it in a TIF agreement, this time not only did the administration official and council members completely avoid any reference to the payment term change, they also made no request to require any proof or documents of hardship from the firm for reason why an extended payment plan is needed in the first place. This was all in stark contrast to the council meeting two weeks ago when a Janesville homeowner requested a nearly identical payment extension (from 5 to 10 years) on $2,600 for a sidewalk installation. Keep in mind the homeowner's request is not a hand-out from city taxpayer coffers. It is merely a homeowner asking to have their payments spread out with the incurring interest over a longer period of time.

Although the homeowner's request was eventually approved based on hardship inflicted by high medical bills, two council members made a fuss that the city should establish better guidelines to prove hardship with tax records or other documentation when homeowners seek an extended payment plan. Apparently no such proof of hardship is necessary when investors call for the same favor.

It should be noted that the Janesville Gazette, yes even the Janesville Gazette, called reference to the firm's 10-year payback extension request in this article about the upcoming city council agenda published several days earlier. This relatively unfiltered coverage is so unusual it might be the result of a communication break-down or a squabble between the city administration and the newspaper. Anything is possible around here.

For the sake of appearing not too class-battle-hardened, lets forget all of the juxtaposition and obvious double-standard between the requests and just focus on why the city administration would deliberately hide any reference of the payment extension during the open-to-the-public council meeting. Are TIF agreements regularly being used as a vehicle to shelter other crony capital favors? Is the investment firm facing hardship for requesting the extension? Why was the city official's speaking presentation absent of any reference to the payment plan? Why didn't city council members inquire about the request?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

W-RON-G Graffiti - Worth A Thousand Words

After I saw this very cool expression of graffiti art first at Blogging Blue and posted again at Cognitive Dissidence, I couldn't stop myself from slapping together a couple copycat banners to display in my blog sidebar.


Whoever created the original deserves a round of hearty applause. Simply superb!

Free Banners

width=226px Height=52px

width=165px Height=40px

Friday, November 19, 2010

Newspaper: It's Not Censorship When We Do It

Merriam-Webster
cen·sor·ship noun \ˈsen(t)-sər-ˌship\
Definition of CENSORSHIP
1a: the institution, system, or practice of censoring
b: the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively
2: the office, power, or term of a Roman censor
3: exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

What is censorship?
Censorship -- the control of the information and ideas circulated within a society -- has been a hallmark of dictatorships throughout history. In the 20th Century, censorship was achieved through the examination of books, plays, films, television and radio programs, news reports, and other forms of communication for the purpose of altering or suppressing ideas found to be objectionable or offensive.

Encarta Censorship Definition:
1. suppression of published or broadcast material: the suppression of all or part of a play, movie, letter, or publication considered offensive or a threat to security
2. suppression of something objectionable: the suppression or attempted suppression of something regarded as objectionable
3. ancient Roman office: the office, authority, or term of an ancient Roman censor
4. psychiatry suppression of memories: the suppression of potentially harmful memories, ideas, or desires from the conscious mind

Janesville Gazette editor's view of censorship:
"Censorship and the First Amendment apply to government restricting the speech of people. They have nothing to do with a private business making strategic and sensible decisions." - S. A.

Sure, the editor mixed in the 1st amendment with the act of censorship, but censorship stands on it's own accord - it's not captive in and only of government or public usage. Censorship is the deliberate withholding of pertinent information as a strategy with a specific goal in mind - be it private, social, political or the bottom line - it is their newspaper. But hey, at least they admit to the strategy.

Editor: We (including advertisers) think keeping public opinion down to a minimum is a good thing.
"It's not just about traffic. Our numbers have been and will continue to be more than adequate to support our advertisers and justify what we charge. It's also about the content and credibility of the site. We know that some advertisers and potential advertisers weren't thrilled about being associated with the negative comments that we have now minimized. We and they think that's a good thing." --S. A.

I've been reminding my readers for some time now that the Janesville Gazette, like most newspapers, is entitled to their own opinion, control and direction of their product. They are market based first - not some kind of beacon of local knowledge, information or government watchdog - not even close. In fact, I would go as far to say that the Janesville Gazette hides more information than they release - probably by a two to one margin or better - and as long as you're buying it, that's all that counts. It's high time that readers and subscribers drop whatever Fourth Estate idealism they might still harbor for newspapers. They're finished in that regard - stick a fork in it - the mirage of the Fourth Estate is done.

Today's newspapers remind me of the taco encrusted artificial cheese pizza sprinkled with peanuts and apple slices. It might actually taste good, but it's not pizza.

On a related note. Last night I heard Sean Hannity become nearly unhinged on his show claiming how Liberals absolutely hate free speech because they try to apply pressure on his advertisers to drop his show.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Republicans Shirking Responsibility With Phony Deficit Reduction Earmark Ban

Banning earmarks is nothing more than a end-around if not an empty proposition for phony tea party conservatives and other self-proclaimed fiscal hawks to look like they're cutting the deficit.
LA Times Excerpt:
Senate Republicans voted Tuesday to abandon their use of earmarks in the new Congress, a move setting up an unusual alliance with the White House and exerting pressure on reluctant Democratic lawmakers to follow suit.
CONGRESSIONAL earmarks comprise less than .5 percent of the national budget and unless the executive branch makes the same committment to ban "letter" marks and other non-bill district project requests, congress will have handed more spending power to the president (any president, not just Obama).

"If funds are not designated, they revert to non-designated spending controlled by bureaucrats in the executive branch. In other words, when a designation request makes it into the budget, it subtracts funds out of what is available to the executive branch and bureaucrats in various departments, and targets it for projects that the people and their representatives request in their districts. If a congressman does not submit funding requests for his district the money is simply spent elsewhere. To eliminate all earmarks would be to further consolidate power in the already dominant executive branch and not save a penny." -- Rep. Ron Paul

Banning earmarks while extending the Bush tax cuts to the top 2% is a complete joke. Republicans are working on wealth concentration - not deficit reduction.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Deficit Spending Okay On Paul Ryan's Campaign Cronies

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.
Excerpt:
In a joint statement, U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri and Paul Ryan wrote: "We support Governor-elect Walker's effort to put the brakes on the high-speed rail budget boondoggle, which is why we introduced legislation, today, that would give states the ability to return federal funds obligated to high-speed rail projects, and instead use this money to reduce our nation's $1.6 trillion deficit and $13.8 trillion debt. This high-speed rail project is a bad investment for taxpayers and our state simply cannot afford it."
Obviously, this is the same Paul Ryan whose hometown road-building campaign base in Janesville expect a future windfall after heavily lobbying the state to deficit spend up to $1.5 billion for widening the I39/90 interstate highway. Half to be paid by the state, the other half from the federal government. Stop that train!

That the state is facing a $2.7 billion deficit is of no consequence to the "simply cannot afford it" Ryan. Not when it's for his campaign contributors. Stop that train!

That the nation has a projected $1.6 trillion federal deficit this year with more damage control deficits to follow is of no consequence to Ryan when its' for his road-building contributors. Stop that train!

This is the same Paul Ryan who claims one of our nation's biggest problems is the return of crony capitalism. This is where he describes in his own narrow interpretation, how legislators and other government officials use their government capacity to over-ride existing administrative policies for the benefit of their cronies or to the detriment of their ideological or political adversaries - thus using the strong arm of the government to create "winners and losers." Stop that train!

Is this really the same Paul Ryan?

You bet it is! It goes without saying, Ryan is easily one of the slickest intellectually fraudulent deficit-pretending class-war crony capitalists to roam the halls of congress - a committed far-right anti-progressive in a new school sort of way.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

With GOP Majority - Payday Loan Lobbyists Declare Open Season

JS Online Excerpt:
Madison — With Republicans about to take control of the Legislature and governor's office, payday loan stores and auto title lenders are looking to roll back limits recently placed on short-term loans.
Yeah sure. Most folks that I've talked to said the payday loan reform wasn't tough enough.

But earlier in the year when payday loan reform was making its way through the state legislature, all eyes and ears were on assembly speaker Mike Sheridan's media-sensationalized dates with a payday lobbyist. Back then, the state republicans who were responsible for much of the payday regulatory dilution and the demise of the interest rate cap barely received an honorable mention about their unscrupulous influence from the local media.
JS Online Excerpt:
Erin Krueger, a lobbyist for the lenders, said they hope to eliminate "anti-business and anti-consumer choice" provisions in the new law. She did not detail the specific changes they want to make. "Everything's on the table in terms of what we're going to discuss," she said.
LADY...PLEASE! Don't put everything on the table! You're dealing with a republican majority now. Oh, thank God you added "in terms of what we're going to discuss." Whew...that was close.

But the joke is over. On the payday loan legislation alone, Sheridan and other state democrats were demogogued right out of their jobs by the deliberate sloppy information and political hit-job carried out by our local media. The damage is done. Rock County voters bought the local media narrative whether they realize it or not, and instead chose candidates who are even more willing to put the lobbyists welcome sign on their office doors. Might as well get used to it.

With republicans in the majority, it's a smorgasbord for lobbyists, they know it - and the payday loan industry is among the first to declare - it's "Open Season!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pro-Walker Newspaper Spins Yarn Against Talgo

Two weeks after endorsing Scott Walker for governor, the Janesville Gazette wastes no time in his defense posting a made-up scenario to report on and pawn off as a legitimate news article on their hardcopy front-page. Titled "Landing train maker could have hurt city" with "Some counting blessings in wake of Talgo warnings" (not Walker warnings) as the sub-title, the newspaper de-emphasized the hostile Gov. elect's ideologically challenged campaign to block federal subsidies for hi-speed commuter rail and reframes the train maker as an uncooperative ingrate who can't be trusted.
JG Excerpt:
What if Talgo had selected Janesville, and what if the train maker decided to leave after only a few months of production? The answer is that a local developer would have lost a tenant and jobs, and taxpayers would have been on the hook for months of lease payments on vacant space that could have topped $500,000.
What if?...yeah, the train maker would just get up and leave for no legitimate reason - it's not like the election of Scott Walker as the next governor of Wisconsin would have had anything to do with it.

Back in March, Janesville city officials had no doubt of Talgo's integrity and promise to bring jobs into the city.
JG Excerpt:
In our opinion, the worst case scenario would have been three years (of lease payments),” Grassman said. “The economy is going up, and we were optimistic that once they came they would stay. “We’ve got to make stuff happen, and this shows how serious we were.”
Whoops, there it is. Back then, Janesville city officials worked hard to lure Talgo and they had no reason to believe they would fail to keep up their end of the bargain. With so many unforeseen events yet to happen, who in their right mind would think the next governor would pose the greatest obstacle to any job creation?

While the city's efforts were not successful with Talgo, the Gazette's backwardly written fabrication implying how lucky we are, could be enough to plant the seeds of doubt for the city's future efforts to compete for jobs and businesses.

As the Gov.-elect's mismanagement of Talgo demonstrates, with Walker as governor, it might not be worth the risk.

Gazette Post's "brief" on "Brief"

Also in Saturday's Gazette was a "brief" article relating to the verbal skirmish between Gov.-elect Scott Walker and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn over the train funding. Titled "War of words between officials" the newspaper reports that Walker plans on persuading Illinois businesses to come to Wisconsin by emphasizing that Quinn has proposed massive tax increases. Tha Gazette left the following information out from the short article.
Madison Excerpt:
Talgo had said it would move from that facility if Wisconsin follows through on its promise to abandon high-speed rail.

Quinn spokeswoman Ashley Cross criticized Walker's characterization of massive tax increases. She says even with Quinn's proposal of a 1 percent tax for education, Illinois' individual income tax rate would be 4 percent. Wisconsin's ranges from 4.6 percent to 7.75 percent.
There's nothing like being ill-informed and paying for it.

Quote for the week
Lobo – “Walker really WANTS the train built so Wisconsin can reap the benefits ... he merely wanted to demogogue the issue to take advantage of the stupidity of his base.”



Friday, November 12, 2010

Harley: Cutting Jobs Better Than Tax Credits To Keep Them

In this article, it's reported that Harley-Davidson turned down $25 million in state tax credits to keep manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin.
Chicago Tribune Excerpt:
In a statement issued Thursday, Harley officials said the company declined the tax credits because its employment plans might not work with the state's terms.
Sure, the tax credits are honored only if Harley-Davidson would honor the technical requirements of Wisconsin's statute for job retention or growth. They could not make that committment for $25 million. But, H-D's decision should send a signal to state officials that cutting taxes and tax credit's for jobs are not worth the effort. They don't create or retain jobs.

The Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy Are Offset

The Ed Shultz Show had a clip from 2002 showing Sen. Kent Conrad (D-Deluded) saying the Bush Administration's budget plans called for raiding $2 trillion dollars from Social Security to pay for his tax cuts.
"The (Bush) Administration told us that we can have a massive tax cut... and protect Social Security. Now what we're seeing is they got the massive tax cut, but now instead of maximum pay down of the debt, they're asking for the second biggest increase in the debt in our nation's history. And on protecting Social Security instead of protecting it, the president's budget plan over the next decade will be taking almost $2 trillion dollars out of Social Security to pay for other things, to pay for his tax cuts and to pay for other spending." -- Sen. Kent Conrad, Meet the Press - June 9, 2002
Fast forward to Nov. 10, 2010 and Conrad, as arrogant and sycophantic as Rep. Paul Ryan, practically delivers Ryan's toxic roadmap in an interview with George Stephanopoulos saying, "the Bush tax cuts must be extended until we can reform the tax system." And ... "the idea that you don't have to touch Social Security or Medicare - that's not going to do it. Hey, Social Security and Medicare are both headed for insolvency...it is not affordable."

The guest on the Ed Show wondered, "where is the Kent Conrad from 2002?"

When they say Social Security is headed for insolvency, what they really mean is because Social Security surpluses are no longer enough to offset the tax cuts for the wealthy - it's time to scrap Social Security and reform the tax system. It's an "affordability" issue. Watch for it in the video below.



Why do you think it's a terrible idea to bail-out millionaires? That's Why!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wisconsin's Very Own Three Stooges

It was only a little more than a week ago...
WSJ Excerpt:
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's administration quietly signed a deal with the federal government over the weekend committing the state to spending the full $810 million in federal money granted for a high-speed passenger-rail line between Milwaukee and Madison.
Republicans screamed bloody murder against the move calling it "a quiet, secret deal in the middle of the night." They claimed it would make it more difficult for Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for governor, to stop construction of the rail line if he is elected. Well, Walker won the election and, at least in my view, Doyle did exactly the right thing by putting the hi-speed rail project into the hands of the future governor. Despite Doyle's obvious courtesy to the governor-elect, Walker's supporters still found fault with Doyle and accuse him for the train project mess and playing political games upon his impending exit. It's almost as if they'd prefer he had rammed the deal through. Nobody can win with these lunatics.

Walker in the meantime has been playing a game of brinksmanship by trying to shift the blame for the job losses his kept promises will create, back onto the Obama Administration calling it a grave mistake if the train fund cannot be raided and used for roads and bridges instead.

Stopping the train should be an easy call for Walker, afterall he is ideologically opposed to the project and ferociously campaigned against it and deficit spending stimulus dollars from the start. Remember, his first brown bag campaign slogan was not to spend what we don't have.

Excluding Walker's attempt to strong arm the federal subsidy away from one business sector to leverage another, I really don't see what the all the hoopla is about. During his campaign, Walker stated that government doesn't create jobs - so unless the private sector steps up with 250,000 jobs over the next four years - it's promises kept there as well. His only plan to create jobs revolves around giving tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations.

Other republicans appear to be driving around Walker's trainwreck.
JS Online Excerpt:
Meanwhile Tuesday, another key Republican from Wisconsin, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville, would not commit right away to Walker's plan. Ryan, who is expected to become the next chairman of the House Budget Committee, said in a statement only that he would work with Walker, U.S. transportation officials and others on "how we can meet our state's primary transportation needs and do so in a fiscally responsible way." Ryan was not available for an interview.
The usual double-talk from Ryan. He won't commit to anything but he'll work with him. The slick congressman knew exactly what to say to squeak out of that one.

And, where's Ron Johnson?

JS Online Excerpt:
Senator-elect Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) did not respond to a request for comment.
You know, asking Johnson about an important issue so soon after the election is asking for a little much. Afterall, he's undoubtedly working on a different monologue from what the voters apparently accepted from him while on the campaign trail. He did promise that if he won, his true feelings will finally take voice. Aren't we lucky.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New York, Illinois Fighting Over Train Jobs. Wisconsin? Can't Afford Them


Chicago Breaking Business Excerpt:
Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo in New York already sent the Department of Transportation a letter saying his state will be glad to use Wisconsin’s and Ohio’s rail money if the states scrap their projects.
In addition to New york, Illinois also wants the $810 million in federal high-speed rail money that Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker has promised to reject.

“We’d love to have it,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.
Sun Times Heralds News Excerpt:
State Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg (D-Evanston) said he would work with other lawmakers to persuade the U.S. Department of Transportation to transfer the money to Illinois. He also would like to see trainmaker Talgo, Inc. move here. Talgo has said it can’t promise to stay in Milwaukee if the state rejects the rail project. “If the new governor of Wisconsin is overwhelmed by $800 million of federal funds, we’d be happy to take that burden off his back,” Schoenberg said.
“I don’t think we can afford it,” Wisconsin’s governor-elect said Monday.

Economic Development Group Sees No Value In Economic Development Center

Yesterday's Gazette editorial lamented the city's defunding of the Janesville Design and Development Center and gave a thumbs down to its eventual demise.
JG Excerpt:
Six years after debuting as a catalyst for the economic and aesthetic revitalization of the city's downtown, the Janesville Design & Development Center will close at the end of this year.
Facing a tough budget, City Manager Eric Levitt proposed a decrease in the design and development center subsidy from $50,000 to $20,000 for 2011. According to the lobby group running the center, Forward Janesville, that amount won't be sufficient to continue the operation that requires $50,000 to $60,000 annually.

Strangely left out of equation and absent from the Gazette's articles relating to funding the economic development center is the area's newest economic development marketing initiative known as the Rock County 5.0. Comprised of some of the area's wealthiest business people with direct links to Forward Janesville, the group boasts a private cache of over $1 million to market Rock County economic development. Over the past year, the Janesville Gazette has repeatedly publicized the groups' thirst for new businesses and ideas to foster local economic development.

But their apparent unwillingness to fill the design center's budget gap should leave everyone wondering about what the 5.0's intentions really are. If the Rock County 5.0 doesn't see any value in the marketing and potential development of the county's largest downtown - why should anyone else?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Train Jobs Fall Victim To Walker's Crony Capitalism

Obviously, I did not vote for Scott Walker. I chose not to vote for Walker for many reasons, among them because he promised, "no trains." Although I would like to see the $810 million hi-speed link between Madison and Milwaukee, I still however insist that Gov-elect Walker keep all of his campaign promises.

He also stated government doesn't create jobs and said we shouldn't spend money we don't have. He won the election because many more Wisconsin voters believed in those statements. Fair enough. So when I read that Walker asked train maker Talgo to remain open here and that his decision to stop a proposed Madison-to-Milwaukee passenger rail line is "not final." I thought he might be reneging on his promises. I hope not.
JS Online Excerpt:
Pat Goss, executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, and Joseph Strohl, a lobbyist for the union that represents heavy equipment operators, said they knew of no major effort to try to persuade Walker to change his mind on stopping the train. "I think Scott was very clear where he stood on this, and he's also been very clear on how he stands on other transportation infrastructure," Goss said. "He's following through on the promise he made."
Nothing speaks crony capitalism louder than a politician keeping his promise to use his new government position to strong arm a federal subsidy away from one business sector to leverage another. This is just another reason why I did not vote for Walker.

Despite a brown bag full of campaign slogans and statements to the contrary, Walker really was okay all along with the stimulus spending and the spending of money we don't have. But now, New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo intends on eating Walker's lunch. He's made a pitch for the federal train money that Scott Walker wanted to shift to his byzantine road-building campaign contributors. Uh-oh. That means if Walker sticks to his promise of "no trains" he'll also have to stick to his promise of no stimulus spending of money we don't have. Got that? Can Walker keep two election promises at the same time?

On top of that trainwreck, in order for Walker to stand by his unambiguous ideological opposition to creating new jobs through government investment, that government doesn't create jobs, he must also reject the the Navy contract Sen. Herb Kohl and Jim Doyle reined in that will jumpstart another 5,000 jobs.

My point is Walker should not be allowed to break his campaign promises. So where is the outcry against spending money we don't have, or against the government contract to create jobs from the folks who voted for him? Were those actual promises, or were they the usual hollow campaign slogans made by another run-of-the-mill career politician?

The sad thing is, is Scott Walker, Ron Johnson and Paul Ryan all campaigned on the same set of phony principles and impossible promises - and won.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Day 3 Of Future Certainty - Where Are The Jobs!!

Remember all the phony rhetoric from Rep. Paul Ryan about future certainty and tax certainty? The myth was that businesses, banks, and the wealthy, you know - the risk-taking free markets, won't cut loose with the trillions in capital they're holdng back that could otherwise create jobs and generate profits until they are assured the Kenyan residing in the White House is removed from office Bush tax cuts for the top 2% are extended or made permanent.
Human events Excerpt:
Today there is growing uncertainty about the future tax burden. Those who would build businesses and expand employment hold back when the tax future is unpredictable. These taxpayers need certainty that they will not face a huge wave of tax increases in 2011 and another one in 2013. -- Rep. Paul Ryan
Well, the future should be alot more predictable now - right? The folks who drove our country off the fiscal cliff were voted back in charge of the purse strings and their Wall Street crony Ryan will be directing the congressional budget writing committee. What more certainty do the rich need? I'm being perfectly reasonable here, afterall, the whole "certainty" effect is mostly psychological - is it not?

So now I look at the first two editorials after Red Tuesday out from the GOP-sponsored MediaCorpse Janesville Gazette and wouldn't you know it; first up Wednesday is the promotion of a new tollway tax to foist onto the taxed enough already Scott Walker angry mob majority. Even worse, the toll system mentioned are class war tolls that would give the rich their own express lanes on Wisconsin's freeway road system. No mention of an off-setting tax cut elsewhere. Just a brand new tax in the form of a tollway fee.

Thursday's editorial titled, "Voters need patience on economy" seemed like the kind of standard "soothe the suckers" damage control preparatory work you'd expect from your shady neighborhood auto dealer after he's talked you into trading in your old but trusty ride for the polished turd that's been leaking fluids all over the lot for the past six months. You return to the lot two days later to reverse the deal, but find ol' Betsy is gone. "Give the beauty a chance" says the con artist dealer of the bondo bucket he sold you, "have patience and things will all work out."

The core message to their editorial was: Come on now folks, forget all the campaign promises, whatever you do - don't start redirecting your anger toward republicans so quickly. Fixing the economy and bringing back jobs is gonna take years, hee - hee, maybe even decades. Keep your anger and your lunacy focused on Obama and the democrats. We're not through demonizing them and that illegitimate democrat president. Just wait two more years until we can choose a new president!

If the economy doesn't flip within six months, I see buyer's remorse setting in really fast for Red Tuesday voters. When we have the kind empty suits voted into office based primarily on a false narrative of anger, fear, lies and lunacy, don't expect the buyers to take too kindly when they find out they've been royally screwed.

Added Note on Gazette Editorial: They wrote, "Voters ousted ethically challenged Rep. Mike Sheridan of Janesville....
Never mind that the newspaper endorsed him. By rejecting Sheridan, perhaps voters were also rejecting the ethically challenged Janesville newspaper.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I Hope Republicans Fail

When Barack Obama and the Democrats swept the field in 2008, did republicans and their media blowhards recoil into an orgy of bi-partisan cooperation and friendship? Did they say, "the people have spoken - you won, we understand now." HAH! Right out of the gate, "I hope Obama fails" was the defiant chatter from radio clown Rush Limbaugh. These rotten bastards didn't rest for a second and still don't. The moment Obama was inaugurated Fox News fired up their anti-Obama race-baiting card with Beck's, "I think he's racist" followed by Hannity's continuous false narrative of socialism and big government. Then there was Joe Wilson's "you lie." Then came the GOP's phony Tea party movement making their first appearance two months after Obama's inauguration. Paul Ryan's fearmongering "we'll be just like Greece." Stop Obama! Fire Pelosi! Stop Reid! Sarah Palin's "How's that hope and changie thingie working out for you?" We want our government back!! was the offensive 24/7 from the Fox News MediaCorpse, Newsmax and even through those seemingly harmless political emails forwarded around the country. You know which emails I'm talking about. The one you get from family and friends that have been forwarded at least a dozen times before they arrive in your mailbox with subject titles like "Walking Eagle" or the letter to Obama from the P&G executive. Never did I once receive political hate email compiled with left-wing talking points targeting the right, conservatives or republicans. The constant attacks against Obama and democrats won. The name-calling and demonizing paid off. The lunacy prevailed.

So, how's that sanity thingy workin' out for ya?

Where were the "yes we can" folks and all the other liberal and progressive citizens at the time? Well, most of us had our rosy-colored glasses thinking the truth will prevail, that most Americans won't believe in all the lies - that we are smarter than that. We believe in the liberal arts, that humans are naturally a social and affirmative animal with compassion, and that the harsh reality of science and facts will hold up in the long run. We were wrong.

So stealing a little of Rush Limbaugh's bluster, my first reaction to the election results are, and I don’t need 400 words, I only need four: "I hope they fail.” What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Why would anyone think it’s outrageous to say that? “Oh, you can’t do that, you'll be just like them.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair or offending about my saying I hope republicans fail? Republicans and their brand of morally bankrupt government leveraged corporate socialism is our problem. Corpo-cronies are what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. We've turned into a nation of sell-outs. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the drive-by story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By CorpseMedia headlined me all day long: “Rock Netroots - Kaye: I Hope Republicans Fail.”

So yes, I want all of their efforts to repeal health care reform to fail. I want their plans to dismantle, privatize or change Social Security and Medicare away from their original formats and intent to collapse like a house of cards. I want their wealth re-distributive roadmaps for cutting taxes for the wealthiest and opening new loop holes for corporations and private estates to come crashing down. I want any and all of their flat tax schemes to explode in their faces. Yes, I want Republicans and all their plans to crush the working middle-class to fail.

Somebody’s gotta say it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Mike Sheridan Loses To Gazette's Dirty Campaign

In a close race, Republican Joe Knilans defeated Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan.

Sheridan, a democrat who became expendable to the Gazette mediacorpse monopoly soon after General Motors vacated the Janesville plant, apparently could not overcome the Gazette's sensationalized negative campaign that soon followed against him on the state's payday loan legislation.

After wrongly painting him as a corrupt politician for almost a year, in April I noted that the newspaper began backing away from their smear campaign and started taking a much quieter if not defensive position regarding the legislator.

The Gazette however left their dirty fingerprints all over the legislator in an attempt to wash their own hands clean of guilt in this bizarre re-election endorsement for Sheridan. But it was too late. The people didn't buy it and their endorsement became the perfect kiss of death.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Monday, November 01, 2010

Janesville Gazette Endorsements Explain Why America Headed Downhill

Somebody noticed that the hometown newspapers of Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson did not endorse their respective hometown candidates.
TMJ4 Excerpt:
In both cases, the papers faulted their local candidates for not being responsive enough to the communities' needs.
That is not an entirely true statement. The OshKosh Northwestern wrote that the Oshkosh community can point to Ron Johnson with pride. It's Johnson's hollow campaign rhetoric and unwillingness to be open and truthful with voters that they have a problem with. As far as the Janesville newspaper's endorsement is concerned, it's the newspaper that is unwilling to be open and truthful with voters. They've been running politically charged negative campaigns against a handful of local officials for several years now and Feingold was one of them.

One of the main differences between the Janesville Gazette endorsement for Ron Johnson and the endorsement editorial from the OshKosh Northwestern for Sen. Russ Feingold is that the Janesville newspaper's endorsement lacked as much substance as their senate candidate does, and whatever minute substance they do have to chop away at Sen. Russ Feingold on - they cannot reconcile with their other endorsement positions, particularly their endorsement for Rep. Paul Ryan.

Among the first reasons the Gazette rejected Feingold was because they claim he lacked visibility when General Motors was rolling out of Janesville. However, just a few days earlier the Gazette endorsed homeboy Paul Ryan who not only is the district's in-absentia congressman, but whose legislative positions and votes have directly dealt the final blows to the once robust automotive manufacturing sector of our district. The Gazette makes no mention of Ryan's lack of visibility during or after the demise of the GM plant. Does the newspaper hold a partisan bias or double-standard of expectations against certain local public officials? You decide. Still, it's grossly unfair to claim Feingold's positions have had no positive impact on the GM plant's future. In fact - it's an outright lie.

In 2007, the Gazette and Ryan double-teamed against Feingold on his position with CAFE legislation, claiming the legislation would hurt the Janesville SUV plant. Back then, the blind Gazette, disabled by Ryan's broken politics and ideological hang-ups shamelessly wrote, "Feingold turned his back on Janesville."

Again, it was only a little more than a year ago when I described how CAFE legislation offered Janesville one more opportunity to land the small car production GM needed to keep in the states to help balance fleet mileage.

Of course we now know that tighter US fleet average standards did not bring about the demise of Janesville's SUV plant, as the inept Ryan had previously grandstanded. In fact, it was Feingold's CAFE that offered Janesville a one in three chance to acquire new production. Had Ryan and the Gazette succeeded in fooling everyone back then, Janesville would have had zero in zero chances.

At the same time, I'm not trying to pretend that the mere chance to land auto production brought jobs to Janesville. But it should be obvious Feingold's position was the right one to take.

Another distinction between the Janesville Gazette and the Oshkosh Northwestern "hometown" editorials is this: the Janesville Gazette editors arrogantly expected something in return for being the senator's hometown, while the Oshkosh editorial makes no such claim to leverage against their homeboy. The Northwestern offers a reasonably neutral and detailed analysis of Johnson's hollow campaign rhetoric and disqualifications while making no "what's in it for us" qualifier on either candidate. The Northwestern concludes that Sen. Russ Feingold is, "effective and well regarded" and "the most qualified candidate and should be re-elected."

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not bashing the Janesville Gazette for not endorsing Feingold, they're entitled to their political activism and opinions like everyone else.

With their sycophantic adulation supporting power-tripping politicians, the Janesville Gazette endorsement editorials come across as pure propaganda and exactly what's wrong with our political environment. This should be evident. So, this posting is primarily about their editorial inauthenticity, corpo-crony politics and general hypocrisies they use for the basis to most of their endorsements. They are steering their readers down the path to oligarchy and hope nobody notices.

Excluding county offices, this is one reason why I found the Gazette's endorsement for Rep. Tammy Baldwin intellectually obnoxious. She does not belong on the list of corpo-crony and slush fund candidates and incumbents endorsed by the newspaper. Her selection appears to be more of a marketing ploy to help neutralize their GOP-inspired profits-over-people image and to buy some political capital. In their endorsement for Baldwin, the editors stopped short of almost apologizing for endorsing her. Of all the candidates endorsed by the Janesville Gazette, she should publicly reject their disingenuous support.

Of much more significance were the newspaper endorsements for Sen. Russ Feingold from the typically far-right Wisconsin State Journal Feingold Still Wisconsin's Best Bet and the Green Bay Gazette Feingold is better choice for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin


This posting was not authorized by any candidate, political party or organization. It is the sole opinion of its author.