Today is

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Plutocracy Has Bi-Partisan Support

Massachusetts Democrats have joined the Big Club's assault on the working poor and middle-class wage earners. They voted to strike down public employee healthcare benefit bargaining rights.

Sudbury Excerpt:
Democratic New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Land, president of the Massachusetts Mayors’ Association, told the Boston Globe the plan was necessary, saying “You need this reform now; otherwise you’re going to [continue] to lay off employees to pay for benefits." The threat of layoffs if collectively bargaining rights weren’t trimmed seems to match similar rhetoric coming from Governor Scott Walker (R-Wis.).

The big difference: The rhetoric is coming from a Democrat.

Legislative Democrats in Massachusetts have turned their backs on workers and voted to cut government services and workers’ right to collectively bargain for healthcare instead of dealing with health care cost issues dead on. America's seemingly endless economic nightmare revolves around healthcare.

But the MA bill is different than Wisconsin's as it is not a state mandate to cut collective rights. Instead, it gives every community in the state their own control on whether to draft a new health care plan for public employees. If the union supposedly can't present a better plan, the community would be able to impose it's own health care plan unilaterally. Many employees believe this bill will serve as a stepping stone for future concessions and union-busting bills if it is signed into law. If it's any consolation, Massachusetts Governor (D) promised to veto any Wisconsin-like collective bargaining union-busting bills.

But this is just another sign how uncontrollable costs and greed in the private sector health care industry are literally destroying America. Intellectually delinquent and sold-out corporate politicians from both sides are responding to Big Money the only way they know how, by destroying workers rights, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, their masters command it.

In These Times Excerpt:
Many have framed the attacks on collective bargaining rights as a tactic for Republicans to eliminate the Democrats base.

The premise that attacking collective bargaining rights is a tactic for republicans to eliminate the Democrats base was NOT a “frame” by many – it was a direct public admission by Wisconsin legislative Republicans. Still, MA Democrats are just as wrong as WI Republicans except Wisconsin’s Republicans carry that extra admission to defund the democratic support base. That is another difference between the two state bills.

But even with those differences, Massashusett Democrats have joined the wrong side in the assault on the working poor and middle class wages and benefits. They proved that the plutocracy has bi-partisan support.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ryan Betrays Simple Mano-a-Mano Trust With President

Remember that Ryan's "Path To Prosperity" budget was written after Obama gave Ryan a few kind remarks, calling Ryan's Roadmap a serious proposal and praised him for attempting to address the debt. Despite that, almost half of Ryan's budget plan is spent dropping bombs on President Obama, his budget, Health Care Reform and democratic leadership. That's a budget? Not quite. It's more a corporate-written anti-social legislative resolution of wealth redistribution designed to advance an ideological agenda presented by a cheap-shot GOP party hack.

Ryan doesn't owe Obama anything, but if he couldn’t give the President the simple mano-a-mano respect that Obama previously gave him, then Ryan deserves no respect from anyone. In a world where a hand shake is a symbol of understanding and trust – Ryan pissed all over Obama in his budget plan and then says he was surprised by the President's reaction and comments during his budget address?

Obama was being overly kind to Ryan calling his latest budget proposal "unamerican."

Janesville Walmart Hires Out of State Contract Workers

Then they call in a bomb threat to get out of working.

JG Excerpt:
A maintenance man under contract with Walmart told police he didn't want to go to work on Thursday. Instead of calling in sick, however, Francisco J. Vargas, 29, of Detroit, Mich., called in a bomb threat according to police reports.

In the meantime, Janesville's unemployment remains above the state and national average. Janesville ranked 275 out of 372 metropolitian areas. The March unemployment rate is an unadjusted 10.2 percent.

Wisconsin 8.1%
U.S. 9.2%

Poll: Current Seniors Like What They Have Now

National Journal
A new Gallup/USA Today poll contains a counterintuitive finding: the age group most receptive to House Budget Chair Paul Ryan's plan to deal with the budget - seniors.

The poll finds 48 percent of seniors (those 65 and over) support Ryan's plan over President Obama's plan, while 42 percent back the president.

Counterintuitive finding? Say what? But why in the world would current beneficiaries oppose Ryan's plans, when his plan would not effect them at all? Maybe because some of them can't imagine future seniors, their own children, not having the same benefits they now enjoy. Maybe some seniors care.

Yet it is Ryan, not Obama, who made the effort to intentionally divide current and future beneficiaries with his under/over 55 scheme in an obvious attempt to shutdown widespread opposition to his grand heist of the safety nets. I would bet Ryan expected much higher approval ratings from current seniors than the less than 50% he picked up for that deceitful messaging trap.

Take away the over/under from Ryan's plan and apply his Medicare "premium support" privatization program to current seniors - then look at those poll numbers - plummet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ryan Turns Testy With Informed Constituents At District TownHalls

Paul Ryan's tour through our congressional district is turning out huge crowds with lots of well informed angry voters. Here are a few of the latest video clips compiled by the Democurmudgeon.

Kenosha Constituent TownHall

Fox 6 News and CBS 58 News on TownHalls

In the above video, at 1:24, Ryan says, "and, make sure we aren't taxing our businesses, our producers more than they tax theirs". When a Randroid such as Ryan has to frame businesses as "producers" in defense of lowering their taxes to an angry objecting crowd, you know what he must be thinking of the crowd.

Rachel Maddow Reports On Rep. Webster (FL.) and Ryan

"You’re asking the elderly to take on the insurance companies when we can’t take on the insurance companies." -- Constituent

A big thanks to J. Petersen for putting these videos together.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Would Paul Ryan Have Signed The Declaration Of Independence?

From the moment I started blogging here in July of 2006, I knew Paul Ryan and others with the same ideological bent were destroyers of American exceptionalism and on a collision course with our nation's social compact that was initially forged with the last sentence in the Declaration of Independence. It reads...

— And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Many economic experts have warned that our national debt today has the immediate potential of destroying America financially and otherwise. There has been a steady stream of references and slogans describing our nations' debt as "entering the abyss," "doomsday," an "economic apocalypse," "heading off a cliff," and we're at the "final crossroads." I think Congressman Ryan would even agree with those assessments.

Yet, when our Founding Fathers stood at the abyss against the King of England during the birth of our nation, they laid out in exact and certain terms what the proper course of action is expected from the colonies. They knew individual sacrifices must be made and that wealth would be confiscated and destroyed. When Lewis Morris of New York was about to sign the Declaration of Independence, story has it that his brother strongly advised against it, warning that he could lose all of his property and wealth for the sake of others with much less to lose. But Morris told his brother, "Damn the consequences, give me the pen."

The Founders did not have to take that route. Many of these men were relatively wealthy in their own right with businesses and property for the times. They could have listened to Morris's brother and kept their worldly possessions in exchange for capitulating to the king. Or they could have declared their independence without that last sentence "mutually pledging their lives and fortunes." They could have said we're a nation of individuals, it's "every man for himself" and may the best man win. They easily could have. But they did not.

Being the last sentence in the Declaration of Independence makes it even more important as the shaping stone for the coming Constitution. THAT is the foundation of our country and that is why I strongly believe today that many of the Tea Party Republicans following the doctrine of Ayn Rand, and that includes Paul Ryan, would never sign that document of independence.

Those words "we mutually pledge" to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor when they were standing at the abyss, are not the words of cowardly men with their tail between their legs who exist for their own sake, that his responsibility is only to himself, or that he must not sacrifice himself for others. They didn't say we pledged enough already. Yet, what would the founders think of us today if they knew that they were willing to give their lives and fortunes for the birth of a country that two hundred years later would face a debt crisis where its inhabitants would not mutually pledge those selfless virtues again to defend or stop the nation from entering another abyss?

Heck, we have congressmen who won't even eliminate tax loopholes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations even if it would keep us from going over the fiscal cliff, unless they drop the tax rates to loopholed levels. They're willing to pledge less - that's the extent of their sacrifice.

Ayn Rand's retarded ideology along with Ryan's attempt to reshape our government and its purpose of existence away from the founders compact and into an abstract creation based on Rand's novels are not only anti-Christian but also inherently un-American. We are a compassionate country built on sharing and sacrifice, not by choice, but by declaration.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ryan's Worship Of Selfishness and Immorality Ain't Rand with Catholicism

Although this is old news among Wisconsin's political bloggers, there has been some renewed buzz around the Web in religious forums about Congressman Paul Ryan's proclaimed adoration for the regressive human doctrine of anti-Christian atheist Ayn Rand.

America: The National Catholic Weekly Excerpt:
It’s an appropriate topic during Holy Week. Gerson outlines the conflict between Christianity and Rand’s “Objectivism” which could not be more fundamental. In Rand’s words, her ethics held “that man exists for his own sake, that his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself for others, nor sacrifice others to himself.” She disdained the Cross: “It is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors.”

Congressman Paul Ryan is a Rand devotee. He calls her “the reason I got involved in public service” and requires his staffers to read Atlas Shrugged. Indeed Ryan’s celebrated budget proposal reads like it was written by John Galt himself. It is one grand shrug of the wealthy--combining further upper income tax cuts with slashes to Medicaid and the conversion of Medicare to a shrinking voucher.

It is worth noting that Ryan is Catholic.

Being Is Good Blog Excerpt:
Ayn Rand liked greed, immorality (an oversimplification since she was really just amoral), selfishness, hedonistic and predatory people, really bad novels of the kind she wrote...and she hated Christianity and morality (as it is presented in the Gospels), altruism of any kind, good literature (she despised Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, etc.), and the common man and woman whom she believed were societal parasites. She viewed kindness as a weakness, and would have despised Mother Teresa and probably thought Machiavelli was overly charitable.

It is no wonder then that Ryan's "Path To Prosperity" is built on Rand's economics claiming that collectivists of wealth should not be burdened with the debt or welfare of the rest of the population. Thus, Ryan insists on giving those with the most accumulated wealth easy new 1040s with loopholed tax rates already factored in allowing society's "producers" to operate unfettered by government regulation and taxes that subsidize the nation's best interests. Selfishness, for centuries considered a vice, under Ryan and Rand is projected as a virtue.

The Roman Catholic Church too should have a big problem with Paul Ryan and other Catholics who have proclaimed their strong devotion to Ayn Rand. Christians could only imagine with a sunken heart, how the likes of an irreligious Paul Ryan or Ayn Rand would have viewed Jesus Christ had they been alive during his time on Earth. According to the Faithful - Christ died for us - In our stead; to save us from death. He took our place; and by dying himself on the cross, saved us from dying eternally in hell. I can hear Rand saying at the the foot of the cross, "this man was irresponsible and had no self-esteem. Anybody who would sacrifice one's only reality – one's individuality – for a reality other than the self, is necessarily self-destructive and therefore immoral. This man on the cross is a fool," with the intellectually delinquent Ryan nodding in agreement.

Rand YouTube Videos

Ayn Rand on Woman's Place In Society

Rand On Religion

Mike Wallace Interview 1959 Pt.1

Mike Wallace Interview 1959 Pt.2

Mike Wallace Interview 1959 Pt.3

Friday, April 22, 2011

Paul Ryan Claims His Budget Will Pay Off Debt

I picked up Paul Ryan's two page "Summary of the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget resolution" flyer at the listening session he hosted in Janesville and finally had a chance to read it. It's loaded with all the usual "keep taxes low" "reduces deficits" "creates jobs" "unleashes prosperity" and of course "repeals the new health care law" keywords that the congressman rattles off during his press interviews.

In one section of the summary he dedicates to setting the record straight, he calls any suggestions that he is privatizing Social Security and/or Medicare OR cutting taxes for the rich "myths." Oooo-kay.

But we know it is a fact that Ryan's tax plan involves lowering individual and corporate taxes to a permanently "loopholed" tax rate. Is that out of context? I don't think so. Yet Ryan claims his tax cuts are not a net tax cut - instead he claims it is revenue neutral reform to make our economy more competitive. His exact words. Got that? But here's the part in his budget summary that I believe deserves a second look. Under a section fictitiously titled "Key Facts" is this...

Reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion compared to the President's budget over the next decade.
Puts the budget on the path to balance and pays off the debt.

I did not add the emphasis to "pays off," that is how it appeared in Ryan's flyer. So, Ryan says his budget will pay off the national debt, which is over $14 trillion and growing. To stop borrowing and start paying off that debt, at some point the government would have to start collecting more money than it spends. It would have to start producing surpluses. In plain English, Ryan's "Path To Prosperity" would have to start pulling wealth out from the American economy and out of worker's pockets. When taxes are too high, that's how surpluses are produced - at least according to our last "conservative" president.

"Today our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend. But they've got it backwards. The surplus is not the government's money; the surplus is the people's money." -- George W. Bush, Aug. 4, 2000

So accordingly, the first sign that you've been taxed too much is when the government can produce a surplus. Yet Ryan proposes to pay off the debt, which even with a modest annual surplus of say, $200 billion a year - would take 70 consecutive years to pay it off - without interest! But most of Ryan's 2012 budget summary is built to produce results in a ten year window which means Ryan's "path" must pay for government AND collect $1.4 trillion extra EACH YEAR from U.S. taxpayers for ten straight years - and do it all with historically low tax rates. Utterly impossible if not totally destructive to the nation's economy.

Even taking the more conservative 70 year route, how would that massive and continuous confiscation of private capital and wealth by government - never to be returned - help create prosperity for individuals?

You don't want to know what happened after the last time our country had a decade of annual surpluses - do you?

More On Budget Surpluses here.

Ryan Says "We Do Tax The Top" - Constituents Disagree

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Video: Paul Ryan's Democratic Challenger Steps Up

Don't know who Rob Zerban is? He tells a little about himself in the video below.

Johnson Bank - True Colors

Today's True Colors Entry - Changing The Way We Do Business

Johnson Bank/Johnson Insurance
Contact: Larry Squire. Johnson bank was a sponsor of Walker's FJ dinner. Contributions from Squire were split and minimal. $200 to GOP, $325 to Dems. However, Johnson Bank (WI) contributed $2,850 to Scott Walker. Johnson Insurance (WI) delivered $1,650 to Walker - Zero dollars to Tom Barrett.

Political contributions: Janesville Location Only (post 2008)
REPUBLICAN $405 (Walker - $205)
DEMOCRATIC $200 Source

Rating: FJ+ (4/21/11) Legend

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ryan's "Path To Prosperity" Leads To a Dead End

I knew I was at the right place when I saw this minivan parked outside Janesville's Municipal Building where Rep. Paul Ryan was hosting a listening session. Inside, the city council chamber was cramped with about 150 people seated and another 40 including media workers standing around in the perimeter aisles and huddled at the center entrance door.

The crowd was not the typical pro-Ryan crowd that I've come to expect at Ryan's hometown meetings where usually a solid majority are members of his local political cheerleading network. This time there were many citizens prepared to challenge his assertions. A few even had charts and graphs of their own only to be discounted by Ryan claiming that he could produce a chart showing an opposite view. One citizen pointedly stated that Ryan voted for most of the debt that he now wants to fix on the backs of seniors. Ryan avoided those remarks with poofy contortions that it's time to move forward, etc. Several of Ryan's answers appeared to be deliberately stretched out into nauseating time-killing recitals of individual responsibility about fostering growth to build a larger tax base and personal wealth.

One item that struck me was that Ryan openly admitted that health care costs are rising much faster and higher than the standard rate of inflation. He never however directly connected the industry's rocketing inflation rates and high costs to his "shorted" vouchers OR as the main problem driving Medicare's instability except to explain later that somehow costs will magically go down once the private health care insurance companies start fighting for your voucher payment. The on-your-own individual he insists, will have more leverage than the US Government does when it comes to exerting power for lower prices. Of course Ryan does not offer his so-called competitive lower price "advantage" to current seniors to help lower the costs for future seniors - but only those currently under the age of 55.

The second item of interest was Ryan's statements about giving states more control over social and poverty programs while at the same time boasting on how well the non-state Medicare Part D is performing. Ryan seems to cherry pick and save the programs that have a strong relationship with Big Business for congressional control, while throwing the bones and toast to the states under a federal block grant. But if Ryan felt so strongly about state control and rights, he would have insisted Big Pharma deal with the states and not voted for Medicare Part D. Ryan is clearly fighting for Big Lobby interests and he wants to keep it that way. There's just too much money at stake.

When another member of the audience was telling Ryan that Washington politicians are sell-outs to Big Money and we need to get rid of lobbyists, Ryan laughably took out his pen and notebook and appeared to be jotting notes as if that was the first time he's ever heard of such a thing. I was rolling my eyes at the play acting.

The problem with Ryan's convenient deception is that the rising costs and out-of-control inflation in the nation's private health care industry is the nation's biggest driver of debt and uncompetiveness not with only the federal budget, but state budgets, business budgets and family budgets as well - and it is now endangering Medicare. Medicare is a victim - not the suspect. There can be no doubt that Ryan's plan to end Medicare as we know it is an effort to wrest the power of government insurance away from individuals during our most vulnerable years and turn our hardship over to the profiteers on Wall Street for private financial gain - that is his path to prosperity. His plan to privatize profits for the health insurance industry is very different than Obama's plan, but like Obama's, it offers absolutely nothing in the way of slashing health care costs and fixing the real problem.

Also read: Best way To Fight Deficits

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Whatever You Do - Don't Connect These Two Articles


Super Rich see taxes drop while nearly half of US households pay no federal income tax.


The Super Rich Say Fix deficit or risk credit rating.

How to balance budgets and begin buying back our debt in less than ten years

Chicago Tribune Excerpt:
In all, the tax code is filled with a total of $1.1 trillion in credits, deductions and exemptions, an average of about $8,000 per taxpayer, according to an analysis by the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent watchdog within the IRS.

Fix that without exchanging it for a new massive tax cut and create an Alternative Minimum Tax for S & P corporations like GE so they never again suckle on the taxpayer's teat for $3 billion in subsidies. A Corporate AMT beginning around 20% would be great way to kick off the "reform."

Ryan's Tax Reform Makes Loopholes For The Wealthy Permanent

In case you missed Paul Ryan on "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer, Ryan was in full fuzzy logic auto-pilot answering questions about taxing the rich and Obama's fiscal commission. Ryan genuinely seems to have a problem with any bi-partisan panel or commission seeking common ground solutions to the nations' ability to keep it's debt promises. He figures why bother when he's got all the answers. First he speaks positively of the debt commission, even boasts of stealing a page from it while attacking Obama for disavowing its solutions. During the interview, Ryan however avoids to acknowledge that he was on the fiscal commission and voted against its conclusions.

In the video below, watch for Ryan to say "So first of all we're not talking about cutting taxes, we're just not agreeing with the President's tax increases... we're saying leave the tax rates where they are right now and get rid of all those loopholes and deductions..."

But that is exactly what Obama has proposed.

Ah, but Ryan then says tax rates to the wealthiest will be lowered, "in exchange for losing your loopholes and deductions".... He just doesn't say this all in one sentence. So when Ryan only moments earlier said "we're not talking about cutting taxes"....he lied. It is about cutting taxes for the wealthy.

Ryan obviously knows he's lowering tax rates for the wealthy, that's his primary objective. But instead he plays semantics by claiming his is "tax reform." In his abstraction then, Ryan views stand alone loophole elimination as a tax increase as Obama has proposed - but creates his own definition of dropping the tax rates in exchange for closing the loopholes - not as a tax cut - but as tax reform.

Ryan also continues to burn bridges as he refers to Obama as a weak leader for using fiscal commissions as a tool for kicking the "decisions" to others, when the fiscal commissions never were charged with making any decisions, but only to draw up workable ideas to help solve the debt problem.

This is all well practiced double-talk that can spin even the seasoned Greenspanner around in circles. It's my opinion that any candidate that expects to challenge Ryan in a debate will have to be quick on the draw and watch for Ryan's idioms to expose his false messaging and skewed coherence in front of a live audience. It's like trying to forget the content of Ryan's actual proposals because nearly all of his plans are unworkable, and instead work to dissect his presentation and expose his deceptions. But if it doesn't come automatically, it won't be easy.

Another view on Ryan's "Face the Nation" appearance here.

A good collection of articles and commentaries on the latest Ryan escapades are posted here

Monday, April 18, 2011

SSI Technologies - True Colors

Today's True Colors Entry - Changing The Way We Do Business

SSI Technologies, Inc.
Contact: Bruce Corner, personal contribution of $150 to Rick Richard (R). SSI recorded $3,250 to Scott Walker and was also a sponsor of Forward's Janesville's annual dinner hosting Walker.

Political Contributions: (Post 2008 election cycle)

Rating: FJ+ (4/18/11) Legend

Sunday, April 17, 2011

How To Trash Talk Paul Ryan? Just Bring Up His Record

According to Greta Van Susteren and Karl Rove, President Obama was trash talking a Wisconsin congressman when he said this during an open mic...

"When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure... he's just being America's accountant and trying to be responsible -- this is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill--but wasn't paid for," -- President Barack Obama

GVS transcript -- "He meant the trash talk only for the ears of his buddies, not all of America."

Obama telling it like is must be a carryover from his days as a trash talking pickup basketball player, right Karl?

Excuse me for trash talking yet again, but we know Ryan voted for the Iraq War of choice ($1.2+ trillion through 2012), the GOP's Medicare Part D boondoggle ($200B+ 2004 through 2008) ($725B+ 2009 through 2018), TARP ($750B) and the first round of the Bush deficit ballooning tax cuts ($2.3 Trillion over 10 years). Those alone add up to $5.2 trillion. We also know that George W. Bush racked up $6.1 trillion in annual budget deficits during his term and Paul Ryan voted for every one of them helping set our nation on path of damage control deficits for years to come.

We know these to be facts. But what does Ryan say about that spending spree? He merely stated, "Uh, republicans lost their way." But we also know that Ryan recently refused to support unemployment compensation as a stand alone bill and said the assistance was becoming a hammock for the unemployed and America could not afford the $38 billion cost. But he reversed that position once the second round of tax cuts for the rich were thrown into the mix, eventually adding another $858 billion in future debt. THAT America could afford.

We also know that the Iraq War was mostly a string of one-time emergency supplementals that were not added into the annual budgets or that the effects of the Bush tax cuts could not be calculated into annual budgets simply they acted as an open drain on the treasury. All in all, Paul Ryan in his twelve miserable years play-acting as our congressman can be directly linked to $12.1 trillion in debt! Some of it has yet to be spent. Ironically, he's called himself and others like him "fiscal conservatives."

But now, Ryan claims that republicans have found their way. Yes sir, in a move that he claims will make things all better again, he is calling for $6.2 trillion dollars in cuts to Medicaid and Medicare over the next ten years. He wants us to believe that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are the main reasons for our national debt and if we don't have an alternative plan to balance the budget in 60 years, we have no right to analyze or criticize his proposal or bring up his record. Because to do so, you're just trash talking.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Walker's Budget: The Poor Aren't Broke

Forbes Excerpt:
MADISON, Wis. -- A new nonpartisan analysis of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal shows that it would raise taxes for poor people, while decreasing taxes overall.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau report shows that taxes for low and moderate income people would increase more than $49 million over two years. The largest increase comes to families who qualify for the earned income tax credit and homeowners who receive a homestead tax credit.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Anti-Partisan Crusader's Selective Rage Targets Labor Unions

During last Monday's Janesville City council meeting, council members offered starkly different opinions over whether Ed James, a strongly opinionated letter writer and emailer to the newspaper and city council, should be appointed to the city's transportation committee. In recent correspondence, several council members apparently felt targeted by James, that his written perspectives and attitude created an unworkable relationship with the council.

First, here's a little Rock Netroots history on Ed James. Several years ago he wrote a letter to the Janesville Gazette complaining about what he described as increased political infiltration by the local labor union's open and pro-active citizen public support for a few city council candidates in Janesville's non-partisan city council election. The anti-labor Gazette quickly picked up James' ball bat and began to pound on the targeted candidates through their newsprint by painting the candidates union supporters as having partisan motives, all just two days before election. In hindsight, it can be said that James and the Gazette blackballed a city council candidate simply for his affiliation with a labor union. Back then in 2008, I wrote my take on that episode here, and a follow-up a month later here.

Now enter 2011 and James recently injected himself into the caustic email attack initiated by council member Frank Perrotto against fellow council member Yuri Rashkin. Rashkin you might recall, attended the Forward Janesville dinner and left the event early to engage with labor union supporters when Gov. Scott Walker entered the stage to deliver his speech. This action caused Perrotto, also attending the event, to become unhinged and he proceeded to write Rashkin exactly what he thought, calling Rashkin's behavior despicable, stupid and partisan among others. James, soon afterward then sent emails to the council taking Perrotto's side in the attack and named three council members responsible for bringing partisanship to the council. James also added that the city council letter sent earlier to the governor in favor of collective bargaining rights was inappropriate.

Now enter this week and Ed James has asked to be appointed to the city's transportation committee. Appointments for committees are finalized by the seven member city council, and it was at Monday's meeting where those three council members voiced their concerns about Ed James. They eventually wanted to direct the committee to search for a new candidate. That motion failed and James was appointed anyways.

The Janesville Gazette in the meantime, opened up their story on the city council James appointment discussion with this.

JG Excerpt:
Three city council members on Monday tried to blackball a resident recommended to serve on the city's transportation committee, saying he had been too critical of certain council members.

Blackball? In open discussion on public television? Okay, we know that the Gazette supported James' anti-labor views in the past. So a defense was expected. Over time, the committee appointment process in Janesville has become somewhat of a rubber stamp for a revolving group of establishment insiders and generic agreeables, so the go-along-to-get-along Gazette suddenly reverses direction to satisfy their defense for James.

In their follow-up editorial on Thursday, the Gazette picks up where they left off with James nearly three years ago and in his defense writes up the three dissenting council members as indifferent to residents holding a perspective contrary to prevailing viewpoints.

Councilman Bill Truman agreed, saying, "That's why we have the committee appointments, so the council doesn't pick and choose the 'yes' and 'no' men on the committee."

But, exactly why does the city council reserve the right to committee appointments if it can be argued that they are choosing only "yes" men when they appoint, or when they don't appoint - the local media monopoly writes up their favored applicant as being blackballed?

So what's all the hoopla really about? Well, Ed James might think of himself as some kind of a anti-partisan crusader, but I believe Jame's anti-partisanship, including that of the Janesville Gazette's, is very selective - to an extreme. Here's why. When the Janesville City Council endorsed the legislative agenda of the local business establishment lobbyist group, Forward Janesville, James was silent - and so was the Gazette. No letters to the editor decrying partisan lobbyists taking over city hall, no editorials and no emails about political infiltration either. But that endorsement at the time was a political endorsement no different than if the city council endorsed the legislative agenda of the local UAW 95. Yet, had the council endorsed a local UAW union agenda, you can bet James (and the Gazette) would have went ballistic.

But you might also say, "didn't the city council send a letter to the governor expressing their support for collective bargaining?" Wasn't that very similar to the council's Forward Janesville endorsement as well? The answer to that is - no, it's not the same at all. When the council developed that letter, they expressed their value and support in "collective bargaining" which is little more than a legal framework for two parties to reach an amicable agreement. They did not endorse the legislative agenda of a politically active lobby nor did they spell out the name of an organized voting bloc in that letter. That's important. But the city council did exactly that two years earlier with the Forward Janesville endorsement resolution. The letter supporting collective bargaining doesn't even come close to the same level of political pandering and partisanship. Back then, I thought it was and still do believe that endorsing the legislative agenda of Forward Janesville was the worst possible partisan action a so-called non-partisan city council could undertake. Yet to someone who pretends to be Mister anti-partisan politics in Janesville city government - Ed James was completely silent.

Of course I believe James is entitled to his aggressively partisan opinion, and different even opposing views should always be welcome and engaged with in the city council and on committees, not rejected. But with James' history, there are solid reasons why his one-sided anti-partisanship rhetoric doesn't hold water and if his perspective on something he thinks he's an expert on can't stand up to a simple test - what are we to believe?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Joe Knilans Asks Unions To Do What He Couldn't

Work Together Excerpt:
I would urge the unions to work together with the school board to find a solution to the budget deficit that saves as many positions as possible. If we all "roll up our sleeves" and work together, there truly is no barrier we cannot rise above. -- Assembly Rep. Joe Knilans (R)

Jesse Ventura: Witness the Revolution

Letter To The Ruling Class

You control our world. You’ve poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You’ve liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You’ve profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit… we are bleeding… but we ain’t got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution!

The Serfs.

We Ain't Got Time to bleed

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ABC Supply - True Colors

Today's True Colors Entry - Changing The Way We Do Business

ABC Supply Co. (including Hendricks Holding and Development)

Owner: Diane Hendricks (Co-Chair Rock County 5.0)
Biggest local individual contributor to GOP corporate candidates. Rock County's Koch. Billionaire development and real estate holding company is a participant in conservative strategy meetings and is also a major recipient of local government aid (TIF surplus funds, $2.7 million Water Tower, etc.). $12,500 in contributions to Scott Walker. Threw a $250 bone to Tim Cullen (D). Too many infractions to summarize here.

Political Contributions: (Post 2008 election cycle)
DEMOCRATIC $250 Source

Rating: FJ$ (4/12/11)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Challenger Lines Up To Face Paul Ryan

Saw this first at Democurmudgeon Blog. We already have one challenger gearing up and anxious to face Congressman Paul Ryan. He's Rob Zerba, a small business owner and Kenosha County Supervisor.

This is great news early because that is what it's going to take to defeat him. It's going to take a nearly two year committment and a huge marketing and message campaign to overcome the greased wheels of the RyanScare Machine and his media enablers.

I hope to hear more about Rob Zerban in the near future and it'd be great to see a giant field of challengers. But Zerban's got off on the right foot. Get out their early and make a splash. Now is the time.

Here's his For Congress page

about page

and more from Politico

And Huff Post

Ryan's Hometown On Path To Poverty

The front-page story in Sunday's Janesville Gazette reported on the growing poverty facing Janesville's school children. Titled, Pupils feel pinch of poverty, the newspaper failed to touch on any of the possible causes for the decline and also left out scads of pertinent information. One item they left out is the number of homeless school children - over 350. Instead they wrote about the personal struggles of several Janesville students trying to keep their head above water, which isn't difficult to relate to considering this is Rep. Paul Ryan's hometown. To the newspaper's credit, they at least didn't try to hide one important number. The fact that nearly half of Janesville's school district kids live in poverty. You read that right. 47.3% of children in the Janesville school district are living in low-income homes. Of note is a percentage chart the newspaper produced that shows poverty among school children has been on a relentless upward trajectory since 2000, interestingly the beginning of Rep. Paul Ryan's occupation of our district seat in Congress.

It's no secret that Paul Ryan's hometown and congressional district has some of the worst joblessness, foreclosures, declining average wages, property values and poverty in the state of Wisconsin. That this is the same congressman that writes fictional budgets of Dickensian inspired prosperity and roadmaps of a tough love utopia is of tremendous consequence. We are living his dream.

Just consider that since the time when Ryan was appointed to the House Ways and Means and eventually the House Budget Committee, he promised the folks at home he would be bringing home even less. He meant it.

Beginning in 2005, Ryan's district has seen an annual precipitous drop in average tax return dollars through federal grants and contracts totaling $3.72 billion dollars through 2008. During the same period, other Wisconsin districts did not experience the same cut-off of federal aid. Ryan, for whatever ideological reason and there are plenty, went on a personal fiscal crusade against his district that resulted in a draining effect on many of district's more economically fragile communities. Ryan is so far out there in Bizarro world that this could be his own Frankenstein experiment to prove that the working poor and unemployed need less money in their pockets in order to liberate themselves from poverty. The theory is once rock bottom is struck, the only way forward is up. At 50% poverty, Janesville is only halfway there.

Of additional note during the summer of 2010, Obama's counsel on automotive communities, Edward Montgomery, paid a visit to Janesville to find out what kind of help the locals want or expect from the federal government. The main gripe coming from Ryan's district constituents (Ryan did not attend the meeting) revolved around the obvious lack of, and access to - capital. No surprise there.

Yet, while Ryan was cutting off his own district from a return on their tax dollars, he went on a spending spree. Just consider that he voted for the Iraq War ($1.2+ trillion through 2012), the GOP's Medicare Part D boondoggle ($200B+ 2004 through 2008) ($725B+ 2009 through 2018), and the recent tax cut ransom package ($858B). Throw in TARP (originally pegged at 700B) and the first round of the Bush tax cuts ($2.3 trillion over 10 years). All in all, just those few pieces of legislation resulted in adding $5.98 TRILLION outside of the annual budgets to the national debt. This doesn’t include the first stimulus or other major incidentals. Ryan voted for all of it and played a significant role in adding almost the same amount to the nation’s debt that it previously took over 200 years to accumulate. So while Ryan was shortchanging his own district constituents, he was loading up the military machine, Big Pharma and of course, the rich.

But Ryan's reign of terror is not over. There is much work to be done. While his district continues to bleed, he now wants to change the role of government in a new effort to prevent his wealthy base and corporate masters from sharing some of the responsibility in the burden of debt he charged up. It's tax cuts for everyone!! Along with defunding and dismantling Medicare, Medicaid and eventually Social Security, Ryan wants to remove what he views as the last three "hammocks" of the working poor and middle class. As if that isn't bad enough.

It's now 2011 and when half of the kids in his hometown are living in poverty, I'd think Ryan's record should start meaning something to people. But for some reason, I think people just don't care.

Related: Paul Ryan Is Not Who You Think

Gazette Endorsements Explain Why America Headed Downhill

Another Manufacturer Fleeing Ryan's District

Monday, April 11, 2011

Will Walker's Janesville Contribution Base Donate To Public Schools?

This ought to be interesting to watch.

A group exclusive of the Janesville teachers' union has formed to collect donations from the Janesville community in hopes to help shore up the district's $13.4 million budget shortfall.

Sunday's Janesville Gazette editorial was not shy about salting wounds in a punishing attempt to use the "Save Janesville Schools" campaign as a tool to malign teachers for standing up for their collective bargaining rights. A lot of people would like to keep the school's fundraiser apolitical. So much for that thought.

Janesville Gazette Editorial:
Sure, some will see the irony and even hypocrisy in teachers and the Janesville Education Asociation raising money to save jobs. After all, the union refused to reopen its contract out of fear of exposing itself to Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining limits. Then members joined protesters who harassed and intimidated local business people arriving to hear Walker's March 29 speech at a Forward Janesville meeting.

I don't see that as much of a hypocrisy as I see it as a challenge to the business community. But the hypocrisy I do see was when the organization, Forward Janesville, sent a letter calling the fundraiser "good news" and urging members to attend last Tuesday's fundraising meeting. This coming after nearly every key member of the politically active lobbyist group financially supported Scott Walker's campaign and applauded his every statement with standing ovations at the Forward Janesville dinner meeting. It's either you believe in supporting public schools and giving children a quality education or you don't. I don't know how much money FJ could give to Janesville's schools that would reconcile their support for Walker's plan to strip away bargaining rights and cut over $800 million from public education. For many obvious reasons, no amount of cash donations would likely be enough. Everyone would have been better off opposing Walker's budget repair bill. But that's just my opinion.

But this will be interesting to watch and see if their donations to Janesville's schools will exceed their donations to Scott Walker. And if it does - what will it mean?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Janesville Jets - True Colors

Today's True Colors Entry - Changing The Way We Do Business

Janesville Jets - Wisconsin Hockey Partners, LLC (WHP)
Owner(s): Bill McCoshen, Mark Cullen, Stephen B. King, William Kennedy, Tobin Ryan (Member Rock County 5.0), Eric P. Peterson, & Joe Pavelski.

Just at a time when the Janesville Ice Arena was enjoying an upsurge in community activity from area residents, the Janesville City Council hands over the community arena's programming control, game time advertising rights and beer sales concessions to the WHP in a cheap-rent lucrative contract that not only strings along taxpayers to pay for many of the team's brick-n-mortar operational expenses, but it also heavily restricts public use of the facility during primetime. You would be hard pressed to find a more candied deal than this considering the small scope of the teams' enterprise. McCoshen, Cullen and King alone are enough to classify the WHP as a GOP astro-turf organization. Of note: William Kennedy splits his contributions but leans Republican. He donated $750 to Tom Barrett. Added up, the owners of the WHP donated $6,750 to Walker.

Political contributions: Post-2008 election cycle

Rating: FJ$ (4/8/11) legend

Rogue County Clerk Rediscovers 7,500 Votes For Prosser

This is unbelievable. I never acknowledged a Kloppenburg victory due to the extremely close unofficial voting results. 200, 300, 400 votes are just too close to call when human error hasn't been factored in. It could have flipped either way with a good fight. But 7,500 ballots? Discovered only after a county clerk acknowledged that she broke protocol when she removed election data files from the county’s computer network and uploaded them to stand-alone personal computers accessible only in her office? Why does this only seem possible in Fitzwalkerstan?

According to this JSOnline article, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' had previously clashed with county board members in January over election security in her office. Some of the computer software dates back to Windows95 and because some of her equipment is so dated - it no longer gets security updates, and her election systems are not connected to the county's system but are on stand-alone equipment. Nickolaus has previously scoffed at complying with impartial election audits, thumbing her nose at critics. It should be noted that arch-conservative Waukesha County is one of the wealthiest counties in the state.

So, who is Nickolaus? Kathy Nickolaus worked for Assembly Republican Caucus when Prosser was Speaker. Caucus is controlled by speaker, so he is her former boss. Source

In 2001, Nickolaus was granted immunity to testify about her role as a computer analyst for the Assembly Republican Caucus, then under investigation — along with the Senate Republican Caucus and the Democratic caucuses for both houses — for using state resources to secretly run campaigns. more here.

One Wisconsin: Election Returns: What Went On in Waukesha?

DailyKos: Why Prosser needed exactly +7,500 votes If those new numbers stand, Kloppenburg, not the state, will have to bear the costs of a recount if she demands one.

Mark Pocan: If you are pissed at how they “found” 7500 votes in Waukesha County, the Capitol of Fitzwalkerstan, go to this link and donate now!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

April Fools Day - Where's The GOP's 2012 Annual Budget?

Although many in the mainstream news media including Rep. Paul Ryan himself calls his ideologically driven class war plan Path To Prosperity a "budget," the proposal is little more than a report from his fictional "Roadmap For America's Future" spun into a congressional resolution to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid. It contains no breakdown of current and expected income revenue or expenditures for the FY 2012. Instead he continues to use an ideological calculator in drawing made-up numbers to fill tables of projections to 2020 and more charts showing projections to 2080. The fact is, Ryan cannot produce an annual government budget that would satisfy his Oil/Insurance/Wall Street masters without first dismantling these coveted safety nets

It should also be noted that "adult conversation" Ryan begins his phony budget debate by lobbing bombs at Democrats. On Fox News during a preview to his "budget" unveiling, Ryan said Democrats "will lie and demonize" his proposal.

Mercy Hospital - True Colors

Today's True Colors Entry - Changing The Way We Do Business

Mercy Health Systems
Contact: Rich Gruber - Mercy Hospital Janesville shows a mixed bag of lightweight contributions to politicians in both parties and Mercy CEO Javon Bea reflects that same mixed bag of contributions for over the past decade. Current election cycle recorded just one $100 donation to Walker from Mercy HealthCare Professionals. Gruber donated $200 to Amy Loudenbeck and $250 to Democratic causes. Despite being a Forward Janesville member and a Walker dinner sponsor, Mercy had made enough societal contributions to offset those weaknesses and could have earned a True Colors "rainbow," but the donation to Walker is unforgivable under the circumstances. Maybe next year.

Total Political Contributions: (Post 2008 election cycle)
DEMOCRATIC $500 Source

Rating: FJ+ (4/7/11) Legend

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Revolution Is On

Something good has begun. In fact, district by district results show electorate creep against the GOP corporate takeover of Wisconsin. While the State Supreme Court election results will likely remain in limbo until a recount, perhaps even two recounts, there can be no doubt that the revolution is on in Wisconsin.

The voters in the County of Rock once again stood strong with their peers in our fight to restore honor and law in our state. Rock County resoundedly rejected David Prosser. The vote total was Kloppenburg - 22,145 (60.2%), Prosser - 14,626 (39.7%). If the State Supreme Court election is to be viewed as a referendum on Scott Walker, Rock County voters have clearly put him and his class war legislators on notice.

Of equal importance is the fact that a Democrat won the county executive seat vacated by Walker and a resurgence of progressivism in the election of Paul Soglin in Madison. This is a very good thing.

Even in non-partisan Janesville, when a city council member verbally ripped an opponent of Walker's budget bill and used his council seat to eagerly voice his support for Scott Walker and his budget repair bill, informed people took notice and decided not to re-elect him. The Janesville Gazette blames the divisiveness in Madison and partisan voters for his loss.

No question, Prosser was considered a heavy favorite by the paid experts before Walker set the state on fire. Incumbents are always hard to beat, but even with that I still can't believe the numbers he garnered in the state. It seems like they're just hungrier to deregulate our environment, centralize our government and confiscate our wealth and rights from us than we are to protect them. The people have got to start viewing our State Supreme Court elections like the corporation counsels of the WMC and the RNC do - like it's life or death. This must be made a high priority. Our work is cut out for us that's for sure.

But the cancerous seed (Glenn Beck expression) from the west and northwestern 'burbs of Milwaukee continue to hold the rest of the state hostage to their radically different wealth redistributive corporate agenda. Make no mistake: Corporations and their Republican base will fight back. You can bet they will double down for the upcoming recalls and demonize voting consumers for no longer blindly supporting businesses that contribute to political causes against wage earners and society. There is much work to be done on our side. There are no accolades and there is no place to rest. Plus, we are easily out-financed in our goals by the wealthy corporatists by almost 2 - 1. Koch has very deep pockets.

The close numbers prove just how the Citizens United US Supreme Court ruling have tilted the tables even further against the wage earning taxpayer. They outspent us this time and nearly pulled it out. Corporations and mega-internationals collect enough kick-backed American tax dollars to pour millions of dollars in one shot into U.S. elections and consistently outspend wage class organizations. They are opposing us paid for with our own tax treasury. Walker is their guy and if his class war bill eventually becomes law, much more tax money will be kicked back and made available to defend the plutocracy.

Yet, the revolution taking place in Wisconsin must go beyond its borders. In Congress, Wisconsin's ideologically poisoned congressman Paul Ryan has proposed a plan that will abolish Medicare within 10 years. Every person under the age of 55 today will not have the quality and equitable health care guarantee that seniors enjoy today. Ryan blames the federal government, Medicare and Medicaid for the greed-driven high costs of the private health care industry. His position with Big Insurance is the same position he holds for Big Oil. He thinks their profits should be padded by deleveraging seniors with tax subsidized vouchers. The price at the pump isn't high enough. Ryan's plan is so far out there that it offers no room for compromise - just like Walker.

I'm so proud of Rock County and the State of Wisconsin for standing up. We put the enemies of good government, wages and benefits for all on notice. But this is not a time for healing. This is a time for battle.

I'm now convinced that the people. United. Will never be defeated.

Janesville City Council Incumbent Defeated

After initiating a highly insulting personal attack against fellow council member Yuri Rashkin in an email a week ago, incumbent Frank Perrotto, known for his flippantly arrogant comments during council discussion, was unseated last night from the Janesville City Council. During a recent city council meeting, it was also Perrotto who used his council position on live TV to voice his support for Gov. Scott Walker and his budget repair bill.

In a Janesville Gazette web article posted soon after election results, the newspaper spins in defense of Frank Perrotto as a "victim" of partisan politics. The Gazette endorsed Perrotto.

With one seat wide open of four seats in the mix, Deb Dongarra-Adams and Sam Liebert captured two while incumbents George Brunner and Russ Steeber prevailed over the remaining challengers. Congratulations!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

First National Bank and Trust - True Colors

Today's True Colors Entry - Changing The Way We Do Business

First National Bank and Trust
Steven M. Eldred, President (Member Of Rock County 5.0).
Steven M. Eldred's recorded political donations over the years have been spotty with only one recorded donation in the latest election, $200 to Jeff Klett, a Republican. However, Steven's father, John Eldred is Director Emeritus for First National Bank's holding company, Centre One Bancorp, Inc. The elder Eldred shows a far more active political contribution pattern including a donation of $500 to Scott Walker.

Total Political contributions: (combined from 1991)
DEMOCRATIC $600 Source

Rating: FJ$ (4/5/11) Legend?

Monday, April 04, 2011

No Surprise: Local Newspaper Endorses Palin's Prosser

Campaign Co-Chairman Drops Hot-Headed Prosser - Cites Conscience

Channel 3000 Excerpt:
Former Gov. Lucey Leaves Prosser's Campaign
I have followed with increasing dismay and now alarm the campaign of Justice David Prosser, whom I endorsed at the outset of his campaign and in whose campaign I serve as the honorary co-chairman," Lucey said in the statement. "I can no longer in good conscience lend my name and support to Justice Prosser's candidacy. Too much has come to light that Justice Prosser has lost that most crucial of characteristics for a Supreme Court Justice -- as for any judge -- even-handed impartiality.

Shadowy Group funding Shady Prosser Ads

Koch Brothers' Heavy Hand Behind Anti-Kloppenburg Ad, Everything Else In Wisconsin.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Paul Ryan Postpones April Fools Day Till Next Week

April Fools Day just doesn't seem the same without Rep. Paul Ryan grandstanding his class war budget booklet.

Congress.Org Excerpt:
House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., is expected to reveal his fiscal 2012 budget resolution early next week.

Bliss Communications - True Colors

Today's True Colors Entry. Changing the way we do business.

Bliss Communications
Owner: Sidney H. Bliss (WMC Board Member) Parent company of the Janesville Gazette, Messenger, Walworth County Today, WCLO and WJVL.

Bliss Com. deserves special consideration to uncover their True Colors because this media monopoly shows very little in recorded political financial contributions. But what they don't offer in hard cash, they make up for in a very big way in propaganda dollars. Despite Rock County and Janesville holding a general 55/45 Democratic bias in a republican year, the editors of the flagship Janesville Gazette claim they reflect the views of the local constituency best. So much in fact that they endorsed McCain/Palin in 2008 and Scott Walker, JB Van Hollen, Ron Johnson, Paul Ryan, Tyler August, Evan Wynn and Amy Loudenbeck in 2010 and David Prosser for Justice in 2011. Their radio station WCLO hired a committed corporate cheerleader and GOP hack in the trash-talking Dan Conry. The truth is, Bliss Com does not reflect the views of the area's core political values - they vehemently oppose them. They promote their own socio-political narrative in a clear effort to destabilize the area's electoral base. It is for these reasons and after years of close observation that I've pegged their daily newspaper and affiliate operations conservatively at $500 daily in GOP propaganda dollars and top it off with $50,000 worth in GOP editorial endorsement value. During the last election cycle, modest contributions recorded under the Bliss Com name have come from Jason Mielke, who also happens to be the new chairman of the Rock County Republican Party. Cash contributions of note were to Amy Loudenbeck - $400 and Ken Brotheridge - $100. For all practical purposes, Bliss Com is south-central Wisconsin's GOP media propaganda machine.

Political Propaganda Contributions in dollars: (annual)

Rating: FJ$ (4/1/11)