Today is

Monday, April 30, 2012

Video: Moyers/Kaplan Tackle Money, Media and Democracy

Were you ever doing a chore in another room or reading a good book and heard some guy talking on the TV in the background and you had to drop what you were doing and pay full attention? That happened to me Sunday evening while overhearing the Bill Moyers Show on PBS during his interview of Marty Kaplan. I had no idea who Marty Kaplan was before this show. In short, Kaplan is currently the Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. You can read his bio here.

He’s also an expert on how big money and big media have coupled to create a Disney World of democracy.

Many of us already know what Kaplan had to say and can almost mime his next response before he does, but I have heard few people put it all together with such command, precision and depth in a cohesive presentation as Kaplan does. The segment with Kaplan is over 30 minutes long and Moyers ices the cake at the end of his show with short piece on nutty tea bagger Allen West.

Highly recommended. A must see!

What others are saying:

Newton*** --"I just finished watching the segment with Marty Kaplan, and I was very impressed. He's not bogged down being indebted to a Republican or Democratic agenda, so his observations come with a refreshing clarity."

Potdf*** -- "This program feeds my mind and soul and is a moment in media of responsible journalism, interview expertise and a storm of fresh air."

deliar*** -- "Marty Kaplan was a brilliant choice! It's not that he's told us what we didn't already know in broad strokes -- most of us on this comment thread, anyway -- but he brings it all together so beautifully, and complete with lots of details and examples."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Paul Ryan Re-Invents Christianity For Role In His Future Dystopia

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” -- Paul Ryan

It's too bad Paul Ryan didn't give that credit to Jesus Christ, because that endorsement played a huge part in shaping the congressman's public persona. But Ryan now claims that any philosophical connection drawn between him and Ayn Rand is either overstated or an urban legend.

According to Think Progress, he's broken off his well-documented and longtime love affair with Ayn Rand. At least that's what he now claims. Hmmm. So which Paul Ryan should we believe? And, will Ryan's Ayn Rand rejection today be his urban legend of tomorrow? What will brainless sheep like Sen. Ron Johnson now say after he sold his soul to the devil when he claimed that Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" is his foundational book? Oh Lord forgive RoJo, for he not know what he do.

But, why did Ryan suddenly throw Ayn Rand overboard, albeit with a life preserver and rope? For starters, mainly out of political expediency. Paul Ryan first and foremost is a politician if he is anything. Ayn Rand was hanging like the Sword of Damocles over his career, particularly more so when the Catholic clergy indirectly confronted him in a letter to choose between atheism and Christianity. He chose Christianity of course, but only under that proposition. For a Sunday mass politician like Ryan, rejecting Rand was an easy call to make. In reality though, Ryan still messages Ayn Rand so what he did was akin to sliding a book slipcover of the New Testament over Atlas Shrugged.

Ryan's callous public rejection of his life hero also shows as to what extent he is willing to go to reach his ultimate goal. In my view, this was an obvious yet insidious move by a deceitful politician to use anything at his disposal, including Christianity, to get there. There was no way Ryan was going to sell a trickle-down "upwardly-mobile" austere future built on the fictional tales of anti-American, anti-Christian Ayn Rand. He needed a new philosophical apropos for the new poor his dystopian plan will bring and he thinks he found it buried within Catholic Church teachings of subsidiarity.

Subsidiarity in a nutshell...

Religion News Excerpt: Society’s decisions should be made, Clark wrote at the Catholic Moral Theology blog, “at the lowest level possible and the highest level necessary.” It’s not just a matter of ever smaller government, or reflexively devolving responsibilities downward, but of making sure that key societal functions are provided for.

But that's not how Ryan understands subsidiarity. He believes, "the [Catholic] principle of subsidiarity is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society of the principle of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community...." Ryan's words. Ryan must then view Christianity as the future governing body for the lowest rungs of American society and relegates Jesus Christ to the lowest denominator (a communal subsidiary) for the sake of the poor.

But the congressman doesn't care if he's completely wrong because in his infinite wisdom, he believes some Catholics for too long have had a monopoly on the social teachings of the Church. He'll re-invent Christianity and show them. Another of Ryans' ideological blindspots becomes evident in this passage...

“[T]he preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life, help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence,” -- Paul Ryan

That's one-half Catholicism, but 100 percent Rand.

"It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master" -- Ayn Rand

In Ryan's real worldview, the master here is the current service government. The slave of course is the one subservient and fully dependent on government and permanently stuck in their station of life.

In his effort to decouple government from subsidiarity, Ryan is then gambling that no one will argue Christ's relationship with the poor. This is why he no longer needs Rand in his future construct. She won't take care of the poor and Ryan's future government only serves Rand's industrious "individual." So that too leaves the poor out. But his proposals do require a communal subsidiary outside of government and if Christianity did not exist, Paul Ryan would have no choice but to invent it. Christianity then becomes nothing more than a convenient but necessary shelter for the poor in Ryan's divided world. Just a shameful and diseased outlook for someone who calls himself a Christian.

On a recent show, Chris Matthews asked a Catholic nun, "Sister, why do you think some people believe the way to get poor people to work harder is to cut their money, to basically hurt them? And the way to get the rich people to work harder is to give them more money. Why do they have different views of incentives?"

Watch it:


John Nichols - Ryan's Claim Budget Reflects Catholic Teaching is Nonsense

Forbes Blog - Ryan Now Rejects Ayn Rand - Will The Real Paul Ryan Please Come Forward?

WKOW - Ryan explains His Catholic Defense of His Budget Plan

Democurmudgeon - Ryan Flops at Georgetown University, insists his plan the only true religion. Pt. 1

Democurmudgeon - Ryan Flops at Georgetown University, Pt.2

BartCop - Cognitive Dissonance On Christianity and Ayn Rand

Huff Post - Ryan Suddenly Does Not Embrace Ayn Rand

Chicago Tribune - Ryan cites Pope to defend Budget Cuts

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This Is What Scott Walker Means ...

When he said, "Anyone who didn't know this was coming ...

...has been asleep for the past two years."

Click newspaper for story.

Those Invisible Walker Savings

620 WTMJ Excerpt:
MADISON - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says that for the first time in 12 years, the typical home owner in Wisconsin is paying a smaller amount of property taxes than the year before.

According to a news release from the Governor's office, the "median" tax bill for a home owner is $2.952, compared to $2.963 in 2011.

Political Environment Excerpt:
I'll use my mine for smelling salts. After a few months, I think I can afford it.

Don't forget that Walker promised that a Wisconsin home owner with a median-valued home would see a property tax reduction of $700 during his first, two-year budget - - or about $350 a year, or close to $30-a-month - - a calculation and statement PolitiFact found "false."

Those "invisible" $350 annual savings. This $11 then must be Walker's refund on that terrible ...terrible billion dollar tax hike Doyle rammed through 3 years ago that Republicans claimed state taxpayers could not afford. No, that's not right either. Because that billion dollar tax hike was as invisible as that $700 in savings Walker claims we all now have in our pockets. Fact is, without republicans and their parrot supporters telling me Doyle rammed through a billion dollar tax hike, I would have never noticed it before Walker was elected. Did Walker reduce state spending in response? Ummm, no. In fact he increased state spending by $1.1 billion over the current biennium.

So, was this all worth $11 with an economy shrinking budget that demands continuous running cuts before it will reach bottom to balance?

Again Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Graeme Zielinski comes through with a statement in response:

"This is a deceitful premise and part of a job-losing political shell game. Scott Walker's unfunded state mandate imposed a property tax freeze on localities at the same time decimating state aid. This has led to layoffs and diminished services. Dozens of school districts and localities have actually had to increase local taxes, as well as hikes on fees.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Newspaper Enumerates Local Theft Under Walker

Tuesday's Janesville Gazette headlined an article titled, "Walker: Policies Paying Off" and posted some of the numbers of dollars Scott Walker forcibly lifted from local public employees and tax paying jurisdictions. According to Walker's campaign style reforms.wi Webpage, Rock County's school district employees (excluding Janesville) had $2.5 million taken from their pension and health care distributions and another unsubstantiated $5.41 million in "savings" by local governmental agencies under Act 10 provisions.

JG Excerpt: The savings from employee pension payments was actually $2.65 million, said Randy Terronez, assistant to the county administrator, while cuts in state aid were about $2.57 million.

The net benefit to the county's $77 million budget was $78,129, according to county figures.

County taxpayers did not benefit, even in a small way, because the county was already taxing to the maximum allowed, Terronez said.

After collective bargaining was terminated and the public trust flushed down the toilet, county taxpayers under Walker's class war Act 10 provision did not "save" one dime. The county portion of my property tax bill operating under Walker's budget act went up 6.4 percent, from $757 to $806. The taxpayers "saved" mantra is a bunch of hooey.

In Walker's campaign terminology, any dollar amount connected to the word "save" and any of its derivatives really means how much was stolen from public employees and how much tax revenue Walker withheld from local jurisdictions. If we're lucky and I mean really lucky, it's a wash, BUT only providing we're taxed to the max locally under "limits" of Walker's budget act. In the meantime, local government bodies, wage earners and taxpayers all got screwed while Walker's claim he did not raise taxes is politifact safe.

What Walker did is either pure evil or genius depending on your moral code. So, who got all the loot?

Of note are a few commenters on the article reminding readers that a large part of the "savings" Walker takes credit for were already concessions delivered by public sector unions from around the state before he suddenly decided to wipe out collective bargaining. Another mentions the less regarded consequence of public employees each having several thousands less in taxable earnings due to Act 10, thus returning less revenue to the state.

If you wanted legislation that would effectively shrink the state's economy without lowering state government spending - Walker's budget reform is it.


Badger Democracy - The “Big Five” Lies in the Walker Budget – in his own words…

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

City Council Opens Municipal Facilities To Service Group Vending Machine Fundraising

The Janesville City Council agreed to allow the Janesville Noon Lions Club to place gumball machines in city facilities for free. At first glance, this appears to be no big deal. Afterall, we are talking about gumballs here. But in all fairness, this decision opens city facilities to all service groups who want to receive financial gain from selling their products at city facilities.

Only after approving the Lions Club, but not before, the council instructed the city manager to come up with a set of guidelines to regulate private vendors.

Moral to the story: What good is government if you can't use it to your own competitive advantage?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Media Glomerate's Politics Ruining Journalism

Saw this story first at Uppity Wisconsin about how Lee Enterprises, parent company of the Wisconsin State Journal, La Crosse Tribune and scores of other newspapers across the country, started their own web-based political campaign against private sector labor unions. This coming just a couple weeks after scolding their employees into silence for engaging in one of the most fundamental of our civic freedoms - signing a petition.

We've got our own activist unionfree media org right here in south-central Wisconsin, but we call it the Janesville Gazette. Now that unions have been all but smashed here in auto town Janesville, wages are going down, pensions are becoming non-existent, home values are plummeting, foreclosures have skyrocketed, big ticket consumer purchases are nose-diving, more crime and unemployment is up.

Ironically, after spending decades bashing and chasing unions out of town, they now blame the unions for the area's economic decline. But don't you worry because while individual local businesses are forming powerful ALEC-like political unions of their own, one of their main legislative priorities is to make sure employees don't get any ideas about doing the same. Individual wage earners must stand alone at the whim and call of their masters. Individuals they claim, not unions, make the difference.

Media institutions engaging in this sort of brazen political activity should be an added concern among dedicated journalists and other media employees who work hard every day and make that extra effort to keep their personal politics out of their news presentations and articles, only to have their editors and employers ruin that hard won public perception of neutrality and balance with political endorsements and institutionalized partisan game playing. Real journalist's work has become little more than a foil and an easy public target for their employers against accusations of partisanship, and is often relegated to bring some undeserved legitimacy to what for all practical purpose is a politically programmed daily publication.


Rock Netroots - Media Outlets Apply Double Standard For Their Own Political Activity

Uppity Wisconsin - State Journal's Company Aligned with Group Running Pro-Walker Ads

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Norquist: Romney Would Make Capable Puppet

Daily Beast Excerpt: All we have to do is replace Obama. ... We are not auditioning for a fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.-- Grover Norquist

Republicans don't need anyone to think up a plan. Ayn Rand's already thought it up. It's right there in her book "Atlas Shrugged" and Paul Ryan is the messenger.

Daily Beast Excerpt: If Americans get the idea that a vote for Romney is a vote for the Ryan plan, Romney is more or less doomed. -- David Frum

Friday, April 20, 2012

Even Walker Won't Use His Own Budget Tools

After thousands of state workers took pay cuts through provisions in Scott Walker's Act 10 budget law requiring them to contribute more to their pensions and health care, the state is now flush enough in cash for Walker to hand out pay raises and bonuses to political appointees and other workers.

CBS News Excerpt: MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker quietly reinstated a program to give merit raises and bonuses to some state workers even as he preached cost-cutting and pushed through a law reducing most public workers' pay and eliminating their union rights.

An analysis of data The Associated Press obtained through an open records request showed Wisconsin agencies have handed out more than $765,000 in bonuses and merit raises this year to nearly 220 employees.

Ryan Shrugs Off Bishops Consensus, Questions Their Authority

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a series of letters they sent to Congressional committees outlining their opposition to the House GOP budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan.

When Rep. Ryan got his own chance to respond to the USCCB position, he tried to downplay the severity of the critique, dismissing the letters as not representing the consensus position of U.S. bishops. “These are not all the Catholic bishops, and we respectfully disagree,” Ryan said.

The bishops fired back.

Faith In Public Life Excerpt:
The authors of the letters, Bishops Blaire and Pates, weren’t speaking as individuals. They wrote in their official capacity as chairmen of the USCCB’s Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace, respectively. Their views are rooted in a long history of Catholic social teaching on these issues and do represent the official position of the Church.

One Catholic bishop who was speaking for himself, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, of an archdiocese in Illinois went completely off the rails during a sermon this past weekend in his criticism of President Obama on birth control coverage, but nevertheless held "Catholics” like devout Randers Paul Ryan and John Boehner in even greater contempt for actions that are diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

"May God have mercy especially on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil. -- Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Catholic diocese of Peoria, Illinois 4/14/12

In this latest confrontation with the Catholic clergy, Ryan continues to show his inability to take constructive criticism or get along with others. You'll recall, he pulled the same stunt with military generals when he suggested they were not being completely honest with their advice about his budget plans for the Pentagon.

TPM Excerpt:
“We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” he said. “We don’t think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget.”

Just for the record, I don't believe government officials should be forming public policy around their religious faith and that any similarities would present themselves as mere coincidence. It was Rep. Paul Ryan however, who publicly insisted that the draconian cuts presented in his obviously Rand-based dystopian budget were a product of this Catholic faith.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Walker's Wisconsin Continues To Drag Nation Down

Wisconsin continues to buck national job trends. The state lost 4,300 private sector jobs in March while the nation as a whole gained.

JS Online Excerpt:
The jobs decline in March also coincides with weak national job-creation data in the same month. In a report released two weeks ago, the U.S. Labor Department reported that American employers added a disappointing 121,000 new private-sector jobs in March as hiring abruptly downshifted to half the rate of the preceding three months for the weakest gains since August.

I have to start wondering now why Vegas has not opened up a gambling line on Scott Walker's chances of indictment before the recall election.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Letter Writer Says Verify List Stirs Memories Of Nazi Germany

Last week, a letter writer to the Janesville Gazette thanked another letter writer for supplying names of local residents running for public office who signed the Scott Walker recall petition. The letter writer who I'll refer to only as P.R. of Janesville apparently does not believe U.S. citizens, particularly candidates for public office and media individuals, have the right to redress or petition our government. P.R. went on to say she's "had enough" and will notify sponsors of their programs that these individuals signed the petition.

Another letter writer responded a few days later...

JG Letter Excerpt:
I have seen quite a few of these letters trying to intimidate people who have signed recall petitions. These bring back memories from when I was a child. In Germany, the Jews were forced to wear the Star of David on their clothes so when walking down the street they could be identified.

Maybe the governor could create a similar law that would force all who signed the recall to wear an "I signed the recall" badge. That way it could save you and all the others a lot of time identifying who signed - such as your neighbors, police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, people running for office and maybe even some of your friends... -- T.C. Janesville

Hat tip to T.C.

Note: The letters are not available on the web. I used only their initials out of courtesy to keep their identities private.


Blogging Blue - Verify The Recall: Another Success Story

Police Report - News Anchor Threatened By Walker Supporter

Illinois Governor and Manufacturers Group Turn Walker Around

If other governors did what Scott Walker is doing, we would have to officially change our country's name from the U.S.A. to the D.S.A. (Divided States of America). This time he paid another visit to our neighbor to the south and essentially insulted the host. Walker didn't have to go to Illinois but you'd think if somebody visits your house, they would at least have the dignity to be respectful. Not Walker. So I have to give much credit to Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois for his polite remarks in response to our partisan clown governor.

JS Online Excerpt:
"They have the worst job record in the whole country, dead last. And we certainly don't want to follow his prescriptions when it comes to economic growth," Quinn said. "He promised 250,000 jobs, and he's way behind. Since the recovery began, our state has created over 130,000 jobs. Our focus is not on any other state. We believe in cooperation with our midwestern neighbors. Every single one of those states we want to have good relationships with. But our focus is on Illinois."

Doug Whitley, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said inviting Walker was designed to contrast the approaches taken by governments in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Great! A contrast between policies that resulted in Wisconsin's 12,000 job loss to Illinois 130,000 job gain! Walker said he's moving our state forward.

Chicago Tribune Excerpt:
A thoughtful analysis, however, shows that Illinois is a great place to do business because it is where the business is. This isn't an attack on Wisconsin. While Wisconsin is a great place to vacation, Illinois is where you want to locate your company.

According to a comprehensive state-by-state analysis by the 2012 Competitiveness Redbook, our state has twice the population of the Badger State and our workers earn 12 percent more than their Wisconsin counterparts — that's more consumers with more money to spend.

Our workers are more productive. Wisconsin ranks 46th nationally in worker productivity. We have twice the gross domestic product of Wisconsin and export twice as much. More businesses are started in Illinois and we rank higher in high-tech employment opportunities.

Michael Holewinski is president of Ace Industries and chairman of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association.

As Walker continues to shut down the economic engine of Wisconsin and divide the population, the state will likely lose it people-person friendly image and eventually become as crass and disrespectful as he is. Shame, shame, shame.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Republican Majority Stand With Norquist On Buffett Rule

The Senate rejected the so-called “Buffett Rule” on a largely partisan roll call. The procedural vote was 51-45, falling short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster. Despite heavy support for the Buffett Rule, its rejection was a foregone conclusion to those who follow politics, particularly knowing that 41 senators are Norquist Pledge signers. It wouldn't stand a chance in the House either.

Politico Excerpt:
Senate Republicans derided the measure as an election-year “gimmick.” In a speech on the Senate floor Monday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Obama of shirking bipartisanship in favor of pursuing policies for political expediency.

“Isn’t this precisely the kind of thing President Obama campaigned against in the first place, politics as usual?” the Kentucky Republican said. “But that’s all we get.

Sure Mitch, anytime Republicans are asked to take a position with the majority, it must be an election year gimmick.

But who cares what Americans think? In fact, even without their allegiance to Grover Norquist, Republicans weren't going to fall for any stand-alone legislative measure that puts them at odds with the majority will of the American people. Because given that choice, Republicans will "courageously" vote against America 99 out of 100 times. They're not called the 1% for nothing.

Will the American majority respond in November and vote these traitors out of Congress?

Additional reading:

American Progress - Public Opinion Snapshot: Yes, Conservatives, Americans Do Care About Fairness

Reader Support News - How the GOP Became the party of the rich

PoliticalTicker - CNN Poll: 7 out of 10 support Buffett Rule

Monday, April 16, 2012

Remember Feb. 17, 2011 - The Day Scott Walker Dropped The Bomb On Wisconsin

Never forget Feb. 17, 2011, a date that will live in infamy in Wisconsin state history. After explicitly promising voters he would negotiate with unions during his campaign run-up to election, that was the day Gov. Scott Walker suddenly reversed on everything during a press conference and officially declared war on Wisconsin.

Walker repeated those remarks during another news conference on Feb. 21, 2011.

"I campaigned on (the proposals in the budget repair bill for Wisconsin) all throughout the election. Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years." -- Scott Walker

Just days later, an incriminating conversation surfaced between Walker and a person impersonating Walker campaign contributor and Americans for Prosperity Founder David Koch. In an audiotape released Feb. 23, 2011, Walker compared his union plan to a history-making act and portrayed its surprise introduction on the people of Wisconsin as a "bomb."

As more evidence continues to pile up, it's becoming clear Walker's entire election campaign was one giant continuous lie. The state has yet to recover from the deception and devastation.

Liberation Day is set for June 5, 2012

Video - Before Election Walker Explicitly Promised to Negotiate With Unions

Video - Bait and Switch: Walker Promised in Pre-Election Video to Keep State Aid "Intact"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Janesville, Is the I39/90 Expansion Worth an $80 Annual Vehicle Tax?

For the first time in its history, the City of Janesville will be
charging vehicle owners
an annual municipal wheel tax.

Coming on the heels of alarming shortfalls in state aid for local roads from Gov. Scott Walker, Janesville city government expects to raise about $550,000 annually from the new $10 tax to replace the lost revenue. Of course local taxpayers won't be seeing a corresponding tax cut from the state for receiving less state aid, that's a story for another time. But judging from a recent op-ed and comments made by officials of the local politically active pro-Walker business group, Forward Janesville, the I39/90 interstate expansion will likely cost taxpayers the loss of even more money in local road state aid.

Here's why:

In an op-ed titled, Don't shift road money to repair local streets, the vice-president of Forward Janesville and head of the I39/90 Expansion lobby, Dan Cunningham, strongly disagrees with Mayor Tom Barrett for suggesting that the state spend road money within its means. That's right.

According to the story, Barrett would like to see the state rededicate road funds back to local communities to help restore the balance of existing road repair and rehabilitation costs.

Barrett it seems, wants the state to fix what it has before it spends money on expanding roads it can't afford to maintain. You know, spend within our means AND spend to stay within our means. I know, that sounds crazy responsible. But Cunningham apparently sees Barrett's position as a serious threat to the funding source for their billion dollar interstate plaything because it appears that the state's road funds are operating in a zero-sum environment. It's either there's enough revenue to maintain what we have or enough to build new highways - but not enough for both.

Cunningham's argument means this is really bad news for Janesville taxpayers because the city has fallen behind on its own street repair and has begun borrowing for street repairs.

In a recent story, city officials have warned that the city is doing less and less in street maintenance during a time when costs are escalating while the city has twice as many streets to maintain than it did 20 years ago. Throw in Walker's cuts in state aid and you have the perfect storm for a tornado of local tax hikes.

That certainly played a big part of the reason for Janesville to institute the new $10 annual wheel tax, but that now appears only to force the door open just a crack for what lays ahead next. Janesville city officials have recommended that the city rehabilitates at least 15 miles of street a year just to keep pace. With the loss in state aid and the volatile cost of oil and asphalt, that means the city will have to look for an extra $3 million minimum just so streets do not fall into disrepair. Each $10 in wheel tax provides for about $550,000 and Janesville is already starting out at about $1.3 million a year in the hole, so an additional $3 million could conceivably pop the annual wheel tax to $70 or $80.

Janesville is not alone in this. With Walker's budget, all townships and counties will be effected and looking for new sources of revenue for local road maintenance. Particularly those with a history of being run on a shoestring. Milton, Edgerton, Beloit, Clinton, Brodhead, etc., you name it. The lost state aid will have to replaced.

With Walker's budget, the only alternatives are either a wave of local road tax referendums, hikes in levies or wheel taxes. The interstate expansion ramps up the tax hikes yet another notch, while Barrett's proposal restores fiscal sanity. Barrett knows it and Forward Janesville's Cunningham knows it, otherwise there would have been no reason for Cunningham's response op-ed.

Jobs really aren't the issue here either since a billion dollars in local road repair and rehabilitation will create just as many jobs for the state of Wisconsin as the billion dollar interstate expansion would.

You need a tax hike to repair local roads? That's your tough luck, but Forward Janesville will support that tax hike too. FJ doesn't care so long as their business membership picks up the prized interstate expansion plum. And, according to this blog posting in the Janesville Gazette, FJ sounds the alarm by taking sides in the recall election ...

JG Editor's Blog Excerpt:
“I have yet another reason to stay up to date on the gubernatorial recall situation. Should Tom Barrett win the primary and defeat Gov. Walker, the DOT’s Majors Fund—the state funding source for the 39/90 project—could be in serious jeopardy, as Barrett has publicly stated his desire to rededicate a chunk of this fund to local street maintenance.

The battle lines are being drawn.

NOTE: The DOT will have a series of public meetings on the project. The first is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. April 24 at the Edgerton Public Library.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

This Is What Scott Walker Means...

As part of a new feature, I'll be occasionally posting a graphic to depict what I think Scott Walker means when he says stuff.

This is what Scott Walker means ...

...when he says "We're moving our state forward. It's really about fundamentally changing things."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Paul Ryan's Cynical Catholic Claims

I rarely post entire articles and never before posted a press release from a political party. But this statement by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Graeme Zielinski in response to claims made by Paul Ryan to justify his radical budget - was just too good to resist.

"For Paul Ryan to justify his radical budget using Catholic social teaching as an underpinning either arrives from designed error or unintended ignorance. Nobody can seriously believe that the "Church of the Poor" would make a fetish out of tax cuts for billionaire hedge fund managers who sip $350 bottles of wine at the same time destroying the social safety net advocated for by our American bishops since the end of World War I.

Many Catholics oppose the Ryan budget not in spite of our Catholic faith, but because of it. Catholics are taught that everyone, not just the rich, have a right to participate in our economic system. They also are taught that income inequality is a great threat to solidarity. Blessed John Paul cautioned against an "idolatry of wealth" that appears rampant nowadays. It can be argued that a Ryan budget that clearly gives priority to capital and the super-rich over workers and the poor alters that balance in a way that offends Catholic tradition. Blessed John Paul wrote, that, "It is the poor who have a claim to special consideration. The richer class can help itself; the poor have no resources of their own to do so. They chiefly depend on the help of the state."

Ryan justifies his budget employing Catholic teaching about "subsidiarity," which says that government should not interfere with what individuals could do themselves. Ryan seems to take this to mean that the only way to prevent this interference is to cut all government. In fact, what this means is a requirement for good government that works alongside the free market to ensure that the needs of everyone are met, with special regard for the poorest.

One need not be a Catholic to see that the Paul Ryan budget advantages the rich and powerful over working families and the poor. And it looks very much that Paul Ryan is animated by the teachings of someone in this document. That seems not to be the Catholic Church. Instead, it seems to be Ayn Rand."



Fighting Bob - Ryan Shrugged

Paul Ryan won't rest until he turns one novelist's wildest dreams into America’s nightmare.

Paul Krugman - The Paul Ryan phenomenon and the gullible center

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nation's Debt Skyrockets Since GOP Pledge To Norquist

Despite previous claims that the Bush tax cuts would raise revenue, we now know the 2001 tax cuts was a half-baked attempt to starve the beast at a cost of approximately of $1.35 trillion over 10 years while the 2003 tax cut cost another $350 billion over 10 years. We also know that the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was pegged at $1.26 trillion through 2011 and the unfunded Medicare Part D prescription drug program stands at $272 billion so far.

We also know there are hundreds of smaller discretionary spending bills passed through Congress each year without designating any revenue raising mechanisms to pay for them.

We also knew that without offering revenue mechanisms to pay as they go, nearly all of these expenditures beyond the government's regular operational expenses were thrown on the nation's credit card. But why?

For starters, one political party in America chose to commit themselves beginning in 1986 to the "No Tax" Pledge created by lobbyist Grover Norquist of the fallaciously named Americans for Tax Reform outfit. By signing Norquist's pledge, Republicans said the wealthiest nation on earth does not have to pay it's current bills with it's own money. Why should we pay now they figure, when they have our children and grandchildren to pay for it, or at least that's what they want us to fear.

Another untold known is the Pledge was never about limiting federal spending or creating new funding methods to pay the nation's bills. To do so would have meant the acknowledgment that the federal government is competent and fiscally responsible; a concept and perception that is intolerable to the pledge's adherents and mission statement. To the contrary, Norquist’s pledge was designed to not raise the revenue necessary to pay the nation’s bills. It's sole purpose is to seed debt without ever taking responsibility for it's destructive growth in a perverse if not evil attempt to drown the U.S. Government in a bathtub. It's that simple.

It's also no coincidence Norquist's mission to “drown the federal government" runs parallel to Paul Ryan’s Randian struggle to destroy the American social compact. That Ryan repeatedly states that the current path will drown our children and grand-children in a pool of debt is consistent with Norquist's messaging narrative, however intentionally misleading.

The current Norquist path of debt was purposely designed to act as an ax on the hull of a ship stuck in place with an immovable expense anchor. Sooner or later, the hole in the hull would cause the ship to sink, while the men swinging the ax will swear it's the spending anchor and flooding waters that is sinking it.

However, if we return to Norquist's core mission statement of drowning the federal government in a bathtub, you'll soon realize that none of these evil characters actually care about reducing the deficit - ever. It's the feeling of sinking and drowning they want us to fear most - not the actual sunken ship. It's like being waterboarded.

One of their back-handed remedies to stop the waterboarding, Ryan's alternative "Path To Prosperity" budget manifesto, doesn't involve patching the hull they've axed. It instead pulls up the anchor by slashing non-security discretionary spending while ramping up tax cuts for the establishment's wealth extractors under the guise of tax reform. When you pull away the smoke and mirrors, Ryan's budgets amount to nothing more than a cruel joke holding the same goal as Norquist's pledge; to wipe out the federal government.

By far, one of the most visible examples of Norquist's influence takes place during the Bowles-Simpson Debt Commission, a mini-Congress partly made up of six Republicans and six Democrats. The Commission was doomed to fail from the start simply because half of the commission signed the Norquist Pledge.

Nation Of Change Excerpt:
Note how many deficit hawks regularly trash President Obama for not endorsing Simpson-Bowles while they continue to praise Ryan — even though Ryan voted to kill the initiative when he was a member of the commission. Here again is the double standard that benefits conservatives, proving that, contrary to establishment opinion, Obama was absolutely right not to embrace the Simpson-Bowles framework. If he had, a moderately conservative proposal would suddenly have defined the “left wing” of the debate, just because Obama endorsed it.

Yet through all of the different administrations, presidents, congresses and failed budget policies, if there's one common denominator and material cause that stood in the way of our nation's ability to balance a budget for the past 25 years, it's Grover Norquist "No Tax" pledge and those Republicans who signed it.

So I've created a little chart here, based half on arithmetic and half on intuition, that takes into account all the larger spending bills and tax cuts of the past decade and runs them in reverse back to 1986, assuming Congress would have also raised the revenue and closed tax loopholes during that time to pay for them - as if the Norquist tax pledge never existed. Without the Norquist pledge, the federal government would have paid it’s bills with minimal borrowing and we would not have the perception of a debt crisis we now have today.

Future Uncertain With Pledge-Induced Debt

The truth of the matter is; if you're concerned about the causes of the nation's debt and decline without understanding the enormous negative impact from the Norquist tax pledge, you're simply not paying attention or in denial. I also contend that Norquist's pledge-induced-debt is intentionally laying down the foundation for a superstructure of debt to eventually cause the collapse of our Constitutional government, the American social compact and the end of the U.S.A. as we know it.

One way or another, Republicans claim disaster awaits. They should know.


Random Person Creates New Pledge For Congress

The Congressional Re-Affirmation Pledge

Monday, April 09, 2012

List of Bills Walker Signed Into Law Last Week

This is what Scott Walker means ...

...when he says "We're moving our state forward. It's really about fundamentally changing things."

Are you starting to get the feeling republicans would repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if they could?

In Wisconsin, state republicans seem to be doing what all republican majorities in statehouses are doing across the nation, they're reversing or repealing many post-WWII laws dealing with equal employment rights and upward mobility programs while giving more state power to corporations. In fact, they seem to be doing it in an almost "dare to" revenging and "piling on" way of extremist laws where they are hoping to stir up as much rebellion as possible in order to create a contrast of courage for themselves against a population who they believe had it too good for too long. Paul Ryan's budget is perhaps the epitome of this uncompromising radical vision when Obama nailed it as "Social Darwinism."

Here's a list of some of those bills Scott Walker signed into law last week...

Bill History: AB-46 (11-0308)
Relating to: eliminating the World Dairy Center Authority.
AB-46 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 229

Bill History: AB-93 (11-0335)
Relating to: prohibiting purchase of tobacco products on behalf of, or to provide to, a minor and pr...
AB-93 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 249

Bill History: AB-152 (11-1872)
Relating to: state aid for airport improvement projects.
AB-152 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 248

Bill History: AB-216 (11-1679)
Relating to: maintenance and removal of vegetation obstructing the view of outdoor advertising signs...
AB-216 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 230

Bill History: AB-334 (11-2905)
Relating to: possession of certain animals killed by vehicles.
AB-334 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 251

Bill History: AB-384 (11-1883)
Relating to: weapons that may be used to hunt certain animals and requirements for establishing open...
AB-384 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 252

Bill History: AB-395 (11-2873)
Relating to: acquisition of land in the Niagara Escarpment corridor.
AB-395 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 250

Bill History: AB-418 (11-3443)
Relating to: agreements to locate unclaimed property reported to the state
AB-418 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 231

Bill History: AB-485 (11-0595)
Relating to: personalized registration plates for vehicles registered by certain veterans with a dis...
AB-485 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 264

Bill History: AB-486 (11-2685)
Relating to: the definitions of vehicle and motor vehicle (suggested as remedial legislation by the ...
AB-486 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 265

Bill History: AB-508 (11-3259)
Relating to: authorizing the Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority to issue bonds to...
AB-508 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 239

Bill History: AB-548 (11-3873)
Relating to: the typeface used, and rates charged, for publication of legal notices.
AB-548 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 228

Bill History: AB-609 (11-0042)
Relating to: road closure barriers.
AB-609 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 246

Bill History: AB-611 (11-0063)
Relating to: vehicles required to stop at railroad crossings, providing an exemption from emergency ...
AB-611 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 247

Bill History: AB-638 (11-3906)
Relating to: technical changes to the qualified production activities income and franchise tax credi...
AB-638 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 232

Bill History: SB-92 (11-1730)
Relating to: prohibiting coverage of abortions through health plans sold
through exchanges.
SB-92 was signed by the Governor on 4-5-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 218

Bill History: SB-114 (11-1273)
Relating to: legislative consideration of a biennial budget bill.
SB-114 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 220

Bill History: SB-174 (11-2320)
Relating to: closing the parental choice program for eligible school districts to additional school ...
SB-174 was signed by the Governor on 4-5-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 215

Bill History: SB-184 (11-2712)
Relating to: the reporting date for the Special Task Force on UW Restructuring and Operational Flexi...
SB-184 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 221

Bill History: SB-202 (11-0322)
Relating to: elimination of compensatory and punitive damages for acts of employment discrimination ...
SB-202 was signed by the Governor on 4-5-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 219

Bill History: SB-237 (11-2088)
Relating to: providing instruction in human growth and development.
SB-237 was signed by the Governor on 4-5-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 216

Bill History: SB-260 (11-3056)
Relating to: allowing members of a dairy cooperative to claim the dairy manufacturing facility inves...
SB-260 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 237

Bill History: SB-271 (11-3340)
Relating to: return of absentee ballots and voting in person by electors who have voted by absentee ...
SB-271 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 227

Bill History: SB-284 (11-1627)
Relating to: affecting various provisions of the statutes to correct errors and reconcile conflicts ...
SB-284 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 257

Bill History: SB-285 (11-0187)
Relating to: affecting various provisions of the statutes to correct errors and reconcile conflicts ...
SB-285 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 258

Bill History: SB-286 (11-1649)
Relating to: revising various provisions of the statutes for the purpose of supplying omissions and ...
SB-286 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 259

Bill History: SB-287 (11-0189)
Relating to: affecting various provisions of the statutes to correct errors and reconcile conflicts ...
SB-287 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 260

Bill History: SB-288 (11-0505)
Relating to: federal financial hardship assistance under the Clean Water Fund Program (suggested as ...
SB-288 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 261

Bill History: SB-306 (11-3305)
Relating to: voluntary and informed consent to an abortion, information on domestic abuse services, ...
SB-306 was signed by the Governor on 4-5-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 217

Bill History: SB-321 (11-3388)
Relating to: limiting the number of individual income tax checkoffs and combining the breast cancer ...
SB-321 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 222

Bill History: SB-330 (11-3433)
Relating to: limitations on the issuance of a certificate of title for a motor vehicle involved in c...
SB-330 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 262

Bill History: SB-349 (11-3464)
Relating to: the confidentiality of information related to exemptions from the requirement to regist...
SB-349 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 263

Bill History: SB-378 (11-2242)
Relating to: surplus lines insurance, insurance security fund, automobile insurance, and granting ru...
SB-378 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 224

Bill History: SB-386 (11-3831)
Relating to: voter registration at high schools and certain tribal schools.
SB-386 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 240

Bill History: SB-390 (11-3405)
Relating to: appointment of notaries public, collection agencies, and community currency exchanges.
SB-390 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 233

Bill History: SB-391 (11-3413)
Relating to: the procedure for the administrative dissolution of corporations.
SB-391 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 234

Bill History: SB-394 (11-3862)
Relating to: establishing an assistant district attorney pay progression plan.
SB-394 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 238

Bill History: SB-397 (11-3728)
Relating to: photographs on operator's licenses.
SB-397 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 241

Bill History: SB-398 (11-3729)
Relating to: submitting written objections and appearing in person or by telephone at a hearing to r...
SB-398 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 242

Bill History: SB-417 (11-3976)
Relating to: concealment of benefit claim information, availability for work, interest on delinquent...
SB-417 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 236

Bill History: SB-422 (11-2852)
Relating to: the length of vehicles that may be operated on a highway and granting rule-making autho...
SB-422 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 243

Bill History: SB-423 (11-3779)
Relating to: disqualification of commercial motor vehicle operators.
SB-423 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 244

Bill History: SB-429 (11-3974)
Relating to: portable electronics insurance and providing a penalty.
SB-429 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 225

Bill History: SB-459 (11-3809)
Relating to: economic development activities of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Autho...
SB-459 was signed by the Governor on 4-5-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 214

Bill History: SB-462 (11-3267)
Relating to: registration of motor vehicles by the Department of Transportation.
SB-462 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 235

Bill History: SB-463 (11-3864)
Relating to: the angel investment and early stage seed investment tax credit programs.
SB-463 was signed by the Governor on 4-5-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 213

Bill History: SB-464 (11-4031)
Relating to: prohibiting fingerprinting in connection with professional credentials issued by the De...
SB-464 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 255

Bill History: SB-478 (11-3418)
Relating to: giving notice of, and providing assistance after, a motor vehicle accident and providin...
SB-478 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 256

Bill History: SB-492 (11-3969)
Relating to: regulating certain service contracts and granting rule-making authority.
SB-492 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 226

Bill History: SB-497 (11-3684)
Relating to: designation, modification, and termination of agricultural enterprise areas.
SB-497 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 253

Bill History: SB-498 (11-3682)
Relating to: the pest abatement authority of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Prote...
SB-498 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 254

Bill History: SB-500 (11-3741)
Relating to: appointments to the Council on Highway Safety.
SB-500 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 245

Bill History: SB-547 (11-4199)
Relating to: safety mirrors on school buses.
SB-547 was signed by the Governor on 4-6-2012 2011 Wisconsin Act 223

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Democracy Is Coming To The USA

Democracy Is Coming To The USA
by Leonard Cohen

It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

More>>> "Democracy is Coming" Lyrics

Friday, April 06, 2012

Scott Walker Quietly Signs Repeal Of Equal Pay Law

Huff Post Excerpt:
A Wisconsin law that made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court was repealed on Thursday, after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed the bill.

The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court.

In November, the state Senate approved SB 202, which rolled back this provision. On February, the Assembly did the same. Both were party-line votes in Republican-controlled chambers.

SB 202 was sent to Walker on March 29. He had, according to the state constitution, six days to act on the bill. The deadline was 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. The governor quietly signed the bill into law on Thursday, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, and it is now called Act 219.

Walker's office did not return repeated requests for comment.

More>>> at the Huff Post

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Media Outlets Apply Double Standard For Their Own Political Activity

TMJ4 Excerpt:
We expect anyone involved in the production of news to avoid situations that could compromise our integrity. We don't allow news employees to sign nomination papers for candidates, display yard signs or take part in a political campaign.

The Janesville Gazette, like many Wisconsin newspapers, regularly writes political action editorials and endorsements for candidates, referendums and on state and local issues. These might be considered little pet projects to newspaper editors and their owners, but for subscribers the newspaper's finished product is in many ways the equivalent of having a partisan's front yard full of political posters rolled up, and thrown at the foot of your doorstep. Whether you agree with or even bother to read their editorials or policy statements really doesn't matter because if you're subscribing to get the local news, you're still paying for the paper's broadcast distribution and entire political agenda.

"I write editorials--opinions--on behalf of the Gazette Editorial Board. That's my role; no one else in the newsroom, except for Editor Scott Angus, ever writes editorials. The policy against yard signs covers all of us collectively." -- Greg Peck, Gazette Opinion Editor

Their paycheck ethics policy prevents newspaper employees from participating in political activity as private citizens while at the same time, their ethics policy paycheck pays them to write and distribute political propaganda. It's their job!

This blatant hypocrisy now sits at the core of a fear and smear witchhunt in Wisconsin against political candidates, media employees and private citizens involving the Scott Walker Recall Petition data bases, so it comes as no surprise that it's conducted by the most professionally partisan and activist institutions in America - mainstream media news outlets. But woe onto those who seek to pull the mask off of secret campaign cash donors and boycott their businesses - why that's greasy union thuggery that has no place in a civil democratic society.

Nevertheless, the hypocrisy continues.

Uppity Wisconsin Excerpt:
According to Editor John Smalley, when you are in the newspaper biz, you "keep your politics to yourself" and maintain "strict neutrality in all things political." "It’s a common policy," Smalley says and "in place at nearly all credible news organizations."


Blogging Blue - What a bunch of grade A hypocrites at WTMJ

Blue Cheddar - Wisconsin recall witch hunt hits Milwaukee’s right wing

Crawford's Take - Charlie Sykes, CRG, Ament, Walker and the WTMJ Hypocrisy

Uppity Wisconsin - Owners of Wisconsin State Journal are Big Donors to GOP and Union Busters

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Republican Heavy Turn Out Crushed People's Candidates In Janesville

Over the weekend I was talking to a politically inclined family member about how the GOP presidential primary turnout could have a residual effect on the election results for local non-partisan offices. We both thought it could have some negative impact particularly without a drawing card on the democratic side.

Well, our worst fears came true. Republicans came out to vote at a 2 to 1 ratio to Democrats in Rock County. When that happens, status quo candidates win and we have a disaster.

The WMC-powered Janesville Gazette had a clean sweep for their special interest endorsed candidates for local non-partisan offices. However, the only two non-incumbent "peoples" candidates (I assume they were the newspaper's token candidates for balance) endorsed by the Gazette, Jack Hoag for county judge and Jack Champeau for the Janesville School Board, could not overcome the heavy partisan GOP voter turnout and lost their bids.

So it was a big day for "Citizens United" candidates winning city and county offices in Janesville. Corporations are people. Expect more regressive local fees and tax shifts, cut schools and core services, unsustainable growth and more government control by the wealthy and well-connected.

I can only hope this will serve as a wake up call to the people's grassroots about candidate and voter enthusiasm. We're certain to lose our democracy if people don't vote.

Rock County Election Results.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Area Legislators With Ties To ALEC

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. more>>>


Rep. Stephen Nass (R-31), Education Task Force Member

Rep. Tyler August (R-32), ALEC International Relations Task Force/Federal Relations Working Group Task Force Member

Rep. Evan Wynn (R-43), ALEC Education Task Force Alternate

Rep. Joseph Knilans (R-44), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate

Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-45), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Alternate


Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-20), ALEC Education Task Force Member, International Relations Task Force Member

Area Legislators Paying ALEC Membership Fees with Tax Dollars

Neal Kedzie (R-Neenah): $100 – 1/1/2007