Today is

Thursday, January 31, 2008

McCain, Romney Debate Themselves

I ended up watching the Republican CNN Debates televised from the Reagan Library and couldn't believe some the disquieting theatrics from the mealy-mouthed John McCain. I love that this guy is the front-running GOP candidate for president and can only hope he becomes their nominee. Through most of the debate he just sat there with a stupidly synthetic smile on his face, dawdling with a pen and droning on with false arguments and double-sided answers.

And talk about power-tripping, we have Mitt Romney in the other corner, explaining that some of the biggest problems facing America are capital gains taxes, and reasons why the American people need the kind of corporate-genuflecting leadership that only a former CEO can bring to the table.

Question: Was Romney down in Florida because he's down on America?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards Suspends Candidacy

Something dramatic has happened in the democratic race for the presidency. John Edwards has decided to suspend his campaign. This is sad, John Edwards is a good man, a passionate candidate who ran a clean and classy campaign and a defender of one America. Unfortunately it does seem that his battle against corporate greed turned into a lost cause defending a now distant American dream of having a good paying job with a pension or owning a home. Most Americans have been swindled into stakeholding a part of the greed he fought against and it’s a shame. The stake-holding middle-class probably did him in, unknowing they are much closer to the poverty stricken working-class people he fought for, than the insatiable breed of wealthy profiteers they think they will become. The new American Dream is now in owning stocks even it means ruining the economy. God help us.

Some of the talk in the blogosphere has Edwards lined up for the vice-presidency again or the U.S. Attorney General cabinet post. At this point I have no idea who he will endorse but it will be interesting to see which way he goes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

And How Will You Spend Your Earmark?

The checks aren’t in the mail yet but plenty of Americans already seem to know what they would do with the rebates proposed by Congress and the White House.

Lawmakers hope the rebates will encourage consumer spending, but some have said they intend to sock their cash away into savings. Still others however, aren't shy about spending their expected earmark on things like credit card debt, home energy bills, gasoline, food, and at least one said, a HDTV. Others have argued that the economies of China, India and Saudi Arabia will benefit the most.

The Congressional economic stimulus plan estimated to cost around $150 billion, amounts to a giant pork barrel of 117 million earmarks ranging from $300 to $600 for individuals and up to $2100 for a family with three children. They want you to spend it on anything you like…as long as you spend it. They don’t want you to save the money. So much for fiscal conservatism.Fiscal PhoniesFor some reason I always thought "waste" was synonymous with "pork." Stupid me.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Local Businesses Pay Political Price

In what can be viewed as their second installment for Rep. Paul Ryan’s re-election campaign, the Janesville Gazette posted two stories today side-by-side about the upcoming tax credits and rebates connecting Ryan’s efforts with the so-called $150 billion stimulus plan.

One story beginning innocently enough with a downtown Janesville coffee shop owner evolved shamelessly into an unabashed GOP propaganda effort promoting the politics and proposals of the Republican Congressman. At least two short passages were distinguished with margins in a blatant attempt for emphasis, linking government Ryan with job creation.

JG Excerpt:
And she would hire more people to help her do so.

Putting more people to work is exactly what Ryan thinks his proposal will do.
One has to now wonder whether the downtown coffee shop owner would have gotten any free ink on the front page of the Gazette without the newspaper tying in the local political angle. This is too bad but something we’ve grown accustomed to here in Janesville.

The article parsed actual quotes from the coffee shop owner with unquoted statements and assumptions, and effectively painted Ryan’s proposals as something exclusive and positive from the stimulus plan. Both articles were also absent rebuttal or criticism of the stimulus plan touted by Ryan, and completely ignored the nation's debt and the fact that the last emergency economic stimulus plan came as a result of the 9/11 terror attack.
JG Excerpt:
“It’s always late,” Ryan said. “Why don’t we do these things in the first place to try to maximize our economic potential? It’s clear we’re headed for an economic downturn. It’s not clear that we will have a recession,” he said. “There’s more Congress could have done to make the economy grow faster and be more resilient than where we find ourselves now.”
Sounds like another tax cut to me, but this most recent economic plan, no less an emergency instead comes on the heels of seven years of Bush-style voodoo economics rubber stamped by Rep. Paul Ryan.

Now Ryan, sensing the disgust voters have for career partisans representing Big Oil, Big Pharma and private health care interests in the halls of Congress continues to exclude himself from the fray. But he recovers from extending too much government control with this.
JG Excerpt: “Congress cannot micromanage the U.S. economy,” he said.
I can’t even recall when was the last time the fallible yet objective humans working at the Janesville Gazette wrote a story with the frequency and balance they allow for Paul Ryan to Rep. Tami Baldwin. Baldwin’s district encompasses the entire western half of Rock County including Beloit. If the Gazette is your only source of local news, God forbid, you’d have never known.

The second article continued to tie in Ryan as the supporting confirmation of an assuming optimism towards the stimulus plan.
JG Excerpt:
……the package would provide tax rebates of $600 per individual, $1,200 for married couples filing jointly and $300 payments to people who don’t pay income taxes, such as the elderly and the poor.
I could be wrong here but it's becoming increasing clear to me that the so-called “stimulus package” is nothing more than an advance on next year's taxes. Perhaps that’s why its called a rebate for those who pay income taxes and a payment for those who don’t. Those on low fixed incomes, the people who need a booster shot the most, get nothing. Next year's tax form will likely contain a box asking whether you’ve “gotten yours” in 2008. So much for a hand up.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bush Policies Growing Debt Faster Than Growth

Just one month into his last year as president of the United States, George W. Bush has managed to shift $196 billion of additional tax money into his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now comes word that the President, along with a compliant Congress are willing to hand out $150 billion on top of that in tax rebates and cuts to boost his "strong economy."

Keep in mind these two most recent transactions totaling $346 billion are exclusive from the everyday goings-on of the Federal Budget and comes on the heels of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill which contained 9,000 hotly criticized earmarks totaling a now laughable $10 billion.

Add the economic booster shot and the 2008 war request together with the $488 billion previously shifted from the domestic side into the War On Iraq, and Bush and his enablers will have subtracted $834 billion from schools, roads, infrastructure, poverty boot-strap programs, healthcare (Oh God, he argued against spending an additional $35 billion for poor kids), environmental and countless of other domestic programs over a period of less than five years. But forget all that, the CAGW actually has a roller on their Webpage asking citizens to call Bush to scrap the $10 billion in "wasteful" earmark spending. That's important!

Again, the disappearing $834 billion is outside of the annual $200-$350 billion national GOP managed deficits over the past seven years.

But look at the bright side, Bush and his enablers like Rep. Paul Ryan will ask for and get(it's an election year) another tax cut to counterintuitively boost tax revenue, so we can spend more money we don't have. Another "perfect crime."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Paul Ryan Challengers Need Our Help

There are only a few days left for the first round in the Democracy For America (DFA) Grassroots All-Star contest.

Outside of the traditional endorsement process, each year DFA offers a high visibility fast-track endorsement process for all candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. In the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin, we are fortunate to have two contenders on this list. The competition decides who receives a DFA endorsement and the title of DFA Grassroots All-Star. Both Garin (WI-1) and Krupp (WI-1) can win this endorsement with your vote. Please click here to get started, it will cost you nothing.

Hurry! 1st round of voting ends January 28th.

Edwards Black-Balled By Corporate Media?

Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune implies that fierce political loyalists disgruntled by the shenanigans of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would sooner gravitate to John McCain, whom many Democrats and independents see as the LOR (least objectionable Republican), than to John Edwards at this primary stage. Edwards was not mentioned once in his article.

Can Clinton/Obama Make Nice? Excerpt:
Either way, the poisonous rhetoric is infuriating backers of Obama and Clinton and creating a rift that may not heal by November, even though their positions on issues are substantially the same.
This observation is purely anecdotal, and I base it on the sudden, sharp increase in the number of self-identified Democrats I've communicated with recently who've said something like this:
I used to think I could support either one of them, but now I'm so disgusted I could never vote for (him/her).
Just another reason to support John Edwards. This is still the primary. Anybody who claims to be a Democrat and would sooner vote for a Republican than the democratic alternative to Clinton or Obama is……dare I say…..a liar!

White House: Evidence Of Deception Not Worth Reading

A new study by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism found that the Bush administration issued 935 false statements in the two years leading up to the War On Iraq.
Think Progress:
White House: CPI Study “worthless”:
"Because, as you’ll remember, we were part of a broad coalition of countries that deposed the dictator based on a collective understanding of the intelligence." --Dana Perino
Suuuuure. Blame the intelligence community again. We all know Bush wanted war with Iraq and since Perino is asserting the intelligence community supported Bush’s wants – why did Bush say this about the recent intelligence report on Iran in Saudi Arabia last week?

Bush Quote Of The Month
“I defended the intelligence community, but I made it clear that they are an independent agency, “They come to conclusions separate from what I may or may not want." -- George W. Bush
Bush admits their conclusions could not be used because they didn't fit his plans. Yet Bush feels he needed to defend the intelligence community which was discovered to be right all along???? That despite their claims of “NO WMD” in Iraq – Bush still ordered an invasion? Only Bush’s team said there were WMD, which was the only conclusion they propagated. Anyone else opposing their view was discredited. Joe Wilson and his wife were clear examples of this. IAEA and UN inspector reports were ignored. Saddam's surrender of supporting documents and evidence in late 2002 was dismissed as a stall tactic. Calling this the quote of the month is actually a disservice to the Bush quote. It should be the epitaph of his presidency.

But lets imagine the intelligence community claimed Iraq DID have WMD and was a threat to the U.S. as Bush suggested during the run-up to war. Why would he now say that their conclusions may be separate from his own?

Once again conclusions from the “independent” intelligence community fails to fit what Bush wants. Why does this come as no surprise?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

John Edwards Wins CNN Debate - TKO

First there were a couple of quick left jabs, then came a thundering right uppercut. Then they danced around and exchanged some body shots until they locked up again. Suddenly a huge roundhouse connected solidly on the jaw, followed by the stunned opponent's surprising stiff-arm overhand right for a double knock-out! One opponent was left standing, it was John Edwards - TKO.

The first half of the CNN Black Caucus Democratic Debate Monday night started out like the heavyweight boxing match of the century. I couldn't wait for the second half to start when the host (Wolf Blitzer) stated the "rules" will be dropped.

Probably the best shot from Obama came when he responded to criticism from statements made earlier by Bill Clinton. Obama implied confusion over which Clinton he was running against, Hillary or Bill. The expectations of a cage match never materialized for the second half. Fortunately, they returned to a more civilized approach. Edwards could easily have taken a side and participated in the Clinton/Obama brawl and to his credit, he did not.

John Edwards scored a few points when he caught Obama on his "no" vote on interest-rate ceiling legislation for credit cards. Obama said he didn't vote for it because 30% wasn't low enough, which is true....except that the only alternative at the time was "no ceiling."

Like most democratic bloggers, I’ve being watching the three democrats slug it out for the presidential nomination all this time just waiting for those key moments to help split them apart from one another. Through it all my top choice has been John Edwards, he has been consistently on message. Instead of launching platitudes and latitudes from a by-gone era, Edwards has plans, and they are the future. At the same time, Barack Obama has been swaying me more and more towards his bold ideas and views…..up until the Reagan trajectory comment he made a few days ago.

"Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and a way that Bill Clinton did not," he said, describing Reagan as appealing to a sentiment that, "We want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."
Obama's response to these comments during the debate seemed oddly unsatisfactory for his style. At first I didn't think too much of his trajectory comment because all trajectories are not “up.” But it also worries me that any presidential candidate, particularly a democrat, would draw parallels of their campaign and expectations of optimism to the Reagan presidency.

The other thought here was, perhaps Obama only meant Reagan transformed his party or policies in a way nobody else did, to which I would agree. But Obama did say “the trajectory of America,” in a positive way. Reagan began the shadow government movement, environmental and workplace deregulation, ushered in the religious right and trickle-down economics, stagflation, inflation and deflation, expanded imperialism, fueled class warfare, promoted privatization and busted labor unions. America has never been quite the same after Reagan.

There is just no way to spin Obama's remarks in his defense, and no way do I want the next president to achieve the office based on the destiny of a Reagan-like trajectory. Obama’s "Reagan" statement along with his inadequate response separated him from the other two contenders and unfortunately I no longer consider his message challenging enough for the status quo.For me, the race is still too close to call. I like all three candidates but if I had to vote today in the Democratic primary, my choice would be John Edwards, and that won't change unless something hugely dramatic happens.

Read Obama's speech from S. Carolina here coming four days after this post. If you see what I see, it's kinda' creepy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Newpaper's Conflicts Start Right At The Top

Yesterday's (Jan.20) Janesville Gazette contained an editorial attempting to clarify the newspaper's ethics policy about what their editorial employees and journalists can or cannot do regarding extra-curricular activities outside of the newsroom.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
Here's an important passage that leads off our ethics policy:
"Editorial employees of the Janesville Gazette should remember that credibility is our most important asset. Employees should avoid conflicts of interest that might compromise our credibility. Just the perception of a conflict can hurt our credibility, even if the apparent conflict has no bearing on our coverage."
The above quote was part of the editorial written by Scott Angus, editor of the Janesville Gazette and vice president of news for Bliss Communications. His boss is Publisher, Editor and President, Sidney H. Bliss, who happens to sit on the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) Board of Directors.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
We don't prevent people from helping their communities. In fact, we encourage volunteerism. We just don't let newsroom employees take public or leadership roles in any effort or organization. That includes churches, Scouts, youth sports clubs and more.
What? Notoriously political chambers of commerce are excluded?
JG Editorial Excerpt:
Our ethics policy also spells out that news employees cannot help with political campaigns or activities, and we're not allowed to post yard signs, wear buttons or put bumper stickers on our cars.
....or else offend the boss.

It's worth noting the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal's exemption to similar rules of their own just for executives.
Sentinel Journal Excerpt:
Executives on the business side of the paper will, from time to time, serve on the boards of community groups. It should be firmly understood that absolutely no preferential treatment will be given to groups to which business-side executives belong.
How convenient.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Media Attacks Democracy For Self Interests

Saturday’s Janesville Gazette contained an article by Stan Milam titled, “Why do we elect justices to state’s highest court?” supporting the Wisconsin State Journal’s political agenda to end the process of democratically elected judges.

In his article, Milam also tries to de-emphasize the newspaper's political activism by describing them as Republican in an effort to justify their argument using the pathetic campaign and election of the GOP-supported Annette Ziegler as fodder. These hardcore liberal Republicans have no shame using one of there own as the sacrificial lamb in their quest to usurp the democratic process. They are focused on a much larger prize.

But Milam’s direction here is part of a much wider program being pushed statewide. In Wisconsin, nearly all townships and counties are under siege by third party special interests (not traditional party organizations) to downsize local representation under the smaller government/less taxes banner. This same drive also plans to eventually eliminate offices such as coroner and sheriff from the democratic election process. Chances are, what Milam suggests has the full support of your local newspaper, business organizations and cloaked GOP partisans simply because THEY ARE the third party special interests that want to wrestle away the power of the ballot. They think we’re too na├»ve and stupid to be trusted to elect our representatives, i.e., Ziegler, and instead some greater power with superior knowledge should be bestowed with that duty.

Ziegler’s campaign was powered by the same special interests that elected Van Hollen proves the process is not perfect. Clearly loopholes exist. Both were chosen over better candidates for their respected offices not because the people’s democratic election process failed, but because an unregulated campaign process corrupted by corporate and media interests succeeded.
JG Excerpt:
Electing Supreme Court justices simply doesn't work anymore. Ziegler is proof of that. How can we justify having a justice on the highest court in this state who could not operate ethically at the lowest court level in the state?
An argument can be undertaken for a lot of people holding elected offices today who don't deserve it either but, right or wrong, the people have spoken. What does a democratic election have to do with this? Nothing!

The question is not why do we elect Supreme Court Justices - but why do we allow third party special interests and private money to interfere in our election process? And more to the point, the people must stop confusing newspapers and the media at-large as some idealistic arm in defense of democracy, when they clearly have become the opposition.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bush Mid-East Trip One For The Books

Money Trumps Peace

Arms Dealer asks For Increase In Oil Production And Gets Snubbed.
After insisting to the American people there’s nothing he should do to interfere with the “free markets” of global oil, Bush now asks OPEC to pump more oil? Has he suddenly found some new religion?
Saudi's looking For Stability:
"There have been many attempts ... to create doubt about the long-term viability ... of oil," Naimi said. "As a result of these misplaced fears, billions of dollars have been spent on research for alternative fuels ... thus far with minimal success and high costs. ... We must recognize the central role that oil will continue to play."
In other words……..they know oil is king. When supply and demand is manipulated by greed and fear, it really doesn't matter, because they're all free market principles.
Saudi's looking for stability:
Asked about gasoline prices -- and if Americans might ever again see prices below $2 per gallon -- the soft-spoken minister laughed and said: "If I knew the answer to that question, I would be in Las Vegas rather than here."
When you're sitting on billion$ of barrel$ of oil that of which industrialized and wasteful nations cannot live without, who needs Las Vegas?

Instead of telling Bush to pick up and take his war machine with him out of the region in order to stabilize global oil markets, they end up giving him this........and with their profits and wealth, who could blame them? "Instability" like this should never go unrewarded.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Janesville Teacher Talks Turn Positive

Newspaper Not An Adversary In Teacher Talks?

After stoking public opinion by negatively portraying Janesville teachers for the past two years in articles and editorials, Tuesday’s Janesville Gazette contained an article that appears to go out of its way reminding the “adversaries,” (the school board and the teachers union) that there are only two parties in the negotiations.

The negative press the Gazette has given the school teachers is plain to see, but what isn't so obvious is what you don't see. That is, it should be noted that the newspaper has never editorialized support for increasing salary, benefits or compensation for teachers or for any members of an organized labor force.

The short article for all practical purposes contained no real news, except that the two sides are moving forward and the two sides will meet again. It's difficult to ignore the newspaper's past behavior towards the teachers, and the public just can't unwind the tension they've been wound into at will. But this could be the beginning of a good thing, that is, the paper's acknowledgement of just two sides. It'll be interesting to see how long this lasts.

Amusing anonymous comment published in the Gazette last week.
JG Sound Off Excerpt:
On teachers
: My husband and I have nine family members in five states employed in education. Trust me, anyone employed by Janesville public schools has no room for complaint. They need to look around and see how good they have it. --anonymous
Compared to what? How bad everyone else has it? With this remarkable insight, shouldn’t anonymous be defending the teachers?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Janesville Council Tripping Over Sidewalks Again

Back in May of 2007, I wrote my take on the sidewalk issue, and once again I was surprised at the turnout of citizens opposing the sidewalks after the city council already made it clear in previous meetings that sidewalks are mandatory. One would think that after last year’s meetings, residents would have figured it out by now that if you live within Janesville city limits, sooner rather than later, a sidewalk will be planted in front of your house.

Probably the only unsettled area in the sidewalk plan was the apparent confusion over its implementation, and it does appear that the city’s earlier one-sided plans have helped fuel some of the resentment. Council member Amy Loasching came up with what I thought was the “friendliest” course to take in planning the next stages of sidewalk installation.
JG Sidewalk Excerpt:
She wondered, however, how Jack Messer, the public works director, could out of fairness choose one side of the street over another for a sidewalk. She prefers that sidewalks be put on both sides. “Instead of bringing neighbors together, we’re dividing neighbors,” she said.
The first thing someone notices when they look out their front window is not the sidewalk being dug or the concrete being dumped in their front yard, and its not some map with colored lines they’re thinking about either - nope – it’s the sidewalk that’s NOT going in across the street! I don’t know if her comment was lost in the shuffle, but the city should fill in all unfinished (one-sided) streets first – that would be a good start to eliminate at least half of the neighborly animosity. Then, follow that by installing sidewalks on both sides of the nearest street block.

The only other thing here is that about 80% of the property owners in Janesville have already paid their share towards sidewalks. Asking them now to pitch in to pay for the rest is grossly unfair. But who knows what people are thinking now anyways?

Although existing Janesville residents have paid for their own water utilities and infrastructure to service their current water needs, they were more than happy to pay for a water tower to service the special terrain and altitude for a wealthy private developer and future sprawl. So who knows? Maybe they'll pay for sidewalks too.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rip Rap

Arms Dealer Strikes $20 billion deal with terror epicenter Saudi Arabia


Foreclosure Advice:
"Are you looking for ways to prevent your home from being foreclosed on?
Experts say the best thing you can do is to make your payments on time." -- From the CNN newsdesk.
Free Marketers Turn To Government Intervention When Losses Hit Home

When Wall Streeters gamble and win, they insist government stay the hell out of their profits. They cry socialism. They say they’ve “earned it” and government shouldn’t tax it away and give it to those who didn’t. It’s the “free markets,” abolish income taxes, end regulations and privatize for profits is the steady drum-beat. But why do they repeatedly ask for government intervention to bail-out billion dollar mortgage lenders, airlines, bankers and other staples of the economy who gambled…and lost?
Words Coming Back To Haunt
Free Speech On Mayor’s words:
"What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be," he said at the forum, sponsored by The New York Post. "Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do." – Rudy Guiliani, 1994
A triangulation of "you have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide." Surrender to freedom.
Guage On Health Care System
U.S Ranked Last In Death Prevention
Excerpt:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday.

Welfare State Or Tax Hell
Right-wing hack jobs have an answer for everything, if people are moving in, it must be a welfare state, but if more people moving out of Wisconsin.....it must be a tax hell.
If our credibility wasn't ruined, it is now.
Our "evidence" turns out to have dubbed-in audio...... just incredible. Just like their failure to ask the tough questions during the ramp-up for the War On Iraq, the MSM led by Faux News continues to ignore the realities and are Faking Us Into Another War.
Headlines Iran threatens American ships are everywhere.
Voices Could Be Fake Excerpt:
Today, the spokesperson for the U.S. admiral in charge of the Fifth Fleet clarified to ABC News that the threat may have come from the Iranian boats, OR it may have come from somewhere else.
Like from one of our own ships?

More truth to my silly little cartoon then one would expect.
And Finally

The person responsible for the horrific murders of a mother and her two children found in their mobile home in Janesville a year ago..... has finally been charged.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Report On Ryan's Partisanship

Today I received Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2007 Annual Report in the mail and decided to compare it to his 2006 Report. This is relatively easy considering both reports are three pages long and laid out in similar fashion with colorful wheels and charts. Of course, you needed to read them side-by-side to pick up on the subtleties and his change in priorities. Comparing them on the Web proved to be a little more challenging.

In the 2006 brochure, when Ryan’s party still held the majority, his enemy was social spending.
Ryan’s 2006 Annual Report Excerpt:
Every year, mandatory spending continues to take up a larger portion of the federal budget. At current rates, the three major entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) will take up our entire budget by 2035.
Also in the 2006 brochure, Ryan referred to Congress by name only a few times, but when he did, his tone was agreeable. He also gave credit to the Republican-led government for job creation and implied their efforts ended the 9/11 induced recession in June, 2003.
Ryan’s 2006 Annual Report Excerpt:
In 2003, Congress reduced taxes on individuals and American businesses……..Nearly 2 million jobs were added this year (2006), pushing the total number of jobs created since the end of the recession in June 2003 to nearly 7 million.
But Ryan views his 2007 enemy differently now, and he takes on a more partisan approach.
Ryan’s 2007 Annual Report Excerpt:
In contrast, the Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget relying on the largest tax increase in U.S. history………Late this month, Congress passed a large spending bill, which bundled……For citizens to regain faith in their government, we have to change the way Congress spends…
Suddenly, it’s Congress and not the social programs that is Ryan’s top enemy. And it’s no wonder. Congress is now led by a democratic majority. But how does Ryan relate to the social entitlements in his latest report?
Ryan’s 2007 Annual Report Excerpt:
Earlier this year, I wrote a budget alternative that balances the budget in five years and stops the government from spending the Social Security surplus……
The point here of course is that domestic spending is now overshadowed by the new democratic runaway Congress, at least in Ryan's eyes. Make no mistake, Ryan has no intentions of increasing participation in Social Security if necessary to save it. Finally, Ryan references his fellow Republicans only the way a partisan can.
Ryan’s 2007 Annual Report Excerpt:
Due to the Minority’s efforts, this final bill, also known as the “Omnibus Appropriations Bill,” includes funding the troops in the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and spending was reduced to meet the President’s funding level of $933 billion in 2008.
Without comparing the reports side-by-side, both seem harmlessly informative. But clearly they are not, and neither is Paul Ryan.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bush: Economy In Your Hands

In a long and dreary speech from Chicago this past Monday, Bush explained how he is hoping to re-break the economic back-bone of the country with the same tax and interest rate cuts and rebates that put it on life support in the first place. What a guy! Read speech here >>>

Excerpt:
“This economy rests in the hands of the American people…..” -- George W. Bush
……being his final year in office, one can only imagine how difficult it must have been for dubya NOT to end this with…”So long, suckers!!”


Related: Tax Cutting Us Into Ruin
Those who drove us into recession, want to do it all over again!

More: Credit Card Debt Spikes
Great news for Wall Street, it means either consumer confidence OR spending is up.

More: Traders betting on $200 oil by the end of the year.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Janesville Teachers Picket For Support

Teachers are asking for positive support

I’ve been writing about the oppressive power and arrogance of the local newspapers and cloaked political organizations in Janesville for over a year and a half now, and some folks just... don’t.... get....it. Sure, perhaps a close family member or friend works for the Gazette or is a member of Forward Janesville and they want to go along just to get along, but your livelihood and dignity are on the line. In their eyes, picketing teachers are just a smidgen away from being another one of those “extreme fringe groups” looking for change. Remember, they like things just the way they are. My heart and mind are with the teachers, but I think they're picketing the wrong institution.

On The Side Of Education

In the face of declining state aid, looming debt, higher costs and an unsettled teachers contract, the Janeville School District returned $1.5 million to the district taxpayers in the form of a deduction on their property taxes. With that said, the teachers feel the tax rebate was the wrong thing to do for education at this time. The superintendent disagrees.
JG Excerpt Excerpt:
The school board believed taxpayers deserved credit for their strong support of the district, Evert said.
This is very slick, once again pitting the taxpayers not against the interests of education, but against the interests of anyone who disagrees. No politics in Janesville, huh?

This was taken from a previous article in the Gazette.
Excerpt:
But other board members thought that was dipping too far into the fund balance, so Cullen backed off to a level that the board adopted unanimously, $1.5 million total.
JG Excerpt Excerpt:
Evert corrected misinformation that has been going around: $1 million of the tax-relief money came from the district’s reserve fund. The other $500,000 was from interest earnings on money borrowed for the high school expansion projects.
The superintendent clarifies the information printed previously in the Gazette. Not genuine misinformation in the proper sense, but more a slap at the newspaper's lack of providing pertinent and detailed information in their articles for the readers. But not that any of this really makes a difference. The school district has $1.5 million less, any way you slice it.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Janesville Council Tilts The Table

No surprise here, but the Janesville City Council, in a unanimous decision voted to hold a primary in hopes of weeding out the eight “fringe” candidates from the pool of eleven running for three open at-large city council chairs. In a move designed to game their own “progressive” system, it is expected that the voters will comply.

No doubt, the cost of the primary played a huge part in the decision. But because the primary for council will be held at the same time of the Wisconsin presidential primary, costs will be low enough for the city to continue mowing Lustig Park.

Here's an insightful comment from the previous post during Monday afternoon that I felt lifted the fog.
Given that the council is going to vote on this is a charade in itself. Three open seats at-large guarantees that no candidate will be elected with a solid majority, even if it's down to six. Primaries are used in democratic elections to produce a candidate chosen by a majority. That doesn't exist in Janesville. Without representative district government, the fix is in. -- TJ
Thanks TJ.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Newspaper Plays Negative Hand Against C.A.R.D.

Today’s Janesville Gazette editorialized their reasons why the Janesville city council should consider a council primary for the eleven candidates running for three open seats. Apparently, the Gazette feels the group of candidates is infiltrated with democracy interlopers and activists, namely K. Andreah Briarmoon and her organization known as C.A.R.D. (Citizen Association For Rights And Dignity)
JG Editorial Excerpt:
Just a few weeks ago, we saw just two announced candidates to fill three vacancies on the Janesville City Council and urged residents to consider running. Now, we have the opposite situation – an “embarrassment of riches.”
Over the years, the Gazette and others have criticized the group and have consistently portrayed them as negative and confrontational, never once rebutting or denying allegations and claims made by the group. With that said, I can only imagine here that the Gazette must have shelved their “CARD Negativity Scares Away Citizen Council Participation” editorial, had they been left with just two or three candidates. But now there’s eleven, so the newspaper feels it is absolutely necessary to narrow the field into what they believe will fit their comfort zone. This is wrong.

I’m not writing here to promote Briarmoon or her group, they have their own publicity machine. And I have been somewhat skeptical of their motives from the start, but Briarmoon has raised many questions about the city administration and processes that have gone mostly unanswered. She has been the fly in their ointment and just might be the spark needed to attract more public interest and participation in city government. In fact, the eleven candidates make this practically self-evident.

If Briarmoon were elected, she would be just one of seven members of a majority rule council. Change would only come if she can convincingly explain her ideas to the others in a positive way with positive results. In two years, if she fails to live up to expectations, she can be voted out just like any other under-performing council member. The truth is, like everything else, you make your best sales pitch. Some may buy, others might not. This is apparently, what the Gazette and others are afraid of.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
Voters should seriously consider whether any candidate who is associated with CARD is worthy of their votes.
Because of the Gazette bully pulpit, many people are convinced that Briarmoon and C.A.R.D. associates are negative and confrontational. Negative? No way. Their message is about change, whether negative or positive is a matter of opinion. Confrontational? Possibly. But if you want to make things happen you have to confront the problems. That’s something both the city administration and the Gazette have failed to do with what they keep telling others is “negative and confrontational.” They have met the challenging message by discrediting the messenger and in the process have "politely" polarized the community.

I urge the council to let the eleven candidates stand equally among their peers in the eyes of voters for their chance to serve the community, and may the best three with the most votes win. No gaming the system, no tilted tables and no needless primary.

Related:Janesville City Council Candidates

Saturday, January 05, 2008

AP Playing Race Card With Obama

Obama Endorsement Excerpt:
Gov. Jim Doyle has not yet endorsed a presidential candidate. But, his son Gus Doyle, who is black, has endorsed Obama and is leading the UW-Madison chapter of Students for Barack Obama.

Teachers Trapped By Bad Press And School Board

Today’s Janesville Gazette continued to paint Janesville teachers up as a dishonest and selfish group with a front page article titled, “Were teachers really ill?” Apparently some teachers have taken up their own protest action calling in sick, outside of union restraints, to show their displeasure with recent school board decisions.

But what the Gazette also proceeded to do was to take the words of anonymity and present it as if it’s the “off the record” official stance of the teachers.
JG Excerpt:
Teachers believed the money earmarked for health care insurance was their money - part of their compensation package - and should have been used for a salary increase and to reduce staffing and program cuts, the teacher said.
Taxpayers should be careful what they read there because not everyone is a linguistics professor. This particular sentence was also weaved into the article outside of quoted statements from the supposed anonymous teacher as part of a larger statement. There is a lot of, shall I say,"enquirer journalism" and creative use of hearsay to once again put the teachers into a negative light.

Recently, the Gazette editorialized about the teacher's union lack of public relations skills and media marketing, yet the Gazette is more than happy to write up the spontaneous comments from a disgruntled teacher anonymously. The editorial suggestion was completely unnecessary if not for the newspaper's own hostility and opposition towards the union's objective.

The additional point I’d like to make here is this. Teachers understand that the funds held by the school district don’t belong to anyone but education. The taxpayers entrusted the school board to do the right thing for the education of Janesville kids. I won’t argue whether the reserve funds grew from interest gains, health care savings or the conscientious teacher shutting off the lights when they leave the room, it still belongs to education. In that perspective, the school board felt it was in the best interests of education to give the money back to the taxpayers. Go figure.

Free Advice For "Change" Candidates

Consortium News Excerpt:
On the Democratic side, the contrast was visible during the post-caucus speeches by Clinton and Obama. Sen. Clinton was surrounded by old faces from Washington’s Democratic hierarchy, which has compromised its way through the past quarter century of Republican political dominance.

When Obama spoke to his supporters, the tableau was entirely different. He stood on a platform with his wife and two young daughters, with mostly young supporters behind him, not a single nationally recognized face among them.
Can you imagine where Obama’s campaign would be headed if he had Al Sharpton, Jesse jackson or Bill Cosby hanging around the stage during his victory speech in Iowa? This has nothing to do with race either, but if candidates are running on change, they’re best off telling their old guard buddies and kling-on cronies to stay home during those post-caucus speeches. Hillary, consider this a free $10,000 consultation.

Friday, January 04, 2008

RipRap

Faux News Spin Balance
In typical fashion, Faux News in an effort to break unity, paints Obama and Huckabee up as candidates against the status quo of their party’s versus the status quo at-large, and takes it another step further by labeling them as anti-establishment. Although I would argue against the idea that Huckabee represents change. No doubt Faux would have preferred a status quo victory to begin the 2008 campaign theme with McCain and Clinton.

On MSNBC, political hack-job Chris "the rat" Matthews exclaims "Barack Hussein Obama" with a smirk.
Bush Out Of The Loop Again Excerpt:
President George W. Bush told a news conference that he did not know of the existence or destruction of the tapes until he was briefed on Dec. 6 by CIA Director Michael Hayden. Bush seemed to have no concern that he had been kept in the dark about such consequential matters. – Helen Thomas, telling it like it is.

Fed Setting the Stage To Depreciate Currency Further

Does the Fed plan to induce inflation by lowering interest rates to keep artificially high home prices from falling? On Monday, when news hit the streets that another rate cut was likely, gold (and oil) skyrocketed. The last time the Fed acted on interest rates, the stock market plummeted primarily because the rate cut confirmed suspicions of the deteriorating condition of the economy, contrary to popular opinion that the quarter point wasn't enough. If Wall Street merely thought the Fed didn't do enough with a quarter point drop, why would the profit-takers go as far as to punish themselves with heavy losses across the board. Further rate cuts from this point are nothing more than red herrings.

Later, if the market continues to falter, it might respond in a positive way to a rate cut next time due to the "opposite effect" effect, but don't look for more than a short-term bounce. In reality though, interest rate cuts are merely short-term patches, sort of putting an antiseptic cream on an injury that requires amputation.

Also, Bush is set to announce an economic stimulus plan for his strong economy in the upcoming state of the union speech. Knowing his track record, he most likely will ask for more tax cuts.
Another Bush Idea That Back-Fired

Bhutto was encouraged to return to Pakistan and supported by the Bush Administration.

Good News For Country From Iowa

Status Quo Lost – Change and Courage won....for now.

Iowa is 94.9% white
75% Christian
Registered Democrats 600,000
Registered Republicans 574,000
Undeclared 737,000

Clinton and Gore carried it in ’92, ’96 and Gore in 2000. Bush won in 2004.

Total Voter Turnout (approximate) January 3, 2007
356,000

Percentage of total vote
Obama 24.5%
Edwards 20.5%
Clinton 19.8%
Huckabee (R) 11.4%

Democrats
Obama : 37.58%
Edwards : 29.75%
Clinton : 29.47%
Richardson : 2.11%

After listening to the talking heads declare Clinton’s campaign in trouble after the results, it turns out she received over 67,000 votes, almost twice the number Huckabee received with 36,000.

Though Obama won, John Edwards is sitting in a great position.

Beloit Daily News says everyone should tune out the hype. It's no way to elect a president. Read Editorial here.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

With Crisis Looming, Surplus Refund Looks Dumb

The Janesville school district has been very lucky in recent years that they've been able to build up a budget surplus. Good news for education in Janesville? Not quite…….

JG Excerpt:
Evert (superintendent) has said the board must be prudent, because although the district has been lucky with health-care costs in recent years, it's only a matter of time before it's hit with a surge in high-cost payouts.
Without a teachers contract and "it's only a matter of time" prudence, what better time is there than now to rebate $1.5 million to the taxpayers, heh?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

GOP Tax Shift Doctrine Continues

Federal appropriation's cuts mean local tax hike looming....again and again.
Excerpt:
State anticipates cut of nearly two-thirds for police
Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said President Bush has cut local law enforcement programs in the past and "this year again made recommendations of more than $1 billion cuts." We restored some of the cuts, but he insisted on his total numbers because he wanted to pump every dollar into that stupid war in Iraq," Obey said.
Republican politicians in Washington have trumpeted irresponsible tax cuts and domestic spending restraints while blaming democrats and local "mis"management for the tax increases necessary to refill the tank. This has repeatedly been a no-fail campaign tactic for the GOP. It's almost like a "perfect crime."
Ryan’s Hypocrisy Excerpt:
What the hypocritical Ryan fails to explain in taxpayer-funded press releases hailing his fiscal conservatism, however, is his steady pattern of voting for defense authorization measures -- especially so-called "emergency" funding plans for the Iraq occupation -- that contain massive earmarks, pork barrel spending and related abuses.