Today is

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

GM Job Cuts A Silver Lining. Come Again?

It’s unofficially official. The Janesville Gazette does not appear to be blaming labor unions or the strike against American Axle for the announced shift cut at the Janesville factory. Big headlines on Tuesday’s front page, Rising fuel prices fuel GM cutbacks, says it all.

But the slumping economy and skyrocketing gas prices have put the survival of the Janesville plant into question, those observers said.
All things being equal, would survival or cutting 750 workers be a question if the vehicles assembled at GM Janesville got 28 to 35 mpg, regardless of high gasoline costs?

I have no idea where one can find a silver lining in cutting a full shift of 750 head-of-household jobs at any time, any place, any how. But the Gazette does with their editorial titled "GM's bad news comes with silver linings."
Editorial Excerpt:
At times like this, it’s natural to look for silver linings. And there are some surrounding GM’s announcement Monday.
Anyone willing to gamble that GM will hire back new lower wage workers at some of the four factories taking cuts now before oil hits $200 a barrel?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Whack-A-Mole City Budget Management

Every now and then but with much less frequency, the Janesville Gazette will begin an editorial with breathtaking wonder in apparent support of a people driven local initiative, only to revert back to their core principle. Such is the case in the Sunday Gazette editorial titled ‘City should reopen upper road, pool at Riverside Park.”

The editorial starts off in full support of reopening a primary road in one of Janesville’s most scenic parks and mentions all the good things that have transpired since the city chose to close it. All was fine until….
JG Editorial Excerpt:
Operating costs likely will mean sacrifices elsewhere. But if the council can find a way, it will help restore this park gem to its historic origins.
If the council can find ways to cut costs elsewhere…. This snippet is not only the Janesville Gazette’s idea defining their shared taxpayer sacrifice, but probably the number one golden rule guiding Janesville city government for the past several decades.

Want to mow the knee-high grass in some of the city's parks? Sure, if we drop weed and curb gutter clean-up in the parkways among half of our most traveled streets. Want to save the Tallman House? Sure, if we can no longer mow the grass in our parks. Want to reopen a wading pool? Sure, just cut $25,000 from some other "useless" city service.

When the Janesville police department wanted a canine unit, they knew in advance what had to be done. They knew it was a tough sell without presenting a detailed explanation of where they could cut costs or find some surplus elsewhere in the department for start-up costs. This mentality is the key principle so repeatedly ingrained within city hall by the newspaper over a period of decades, that it could now arguably be classified as a genetic imprint.

And with this editorial, the Gazette did it again. Right before the next city council meeting, they dropped the whack-a-mole budget monkey on the shoulder of every council person when it comes time to thinking how the city will pay the costs to re-open the park road and restore a wading pool. Not only that, but the editorial “cornered” the council not to ignore the citizen group friends of the park passion and to do the right thing. After all, even the Gazette approves.

One of the members of the Forward Janesville political action group recently said "Janesville's spending on city operations ranked 37th out of 40," and said we have a reputation for efficiency and frugality. Knowing how this is accomplished, I wouldn't brag about it too much.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bill O’Reilly A Closet Populist?

The most recent Bill O'Reilly rant titled, Fight back against Big Oil offers a clear idea just how loosely his head is bolted on. For instance, Billo really thinks that….. Excerpt:
If a big oil company wants to tighten supply, for example, it's a snap. Just slow down the refinery process by ordering extra "maintenance" or something.
Think about it. If Big Oil would want to tighten supply (yet avoid shortages at the pump and really, really bad publicity), why in the world would they purposely slow down the refinery process when all they need to do is raise the prices slightly. Again and again if necessary till they balance the supply with the demand. In our digitally interconnected world, THIS is the snap. Why in the world would they want to send the message they can’t meet the demand at the current prices by slowing the process – they’d lose money. You don’t make $15 billion quarterly profits by deliberately failing to supply the product…… any price. You sell what you have at the MAXIMUM the market will bear. Even if it hurts. But Billo still believes and that’s good enough for his Klingons.

But his rant gets better because near the end he not only encourages people to empower themselves, to do a left-wing thing, he actually says if he were president he’d name the greedy CEO’s making millions off of us poor schmucks. My friends at Leftyblogs must be finally getting to this guy. Empowering the people? Strike at the profiteers? Bill O'Reilly? An idealist? A populist?

Instead of taking the typical GOP stance and blaming gasoline taxes, regulations or liberals, Billo asks the people to get ANGRY. Oh, please! Excerpt:
But if Americans would get angry and begin punishing the oil bandits, prices would drop.
Punishing? Gasp! Watch what you say there, Billo. You're only one more verb away from becoming a person of interest by the authorities.

Are you saying people should organize a mass boycott? How socialist of you! How left-wing of you? A consumer strike? What about all the investors, risk-takers and poor seniors collecting Big Oil dividends? Remember, mega-profits are a sure sign those special and talented CEO's are worth their millions according to Wall Street.

Well, I guess when a self-righteous whacko like Billo tells people to get angry, it’s ok. But when some citizen rises up and pushes back at the greed-fueled power train running downhill on greased rails, well, that’s different. Only then, it must be the irrational outburst of a combative and negative person with an axe to grind. Perhaps in Billo's case, they’d be right.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Newspaper Continues Unfriendly Reporting Of Union Action

The Janesville Gazette has been relentlessly over reporting the UAW strike against American Axle along with it's effects on the GM factory here in Janesville. For the past month now, the paper has given the strike front-page and/or top headline news with repetitive articles here, here, here, and here, while downplaying the effects the record high gasoline prices and peak-Bush economy has on the sales of large SUV’s. All the articles cast a pejorative tone against the strikers. Of course none of the articles offer a shred of support for the union action.
JG Excerpt:
American Axle, which is scheduled to release its first-quarter earnings today, says it could close some or all of its original U.S. facilities if the UAW won’t consider “a U.S. market-competitive labor agreement.”
Before they turn their backs on American workers, AA executives need to talk to CNBC's Trish Regan about the low productivity and poor profits Tenneco experienced in Beijing, China.

Only one recent article titled "Strikes hurt GM Less than oil prices" seemed to address the potential long-term economic impact on GM large-SUV sales resulting not from the strike, but from the skyrocketing price of gasoline.
JG Excerpt:
But for GM’s DiGiovanni, there is an even bigger concern: the price of oil and gas.
Sure, the strike has resulted in a production slowdown at Janesville GM but long after this strike is over, GM will be grappling with a problem they only wish a strike could settle. Consider ourselves lucky....for now.

Surge in gas prices leads to scaling down of the vehicles Americans drive. In the end, you can bet the Janesville newspaper will blame the unions for the eventual demise of the SUV.

Friday, April 25, 2008

McCain's New "Stay The Course" Economy

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Standing before a nearly shuttered factory pocked with broken windows in a city devastated by the erosion of its industrial base, John McCain on Tuesday urged Americans to reject the "siren song of protectionism" and embrace free trade.
With prosperity like that, we'll have plenty to look forward to under President McCain.

This is just from memory so bear with me on this one. In a related piece a couple days ago on CNBC during an anti-union pro-trade agreement rant, host Trish Regan, with the usual panel of stock market experts, told a story of two nearly identical factories. The two she explained were owned by the same company, Tenneco. One is in Beijing and the other in Michigan. She then went on to ask the only anti-free-trade agreement pro-union panelist the question, "Which one is more profitable?" He said probably the one in Beijing. In a classic "gotcha" snicker she said "wrong!!" Contrary to what many believe, the factory in the U.S. is far more profitable because of much higher PRODUCTIVITY, she said. Ooooops.

This news blurp ended right there and when the panel came back about a half-hour later, they knew they flubbed the anti-union twist they intended and tried to correct the spin by saying the high productivity at the American factory couldn't possibly be attributed to union workers because they only comprise 7% of the American workforce. The conversation ended there without any further explanation for the higher profits at the American factory.

This was Wednesday morning during the daily "free lunch" show. No link available.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stimulus Payment No Longer A Rebate?

This past Saturday, the Janesville Gazette ran a short question and answer article about the economic stimulus payments everybody is waiting for from Uncle Sam.
JG Excerpt:
Q: Will my payment reduce my 2008 tax refund or increase the amount I owe in 2008?
A: No. The stimulus payment is not taxable.
That answer did not answer the question thoroughly enough. The question did not ask whether the refund was taxable, but whether the payment would have an effect on next year's taxes as an "advance payment."

ALL of the earlier MSM reports on the economic stimulus plan referred to either “payments” for individuals who have some income but no tax liabilities, and “rebates” for everyone else who pay Federal income tax.

Apparently and without notice, that has all now changed........maybe. After surfing the web looking for the right answer, it does seem the IRS is now calling the “rebate” a "stimulus payment" and has dropped all "rebate" language.

On the surface it appears all stimulus will be defined as “payments,” so it can only be assumed here that the "payment" will not increase or decrease any tax refund or additional tax to which you would otherwise be committed to next year. It is an additional credit (hand-out) for 2008, which we will be receiving in advance....supposedly. After having said all this, there still seems to be no one able to answer the question "Will my payment reduce my 2008 tax refund or increase the amount I owe in 2008?" with any definitive authority. Excerpt:

Most taxpayers will receive two notices from the IRS. The first general notice from the IRS will explain the stimulus payment program. The second notice will confirm the recipients’ eligibility, the payment amount and the approximate time table for the payment. Taxpayers will need to save this notice to assist them when they prepare their 2008 tax return next year.
Why would anyone need to save information to "assist" them with next year's taxes?

Lowdown On Tax Rebates:
The rebates serve as a one-time tax cut initially based on their 2007 incomes - an advance on a credit taxpayers will receive on their 2008 return.
Probably the best explanation yet. It's an advance on a tax cut slated for next years (2008) 1040. So IT IS a rebate!!Additional opinion on next years taxes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Gazette's Lack Of Fairness Critical For Cronies

A few of weeks have passed since the Janesville Gazette exercised their self-righteous display of partisan journalism and editorial power targeting open citizen participation and support for local candidates. If you may recall, the article titled When politics comes home, singled out one candidate from a field of six running for Janesville city council and framed him along with citizen democrats and local unions in an apparent attempt to provoke controversy before the election. In the article, the newspaper enlisted the perspective and rebuttal from "non-partisan" organizations such as Rock county’s largest economic development and pro-business group, Forward Janesville, and Republicans as a way to provide balance? and division among the ranks. Of course they succeeded.
JG Excerpt:
That said, Cunningham said Forward Janesville is looking at how the labor community has been able to recruit people such as Mike Sheridan to take the next step in public service by getting elected to the Legislature. It is a model Forward Janesville might follow in finding business-friendly candidates, he said.
Less than two weeks later, Forward Janesville ( a private club?) takes that next step and announces a recruitment drive schedule picking up full Gazette spin and quoted comments. Labor unions, professionals, average Joe Citizen or a local democrat or two were not invited to offer their view of the group’s political intentions to expand influence in the Janesville community.D is ForwardPredictably, during the same week, the newspaper also ran a series of articles and editorials of recent topics and activity in Janesville city government while propagating Forward Janesville’s positions within the stories and their interest in city government affairs. Just as predictable, the newspaper projected the cloaked partisan business group as a positive influence.

FINALLY, in Sunday’s Gazette, the newspaper allowed publishing a well-rounded and pointedly accurate perspective of the newspaper's bias, blatant hypocrisy and unwelcome attitude towards local citizen’s willingness to participate in their own civic affairs. Titled (by the Gazette?) "Criticism of labor shows Gazette lack of fairness" but written by the Chairman of the Janesville-Madison Community Action Program and UAW 95 Cap director J.K. Unfortunately, the article is not available on the Web.

Clear and precise. Great, great writing from J.K. It gets it done.

Note: As a courtesy to avoid search engine robots from linking names of individuals otherwise not widely published through other sources, I have used initials only.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rip Rap

Torturers In The White House:
We now have confirmation that the President of the United States gave the OK to torture. Where is the media? Where are the Democrats?
Now that we know this to be true, our government had the brazen disrespect to violate the War Crimes Act of 1996, the Geneva Conventions and basic human rights in the name of justice………it is time to be afraid, to be very afraid. What could the democrats do other than announcing that the country should be at the highest state of emergency.

Torture Temptress

Next President the greatest?

Have you ever noticed recently how George W. Bush has the next president doing all the wonderful things he couldn't do in his eight years? Like producing a budget surplus or halting the growth of greenhouse gases, just to name two.
The latest rovian buzzword is "pause."

As in, when "stay the course" is morphed into a "troop pause."
Bush Administration: Olympics Not Political

Cop-out to skip Olympics:
"If other countries are concerned about that, they ought to do what we are doing through quiet diplomacy, send a message clearly to the Chinese that this is an opportunity with the whole world watching" -- Stephen Hadley
Quiet Diplomacy? Bush sending a STRONG message to China by remaining quiet. At first, I thought this was a joke. But then it dawned on me we are talking about George W. Bush.
Populism: Academic and scholarly definitions of populism vary widely but most agree it is a discourse which supports "the people" (originally farmers and laborers) versus "the elites".

How many times have you heard that Barack Obama is a populist or has a populist message? Yet from those very same hacks (usually Fox Channel), they’ll follow that up by saying most of his supporters are wealthy and educated. There is no better way to divide millions of Obama’s supporters than by claiming his twenty dollar donors (the people) are supporting the intellectual and wealthy (the elite). Divide first, then conquer.

Bush Worst President Ever
Harpers Excerpt:
“No individual president can compare to the second Bush,” wrote one. “Glib, contemptuous, ignorant, incurious, a dupe of anyone who humors his deluded belief in his heroic self, he has bankrupted the country with his disastrous war and his tax breaks for the rich, trampled on the Bill of Rights, appointed foxes in every henhouse, compounded the terrorist threat, turned a blind eye to torture and corruption and a looming ecological disaster, and squandered the rest of the world’s goodwill. In short, no other president’s faults have had so deleterious an effect on not only the country but the world at large.”

Big Oil: High Prices Not Our Fault, this time.
They responded that their companies already are spending on alternative energy projects and argued that new taxes would dampen investment and could lead to even higher prices.
If Congress terminates the $18 billion dollars in subsidies,Big Oil said the price of gasoline will go up. Some call this a public/private partnership, others call it blackmail.

One of my own beliefs about the previous high cost of gasoline over the past 4 years was based on Cheney's secret "Energy Task Force" meetings held in the White House prior to the invasion of Iraq. Here, I believe Cheney gave Big Oil full manipulative control over pricing to avoid any potential shortages at the pump during wartime. The last thing the Bush Administration wanted were 70's style oil embargo rationing and anger at the pump. That's all changed now that Saudi Arabia is no longer beholden to America and OPEC now has a thorough understanding of American free market principles. After they rebuffed Bush's request to increase production (why increase production, there are no shortages?), he sent his bulldog to try to talk some sense into them. Since then, oil jumped another $15 a barrel.

Results are in from “Peak Bush” economy.

Rich getting richer, bigger, larger, greater and faster than ever.

Sounds like another tax cut for the wealthy is in order.Read George Carlin's version about the owners of America here.

Should Clinton McCain quit?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

McCain Adopting Two Americas Tax System

In terms of taxes, McCain made several proposals. He said he would offer an alternative tax system that would consist of just two tax rates and a larger standard deduction than under the current code. Tax filers would be allowed to choose whether they wished to file under the current system or the new one.
An analysis of a plan with a similar structure, the Tax Policy Center found that tax revenue reduction would have the potential to increase deficits by $7 trillion over 10 years if all taxpayers took advantage of it. Under that plan, proposed by former Republican candidate Fred Thompson and a similar one by Rep.Paul Ryan, filers making between $100,000 and $500,000 would see the biggest break.

One of the most insidious lines of reasoning underlying Republican fiscal policy has been the idea they are offering taxpayers a choice between the current system and their system. Whether it is McCain’s Two America’s tax policy or Ryan’s Tax Choice plan, they’re nearly identical and both play off on the idea of offering the taxpayer the irresistible choice of paying less at the federal level.

Much like Ryan’s now defunct Social Security privatization plan which also carried with it the participant's ability to stay in the current system or join their alternative, all of the “choice” plans are driven to defund a heavily indebted Federal government by encouraging less participation in our shared sacrifice paying the nation's bills.

In this most basic yet indirect way, Republicans stay on the tax cut track to remain in office, that's all they have even if they have to destroy America.
"We have an unemployment insurance program straight out of the 1950s. It was designed to assist workers through a few tough months during an economic downturn until their old jobs came back. That program has no relevance to the world we live in today," McCain said.
McCain is right for a change on this one……... today, their jobs aren’t coming back.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

1st District Contenders Stepping Up To The Challenge

As of this posting, there appears to be three candidates running to liberate the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin from the clutches of George W. Bush Paul Ryan. The three are: Paulette Garin, Mike Hebert and Marge Krupp.

Paulette Garin – Candidate For 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin


You can check out more of Garin’s views on the issues including videos from the candidate forum held in Walworth County here.

I will continue to post information on all the democratic candidates as it becomes available.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Offshore Tax Loopholes Defended By GOP

As we enter the final days to file our tax returns, you may think you’re paying off the tax obligations for just your household. But you'd be wrong. You're also footing the bill for American companies that are legally dodging billions of dollars in taxes thanks largely to the Republican tax policy.
Parade Magazine
Corporate Tax Cheats Excerpt:
A 2004 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that 61% of American corporations, including 39% of large companies, paid no corporate income taxes between 1996 and 2000. Last year, corporations shouldered just 14.4% of the total U.S. tax burden, compared with about 50% in 1940.

While companies are getting off easy, thanks to loopholes, ordinary wage earners are getting stuck with the tab.
Rep. Paul Ryan voted NO on a bill that would have closed offshore tax loopholes to pay for AMT relief. (Dec 2007)

In addition, the three corporatists from Wisconsin, Ryan, Petri and Sensenbrenner voted against HR5351. This bill included a tax package that would rescind a tax break for the five biggest oil companies and use the revenue to boost incentives for wind and solar energy and energy efficiency.

"This is an impressive crowd, the haves and the have mores. Some people call you the elites. I call you my base." – George W. Bush

Friday, April 11, 2008

Local Political Organization Starts Recruitment Drive

The heavy youth turn-out and excitement during the Wisconsin presidential primary in Rock County and across Wisconsin has gotten somebody's underwear all bunched up.

So the only political organization in Rock County regularly defended by the local press with promotional articles and supporting editorials, and often inadequately described as only a pro-business group, yet with common links, goals and membership to the hardcore partisan WMC is looking to recruit young professionals for, get this........volunteer work.

Friday's Janesville Gazette posted the article on page 3 complete with quotes, schedule and contact numbers. The story was also summarized at the top of their sidebar "Gazette At A Glance" on the front page.
JG Excerpt:
The challenge for not only Janesville but all communities is to figure out how to motivate young professionals and skilled trades people to step up and get involved in volunteer work in the community,” he said.
In light of recent articles perpetrated by the Janesville Gazette attacking the public networking of volunteers, open endorsements and encouragement for citizens to run for local government, this should be a double-alarm to all who complained earlier.

It should also be noted that when labor or community organizations have meet-ups or weekly schedules posted in the Gazette, they are often very lucky to have just one or two sentences pasted in the local "Briefs."

Note: Above link to Gazette "recruitment" article has turned cold a few hours after this posting.

Read more backlash against political organizations masquerading as pro-business and economic development groups.
Zweifel Excerpt:
The state spends millions recruiting out-of-state corporations to relocate here, only to run up against WMC ads that complain about how badly Wisconsin treats business.

Paul Ryan For Janesville City Manager?

Outside of Janesville a lot of people don't know or care that the city is looking to hire a new manager to run city hall affairs. But the interesting thing here is, this opens up a door that hasn't been open in over 20 years, and the timing couldn't be better for the aspirations for one hometown politician other than Russ Feingold

So I thought, who could be better for the job than our own hero and congressman, Paul Ryan? Sure, Ryan purports to stand against taxpayer hand-outs to billionaires in other states and districts, but we wouldn’t have to worry about him doing the same thing here. You see, in his own backyard, welfare for the wealthy means jobs and economic growth.

Plus he is a product of Wisconsin schools, something I really think is important for local leadership. And Ryan knows how to cut non-discretionary spending and other wasteful expenditures. With local unions taking wage and benefit hits, his low wage conservatism and economics style are just what the doctor ordered for Janesville right now. For a prize like Ryan, the city would disregard the suggested $140,000 starter salary in a hurry and match his current annual of $167,000. Plus, and this is key, he would remain close to his growing family without those long trips he takes serving his country in Washington. What could THAT be worth?

The best part is that Ryan wouldn’t have to do anything more performance-wise than what he’s been doing under George W. Bush. Except for one thing. He’d have to balance a budget. Don’t forget, he’s been part of the final Clinton surplus years, so at least he’s been around someone who knows how to do it. He would put the lean in Janesvillean and cut taxes, after all that’s his trademark. But that’ll be easy because he’ll have the power to cut all city departments across the board without some democrat opposing him. But there’s more. Balancing a budget here and delegating some authority would put the icing on his resume cake for the next step. It could set him up for a governor's run in 2 to 6 years. And after two terms gaining more executive experience and showing the world how to balance budgets as governor, he could finally throw his hat in the presidential ring. Ryan for Prez in 2020? He'll be around 50 years old by then. Very scary. But stranger things have happened.

So in the spirit of the neo-con gasbag Robert Novak, I nominate Paul Ryan for Janesville City Manager.

I agree that sacrificing the city of Janesville is a risky proposition, but that's the least any patriotic American would do to help save the country right NOW.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rather Snooze than Lose With Ryan's SS Reform

Tuesday’s Janesville Gazette contained yet another Paul Ryan election campaign article, this time masquerading as an editorial. The newspaper however chose Social Security as the subject to promote their guy and defended his past positions by stating obviously vague terms and forgiving generalizations. They could have picked nearly anyone else in Congress if they were really serious about promoting reforms to guarantee Social Security's future. Make no mistake, this editorial is designed to promote their hometown hero - again.

A few years ago, I attended the Ryan/Dean Baker SS debate held at Parker High in Janesville, and just to make it short, I learned Ryan is no friend of Social Security. Back then, Ryan was serious about privatizing most of the revenue being paid into the system from payroll taxes. Back then like today, Ryan and his Gazette campaign staff shared the same urgency to “reform” Social Security.
JG Gazette Editorial Excerpt:
Critics will point out that, a few years ago, Ryan joined President Bush in pushing for privatizing Social Security.
That’s putting it mildly. Ryan was hand-picked by Bush to lead the White House charge against Social Security.

In a nutshell, Ryan wants to privatize the security in Social Security the very same way the care in Medicare is. Today, our problems in Medicare are far more urgent because the high costs necessary to produce dividends for the few far outweigh the health needs of the many. Government isn’t crushing Medicare – privatization is. Just a few days before, largely due to fall-out from Wall Street, the editors of the Gazette posted a cartoon poking fun at the absurdity of privatizing Social Security.Sure, we can laugh now and dismiss the idea but back then, to Ryan, this was no laughing matter. This was HIS idea. Big joke now.
JG Gazette Editorial Excerpt:
Congressman Ryan has been a staunch advocate of protecting Social Security and understands the problem.
Is that so? Then why did he vote NO on strenghtening the Social Security Lockbox. This bill required that any budget surplus CANNOT be spent until the solvency of Social Security is guaranteed. Ryan’s “NO” accelerates the speed to insolvency. Ryan’s “NO” says yes to spending the budget surplus. In my opinion, Ryan is not an advocate of Social Security. Not even close.
JG Gazette Editorial Excerpt:
As Ryan says: "Hitting the snooze button, yet again, is not the right choice.
In light of current events, I wouldn't be too sure about that. Had we accepted the Bush/Ryan Social Security Reform of the not too distant past, it turns out, snoozing was better than losing. Thank goodness we can laugh about it.

Ryan is rated 10% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record.

Tammy Baldwin, the representative for Wisconsin’s 2nd District which covers the western half of Rock County, is rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Ryan Inconsistent With Wealthy Partisans

Monday's Janesville Gazette contained an article publicizing the newest target of Rep. Paul Ryan's Boondoggle Budget Award. Other than a mostly partisan bias, I have no idea what criteria he uses to judge recipients for this supposed sarcastic award, but this time he chose to verbally disqualify the recipients of the federal subsidies because of their wealth.
JG Excerpt:
Among the recipients were: at least two billionaires, a former chief executive officer of Seagrams and numerous Wall Street power brokers. Additionally, a member of the prestigious Rockefeller family has received $228,000 in subsidies in the past five years, Ryan said.
I certainly don't have a problem with closing down welfare for the wealthy, but this is highly unusual for Ryan when you consider he voted NO on ending federal subsidies to mega-profit Big Oil AND thought it was a bad idea closing offshore business loopholes to help pay for AMT relief.

Even in his hometown of Janesville, Ryan (in a resident capacity) was silent when city officials gave a billionaire residential developer a $2.7 million water tower to supply their special terrain elevations paid for on the backs of current city residents, and never speaks out against other taxpayer handouts and TIF perks to local deep-pocketed businessmen. Apparently in Janesville those are his homies.

Never regarded for the blackmail they are, those hand-outs have been fiercely defended in his hometown and on Capitol Hill as a necessary partnership and a job growth tool regardless of the recipient's wealth. Why Ryan would target the recipient's wealth in this case is anybody's guess.

Note: Article "Budget Boondoggle Award to Ag Dept." was written by Gazette Staff.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Congressional Spending Problem Skips Wisconsin

Wisconsin On Short End Of The Stick
Wisconsin ranked 49th in federal revenue (out of 51, including the District of Columbia), with $668 per student. There was no explanation offered for the state's low ranking, but Wisconsin generally is at the bottom of any list related to federal assistance and much of the education aid from the federal government is pegged to poverty, which is low overall in Wisconsin. In addition, federal aid makes up only 9% of education revenue nationally.
But there is an explanation for the state’s low ranking.
On the other hand, Wisconsin ranked 15th in terms of money coming from the state, at $5,826. Revenue from local government, which would generally mean property taxes, was $4,665, which was 21st.
RNR rule No. 1: Tax cuts at the federal level usually means tax hikes at the local level AND spending cuts at the federal level means even MORE tax hikes at the local level. One way or another, these cuts come home to roost.

While Wisconsin is on the low, low end of federal appropriations, uninformed residents will point to the governor and state democrats as the conveyors of our high local taxes. But to be more honest, the fault lies primarily in Washington, with representatives in congress like our own Rep. Paul Ryan, who happens to be a key member on the powerful federal House Appropriations Committee and makes perennial commitments to bring home even less. He not only wins awards for this, but believe it or not, he also hands out "boondoggle" trophies to representatives who work tirelessly to bring home a return of their respective district's tax dollars. Depending on your point of view, THIS could possibly be Paul Ryan’s signature achievement.

Many Wisconsin residents won't see the correlation of any of this and can afford to be short-changed. After all, poverty is low according to some statistics.

But the 1st Congressional District, like no other in the state of Wisconsin, will send the message once again that it can afford to be short-changed and pay even higher state and local taxes - IF WE re-elect Ryan to another term in office. The choice is ours to make.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Brainstorm Committee Describes Mayor For Next Manager

Here are a few snippets of what attributes some Janesville residents are looking for in a new city manager.

The next city manager should ……

…… be a good communicator, be as comfortable courting new business as meeting with a group of Hispanics, need to change the image of the city, attract good-paying jobs, partner with the business community, have a regional vision, (He or she) has to be fearless, be visible in the community, have strong fiscal background, spend money for growth, build a team at City Hall, be a good communicator, find win-win solutions, be a visionary, be creative and effective, be pro-active on tourism and promotion, develop political relationships, seek good-paying jobs, pay attention to the declining neighborhoods, build a unified vision between diverse groups of people.
Hello God?….looking for a job? Hurry and apply now! We want the best….cost is secondary. Seriously though, gathered from these comments, what most of the people at the “brainstorm” session held at Janesville city hall were really looking for, but in complete denial on is ….. a mayor. Except for one attendee who appeared to have a good handle on Janesville’s unorthodox form of government and what roles and duties are expected of any city manager. Past, present or future.
JG Excerpt:
But businessman Joe Pregont said the vision, under a council-manager form of government, should come from the council and the community. The manager should be creative and effective in carrying out that vision.
I’m not taking anything away from the current city manager, but he is a hired hand and not much more. A Janesville city manager is simply a business manager who needs to balance the books without the worries of presenting a favorable P/L statement in front of a board of directors, and delegate the steps necessary to accomplish our plan – not his. For this, we can hire. But for what the others want, we’d have to elect.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Phony Non-Partisans Complaining About Open Advocacy

Two days before Tuesday’s election, the Janesville Gazette ran a front-page story redirecting the focus away from the local candidates, their positions and issues and instead chose to accuse their support groups of partisan politics. The premise of the article titled When Politics Comes Home could have been a break-through story exposing so-called taxpayer watchdogs, chambers of commerce, local newspapers and churches as GOP partisan front-houses, but that was not to be. The newspaper in that case would have had to do a massive internal philosophical investigation of itself.

The Gazette article primarily focused on labor support groups who have publicly endorsed a few candidates for local offices such as the Janesville city council. The newspaper was able to reroute the election discussion and question the candidates who by the luck of having democratic values and guiding principles earned endorsements and help from like-minded individuals. For this the candidates were placed in the newspaper's public square and forced to defend themselves as if accused of wrongdoing.

In doing so, the newspaper was able to beat up on the candidates strengths like a school yard bully and played up their supporters as having ulterior motives, all just two days before election. It was equivalent to their version of an October surprise in March.

This article was followed up by an editorial in Wednesday's paper as a support piece re-enforcing their own interests that open politics and pro-active citizen participation is something to be ashamed of in Janesville.

In addition, the newspaper was able to take advantage of the public outcry against the vicious negativity displayed in national and statewide elections and associate the positive intentions and endorsements of these local groups and individuals with that publicity.

Of course I find the above-board support, open endorsements and campaign help displayed by local citizens, labor and other individuals very refreshing, and a welcome reverse from the below-the-belt partisan politics newspapers wield along with the hidden partisans running the local chamber of commerce.

But more seriously, and this is at the heart of the matter, is the question: What truly genuine non-partisan voter cares about who is supporting whom anyways? Non-partisans do not vote for candidates based on party all. Non-partisans claim to look for qualities such as the candidate's education, community volunteerism, prior experience, church-going and other non-essential information for public office. Whether the candidate is Republican or Democrat is pointless, they just don't care.......or do they?

Those complaining about the help and positive support candidates receive (I’m not including negative ads and attacks) from openly partisan individuals and their friends are truly the real phonies.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Gang Vandals Avoiding Nuisance Prosecution


submitted by Green Consciousness

Our home was vandalized. My mother who owns it is 89. We had been trying to
find some way to pay for normal repairs and we still owe on property taxes.

Then juvenile delinquents spray painted "Latin Kings" on our house. With all
our bills we cannot afford to clean it off. Allstate Insurance will not pay because we don't have a special vandalism rider. You should think of adding that to your home
owner's insurance because the gang problem has come to Janesville whether you call them wannabe or whatever to minimize the problem.

This is not happening because kids have nothing to do - this is about who controls
territory. Who sells dope in that area. Who can be there. This is marking an area so
other gangs know that if they enter, there will be a fight.

These are Hispanic gangs whose parents, many who are not in the country legally, have been attracted to Janesville by employers who want cheap labor. But tax payers are the ones who pay the real price, in our property taxes and public services.

It is important to see the big picture. Unless you want thug mentality to destroy your way of life, you have to fight the contractors, restaurant owners and bakeries that are hiring the gang's parents for substandard wages and no benefits. Along with the parents come the gangs, the dog fighting and all the crime associated with it.

Show up at Council meetings and ask them what they are doing about the over 5 thousand illegal in Janesville and Beloit in terms of sanctions against those who employ them.

Ask them to call ICE into the Janesville Beloit area.

Ask them to require all our employers comply with the social security checks Homeland Security has proposed.

Ask them to appoint citizens to a Gang Task Force.

Next, let's look at the criminal justice system. We have 3 excellent police officers on the gang squad to cover approximately 100 gang members, morning, noon, and night.
Impossible. They receive excellent cooperation from Parker School but no citizen support. This is another reason for the Gang Task Force to be formed.

The real and ultimate failure is with the District Attorney's Office which has utterly failed this community in terms of curbing gang growth. Employers who hire illegal parents need to pay for the damage the children do in the community.

Our Courts should be fining employers. Those fines should be restitution for the innocent that pay for their cheap labor by being victims of crimes. The Courts have not had a chance to show us their attitude toward gang crime. The employers are not being prosecuted. The juvenile delinquent's crimes are not being prosecuted but instead referred to social services.

The Juvenile prosecutor, Dan Niedfeldt and his boss, DA David O' Leary are to blame. I guess if you are not the Rotary Garden, your property does not deserve legal protection.

There are provisions in the law that would allow a Judge to sentence these thugs to clean up the mess and/or pay for the clean up. But that cannot happen if DA Dan Niedfeldt keeps kicking these boys out of the legal system into social services.

We need to tell DA David O' Leary that if he is not going to clean up the gangs in
Janesville by at least prosecuting the juvenile delinquents, the next election we'll sweep him out of office.

I am planning to meet with the other property owners who have been vandalized. Perhaps together we can make a difference.

Please care about the victims because if we do not stop this now, it could be your home or your mother.

WMC Have Your Attention Yet?

Once again, the candidate who throws the dirtiest mud - Wins! Excerpt:
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Burnett County Circuit Judge Michael Gableman won a narrow victory over Justice Louis Butler on Tuesday, marking the first time a sitting justice has been defeated in 41 years.
The bitter and partisan race for the officially nonpartisan seat drew national attention because of the barrage of negative ads by outside groups costing millions of dollars.
As long as we keep under-estimating the power of the WMC and their local chambers of commerce affiliates - the people lose.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ryan Should Whistle Himself Right Out Of Congress

Thank goodness we have someone like Rep. Paul Ryan to warn us of the potential funding shortfalls looming over some of our most sacred taxpayer funded institutions. Otherwise, we’d never have known. The recent Beloit Daily News editorial titled Danger of inaction remains obvious is a directionless yet overbearing reminder of the obvious, that protecting both Medicare and SS in their current provider form is more important now during these most uncertain times.

But as a resident, taxpayer and voter in the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin I’m tired of listening to politicians like Ryan sounding deficit alarms with solutions of tax cuts and privatization. He is one of a small but apparently growing population of career usurpers running amok in Congress who are more the adversary and less the advocate of our domestic needs than they pretend to be.

Next to the treasury drain and debacle in Iraq, the empty shrill promises of growing more revenue from tax cuts were the single largest contributor to the GOP/Ryan rubber stamped $2.3 trillion deficit between 2001 and 2006. Tax cuts added more debt (51%) than increased spending on defense and homeland security (33%) and all entitlement programs (10%).

Ryan’s tenure in Congress has been marked by the party-line voting of these failed policies that have ultimately resulted in today’s economic climate. This is no coincidence.

You can bet Ryan will be whistling up that same tax cut/privatization tree all over again during this election year cycle. Only this time with the new democratic majority, suddenly he says Congress has a spending problem. I'm tired of the B.S.

We need to stop voting against our own interests. We need to make this Ryan’s last year in office.