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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reich-Wing Media Fomenting Terror Plot Against Obama

The writer at Newsmax begins his ill-prompted military coup against the President with the journalistic disclaimer, "Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it."
NewsMax Excerpt:
Obama Risks a Domestic Military ‘Intervention’

Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible. -- John L. Perry
...and then concludes with... "Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Congress Should Defund Murderous War Profiteers

This coincidence was too good to pass up after the far Right-wing Janesville Messenger slammed the 75 Democrats for voting against defunding the community group ACORN.
Janesville Messenger Editorial Excerpt: (Page 6)
All of which begs the question: What would ACORN have to do, short of murder, to convince Baldwin that it doesn't deserve a hand-out from the American taxpayer.
It's strange they would suggest that ACORN would have to take up murder before certain members of Congress would defund them. Because that's exactly what many Private Military Companies (PMC's) and other right-leaning organizations leeching off of taxpayers take up along with prostitution and fraud, and they're still in business. Of course the crimes alleged against ACORN pale in comparison.

In this video, Rachel Maddow takes sharp aim at those groups and suggests no organizations should be exempt from defunding and prosecution, and that includes ACORN. Cut them all loose.

Maddow: Congress Should Defund Murderous War Profiteers

A Glenn Beck Truism: Why is MSNBC and Rachel Maddow the only major network to report on this? Where is Fox, CNN and the rest of the mainstream media? What does that tell you - Huh?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ryan Votes Against SS/Medicare Recipients - Again

In the aftermath of the news that Social Security recipients will not be receiving a cost-of-living increase next year for the first time in 35 years, the Congressional House stepped up to the plate and overwhelming passed (406-18) a freeze on Medicare Part B Premiums.

Rep. Paul Ryan was one of just thirteen Republicans to vote against the Medicare Premium Fairness Act (HR3631), a bill to provide for the application of a consistent Medicare part B premium for Medicare beneficiaries in a budget neutral manner for 2010. In other words, HR3631 would ensure that the poorest seniors paying for Medicare through their SS benefits would not see and increase in their premiums next year.

Seniors should expect no excuses from the cold-blooded Ryan. But when will 1st congressional district residents stop holding this insurance racketeer harmless for his positions against the elderly and the economically disadvantaged?

No word yet from his media enablers in Janesville on his Medicare premium vote.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Janesville Paper Slams Baldwin As ACORN Apologist

Janesville Messenger Editorial Excerpt: (Page 6)
Baldwin was one of just 75 Democrats to vote against cutting off the cash for the federally funded community organization ACORN, which has been implicated in cases of voter-registration, and most widely in a sting that exposed various employees across the county who were willing to....
Bold FreshWith mounting evidence and intense pressure from a media campaign against the group, Democrats for the most part, have become increasingly unwilling to defend the group's large body of good works. Given that, would anyone doubt it took incredible courage to cast that vote in the face of the conspiratorial driven media campaign against the community organization? Despite video taped allegations, ACORN should have been allowed to defend itself against the evidence before the House entertained the Republicans amendment to defund the group. Instead, the weak-kneed congress buckled under the pressure from media stooge Glenn Beck and his cast of clowns at Fox News. What an embarrassment.

Like most congressional decisions driven by partisan hacks, this action by the right will very likely come back to haunt them and their associated community organizations.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Janesville Jobless Packing Up And Vacating?

Numbers of jobless down slightly in Rock County.

Three articles in today's Janesville Gazette.

Headline, school "Enrollment drop tops projections" followed by "Janesville encouraged to buy foreclosed homes." This is followed by "Local jobless rate drop sparks hope."

Local business chamber makes startling statement, says "we've set the table to grow very rapidly."

I'll go out on the limb here and make a bold prediction...if this optimism in reporting continues, we can expect the jobless rate to go down even further in the coming months.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beck Brings In Tide Of Support For “Stuff”

In his last two performances, freak host Glenn Beck has been trying his best to "take down" citizen groups such as Tides in an effort to re-legitimize the expansion of a corporate-driven and controlled throw-away society. His latest "target" promotion is the video titled "The story of stuff." Yesterday, Beck introduced a father and his two sons on the show in what can only be described as an extremely lame testimonial to discredit the group's sustainability mission. The founder of Tides responded to Beck in an open letter.

Open Letter to Glenn Beck:
I have to say that of all the things you decry about the people and programs we support, going after a video explaining sustainability to kids is really something. Of course, your assertions about last night's topic, The Story of Stuff were absurd, but the attention you brought to them really helped. It..more >>>

Want Health Care Reform? Terrorists Win!

Think Progress Excerpt:
DEMINT: The problem is, the war in Afghanistan and our economy are our two biggest issues. But he’s working on other issues such as health care and he’s putting off the decision on Afghanistan which I think puts our troops at risk. So he needs to focus on priorities right now...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Newspaper Revisits Story On Milton Ethanol Plant

Today's story in the Janesville Gazette on the Milton ethanol plant contains no reference to a city deal struck behind closed doors (made by the plant's attorney!) and instead places the reason for the unenforceable conditional-use permit simply on city administration forgetfulness. The Gazette also posted a timeline on the plant absent any action taken by the group "Citizens for Responsible Development."
JSonline Excerpt:
March 18, 2008 -- Over a period of nine months in 2004 and 2005, the city secretly negotiated the deal and promised to provide more than $800,000 in subsidies and to borrow another $3 million to pay for infrastructure improvements to get United Ethanol to open the plant.
I know..I know..this was all legal for competitive bargaining reasons. Like Milton was approached by several ethanol producers just aching to build a new plant in the city.
JSonline Excerpt:
A group called Citizens for Responsible Development sued, but a Rock County circuit judge ruled that the city did not violate any laws. The group appealed.

Highbeam Excerpt:
Citizens for Responsible Development has revised a lawsuit it filed May 6 in Rock County Court against the Milton City Council and Plan Commission. The original suit challenges the legality of the conditional-use permit granted to the Beaver Dam co-op.
Today's article also puts the onus back onto the city to prove that the objectionable odor is coming from the ethanol plant in the first place, instead of focusing on a business that is operating without a permit. A splendid defense put on by the newspaper if I must say. It's all back to square one.

Note: Wednesday's Gazette story on the Milton ethanol plant not available online at time of this posting..

Alcohol Plant Sobers Up Milton Community

As reported in Tuesday's Janesville Gazette, the United Ethanol Plant was the subject of a public hearing in Milton to determine whether it violated its conditional-use permit by emitting objectionable odors. It turns out, the plant doesn’t have an enforceable conditional-use permit.
JG Excerpt:
The city issued a conditional-use permit to the plant in 2005, but that permit was declared null and void by the court when it declared Milton held too many closed meetings in reaching an agreement with United Ethanol, O’Callaghan said.
Does that mean the plant is operating under an UNconditional-use permit? After dealing illegally behind closed doors, it only now becomes apparent Milton officials didn't need the ethanol plant if they wanted to stink up the place. Those officials rendered the community powerless by a quandary of their own making. Was the entire agreement declared null and void? Or just the conditional-use permit? This all sounds too convenient to believe.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Texas Should Be Busted For Tax Evasion

Washington Times Excerpt:
Health coverage swung widely by region, based partly on levels of unemployment. Massachusetts, with its universal coverage law, had fewer than 1 in 20 uninsured residents - the lowest in the nation. Texas had the highest share, at 1 in 4, largely because of illegal immigrants excluded from government-sponsored and employer-provided plans.
One in four? The hard work of these “illegal” immigrants helped make Texas the twelfth largest economy in the world. How can the Texas business community get away with hiring illegal immigrants, confiscate part of their meager wages for taxes and Social Security and then deny these hard working people, health care? Have they no heart? Have they no soul? Texas makes Al Capone look like a choir boy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Editor Warns Readers: Political Web Sites Risky Business

This past Wednesday, one of the Janesville Gazette editors wrote the following in his blog posting titled, "Your comment at a political Web site could wind up in a newspaper."
JG Blog Excerpt:
So that's a fair warning to you. You might want to avoid responding to such political Web sites to avoid any risk of winding up with opinions printed in your local newspaper when you didn't want them published.
At first the editor's comments seemed to focus on readers who send in “canned” letters to publishers. However, his advice quickly mutated into a fear-based warning suggesting the risks are too great to interact with political Web sites.

Granted, political Web pages often contain very heated spur-of-the-moment and sometimes regrettable statements made by the participants. That is the nature of the beast. But it's all subject to interpretation. As Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Gableman recently pointed out in defense of campaign ads he ran against Justice Louis Butler, he (the people) can't be held responsible under the First Amendment for how statements are interpreted. Of course he was referencing his own political issue ads. Still, issue ads don't carry any different interpretable weight or qualifiers than letters to newspapers or comments posted on Blogs.

Under the First Amendment it can be assumed ALL Web sites and blogs open to the public (and newspapers) including comments voiced out in the public arena on any theme or topic (not only political) are subject to analysis, discussion, report and scrutiny by another party. Newspaper columnists, editors and reporters do it all the time, and the last I heard - they don't have the First Amendment cornered to themselves.

It is beginning to appear that the newspaper is now pushing their socio-political agenda through their blogs. Their so-called and self-acclaimed eclectic "we the people" political blogger in particular seems to have taken up where the Gazette left off regarding many of the newspaper's political positions including those on organized labor and salary negotiations for the district’s school teachers.

The Gazette's blogs are in full swing now. From my last count, the newspaper has at least a dozen blogs writing about everyone and anything, that's cool – but there’s only one blog about them.

You never know when "your comment in a newspaper could wind up on a political Web site"

Best reason yet why the QEO was unnecessary and finally scrapped.
"Also the comment made that teachers have been "frozen for the past 15 years at 3.8% because of the QEO" is NOT TRUE. Most settlements have been above 3.8% and some of them substantially so. The QEO has NEVER been implemented here in Janesville." – Janesville School Board Member

“If you see any hint of bias in the media, please drop us a line.” -- Fox News punch line.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Newspaper Rails Against Cost Of Lake Geneva Disagreement

This is only the second time in over three year years I'm commenting on a local story outside of Rock County. This time it involves a potentially explosive disagreement between the mayor and four city council members of Lake Geneva. The story revolves mainly around accusations (of a conspiracy) from the mayor that four members of the city council broke open meetings laws when they appointed the former mayor and crony to a vacant council seat.

Now, that just about says it all in my book. It doesn't matter what type of personalities you're dealing with or government you have, be it congressional, parliamentary or a local elected city council. When council members or the mayor get to appoint one of their own council or cronies, there obviously is something seriously wrong with state statutes or the city's by-laws of government. If it's legal, the council members were within their rights to do so. At the same time, I believe it is the mayor's duty to oppose the appointment if he can prove wrongdoing. Whatever side you might take, Lake Geneva officials are engaged - no one can say they're shirking their duties. But, crony appointments for elective office stinks of conspiracy no matter who does it. Really, why worry about breaking the state's open meetings laws when city by-laws apparently condone appointing cronies to the council? You almost can't have one without the other.

To confuse the issue even further, the folks in Lake Geneva last year voted overwhelming against a 710 acre private development in a non-binding referendum. The four suspended council members happen to side with and represent the wishes of the referendum. Yet, that shouldn't have any bearing on or entitle them or the mayor to appoint their own crony council member for an unexpected vacancy. If anything, the development issue is a red herring.

In my view, all of this pales next to the position the Janesville Gazette took in the Lake Geneva matter in their editorial on Friday.

In two instances, the Gazette editorial staff brought up the costs entailed from the mayor's actions as reason enough to oppose his position.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
We elect people to represent us. That means we give them power to vote as they see fit. If council members choose to appoint someone rather than spend money on a special election, that's within their rights.
I don't want elected officials to vote as they see fit. They are representing what we see fit. I don't mean for this to sound selfish, but to take it even further, they are representing what I see fit. That doesn't mean they can't vote against my ideals, it's just that when they do and it repeatedly runs against my sense of virtues, it's up to me or concerned citizens to call them out and check their votes. Vote them out of office if we must, but to just sit back and let officials run wild while in office is not a good example of democracy - it breeds complacency and corruption. We then get what we deserve.

In this instance, all the evidence the Gazette throws out to support their version of good clean democracy becomes worthless. I am taking offense to the newspaper's politics and economics on this particular issue because they apparently hold the monetary costs of a special election and an impending court hearing more dear than the effort to clear the air and make things right. Instead, they deride the heated passions and disagreements that make democracy the premium form of government as a "political quagmire" and a "mudbath." I guess it's anything to save a few bucks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Keep $443,000 For Yourself and Send Me The Rest

Here is an email I received this morning stating that I have a package worth $886,000 waiting for me in Nigeria. All I have to do is wire 210 British pounds to them, ($557 USD) to collect the bounty.

Dear customer,

You have a Package that is registered with us for shipping. However, the
content is a Bank Draft worth is $886,000 USD (Eight Hundred and Eighty Six Thousand US Dollars).Reg .Number: P-01-402761625/Reg Date: 09/17/2009.
Your package was registered with us for mailing by your colleague who is
currently undergoing survey project with NNPC (Nigeria National Petroleum
Company). We are sending you this email because your package is registered on a Special Order. What you have to do now, is to contact our Delivery Department for immediate dispatch of your package to your residential address. Note: As soon as our Delivery Team confirms your information, it will take three (3) working days (62Hrs) for your package to arrive at your designated destination.

For your information, Shipping charges as well as Insurance fees have been paid by your colleague.

However, the only payment you are to make is £210 GBP to the FedEx Delivery Department being full payment for Customs Duty Certificate and Tariff. Please Note: All registered package with us have a time limitation and you are to meet up with this payment to facilitate immediate attention toward the delivery of your package. Note: Your colleague did not leave us with any further information.

We hope that you respond to us as soon as possible because if you fail to respond until the expiry date of the foremost package, we may refer the package to the British Commission for Welfare as the package do not have a return address. Contact the delivery department (FedEx Ship Manager) with the details given below:
Contact Person: Mr. Richard Raynor
Tel: +2348066879532.
Kindly complete the below form. This is mandatory to reconfirm your Postal
address for clarification.
Zip/Postal code:
As soon as your details are received, our delivery team will give you the necessary payment procedure for Customs Duty Certificate and Tariff. As soon as they confirm your payment of £210 GBP USD .they shall immediately dispatch your package to the designated address with the attach Tracking Number. It usually takes 72 Hours being an express delivery service.
Ensure to contact the delivery department with the email address and ensure to fill the above form as well to enable successful reconfirmation.
Yours faithfully,
Mrs. .Mary Maxwell
FedEx Management Team.
All rights reserved. © 1996-2009 FedEx.

Wisconsin GOP: Tax Cuts For Wealthy And Deregulation

Wisconsin state republicans unveiled their "jobs" agenda on Thursday. Here are the main points.
Republican Jobs Agenda Excerpt:
Jobs Tax Credit NOW (Williams)

Assembly Republicans would give employers a financial incentive to hire employees, through the Jobs Tax Credit, in 2009.
– what’s wrong with that picture? Lets ignore the fact that Republicans are the first to swear that “guv’mint doesn’t create jobs,” and look more closely at the actual premise behind the “give employers a financial incentive to hire employees” idea. Whatever happened to the time when businesses hired more employees because demand for their services or products picked up – you know, the free markets. Instead we have government helping create an illusion of false hope for the unemployed while stuffing the pockets of the wealthiest among us.

In addition, Wisconsin legislators are willing to offer a refundable tax credit — meaning it’s payable even if the business owes no taxes. State Democrats go along with this charade.
Republican Jobs Agenda Excerpt:
Recruit & Retain Jobs NOW (Budget Motion & LRB-3431; Rhoades)

Assembly Republicans would require Wisconsin’s Department of Commerce to submit a report to the Joint Finance Committee detailing its business retention methods, a plan identifying businesses seeking to expand or relocate, and develop a Rapid Response Team for relocation or expansion prospects.
More of the same big government influence applied to change the course of the free markets. This solution sets the stage for even more of the same cash give-aways, tax credits and deregulation. You don’t honestly think “retention methods” are simply a nice conversation over a cup of hot chocolate discussing how much better Wisconsin workers are – do you? Again, many democrats have bought into the anti-free market government intervention process.
Republican Jobs Agenda Excerpt:
Banning Secret Tax Increases (Zipperer)

Assembly Republicans would restore legislative accountability and protect families and employers from this bureaucratic overreach by banning this practice all together.
That is one I could actually agree with providing the state legislature stops writing tax laws that intentionally leaves room for mis-interpretation.
Republican Jobs Agenda Excerpt:
Small Business Expense Flexibility NOW (AB 184; Roth)

Assembly Republicans would increase the expense deduction limit to $50,000 (up from the current $25,000) to more closely mirror the federal tax code. Putting more money in the hands of small business employers in a quicker manner will allow them the ability to hire more employees.
How often do we see republicans promoting federal tax code? Only when it puts more money in the pockets of their masters I suppose. But this one is my personal favorite. Lets expand the business expense deduction so maybe now employers can finally afford to buy the Chinese-built Romby-the-robot “worker” machine they’ve always dreamed about when they need a few extra bodies on the job. Fewer employees with no benefits means increased profits.
Republican Jobs Agenda Excerpt:
Wisconsin Jobs Investment Act NOW (AB 38; Strachota)

Assembly Republicans would give individual employers and shareholders a financial incentive to reinvest their assets in a Wisconsin business, through the Wisconsin Investment Act, in 2009. These individuals would be eligible for a capital gains exclusion of up to $10 million for long-term reinvestment in a Wisconsin business, under certain circumstances, NOW.
Folks collecting $10 million in capital gains need an incentive to invest and earn even more!! This one speaks for itself.
Republican Jobs Agenda Excerpt:
Health Insurance Flexibility NOW (Vukmir)
Assembly Republicans would allow Wisconsin’s employers to purchase health insurance plans from out-of-state insurers, which would facilitate some competition among all health insurance providers.
I had no idea Republicans wanted to facilitate competition in the health insurance industry. It’s never too late to support the public option.
Republican Jobs Agenda Excerpt:
Sunset Phone Line Tax, Cap Gains Tax Increase & Combined Reporting

Assembly Republicans would sunset these new taxes and tax increases in 2011.
Halt everything!! Except tax cuts to millionaires and deregulation of course.

Does anyone really think corporations and small businesses alike should be coerced by government into hiring more workers when demand dictates otherwise? And when demand picks up if it ever does, shouldn't businesses be rewarded by the profits they gain and not by the taxes they fought to avoid? What about the rest of us?

Forget about the free market Republicans - there are none. Where are the free market Democrats?

Billionaires For Wealth Care

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Myopic City Officials Cost Taxpayers $75,000

JG Excerpt:
Sept. 11, 2009 -- An agreement between the Janesville Water Utility and an environmental group would fundamentally change how residents are charged for the water they use.
Janesville residential customers would pay less per unit of water as their household water usage decreases, a reverse of the current billing system. This is good news for residents who are looking for ways to not only save water but also save money. All rate hikes being equal, it will reward water conservation and hopefully instill the proper respect our natural resources deserve.

But there was a catch.
JG Excerpt:
Aug. 22, 2009 -- The agreement the council will consider on Monday was created by the water utility after negotiations with Clean Wisconsin. The $75,000 annual budget included in that plan was “more than the city wanted, but significantly less than originally requested (by Clean Wisconsin),” according to a memo to the council from Director of Utilities Dan Lynch.
The city administration and council couldn’t ignore Clean Wisconsin like they've ignored their own concerned constituents. Why? Because...
JG Excerpt:
Aug. 26, 2009 ... Clean Wisconsin is an advocacy group that was awarded intervener status when the city applied for a water rate increase with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The city will develop a water conservation plan that will include community education, residential rebates and commercial/industrial audits.
Clean Wisconsin was empowered by the State of Wisconsin and given equal authoritative status with local officials - they had to be accommodated. The bottom line is that Janesville will no longer reward excessive water consumption with volume discounts. This is great news providing someone can't "buy" an exemption.

With that said, why did it take the pressure from an outside environmental group and a $75,000 settlement to nudge the city towards water resource conservation, when Janesville has concerned citizens (modestly including myself), a city appointed sustainability committee and a local environmental advocate (Rock Environmental Network) making a stink over similar regressive pricing methods regarding city water and garbage waste facilities? Only to be largely ignored.

I've heard it all enough already in direct conversations, comments and emails on my blog. Oh, we (or I) are too aggressive, take the wrong approach, are combative, negative or power hungry. Baloney! I'm an altar boy compared to the tone of the teabaggers and anti-reform demonstrators. All are great buzzwords to demonize a perceived opponent in order to keep the status quo.

The administration and council's short-sightedness will cost city taxpayers what should have been an avoidable $75,000 today - we got off lucky this time with Clean Wisconsin. Still, it is a high price to pay because somebody refused to swallow their tender ego. What will it cost taxpayers the next time city officials refuse to work with locals boldly working against the grain, and instead have to surrender policy control once again to an outside group? It could be millions next time.

With this economy and urgency, it would be much cheaper to bruise the ego, get the job done and then apologize for it later.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Newspaper Editor Takes Down MoJo Writer

Sunday’s Gazette carried a very critical perspective written by the paper’s editor attacking an essay about post-GM Janesville written by Charlie LeDuff and Danny Wilcox Frazier of Mother Jones. The Gazette editor, Scott Angus, makes an unwarranted if not completely bizarre attempt to de-legitimize their literary work and winds up mocking the writer for incorporating the weather as a backdrop for the story while on their visit to Janesville.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
(Title: Janesville’s real story requires better look)
Sept.13, 2009 -- You might have noticed something in those descriptions. If not, I’ll point it out to you. This man’s vision is bad. He sees things as he wants to see them, even if reality is a bit different.
And the Gazette editor doesn’t I suppose?

Let's forget about the Gazette's failure to see their own reflection this time and just consider why would the newspaper editor feel this way? Did LeDuff and Frazier beat the Gazette to the punch on the unique storyline? LeDuff, much like myself, offered a rare and unique perspective of Janesville completely outside the loop of the city’s government and its business insiders, country club cliques or a Bliss paycheck. This is something that stands on its own merits or demerits - it just is what it is. Or did the Gazette editor feel slighted because the magazine writer apparently did not confer with the “all knowing and all powerful grand wizards" of Rock County’s media monopoly at the Gazette? They forgot to pour their story ingredients through the Bliss filter. For that they deserve to be taken down.

Granted, the MoJo writers did not dig very deeply into Janesville's history, but they shouldn't have to. They weren't here on a fact-finding mission. In its purest form, they offered an unsolicited and exclusive perspective through the eyes of a visitor looking for the immediate effects GM's closing has on the workers. And they found it. Interviewing people at the Municipal Building, the Gazette or visiting the plasticized fast-food big box corridor on Milton avenue won't cut it. They spoke to real people.

By the way, whether we can agree on our shared reality or not, we have some good writers here in the Rock County area. One of them also writes a blog, the Daily Dadio, had the guts to trek off to Iraq and write about what he saw and what he experienced first hand. I now wonder if the Baghdad Daily News told him, ”Hey Mister Dadio, don’t write about our city now, we have a war on – come back on a bright and peaceful day.” After reading the story it's obvious the author wrote about Janesville as he saw it and when he saw it and interviewed real Janesville people for the story.

People in Janesville and in much of the rest of the country have been and still are being fed an alternative view of reality through the mainstream media. Economically and socially, we are now the result of what we’ve too easily accepted as the whole truth. Our trust has been broken.

Like most of the inner city of Janesville, the MoJo writers took the deteriorating condition of the vacant GM plant's surrounding environment and drew parallels, like any honest visitor would. If they only knew some of the visuals and images they took in were actually city growth stragedies decades in the making. The condition of the nearby Jackson Street bridge for instance, has little to do with the fate of GM. But would these historical nuances make their perspective any more palatable or accurate? Not in my view.
Mother jones Excerpt:
"There ain't no job around here for $21 an hour," the autoworker says. "I might as well drink."
How does that seemingly harmless yet poignant comment reflect on the city's recent consideration to add more liquor licenses to the post-GM environment of Janesville? Is there any connection here or is it simply a coincidence? Does that proposition even exist if the Gazette doesn't raise it?

I highly recommend everyone in Janesville read the Mother Jones article when they get the chance. Don't worry, it shouldn't shake your rafters. Although I don’t agree with everything (who ever does?), I do respect the writer's reality and the unique perspective it provides. Yet, I can’t help but think that the more somebody might find themselves at odds with, in the story, the more disconnected they likely are. Keep in mind, the story was written through the eyes of a beholder - not the beholden. Is there any room for forgiveness?

Note: This posting is the independent viewpoint of its author.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Janesville Schools Threatened Into Censorship

For President Obama’s speech, Janesville school principals were told that teachers could show the President’s speech on Tuesday only if they got parental permission to opt in and if they set up alternative activities for students whose parents chose to opt out. With that policy, we could imagine few kids in Janesville heard the speech. This was reported in the Janesville Gazette two days after the damage had been done.
JG Excerpt:
Schulte said district officials heard from parents who threatened to do just that. A few other callers threatened to picket, and there were "veiled threats" along the lines of "you'd better not," Schulte said.
Threatened?? to picket. Besides hearing Obama’s speech, that would have served as the ultimate civic lesson to teach the children. The school could have spent the entire day afterwards discussing the merits of community organizing, our constitutional right to assemble, boycotting and picketing. Instead, they taught the children to "go along to get along" when they receive direct or veiled threats from haters and bullies.

Read related from March, 2007: Janesville School District allows politically active business group in classrooms to restore lost confidence due to recent corporate scandals in the business world.

Friday, September 11, 2009

State Committee: Less Information Is More

In a short AP article titled,"Wis. bill would keep property information secret" posted in the Janesville Gazette online edition, the story singles out a Democrat while the actual proposal appears to have bi-partisan support. There was a little more to the story as posted in the Journal Sentinel including a statement on the bill from Mike McCabe.
JSonline Excerpt:
Rep. Robin Vos (R-Caledonia), who owns a popcorn business and pushed for limited access to client information, said he's concerned about a competitor accessing his customer list online.
God forbid if a competitor offered a client a better deal or if a watchdog found out a lawmaker sponsored legislation handing a business client a government contract before receiving a $$$ campaign donation. We wouldn't want that.

But the proposal could have some merit considering judges are regularly harassed and threatened by defendants. Beyond that, the bill looks like it will hide more than it will open and it becomes only a further embarrassment knowing the committee approved the change as part of a bill intended to increase government transparency. DOH!

But I also thought, they could be taking their cue from cities like Janesville's online property search database where residents, stakeholders, city government and officials have enjoyed property ownership in complete secrecy for years and the local media rarely if ever reported on any public opposition to the questionable practice. Trying to follow the money in property purchases by the city government and its insiders is nearly an impossible task for citizen government watch dogs. Taking everybody out of the system under the justification of personal privacy is a poor excuse to hide the local government's property ownership and it's relationship to the taxrolls. But that's exactly how everyone seems to want it. With that said, most Janesville residents should find little wrong with the state legislators proposal to hide property ownership information.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Republicans Stage Partisan Hackery At Speech

Congressional Republicans made a spectacle of themselves during President Obama's nationally televised address. Besides holding up signs and waving pieces of useless insurance industry concessions at the President, one GOP loudmouth, Rep. Joe Wilson of S.C. (pictured right), shouted out "you lie!"

Yahoo Excerpt:
Obama said he remains ready to listen to all ideas but added in a clear reference to Republicans, "I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this plan than to improve it."
That could have been Obama's direct reply to Rep. Paul Ryan since he has been among the most aloof and vocal insisting congress scrap the health care bill and start over.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

FactCheck Opines On DNC Medicare Ad

Fact Check says, "Senior Scare, Yet Again."
A DNC ad falsely accuses Republicans of voting "to abolish Medicare?"

FactCheck begins their defense by parroting GOP talking points. The GOP plan "preserves" the current Medicare program for anyone now receiving it or within 10 years of qualifying for it. And the proposal is similar to one endorsed a decade ago by the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. Does that mean Republicans don't want to dismantle Medicare?
Washington Monthly Excerpt
But did Republicans vote to "end," "abolish," and "kill" Medicare? It's provocative, but it's a supportable claim. In April, 137 Republicans voted in support of a GOP alternative budget. It didn't generate a lot of attention, but the plan, drafted by the House Budget Committee's Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called for "replacing the traditional Medicare program with subsidies to help retirees enroll in private health care plans."
The budget bill written by Paul Ryan did not - but could have had language to defund the U.S. Navy to meet his budget objectives. If it's in the bill it can't be denied it's there. Clearly the eventual "conversion" of what everyone understands as Medicare today was part and parcel to Ryan's arithmetic to accomplish his goal. In fact it could be said, without Ryan's deliberate conversion of Medicare out of existence, his budget as written would fail to reach its' projected goals.

Just in case you didn't swallow that evidence, FactCheck then rambles on claiming Medicare spending would rise 88.5% under the GOP proposal over the next years as proof the GOP plan isn't meant to "abolish" Medicare. Nevermind that the increased cost actually proves Medicare as we know it today then would no longer exist. A very weak analysis at best.
Factcheck Excerpt:
The GOP alternative budget contained a "policy statement on Medicare" calling for gradual conversion of Medicare from government insurance to government-subsidized and government-approved private insurance.
Oh, well why didn't you say so the first time - hah! Pure semantics here. What exactly is Medicare right now? Paul Ryan insists Medicare is not a single-payer system. He said anyone can get Medicare through Aetna, Blue Cross or any other government approved private insurance providers. It is private insurance subsidized by the government. So why would Ryan and the GOP bother to make the motions to convert Medicare away from something Factcheck falsely claims it is? It's not only a government insurance program - at least according to Ryan.

Ryan should know, he's the guy who actually wrote the language in the bill. Just like his earlier idea to "strengthen" Social Security was to bait current workers with risky returns in private investment, eventually leading to less participation in the system. His plan for Medicare is nearly identical. It is meant to gradually cut a safety net away that only, and only the government can provide.

We should never forget it was Paul Ryan who actually drafted the language to deleverage future seniors during the most critical times of their lives. The folks at FactCheck can spin the facts any way they want, after all it's only their opinion.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Phony Free Marketers Want More Government Intervention

As published in Sunday's Janesville Messenger in an article titled, "Doyle proves he's just not one of us."
People are right to ask why is there such reluctance on the part of our governor to impose himself in the discussion to get a deal so the jobs can remain in Wisconsin? Where was the passion he tried to show at the eleventh hour in Janesville?
Against all common sense for the sake of the failed free markets, Doyle played into the extortion game when state and locals offered a very respectable "bribery" package to General Motors at the 11th hour on behalf of Janesville and the State of Wisconsin. We were out-extorted and lost. But it wasn't because Doyle's heart is not in saving jobs. On the other hand, Doyle and the state supposedly played a much lesser role with Mercury Marine and.....won. And despite limited details on reports indicating that state government and Fond du Lac officials "imposed" themselves into the private negotiations carried out between Mercury Marine and the union, I only hope a tax raising "bribery" package was not part of the equation.

Although all the facts are not yet known, apparently the "free market" reacted very favorably to the "nothing" role the WPRI perceives Doyle played with Mercury Marine. They bash him for it. One would think any true free-market think tank would want as little government influence as possible when it comes to corporate free market decisions.

But what kind of a "free market" do we have when its so-called risk-takers suckle on the collectivist system of government taxation to bail out their mismanaged losses?

Oklahoma's Governor and their local officials willingly sold their souls in the corrupted free market game played at Mercury Marine and lost. They now feel burned just like Doyle did by GM's decision to pull out of Janesville. Does anyone blame these folks for how they feel now?
NewsPress Excerpt:
One team member, Rep, Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, said Thursday he will look into repealing state tax credits the state gave Mercury Marine in legislation he helped get passed this spring.
The only market the folks at the Wisconsin Policy Institute are thinking about is free access into our government's department of revenue to fund their version of private enterprise. You know, they are one of them.

In a related "labor" and jobs editorial published by the Janesville Gazette, the newspaper takes a cheap shot at state Democrats "job creation" vows as hollow rhetoric while praising Republican lawmakers for "reaching out to workers." Hysterical but not surprising since the Gazette has a long history of working every angle possible to downplay any positive influence organized labor unions or Democrats have in job retention and economic development. Perhaps the most upsetting to these folks is the fact that there still is hope and strength in numbers if workers stand up and organize.

Read additional perspective: Stillwater Workers, "This was decided by someone else." No Vote, No Voice, No Union and No Jobs.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

It's a Great Time To Celebrate Unions

The labor union held their nose and reversed an earlier decision to reject concession demands proposed by Mercury Marine.
WTOP Excerpt:
Mercury Marine President Mark Schwabero said in a statement after the vote that the company will begin consolidating work in Fond du Lac this year, including moving work from a nonunion plant in Stillwater, Okla., within two years.
The states weren't so lucky.
WTOP Excerpt:
The only winner was the company, he said. "They extorted Stillwater," he said. "They extorted Fond du Lac. They extorted us."
The folks in Stillwater had no problem playing the extortion game with Mercury Marine all the way until they lost.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Merc Union Votes "Yes"

FDL Reporter Excerpt:
Members of the union representing approximately 850 manufacturing employees at Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac have approved contract changes sought by the company.
What contract changes?

More details expected to follow.

Rip Rap

Psycho-Babble Bachmann
“This [health care reform] cannot pass…What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass… -- Rep. Michelle Bachmann
What does Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Sam Brownback have in common?
According to Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, one of them could be the Republicans great white hope.

We'll raise our taxes to keep private sector jobs Excerpt:
"It’s a fairly significant financial commitment, but if we’re going to keep jobs here we’re going to have to fund it. My recommendation to do that would be for funding it with a sales tax rather than with the property tax," Buechel said Monday.

"I hope that God strikes Barack Obama with brain cancer so he can die like Ted Kennedy and I hope it happens today," -- Phoenix-area Pastor Steven Anderson, Faithful Word Baptist Church
We can appreciate he's a man of God and not like that liberal racist Rev. Wright character - huh?

Sarah Palin Tells Friends To Watch Glenn Beck.

Beck is an exercise in crazy. People watch him because they want to see how nuts someone can be and still avoid the looney bin...until we met Pastor Steven Anderson.

Bob Dole On Health Care: “We shouldn’t be debating some congressman’s bill."

Bill Moyers, whose comments focused on the recent health care debate, said that too many Democrats have had their spines surgically removed.
Sarah Palin: Lame Duck Mom and Wife
In “Me and Mrs. Palin,” Johnston’s first-person account accuses Palin of being a bad mother, of being a bad wife, of not knowing how to shoot a gun, and even -- get this! -- of not even being a real hockey mom! (She only attended 15% of her son's games, says Johnston, who was his teammate.) In short, he accuses Palin of being an all-around phony.

Texas Secessionists: We Hate the United States!

Stossel: ATM's Are Proof Capitalism Works
Capital Times Excerpt:
The real answer to the health care crisis, Stossel argues, is to "unleash the free market." Just look at how you can travel overseas and "stick a piece of plastic" into a machine and the right amount of cash comes out, he said in conclusion. "And the government can't even count the votes accurately." The audience howled with laughter and gave him a standing ovation. "Capitalism works!" he said.
Sure, capitalism works… until your life is on the line – then its’ called extortion.
What is Obamacare?
Here’s an article wrongly titled Obamacare could cost you $4,000 a year. After demonstrating that health care reform without the public option would cost American’s about $4,000 more, the writer continues to call the optionless plan "Obamacare." Any health care reform plan without a public option is really “InsuroCorp Care,” or "GOPcare," otherwise known as "Patients Choice."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Incentive Packages Put Tax Payers in Perpetual Hole

In a bizarre new development, Mercury Marine has gone from “time for everybody to move on” to “Hey, we’ll bring additional work to the plant.”

Traditional news sources have reported that nothing was changed in the union contract. Only that terms were clarified. To sweeten the pot before the expected and final vote scheduled for today, Mercury Marine has pledged to move additional work from Stillwater to Fond du Lac to consolidate operations. Either somebody blinked or somebody was made an offer too good to refuse.
Malcontends Excerpt:
After the city and county of Fond du Lac and Wisconsin put together incentives to keep Mercury Marine jobs in Wisconsin, new word comes that Mercury Marine and the (IAM) Local 1947 [now updated] may strike a deal not only retaining manufacturing jobs but actually moving jobs from Stillwater, Oklahoma, to Fond du Lac.

So what’s different? Call me a skeptic, but I don't believe the statements coming from either side of the contract. Unless State and Fond du Lac officials buckled. Which obviously seems more likely to be the case.
FDLReporter Excerpt:
Aug.30,2009 -- If Mercury Marine accepts local government's incentive package to keep its headquarters in Fond du Lac, a county sales tax would likely be imposed for the first time to help pay the costs.
Since they insist the contract remains the same, did state and local officials promise to make up for the difference in the worker’s pay cuts and concessions by subsidizing them (instead of corporate MM) with collections from a new county sales tax? Or, worse yet, were the tax payers put on the hook to line the pockets and parachutes of the corporate fatcats? Is this what they meant by “Through the efforts of state and local officials”….? While MM maintains the contract is identical to the one the union resoundly rejected only a week ago?

This is only speculation on my part prompted mainly by the sketchy details and the sudden reversal by Mercury Marine. I hope that's all it is.

JSonline Excerpt:
"It's sad that we have laws allowing states to try and compete with each other like this," Michalski said. "This is all about jobs and people doing things like making house payments, buying groceries, and just trying to survive."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Place Big Enough For Only One Partisan at a Time

Rep. Paul Ryan was asked for an apology from Community for Change spokesperson Kelly Gallaher for his involvement in a media campaign to shut down citizen participation at his listening sessions.
Racine Post Excerpt:
At one point during his response, Gallaher attempted to break in, and Ryan said, "Don't interrupt, or I'll have to ask you to leave." That garnered a few boos from the crowd.

Read more >>> Ryan Gets An Earful At Listening session

Global Competition For Jobs Driving Health Care Reform?

Rep. Paul Ryan's "Patients Choice" health care is little more than a long winded essay explaining why you should drop your employer-based health care plan.
Ryan Q & A Excerpt:
2. Why create a tax credit ($5,710) that costs less than the average cost of insurance for a family of four? How are individuals and families supposed to make up the difference?
Ryans answer: As a result of biases in the current tax code, Americans who receive their health benefits from their employer pay roughly one-third of the total health coverage costs, while their employer pays roughly two-thirds. For example, the average family’s annual health insurance plan cost about $13,000 last year, with an employer paying about $8,600, while the employee only paid about $4,200 in annual premiums. Under the Patients’ Choice Act, all Americans would receive a tax credit – over $5,700 for families – which can only be used to pay for health insurance or medical expenses. Individuals and families will be able to use any overages to pay for preventive care, which can be rolled over at the end of the year.
Ryan laughably implies that families receiving the $5,700 tax credit will experience overages...overages!! because after all they only pay about $4,200 in annual premiums. And he doesn’t clarify the fact that if you enroll into his “Patients Choice” plan, you will no longer be subsidized the $8,600 from your employer. He does not acknowledge that the $5,700 tax credit will defund your employer's sponsorship. Ryan knows this will happen of course because this is his primary objective to health care reform. He wants demands that employers are taken out of the equation and spends most of his time trying to convince readers of the advantages, control and empowerment individual(ity) has over employer-based (group) insurance.
4. Doesn't this undermine existing employer-based health care, and push workers into the private market to fight big insurance companies on their own?
Ryan's answer: No.
But the congressman not only explains that individuals should have the power to make the decision to drop their employer health insurance, he also offers several reasons why workers should leave the system, disingenuously implying that by keeping it, they are victims of arbitrary tax rules among other things.
Ryan's answer: But individual Americans should make that decision – instead of falling victim to arbitrary tax rules or staying in a job only because they can’t afford to lose their health insurance. Tax breaks should go directly to every individual with a health insurance plan.
Tax breaks, remember the $5,700 tax credit? Instead of it going to your employer to help subsidize the $8,600 portion of your insurance, he’ll give the tax credit to you. What happens to the employers premium co-pay? Poof! It disappears. Congressman Ryan of course doesn’t say it like this and consistently avoids the connection.

Except single-payer, there can be no doubt that the core objective of the other health care plans is to remove employers from the health care equation - one way or another. Ryan accuses the public option plan of sneakily dumping workers out of their employer plan over a number of years. While the "Patients Choice" plan is banking on workers (victims trapped by employer-based coverage!) taking the carrot to do the dirty deed themselves.

I believe that is what's driving nearly all of the reform. While partisans from either side of the aisle disagree on many facets of the different plans - they all however agree to separate American businesses from the unwritten responsibility of employee health care benefits. It doesn't compete in the new world order economy. This is where they share common ground.

In my opinion, unfortunately, the current health care debate is not about the 50 million uninsured Americans. It's not about lowering costs or expanding access. And it's not about socialism or undermining the free markets. Those are all tactics and diversions to undermine whatever part you might agree with just to keep the status quo. We've got about ten different reasons and their corresponding groups expressing why reform shouldn't happen and what's left over in the opposition say they like the plan they have. All the reform plans essentially offer the same care through the private American health care industry. Would patients still like it if they were on their own without employer compensation? Ryan thinks so.

Has anyone noticed how businesses are relatively quiet in this debate? While few are advocating against employer-based insurance, none are advocating for it. There's a giant void out there. Sure, some have fallen into the phony socialism scare or Ryan's Randian individual empowerment trap like Whole Foods, but even Wal-Mart has taken the side of the public option. Never mind that they have been unilaterally practicing it by dumping employees into state insurance programs at every chance they get.

Although I support single-payer first and foremost, congressional progressives have smartly drawn a line in the sand by insisting that without the choice of a public option - there will be no health care reform. Without the public option, HR3200 devolves into Ryan's "Patients Choice." If that happens, employers would be relieved of sponsoring health care benefits - and little else. It would be a failure of monumental proportions.

Note: At his listening sessions, Rep. Ryan has been gloating over Democrats voting against an amendment requiring all Members of Congress to get insurance through the proposed public option plan. However, not only does Ryan lack the same confidence in his own "Patient's Choice" plan, his plan doesn't contain the same amendment and never addresses how his employer (us!) will be relieved of sharing the payment on his (all federal employees) health care premiums.