Today is

Friday, May 28, 2010

Democracy Got In The Way Of Tyranny

Despite the very good news coming out of the Rock County Board meeting last night, I'm still not overly confident in a local democracy when it wins almost by accident. That was such the case at the board's meeting when an amendment to the resolution originally meant to abolish the elective and administrative aspects of the county coroner's office superceded the resolution when it passed by a 17 - 11 margin. The vote tally was solid.

The amendment, effectively placed a referendum on November's ballot, will place the fate of the coroner's office in the hands of county voters instead of the county board or a select panel to politicize an appointment. The caveat is that the referendum is not binding, which means the results in November will serve as little more than an opinion poll. A definite step forward but not an end-all to the seemingly endless barrage of misguided and vicious attacks against the current coroner made supposedly to change the office into an appointed medical examiner's. Strange ways indeed.

It's important to keep in mind that several other county offices share the identical elective, administrative and professional qualities as the coroner's and yet have been mysteriously absent from this discussion. So yes, the campaign to wrest the office away has been little more than a deceptively played personal attack against the coroner first and politically motivated second.

Without mentioning any names here, several board members during the meeting finally made the moral imperative to speak out and change the tyrannical course of the authoritarian bloc of board members. For this they deserve applause, but nothing speaks louder than the beautiful folks who showed up to fill the stands yet again to defend one of our most sacred constitutional rights - the right to vote.

The only thing left to watch for now is whether some phony "we the people" group will organize to defeat the will of the people for the November ballot.

Lastly, once again the Janesville Gazette played a covert role by neglecting to inform their subscribing citizenry of this important county board meeting. Excluding a blog posting by their ironically named "We the people" blogger, (who actually wrote in favor of stripping away the "people's" right) the Gazette staff did not offer even a brief before the scheduled meeting. Imagine having a major sports event or playoff game in Janesville without one word of it mentioned in the hard copy before the game, yet they publish the results of the game as front page headlines. That is exactly what the Gazette did.

It was as if they wanted the stands to be empty.

Channel 3000, "Rock County residents to vote on Coroner Issue."

Downgraded To Medium

PS, have a safe and fun Memorial Day Weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rock County DA and Sheriff Will Likely Be Board's Next Target

Democracy Is At Stake
The Gazette's "political" blogger makes his case that offices such as the county coroner's should be stripped away from voters because it is an administrative office. Based on that premise and considering that his view meshes tightly with the power-grabbing bloc on the county board, chances are very high that the administrative offices of DA and Sheriff's office will be next in line to fall.

Gazette blog excerpt:
I am totally unable to comprehend that whether a person is a Democrat or Republican makes any difference whatsoever in the administrative role of the coroner. Can you help me understand? We need and deserve ACCOUNTABILITY of the coroner.
Or in the administrative role of sheriff, district attorney, clerk or treasurer. So why is the coroner always first to be continually singled out?

In fact, if the voter's rights are canceled tonight in favor of a phony non-partisan appointment process, it would be gross discrimination, both political and personal, not to offer the same level of board accountability and professionalism (facetious) to all elective administrative county offices.


At The Rock County Court house - 6 PM
County Board Room/ Courtroom H
Fourth Floor Court House East
Board will convene to strip first of three administrative offices away from Rock County voters.
Democracy is at stake!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

City Taps Empty Slush Fund For Privileged Group

On Monday night, the Janesville city council approved of giving over $11,000 to a Janesville business group so they could erect a monument as a entry way sign for their business district on the west side of Janesville. The group, calling themselves the Westgate Corridor Group, will have their name emblazoned on the twelve-foot-long brick pillared structure to be planted in a public right-of-way.

We can assume that they should have their name on it, afterall they're paying for it, right? Wrong.

Taxpayers will pay for group's monument.
Agenda Excerpt:
...the Westgate Group has requested that the Common Council authorize funding for the project in the amount of $11,113.00 as a TIF District 28 expenditure.
The money is expected to be pulled from the TIF, but since the district hasn't generated any slush money yet, the city must borrow to pay for the sign.

Okay, let's forget about that part for now.

The Westgate Corridor Group touts itself as a caring “coalition of residents, businesses, property owners and community leaders interacting with the city to provide for opportunities and positive action. Certainly then, we'd at least expect to have the basic cooperation and interaction present to fund the monument with a public private partnership, right? Wrong. Noticeably absent from the presentation and council discussion was the term "public private partnership." No council members bothered to ask why this caring group of business people and "community leaders" could not pitch in to pay for a sign that will have their name on it. Pitch in 50%? 40%? 30%? Nope ...not one penny. The business group, completely aware that the city will likely have to borrow to pay for their sign, doesn't even blink.

But let's forget about that part for now.

Certainly the business group will at least make the council presentation and request for the money themselves. Afterall they're business people, they're in business to sell themselves, right? Sorry, wrong again.

City Administration Working On Behalf Of Business Group
Agenda Excerpt:
... the City of Janesville is acting as the applicant on behalf of the Westgate Group for the privilege to allow placement of the sign in the public right-of-way
No representative from the business group spoke at the council meeting, instead the city administration presented the private group's request.

Okay, let's forget about that part for now.

At least the project, design and construction will be competitively bid upon with community members offering free materials and a possible slogan and design contest for school kids or residents, right? You'd be wrong again.

Business group contracts for its own no-bid deal
Agenda Excerpt:
1. That the sign be constructed in accordance with design plans submitted by the Westgate Group, acting as general contractor for the project.
You gotta' love it! It really doesn't matter whether it's only $11,000 or $11 million that's at stake. With crony capitalist government picking the winners and the losers and a compliant media with no obligation to ask the right questions, it's best to just forget about it all.

Worth mentioning: I don't know what came over them, but Council members McDonald and Brunner voted against the request.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Political Operatives Continue Power Grab For Coroner's Office

Nothing has changed policy-wise since the last time the Rock County Board convened to abolish the elective coroner's office and faced heavy public opposition.

However, it appears ever more obvious that the anti-ballot-box establishment bureaucrats may have gained another authoritarian or two on the board since the April Election and are willing to test the political winds right away. Of course, they are the ones insisting "politics" have nothing to do with it. Baloney! On the county board agenda for Thursday is yet another attempt to wrest the coroner's office away from the voters.
MAY 27, 2010 - 6 PM
County Board Room/ Courtroom H
Fourth Floor Court House East
Agenda Item 12 F. Abolish Coroner's Office
It is worth mentioning here again that the resolution to abolish the coroner's office failed last month in the Public Safety and Justice Committee, so the matter to press on begins to look more and more like a personal vendetta against the current coroner and county residents (democratic electorate).

But nothing says, "We, the government (versus the people) want more power" than lines 13 and 14 from the county resolution, it reads...
Excerpt (Page 32)
Whereas, adopting a medical examiner system, would allow the County Board more flexibility to determine the structure and staffing of the office.
At a time when more and more citizens feel the sense of a unresponsive and unaccountable government with too much power held captive by appointed bureaucrats, insider interests and political hacks, certain members of the Rock County Board appear willing to make matters even worse. If they decide to steal the power from the people, we will definitely be going in the wrong direction.

Related reading:

April 6 - Political Operatives Initiate Power Grab For Coroner's Office.

April 8 - Democracy Under Siege In Rock County.

April 9 - Elected Coroner Stays, Beloit Daily News.

April 11 - County Coroner Right To Defend Honor And Office.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Polaris to Mexico: Si, Senor

Those good ol' community ties and capitalist morals.
Star Tribune Excerpt:
Snowmobile and ATV maker Polaris Industries announced Thursday that it will sell or shut its Osceola, Wis., plant by 2012 and open a new facility in Mexico by the first half of 2011. About 515 Osceola employees were told the news during a meeting with company officials inside the plant Thursday afternoon.
Rep. David Obey calls Polaris, "Unpatriotic."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oh…Congressman Paul Ryan wrote another op-ed.

His latest rant titled "Wall Street Reform Just More Crony Capitalism" is just another in a long line of misplaced opposition and errant logic based on pure ideology without any regard to reality.

In his twelve years in Congress, Paul Ryan couldn’t write legislation to save the robust manufacturing sector in his own district. GM and Chrysler vacated the premises and took over 10,000 family raising jobs with them. His district holds some of the worst unemployment in the state of Wisconsin. But that is not his fault, afterall, his past voting record doesn’t matter. It’s everyone else in Congress who were reckless.

In his twelve years he couldn’t write legislation to stop Wall Street from nearly burning to the ground, and after the fire, he didn’t write or institute legislation to install overhead sprinklers or smoke alarms. Instead he was a point man for TARP and ran to the collective system of taxation (government) for a series of capital injections to keep the free markets afloat. But no – that’s incorrect because he eventually admitted he voted for TARP not on the nuts and bolts of the bill, but primarily out of fear that not doing so would be used by Obama to sweep in a hallucinatory fascist liberal statist agenda he channeled onto the President. Ryan attempted to reframe Obama because Obama supported saving capitalism by using TARP without reservation. However, just when capitalism was teetering on total collapse, what fascist liberal statist or Socialist would want to save it? If Ryan was right, Obama would have made every effort to stop TARP to usher in the collapse. He did not. This is important because Obama and the Democrats supported TARP to save capitalism - as naive as it sounds, while Ryan admitted to supporting TARP for outrageously bizarre reasons. Ryan will say and write anything if it helps him worm his way through another term.

BUT, through all of this, he finds the time to write an intellectually dishonest and ideologically driven retro-gressive austerity plan called “Roadmap to America’s Future” that’s supposed to put us on the path to prosperity? In it, he pretends to protect Social Security by eventually changing the insurance based concept into a "personal savings plan" and intends on transforming Medicare into a flatlining voucher entitlement relying on self-imposed rationing by guilt-tripping the cost of seniors health care against the future of their own grandchildren.

It only figures. For the past year, Ryan and his cast of Republican obstructionists repeatedly said "no" at every chance they had to democratically engage in the health care debate. Even during Obama's live TV forum, the Republicans had a great chance to influence and shape the plan, instead they propped up the parochial math of the ideologically damaged Ryan to tear it down. Republicans repeatedly chose to avoid democracy. And now Ryan says "NO" again to financial reform.

Only one congressman continues to propagandize himself as a conservative and outside of blame and now claims our national debt is top priority while he voted to add trillions in tax legacies with Medicare Part D, TARP and the Iraq War - his name is Paul Ryan.

Related: Ryan Should Resign From Congress

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Obama Burned In Effigy At West Allis Bar

Why we need more grocery stores in Wisconsin.
TMJ4 Excerpt:
WEST ALLIS - A bar owner could be in serious trouble with the federal government. He was videotaped burning a statue of President Obama.
Why would anyone bother to video tape this foolish nonsense? For attention? From Secret Service agents? From bloggers? Click here to watch video of the incident.

Is it racism? Free speech or hate speech?

One thing is for sure, burning someone in effigy is a hell of a better way to express oneself (if you really dislike someone that much) than the moronic school teacher in Alabama who used the angle of trajectory in a hypothetical assassination of Obama to illustrate a geometry concept to students.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Woodman's Losing More Than Mental Health Coverage

In a principled yet courageous decision, Madison’s clubhouse for the mentally ill, the Yahara House, will yank its $24,000 annual grocery account Monday from Woodman’s Food Market due to the grocery retailer’s recent decision to drop mental health coverage for their employees.
Capital Times Excerpt:
“As a mental health treatment program, Yahara House does not wish to give its business to a merchant who sees mental health treatment as less critical than physical health treatment,” wrote Yahara members in a May 12 letter sent to the grocery retailer.
Woodman's response was, "Yahara who?"
More>>> at the Capital Times.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Walker Forgot To Check Facebook Before Thinking

A few days ago I was speechless when I heard Scott Walker, Republican candidate for governor, spoke up for social justice against the unconstitutional immigration law signed into law recently in Arizona. It just didn't ring true to typical positions held by weak willed and politically expedient candidates such as Walker. And sure enough, it turns out his stance was the least definitive of any of the three major gubernatorial candidates as he ran as far away as he could from his earlier courageous position.
JG Excerpt:
The flip came after Walker was barraged with negative comments on his Facebook page following an Associated Press story reporting on his concerns about the law that critics say could lead to racial profiling.

Government Borrowing From Banksters To Finance TARP?

A few weeks ago, Congressman Paul Ryan had such a problem when GM paid back a government loan that he immediately slapped together a video and a statement to grandstand his concern. Ryan charged that GM (and Obama) was playing a shell game with taxpayer dollars because the loan wasn't repaid with GM earnings. O' shiver me timbers, they had the gall to pay back the money with interest.

In this Comedy Central skit?, Jon Stewart lays out a convincing storyline to explain how Wall Street banksters, specifically TARP recipients, are still reporting huge profits despite a slight downturn in the markets.

Banks Making $5 million An Hour

So the Fed borrowed to Wall Street banksters at zero interest - while the banksters lend it back to the government and charge interest? Yet Ryan, who supposedly is concerned about TARP money, instead slams GM for returning tax dollars to the treasury?
"...treasuries are trading at a huge volume with the U.S. Government seeking so much money to finance TARP" -- Dawn Kopecki, Bloomberg
The sad reality here is Wall Street banksters are outed by a sharp newsman masquerading as a comedian - and everyone ...laughs.

Friday, May 14, 2010

School Board Projects Tax Increase, Newspaper Targets Teachers Union

Last week, the Janesville Gazette posted an article about the Janesville School Board voting to approve of establishing a 6% ceiling on an expected tax levy hike for the 2010-2011 school budget.

It didn't take long for the right-wing knee-jerk reactionaries and conservo-cutters at the Gazette to editorialize against school teachers and remind the board that many residents are angry over lower wages, reduced benefits and lost jobs. Certainly the editors must feel some love defending the misery so long as there is more company to share it with.
JG Editorial Excerpt: (Not available on Web)
Titled "School board should keep cutting budget"
Generous benefits strangled our auto industry, and Janesville's marriage to GM ended in divorce. Now the teachers union stands out in this community as having Cadillac health and pension benefits.
Where do we begin with this one. Whew!

Plainly speaking, generous benefits did not strangle the auto industry. Besides the poor timing with the 2M energy crisis and sagging sales, negligent corporate management and skyrocketing private sector health care costs crushed the industry. Just like it's continues to do today with most industries, and that includes public school teachers. Free market capitalism is collapsing from its own inability to carry its' own weight, with little or no fault due the workers for the meager wages and benefits they collect. Secondly, the newspaper mentions the easy target "union," when in reality they are really attacking individual teachers for their wages and benefits. And lastly, as I have written in an earlier post, the Gazette and their political base are closing in on victory after a decades old local "cleansing" campaign against living wages, decent benefits and organized employee unions. The battle is nearly over. In their view, the school teachers collective bargaining power is hopefully the final remnant of any leverage the working and middle class might strive for in Janesville. The more anger they can manufacture against employee wage and benefit leverage - the better. It's all downhill from there.

Here's a thought. If only public school districts had the same access to slush fund TIF surplus money like city officials, private developers and wealthy venture capitalists have, things wouldn't appear so dire. Afterall, nobody seems to notice the tax increase levied on their property bills by TIF's to make up for the revenue withheld from the general fund. If there's a surplus in any local coffers, use it where it's needed before considering another tax hike.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Are Some Council Members Worried More About Negative Publicity Than Truth?

At Monday's Janesville city council meeting, a few council members spoke out about the controversy surrounding the Janesville Farmers Market after the Janesville Gazette posted a story about certain vendors being rejected from entering the market.

Unfortunately, in the Gazette's follow-up report covering council member's remarks, the newspaper deliberately omitted comments to the effect that council members expressed more concern about the negative publicity and fallout from the newspaper story than the actual potential for a corrupted administrative process as portrayed in the story. It was as if council members were surprised the newspaper would publish such a "negative" story about Janesville in the first place, particularly before they had the chance to hear it from the "horse's mouth." But since the Gazette is little more than a marketing publication for the city and business community and has a long record of sweeping the local dirt under the carpet, I can't blame council members for thinking that way. That I'm even writing about a farmers market controversy to this extent is laughable, but a testament to the tight lid the Gazette keeps on even minor controversies that might place Janesville into a negative light.

But do we really want a false reality for the sake of presenting only positive stories? Where is the quest for truth and fairness? Where is the integrity?

With the farmers market controversy kicking into the rebuttal phase, I can only hope for the sake of truth and fairness that the Gazette gives the market's director and board members a fair chance to respond to their article without reframing or juggling their statements out of context.

As a local media watcher, I was quick to point out what appears to be a rare clean and balanced article by the Gazette, without the usual socio-political message or public steerage that underscores most their local stories. I'm writing about this next concern because lightning never strikes the same place twice.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why Bother to Attend Public Hearings? Pt. 3

Last week, the Edgerton City Council voted 4-3 against a motion that would have opened the door for possible chicken ownership in town. As reported in the Janesville Gazette, the decision came with little city council discussion despite a crowd showing in support of permitting chickens.
JG Excerpt:
“The input I’ve gotten in the past couple of weeks has been against chickens,” Lund told a crowd of residents who came out in support of the ordinance changes....
Council member Ron Webb said he voted no because every resident he’d spoken to was violently opposed to residential chickens.

“One-hundred-percent of the people I talked to said no, no. As in no eff-ing way,” Webb told the Gazette following the council’s vote Monday.
Wow. Everyone violently opposed? effing way? With that angry rhetoric I'd think someone in Edgerton was passing a stone over universal health care. I'd expect a tea bag mob at city hall with torches and pitchforks and bonfires burning non-complying city officials in effigy for even thinking about allowing chickens in city limits.
JG Excerpt:
Resident Beth Goetsch said she was surprised so many residents told Webb and Lund they're opposed to backyard chickens since none voiced opposition at Monday’s meeting or at the preceding committee meeting when the chicken request was discussed.
DOH! That all sounds so eerily familiar. Not one effing person showed up?? Instead, in the friendly confines of the little Edgerton city hall building - all the wrong people showed up to participate in the public hearing ...and lost the battle against phantom antagonists.

The same pattern with the same results happens at Janesville city hall so often that I've dubbed the phantom antagonists here the "BlackBerry Group." Edgerton appears to have the same problem with their city council as well but to be fair, chances are extremely high that most city councils and township boards cowtow to the wishes of the local wealthy and their sphere of influential insiders.

Next up facing the same civic test will be the city council in Racine as a group of residents have now organized and want to keep chickens within city limits. I admit, I don't know how much weight public hearings carry with the Racine city council. But if council members listen only to the special people who don't show up at the meetings like they do here in Janesville or Edgerton, then the decision has already been made. The pro-chicken folks don't stand a chance.

Why Bother To Attend Public Hearings and Meetings? Pt.2

Why bother to attend public hearings and meetings Pt.1

Sunday, May 09, 2010

TARP Republicans Targeted By Tea Party

Bob Bennett, a three-term Republican Senator was stripped of his party's nomination at the GOP convention in Utah Saturday.
Long Island Press Excerpt:
Bennett has a lifetime rating of 84 percent from the American Conservative Union, but was targeted by tea partyers for voting in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bank bailout in 2008.

Locals Complain Janesville Farmers Market Is Cornered

Here's an extremely rare "fair and balanced" local story (about one every three years?) from the Janesville Gazette about a vendor being turned away from selling baked goods at the Janesville Farmers Market because her booth could provide competition for booths operated by the market's manager. Suddenly, an unwritten "quota" system appears.
JG Excerpt:
Sheila Killion, who owns Cakes by Sheila, has appealed a decision by the board and market manager Teri Huber to turn down Killion’s application for the second year. Killion charges a conflict of interest because Huber’s family also runs a bakery booth at the market.
The element of this story rarely seen in local Gazette articles is the questioning and doubting of establishment policy and officials without any apparent political motive or reason by the newspaper to do so, albeit farmers market officials.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Paul Ryan's Hometown Among Forbes Worst For Jobs

Wow. Who would've thunk it?

The bad news.

Janesville was named the seventh worst out of 397 places in America - to find a job. That's not in Wisconsin - that's in the entire country!

Some armchair experts accuse Wisconsin of not being a business friendly state, although that doesn't explain the poor job opportunities spread across most of the country. Others blame it on the collapse of the manufacturing sector.

But how could that be? Paul Ryan is our congressman and he repeatedly wins awards for legislating manufacturing excellence from an outfit called the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). So, how is it when a congressman voting NAM's way over 90 percent of the time (during a GOP majority no less) not only results in a precipitous decline of the manufacturing industry within his district, but in the entire country? And helps set his district on a glide path of record unemployment? All the while local officials arrive at the sinking reality that manufacturing jobs are irretrievably lost forever?

And so it is. After twelve years of NAM's Ryan, the once robust manufacturing sector of the 1st congressional district of Wisconsin has officially gone ker-plunk. Janesville is the seventh worst for jobs, Racine (also in Ryan's district) came in at 19th worst out of 397. But we can't blame any of this on Congressman Ryan. Oh -no. Afterall, none of his votes in congress ever mattered. It's everybody else in congress that was reckless.
NBC/15 Madison Excerpt:
"It's surprising that we are that low." Bob Borremans works at the Rock County jobs center. He says there's promising job growth in the health-care and service sectors. Also, they're setting the foundation for future jobs in distribution, food processing, plastics and medical equipment.
Apparently, Ryan hasn't worked his magic on those business sectors just yet.

Friday, May 07, 2010

More Misleading Junk From The Gazette

Titled O'Connor argues against electing judges, this deliberately misleading headline posted on a short AP article implies that former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is opposed to the democratic election of judges. When in truth, she said unregulated judicial campaigns and unlimited contributions threaten the democratic election of judges by undermining independence of the judiciary.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling deeming corporations the same rights as an individual, all of democracy is under a heightened threat of widespread corruption, not just judgeship's. Assuming the actual balloting is honest, it's the wealthy corporate fascists undermining the system that are the problem.

Traditional News Continually Misleads Us

Posted in Thursdays' paper, the Gazette republished an editorial from the Kansas City Star claiming that GM's ad stating they repaid the government loan five years ahead of schedule with interest was misleading.
Kansas City Star Excerpt:
It turns out the loan wasn’t repaid with GM earnings.
In addition, this outside sourced editorial appears to be the Gazette's attempt to help bolster Congressman Ryan's similarly pointless assertion made a few days earlier.

I'm no fan of corporate GM, but the Gazette, Ryan and the rest of the media enabled anti-Obama right-wing circus should have to prove that "not coming from earnings" disqualified the terms of the loan or that the loan is still outstanding before spewing their partisan driven lies and propaganda.

What is even more troubling is that the Janesville Gazette would attempt to deny GM any possible chance of a psychological boost for returning tax dollars to the treasury!! when the newspaper recently grandstanded editorials for Forward Janesville's $1.5 billion tax hike to expand the interstate or the Janesville city council's rubber stamped decision to hand-out a forgivable $227,500 to Fortune 500 W.W. Grainger for restructuring. Forward Janesville and the city administration both touted the "psychological impact" such tax confiscating trickle-down corporate sponsorships will have on local residents.

The daily dose of misleading reporting from traditional news sources along with the ideologically driven and partisan saturated newspaper op-eds masquerading as common sense and equal justice for all is a national epidemic that threatens the very existence of our democracy.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Beck: Obama and Bush Are The Same, They're Progressives

As noted at Think Progress. When Glenn Beck can't speak the truth (or can't handle the truth) about the snowballing and irreversable deficits generated by policies of the previous Bush administered tax cut Republican-led Congress, he just conveniently calls the mascot of compassionate conservatism a "progressive." That's it! Bush was a progressive!
Think Progress Excerpt:
BECK: What has [Obama] done that is different? I think he’s done exactly what George Bush was doing, except to the times of a thousand. I mean we’re talking about a progressive. And George Bush was a progressive. It’s the difference between a steam train and the space shuttle.
After his radio interview with Beck, I now wonder how Congressman Paul Ryan would respond to that after recently agreeing with the rodeo clown's assessment that progressivism is a "cancer that’s eating at America,” yet supported Bush's policies more than 90% of the time for eight years and objects to nearly everything Obama and the Democrats have now proposed.

Of course Beck has absolutely no clue to what he is talking about. But how does Ryan cluefully explain his support for Bush?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

New Wave Of Conscience In Madison?

Sunday's Janesville Messenger contained an article (Page 4, bottom) by a Forward Janesville official summarizing their annual lobby junket of organized business interests and other appointed officials from Rock County to inform state legislators about their "prosperity" agenda. Most of their road to riches ideas are primarily tax cuts and tax credits for themselves while supporting the local road building and construction industry with tax hikes for everyone else. So they're not kidding when they refer to their presentation as a "roadmap." They mean it.

But what I thought was really unusual was this seemingly new development...
Janesville Messenger Excerpt:
Speaking of obstacles, some of our groups reported that an unfortunate trend is gaining steam at the Capitol. A number of offices have posted "no soliciting " signs on their doors with messages to the effect of, "If you aren't from our district, we don't want to receive your information."
The writer says he was outraged by this development and that those legislators should be called out. Say what? I agree to a point, but called out and awarded trophies for finally standing up to unsolicited special interests.

For a change, it doesn't matter whether they were Republicans (yes even Republicans, God help me), Democrats, Independents, black, blue, green or pink, what mattered is that they are messaging they are not for sale. So yeah, I'm interested in learning who those state legislators are so I can post them here with little "good government" badges next to their names. It certainly is not the end all to the corrosive influence of special interests and lobbyists in government, but it's a small baby step. Can't speak for the rest of the legislators.

I'm continually surprised by politicians who seem to be oblivious to the fact that the more entrenched they become with special interests, particularly with private interests from outside the borders of their district, the more intolerable and even unacceptable they become. Perhaps that notion too is a new development. I hope so.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Paul Ryan - Our Jeckyl And Hyde Congressman

The Janesville Gazette published a grandiose if not mindless article about Rep. Paul Ryan's statement challenging the claim by General Motors and the Obama administration that GM has paid off its bailout loan from the federal government.

The indisputable truth is - GM did pay off the loan portion of the bail-out package. The rest of the money invested into GM was not a loan - it was collateralized with GM assets. The government still holds GM stock — a 61 percent share in GM — to account for the rest of the money. If GM does well, the company expects to repurchase a sizable portion of the remaining equity stake (not loaned money) with funds earned via a public stock offering.

That's plenty more than Ryan can say for the $1 trillion and counting debt he sold us into with the Iraq War. Our children will be paying for that debacle with no hope for anyone buying that debt off simply because there are no assets to sell - ever.

So what exactly was Ryan challenging? Absolutely nothing. Then Ryan has the nerve balls to say this...
JG Excerpt:
“If anyone is owed a clear and honest explanation, it is those hit hardest by the downturn in the auto industry, including those I serve in Janesville, Kenosha, Oak Creek and the surrounding communities in southern Wisconsin,” Ryan said.

Yeah, like from Ryan when he voted against extending unemployment to those hardest hit in his district.
JG Excerpt:
Democrat Paulette Garin of Kenosha, who is still considering a run against Ryan, called Ryan’s vote “reprehensible.” Ryan said his vote signaled his displeasure with a measure that increases the national debt.
Signaled his displeasure??? While 3,000 Rock County residents would have lost any chance to stay afloat and feed their families?
JG Excerpt:
He blatantly ignores the needs of his constituents, especially those in his hometown of Janesville,” Garin charged. “… If the vote doesn’t benefit his corporate benefactors, he’s going to vote ‘no.’ If he can’t privatize it, he's going to vote ‘no.’” Garin said Ryan’s personal likeability belies his true colors.
In the end, Ryan said the Sun is hot and Sen. Feingold agreed. What does that mean? Not much, but to a newspaper working the ropes for Ryan, it can be used to juxtapose Ryan's only challenger as the odd man out, no pun intended. And that is exactly what the Janesville Gazette attempted to do with this article. Afterall most would assume, if you can't agree with Ryan or Feingold, you must be some kind of an insufferable anti-social and disagreeable malcontent.

But Paulette Garin didn't take the bait, instead she exposed Ryan's false trust Jeckyl-like soft spoken concern over his constituent's hardship for exactly what it is - the deceptive morality only a Mister Hyde can serve.

Note: This posting is the sole opinion of its author and is not associated with a political party or campaign. If you agree with Paulette Garin, drop her a note of confidence at or offer to volunteer for her campaign. You can also donate to her campaign at Actblue.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Harley-Davidson Sure Making A Lot Of Noise

Harley-Davidson, which enjoyed two decades of record sales and earnings growth leading up to 2007, has not been enjoying nearly as much as sales have plummeted in the last two years.

Worldwide sales for the first quarter of 2010, which were announced two weeks ago, dropped by 18.2 percent from the same period last year (which was not a great quarter). Although earnings were down 16.7 percent, Harley-Davidson was still profitable. H-D reported first-quarter 2010 income from continuing operations of $68.7 million, or $0.29 per share.

As usual, the workers are expected to take the hit with wage and benefit concessions. It's beginning to look like Mercury Marine all over again.

The following is a list a headlines gleaned from Newsplurk over the past several days surrounding Harley-Davidson's quest to non-politicize its lower earnings.

Harley Won't Politicize Financial Problems
WTAQ 5/1/2010

"Wisconsin officials mobilize to retain Harley-Davidson"
USA Today 4/30/2010

"Harley-Davidson may leave Wis. if costs don't fall"
The Associated Press 4/29/2010

"State talking with Harley Davidson"
Wisconsin Radio Network 4/30/2010

"Harley Davidson may be leaving Wisconsin"
WEAU-TV 13 ( 4/30/2010

"Cost cutting measures at Harley Davidson call for union concessions, some say" 4/30/2010

"Harley-Davidson Impact"
WJFW-TV 4/30/2010

"Harley-Davidson To Leave WI? Doyle Says No"
WMTV 4/30/2010

"WisPolitics: Doyle says combined reporting not to blame for Harley's woes" 4/30/2010

"Lawmakers Hop on to Save Harley-Davidson"
WTAQ 4/30/2010

"Harley Davidson may move operations out of Wisconsin"
CBS 5 - Green Bay 4/30/2010

"No out-sourcing for Harley"
Milwaukee News Buzz 4/30/2010

Bill Moyers Final Broadcast: Plutocracy and Democracy Don't Mix

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Obama Rocks The House At WHCD

Full Disclosure: Congressionals Should Wear NASCAR Style Sponsor Patches

Congressional Democrats are racing to pass new legislation that would force election spending out into the open, where it belongs. The newly unveiled DISCLOSE Act would follow the money and prevent corporations from masking their activity through shadowy front groups. Although just a first step, it appears to be a democratic response in the right direction to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, deeming corporations the same rights as individual citizens.

Democrats hope to pass the legislation before the US Chamber of Commerce and their organized business lobbyists dig in to obstruct the legislation.
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Crooks and Liars Quote:
"In the meantime, maybe we should require politicians to wear the logos of their "sponsors." Hey, if it works for NASCAR, why not Congress." -- J.G.
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