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Friday, July 30, 2010

Paul Ryan Would Smother Dreams If He Could

MSNBC Excerpt:
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans blocked a bill to increase small business lending Thursday, dealing a setback to President Barack Obama's jobs agenda the American economy.
Back in December of 2009, Rep. Paul Ryan wrote one of his rambling ideological essays about how government, congress, etc., should be embracing pro-market instead of pro-business reforms. You know ...kind'a follow his lead.
Forbes Excerpt:
Subtitled: How the government is smothering dreams and stifling growth.

With risk aversion preventing small businesses from accessing capital, job losses continue to mount and the engines of economic growth continue to stall. Small firms have to file for real bankruptcy--not the bailout bankruptcy afforded to AIG, Bank of America, GM, Chrysler and others.
Six months later, Ryan had a chance to put his small business words into action.
June, 2010 H.R.5297:
An act to create the Small Business Lending Fund Program to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to make capital investments in eligible institutions in order to increase the availability of credit for small businesses, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for small business job creation, and for other purposes.
Paul Ryan voted 'nay."

June 2010 H.R.5486:
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for small business job creation, and for other purposes.
Paul Ryan voted "nay."

Although both acts passed through the House, Ryan showed where he stood with his ideological rantings, his constituents and small businesses. As usual, he abandoned them all.

The congressman obviously belongs to the "hope America fails" fraternity of obstructionists in the Washington. They're keeping their fingers tightly crossed hoping that the engines of economic growth continue to stall from now and into November. They're doing all they can to make sure of it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Profits Soar, No Hiring

Big businesses have recovered almost 90 percent of what they lost. So with all this money and profit, they’ll start hiring again, right? Wrong – for three reasons.
AlterNet Excerpt:

First, lots of their profits are coming from their overseas operations. So that’s where they’re investing and expanding production.

Second, big U.S. businesses are investing their cash in labor-saving technologies. This boosts their productivity, but not their payrolls.

Finally, corporations are using their pile of money to pay dividends to their shareholders and buy back their own stock – thereby pushing up share prices.” – Robert Reich
Yes, and whatever little excess cash working-class American consumers have, they're spending it at Wal-Mart.

This should not even be an argument, but instead we have republicans like our own Congressman Paul Ryan claiming that the free markets are reluctant to create jobs because of tax uncertainty. His approach is to instill more fear in defense of the Bush tax cuts for his largest campaign shareholders.

The Bush tax cuts were signed into law in May, 2003 and had the cuts really worked as some contended, we would be on the cusp of the greatest period of job expansion right now, not the worst economic contraction. Instead, the tax cuts seeded the fastest growing national deficits ever while the disappearance of jobs in America have very little to do with tax policy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Newspaper's Dishonorable Attack - Swiftboats Coroner's Father

Sunday's Janesville Gazette contained what at first appeared to be a less unbalanced article about the Rock County coroner Jenifer Keach than what the newspaper has produced in the recent past.

This time, in an uncharacteristic admission of fair play they actually allowed the coroner to speak for herself, but not without the paper regurgitating the usual suspect information and innuendos injecting the political mission statements from a Rock County board member who only wants to decommission county elective offices into patronage department hires. By injecting the unfounded complaints yet again with the board member's agenda, the newspaper deliberately turned what should have been a routine report on the coroner's qualifications, constituent satisfaction and service into a political circus.

After priming up the reader's tension pump, the hard copy Gazette then juxtaposed the poisonous spin with their own fun-loving team player prescription in a far less cynical, less intrusive and separate article about the coroner's primary challenger. On the Web, the paper takes it even further by combining both articles on one link conveniently concluding the Gazette-damaged "Keach" article with her challenger's, "Rock County deserves better." I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

It's worth noting that days earlier in a similar publishing lay-out with Rep. Paul Ryan and democratic challenger John Heckenlively, the Gazette did not combine their stories or position the challenger as the antidote to Ryan. Instead they hammered Heckenlively with the misleading title, Ryan's opponent calls for taxes, spending and kept the candidate's stories apart with their own separate, dedicated Web-link.

But even with those typical failings of truth and fair play, by far the worst shot came in this little statement about the coroner's father.
JG Excerpt:
Keach was born in Mercy Hospital in Janesville, the daughter of a General Motors worker and a nurse. Her dad had been in the hospital for two years after getting shot in the Vietnam War. He survived because he played dead while under attack. (added emphasis)
How low can you go.

In an email, I asked the coroner's father, Richard Costerisan, about the newspaper's characterization of his military service to his country, he wrote...
"Just for the record, I served for just over 100 days in Vietnam in the 101st Airborne 501 Recon Division as a machine gunner and demolition expert. This is the same historic unit that Pvt. Ryan served in during WWII and is well known for its bravery. I feel I lived up to that reputation well. I was involved in a battalion sweep with my platoon near Tam Kye looking for North Vietnam infantry that had overrun a fire support base. We were leading the battalion and had come under fire and mortar attack the previous day. The day I was wounded my unit volunteered to move onto a terraced hill in a rice paddy to search for wounded soldiers in B Company. It was at that time we came under attack and the men in my platoon were killed or wounded. I was the first to be shot because I was the machine gunner. Following that I was shot four more times as I moved down the hill looking for cover below one of the terraced walls. I was later rescued from that location by other soldiers and medevaced. I was wounded 5 times in combat and awarded two purple hearts and a bronze star with two oak leaf clusters for bravery in combat."
-- Richard Costerisan

Over the years, Costerisan has defended his daughter against the newspaper for publishing politically motivated cheap-shot articles about her, like any good father would. He has also defended our country with honor, like any good soldier would. For this he becomes just another victim of the Gazette's destructive revenge journalism.

Although our soldiers defend our right to speak freely every single day, no soldier or father of a candidate running for public office should be subject to this sort of reckless and hurtful speech. Not from self-described news professionals anyways.

Excluding racist remarks, it really doesn't get much worse than this.

Advertently implying that, "those that fought their attackers did not survive" is a vicious mischaracterization of a surviving combat soldier's duty to his fellow soldiers and his country. Aside from the obvious injustice here, non-pertinent history of a parent or family member of any candidate running for public office should always be closely guarded information and not turned into contextual fodder to be kicked around.

But with this latest outrage, Gazette journalists and their approving editors continue to take the newspaper and the Janesville community down an ugly path of misery-mongering and gutter journalism. Regardless of how they sourced their information, there was absolutely no excuse to include such a casually insensitive statement in the article. At least not in any "good" newspaper.

It should be offensive to everyone.

Rock County deserves much better.

Related: Chicago politics? In Janesville?

Alleged Government Watchdog Appears Politically Motivated

Previous Local Media FEATURE ARTICLE
Is Your Newspaper Run By Moe?

Monday, July 26, 2010

More Taxpayer "Skin" Expected In Hockey Arena Boondoggle

The Janesville City Manager, Eric Levitt, is requesting the approval of a concessions contract at the current ice arena with Janesville Youth Hockey that is expected to bring in $1,400 less annually for the city, based on a percentage of last year's sales figures.
City of Janesville Web Site:
The City Manager is requesting consideration of approval of the City’s agreement with Janesville Youth Hockey Association (JYHA) for operations of the concessions at the Janesville Ice Rink located on Beloit Avenue. The fee for the operation would be for the City to receive 12.5% of net proceeds.
12.5% of net proceeds instead of a $5,000 flat fee produces the loss of $1,400.

In this article from the Janesville Gazette, the Director of Administrative Services Jay Winzenz said the decision to take a portion of profits (percentaged based instead of a flat fee) was made to capitalize on increased sales they expect from Janesville Jets games. However, the figures posted at the Janesville City Website (page 13), which are what the $1,400 loss is based on, already takes in a great portion of revenues collected from last season's Janesville Jets games. The figures are fiscal year ending 3/31/2010.

Yet, according to the Janesville City Web Site (page 2), the city administration expects to make up for the lost revenue by shifting other revenues due to the taxpayers from concessions contracted out in the facility's warming room.

Either way, Janesville taxpayers are expected to see an even smaller return on their investment which must eventually be made up with increased subsidies. All the while special interests profit more.

At the last Janesville city council meeting, a pro-hockey-arena "neutral" consultant hired by the pro-hockey-arena city administration had this to say about re-evaluating existing contracts at the arena.
Council Meeting Excerpt:
"If you were to construct a new facility, like all of your existing contracts it would be prudent to go back and re-evaluate those, particularly on the attendance side of things, selling tickets, to be sure that they're going to to fill that new arena that would be built for them ...that there would be a little more skin in the game for them - to keep them around." -- Rink Consultant speaking to the Janesville City Council
Whether we're talking about $5,000 or $5,000,000, the more money city taxpayers pour into our once-upon-a-time "community" ice arena, the more "skin" Janesville taxpayers will have to give up to the privileged special interests that are pushing the boondoggle in the first place. Contrary to all the basic principles of free market risk, competition and supply and demand, we (taxpayers) will pay even more to the very folks that make sure our investment never pays off.

What a racket.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Radio Wing-Nutter Foams Over Newspaper's Hit Job On Heckenlively

Thursday's Janesville Gazette contained the newspaper's introductory article about John Heckenlively, the Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin.

If you're a frequent reader of my blog, you'll understand what I mean when I say he was "royally gazetted." I don't know whether it was an exclusive interview or just stuff gleaned off the web or compiled from emails or what, but they did a major hit job on him.

Misleadingly titled, "Ryan's opponent calls for taxes and spending" and developed with parsed quotes, the context was reframed and inlaid against a schmoozy plug for believe it or not, Ryan's book about expanding GOP hyper-partisanship. Understand here, the Janesville Gazette covers the western third of the 1st CD and purports to be a legitimate news organization.

On Thursday morning, after declaring his love for Paul Ryan, the newspaper's slow-thinking and paycheck loyal radio wingnut, Stan Milam, bragged about Ryan's good fortune to have a newspaper perform such a wonderful hit job on the democratic candidate and declared Heckenlively's campaign over. Milam said, "stick a fork in him, he's over," as he used the newspaper's distortions to further ream him on the air - Fox News style.

Granted, Ryan's hometown publication stopped short of labeling Heckenlively a baby-killer or a Marxist and could have easily put the "tax and spend" title up as front-page headlines. But as it was, the newspaper along with their water-carrying mercenaries created a high-styled piece of message control that should be seen for what it is - GOP propaganda.

With Heckenlively's campaign still in it's infancy, he must be prepared for this every which way he turns and respond appropriately and decisively. Because there might not be many more chances after this before the distortions take hold.

Just for kicks here, a caller into the radio show challenged Milam to list all the great things Ryan has done for the working people in his district. Milam could not name even one single item off the top of his head and said he'll need time to work on it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Chicago Politics?" In Janesville?

More junk journalism from the Janesville Gazette attacking the Rock County coroner, Jenifer Keach, for challenging the papers of a ballot petitioner in September's primary.
Newspaper Excerpt: ("anonymous" comment published in the Janesville Gazette)

On Coroner:
Just opened the front page of Saturday's Gazette. I thought the carrier had made a mistake and left me the Chicago Tribune. Jenifer Keach, you better hope that your challenge is successful and you knock Holder off the ballot because if you don't, I'm voting for Cary regardless of who is more qualified. We don't play Chicago politics in Janesville.
Excuse me? But you just played it like a fiddle.

Those are the kind of cheap-shots and veiled threats they're used to hearing around election time in Chicago. Unfortunately, it's also been standard-issue politicking in Janesville for quite some time. Not just by the useful idiot who supplied the comment (supposedly) to the newspaper, but the newspaper itself for publishing such baseless remarks built for personal destruction. What passes for open public discourse and authentic free speech opinion in Janesville is actually a newspaper actively campaigning and publishing against a candidate "Chicago" style.

Here are just a few recent examples:

Chicago politics in Janesville is when a newspaper propagandizes just like a party machine against a citizen running for public office, simply because the candidate or their supporters might not fit their establishment clique or socio-political agenda. Or for any reason they can just make up.

Chicago politics happens when elected city officials favor wealthy individuals, for-profit businesses and special interest groups with access to city taxpayer coffers under the guise of public-private partnerships.

Chicago politics happens when unscrupulous members of a government board or commission attempt to game the system by playing procedural tricks to strip away an office from an elected official and voters, and almost get away with it because a Chicago-politics-enabling-media deliberately failed to publish the heightened sense of alarm that such an important event deserved.

Chicago politics happens when good paying jobs are held open for the children and relatives of top city management officials.

Chicago politics is when a newspaper can pretend to be above the fray and neutral when they willfully publish unattributable cheap-shot political comments and statements of personal destruction against candidates, incumbents and other public officials.

Chicago politics is when a city council disregards the majority wishes of a residential neighborhood for the sake of an outside special interest.

Chicago politics happens when power-seeking insiders and their media enablers attempt to rig a primary with a puppet candidate under false pretenses.

Chicago politics is when a newspaper maligns a lawmaker by attempting to mix his private life into his legislative positions without producing any substantive proof of ethical wrong-doing. Chicago politics is when a newspaper tears down a legislator on issues the newspaper itself actually supports.

Chicago politics happens when a city administration hires a pro-issue "neutral" consultant.

Chicago politics happens when a small group of revenge-driven "connecteds" file complaints against an official based on exaggerations and distortions of the truth. Chicago politics happens when those allegations are repeated by a newspaper as legitimate judgments despite being deemed unfounded.

Chicago politics happens when a newspaper and their partisans twist commonly held legal procedures exercised by their perceived opposition into a raging affront against the law.

Chicago politics happens when certain officials, their ideas, positions and decisions can be challenged every step of the way with contempt and ridicule, but their challenger's positions and petitions cannot - or vice-versa.

Chicago politics happens when a city council, administration and a monopolized media favor one community service group over another.

Chicago politics in Janesville happens when an elected official is accused of engaging in "Chicago politics" just for following the letter of the law and openly exercising their due rights.

Chicago politics happens when anonymous voters claim to prefer the less qualified candidate if it means to "knock off" another. Chicago politics happens when those anonymously made malicious comments pick up legitimacy through unchallenged publication.

Obviously, Chicago politics in Janesville has nothing to do with being democratic or republican. But it has everything to do with revenge politics built on clout and personal destruction, and being part of a concerted if not underhanded effort to gain power and wealth at the expense of others. From all the countless efforts by the local establishment machine and their governmental insiders to usurp power without democracy, aside from the discounted and disempowered Janesville residents themselves, I can't think of a greater victim of Chicago-style politics in Rock County than our own coroner, Jenifer Keach.

Perhaps it's high time to man'up and stop blaming Chicago for this Janesville brand of personal destruction journalism and revenge politics, all the while pretending that a hateful and power corrupting environment doesn't exist here, and instead call it what it is - Janesville politics.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's Official: Heckenlively Makes The Ballot For 1st CD

Kenosha News Excerpt:
Racine Democrat John Heckenlively will appear on the November ballot against Republican Congressman Paul Ryan...The board found Heckenlively had 1,048 valid nomination petition signatures, 48 more than the minimum that he needed to appear on the ballot.

Heckenlively and Ryan will now face off in the Nov. 2 election.
I don't know him personally but one thing is certain, Heckenlively knows Ryan’s record in Congress so well, that he should be able to run on and over it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sales Tax Collections On Track To Plump Mercury Marine Dividends

FDL Reporter Excerpt:
Early numbers on revenue generated by the new county sales tax — about $500,000 in May alone — appear on track to pay financing for Fond du Lac County government's loan to Mercury Marine.
The half-percent county sales tax was instituted to pay for the financing of the county's $50 million loan to Mercury Marine. As reported, Fond du Lac County has provided $30 million to Mercury Marine of its $50 million committment. Additional $10 million payments will be made in September of this year and March of 2011.

As of 12PM today.
LAST $13.08 USD CHANGE TODAY +0.64 5.14% VOLUME 1.4M

Out of context? Think again.

Harley Warns Again: Cut labor costs or we’ll move; earnings triple

Harley-Davidson Inc. has again warned that production costs must be cut at its Wisconsin operations or the work will be moved elsewhere.
JS Online Excerpt:
The company said Tuesday that second-quarter net income more than tripled to $71.2 million, or 30 cents a share, from $19.8 million, or 8 cents, a year ago... It earned 59 cents a share, excluding discontinued operations, for the three months ended June 27. Shares rose as much as 15% after the earnings announcement.
Shareholders rule. Privatize the profits, socialize the losses or we'll leave!

Ryan's Democratic Challenger Optimistic

Racine Post Excerpt:
So why is Heckenlively taking on this Quixotic challenge? "I've been active in Democratic politics for a long time, and following Ryan's record. I've been complaining about the guy's record for years. Now it's time to step up and put my money where my mouth is."

"My biggest problem with Ryan is he has consistently sided with the wealthy, and with the biggest corporations. And I don't blame him," Heckenlively said. "That's where he's getting his money from. He votes for tax cuts for billionaires, and tax cuts for large corporations. On practically every major legislation that would help ordinary people but would cost corporations profits, Ryan has sided with the corporations."
More>>> at the Racine Post.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Anger-Baiting Reactionary Trying To Intimidate Candidates

Just when I thought I've finally heard the end of the unfounded, false and malicious accusations against the Rock County Coroner comes yet another trumped-up fabrication.

This time it's from the self-described "We the People" blogger, John Eyster, operating under the umbrella of the Janesville Gazette. In his posting, he describes how offended he was after reading that the Rock County Coroner, Jenifer Keach, is challenging the nomination papers of her opponent in September’s primary election. She's trying to kill an open primary!! Really!

In his posting, he starts an argument with himself by claiming submitted candidacy petitions should be assumed to be valid, yet then claims it's perfectly fine to challenge candidacy petitions. But, he implies that if an incumbent initiates the challenge, the incumbent is being overly aggressive, self-serving and stifling the competition - and the incumbent might change the outcome of the review some way, somehow.

Apparently he would much rather have the political party or a third-party interest, possibly the member of a special interest clique challenge the petition. But he tears down those challenges also. In one of his response comments, he explains she should have had someone else file for review of the nominating petitions. What, and risk more newspaper rumors of being too incompetent to do it herself or having political cronies do the work for her? With so much cynicism and apparent concern displayed for process, one has to ask why Eyster didn't offer to surrogate for candidates and incumbents and challenge all county office petitions himself? Never can be too sure, right? But that isn't the real issue here.

After reading his entire post, I had trouble trying to match his escalating passion for one candidate's validity by condemning an incumbent who dares question that validity, formed on his baseless assertions. They don't add up. My first thought was, "What is he trying to cover up?" Is there really something wrong with the challenger's papers? Is he trying to damage the coroner and the office no matter the review's outcome? Is the coroner's challenger a member of one of those power-grabbing elite cliques that Eyster actually warns us about? But I'm not a rumor monger, so my questions are just that - they're questions.

But his misguided statements, loaded with even more directly posed yet baseless accusations and assuming "facts" really aren't worth the analysis I'd normally like to give it. His posting is an unwarranted personal attack that stands on its own weirdly contrived and politically dysfunctional merit. It should be condemned by any truth seeker and filed with the rest of the unfounded accusations and rumors sown and grown by the Janesville Gazette against their political adversaries - in the garbage can.

Note: This posting is the independent perspective of its author and was written with no collaboration with any candidate or under the auspices of any newspaper or political organization.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gazette Columnist: 1st CD of WI Requires Presidential Intervention

After reading Stan Milam's column from last Saturday's Janesville Gazette titled "Could Obama have helped Janesville, too?" I couldn't quite figure out immediately what was missing from the story. Something just wasn't right.

The story (not published on the Web) was primarily about the Bucyrus deal and how the company apparently got lucky because Milam figured it raised President Obama's discomfort level while he was visiting nearby Racine just enough to make a phone call and reverse the Ex-Im Bank's controversial decision. Milam then wonders...
JG Excerpt:
Why did Obama not intervene when the Chrysler collapse resulted in the closing of the Kenosha engine plant? Why did he not intervene to help Janesville by providing a future for this community's assembly plant when he reorganized General Motors?
Then it dawned on me. The common denominator adversely effecting nearly everything Milam wrote about but completely absent from his article was ...yep, you guessed it ...Rep. Paul Ryan! Ryan was noticeably absent from Milam's article about the local economy and potential job losses in Kenosha, Janesville, Racine and south Milwaukee's Bucyrus simply because the congressman is noticeably absent on anything to do with his district's problems.

Just last month, a plethora of groups from the Janesville area comprised of business, labor, health care, education and builder's groups could have and should have delivered a list of eight earmarks totaling $40 million for economic recovery to Ryan while he was hosting one of his ideologically skewed talking sessions at Craig High School in Janesville. But they must have figured, why bother the prestigious congressman with such local frivolity and nonsense when he's got a book to write? Ryan left empty handed from Craig High School.

About one week later, the group turned their wish list over to the White House counsel of community recovery, Dr. Ed Montgomery. So, not only was Ryan absent from his duty to accept and represent his constituent economic recovery needs in Congress, he was also absent from his community's session with Montgomery. Ryan's got other priorities.

When the sitting President of the United States (regardless of party affiliation)visits a community, wouldn't you think the area's district representative would be there to greet him? Sure, this was Obama's show but it was also about the local economy and jobs in the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin. Most importantly this was the district's show, and Paul Ryan wasn't there. We're used to it.

Milam closed his article with this...
JG Excerpt:
Wisconsin residents delivered for Obama when he asked for our support as a candidate in 2008. With the possible exception of Ex-Im and Bucyrus, has he reciprocated?
Six times, folks in the 1st CD of Wisconsin have delivered for Paul Ryan, and I challenge anyone, anyone to show me what our district got for it. Besides reciprocating absolutely nothing, we have a cynical and disillusioned constituency infuriated just enough to channel their frustration against the first person who shows any genuine interest and reciprocation for our plight - the President of the United States.

So who could blame Milam for thinking, with a touch of crass political infirmity, that our area's economic condition requires presidential intervention. I don't blame him at all.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Senator Bunning, Wise Up Before It's Too Late

GOP asshat says Steinbrenner was smart to die in 2010 to avoid estate taxes.

Newsvine Excerpt
Senator Jim Bunning takes insensitivity to a new low; he said of George Steinbrenner that "because he was smart enough to die in 2010, there is zero liability on the estate tax."
Sen. Jim Bunning (R - Rand "roid") the former pitcher in Major League Baseball and U.S. Senator is the oldest republican in the senate. Last year, he announced that he would not run for re-election in 2010.

Bunning, who is 78 years old, has 9 children. There are 169 days left in 2010. Keep your fingers crossed kids, with any luck you too could be bragging about how smart your father was before year's end.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tea Party: The Hate-Wing Of The Republican Party

Why Did Media Fail To Acknowledge Bucks-On-Us

JS Online Excerpt:
... as the result of a decision by the U.S. Export-Import Bank, funded by Congress, to deny several hundred million dollars in loan guarantees to a coal-fired power plant and mine in India.
BizTimes Excerpt:
The U.S. Export-Import Bank is funded by Congress and serves to promote exports of U.S. manufactured products.
WEAU Excerpt:
...says a Congress-funded bank has reversed itself, agreeing to approve $600 million in loan guarantees for U.S.-made mining equipment.
620WTMJ Excerpt:
...hopes President Barack Obama will intervene to save a $600 million international power plant deal put in jeopardy by a Congress-funded bank.
HotAir Excerpt:
... invited to reapply for the loan guarantees doesn’t necessarily mean that the bank, which is run by Congress, will approve them the second time, either.
Funded by Congress? Run by Congress? From all the news reports and information I skimmed over during the Bucyrus dilemma, the Ex-Im Bank appears to be run by the executive branch since they (White House Administration) set the qualifying guidelines on the loan guarantees for the bank to follow. And, funded by Congress? Is this where all the Senators and House Reps each throw in $20 apiece to create the Ex-Im Bank slush fund? Look, I realize Congress controls the purse strings, but isn't it obvious that just about everything in government, debt and all, is funded by or expected to be repaid by U.S. taxpayers?

Except for this blog and comments posted at news outlets, you'd be hard pressed to find Bucyrus, Export-Import Bank and "funded by U.S. taxpayers" in the same article. Why was it so hard for the media to acknowledge the obvious? When is it okay to use the "U.S. taxpayer funded" descriptor for the source of government funds petitioned for and captured by private interests?

In today's corporate-owned spin cycle, probably never. Unless of course it's about ACORN or your unemployment extension.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sidewalk-Less Property Sales In Janesville Should Be Illegal

During Monday night's Janesville city council meeting, the council was confronted by the city administration over the city's broken sidewalk program.

For starters, we'll have to go back to 2008 when the council directed the administration to plan for and build nine miles of sidewalks per year for the next seven years in an effort to catch up to the backlog of existing unwalkable streets and sub-divisions within city limits. However, during a council meeting in April of this year, the council cherry-picked through a list of streets tabbed for sidewalks by the administration in the scaled down 1.5 mile plan for 2010 and exempted most of the properties. Of course the council faced about 25 angry residents at that particular council meeting, but that's what they should expect since it's the council that demands final approval. The administration appears to be the bad guy by following their directive, while the council sets themselves up as the good guy by opting-out a mob of angry property owners. This only defers the day of reckoning for the city council to face another angry mob again next year.

So who could blame the administration for suggesting that the city should scrap the sidewalk plan entirely and develop a petition process for residents who might want to opt-in for a $2,500 sidewalk? You know how far that one will go. At least that suggestion called the council's bluff on the sidewalk plan so to speak, forcing the council to either terminate the plan or re-issue their support for it.

After some discussion, the council did issue their unanimous support for the sidewalk plan, but scaled back the 9-mile target to a 5-mile minimum primarily because of the poor local economy. With that said, the council did not address why they enjoy cherry-picking through a list of properties every year to exempt. This is where a lot of the trouble comes from. Once property owners see their name on a list, they should have an appeals process away from the council to appeal to. But since sidewalks are mandatory in Janesville, the reason for exemption would have to be pretty darn serious. But wait! The "progressive" government of Janesville does not have a genuine appeals system. The council is it.

At Monday's meeting, Council member Bill Truman said he still wants to know the addresses involved in future sidewalk planning. For what? That's just laying the groundwork for more of the same old anger management politicking.

What needs to be done is a complete restructuring of Janesville city government and its processes. But it took them almost 90 years to create this mess. You think they have the stomach for progress? Not a chance - they like it like this.

One of the best ideas I've heard on the perennial Janesville sidewalk fiasco came from a comment at the Gazette blog.
Gazette Blog Comment:
"It's real simple. When the current home owner sells the house, side walks go in. Period. Let the new and old owners dicker over who is paying." -- Lifelonger
Great idea! The city absolutely should not allow any sidewalk-less parcels with or without a home to change ownership without setting up a sidewalk escrow account built into the sale price. No ifs, ands, or buts. click cartoon

Monday, July 12, 2010

State GOP: People Can't Have Clean Air, Clean Water And Jobs At The Same Time

Not like I really expected Wisconsin's GOP chairman, Reince Priebus, to issue an apology for his fictitious remarks about Sen. Russ Feingold. Instead, state republicans have refused to stand up with their own free market crony capitalist rhetoric and continue to whitewash their cowardice on their phony principles. They have no choice but to demagogue the other side.
Priebus' Fidgety Response To Bucyrus CEO: Excerpt
”The question we pose to Sen. Feingold isn’t whether he supports this media-friendly overturn of one bad decision in an election year, but whether he’s willing to renounce the Administration's job-killing policies and take proposals like cap-and trade off the table to give businesses like Bucyrus the tools they need to create jobs.
The question I pose to every GOP incumbent and candidate is whether they believe a business interest like Bucyrus was right to abandon private loan guarantees and apply political pressure to demand U.S taxpayers deficit spend in order to underwrite the risk of their sales contract?

If the GOP stood up with their own tea-bag pandering deficit-spending rhetoric, they would have told government-clinging Bucyrus and their employees to shove it before criticizing the Obama Administration. Notwithstanding the Ex-Im Bank or environmental concerns. Oh, the irony.

But, can workers have fresh air to breath and clean water to drink and have a job all at the same time? It's obvious if republicans regain the levers of government, Americans won't be so lucky.

About Those Deficits

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's Official: Garin Decides to Sit This One Out

Kenosha, Wisconsin , July 11, 2010 - Paulette Garin, 2008 Democratic Congressional Candidate, who had been contemplating a 2010 run in Wisconsin ’s 1st District, announced today that she is “sitting this one out.”

“First and foremost, I thank the wonderful people who have supported and encouraged me.”

Garin was informed that 1st CD Executive Board of the Democratic Party, in what she considers an 11th hour move to save face, has apparently chosen to rally around and support Board Member, John Heckenlivey, as their candidate for Congress. Through emails and phone calls, Garin learned that the Board, contrary to the long standing policy of not siding or acting on behalf of one candidate over another met Saturday, July 10, and chose to organize a last minute drive to assist Heckenlively in collecting over 1,000 signatures by the Tuesday filing deadline.

“The irony about all of this is that after over a year of conducting a search for a moneyed candidate they anoint John at the last minute who intends to run the very kind of grassroots campaign I asked them to consider all along.”

“While I am disappointed that the party took so long to embrace the idea of a grassroots campaign, the good news is they finally appear motivated to take measurable action. Still, it is impossible for me to perceive most of the leadership in a serious manner. Therefore, I am sitting this one out so that the focus of the next few months is on defeating Paul Ryan and not the dysfunctionality of the Democratic Party.”

“I wish John the best of luck.” -- Paulette Garin's press release
I couldn't agree more with Garin's decision and her exit thoughts. The state and local democratic parties surrendered to the "socialist" labels and baloney put out by Ryan and the stooge-enabling media.

With that, it will be interesting to see how far right the democratic candidate will make Ryan appear - if you know what I mean, considering anyone to left of Ryan is labeled a socialist.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Paul Ryan Promises a "Shock and Awe-sterity" Campaign

MSNBC.COM Excerpt:
Ryan, 40, would become chairman of the budget committee if Republicans win control in November and he is promising "a shock and awe campaign to go after spending." He said Republicans must not "buckle in the knees when it's time to cut spending" like they did the last time they held the majority. Ryan can focus on the national picture because he is expected to breeze to re-election.
Ryan's single-handed destruction of the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin isn't enough ...he's going after the rest of the country. Property, wages and quality of life are expected to mirror his district and will decline rapidly nation-wide.

Idiot democrats claim they can't find anyone to oppose him.

Wisconsin GOP: Whitewash, Spin, Rience, and Repeat

A week ago, Wisconsin GOP party leaders must have been licking their chops when a federal agency denied a loan guarantee application that happened to be tied to the retention of about 300 jobs at Bucyrus, a company based in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The GOP figured they had just the perfect red meat to cook up, spoil and serve to an already angered state workforce.

In fact, the politically divisive consequences potentially arising from the Bucyrus gift was looking good for republicans until their little ploy eventually collapsed around them when the Ex-Im Bank reversed their decision. They decided to go ahead and wing it anyways. Lies and all.
Wispolitics Excerpt:
Last week, while Russ Feingold was silent on the issue, hundreds of Wisconsin workers dodged a bullet when the federal government reversed a decision that would have forced Bucyrus International to scale back and slash jobs. -- Republican Party Of Wisconsin

Even Bucyrus CEO Tim Sullivan, someone who was there, couldn't stand the garbage the state GOP chairman, Rience Priebus, had thrown towards Sen. Russ Feingold. Sullivan issued a public statement.
Bucyrus Statement Excerpt:
Dear Chairman Priebus:
It has come to our attention that the Republican Party of Wisconsin has issued a statement saying that Senator Russ Feingold was silent on Bucyrus' effort to obtain U.S. Export-Import Bank approval of a loan guarantee for the sale of machinery to India. The facts do not support this assertion.
Clear as day, I'd say someone owes Russ Feingold a public apology.

Instead of direct and respectful engagement with all the parties earnestly involved to remedy the situation, state republicans used Bucyrus as a springboard to demogogue Obama administration policies in a series of campaign style statements.

As far as employing a strategy to help retain jobs are concerned - republicans definitely have one. But it's for their own.

More Observations On Bucyrus -- from Cognitive Dissidence

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Crony Capitalism Crushes The Opposition

How Crony Capitalists Pick The Winners

Wednesday's Janesville Gazette front-page headlines read, Republican star on the rise with a picture of Paul Ryan pasted in the middle.

No argument here. It's true. Even though the writer seemed puzzled and stretched a bit to find mainstream reasons for Ryan's rising star within his party, the hard truth is the republican party is a party of extremists. That's for sure. Ryan is so far right, that anybody even slightly right of center no matter how moderate or conservative could be painted as a Socialist. Heck, Ryan voted for TARP because he feared Socialism would have taken root if he hadn't. What Tea Partier could argue with that? No TARP equals socialism. Argue the point amongst yourselves! The slippery congressman has a knack for disarming nearly anyone with any lame excuse he can think of. Some have respectfully referred to his slippery-ness as "charisma."

Ryan, like Rand Paul, Ron Johnson and a host of other radicals flying under the dirty GOP banner espouse the retarded ideology of Ayn Rand. This is where they believe, among a string of other bizarre thoughts, that at least 95% of Americans are parasites leeching off of the so-called producers. They're mostly afraid that a government comprised of the people and by the people might actually be "for the people." The parasites that is, the 95 percenters. The Randers are running for public office not because they give a rat's ass for the will of the people's constitution, but because they want to protect the privileges their collective wealth policies have bought. How they have been able to leverage the few at the expense of our representative democracy is the trick. Paul Ryan not only excels at this exercise, he does it with an almost natural innocence.

Just as disheartening is when Democrats claim they need a candidate with boatloads of stupid money to defeat a premier crony capitalist like Paul Ryan. But it is a testament to the reality of just how deeply entrenched money has become in our government. That's what it comes down to in politics nowadays. So you want to run against an incumbent? Either party will endorse anyone who can BYOB (bring-your-own-bling). Just ask a sucker like Ron Johnson.

To the average citizen class, these BYOB candidates should look like one rotten egg trying to displace another. But those days of silly American idealism appear to be long gone. Even with a viable non-moneyed grassroots candidate with the right message, I fear the local democratic parties just don't have the thousand man army to work door-to-door delivery for twenty weeks for any candidate in the 1st Congressional District. Because that's what it would take to have any chance to defeat a machine politician like Ryan. Even then it would be close.

In fact, I would go as far to say that if you're a candidate who honestly wants to separate corporate influence from government, publicize that notion, and reject corporate or PAC money to support your campaign - you've absolutely positively doomed your chances for public office. This is the number one reason why Republicans expect to win big in November. They (and some democrats are on board) have successfully painted anyone who opposes the moneyed influence of corporate-state partnerships as anti-business, and since you oppose corporate-state partnerships, then you must obviously be anti-job. If you're still lucky enough to be standing after that, you'll finally be taken down as a parasite or a commie socialist. Even your family might disown you.

So, I don't blame Paulette Garin one bit when I read she hasn't committed to run against Ryan. Against all odds, corporate representatives like Paul Ryan have captured the electability market and those odds appear to be growing better. When only millionaire businessmen and ideological extremists that coddle Washington insiders and corporate interests are the only candidates deemed electable by the parties, and the media and eventually the constituency lay down, it's too late.

We're not in the process of losing our country - we've already lost it. Probably for good.


Down With Tyranny -- Why Does The DCCC Protect Paul Ryan

Republicans Want as Many Angry Unemployed People as Possible, Because They Think It Will Get Them Elected
By Dean Baker

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Nobody Rained On Janesville's Independence Day Celebration

This may sound odd, but only in Janesville the question to ask is "why not?"

Now that all of Janesville's Fourth of July celebrations are over, it should be plain to see how different the Janesville Gazette's article and editorial position was leading up to this year's community event compared to recent years.

Gone was the provocative and disparaging language in Gazette articles leading up to the event in previous years. Gone were the vicious editorial attacks by the newspaper designed to cripple the event and crush the spirit of its organizers and supporters. Gone were the unbecoming comments and nasty accusations from the organizers, of all people, of a religious organization running a competing Independence Day celebration. Gone were the newspaper's implications that the event's beer tent was serving kiddies. Gone were the scolding comments from Janesville city council members telling a struggling volunteer community service organization to get their financial act together.

In fact it was quite the opposite. This year, the Gazette bragged about developing ways the event's new organizer, the Rock Aqua Jays, can market the event and rally donations. And, at least one city council member practically tripped over himself to compensate the Aqua Jays $1,500 for the event from city taxpayer coffers.

I suppose it can be said that the Janesville Gazette finally approved of one of the city's service groups to organize the city's community Fourth of July celebration. From the newspaper's recent history, this comes as a welcome surprise. However, the stark contrast and indifference shown by the newspaper should not go unnoticed. Buying ink by the barrel should not entitle the Gazette to pick the winners and losers of the community's support.

Of course all of the negative publicity leveled against the previous hosts of Janesville's community Independence Day celebration came via the Janesville Gazette or their media affiliates. The newspaper's newly found supporting tone, editorial spin and full page ads for the Rock Aqua Jays hosting the community's Fourth of July celebration was in stark contrast to the newspaper's past performances against the Janesville Jaycees. This includes the flat if not complete absence of genuine support the newspaper had shown towards the local Odd Fellows chapter when they attempted the event last year. Neither group deserved what the Gazette dished out. They took on the responsibility when no one else stepped up, just like the Rock Aqua Jays.

The lesson to learn from the newspaper's suddenly latent bad attitude is to never forget that when someone with good intentions, passion and effort is obviously struggling to accomplish their goal and/or they lack the volunteers and marketing skills necessary to satisfy certain establishment players - that the best thing the editors could think of to help was - kick them when they were down.

Posted in Tuesday's Gazette is the newspaper's post-celebration article under the title, Rock Aqua Jays see success as Fourth of July event sponsor." The comments posted by Jenny57 are definitely worth reading. Click to see Bush deficits

Monday, July 05, 2010

Bucyrus CEO Just a Political Neophyte?

When the Export-Import Bank, an agency of the federal government with plenty of walking around money, denied a loan guarantee application for up to $600 million to a foreign power plant company - who thought there would be such a ruckus made of the decision? Lets' put it this way, if a privately-owned bank denied those loan guarantees for any reason, free market advocates would say the decision was based on detailed competitive profit/loss analysis and unreasonable risk. But when the government denies the application for any reason, politicians and their media enablers find an opening to grandstand the decision against their opponents as ideological.

Ex-Im Bank Reconsiders Indian Coal project
WSJ Excerpt:
The federal export-credit agency said Wednesday its board will reconsider a decision last week against providing loan guarantees to help finance the purchase of U.S. coal-mining equipment by Reliance Power Ltd of India.
It's important to note that the loan guarantees are to finance Reliant purchases.

Bucyrus International Inc., based in South Milwaukee, won an international competitive-bidding process to supply an estimated $600 million worth of mining equipment for this project. The problem is that Bucyrus and their Indian partner Reliant predicated their sales deal on whether U.S. taxpayers will co-sign the project's loan guarantees.
LaCrosse Tribune Excerpt:
“I don’t understand politics,” Sullivan said. “I’m just a business guy who builds machinery. I don’t care what happens, I don’t care if I’m the bad guy, all I care about is that we don’t lose these jobs.”
Doesn't understand politics? He could have fooled me.
JS Online Excerpt
Sullivan knew which political buttons to push. Yet if Obama had not been coming to Racine, it likely would have been 10 times harder to get his attention.
Anybody who could spin a debt-weary populace and politicians from both parties (among them the supposed free market debt-phobic Paul Ryan) to eagerly demand that the U.S taxpayer co-sign loan guarantees for up to $600 million for a fossil fuel project to be built in India by a non-American company just to make good on a sales deal between two firms who apparently had no need for free market underwriting, and get it done in a matter of only days - is one slick crony capitalist.

Thought for the Day ...from The Political Environment
"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." - Edward Abbey

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Lay On Ground, Light Fuse, Get Away

How many kids (and grown-ups) read that warning on a package of firecrackers or rockets and well... just completely ignore it. Rules were made to be broken I suppose. But in that vein of playful civil disobedience for many comes another backyard display of what should be harmless Fourth of July summertime fun unfortunately ending up in the emergency room or worse.

From Chicago Now, a website operated by the Chicago Tribune, is a series of youtube videos showing scenes of illegal fireworks activity in and around the city of Chicago along with some urban legend advice on how to throw a good fireworks party. Among some of the scenes in the videos are the setting off of commercial grade rockets in narrow back alleys, roman candle fights and foolish teenagers blowing off rockets literally ...out of their ass!

The video below is a sample of one of the less moronic ones as 8,500 bottle rockets are lined up in what appears to be a chainlink fence panel.

Those who know better should at least get a chuckle out of the willful shenanigans carried out by some of the folks in these videos. But I don't want to give anyone ideas here, this posting is meant to be a public service message first with some black comedy entertainment value.

Have a great Fourth of July holiday weekend. But above all else - play it safe.