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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Capitol Police Intimidate, Harass CEOs and Bankers At Public Hearing

Okay, first I apologize to all my friendly readers about the partial dishonesty in the title. It's not completely true. But in all actuality ...what difference does it make who Capitol Police are harassing?

My jaw dropped open when I saw this photo showing the heavy police presence at last week's public hearing of the Mining Committee. There obviously is no good reason to have more than one officer in the room to help ensure the safety of participants.

So from now on, when I pick up stories about everyday law-abiding citizens being intimidated or arrested by the Capitol Police for doing nothing more than the civic duty of participating in our democracy, my blog titles will identify those citizens as bankers, CEOs, business managers, venture capitalists or any other profession because ...what difference does it make!

Photo Source

Video: Jon Stewart Does The Mambo on Ryan's "Takers and Makers"

Yeah, I know this video is already a week old, but it's that damn good!

Jon Stewart strings together in a matter of six minutes what many Wisconsin political bloggers including myself have known and wrote of for years about Rep. Paul Ryan. So for me, watching this video came with a sense of satisfaction.

Stewart saved the best for last when he replayed video showing Paul Ryan recalling how he did not see himself stuck in a "victim" condition after a family tragedy and was able to use his father's SS benefits to help pay his way through college and beyond. Yet when President Obama described Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as commitments that "don't sap our initiative, they strengthen us," Ryan then claimed the president was using the "straw man" rhetorical device to win the arguments. Even today, Paul Ryan continues to frame the safety nets as nothing more than cushy hammocks lulling, "able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency."

It's also worth noting that Ryan's democratic challenger for the 1st CD, Rob Zerban, would often and accurately describe how Ryan was able to climb the ladder of success through prudent use of those safety net benefits. Yet while in Congress, Ryan continues to author and sponsor legislation that would pull the ladder up and away from everyone else.

Watch it:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Check This Out: Corp Accountability App Inspired By As Goes Janesville

If you're a regular visitor here you know my blog is corporate ad free and I don't do product reviews, but a friend sent me a link to a consumer-oriented application called BizVizz that within seconds of scanning a corporate name or logo, let's you view up-to-date little noticed information behind the business such as campaign contributions, tax rates and government subsidies. It deserves a look-see.

The iPhone App was created by 371 Productions, the folks who brought us the documentary, "As Goes Janesville." According to their Webpage, the application is in Beta right now and will be officially launched February 4th.

Watch The quick-up demo:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Is Sheriff Clarke's "Safety Message" a Walker Budget Alarm?

BND Excerpt:
With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared?” -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr.

If there is any truth to Sheriff Clarke's statement about public safety in Scott Walker's Wisconsin, he could be the canary in the mine.

And, if we could ignore much of Sheriff Clarke's long history of temper tantrums and political scapegoating, his recent so-called "safety message" sounds more like a budget problem than anything else. Sure, he fear mongered it into a gun issue and a call for vigilantism, but that's merely a very wrong solution to what is potentially a real and growing problem.

To explain I'll go back to August of 2011.

JS Online Excerpt : (Aug. 3, 2011)
The new state budget has pushed Milwaukee County more than $21  million deeper into a fiscal hole, increasing the chances that massive service cuts could be needed to fill the gap, a nonpartisan local think tank says in a report being released Wednesday.

Nearly every community has been economically wracked by Scott Walker. Remember Walker's Act 10 budget didn't take effect until he signed it into law on June 29, 2011. In order to make balance under that large of a shortfall, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele proposed to cut more than $14 million and 240 positions from the sheriff’s office. Abele's rationale for cutting the Sheriff's Department was that the office doesn’t do much. That might sound rough, but there's some truth to that.

PolitiFact Excerpt:
"For example, in 2009 the sheriff reported only 12 crimes to the FBI, compared to 41,000 for the City of Milwaukee and 3,200 for West Allis, and even 242 for the UWM Police Department." -- MKE County Executive Chris Abele

The general idea behind Abele's statement was that although the sheriff’s office runs jails, patrols freeways and provides other law enforcement services, it essentially plays the smallest role involving direct public contact of all the local police agencies operating within the same jurisdiction.

No question, Chris Abele appears to have plenty of issues on the table, but the cuts he was forced to make to the Sheriff's office under Act 10 appear to be sound. Outside of making the tough cuts nearly every Wisconsin community continues to face under Walker, the biggest problem Milwaukee County had was an additional burden no other county in the state shared - it had Scott Walker as its chief executive before he became governor. That meant most Wisconsin counties were not stripped of their flexibility to reduce costs when faced with drastic cuts due to Act 10.

JS Online Excerpt: (Aug. 3, 2011)
But that doesn't hold true for Milwaukee County, where Walker already had built about $17 million in benefit cost reductions into the 2010 and 2011 county budgets that he drew up as county executive, the policy forum says in its preview of the challenges for officials crafting the 2012 county budget.

You've heard of folks complaining about being double-taxed? Think of it in those terms for MKE County, but instead they were double-cut of their operational funds.

Remember, we're still in the year 2011 here.

JS Online Excerpt: (Nov.20,2011)
Layoffs of 61 Milwaukee County deputies - 17% of the entire force - will mean slower response times to reports of bus violence, fewer lakefront patrols in summer and fewer bailiffs for courtroom security, Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. says. The layoffs also may cut the number of deputies on freeway patrol, one of the sheriff's primary duties. And it could force more overtime, cutting into any savings the layoffs were intended to create, he said. "It's going to have a negative and adverse impact on public safety," Clarke said.

Clearly, this is a budget issue according to Clarke and to be fair, he is bringing up the safety issues that almost every law enforcement official would expect under the same circumstances.

Just for comparison, the Janesville Police Department has somewhere around 100 officers. If its police chief was forced to cut 17 officers, I would imagine their would be an immediate plea for new revenue or a warning of a serious reduction in public safety and police service. That's just the way things are. So I can't blame Clarke for his apparent concern for safety. Unfortunately for Clarke, there is a matter of his politics.

JS Online Excerpt: (Nov.20,2011)
"Every division I have is going to have to take a hit. I'm not whining about it. That's the reality." The sheriff said he would work to minimize the impact of the cut, but he criticized County Executive Chris Abele, saying he made cuts without understanding their impact. "He had no idea what he was doing," Clarke said. "That told me he didn't care."

That's where things start running off the rails. For some reason, Clarke appears willing to accept Walker's budget dictum, "that's the reality," without whining about it, but won't give Abele the same courtesy? I also found it hard to justify Clarke's thought process accusing Abele of not knowing what he is doing as the basis to assume Abele doesn't care. One doesn't qualify the other. If you believe someone don't know what they're doing, "not caring" is simply no longer part of the equation.

It does appear that Clarke is projecting his anger for Walker's budget cuts by making irrational statements against Chris Abele and anyone else who is part of the administrative chain.

Now that Walker's budget cuts have started having an effect on public safety, Clarke never took responsibility or requested a county referendum to increase revenue for the Sheriff's Department. Instead he opens up with more accusations and fear-mongering at everyone except Gov. Scott Walker.

Marquette Tribune Excerpt:
“Mayor Barrett’s furloughing of police officers, who are already losing the battle to keep up with responding to calls for service in a timely fashion and provide an effective, consistent, visible presence in neighborhoods, has clearly demonstrated how little he values them when he lumped them in with every other city employee,” Clarke said in a statement released on Sept. 28. At the news conference, Barrett and Abele called the idea an example of county-city cooperation that would result in better service at a lower cost for taxpayers. Clarke said in the statement that Milwaukee residents would not benefit from nor be harmed by the plan. “Chief Flynn yesterday indicated that his officers are already patrolling county parks, and that is correct under our mutual agreement,” Clarke said in his statement. “Maybe that is why they don’t have more time to patrol my and many other neighborhoods while burglars, drug dealers, gangs, car thieves and armed robbers are feasting on city residents.”

Sure, everyone is to blame in Clarke's political world but himself and Scott Walker.

Sheriff Clarke sounds like a irrelevant gun crazy law enforcement officer who may have picked up a handsome check from the NRA for his twisted public safety message, but he did raise the alarm for worsening public safety in Wisconsin resulting from government budget cuts. Those are his words, laid off and furloughed. Unless someone can convince me that communities, school districts, roads and law enforcement agencies are budget cutting and not asking for more revenue to make ends meet under Walker's Act 10, I consider his alarm legitimate, but not his solution.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Video: Corrupt State Government? Write a Letter To The Editor

Citizen testifying at the hearing on the state mining bill says committee is corrupted with large pay-offs from special interests and cites the proof. Their response? "You need to write a letter to the editor."

Watch it:

Facebook Source

Video: Police Harrassment In The Capitol Continues

The lady in the video appears to be doing everything the officers asked her to do. The officers apparently asked her to leave and while she complies, you can hear them saying that they appreciate the cooperation. But when she first attempts to leave the rotunda, one of the officers jumps in front to block her. This is obviously a disgusting harrassment tactic meant to stretch out the fear of the moment to intimidate peaceful law abiding citizens.

The video, originally posted in Facebook is accurately titled, "You should leave, but you can't."

Anyone contemplating visiting the State Of Wisconsin or its capitol should think twice before entering. It's visit at your own risk, at least until the people can restore a government that protects our rights instead of using them against us.


DailyKos - Wisconsin Capitol Police crackdown on post-menopausal sopranoes continues

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paul Ryan Is The Straw Man's Shadow

“Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes. So we’re going to a majority of takers versus makers in America..." -- Paul Ryan

It wasn't too long ago when Paul Ryan used to say that Social Security didn't return enough to participants and that we would be better off putting our money in the privately held capital markets. He painted us as "suckers" without ever saying it. That advice dates back to the time when Ryan was trying to make George W. Bush's scheme to privatize Social Security more attractive. But 2008 happened. Soon after and coinciding with the election of Barack Obama, he flipped directions and flopped on the demand side of Social Security. Ryan now says most folks are getting too good of a return on what they put into Social Security and then frames recipients as the "takers."

So which way do we go?

“The good news is, most people in America don’t want to be a ‘taker,’ they want to be American, they want to be a ‘maker’.” -- Paul Ryan

It's bad enough he framed the 60 percent as "takers," but then he takes them into McCarthy country by demonizing that majority (as he perceives them) as "not American."

There's no running away from that sort of talk and it certainly can't be dismissed as an urban legend.

"But we don't want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives." -- Paul Ryan

The stuff just never ends with this guy. But finally, after years of careful construction by Paul Ryan, who by the way is considered the GOP's grand architect of strawmen and scapegoats, walks in President Barack Obama with his 2013 inauguration speech. A speech that not only shook Paul Ryan's dark Atlas Shrugged ideology, but the entire conservative world to its very core.

"The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great." -- President Barack Obama

Whoa! That was dropping a bomb on Ayn Rand, but I couldn't agree more. In my view, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have always been near the very top of American exceptionalism. Paul Ryan just HAD to say something in response.

Ryan said earned entitlements such as Social Security — where you pay your payroll taxes during your working life to get a benefit when you retire — are “not taker programs."

What?? But that is simply and precisely what the President said during his inaugural address. So, why the flip-flop yet again? Of course Obama went even further when he said those programs strengthen us as a nation. Yet it was not Obama who "switched" his understanding and position on entitlements for the sake of argument, it was none other than Paul Ryan.

Politico Excerpt:
“When the president does kind of a switcheroo like that, what he’s trying to say is that we are maligning these programs that people have earned throughout their working lives,” he said. “So it’s kind of a convenient twist of terms to try and shadowbox a straw man in order to win an argument by default.”

Obama is not alone in this. We are all jousting with the shadows of straw men when dealing with Paul Ryan. There is no way the congressman could possibly think Americans are stupid enough to believe his response in the face of all the evidence. The only logical conclusion here is Ryan has some serious, serious issues upstairs, if you know what I mean.


Political Environment - The Sky Fell Yesterday On The Conservative World

Mother Jones - Paul Ryan Changes His Story on "Makers and Takers"

New York Mag - Paul Ryan Sad That Obama Quoted Ryan Correctly (Jonathan Chait)

DailyKos - Here's why Paul Ryan is the perfect guy to deliver the GOP rebuttal to the president's inaugural.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Video: MLK Award Recipient Explains King's Values

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Margaret Rozga, the widow of civil rights leader Father James Groppi, delivered a powerful speech in Madison after receiving the 2013 Martin Luther King Heritage Award on behalf of her late husband. During the speech, she reminded everyone that the struggle is not over and those attacking union rights, free speech, voter's rights and our natural resources today are NOT acting in the tradition of King's values.

Her speech was well received, but some folks were angered that Dr. Rozga was criticizing Gov. Scott Walker who was sitting in the front row near the podium. Now, what did she say that would give anyone that idea?

Video via CapTimes. Watch It:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Four Years Ago Today, Paul Ryan And GOP Cabal Plotted To Undermine Country

Four years ago on Barack Obama's first inauguration, Rep. Paul Ryan and a dozen GOP operatives were ...

Rock Netroots Excerpt:
...plotting to use the power of their office to deliberately undermine the country, the office of the President of the United States, and target members of the Democratic party for political gain. The revelation is that Obama, beginning with the very first day of his presidency, never had a chance to succeed with Republicans in Congress determined to see him fail.

Four years later, instead of facing charges of treason, Paul Ryan heard a chorus of boos as he left the building to attend President Barack Obama's second inauguration ceremony.

It was also reported he was singing a very different tune today, or so it seems.

Weekly Standard Excerpt:
"I congratulate President Obama on his inauguration, and I join the country in celebrating this American tradition.

"The president and I were political opponents. We had strong disagreements over the direction of the country—as we still do now. But today, we put those disagreements aside. Today, we remember what we share in common. -- Paul Ryan

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Oh The Joy! All The Gun Nuts Were Out Appreciating


Political Environment - Gun Show Shootings Pile Up On Appreciation Day

Democurmugeon - Guns before First Graders!!! Capitol Gun Rally removes "Responsible" from "...Gun Owners." - w/news video clip

Cognitive Dissidence - Happy Gun Appreciation Day! - Links/videos

Friday, January 18, 2013

Appeals Court Throws out Constitution, Defends Government Discrimination

XIV Amendment - Section 1.
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Channel 3000 Excerpt:
The ruling stated that Act 10’s prohibition on payroll dues deduction does not violate the First Amendment.

The ruling states, "Nothing supports treating the selective prohibition of payroll deductions as a burden on or obstacle to the speech of general employee unions. Instead, Act 10 simply subsidizes the speech of one group, while refraining from doing so for another."

Government subsidizing the speech of one group vs another = discrimination. Selective prohibition = discrimination = undue burden. I can't imagine what they were thinking. But wait, it gets even better, or worse depending on your politics...

Full Ruling Excerpt:
As I said at the outset, elections have consequences.

Sure elections have consequences, but on rulings?

Full Ruling Excerpt:
"The United States Constitution does not forbid all legislation that rewards friends and punishes opponents."

It's a really bad day for justice.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Video: Capitol Police Go After Veterans At Sing-Along

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak for me.

-- Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

In the video below published Jan.17, 2013, Capitol Police question two citizens on the balcony inside the Capitol before placing them under arrest. Watch it:

Here's a second video from same event.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wisconsin Is Walker's State Of Decline

Excerpt From CapTimes Editorial:

Walker has no new ideas, just old proposals for despoiling the environment, gutting public services and establishing “voucher” programs to stream public money into the coffers of the education hucksters who fund his campaigns.

The other part of the explanation for the weakening of the state's economic outlook under Walker can be summed up in a word: "chaos." The governor and his allies have attacked collective bargaining agreements, passed laws without respect for the state or federal constitutions, and undercut funding of vital state and local public services and public education. This has caused deep divisions in communities across the state, wrangling on city councils, village boards, town boards and school boards, and myriad court battles. Read more>>>

That's only the tip of the iceberg.

Ask yourselves: How has Walker been able to increase HIS budget spending AND offer an income tax cut at the same time while nearly every Wisconsin community and school district is looking to make either deep cuts or for new tax revenue?

Walker has cut $1.6B from education, pulled hundreds of millions in compensation from the pockets of public workers, shifted millions more away from local roads, AND HOW have most communities responded? With new or increased fees and referendums to increase local taxes. That's how! This way, it was the locals who made the painful choice to increase taxes to maintain schools, city services and roads, not Scott Walker. By doing so, we continue to make him and his backward ideas look good while he offers tax cuts because of sacrifices and decisions he NEVER made.

His supporters will insist, “See, our great governor was able to cut billions from schools and public employees and nothing changed. He rooted out waste and balanced the state budget without raising taxes and the sky did not fall! He's the one who made the difficult choices!!”

THAT my friends has been the formula for much of his political success and I think he banks on our natural tendency to prevent the local decline his system would otherwise bring. He dares us to not be as careless and irresponsible as he is, and he's winning.

In a blog convo, the Democurmugeon pointed out that this system is nothing new, he said "it's the same trick he used as county executive, relying on the county board to increase taxes overriding his cuts."

Personally, I think it's time for Wisconsin communities to stop paying for Walker's shortfalls and start showing the world the physical damage his governship really brings. That might sound like we're playing into his hands, but he has been winning the narrative by us working to keep our standards. I know it sounds contrary if not crazy, but local governments should stop the wrangling and budget only with the revenue Walker has deemed necessary through his cuts in state aid. That's his Wisconsin and we deserve to see what it looks like before the election of 2014. Trust me, if done right, Walker's Wisconsin won't be pretty.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sly Finds A Mic At WEKZ-FM In Monroe

Well THIS is good news.

Uppity Wisconsin Excerpt:
Starting February 4, Sly will be back on the air at WEKZ from 3:00-6:30 PM every day in a show that is going to be called, "Drive Home with Sly."

As you can see by the map, Sly's new power amp will blanket a fairly large area that includes Janesville, all of Rock County and about half of Walworth. That's 93.7 on your FM dial “Big Oldies” WEKZ out of Monroe.


Blue Cheddar - John “Sly” Sylvester to broadcast from Monroe, Wisconsin’s WEKZ

Monday, January 14, 2013

Walker Pads Big Business Profits Through Our Energy Bills

Under orders from Gov. Scott Walker, big businesses in Wisconsin will be getting substantial rate breaks on their energy bills at the expense of small businesses and homeowners. This latest report on favored rate adjustments for the state's largest energy users comes on top of huge discounts Walker and state republicans freely handed out back in 2011.

According to the story, state regulators said it is "by design" that they made sure large businesses received smaller increases in increased energy rates than homeowners. Two members of the three-person Public Service Commission (PSC) are Walker appointees.

JS Online Excerpt:
In rate cases finalized last month involving utilities in Milwaukee, Madison and Eau Claire, large manufacturers received smaller percentage increases than homeowners and other businesses. For example, We Energies was granted an overall electricity rate increase of 4.2% for 2013, but large companies got only a 3% boost while homeowners and small businesses got rate increases of at least 5%.

By the end of this year, those companies benefitting from all state imposed rate caps and political discounts will have their profits padded by at least $68 million.

The bottom line is, Scott Walker is picking winners and losers by using government power to intervene and discriminate free market prices between different customers. Small businesses and homeowners are being punished by paying more, not because we're getting more but so big business, many of them heavily vested paying capital dividends to investors - can pay less for the same goods and services. This in turn also gives big business added cost advantages against their smaller competitors. So, if you find yourself with a little less money in your pockets to pay the bills - no worry, Walker has made sure whatever we lost has gone to a good home.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Video: Vinehout Explains Health Care Exchanges and The Mining Situation

Straight-talking Senator Kathleen Vinehout delivers the goods in Janesville with her presentation about the advantages of state-run health care exchanges. Vinehout also has high praise for Janesville's Sen. Tim Cullen for his position and work on the controversial mining legislation.

Watch It:

Part 2 covers the mining bill. Watch it here.

H/T: Vicki Solomon-McClain

Friday, January 11, 2013

Paul Ryan Fiddles Politics While Americans Suffer

Hey folks, we better start praying for an end to all hurricanes, blizzards, floods, earthquakes and droughts because if Rep. Paul Ryan gets his way, we may have to give up our constitutional government to pay for any future disaster aid. At least that's what it seems what he wants.

Ryan recently voted against providing federal flood disaster insurance for victims of Hurricane Sandy and once again his statements following his vote contradicts some of what he said while on the Romney campaign trail, which by the way contradicts much of his congressional voting record for the past 14 years.

NY Magazine Excerpt:
At the political level, Ryan’s notion of responsibility beggars belief. Under the Bush administration, Republicans — with Ryan’s support and often active leadership — systematically destroyed the fiscal position of the federal government. They voted for large tax cuts, a new entitlement, wars, and twice repealed pay-as-you-go budget rules that would have required them to pay for all these things. As a result, when Obama took office at the outset of the economic crisis, he inherited an annual deficit of well over a trillion dollars.

We also know Ryan comes from the mindset that tax cuts for the wealthy and bailing out Wall Street did not need to be paid for either. But when American workers are struck by sudden unemployment or communities by natural disasters, Ryan leads the way holding them hostage for new demands on Democrats. This latest twist against Sandy relief comes after Ryan "courageously" voted with Democrats on what he admitted was the better alternative on the faux cliff crisis. He now seems like he has to take revenge for that "pragmatic" vote by shooting the next hostage, much to the applause of the Tea Party.

In the video below, Jon Stewart calls out Ryan about his statement for voting against the flood insurance bill. Ryan said, "Unfortunately, Washington’s legislative response fails on both counts. It refuses to distinguish — or even prioritize — disaster relief over pork-barrel spending." That's just wild. The bill Ryan voted against along with 66 other House Republicans was precisely the opposite of that - it was a stand alone authorization to add $9.7B to Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance programs. It contained no pork. It was simply a program recapitalization bill - not a itemized spending bill. So in Washington, which by the way he plays a large role in PREVENTING congressional legislative response - you get n-o-t-h-i-n-g in assistance if Ryan wants to politicize the program or thinks it needs reform. Watch it:

But Ryan's full statement on national disaster relief doesn't end there. His hometown newspaper held an interview with Ryan after the flood insurance House vote and they reported ...

JG Excerpt:
On other topics, Ryan said:
-- He would vote for Superstorm Sandy relief measures, but some of that spending must be paid for with spending cuts elsewhere.

So it appears to come down to three basic principles being promoted by Paul Ryan and the callous conservatives on funding government: 1.) Any emergency spending for natural disasters or economic hardship (Unemployment Comp, Welfare Assistance) will not be paid for with new revenue, but instead must be offset with arbitrary cuts elsewhere - CutGo 2.) Raising of the debt ceiling to pay the bills, which used be as routine as brushing teeth, will now be held hostage in exchange for favored tax cuts, sweeping tax reform or cuts to programs. 3.) Existing Federal assistance programs are automatically null and void until they are reformed.

In essence, Paul Ryan sees victims of natural disasters as victims of government circumstances despite playing a leading role in Washington’s legislative failures in destabilizing the response programs he now deems beyond his control. His expected vote against the flood insurance bill was an easy call and fits the mission of his "Atlas Shrugged" ideology. His vote on the fiscal cliff deal also fulfilled his small government ideology since the alternative was tax increases across the board, but the difference was it came at a political cost from various factions of his support base when he voted with the other side. That "image loss" for Ryan needed to be quickly reconciled, so the Sandy flood vote became a convenient offset that also fulfills a pecking order of political results calculated for the strict advancement of his career - not the country.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Vinehout: Janesville Forum On Health Care Exchanges

The Rock County Progressives present...

Forum: Sen. Vinehout on Wisconsin's Healthcare Exchange

Speaker: Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator (31st District), Dairy Farmer, College Professor

Wednesday, January 9, 6 PM-7:45 PM

6 PM-6:30 PM cheese & cracker reception (nonalcoholic potluck)
6:30 PM- 7:45 PM, speakers & discussion
Basics Food Cooperative, 1711 Lodge Dr, Janesville, Wisconsin

Directions: from Madison route 90 until 1st Janesville exit, south on Route 26 past route 14, look for Toys R Us on the right, right on Lodge Drive, on right across from Toys R Us., also on Facebook

Monday, January 07, 2013

It Might Come Down To The Tea Party Or Paul Ryan, But Not Together

There has been much speculation, split in opposing directions I must add, about the future political prospects of Rep. Paul Ryan after he voted against the Tea Party position on the fiscal cliff deal. Ryan has not only voted to "ram through a massive tax hike bill with little to no spending cuts in the dead of night" to put it in the Tea Party's exact words, but he rubbed dirt in their faces by claiming the alternative - which by the way was the tea party’s position - was much worse than voting for the senate-brokered deal that passed.

Again, some think Ryan's cliff deal position has raised his stature with the American public.

The Week Excerpt:
Unlike another Tea Party rock star, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan can claim serious legislative achievements and boast that he has put forth by far the most detailed plan of attack for addressing the deficit not just in the party, but in Washington. Indeed, not even the president has come even close to laying out his vision in anywhere near the detail that Ryan has. Furthermore, Ryan's plan is so conservative that most GOP leaders avoided directly endorsing it for fear that they would be attacked for being extremists of the right. Thus conservative media powerhouse Eric Erickson was very wrong when he tweeted yesterday: "Thus ends the Paul Ryan 2016 Presidential Exploratory Committee." The exact opposite is true: So begins Ryan's move toward 2016. Ryan was already a credible conservative thinker. Now he can fend off claims that he is not pragmatic. Indeed, his words Tuesday sounded positively presidential.

THAT is a very possible scenario.

Of course it depends on how well informed American voters remain over the next several years. That includes the Tea Party because if politicians like Rubio who stand with and vote for tea party principles are viewed by the general public as weak and pandering to their cause – they are finished. But only the Tea party can allow that to happen by letting others exploit that distinction. Conversely, if the Tea Party continues to turn a blind eye and support politicians like Paul Ryan who has at the same time successfully made it look courageous and pragmatic to oppose them, the Tea Party will look weak and die a slow unnoticed death on the vine. I'm not complaining mind you. But with only two opposing choices available, only one can appear courageous and pragmatic.

Also, everything Paul Ryan does, EVERYTHING, is done by design to advance his career. Nothing else matters. Ever. Not country, not party, not principle and certainly not the Tea Party. Lastly, the construct that Ryan's vote on the fiscal cliff deal has recast him as courageous and pragmatic is nothing new either. This meme has been used over and over again in his defense with his votes on TARP, the auto bail-out and the first stimulus.

Believe it or not, the "courageous and pragmatic" meme would have been used had Ryan voted "nay" on the cliff deal. It's Ryan's defensive meme for nearly all backlash and he doesn't care who sits on the other side of the damage. It's for his benefit only. Just the same, it will be up to the Tea Party whether they continue to support someone who consistently votes against their positions and is by any other definition - their number one interloping villain.

Friday, January 04, 2013

If The House GOP Has a Mandate, It's time to Show It

Remember all the talk from House Republicans on Tuesday during the "fiscal cliff" fiasco how they were going to insert spending cut amendments into the budget bill and return it back to the Senate? What happened? The GOP is supposed to be the party of spending cuts, remember? So let's have it. Where's the list?

But before we see that list, Congress must remove funded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare from any future spending cuts since they're both funded through dedicated payroll tax mechanisms.

Also, don't forget how Rep. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney twisted Obama's $716 billion in Medicare cost savings into a "cuts" narrative during their campaign. They went so far as to claim they'd restore the $716B in revenue to save the program. Romney is gone, but we should at least keep Ryan to that promise knowing that he's for new revenue, not cuts, to those programs. Right?

Also, let's not forget that President Obama stuck his neck out when he asked for tax increases. That was his part of the bargain. Holy bejesus balooba! How many politicians can campaign on tax increases and win an election? Tax increases are listed at the top of the category "Don't Do" under Campaign 101 when running for public office. But Obama did and won.

Granted, this is a serious time in our history where people expect balanced solutions to our budget deficits and we won't likely see the revenue increases necessary to pay the bills in full. But there's plenty of negotiating room left to start closing dozens of corporate and high-end tax loopholes in trade for some unfunded liability spending cuts - if that was the objective. Republicans however are now implying that Obama's revenue raising drive is finished and he must now "lead" on spending cuts to bring down deficits. Thinking ways to raise revenue as being officially over is wishful thinking on their part, but also a bunch of baloney.

So now we have a republican majority in the House who insist they have a mandate. OK. But in order to believe they have a mandate, you'd have to believe first that the American people elect candidates to the House of Representatives as part of a collective conscious effort to create a House party majority. The truth is, we don't. There is no House majority choice or "mandate" listed on the ballot and I personally don't believe individual republicans or democrats are elected to Congress as part of a broader mandate strategy. But, but if House republicans think they have a mandate, who is anyone to argue otherwise? But what is it? Is it tax increases? Noooo, that was Obama's. Is it to take the country to war? I hope not. Was it to repeal Obamacare? Some were elected on that, but that's by mistake, not a mandate.

The undeniable fact is, Republicans have been campaigning on cutting spending for the past 20 years. If Republicans have any purpose to their miserable conniving existence today, if they think they have a mandate, it is the idea that some voters still believe they represent some fuzzy spending cut side to a balanced solution. If so, it's time to step up and show your mandate.

Unfortunately, when it most counted in the very last hour of their own fabricated fiscal cliff crisis, they refused to show us the spending cuts. They threatened us with them, but they didn't show. Instead, House republicans who voted with the Obama Senate deal said they did so because the alternative was much worse.

Let's look at that for a moment. That feared "alternative" of course was supported by nearly 2/3 of the House GOP majority when they voted "no" on the senate deal. Truth be known, that much worse alternative they spoke about WAS the House GOP's mandate since it was supported by the majority of the majority! Got that? But their so-called mandate was defeated in Congress!

If anything, this exercise proved that it's congress that carries the mandate, not a majority party, to serve as a branch of government. As ugly as the process seemed, I'd rather have what transpired than single-party rule anytime. Congress isn't dysfunctional because its divided. It's because we have fiscal frauds and rigid ideologues where there should be none.

Let's not forget however that two members of Congress from Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Paul Ryan, continue to be among the most vocal about the government's so-called spending problem and use ideological calculations in their math. Both of them voted for Obama's better alternative, yet politicize the outcome as a failure of presidential leadership. Oh really. So, if anyone has an obligation to show us exactly what they mean by spending cuts and by the House GOP mandate, it's these two.

Gentlemen. Please proceed.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Talk To Primary Paul Ryan Erupts After Cliff Vote

I fully expected Paul Ryan to vote 'NO' on the Senate's fiscal cliff deal, BUT only providing that he knew the bill would pass anyways. I felt that there was no way he would want to have his name attached to the federal default if it came down to a close vote, but that more GOP support would allow him to co-opt Tea Party favors by voting "no." He proved me only half-right, but my hunch wrong when he voted in favor of the Senate deal even with better than expected GOP support.

But his "YES" vote shouldn't surprise conservatives who check it against his congressional voting record (TARP, GM bailout, 1st stimulus, etc.) and Ryan has always had the knack to convince his mesmerized sheeple base to stick with him despite consistently voting against long-revered conservative principles.

Even before the vote took place, it was reported that Ryan seemed carelessly detached from the event of the day.

Politicus USA Excerpt:
Dave Weigel described defeated Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan appearing after a House meeting with his iPod ear piece in place, refusing to answer any questions, later telling reporters that he just wanted to get the score. Weigel said they wondered what he meant, since the CBO had already scored the deal. No, not the very serious budget score, silly reporters. The Rose Bowl. This is your top Republican policy wonk.

After the vote, Ryan gave this response...

From CNN's Dan Merica: Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman who voted yes on the fiscal cliff deal, told reporters he cast his vote because, "If you want a bill to pass, you should vote for it."

Why did you want it to pass, he was asked. "I am not afraid of anything, I think it needed to pass."

Because? "Because it needed to pass. I wanted to stop a big tax increase," he said.

Ahhhh. I wanted to stop a big tax increase. THAT'S a Good One. In obvious damage control mode, Ryan's most ardent supporters are now calling him "courageous," and get this ... for voting with the marxists! Where have we heard THAT one before?

Still, I wasn't the only one caught by surprise. The entire "new" conservative movement went off the rails soon after hearing about Ryan's cliff vote. Here's just a small sampling...but bring out the popcorn first.

Joe Scarborough: GOP Blew It On Fiscal Cliff Deal. (Video) Paul Ryan is responsible for $11 Trillion in national debt!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Top Ten Stories of 2012

The stories posted below made the Rock Netroots top ten most popular for the year 2012 based on the number of page visits.

Paul Ryan's candidacy for vice-president posed a slight problem in defining the most often read of the year since many older stories about Ryan published from 2006 through 2011 exploded in readership in August and September after Mitt Romney chose him for VP. So, several older Ryan stories easily surpassed the 2012 stories when counting current page views. However, since they were not published in 2012 they are NOT included in 2012's top ten.

Just missing the cut for the top ten of the year but worthy of mention are ... Janesville Legislator Tells Union-Busting Redstate Groups, He's The "Tool", Apparent Suicide Attempt Outside Paul Ryan's Janesville Office, Letter: Former Janesville GM Workers Speak Out On Paul Ryan, Janesville Gazette Admits Cover-ups Are a Courtesy In Exchange For Access and Despite Paul Ryan, Janesville's Turnaround Sparked By Government

10. Nov. 19, 2012 - After 160 Years Of Republican Publishing, Isn't It Time For a Change?

9. June 19, 2012 - Nuns On The Bus Receive Rock Star Welcome

8. Oct. 16, 2012 - Walker Borrows $558M, Keeps $342M, Calls It a Surplus

7. Aug. 12, 2012 - Paul Ryan Used Insider Information To Avoid 2008 Crash

6. Nov. 9, 2012 - Hometown Shocker For The Pride of Janesville

5. May 11, 2012 - Deception: Hendricks Funds Walker's Divide and Conquer Strategy

4. Aug. 13, 2012 - Janesville Is Not Paul Ryan's Kind Of Town

3. Jan. 14, 2012 - Prohibiting Employees from Signing petitions Should Be a Crime

2. Oct. 22, 2012 Things Paul Ryan Would Like Locals To Forget

And ...the number one Rock Netroots story from the year 2012 is ...drumroll please ...

Epic Fail: Rock County 5.0 and Allies Betray Themselves and Community published on May 14, 2012.