Monday, July 21, 2014

Federal Judge Rules Dumb Ron Johnson...Dumb, over ObamaCare Lawsuit.

It was a ridiculous lawsuit, but Dumb Ron Johnson had time on his side to get as much traction out of his ObamaCare attack as he possibly could, and he got it. Tea party low information voters were impressed with Johnson's suit and challenge to the imperial president.

Wisconsin's political Embarrassment: The Federal Judge pretty much laughed in Dumb Ron Johnson's face:
A federal judge Monday dismissed U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson's suit over an Obama administration ruling on the Affordable Care Act, finding he had failed to demonstrate any true harm he faced from the decision. 
In what is the dumbest reason yet to impress the judge:
WisPolitics: Johnson argued the ruling hurts his reputation with his constituents by requiring him to participate in an "illegal" scheme, Judge William Griesbach ruled Johnson and his aide lacked standing to file the suit, finding much of the injuries the lawmaker claimed were speculative. 
Illegal Scheme? Who said? The judges statement could also be applied party wide:
The judge also rejected Johnson's argument that he was being required to participate in something he found illegal. Griesbach noted no court had yet found the administration's rule illegal and the provision does not require any member of Congress to act. Simply believing the provision is illegal was not "enough to create standing because that would open the door to any uninjured party who had a generalized grievance with a government regulation. Under such an approach, there would be no principled limit on standing because a plaintiff need only allege a belief that the challenged regulation is illegal," the judge wrote. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Corporate Welfare State: Taxpayers now on the hook for Job Training, while state pushes importing cheaper "Skills Gap" labor!

Taxpayers are now on the hook, subsidizing private business so they can train workers to fill the “skills gap.” But wait, the “skills gap” is a myth, created by business to keep wages low and import temporary foreign workers. If taxpayers really want to cuts government spending, try cutting this area of corporate welfare first.

Institutionalized Corporate Welfare: Even worse, Scott Walker has now officially institutionalized corporate welfare with taxpayer subsidized job training. It’s all a noble cause, and I feel lousy coming out against this...

…but business created the “skills gap” to import cheap labor, lower wages, and get taxpayers to foot the bill…or at least pay for part of the bill. As so many economists have stated, if there’s a shortage of workers, wages would have gone up. That didn't happen.

Walker’s WEDC gift of taxpayer money to job train is just the beginning:  
jsonline: (It’s an) initiative to train welders in four areas of the state … being funded by the state and the welding industry. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has committed $400,000 to fund the customized technical skill development for the first year, with $100,000 going to each of the four regional sites … In addition, Illinois Tools Works Inc. — the parent company of Miller — is providing $400,000 in matching funds. The American Welding Society has committed $200,000.
Appearing on WPT's Here and Now, the President of the Wisconsin Technology Council Tom Still made a few amazing statements. Not only did he defend importing cheap foreign labor to fill that mythical "skills gap," but he also bragged those same workers have a "propensity" to start their own businesses. If we lag in jobs created, Still said, it's because we don't have enough foreign workers in Wisconsin. Would I kid you?

The official sounding “Sullivan Report” Tom Still mentions above is all CEO bluster pushing the “skills gap” myth. Here’s a sample of "Sullivan's" recommendations, including importing temp workers and institutionalizing corporate welfare:
The report by former Bucyrus International Chairman Tim Sullivan offers a series of recommendations to fill that gap … The skills gap "is hurting economic competitiveness in Wisconsin," Sullivan said. Giving the state Department of Workforce Development responsibility for coordinating job training programs … expanding funding for part-time technical college students to keep them enrolled while increasing tuition for technical college students who already have four-year degrees … and welcoming legal immigrants to the state. 
I found the comment below, to the story above, the appropriate less profane response:
Ace Rothstein: If I were to go knocking on doors on Lake Drive how many welders do you think I would come across? Yeah, its a wage problem. If you need more welders then start paying them more. Don't whine to the governor. Don't whine to the Jounal-Sentinel. Bust out your checkbook or go out of business.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Democrat Mary Burke goes after Big Government Republican policies. Wants a return to Local Government Control.

What is rarely debated is now getting traction by the Mary Burke campaign, and couldn't be more surprised.

Republicans are often heard talking about downsizing government. What they intentionally left out, before the word government, is "liberal." They're all about BIG government conservatism.

Under Scott Walker, local control went out the window. It could have been worse too, had it not been for the overreach written into some bills that even a few Republicans couldn't sign on to. WSJ:
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke pushed back Friday against state laws that strip away local decision-making, suggesting such provisions should be eliminated from future state budgets … in a 27-page document laying out her position on rural issues.
“We have laws on the books that prevent local governments from providing needed services to their citizens, in order to protect the interests of big business … one potential solution may be to prohibit use of the state budget as a vehicle for new laws that would strip existing authority from local governments.”
Since 2011, Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers have wrested from local governments control of cellphone tower siting, shoreland zoning restrictions, landlord-tenant regulations, public employee residency requirements, family medical leave rules for private companies and large soft drink bans, among other things. Other proposals, such as limiting a local government’s ability to regulate frac sand mining, didn’t pass.
The Republican response made my list of Humpty Dumptyisms:
Republican leaders have defended the measures as striking the right balance between protecting local control and taxpayers…
…by taking it away? The frightening thing is, they really don’t see a problem, as exemplified by this Walker campaign statement:
Walker campaign spokeswoman Alleigh Marre responded that the governor “has taken significant action over the last three-and-a-half years to support and strengthen Wisconsin’s rural communities.”
Then what about the Burke list of proposed changes giving control back to local governments? Did she just make it up? Yikes. I also like Burke's push for community internet services:
Burke also laid out proposals for expanding broadband Internet access, such as repealing a 2003 law that restricts municipalities from providing high-speed Internet service.

Walker was for Common Core, before he was Against It!!!

Scott Walker may regret he ever brought it up: Repealing Common Core.

First off, if you want to know what's happening in our public schools, check out WisSoapBox. It was there I found out Walker didn't just supported Common Core, he put it in writing (in red below).

Think about it: When Scott Walker announced he wanted to repeal the Common Core standards, he was essentially turning our educational system over to those low information, conspiracy laden tea party voters who have a penchant for misspelling the simplest protest signs. That's Scott Walker:
Whoopsie-doodle... Governor Walker stepped in it.
jsonline: Walker's statement calling for dumping Common Core comes after he has worked with the state DPI for the past several years on education reform issues that all hinge on successful implementation of the standards.
But, but what?! Oh, so Gov. Walker was for it before he was against it? (Oh 2004 Kerry campaign.) Seriously, if anyone wanted to know why he wasn't saying much about Common Core before now, this is why - He actually worked with them and utilized them in a lot of what he did with respect to school accountability.
In his 2011-'13 budget veto message to the Assembly, Walker wrote that his budget supported greater accountability and performance in K-12 education by "investing $15 million in the development of a statewide student information system and requiring the Department of Public Instruction to implement new pupil assessment based on mastery of Common Core Standards by 2014-15."
Will Mary Burke or the media run with this? 

GOP tantrum over phony IRS Scandal seeks to help tax dodgers by using programs for seniors.

The supposed IRS scandal targeting both liberal and conservative groups seeking tax exempt status for essentially helping candidates advertise and reach voters, has allowed Republicans a way to encourage tax dodging and defunding the much hated IRS. That in turn starves government of its much needed revenue stream. 

It’s so easy to tear things down, isn't it? When it’s your own country…well, that’s saying a lot.

Wisconsin’s House Republicans want to do just that, by cutting the IRS budget by 3%. But that’s not the ugly and devious part: They want to help tax dodgers by taking those IRS fund programs for seniors. You can’t make this stuff up. Roll Call:
IRS Enforcement Cuts: The House voted to shift $10 million from Internal Revenue Service enforcement activities to programs that help seniors and other taxpayers. Overall, the bill cuts enforcement spending by 25 percent, from 2014 in response to the agency’s targeting of certain conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. A yes vote was to reduce the IRS budget for catching tax cheats.
Voting yes, and pitting seniors against catching tax dodgers (I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this one): Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble. Who comes up with this stuff?

Voting an obvious no, Mark Pocan, Ron Kind and Gwen Moore. Sadly, it's important votes like this that don't get any media attention. Party differences are dramatic. 

Not able to Lower Corporate Taxes, GOP tantrum seeks to expand off shore tax havens for Business.

At first I thought, “Why would Democrats vote against a tax deduction for corporations who donate food to charities?”

Here’s why: Rep.’s Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble, angry they can’t reduce corporate tax rates, want corporations to reincorporate overseas to avoid paying taxes. You read that right. 

Nice strategy, don’t you think. Of course that only increases our deficit by reducing revenues even at current spending levels. Ever get the feeling the GOP wants to make things worse? Now you know they do. Roll Call:
Corporate Tax Avoidance: The House defeated a bid by Democrats to deny benefits under HR 4719 (Charitable Deductions, National Debt bill) to businesses that reincorporate overseas to avoid U.S. taxation, a process known as “inversion” that is becoming increasingly prevalent.
Voting to discourage corporate tax dodging through “inversion,” were Democrats Mark Pocan, Ron Kind and Gwen Moore.

Voting to allow corporations to off shore their profits to avoid paying their fair share of taxes? Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy and Ribble. Way to go guys, one way or another you'll bring this country down to its knees. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Walker's Negative jobs numbers make 4 of first 6 months in 2014!!!

Finally, a Scott Walker jobs breakdown showing negative numbers for May and June. Cap Times:
Wisconsin experienced a second straight month of private-sector job losses in June, meaning the state has seen negative job growth in four of the first six months of the year.

The losses, according to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, largely … have overcome the downturns for a net total of 8,500 jobs added in the first half of 2014.

In June, Wisconsin lost 1,200 private-sector jobs, with seven of 10 industry sectors experiencing negative growth over May. The state also had seasonally adjusted monthly job losses in January (200), February (5,300) and May (900). It posted gains of 7,300 jobs in March and 8,800 in April.
Here's the interactive graph for future reference: 

Mary Burke ad takes on Business Bashing Gov. Walker, who has his own big Off Shoring Problem.

Here's the latest ad and response to our business bashing governor, Scott Walker, the guy who says he's open for businesses...willing to pay into his campaign chest. The "fairy tale" Walker told about off shored jobs at Trek ran into the wall of reality with the revelation WEDC Chairman Walker off shored business himself:
WKOW News: At least two companies that received financial awards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) later outsourced jobs to foreign countries, with one of those companies receiving a second WEDC award after the fact.
Here's Mary Burke's ad:

WKOW's Greg Neumann detailed Walker's problem with Trek, and how he pulled the company from a WEDC ad campaign that touted Trek as one of five world class companies. Petty and small:

Common Core not a Law that can be Repealed, and some Republicans oppose Walker's election year antic.

In the following WKOW Greg Neumann report, our gallivanting governor and out-of-state billionaire favorite Gov. Scott Walker had the audacity to say this:
"I don't like the idea somebody from out of the state setting out standards."
And Walker's out-of-state campaign contributors meddling in out local county and school board elections? Who's in control? Common Core standards leaves local control in place, and he damn well knows it. And repeal would mean work, and Republicans have no intention of earning a paycheck now, says Sen. Scott Fitzgerald:
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitgerald (R-Juneau), expressed caution Friday. "While there may be some support next session for repealing the current standards, developing the new standards that satisfy everyone's concerns will be much more difficult, especially with a superintendent of public instruction that adamantly opposes making any changes."

So what's all this talk about "standards set by people in Wisconsin.” What does it mean? What idea is frantically waiting in the wings that is so much better? At least one Republicans, not siding with the right wing authoritarians, has decided to tell the truth about their intentions. WSJ:
The Republican leader of the Assembly’s education committee Rep. Steve Kestell: “It’s election time and politicians’ No. 1 worry at election time is knocking down anything that might cost them a vote here and there.”

This Common Core issue is controversial, because the controversy has been created. It’s really a manufactured controversy if I’ve ever seen one, but it’s there nonetheless and politicians go crazy with fear if there is something they don’t understand and can’t respond to easily, so the easy way to respond at this point is to say we’re just going to get rid of it. No one has made a valid argument for (abandoning Common Core) based on rationale thought. That just hasn’t been done. There’s been a lot of rhetoric, there’s been a lot of hyperbole. Maybe the best thing to do is to get it out of the way and move on because people have become obsessed with it. And what it’ll amount to is renaming it and calling it something else.”

Kestell said he expects a bill to repeal Common Core will be successful, but only if it did not give authority to the Legislature to approve or turn down standards, like the previous bill did. He said it will be tough to find qualified experts to participate in drafting new standards based on how the issue has been “mishandled.”“Credible people are going to be very wary about getting involved in a phony process.”
Before you get to depressed, Superintendent Tony Evers had this calming reassurance:
State Superintendent Tony Evers said he believed most districts would carry on with Common Core, despite the governor's comments. "The superintendents in this state get it and the teachers in this state get it," Evers said. "They control this issue. The governor doesn't. The Legislature doesn't. They do. They just need to continue on."
But Kestell is not the lone Republican telling the truth. Sen. Luther Olsen said Common Core isn't anything that can be "repealed:"
Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a vocal supporter of the standards, said there's actually nothing to "repeal" with Common Core. That's because the standards are not codified in state law ... "I think you're going to see districts stay the course on the path they're on, regardless of what's happening in Madison," Olsen said.

School districts can still use whatever curriculum they want. They could even adopt their own standards, but they will be tested on Common Core-aligned goals via the new state test. Wisconsin is expected to spend $23 million in state and federal money this fiscal year on testing associated with the Common Core, according to a memo last year from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The bureau could not determine the costs of dropping the Common Core and adopting a different set of tests, the memo said.

Walker Repeal of Common Core puts GOP politics in our Public Schools and Statewide Control over Education.

Repealing Common Core after four years of taxpayer spending and implementation is Scott Walker's to those who cried the loudest; the tea party. Rampant conspiracy theories about Common Core are at the heart of their opposition. Here's a clip of Republican Rep. Don Pridemore, when he ran for State Schools Superintendent, spouting total Common Core tea party lunacy:

Since before vouchers were introduced in Milwaukee around 1992, Republicans have trashed public education. The GOP blamed those greedy union teachers for every problem. Under the banner of saving our failed public school systems, Republicans have been pushing privatization.

Great Public Schools, or Failing Public Schools? If you talk to WISN's conservative radio host Jay Weber, he'll tell you how we suddenly have the best schools in the country. The same goes for Sen. Paul Farrow. From audio of Weber's show this morning below;
-You'll hear how great our schools have been.

-You'll hear how those who read about the Common Core curriculum said that's not what we need in Wisconsin. Wrong, Common Core is NOT a curriculum. 

-Building big data bases. Wrong, even Bill Gates is pushing secure storage of all student information. 

-Political oversight by our legislature, the "voice of the people?" Farrow wrongly says states will teach the same exact thing, claiming again Common Core is a curriculum, which it isn't.
Local control is another way of having political fiction taught in our schools: This has already happened:
Farrow: "When you look at the level of manufacturing that we have in Wisconsin...we've got be able to teach those nuances by our state. But it's that other area that has to be flexible by state, so they can teach what the kids need in their region, for their state to be effective."
 You mean like this:
ABC News: Wyoming, the nation's top coal-producing state, is the first to reject new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups mainly because of global warming components ... Board President Ron Micheli said the review will look into whether "we can't get some standards that are Wyoming standards and standards we all can be proud of." Gov. Matt Mead has called federal efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions a "war on coal." 

As for Jay Weber, he misses those days when our parents were able to do math in their heads. When did we stop doing that?

Walker Trashes Successful Wisconsin Company to get Reelected. Not Open for just any Business it seems!

Our incidental governor seemed surprised his recent campaign ad was being criticized for attacking a successful Wisconsin company that employs over 1000 people. Scott Walker would never do that:
Gov. Scott Walker told reporters on Thursday that he's not using his campaign to attack the Trek Bicycle Corporation, even though it began airing a 30-second commercial this week that blasts Democrat Mary Burke and her family business for outsourcing jobs. “I'm not attacking anything,” he said … “…she's taking credit for building that company into what it is today.”
So this is how Scott Walker talks up successful companies in Wisconsin, from his campaign site (NOTE to Out-of-State Businesses, just stay on Walker’s good side, if you know what I mean):
1. Burke fails to mention they have 800 employees overseas.

2. Officials at Millionaire Mary Burke's family company say that more than 99% of their bicycles are manufactured in other countries.

3. In 1995, the Department of Commerce awarded $875,000 in taxpayer money to Trek Bicycle to construct a facility in Walworth County. In 2000, the State of Wisconsin forgave a portion of that money ($392,300), and subsequently, while Trek still owed taxpayer dollars, Trek filed a plant closing and mass layoff notice with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. 

4. The Trek CEO was well aware of low wages, dismal working conditions and poor environmental standards in China, yet the company shipped Wisconsin jobs there anyway, their concern being high taxes - not worker conditions. 
This isn't the first time Walker trashed a company or industry not on his list of favorites. The irony of course is that everything they bash Trek for supposedly doing, are much touted major policy positions of the GOP. In fact they would love to loosen environmental standards, safety regulations and get rid of the minimum wage. Walker also chairs the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, that gave out taxpayer money to companies who've off shored jobs as well. But he forgot to mention that.

Here's Trek CEO John Burke's response:
WPR: Mary Burke's brother John Burke, who is Trek's current CEO, blasted the Walker for making what he said were false statements about the Wisconsin company. John Burke shot back accusing Walker of making false claims “to try to harm the company” that his family had worked hard to build. “Mary Burke did not make any manufacturing decisions; I did,” said Burke. “If I had not made the decision to source product globally, including from the United States, Germany, Holland and China, there would be no Trek and no 1,000 Wisconsin Trek jobs today.”

So does Scott Walker love Trek? You be the judge with your vote on election day.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Falling behind the other GOP “leaders,” Scott Walker decides to Repeal Common Core!!!

I'm beyond furious over the purely political gamesmanship of Scott Walker and his Republican pirates. As a parent of a 12 and 15 year old, I have seen the wonders and amazing progress my kids have made based on Common Core.

School districts are now being told the estimated $25 million local taxpayers paid in since 2010 will be tossed, so Walker can shore up his base of low information voters here and nationwide. I'm wondering how many parents like me are fuming over this partisan campaign tactic. Using our kids for his reelected is pathetic:

jsonline: Joe Zepecki, campaign spokesman for gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, said Thursday's release "is a desperate election year move by a career politician to shore up his extreme right wing base. The transparency of the political nature of this move could not be clearer. The legislature isn't in session. He offers zero explanation for why wants to undermine efforts to improve our educational standards from 38th in the country and zero plan for moving forward. Why the sudden change of course after 3 years of DPI working on implementing these standards? "
For starters, Common Core doesn't take away local control. What would really take local control away is Walker's repeal of Common Core and the new set of standards crafted by big government politicians in Madison, instead of local and national educators.

The Beloit Daily News wrote this editorial today, even before Walker's announcement:
Some (governors) are even beginning to sing from the hymnal, suggesting it’s all some kind of federal plot to steal children’s brains. Nonsense.

Keep in mind the pump was primed by American concerns the country’s students were not keeping up globally, and that improving competitiveness would require more standards and more consistency. That’s why business came to the table, to push harder for economic primacy.

There’s an old saying in the private sector: What gets measured gets done. It is impossible to uphold standards without measuring progress and performance, a process that creates databases about children in school. This is a work in progress, and that’s a good thing.

What should raise hackles, though, is the constant negative drumbeat by radical politicians claiming Common Core is some kind of plot against America and its children. For Heaven’s sake, that’s ridiculous.

Ask yourself: A broad coalition of smart people set the Common Core process in motion. That doesn’t mean it is perfect. But would you rather your kids and the standards they learn by became the playground of politicians, subject to the wild ideological swings of that realm? Not us. Common Core is a good start, based on a reasonable goal. As Bill Clinton once said in a different context, “mend it, don’t end it.”

Minnesota GOP Governor Candidate hates jobs and business, promises to "Go all Scott Walker."

It would have to be a very dry, tongue-in-cheek joke from Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, to make sense out of his recent amazing comment:
"If we had a Republican Senate and Republican House, then we can go all Scott Walker."
A well-deserved quick correction from Democratic Farmer Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin hoped to set the record straight for those not following Wisconsin's dissent into a joblessness:
"I don't know why anyone in their right mind would want Minnesota to be like Wisconsin. For Jeff Johnson to insinuate that any way (or) stretch of the imagination that somehow being like Wisconsin is a good thing is absolutely the wrong thing to say if you are running for governor in Minnesota."
Yes, joblessness, as described by the Mary Burke campaign press release:
One day after career politician Scott Walker launched his latest attack on a great Wisconsin company (Trek), new jobs numbers reveal Walker's continued failure to create jobs. Following the latest release, which revised May private sector job creation down to a loss of 900, and showed for the first time a loss of 1,200 private sector jobs in Wisconsin in June, Burke for Wisconsin Communications Director Joe Zepecki said.