Wisconsin

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Al Jazeera's review of Koch brother chances for buying US government outright is important

  • Posted on: 5 November 2011
  • By: luaptifer

People & Power - The Koch Brothers

Al Jazeera may be perceived as having bias issues with some of the nuances on reporting intra-Arab stories but even there, Al Jazeera is one of my standard sources for in-depth reading of the players in the game.

But they recently have picked up on the powerful place of the Kochs in a generation of influence buying and selling in the government of these United States. I think this is a nice review of the current issues, including interviews with the Americans for Prosperity players, such as Tim Phillips.

"Yes, we've put substantial money into Wisconsin, I won't detail numbers but it's substantial."

Friday Morning Open Thread: Walker's Workforce Woes Continue, Worker's Revenge Edition

  • Posted on: 4 March 2011
  • By: Open Thread

From CNN:

(CNN) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday warned 14 absent lawmakers trying to stall his controversial budget bill to return to the state Capitol immediately to vote on the measure, or layoff notices will be sent to 1,500 public employees before the weekend.
"Unfortunately, if we don't have action by tomorrow we have a legal and moral obligation to start forewarning people," Walker said a Thursday night press conference.
The layoffs would take effect April 1, the governor said.
Walker's threat to start laying off workers capped the third week of a high-stakes drama playing out in Wisconsin.

Looks to me that there'd be 1500 more people with incentive to protest, come Monday.

And that's not counting their family, friends and pets.

In other news (also via CNN),

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- Workers, angry at being fired, burned alive a senior executive of a steel factory in eastern India, police said Friday.
The attack on R.S. Roy, a deputy general manager at the Graphite India Limited's steel unit in Orissa state, took place Thursday after he signed termination letters for about a dozen workers, police said.
The angry workers stopped Roy's car and attacked him -- before setting him and the car on fire, said police superintendent Ajay Kumar Sarangi.

Ouch. Good thing the folks in WI are peaceful.

What's the latest news from your neck of the woods? Tell us what's happening in the comments, and remember: this is an Open Thread.

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Choosing The Low Road: Walker And Wisconsin Have Other, Better Options

  • Posted on: 27 February 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

 

There's an excellent piece in Saturday's online edition of the Journal Sentinel by Marc Levine (hat-tip Jim Starowicz via Deb Romilly on Facebook). It's called You heard it here first: Tax the rich and solve budget shortfall. Right off the bat, he equates the Walker budget and refusal to consider any other options as exactly what they are: class warfare. The piece has a mix of straightforward and sarcastic elements that make it even harder-hitting:

The immediate crisis, according to Walker, is a $137 million shortfall in the current biennial budget. "We're broke; we don't have the money," says the governor, and only slashing the compensation and bargaining rights of public employees can get us through the crisis. (Let's ignore for the moment the inconvenient fact for Walker's "we're broke" trope that at the same time he was slashing compensation for teachers, he was increasing the deficit by bestowing $117 million in business tax breaks.)

Levine then goes on to point out

Rather than attacking the living standards of middle class teachers, prison guards and health care workers, Wisconsin policy-makers can easily close this budgetary gap - and reduce surging inequality in the state - by temporarily raising taxes on the superwealthy and corporations.

But, of course, that's not what Walker wants. He wants to further reduce corporate taxes. Levine's done his homework, tho, and provides some references to economist Dean Baker's facts, figures and reasoning that any such tax hike need only be temporary. Levine sums it up nicely toward the end (emphasis mine):

In short, contrary to the governor's repeated claims, Wisconsin does have options. Walker has made a choice: He would rather mandate 8% compensation cuts on teachers and abolish collective bargaining than levy a temporary 1.5% income surcharge on the superwealthy. Walker's choice, however, damages the state's social fabric, contributes to growing inequality in the state, and harms our prospects for future economic prosperity. [...snip...]

To be sure, Wisconsin still needs to manage a $3.6 billion deficit in the 2011-2013 budget cycle. But rather than trying to meet that challenge by attacking middle-class workers and by gutting spending on, say, public education, we would be better served by a balanced plan that makes spending cuts where they would be prudent, and raises revenues in ways that reduce inequality and are least damaging to the most vulnerable.

Amen to that.

You can find the full piece at the jsonline website. Go read it, and share it widely. Thank you.

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Wordfacts

  • Posted on: 18 February 2011
  • By: Aaron Barlow
Writing in the September, 1960 of The Atlantic Monthly, John Kenneth Galbraith described the advent of the "wordfact":

The wordfact makes words a precise substitute for reality.  This is an enormous convenience.  It means that to say something exists is a substitute for its existence.  And to say that something will happen is as good as having it happen.  The saving in energy is nearly total.

Open Thread - State Healthcare Reform Horse Race

  • Posted on: 3 January 2011
  • By: Connecticut Man1

Politico has a short list of "6 states to watch on health reform" as it all moves forward. This policy analysis should be taken with the appropriate grain of salt, IMHO, as politico quotes:

"Rader Wallack who, previously co-chaired Massachusetts’ Cost Containment Committee"

A state that produced similar reform to what we have seen that resulted in this quote:

"less-heartening numbers loom in the background: the state’s health care costs continue to rapidly outpace general economic growth."

Looking back, the Cost Containment Committee may have to patch some gaping holes in Massachusetts. And it remains to be seen if it can be done with arguably circumventable cost controls built into the recent reform out of DC. Just sayin'.

As we mark the passing of the latest phase of health reform laws implemented on January 1st (scroll the comments there and you will see some interesting comments pointing to what I mean about cost controls and other issues, OK?), the six states Politico suggests following are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Wisconsin for various reasons ranging from the most resistant to reform in Alaska, to the intended public option that should be Sustinet in Connecticut, and all the way over to the Single Payer movement in Vermont. I would not count Single Payer as out of the question in California, either, though there is no mention of that large movement behind it.

Before we move on to comments, I'd like to wish ePM's very own Luaptifer a belated and very happy birthday. Here is to everyone's health in the New Year and welcome to 2011's first Open Thread!

Wisconsin cracks down on reading by prisoners

  • Posted on: 5 August 2008
  • By: MALCONTENDS

As the United States leads the world in incarceration rates, some disturbing news come our way: Some of these inmates read books!

From Xoff at UppityWisconsin, check out this piece:

Wisconsin cracks down on reading by prisoners

by xoff - The bureaucratic mind never ceases to amaze.

Jailed Wisconsin Vet Loses Appeal, VA Claim Still Pending

  • Posted on: 13 July 2008
  • By: MALCONTENDS

via mal contends - In a unanimous opinion (07-1546) a three-member panel for the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has affirmed the controversial conviction on fraud of Wisconsin Navy veteran, Keith Roberts.

The Roberts family is planning on filing a motion for an en banc hearing, a hearing before the full appellate court.

U.S. Atty Stephen Biskupic's office had convinced a jury that Roberts and a deceased Navy airman (Gary Holland) did not have a friendship, and Roberts who was on line duty at a Naval base in Naples, Italy on February 5, 1969 at the time that Holland was crushed to death by a C-54 aircraft, exaggerated his efforts to save Holland, which constituted fraud for which he was convicted in November 2006 by a jury in northern Wisconsin.

Weak grounds for a federal prosecution? These are the grounds that the government successfully pursued against this honorably discharged Navy veteran who served during a combat era.

Sending Goods to Iran? Yes we are!

  • Posted on: 8 July 2008
  • By: avahome

I am always so surprised when I read articles like the following. Why I am so darn surprised...I don't know. Schnoockered comes to mind!!! Can we not stand the truth?

U.S. exports there have risen during the Bush administration

excerpt:

House Judiciary Committee Demands Action on Political Prosecutions

  • Posted on: 18 April 2008
  • By: MALCONTENDS

promoted - standingup

via MAL Contends

This is what we want to see.

In the words of Attorney General Robert H. Jackson, (April 1, 1940): "Any prosecutor who risks his day-to-day professional name for fair dealing to build up statistics of success has a perverted sense of practical values, as well as defects of character. Whether one seeks promotion to a judgeship, as many prosecutors rightly do, or whether he returns to private practice, he can have no better asset than to have his profession recognize that his attitude toward those who feel his power has been dispassionate, reasonable and just."

Justice Jackson, of-course, also blasted political prosecutions; and unreasonable and unjust political prosecutions are under fire from the House Committee on the Judiciary.

The House Judiciary Committee is proceeding in investigating the Bush administration's political prosecutions releasing four letters yesterday.

GOP Destroying World-Class Wisconsin University System

  • Posted on: 15 April 2008
  • By: MALCONTENDS

Wisconsin used to take pride in its university system supported by a bipartisan consensus to create a world-class educational facility.

Now, under the leadership of today's GOP-led state Assembly, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its sister campuses are under assault, deadly assault.

From the blog Waxing America: