Saturday, October 10, 2015

EXIM Bank Fallout: GOP hold American jobs hostage, killing many, to force vote to lower Corporate Taxes.

Republicans have been amazingly upfront about their lack of concern about killing jobs. Their weird double standard doesn't even get them in trouble; state sanctioned corporate welfare is good, federal sanctioned corporate welfare is bad?

The Export Import Bank isn't really welfare either, since it just backs up loans to make trade possible, not costing taxpayers anything.

Getting their just deserts, in the heart of Republican country - Waukesha, the bleeding has begun:
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly has sent a letter to Governor Scott Walker, House Speaker John Boehner, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, and the Waukesha Common Council — asking for the re-authorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. It’s a huge blow for the city of Waukesha
and (the loss of) 350 workers at its GE Power & Water factory, blaming Congress  The company notified employees and more than 400 U.S. suppliers of its plans. In Wisconsin alone, suppliers generate about $47 million in revenue from the Waukesha plant. GE officials are blaming the move on Congress — for failing to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States  ... “In many of the markets overseas, we must have that financing in order to even enter negotiations for contracts,” Shaun Wiggins with GE Power & Water in Waukesha said.
As I've highlighted in red, it's not corporate taxes killing the jobs in Waukesha, no matter how Walker and Paul Ryan insist it is. GE was very clear about why. If anything, this should be a lesson in spin for GOP voters. Here's what the bank does:
The Ex-Im Bank allows foreign governments and companies to get U.S.-backed loans to buy GE products ...

If the Democrats killed 350 jobs like this, you know what would have happened. But in fact, Democrats don't even have to kill jobs to be criticized for supposedly wanting to kill jobs with regulation, taxes and health care for all.

But Republicans? They can even double down in the face of actually killing jobs. In another example of Republican projection, Walker kinda admitted how his own party is using labor as pawns:
Gov. Scott Walker: “Unfortunately, I think (the jobs) are pawns in a larger political battle being played out in Washington."
Walker never saw the irony of the situation either. Walker's own mismanaged welfare program for state businesses, WEDC, doesn't even come close to the EXIM Banks reputation.

Walker couldn't get more clueless than this:
Walker: “I think it’s unwise for any corporation to be making decisions on where they place work based on one particular vote in the Congress,” the governor said.
Yea, just one vote that makes or breaks a companies ability to be a global player, that's all.

Rep. Paul Ryan doesn't care what companies are saying either. In fact, it's the same old reason Republicans oppose everything, "there are better ways..." Yea, isn't there always?
“Congressman Ryan remains opposed to the reauthorization of the Export-Import bank. He feels there are better ways Congress can promote economic growth; rather than continue with corporate welfare, we should be focused on fixing our tax code and reducing burdensome regulations, which are long term solutions to our economic woes.”

Despite Walker's Jobs Plunge, Right Wing Trolls kiss the feet of their big bold leader.

Stand with Walker trolls are so in the tank for their authoritarian leader, that every misstep, job loss or draconian policy, is never as bad as the facts marking his failure. Or as they like to point out, not as bad as the misspelled words in my blog posts.

Scott Walker trolls suffer from a serious case of denial. It's a defensive mechanism really, since their own identities are so closely invested in their "leader." Without Walker's infallibility, their world view crumbles.

Case in point; my blog post:

Wisconsin Layoffs for first 9 months of 2015 8,600!!! Moving Wisconsin Forward?

Walker trolls weren't dismayed by the news, or troubled by so many Wisconsinites losing their jobs, they were instead pissed someone dared to challenge the reality of Walker's jobs failure.

So they took to Twitter trying desperately to defend Walker's jobs losses, once again reaching 5 years back to blame Gov. Doyle. You're also not supposed to remember the Great Recession, the grand failure of free market deregulation: 

As you can see, I liked the graph so much that I asked for attribution. In conservative world, that's considered an attack so I could trash the source, when in fact, it was anything but...

Gotcha! I guess I walked right into my own meme. This happens daily and it's kind of amusing. I get the same reaction from my conservative friend in Milwaukee. 

The graph not only disproves Tom O'C's and I make unions cry's point, but also shows us how much better Democratic Governor Jim Doyle's time in office was; He served as governor from 2003 to the end of 2010. Notice the jobs losses before Doyle took office. Troll tricksters (encouraged by Walker) want to blame the Republican/Bush Great Recession's job losses on Doyle, a ridiculous way to discredit the Democratic governor.   

Here's the graph...sorry, the meme I stepped into:

Here's what the research is telling us (see below). Note: Republicans have done everything they can to attack Milwaukee; removing residency requirements and killing rail connectivity that would have revitalized regional business development in and around Milwaukee, extending to Chicago. All starting with Reagan:
The most recent data on layoffs in Wisconsin (through October, 2010) show clear clustering in the southeast corner of the state. Manufacturing has been historically concentrated in this area. The link between manufacturing and layoffs is consistent with deindustrialization that has accompanied national economic restructuring in favor of the service sector. Research has shown that deindustrialization has had a pronounced effect on the manufacturing industry since the 1980s. Racial minorities’ connection to the manufacturing industry increases their likelihood of being directly or indirectly affected by layoffs relative to non-Hispanic whites ... layoffs are not the only source of poverty. Additional structural factors emphasized throughout this series, including unemployment and underemployment, should be considered in combination with the results presented here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Retro Republicans focus on costly Nuke Energy...again?

As the Walker administration desperately tries to breathe new life into Wisconsin’s fading manufacturing sector, Republican legislators are now doing their part by trying to breathe new life into the prohibitively expensive nuclear energy sector.
Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that would end Wisconsin’s 32-year-old effective ban on the construction of new nuclear plants. 

Dairyland Power Cooperative spokeswoman Deb Mirasola said regardless of any changes to state law, the company has no plans for a new nuclear generator. “Nuclear is not in our long-term resource plan,” she said. “Dairyland has made a conscientious effort to focus on renewable resources as we diversify.”

That’s right, a nuke plant operator is focusing on renewable energy now, while Republicans focus on costly nuke energy.
This is what they call moving “forward?” With over 3 long years left as governor, Walker may still make all of his dreams come true; remember this delayed Walker proposal?
Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to sell off state-owned power and heating plants … some or all of the 37 state government-run power and heating plants…”
Or this odd moment in GOP energy policy, now being brought back to life this week (many of these older links have gone dead, sorry):
Feb. 2013: Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) said he plans to push again to lift the state's moratorium on construction of nuclear reactors. The timing for such a bill may not be right, given that the state is on the verge of losing Kewaunee.
Or this fumbled Republican lunacy even the utilities groups couldn’t get behind:
Sen. Glenn Grothman has said he would introduce a bill to roll back the state's green power mandate, which requires the state to secure 10% of its electricity from renewable sources … utility representatives said a rollback wouldn't make sense, given the investments that power companies across the state already have made. The state's utilities are on track to comply with the renewable target in 2015.
Crazy? Of course. Republicans just govern this way, same old policy, regardless of cost:
Meanwhile, the cost of building new reactors - still banned under Wisconsin's nuclear moratorium - is so prohibitive that few utilities are undertaking the projects.
Yes, consumer bills will skyrocket:
May 3, 2009: A wave of new reactors now in the works is intended to solve at least part of the nation’s energy problems … But cost is likely to plague every upcoming nuclear project.

In Missouri, the first of the next generation of reactors recently was put on hold because of the $6 billion price tag. Some states have altered laws so consumers begin footing the bill now, even before construction begins.

Construction will undoubtedly play out on your utility bill. Residential electricity rates would have risen (in Missouri) 1 to 3 percent annually for customers, up to 12.5 percent during construction.
That's okay, as long as it's not that Democratically supported green energy stuff that now costs a lot less. 

And those older nuke plants? 
According to AP, “estimates of dismantling costs have soared by more than $4.6 billion (for all plants) because rising energy and labor costs, while the investment funds that are supposed to pay for shutting plants down have lost $4.4 billion in the battered stock market. The amount of money set aside for dismantling the plants has decreased at nearly four of every five reactors. Radioactive waste could leak from abandoned plants into ground water or released into the air, and spent nuclear fuel rods could be stolen by terrorists. The average cost of dismantling a nuclear reactor is now estimated now at $450 million. The average plant owner has about $300 million saved up for the job. Typically, the money is raised through a small surcharge on electric rates."

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Republicans don't care about the mentally ill or gun background checks.

The idea that we can reduce gun deaths by pursuing everyone that might be mentally ill is crazy all by itself. It can't be done.

But imagine if we took the right to bear arms away from everyone who suffers from some kind of mental illness:
In 2013, there were an estimated 10 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. with Serious Mental Illness in the past year. This represented 4.2 percent of all U.S. adults.

In 2013, there were an estimated 43.8 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. with Any Mental Illness in the past year. This represented 18.5 percent of all U.S. adults.

About 53 million Americans, nearly a quarter of all adults in the U.S., disarmed.

The weird cruel joke about not expanding background checks? Gun purchases still won't be using the greatly expanded data base. So what's the point?

Republicans like Scott Walker love to repeat the NRA talking point, but it doesn't make any sense. Walker can double down...heck triple down on documenting the mentally ill, but it won't matter. That's why the following is mindless rhetoric:
Walker is steering away from the idea of stiffer gun policies, focusing instead on the issue of mental health treatment.

“The one thing you see commonly, unfortunately in almost every one of these instances is someone who’s fallen through the cracks when it comes to mental health services."

Walker says he's boosted state funding for mental health treatment and invested more money than any other governor in the past 25 years but says it will take more than money to address the root of the problem.

“The best thing we can do, more than just money, is try to break the stigma,” said Walker. “I think the more we break that stigma the better off we're going to be because then people aren't going to be afraid to get the help they need.”

Lawmaker's backhanded comment about Law Enforcement opens Criminal Justice Meeting....

Small government is one thing, but the childish lawlessness of reckless politicians is another....

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wisconsin Layoffs for first 9 months of 2015 8,600!!! Moving Wisconsin Forward?

Distraction, distractions. Remember when Republicans talked about "jobs" all the time. Funny thing, now that we've seen how their pro-business policies have failed, that whole jobs thing never comes up anymore.

In fact, were losing jobs by the boat load to other countries. I thought business just loved it here?
"For the first 9 months of 2015, Wisconsin companies have notified state of more than 8600 layoffs. That's 2,000 more than the year end totals of the last 3 years."
Welcome home Scott Walker. Why not make head out to Lake Mills, see how that big bold record of yours will go over.

Below, Rep. Paul Ryan is still desperately trying to make his case for lower corporate taxes, by ignoring the real reason the employer said they were leaving Wisconsin; labor costs. Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann:

Walker, Republicans push for Partisan...NonPartisan Elections Board with oversight gridlock guaranteed.

Remember that "so called caucus scandal?"

"So called," as Sen. Scott Fitzgerald said off hand. And from that "so called scandal" legislators created the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board. 

Fitzgerald now thinks the GAB was pretty much a knee jerk reaction:
Fitzgerald: "It was thrown out because of a knee jerk reaction to the so called caucus scandals..."
From Upfront with Mike Gousha:

And because Fitzgerald and other Republicans once voted to put the GAB in place, they've have to find hot button excuses to satisfy their base, all the while not looking like hypocritical idiots. Yes, they failed miserably.

Just Making Things Up: The most outrageous example of BS spewed from the mouth of a very uncomfortable looking State Sen. Devin LeMehieu. Loaded up with ad-libbed contradictions, you can't help but feel sorry for this loser:
LeMehieu: "I think the best way to do that is with partisan appointments...almost every other state has partisans involved with their board makeup...their has been a partisan bent with this board (GAB) so by making it nonpartisan, the facade that it's nonpartisan hasn't actually proved to be effective..."

Did LeMahieu say anything that was true? Nope. Here's a clip from 92.1 FM's Devil's Advocates Show where they interviewed former Assembly Republican, Judge and GAB chairman David G. Deininger, who said the accusations were nonsense. That's followed by a similar disclaimer from GAB director Kevin Kennedy:

On WPR's morning show, Republican Rep. Dean Knutson was revved up, trashing the GAB. What did the listeners think of the Knutson's pot shots? Not much:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Welcome to Walker's Crony Capitol!!!

Cronyism continues to expand in the Walker administration, on the heels of gutting civil, this time at the DNR. Never looking farther than arms length, all we need is another "land use" manager from Scott Walker doing the Wisconsin Realtors work for them:

The state Department of Natural Resources has tapped a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker to fill its No. 3 position at the agency … Ed Eberle has been named the deputy assistant secretary … has been the administrator of the division of intergovernmental relations at the Department of Administration … previously worked on the staff of a state Assembly committee and on the staff of the Joint Finance Committee … also was deputy chief of staff for Gov. Scott Walker when Walker was Milwaukee County executive.

Paul Ryan "thinks" we shouldn't blame him for all the lost Jobs after he defunded the Export Import Bank. "Think" again Paul.

Here’s a little Paul Ryan “thinking” game, because thinking beats the hell out of reality.

I’m thinking there’s a reason Republicans love policy wonk Paul Ryan's corporate shilling; he's really good at it.

When GE announce the loss of 350 jobs in their Waukesha plant, they gave a very specific reason:
The company blamed Congress for its failure to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank, an institution that finances sales of U.S. industrial equipment to overseas customers.
Now I'm "thinking” we lost those jobs because Republicans defunded the EXIM Bank.

Well, here’s what Paul Ryan thinks:
Rep. Paul Ryan said Monday he doesn't think the shuttering of the Export-Import Bank was the only reason General Electric Co. says it will stop manufacturing engines in Waukesha and move that work to Canada.
So forget what GE said, Ryan "thinks" there's another reason that coincidentally relates to something he’s working on: cutting the corporate tax rate. In fact, Ryan “can’t help but think” out loud while tearing up over the job losses corporate tax rates. WKOW:

"I think it's horrible that these workers are being laid off at GE and I can't help but think that there have to be other reasons. Canada has a 15% tax rate and we have a 35% tax rate to name one reason," 
And Canada has its own version of the EXIM Bank too, but "I can’t help but think” Ryan wants us to think otherwise.

Think he’s using the threat of job losses via EXIM to get a corporate tax cut pushed through?  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ryan: Call to stop Mass Shootings a Knee Jerk Reaction!

Republicans have the meme down pat: Tighter gun controls laws? It's just a knee jerk reaction.

It a knee jerk reaction when there have been 142 shootings at schools since Sandy Hook, December 14, 2012, the 45th shooting at a school in 2015, and the 94th shooting in the last two years? Really, knee jerk? 

Not a lot of though went into this now popular GOP talking point, which shows their brutal disregard families who are forever effected by these horrific events:
Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville, speaking after a Milton listening session Friday, said he didn't think the nation should be numb to the shootings. Ryan said instead it was "high time" for Congress to consider legislation offered to overhaul the nation's mental health system.

"What I don’t think the right thing to do is to knee-jerk and pass new gun laws as if that was going to stop this or restrict the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens."
Knee Jerk...?

Scott Walker's "False Choice" Agenda, where nothing ever changes.

Will there ever be a moment when Republican voters realize they're being played? Didn't think so.

Scott Walker is the king of con, the "Obfuscator!" He's got nothing, and his low polling numbers prove it.

What he does have though are big bold "false choices" that don't amount to a hill of beans. The following three ideas fell into place today for me, what I would call a clarifying moment.

Ending Mass Murders: We can solve mass murders by treating the mentally ill? This is one of the weirdest false choices. I can't tell you how angry I get every time I hear a Republican throw this one out. Think of it more as somebody trying to change the subject. Enter Scott Walker...
Walker shifted the focus on Friday from gun control to mental health, saying that such incidents in Wisconsin have frequently been linked to mental health problems.
"Historically, the one constant thread has been people suffering from some degree of mental illness. In many of these cases, someone has fallen through the cracks without getting the appropriate treatment for mental health issues."
Walker's record as County Executive, pictured here, negates any changes the legislature force him to make as governor. 

The False Choice of Saving the Fetus...: Caught in the most unforgivable line of bullshit, Walker's inner sociopath came through, as he came out strongly against the life of the mother:
Gov. Scott Walker says choosing between the life of a pregnant woman and her fetus is a "false choice," adding that he believes better options are always available. "It's a false choice. There is always a better option out there. I've said for years, medically there's always a better choice than choosing between the life of an unborn baby and the life of the mother. Medically that's just a nonissue."

When asked what better medical options are available — and whether Walker believes there are no instances in which a family and doctors have to choose between the life of the pregnant woman and the life of her fetus — his campaign spokeswoman AshLee Strong repeated late Friday that he is "100% pro-life. He acknowledges what science says, and that is that an unborn child is that — a child, and deserving of protection."
Job Killing opposition to the EXIM Bank, There are "other" False Choices: My conservative friend in Milwaukee got so angry about this he called me to complain. He knew the EXIM Bank didn't cost taxpayers anything, and couldn't believe Republicans were blocking it, killing 350 jobs in Waukesha. A day later, Walker came out against the Export-Import Bank:
"I've said before as a candidate and still say so now, I do not think that the federal government should be renewing that. But I think there are other ways that we can help manufacturers like that in Waukesha and others across the state be competitive."
What does that mean? Who knows.

Aaron Rodgers airborne epidemic....

Check it out...

Dems wrong; Scott Walker's WEDC isn't broken, it's doing just what it was designed to do

Can you imagine the phony outrage staged by Republicans if GE had killed 350 jobs in Waukesha because of Democratic attempts to eliminate the Export Import Bank?

Now that the Republicans are pushing job killing policy, surprise, they don't seem to mind at all:

Walker spoke against reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.
"I've said before as a candidate and still say so now, I do not think that the federal government should be renewing that. But I think there are other ways that we can help manufacturers like that in Waukesha and others across the state be competitive."
The 350 jobs are going to Canada, how has Walker helped in "other ways?" What are these "other ways?" Walker's bigger and bolder empty rhetoric is still working on "Stand with Walker" voters, who are perfectly happy to hear that he has a teleprompter free response.

What Democrats are calling a failure, Republicans are quietly calling a Success: 
Anyone think it's a little odd that despite getting caught over and over again, WEDC hasn't changed a thing about lost or unjustified loans, outsourcing and their failure to create jobs?

By Republican standards, WEDC is a rip roaring success. Out of all the proposed changes; to the GAB, civil service, John Doe investigations, opens records, and the Legislative Audit Bureau, the only agency exempt from change...WEDC. 

That's because they're doing just what they were supposed to do. And as we've seen, the corporate board members are simply there as a firewall to take the incoming volley of criticism:

WEDC board puts off outsourcing issue for a month: The head of the state's job-creation agency is putting off Democrats who want its board to discuss outsourcing and its process for conducting background checks, saying it can't take up the issue until October ... agency officials said they couldn't address the matter then because it wasn't on the board's agenda.
Here's a list of past "successes:" 
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.

Today the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau released a financial audit of the WEDC that ... shows the agency had top-heavy administrative and salary costs, stalled in its job creation programs, and dealt with overdue loans by writing them off. The audit revealed that WEDC has made only meager increases to its loan activities...

The WEDC board, which is led by Gov. Scott Walker, OK'd Ashley Furniture getting $6 million tax credit, cutting 1,900 jobs … with a condition allowing the company to eliminate half of its state workforce...
And then prior to Walker's 2014 reelection bid, this act of donor protection. Notice the "wreak havoc" reference, you know, when it was still a bad thing:
According to the governor's legal counsel, Walker’s office is no longer disclosing the names and phone numbers of companies that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is working with on economic incentive packages. The … legal counsel determined releasing the information could “wreak havoc” with WEDC’s mission of retaining and creating quality jobs in the state. According to the governor's legal counsel “Because there may come a time when it will no longer harm these discussions if the businesses names are revealed, it may be possible that we will be able to release the names of these businesses at a later date,”

report released today by One Wisconsin Now raises serious questions about who is really benefiting ... found that owners or employees of 30 percent of businesses receiving WEDC assistance contributed to Gov. Walker's campaign or the Republican Governors Association (RGA). Meanwhile these same businesses received almost 60 percent of WEDC economic development funds - $570 million in total.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Republican anecdotal "stories" guide Civil Service reform: Beware of cooks who do their own accounting!!!

What do Republicans have against short order cooks, or even for that matter, upward mobility?
State Sen. Roger Roth on applicants for an accounting position: "The number highest scored exam for an account position turned out to be a short order cook with no accounting experience..." 
Luckily, having short order cook on my resume didn't keep me from getting my two third shift jobs in the 70's at W.A. Krueger as a fork lift driver, and another at RTE in Waukesha lifting and cleaning transformer containers for painting. I mean, what we're they thinking hiring a former cook?

It's another one of those anecdotal stories Republican policies are always based on now. So the state couldn't just move on to the next highest applicant with accounting experience, instead of changing system into something that invites cronyism and partisan politics? Maybe the cook does all his own bookkeeping and is a genius with numbers.

Who knows where these anecdotal myths are coming from too. Like this one....
Sen. Roth: "We have stories of individuals filling out this exam, and they write 'see my resume' on the exam, not knowing that gets them a zero, that doesn't count for anything." 
Ah, the "stories." Who could argue with those? WKOW's Greg Neumann:

Walker won't blame Republicans and Rep. James Sensenbrenner for killing 350 jobs at GE.

Democrats and many Republicans in Washington support the Export Import Bank. But the tea party wing of the GOP is hoping to kill the bank completely, oddly claiming now that business handouts are a form of corporate welfare. It's like they don't see what's happening in their own red state legislatures.

For example, Scott Walker was a miserable failure as CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). So much so they had to fire him. And while loans were forgiven and lost forever, all the while many jobs were never created or outsourced, that was okay. Yet Republicans in D.C. are claiming to oppose corporate welfare? No wonder conservative voters are all over the map trying to defend their politicians.

Scott Walker was asked about General Electric's plan to kill 350 jobs in the Republican stronghold of Waukesha, moving them to Canada because they have their own EXIM Bank. Not once did Walker mention his party's opposition to EXIM, or how Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner had a major role in killing jobs in his own district with no blowback:

Huffington Post
Big companies like GE and the many small businesses that are served by the EXIM Bank, to underwrite the sale and purchase of their products considered to "risking" by establishment banks, are pawns of extremist Republican politicians who want to kill the bank in exchange for lower corporate tax rates. Until then, tough luck folks.

That "larger political battle out in Washington" is a Republican game of chicken being played out against American labor for lower corporate tax rates. And as we've seen in GE's Waukesha plant, the family supporting American worker is losing.

On Upfront with Mike Gousha, BizTimes Milwaukee editor Andrew Weiland explained: Almost 200 businesses over the last decade have benefited from the EXIM Bank, accounting for $4 billion of export business activity:

Republicans will never solve Transportation Funding Problem: Can't raise taxes, can't stop cutting taxes.

You know, maybe we should study the problems created by Republican lawmakers who've delayed road building projects around the state, resulting in much higher costs to taxpayers later on. Studying is good, because we've seen how well that's worked solving our algae bloom problem in Green Bay, not to mention our rivers and lakes. Study, study, study. 

Republicans will never solve these problems, period. They can't raise taxes, and they can't stop cutting taxes. End of story. It's just a matter of the public catching on sooner rather than later.

Democrats aren't afraid to tell taxpayers that something has to be done, noting the consequences for inaction. And yes, a new taxing formula is inevitable. Rep. Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, clearly gets it, while Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, has no intention of committing political suicide raising taxes or ending tax cuts. So who's the grownup? Who's the leader?

Steineke doesn't even see how the state would have $300 million more to spend on transportation if they just took the Medicaid expansion deal. I have to admit, that pretty much said it all.

Upfront with Mike Gousha: