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Republicans Pull Out Big Guns And Dems Falter

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
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on Tuesday, 22 May 2012
in Our View

GREEN BAY - You can  feel it in the air. You go on FaceBook and all your progressive friends are posting about their vacation plans, or new babies, or whatever. Except for a few “super activists”, you would think there was nothing special coming up in two weeks. Certainly not the election to finally oust Scott Walker from the Governor’s office, after a year and a half of shouting and crying, picketing and passing around recall petitions.

The Republicans, like the British in our first revolution,  pulled out their “big guns” last week and the colonists took to the hills. Scott Walker got his DWD Secretary to fish around for some report with positive job numbers on it, unverified or not, and used some of his $25 million in out of state cash to fill the air waves with TV and radio ads boasting that his first year in office was really a success after all. His allies, the local Chambers of Commerce, piped in with new ads of their own to cross verify his fiction. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who started the whole Wisconsin recall resurgence in 2002 by going after F. Thomas Ament and putting Scott Walker into office as Milwaukee County Executive, kicks in that they now oppose recalls, especially of Walker, unless a felony is proven.  Bang, the “polls” of  “likely voters” show Walker ahead with a 49% to 42% lead.

In one short week the progressive and democratic grassroots effort to recall Walker has been seemingly driven into disarray. Did everyone believe that the power structure would let go of the office of governor that easily, especially after they put all that money into putting their hand picked guy there in 2010.

The time has come to take a deep breath and remember what this recall is about. Walker and his high paid ad men pulled the oldest trick in the book. Throw out some numbers and divert the issue. Doesn’t matter that they can’t be verified, by the time they are the election will be over. Now we are talking about whose numbers are correct, not about why Walker needs to be recalled. I can hear them now, “a win-win“,  I’ve been in those meetings.

Democrats and progressives need to get back on the real issue if they are going to defeat Walker and the big money machine on June 5.  The power to recall was put into Wisconsin law to allow the people to directly oust any politician they want to. The politicians don’t like it, but it’s not impeachment. No high crimes or misdemeanors are required. It is the true test of a democracy, giving all of us collectively, the  power to hold a politician accountable.

Scott Walker got himself elected on false pretenses, like a job applicant who lies on his resume. Had he divulged his true plan for the office, the “bomb” he dropped in January 2011, or how he planned to accomplish it, prior to his election, he never could have won.  He knew that. So he talked about 250,000 jobs and cutting your taxes, and glossed over everything else.

Now we have seen what he has done with the office and it is time to give him the boot, just like that job applicant that sounded good on his fake resume but didn’t work out. Scott Walker has torn our little office apart and will say anything to keep his job. But his job was to represent all of us, and he has failed.

The recall is about Walker, and we can’t forget that. So Democrats and progressives need to get out of our little funk and get back in the fight. There are only two weeks left.

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Scott Walker Just Didn't Pass Probation

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
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on Tuesday, 15 May 2012
in Our View

GREEN BAY - Have you ever hired someone? It's a lot of fun. You get to make that call, tell them they got the job. Ask if they can start next Monday. They are all happy and thankful. To me, it was the best part of being a manager.

scott-walkerUnfortunately, that's not always the end of the employe selection process. Sometimes, a lot of the claims the new employe made in the interview just don't pan out. Sometimes they lied, and job applicants almost always exaggerate. After a few weeks watching them on the job, you realize that you have made a mistake.

That's why the State of Wisconsin, as an employer, puts all new hires on a six month probationary period that each must pass before they are granted permanent status as an employe. Most employers, public and private, have similar policies. It's a pretty standard practice in the world of human resources.

We do not have a comparable practice for the political leaders we elect. We seem to forget that people running for mayor, senator, or Governor are just job applicants. We are the electors, and the job is to represent all of us as the managers of our government.

If we had a six month probationary period for Governor of Wisconsin, like other jobs, I would maintain that Scott Walker just did not pass it. Unlike the world of TV, however, we just don't have a Donald Trump that can say “you're fired”. Our process for this job is to wait a year after hire, gather nearly a million signatures to call a recall election, and then give the applicant a second chance to tell us why they should have the job.

The good part is that we now have Scott Walker's record on the job to consider as we remake our employe selection decision. Did Scott Walker represent all of us, or at least most of us, and effectively manage our government? I think that the answer is most certainly “No”!

Almost immediately after his hire, Scott Walker chose to promote his own visibility on the National Republican stage by implementing a whole score of divisive partisan policies that have torn Wisconsin apart. Rather than do the job he was elected to do, he has spent his time traveling around the country gathering funds for his own re-election and promoting his career as a “rock star” on Fox TV.

While he has been promoting himself in his “national reality show”, Wisconsin's economy has been the most stagnant in the nation. He has not paid nearly a billion dollars in previously promised support to our schools. He has “managed” his employes by blaming them for the state's problems and ignored the contractual promises made to them by his predecessors.

If you were his supervisor, what argument could you honestly make for keeping him on? Has he done his job? Has he told us how he would do better?

 

(Bob Kiefert is the former Assistant Director of Human Resources for Milwaukee County and served in that capacity from 2002-2005 when Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive.)

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One Reason Why Walker Economics Does Not Work for Wisconsin

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 01 May 2012
in Our View

GREEN BAY - I sometimes wonder about some of my neighbors.

I see that down by the corner one of them has erected a “I Stand With Walker” sign. I guess they think they are making some sort of last stand, like the Texans at the Alamo.

Maybe they think Walker’s Republican agenda is better for business and they like to fantasize that they are the “rich people” who will benefit from it. By New York standards of course, there are maybe ten real “rich” people in the whole state. Come on, they would never even let you join their country club, if you could come up with the money, much less let your son date their daughter.

walker open for businessJust as President George W. Bush and his cronies led a raid on the National Treasury, Scott Walker has a plan to rob from the people here in Wisconsin and give to the out of state rich in multi-national corporations. Wisconsin is “Open for Business”, Walker says. Well, at least our wallets. Why do you think they are giving him all that money?

Here is why Walker’s economic plan cannot work. You can't cut the salaries of thousands of public employees who work for the State's largest employer and lay off thousands more and not take a huge hit on the local economy. I don't know why people can't seem to understand this. It's basic economics and the real reason why Walker has turned Wisconsin into the country's biggest job loser.

But then, I have yet to understand why some people seem to hate the government for trying to help them get a fair deal on health insurance.

Sometimes I wonder about my neighbors.

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Who Do You Trust in Republican Ad Blitz?

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
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on Thursday, 29 March 2012
in Our View

Wisconsin is really in silly season this week. What’s up with our right wing friends and neighbors?

The mail and TV ads around my house this week are full of charges made by Republicans against other Republicans as the April 3rd Presidential Primary approaches. Most of them seem to be coming from something called Restore Our Future. I didn’t know we had lost it, but these people evidently think so.

Restore Our Future thinks Rick Santorum is a “Washington Insider” who “joined with Hillary Clinton” to waste money and do other dubious liberal things.  I didn’t know Rick and Hillary where such pals. “Rick Santorum thinks letting felons vote is a good idea” , the ad goes on to say. Rick Santorum must be a scary guy.

I looked up www.restoreourfuture.com on the internet and found out they are a rather obvious front for Mitt Romney. Now, the ads on TV tell me that you cannot trust Mitt Romney.  He invented “RomneyCare”, whatever that is, and drove Massachusetts into “billions” of dollars of debt. Debt it seems is going to end the world as we know it. It certainly isn’t going to Restore Our Future.

Funny, as I remember, running up the government debt was a central theme of “Supply Side Economics” promoted by then Republican President Ronald Reagan in the eighties.  Both Republican Presidents Bush kept it up, and only Democratic President Bill Clinton did anything to reverse the trend in the late nineties. I guess those Republicans didn’t want to restore our future either.

On top of that, today’s news tells me that our right wing friends are hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Health Care Act, and that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will uphold the State’s new voter ID bill, fast. I thought they were against “activist judges”.  Maybe it is different now that they have a Republican majority in both courts?

If the Republicans don’t trust each other, why should the rest of us trust any of them? Maybe there isn’t a real Republican Party any more, just a bunch of special interest groups fighting it out for what’s left. The Christians pulling one way, big business another.  The only thing they seem to have in common is hate towards President Obama.

I would not call any of them Conservatives. Bob Taft from Ohio was a Conservative, and so was Barry Goldwater. They were honorable men. But where is the honor among these guys?

And I’m not even going to get started on Scott Walker. 

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Wisconsin is Number One in Job Loss Under Walker and the Republicans

Posted by Assembly Democrats
Assembly Democrats
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on Thursday, 15 March 2012
in Wisconsin

This legislative session has been defined by lost opportunities, bad choices and an agenda that has hurt working families across Wisconsin. The most important issue by far is jobs for struggling families. Unfortunately, this has been Gov. Walker’s biggest shortcoming.

The United States has added jobs every month for 17 months now. All but six states added jobs last year. All Wisconsin’s neighboring states gained jobs during that time. This is all good news for our country and region.

However, we cannot share in that celebration here. Wisconsin lost 12,500 jobs. And not only was our state one of six that lost jobs – Wisconsin lost three times more jobs than Missouri, which had the second-highest job loss.

This is terrible news for our state and our struggling families. And an appropriate reaction would be to spend this last week while the legislature is still in session focusing like a laser on job creation.

Instead, the Republicans have chosen to focus on bills that are socially extreme, hurt public education and harm women’s health care. Democratic attempts to bring jobs bills promoting manufacturing, angel investment and technical college job training were shot down.

Gov. Walker pledged last fall to work in a bipartisan fashion on job creation. He said his top two priorities were venture capital and mining, and he failed on both accounts. Now he is blaming others for his failure to roll up his sleeves, work together and get the job done.

The legislative session is nearly over, and Republicans have shown no desire to devote any serious focus to job creation. In the strongest possible terms, I renew my call for a bipartisan process to select bills that will help put people back to work quickly.

It is never too late to work together with a laser focus on job creation, as we have wanted to do for the past year. We owe it to Wisconsin’s struggling families and small businesses to help them recover and give them long-term economic security.

By: Rep. Peter Barca

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