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Where Has the New Moderate Mitt Been these Past Years?

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 Wednesday, 10 October 2012
in Our View

mitt_romneyGREEN BAY – It seems that Mitt Romney is constantly trying to refocus his campaign, yesterday it was on foreign policy, and today it’s on agriculture. It is all a continuation of the NEW “Moderate Mitt” that appeared in last week’s debate. But he still hasn’t offered any specific ideas to fill out his new positions.

For the past two years, Mitt Romney has reset his campaign over and over again, apparently to appeal to different voters as he goes along. Yesterday he tried out a new stand on foreign policy, and today he’s moving to agriculture, but neither speech offered any specific plans.

In trying to outline his agriculture policy, Romney dodged the details because he knows his plans would hurt rural Americans.

  1. He didn’t mention the wind production tax credit he opposes, risking thousands of jobs in Iowa and Colorado.
  2. He barely mentioned the Farm Bill, failing to say what should be in it or call on Republicans in Congress to pass it. That’s probably because his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, and their allies in Congress keep blocking it.

Earlier, Romney gave his seventh foreign policy speech, each one less specific than the last. He said he would go back to the same policies that weakened our standing in the world and drove us billions of dollars into debt under the Bush Administration.

  1. His speech was widely panned for lacking policy details and ignoring facts.
  2. Romney doubled down on an indefinite troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Romney’s constantly changing stands are just as dishonest as his debate performance, where the “New Mitt” appeared after nearly two years of the “Severely Conservative Mitt”  used to sell his candidacy to the Republican conservative base.

  1. He was dishonest about the size of his tax breaks for the wealthiest because they’re so big, he’d have to raise taxes on middle-class families to pay for them.
  1. He was dishonest about his health care plan because it would leave millions with preexisting conditions uninsured when they need coverage the most.
  2. He was dishonest about his Medicare plan because it would take away seniors’ guaranteed benefits and raise their health costs by thousands of dollars.
  3. He didn’t honestly lay out a specific plan for dealing with the deficit. Instead he said we should cut funding for Sesame Street.

It all makes one wonder “which Mitt” they would be voting for in November. When a candidate will not give you specifics, and keeps changing his beliefs to satisfy this voter block and that, can you trust them to be our President?

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More Facts Needed about Seniors and Obamacare

Posted by Nate Myszka
Nate Myszka
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on Sunday, 02 September 2012
in Wisconsin

There are lots of rumors about Obamacare. Many are aimed at scaring seniors, and it’s election time so we’re hearing even more. So what’s true?

Will “unelected bureaucrats” at the Independent Patient Advisory Board (IPAB) “ration” my care? No – Politifact, a Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checker, says “The IPAB is forbidden from submitting ‘any recommendation to ration health care,’ as Section 3403 of the health care law states. It may not raise premiums for Medicare beneficiaries or increase deductibles, coinsurance or co-payments.” Instead, it makes recommendations to bring costs under control when spending increases too much. Our elected Congress can overrule them anytime.

Is Obamacare doubling premiums, cutting Medicare, and reducing benefits? Again the answer is no, but you can check your own premium and benefits. Medicare’s actuary predicts premiums will rise only slightly in coming years, to $112.10 in 2014. And under Obamacare, Medicare’s budget still increases, but not as much as previously forecast. It does so by making Medicare more efficient and has actually extended Medicare’s life.

At the same time, Obamacare has added benefits to Medicare. Many preventive services are now available without co-pay or deductible so we can catch things early or prevent them altogether, saving money and lives. Seniors hitting the “donut hole” now get a 50% discount on brand name prescription drugs.

We know it’s an election year, but seniors have paid into Medicare and they’ve earned the truth. If you come across more rumors, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 414-771-9511.

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Recall is the “Wisconsin Way”

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 Wednesday, 30 May 2012
in Our View

vote-buttonGREEN BAY - I see even Scott Walker is running ads to “stop the recall madness”, saying there is a “right way and a wrong way” to do it and the current effort to recall him is not the “Wisconsin Way”. The ads appeal to the basic fairness of the people of Wisconsin.

Funny that I remember the same plea, “stop the recall madness”, being made against Scott Walker and his pals in the Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG), as they pushed the recall “madness” to new heights down in Milwaukee County in 2002. Scott Walker got the job of Milwaukee County Executive and, eventually, Governor because of the “recall madness” and Walker's pals liked the act so well that they spread it throughout the county and state, ending the careers of many politicians along the way.

I helped in the recall movement, first lending aid to six Milwaukee County Supervisors who were the targets of recalls and then helping the Citizens for Responsible Leadership in the City of Franklin, a splinter group, replace five of the city's six aldermen and eventually its mayor. Those were heady times.

I have told many people over the the years that the current recall movement is a “dangerous thing”, and that “once you take it out of the box, it's pretty hard to put it back in”. Maybe it's run full circle now, coming back around to bite Scott Walker and his pals, who helped start it.

There is nothing wrong with the recall, and it is the essence of the “Wisconsin Way”. It is not impeachment, like the one against President Clinton, that most people are familiar with. Wisconsin's Constitution does not offer that option.

A recall is like a grand jury indictment, with the largest grand jury of all, all the people, getting to sign a petition to call a special election. The election itself is like the trial, with the largest jury of all, all the voters, getting to decide whether to remove the politician from office. It is the ultimate expression of “popular democracy”, with every citizen who shows up to vote getting an equal voice in the outcome, regardless of wealth or station.

The election next Tuesday, June 5th, is about Scott Walker and how he has chosen to represent us, nothing else. Don't let all the big money ads from his out of state donors confuse the issue. Scott Walker has been called to stand before all of us, down in the figurative city square, to be judged on his actions. We all get one vote in the verdict.

The only thing that is not the “Wisconsin Way”, is not to vote.

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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
User is currently offline
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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