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Everyone of you knows that I seldom agreed with the late Senator John McCain…but I totally respected his service to the United States and because of his bravery, fortitude, and perseverance while a prisoner of war in North Viet Nam…I have to call him an American hero.

But why the hell does the President of the United States feel the need to continue running down this man? Enough already…there is absolutely no need for this.

Reports say that Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is refusing to testify in the hearings about gerrymandering in Wisconsin. He wasn’t speaker that the time…but was involved in drawing district lines apparently…so how much input and control did he have? What is he afraid of?? other than his general disdain for transparency in Wisconsin government?

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is refusing to testify in a federal lawsuit alleging that political boundary maps he helped draw were illegally gerrymandered.

Attorneys representing Democrats in the case asked a panel of federal court judges on Tuesday to force Vos, R-Rochester, to sit for a deposition in May and turn over documents related to the case.

Attorneys for Vos argue that he is immune from civil legal action.

But the Democrats’ attorney Ruth Greenwood argues that Vos waived any claim to legislative immunity by intervening in the case as a defendant and actively participating in the lawsuit.

So we may have another: “be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it”? He wanted to take control of litigation and passed laws expanding his ability to do that during the lame duck sessions…and of course he had to insert himself and the legislature into this case.

And here’s a funny take on why he shouldn’t have to testify…no really:

“Subpoenaing Speaker Vos diverts time, energy, and attention away from legislative tasks and disrupts the important work of the Wisconsin Legislature,” attorney Kevin St. John wrote in a letter to Greenwood last month.

Oh my goodness, I am sure that it does divert the time of the $850,000 man…but if you can’t divert the time…

I really don’t care if this diverts his time. As an elected representative directly involved with the issues being tried in court…he should be fully expected to testify and explain what he knows…and what he did…and what he hired the lawyers who developed the redistricting maps to do. There is no gray area here…he needs to be forward and forthright with the voters of Wisconsin. To think he’s immune from the lawsuit is absurd. He should actually be grateful this is a civil lawsuit and not a criminal one…or is that possible evolution what he’s concerned about?

For those of you not following another dirty water scandal in northeast Wisconsin, Tyco Fire Products, (a division of Johnson Controls International of Glendale WI) determined that harmful chemicals that they manufacture have leeched from their site into neighboring wells.

And after a lot of negative publicity and pressure from area residents, they are proposing hooking up their neighbors to the water system from the City of Marinette. This is awesome except run off from their site has also reached local streams which empty into Green Bay which is exactly where Marinette draws its fresh water.

But what I don’t quite understand…they are proposing to hook up 100 properties to the Marinette system…at an estimated cost of $1 million. $1 million? What are they going to do, run garden hoses out to their homes from Marinette? Sounds rather inexpensive for a fairly ambitious project for new water infrastructure. Just thinkin’ out loud.

Since he officially announced his run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, the GOP has been tripping over themselves to belittle him.

What is wildest is their renewed use of his full given name instead of the name he is commonly known by. If they want to go after Mr. O’Rourke, there are plenty of policy issues that they can find to disagree on. I am sure there are a myriad examples out there.

But instead they latch on to this silly distraction…one originally espoused by Senator Rafael Edward Cruz (R-TX)! If you are going to steal your nonsense from somebody else, use a better source!!

My inbox is burning with invites to President Trump’s upcoming rally in Grand Rapids Michigan. But here’s what not to do if you attend:

Please limit personal items and arrive early to expedite entrance into the venue – please note, NO homemade signs, banners, professional cameras with a detachable lens, tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, back packs or large bags will be permitted into the venue.

emphasis theirs!

So if you see signs or banners at one of his events, apparently his campaign is providing them. I find the camera prohibition particularly interesting…detachable lens make them professional cameras? LOL!

Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

Senator Ron Johnson (R – WI) held the line with the Trump regime and voted against the resolution to end President Trump’s National Emergency for the border wall. He totally misconstrues the nature of the resolution. Yes, voting for it would be a vote against the president…but sometimes you need to vote against the president. Sometimes you have to defend the Senate and the House and their Constitutional responsibilities compared the those of the executive branch. That is the stated purpose of the resolution. That is the Constitutional law behind it…and voting for the resolution would have been the right thing to do given the senator’s oath of office.

Johnson said Thursday’s vote “will not fix any problem, but it does demonstrate whether a senator supports or opposes border security. I will always choose to support border and homeland security.”

Always support homeland security over the Constitution? Without the rights and powers and responsibilities defined and assigned in the Constitution…what is there to defend?

But the senator goes on to cast blame on the Democrats for the lack of support for the wall and the lack of support of the president’s border policy.

“Unfortunately, securing America’s border has turned into a political brawl, with Democrats…now refusing to supply the funding for necessary barriers because they don’t like this president,”

Let me again remind the good senator that he and the Republican party held the majority in both houses of Congress over the past two years as well as the White House…yet they never saw fit to fund the wall. THEY never funded the wall when they had the power to do so. They know it’s a waste of time and money.

“We have a growing humanitarian crisis at our border that has seen more families and unaccompanied children enter our country in the last five months than at any other time on record. That certainly qualifies as an emergency.”

Yes it is a humanitarian crisis…one that requires humanitarian relief…not a wall. A crisis of our own making.

Senator Johnson is on the wrong side of history here…he failed to defend the US Constitution…he failed to keep his oath of office…and he ceded another legislative power to the imperial presidency.

The WMC (aka Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Foundation) is a conservative and very successful business lobbying group who have found ready accomplices in former Governor Scott Walker, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald over the past several years. Despite supporting the various business tax cuts provided by the state legislature, supporting the GOP’s various hits on unions, and applauding smaller state government and fewer environmental regulations…the WMC has suddenly found religion in state funded incentives to find more workers.

The WMC thinks the state should fund any number of incentives to train employees…find employees…entice employees from out of state…and provide tax credits to businesses for new benefits they think will help find employees…sounds like more corporate socialism to me.

Now providing educational opportunities to state residents to equip them to find fulfilling and gainful employment is essentially a function of state and local government. But I have felt and written about business’ responsibility to work with area educators to make sure the education mix matches the skill needs in the area. I am not all that confident that that happens very often…you seldom hear about businesses meeting with educators (or vice versa)…to get the mix right.

But some of their other proposals sound like hand outs to me…items that business could be/should be handling themselves…or where they are taking a misguided approach. Let’s review their recommendations:

Increasing public funding for efforts to bring more workers to Wisconsin. Bauer said the $6.8 million ad campaign launched under Walker was a “good start” that needs to be increased.

I am not sure why this is a function of state government. Shouldn’t WMC just be collecting funds from their association members and doing this themselves? Having WEDC or whatever involved just seems….wrong.

And does WMC do its own recruitment fairs elsewhere…you know…sorta like the former governor’s dog and pony shows in Asia? Where they visit areas losing employers and trying to recruit the idle skilled workforce? Need assembly people? Welders? I’d think I’d be hanging out around closing GM plants this week for instance.

Considering providing subsidies to businesses that have paid internships for college students. 

This is just flat out theft from the taxpayers of Wisconsin. Paid internships are no different that paid employees…payroll is an expense. If you need interns you can afford to pay interns. And if you don’t pay your interns you are just stealing from your interns…lets not make it worse by letting businesses steal from taxpayers too. If WMC itself wants to subsidize paid internships…bless their little hearts.

Enrolling more inmates in work readiness programs as they near their release date. The report also backs building more programs to connect employers with offenders who have served their sentences

OK…this one makes sense…and is something that the state should provide. Anything we can do to help inmates return to society and have gainful employment is a good thing for everyone.

Gearing efforts to attract workers to all types of people, from entry-level workers to those who are highly trained.

Yup…sounds good…go for it WMC. Not a government function. And you have an amazing tool already at your disposal…one you use everyday…doesn’t require a new program or new incentive or government help. Just pay better wages, provide better benefits, and improve working conditions…all the things that the Trump Tax Cut promised us…and you’d have to turn down applicants from Wisconsin and every other state in the nation.

Making youth apprenticeships available to students in seventh grade and above. Now, the apprenticeships are available for high school juniors and seniors. Walker touted the expansion of the program to middle-schoolers in his campaign last year.

What? You want to put 12 and 13 and 14 year olds in apprenticeships? We have laws against putting young people in hazardous work situations. We have laws restricting child labor. I think maintaining apprenticeships for juniors and seniors is just fine.

Establishing more career counselors in middle schools and high schools.

Bravo!!! Great idea. Now get Madison to fund it. I doubt that many school systems would resist a program like this if it got funded out of Madison or WMC itself. But I would recommend that WMC also support Madison increasing their taxes to help pay for the additional educational opportunities they are recommending. We’ve seen that local school systems across the state are already strapped. New programs are going to require new funds.

Providing more transportation, housing and child care for workers so they can more easily advance their careers. 

Again…Bravo! But again these programs cost money. Either WMC needs to provide these items or needs to get the state to tax them to cover these items. Again…new programs are going to require new funds. As to transportation, WMC needs to convince Madison to drop their anti-public transportation bias. There are a lot of people living in Milwaukee who could fill the labor shortages in surrounding counties if there was affordable and convenient public transportation available. Really!

Expanding efforts to make Wisconsin more welcoming to immigrants.

Whoa…I don’t think this one even needs an explanation.

In the article, but not one of their bullet points is this want from the state:

The group wants state officials to consider providing financial incentives for high-demand workers. Those could come in the form of tax credits or programs aimed at reducing college debt, Bauer ( Kurt Bauer, the president and CEO of WMC and chairman of its foundation ) said. 

The state should provide financial incentives? NO! That’s a function of business. If you are in a competitive market for labor, as I said above, provide better wages, benefits and conditions and your problem is solved. There are already businesses who offer their own programs to pay down student debt. Examine them…copy them…promote them…you’ll get the employees you need.

Concerned about student debt? Pay your taxes…get Madison to use the money to increase their support of the University of Wisconsin system and keep education costs down. Lower costs will mean lower loans. State support of UW has reached record lows in the last decade. (And I am sure WMC is aware of that)

The State of Wisconsin is here to provide a safe and stable environment for state businesses. Good infrastructure. An educated labor force. Clean air, clean water. Recreational opportunities. Recruiting, retaining, and maintaining the workforce isn’t a government role…that is up to business. The successful businesses will be those whose leadership has the acumen to build and retain their workforce. Business needs to get their payroll hand out of the taxpayer’s pocket.

I am still tracking through the conversation on granting illegal immigrants Wisconsin driver’s licenses. Before 2007, they were able to get licenses. And from the original article that I used around talking points for Rep. John Nygren, we see this one from Senator Alberta Darling:

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, the co-chair of the finance committee, said the proposal wouldn’t be fair to Wisconsin taxpayers, adding that there’s a legal process in place for citizenship that everyone needs to follow.

My first quibble is this has little to do with Wisconsin taxpayers and I resent her focus there…this has everything to do with Wisconsin RESIDENTS…both legal and illegal.

The point for granting them is to insure public safety….licensed drivers have passed the driver’s test and therefore are expected to be qualified to drive safely. It also increases the expectations that they are insured drivers. It’s a safety consideration…qualified drivers…insured drivers. That hopefully reduces the possibility of loss and injury due to accidents…and financial loss due to properly insured vehicles. That benefits everyone…not just taxpayers.

Second quibble, this has nothing to do with citizenship…it has to do with residency. The state has absolutely no control over who gets citizenship…that’s a federal function…nor even US residency…whether permanent or seasonal or conditional…again defined and controlled by the federal government. The state can’t even decide who resides in Wisconsin…we all get to move around the country freely. What they do get to do…is make sure those driving motor vehicles in the state are properly trained and tested and licensed.

So please Senator Darling…learn what you control…who’s your constituency…and who you were elected to protect and serve.

[I gotta find my civics draft and finish it]

Governor Tony Evers is recommending that Wisconsin renews the ability of illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses. That was the policy here before 2007. There are any number of safety and financial concerns that inform granting licenses and any number of political and legal issues in opposition.

But Rep. John Nygren has some other thoughts:

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette,the co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance that will review the budget proposal, said he opposes including the non-fiscal policy measure in the budget.

Oh my…I am so in agreement with Rep. Nygren. We should not include non-fiscal measures in the Wisconsin biennial budget. And that became quite a habit over the past decade or so. So I support his efforts to remove non-fiscal items from this and every future budget. I would wholly support a bill, if he saw his way to introduce it, to make it illegal to add non-fiscal items in future budgets. We should know what the legislature is voting for every time they vote. Budgets when they vote on Budgets…and non-fiscal policy items the rest of the time.

But I am not sure that this is a non-fiscal policy item exactly. If we increase the number of Wisconsin driver’s licenses issued…won’t that include additional expense and added revenue…and possibly additional staffing at the DOT?? We all pretty much know they are understaffed already! So this may in fact be a fiscal item if it is going to have an effect on the budget for the DOT.

So Rep. Nygren, please take non-fiscal items out of the budget…but please correctly identify fiscal items correctly.

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