Immigrants Need To Assimilate!

During the campaign and since the election of President-elect Donald Trump…as part of the undercurrent of the anti-immigrant rhetoric there has been the continued story that immigrants need to assimilate. That they don’t do that. But they do…they do it very effectively…even if it isn’t on the schedule that the right thinks is normal.

My paternal grandfather spoke German when he came to this country…but none of his children or grandchildren did (in retrospect I wish he had allowed a bilingual family). My maternal great-grandparents spoke German and Irish but none of their children or grandchildren did.

In the early 20th Century there were dozens of foreign language newspapers across the nation and I believe at one time Milwaukee had more German language papers than English. Those are all gone now.

So what is the fuss? Our memory is short. Many of the new immigrants will take on American culture as they add unique new aspects to it. It just might not happen as quickly as someone thinks it should.

But immigrants haven’t always been so good at assimilation. If they had you’d be reading this in Ojibwe right now!

OP ED: Politician-made perfect storm could damage our kids’ schools

This is being reprinted with permission from Save Our Schools Wauwatosa. It originally appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and OnMilwaukee.com and was written by Mary Young. Most of you know how I feel about public schools and I think this bears reprinting here:

There’s a perfect storm heading toward our kids’ Wisconsin public schools. If nothing is done, the damage will be widespread. For most urban and suburban kids, there may be no shelter to hide. The damage done would be 100% man-made by Madison politicians. Let me share three reasons why I’m so worried, why you should be, too, and what we can do about it.

State revenue is down, way down:Wisconsin’s budget already is under water. Gov. Scott Walker has already delayed $101 million in debt payments. And according to the Wisconsin Budget Project, state revenue — which funds our kids’ public schools, among other priorities — is $90 million below projections as of May 2016. Despite low unemployment, the state isn’t seeing increased tax revenues. Why? WBP speculates that either the jobs numbers being touted are wrong or “the jobs being added are low-wage and not adding much to income taxes.”

If we don’t have revenue, we can’t support our kids’ K-12 schools. Without correction, the storm’s floodwaters will deepen our state’s already-underwater budget.

The floodwater looms despite repeated promises from state Rep. Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield, who infamously predicted in 2014 that the state’s tax cuts would beam sunshine on the economy and drive new revenue to fund schools. Those blue skies never came.

A year later, in a room filled with concerned public school parents, including me, Kooyenga again predicted that tax cuts would create plenty of revenue, bring budgets above water and fully fund our kids’ K-12 schools. Again, those blue skies didn’t come.

We nonpartisan suburban public school parents aren’t ideological advocates for either tax cuts or tax increases. But we do believe in sound budgeting. We do it all the time — and we put our kids’ needs first. If a politician looks parents in the eye and says, “Believe me, there will be blue skies over your child’s school,” and then deeper darkness arrives — twice — that politician should apologize and work to right his wrongs.

Politicians such as Kooyenga inevitably will leave citizens to fight over the life rafts. They’ll say there’s not enough resources to help protect all Wisconsinites from the storm. We can’t have schools, roads and care for seniors, they’ll say. But we have news for the politicians. We parents will not be lured into a false fight with our friends. We will stand together and question politicians who appear unable to manage our state’s finances and keep our state’s priorities afloat.

School boards can’t fully fund schools: Legislation currently prevents locally elected school boards from levying enough property tax revenue to adequately support our kids’ schools. A revenue cap — set by politicians — regulates how much revenue Wisconsin’s school boards can raise.

When the storm hits, budget floodwaters deepen, and our kids’ schools are cut or closed. Surprised parents may turn to their school boards for support. However, these local officials are currently forbidden by the state to offer shelter from the storm.

One simple solution would be to raise the revenue cap, enabling locally elected school boards to raise enough revenue to protect their schools. For so many reasons, it can and it must be done.

Expanded private school vouchers: Every dollar we spend on private school vouchers is a dollar that no longer supports our kids’ public schools. And over the next decade, the state will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on this program that — despite 25 years of trying — hasn’t improved education in Wisconsin one iota by any meaningful measure. One simple solution is for Madison politicians to stop the expansion of private school vouchers until Wisconsin’s budget isn’t under water.

Man-made storm clouds are heading towards our kids’ schools — but the good news is that there are solutions. We need leadership from politicians such as Kooyenga if we’re going to keep our kids’ public schools safe from the storm.

Mary Young of Wauwatosa is president of Support Our Schools Wauwatosa.

All Hands On Deck

Last Friday’s meeting of the DNC platform drafting committee in St. Louis yielded the best evidence yet that President Obama intends to ram the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) through a lame duck congress after the November election. The TPP is the most sweeping trade agreement in history, and is opposed by Democratic Party leaders like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold and Elizabeth Warren, as well as organizations as diverse as the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, the National Organization for Women, the United Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, and the National Farmers Union.

Clinton delegates at the meeting voted down a platform proposal that would have put the party on record saying Congress should not take up the TPP this year. A Sanders campaign press release included this statement:

Sanders said it was “inexplicable” why Clinton allies on the panel at a meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, voted down proposals on trade that both Sanders and Clinton embraced as candidates. “It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform,” Sanders said.

The reason why, in my view, is obvious: Obama intends to bring this up in the lame duck congress, and Clinton and her delegates don’t want to buck him on it.

So who will Obama call on to champion the TPP in the House? 3rd congressional district Representative Ron Kind. Kind was Obama’s go to guy on fast track authority for the trade deal last Spring, and recently re-iterated his support for the TPP when he announced his ” Dairy Action Plan.”

So what’s the best way to defeat the TPP in a lame duck congress? Defeat Ron Kind in the August 9th primary. Kind’s primary challenger, Myron Buchholz, has made opposition to the TPP wellknown since first announcing his run last February, pulling a trailer behind his van in parades all over the district with large signs that read: ” Stop Bad Trade Deals, NAFTA, Panama, TPP “ If Ron Kind is a lame duck himself come November 9th, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be a TPP champion with any clout in the House.

If you haven’t yet made a contribution to the Buchholz campaign, please donate $25-$50.

Wisconsinites deserve to know, right now, where Ron Kind stands on the prospect of the largest trade agreement in history being passed through a lame duck congress. Who do you stand with, Mr. Kind, the Dem party leaders and the many hundreds of allied organizations who oppose the TPP? Or do you stand with Wall Street and the corporate board rooms who are eager to see it pass? Which side are you on, Ron?

The power of a primary challenge

Last week a good friend of mine from Eau Claire, a long time member of the Sierra club, got an email from an acquaintance out in Utah. The tone of the email was pure excitement. After more than ten years of citizen lobbying, 3rd congressional district Democratic Rep Ron Kind had finally signed his name to America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. The Act would protect roughly 9.5 million acres of Utah wilderness from mining, oil and gas exploration and other developments. According to my friend, everyone in her environmentalist circle was stunned. Why had Kind suddenly signed onto the bill? She thought she knew.

She promptly wrote Myron Buchholz, who is running in the Democratic Party primary against Ron Kind on August 9th, an email:

” Many of us environmentalists have contacted Ron over the past ten or more years to urge him to co-sponsor “America’s Red Rock WildernessAct”. Seems all it took to persuade him was a Primary opponent. Thanks, Myron.”

So why would Ron Kind, an 18 year incumbent with over $1,000,000 in his campaign war chest, and the full resources and support of the DCCC if needed, be fearful of a primary challenger with no elective office experience who is running a shoe string budget campaign? I’ll tell you why.

In the April 5th Wisconsin presidential primary, roughly 72,000 people voted for Bernie Sanders in the 3rd congressional district. Roughly 45,000 voted for Hillary Clinton. Buchholz has been clear from the start that he’s a ” Berniecrat”, inspired to run by Sanders extraordinary campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency. Kind has been very clear and unyielding in his support for Clinton, endorsing her before the Wisconsin primary and pledging his superdelegate vote to her.

So in this most unlikely election season it appears almost anything is possible. If you haven’t already made a contribution to the Buchholz campaign, please do. Kind has been the most prominent Democrat in the US House of Representatives advocating in favor of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Who knows; maybe he can be persuaded to reconsider?

How To Take On The Washington Establishment!

Ah…the praises for outsider presidential candidates always include his or her ability to take on the Washington Establishment! Even Carly Fiorina in her endorsement of Senator Ted Cruz today extolled this virtue in her litany of praises. But it seldom happens…because one person is seldom capable of such a transformation.

Does someone need to take on the Washington Establishment? Damn straight…but it’s not one of the candidates for president…it’s YOU!

The current approval rating of Congress is 13%…a historical low.

But you are about to send your entrenched incumbents back to Washington. Why the hell are you doing that? This is the Washington Establishment…vote the sons and daughters of bitches out…every damn incumbent on the ballot. If you think I am kidding, to steal a phrase from that infamous political pundit, Sarah Palin: How’s that hopey changy thing working out for you?

Super Bowl Ad We All Need To Think About:

This was posted on Policy.mic today, an ad from the National Congress of American Indians:

For years, America has been debating the use of the term “Redskin” by Washington’s NFL team, the Washington Redskins. Though the NFL says they’re listening, nothing has been done. But with this ad, the NCAI has put a human face on the story and shows exactly why the term “Redskin” is so problematic, in compressing an entire people’s rich and varied identity into one stereotype.

Even though the term “Native American” has its own issues of blanket categorization, it’s at least used cautiously and with the knowledge, if even tacit, that this group of people can be somewhat identified by their long-standing relationship to the continent. Redskin, however, is simply a terrible slur. It reduces these groups to the color of their skin (in a very racist way) and lumps everyone together with no thought to their heritage or history.

Despite almost constant pressure, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has repeatedly said he has no plans to change the team’s name. In a letter to fans, Snyder wrote that the team name “was, and continues to be, a badge of honor. … I’ve listened carefully to the commentary and perspectives on all sides, and I respect the feelings of those who are offended by the team name. But I hope such individuals also try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans too.”

I don’t think I need to say anything else.

Governor Walker Supports 3 Year College Degree Program!

For my thousand and first post, I am going for pure snark:

For his recent new found support for public education during is State of the State address, Governor Walker suggested that he’d work with the University of Wisconsin System to develop a three year degree program.

Walker reiterated the steps he said the state has made on his watch to increase employment and better prepare young people for the workplace.

Among them: a pilot program to encourage students to start thinking about careers earlier in school; additional funding for so-called dual enrollment programs that allow high schoolers to earn technical college credits; and ongoing talks with University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross to develop a three-year degree program.

Hmmm…a three year degree? Maybe then he’ll have enough credits to graduate?

Johnson Controls About To Leave Wisconsin?

Breaking news from JSOnline says Johnson Controls is about to merge with Ireland’s Tyco International. Tyco is a fire protection and security company. Although the article says that local miscreant and current CEO of Johnson Controls, Alex Molinaroli, will run the new combined company, will JCI’s legal headquarters end up in Ireland for tax purposes? Will they be the largest example of the Wisconsin business loss trend that Governor Walker’s ‘Open for Business’ policy has become?

Wisconsin’s largest public company, Johnson Controls Inc., is in advanced talks to merge with Ireland-based fire protection and security company Tyco International, according to a report Sunday by the Wall Street Journal.

Citing people familiar with the talks, the business publication said a deal could be announced as soon as Monday.

Financial terms of the potential transaction aren’t known.

Alex Molinaroli, chief executive of Johnson Controls, would be expected to run the combined company, the newspaper reported.

Update 1/15/2016 6:18 PM Some of you are getting a bit carried away. I never suggested that JCI would move their manufacturing jobs and overall operations out of Milwaukee. The gist of the post was that JCI would use Ireland as their legal corporate HQ and do a ‘tax inversion’ to avoid taxes. And I got ragged on over on Facebook for wild speculation last night…when the actual announcement actually bore out my supposition. Go figure

Wisconsin Is Open For Business: Unintended Consequences!

When Governor Walker announced that Wisconsin Was Open For Business, his stated goal was to steal businesses from Illinois by making Wisconsin a tax haven and Eden for the 1%…but what is actually happening is out of state businesses are picking off Wisconsin name brands instead. Latest example:

Wisconsin will lose another locally owned food-based company by the end of 2015, according to information released by U.S. Foods this morning.

In a press release, Rosemont, Ill.-based U.S. Foods announced that it will be purchasing Dierks Foods, the family owned broadline foodservice distributor located in Waukesha.

Well there you go…