Category Archives: Politics

Public input on the next state budget

My column for the Washington County Daily News is in print and online. Go get a copy! Here’s a taste:

Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes have announced they will hold four public listening sessions before Christmas to get the public’s input on the upcoming state budget. The four sessions will be today in Green Bay, Wednesday in Wausau, Dec. 18 in La Crosse and Dec. 19 in Milwaukee.

Since all four sessions begin during working hours and, like most tax-paying Wisconsinites, I work for a living, I will not be able to attend and give the incoming administration my thoughts in person. This column will have to suffice.

As the Legislature and governor begin the process of crafting the next state budget, they must do so with the understanding that Wisconsin is not immune from the economic winds blowing across the nation. While the underlying economic metrics remain strong, several leading indicators, including the wild movements in the stock market, foretell a looming recession within the next year or two.

Since Wisconsin uses a biennial budget, it is likely the next recession will come during the budget our elected officials are about to write. They must write that budget understanding recessions always lead to a decrease in state tax revenue while making higher demands on state services like welfare and Badger-Care. To that end, the overriding objective of the next state budget should be to reduce spending, reduce taxes and continue to pump money into the state’s rainy day fund, because rainy days are in the forecast.

From a revenue standpoint, the state of Wisconsin is in great shape. Thanks to the series of tax cuts that Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislators have delivered over the past few years, tax revenue is flowing into state coffers at historic levels. There is no shortage of money for politicians to spend.

While the Republicans have done a tremendous job in the previous few budgets, they have failed to reduce spending. Despite claims to the contrary, every single state budget for the last generation or more has spent more than the previous budget. Granted, the Republicans did not increase spending as much as the Democrats wanted to, but they increased spending nonetheless.

The vast majority of state spending is spent on a handful of budget priorities. One cannot seriously reduce spending without looking to the big budget items. The first area Evers and the Legislature should look is at education spending.

Illinois’ Horrible Fiscal Shape

This is happening just across the border. Just remember… when politicians make bad decisions, they don’t pay the bills. You do.

Sometimes the clearest warning about Illinois’ fiscal crisis can be communicated using numbers, sometimes with a well-chosen phrase. Here we present both, as reminders during the period before a new Democratic governor takes office with a Democratic mega-majority, that the state’s messes will only worsen. Until lawmakers take decisive action.

First, the awful numbers: For several years we’ve cited the figure of $130 billion to represent Illinois’ estimated unfunded pension liability. Never mind that number, it was $133 billion as of June 2018 — and it’s getting worse — according to a new state report. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability estimates the shortfall in commitments to future retirees will deepen to nearly $137 billion in the current July-to-June year, and to $139 billion in fiscal 2020.

Now a choice word or several: Fitch Ratings in a new report says Illinois has exhibited a “lack of coherent fiscal policymaking over many years” and is guilty of “irresolute fiscal decision-making.” Over the years, lawmakers skimped on payments into the retirement kitty, or avoided making payments altogether, rather than being disciplined about putting enough money into the funds to pay for all the benefits they had promised.

Today, Fitch says, Illinois’ net pension liability plus other long-term debt represent 29 percent of the state’s personal income, the highest of any state (our emphasis) and well above the 50-state median of 6 percent. Oh yes, the annual operating budget — an astonishing one-fourth of which goes to pensions — is also a wreck: Fitch reminds us that about $2 billion of the $38 billion budget revenue is either unlikely to be realized or one-time in nature. Irresolute, indeed.

Evers Forms Criminal Justice Panel

Goodness. “Making of a Murder” was a factual train wreck and Butler was run out of office for his soft on crime attitude. I see that when Evers says “prioritizing people,” he means crooks and violent criminals – not the people they victimize.

In a statement Monday announcing the panel, Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes also emphasized the state’s racial incarceration disparity and said it’s time “to start prioritizing people, not prisons.”

The new panel includes Dean Strang, who gained international fame for his defense of Steven Avery in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” and former state Supreme Court justices Louis Butler and Janine Geske.

Other notable names include:

  • Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney;
  • Kelli Thompson, who heads the state Public Defender’s Office;
  • Matt Frank, former state Department of Natural Resources Secretary and former Assistant State Attorney General;
  • Milwaukee County Chief Deputy Sheriff Denita Ball;
  • Rick Raemisch, former state Department of Corrections Secretary and former Dane County Sheriff, who now leads the Colorado Department of Corrections;
  • Walter Dickey, University of Wisconsin Law School professor and former state Department of Corrections Secretary;
  • Angela Lang, director of the Milwaukee-based Black Leaders Organizing for Communities;
  • Jim Palmer, who heads the state’s police union.

The announcement Monday said the panel aims to “bring together people from all sides of the criminal justice system” to work on possible criminal justice changes.

Evers Holds Public Listening Sessions for Budget

Notice anything about these?

  • December 11, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Green Bay, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Phoenix Room. 2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311. Register for Green Bay session at this Green Bay link.
  • December 12, 12:00PM-1:30PM: Wausau, Wausau Labor Temple. 318 South Third Avenue, Wausau, WI 54401. Register for the Wausau session at this Wausau link.
  • December 18, 12:00PM-1:30PM: La Crosse, American Legion Post 52. 711 6th St South, La Crosse, WI 54601. Register for the La Crosse session at this La Crosse link.
  • December 19, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center. 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Register for the Milwaukee session at this Milwaukee link.

Yep. They are all during business hours on weekdays when most Wisconsin taxpayers are working. Furthermore, these were just announced and start this week. That’s not enough time for most working Wisconsinites to even ask off if they want to attend one of these sessions.

The result is inevitable because it is planned: the vast majority of people who show up for these sessions will be leftist activists calling for more spending. Then, after the sessions are done, Evers will use the fact that all he heard were calls for more spending as justification to propose more spending.

Ocasio-Cortez Hints at Abuse of Power

On the one hand, this is astonishing. On the other hand, it isn’t.

Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatened to use the powers of her elected office to retaliate against Donald Trump Jr. on Friday after the president’s son posted a meme trolling her on his personal Instagram account.

“I have noticed that Junior here has a habit of posting nonsense about me whenever the Mueller investigation heats up,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Please, keep it coming Jr – it’s definitely a “very, very large brain” idea to troll a member of a body that will have subpoena power in a month.”

It is astonishing because you have a soon-to-be government official threatening to use her official power to subpoena someone who trolled her on Instagram. Put aside for a moment that it was Trump Jr. who trolled her. It was just a person expressing a contrary opinion on Instagram and her immediate impulse is to bring down the official weight of the federal government on him.

It is not that astonishing because this is what socialists like Ocasio-Cortez do – every time they get into power. They use the police power of government as a weapon to attack dissenters and non-believers. We’ve seen it in other nations. We’ve seen it in Wisconsin with the John Doe investigations of Walker. We’ve seen it in Obama’s IRS. There is no doubt in my mind that Ocasio-Cortez would abuse her power to go after her dissenters. The only thing she lacks is the intelligence to keep quiet about it.

Remembering Jeff Wood

Dan O’Donnell takes us down memory lane to remind us what the Democrats did when they were ousted from power in 2010.

So desperate were the outgoing governor and state legislative majority to pass what amounted to a sweetheart deal for some of their biggest political backers that they did what was until then unthinkable—they sprang Jeff Wood from jail so he could vote.

Even though he was serving a 60-day sentence and had drugs in his vehicle during two of his four drunk-driving arrests, a sympathetic judge agreed to let him out on work release for just long enough to be a forgotten man no more.

Eight years later, though, he is forgotten again; an uncomfortable reminder that the Republican-led Legislature’s supposedly unprecedented lame-duck session “power grab” isn’t unprecedented at all.

Frankly, the sanctimonious whining from Democrats is as pathetic as it is hypocritical. They are no stranger to power politics. And what the Republicans have done pales in comparison to what the Democrats tried to do.

The sooner Walker signs the bills that the legislature passed, the sooner the liberals move on to the next manufactured outrage.

Legislature has a full plate for the holidays

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. As the sun rises on Wisconsin, I’m happy to see that the legislature is getting most of this done. Good work!

This week the Wisconsin Legislature will begin an extraordinary session as its final act before a new Legislature takes its place next year. The political backdrop of this session is that while the Republicans will retain firm control of both houses of the Legislature next year, the voters elected Democrats to every statewide office. An era of divided government is about to begin.

In anticipation of this new era, Republican leaders in the Legislature have introduced a slew of proposals designed to secure the successes of the past few years and put some protections in place to safeguard the state from overreaches from the Executive Branch. The proposals run the gamut from simply codifying rules that are already in place, absorbing recent court rulings into statute, pulling power back into the legislative branch and changing how elections work. A few of the proposals are more interesting than the rest.

Earlier this year, a United States Supreme Court ruling allowed states to collect sales taxes on internet purchases. Under law, the state is required to collect the tax, but to offset the tax increase by reducing the state income tax by an equal amount. This would keep the aggregate tax burden on Wisconsinites constant. One of the proposals would clean up the process for making this happen and accelerate the potential income tax decrease into 2019 instead of 2020. This makes it take effect in line with both years of the state’s biennial budget. The Legislature should absolutely pass this proposal.

In another proposal, the state would create a standalone presidential primary and move it earlier in the year. The reasons are twofold. First, by moving the presidential primary earlier in the election cycle, it makes Wisconsin more relevant in that process. Second, by creating a standalone election for the presidential primary, it prevents non-partisan state and local elections on the April ballot from being overwhelmed by the partisan presidential primary. The Legislature should pass this change.

The actual reason for the extraordinary session is to pass an aid package to encourage Kimberly-Clark to keep their factories, and the jobs that go with them, open in Wisconsin. For all of the reasons I outlined in a column in this space in July, the Legislature should not pass this proposal.

One proposal would require that the Legislature be included in defending the laws it writes if those laws are challenged as unconstitutional. In recent years, liberals have adopted the tactic of suing the state over every law Republicans passed by claiming that the law is somehow unconstitutional, and then shopping for a friendly radical liberal judge to issue an injunction. It is the job of the state attorney general to defend the state in such actions, but the incoming attorney general, Josh Kaul, is an acolyte of Eric Holder and has made no secret about the fact that he will use his office as a weapon to advance the radical liberal agenda. This proposal would ensure that the state’s laws are adequately defended against legal challenges and should certainly be passed.

Yet another proposal would prohibit a person from serving in an appointed position if the state Senate had rejected their appointment during the confirmation process. It would seem common sense that this is already the case, but it is not. Under law, the governor can appoint a person, the senate can reject that appointment and the governor can keep the person in the job indefinitely in a provisional capacity. This proposal would make it clear that once an appointee is rejected, they may no longer stay in the job. This should be passed.

Several other proposals codify which IDs are acceptable for voting, ensures that people will be required to remain sober in order to obtain welfare, writes into law rules that prevent illegal aliens from getting a Wisconsin driver’s license, provides legislative oversight when the state seeks federal approvals or waivers, requires state agencies to periodically report their spending to the Legislature, oblige the Department of Corrections to provide the Legislature a report on who is pardoned, make it easier for overseas citizens to vote and other relatively mundane things.

While every proposal must be evaluated on its own merits, almost every one of the proposals should be passed by the Legislature and signed into law by outgoing Gov. Scott Walker. The conservative revolution in Wisconsin has come to an end. Now it is time for Republicans to protect the gains we made.

Legislature Has a Busy Day

And I don’t think it’s over yet.

The Senate voted 18-15 along party lines to approve 82 of Gov. Scott Walker’s appointments, including DOA Secretary Ellen Nowak returning to the Public Service Commission as chair.

The other appointments included attorney Scott Beightol to the UW Board of Regents. He replaces Republican Bryan Steil, who won a seat in Congress last month.

and

The state Senate approved the first of three extraordinary session bills Tuesday evening after pulling a provision that Dems warned would prevent local governments from using their employees to do some road work if the project were funded with state money.

The bill also includes provisions that would make explicit in state law that new revenue from online sales will go to income tax reductions and to federalize state tax law on pass-through entities.

 

Legislature has a full plate for the holidays

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online today. In it, I offer some opinion on some of the proposals being offered in the Wisconsin legislature’s extraordinary session. Pick up a copy to read the whole thing!

This week the Wisconsin Legislature will begin an extraordinary session as its final act before a new Legislature takes its place next year. The political backdrop of this session is that while the Republicans will retain firm control of both houses of the Legislature next year, the voters elected Democrats to every statewide office. An era of divided government is about to begin.

In anticipation of this new era, Republican leaders in the Legislature have introduced a slew of proposals designed to secure the successes of the past few years and put some protections in place to safeguard the state from overreaches from the Executive Branch. The proposals run the gamut from simply codifying rules that are already in place, absorbing recent court rulings into statute, pulling power back into the legislative branch and changing how elections work. A few of the proposals are more interesting than the rest.

[…]

While every proposal must be evaluated on its own merits, almost every one of the proposals should be passed by the Legislature and signed into law by outgoing Gov. Scott Walker. The conservative revolution in Wisconsin has come to an end. Now it is time for Republicans to protect the gains we made.

Chicago Politicians Quiet After Burke Raid

The Corruption Party has had one party rule in Chicago for decades. Nothing is changing.

No one represents Chicago’s old-school machine politics — or what’s left of it — more than City Hall’s longest-serving and most powerful alderman, Ed Burke.

But in the wake of federal agents raiding Burke’s City Hall and 14th Ward offices Thursday, the 21 candidates running for Chicago mayor — most of them on a proclaimed platform of reform — had very little to say about one of the most astonishing political developments in the city’s recent memory.

There were no news releases, few tweets and little professed outrage.

That’s because many of the race’s front-runners have some form of exposure, serving alongside Burke in the city’s political hierarchy, or counting him as a friend or mentor. And as the Burke investigation plays out in the final months of the Feb. 26 mayor’s race, the political fallout will leave some grasping for how to reconcile their self-professed desire to change City Hall with their ties to an iconic Chicago politician in the crosshairs of federal investigators.

On Friday, at least, few of them were talking.

RIP President Bush 41

RIP to a man who exemplified public service to our nation for decades.

(CNN)George H.W. Bush, the 41st President, whose steady hand and foreign policy vision led the nation through a period of sweeping global change, has died at the age of 94.

Bush’s death, late Friday at his home in Houston, was announced by his son and fellow Republican, former President George W. Bush, who praised his father as “a man of the highest character.”
Born into privilege and a tradition of service, Bush was a son of a senator, celebrated World War II combat pilot, student athlete, Texas oilman, Republican congressman, national party chairman, pioneering diplomat and spy chief. After his own 1980 presidential campaign came up short, he served two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president before reaching the pinnacle of political power by winning the 1988 presidential election, soundly defeating Democrat Michael Dukakis.
After losing the White House in 1992, Bush became a widely admired political elder who leapt out of airplanes to mark birthday milestones. Emphasizing the generosity of his soul, he forged a close — and unlikely — friendship with Democrat Bill Clinton, the man who ended his presidency. When Parkinson’s disease mostly silenced him in public, Bush flashed his sense of humor by sporting colorful striped socks.

 

Republican Reform

Brian Fraley has penned (does “typed” still connotes transcription instead of original though?) a piece advocating reforms for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. I agree with all of it. Particularly, I agree with decentralizing the party, moving the HQ out of Madison and centering it in GOP country. I would note that Washington County is the most Republican county in the state…

  • First and foremost, Republican candidates and operative across the state would benefit tremendously if we decentralized power out of Madison.
  • Second, the structure should be more horizontal, less vertical. Make it easier for new leaders to rise.
  • Republicans have long championed moving several state government operations out of the Madison bubble. From forestry jobs that were moved to the North woods to human service positions that were moved to Southeast Wisconsin, the GOP’s effort to draw from talent outside of the isthmus was smart. They should emulate that at RPW. I believe it is too easy to be isolated in a self-referential feedback loop by living and working in Dane County. Why force someone in Eau Claire to uproot their family if they are the right fit for a job at the party that could be accomplished via telecommuting or working at a satellite office?
  • In the early 90s it made sense to launch a capital campaign to purchase a headquarters to house RPW operations. The Governors Walter J. Kohler building on Johnson street was a hub of activity that helped build and train a team of young, eager campaign operatives that helped us gain legislative majorities for the first time in decades. But times change. Gone are the days when thirty to forty Capitol staffers would regularly spend their lunch hour labeling and sorting bulk mail pieces for candidates. Advancement in communication and social media have also changed the way we communicate and organize. They should consider selling the building and using the proceeds to invest in regional offices, including one in Madison, but perhaps not in the high rent district.
  • I believe the finance/fundraising operations of the party should return to Southeast Wisconsin where the bulk of the state’s major donors work and live. The party should also consider moving the political/field operation to Wausau or some other strategic location in North Central Wisconsin.
  • Unlike our Democratic counterparts, the State Chairman is a volunteer position and the Executive Director serves as the chief operations manager of the state party. We should consider making the state chairman less ceremonial and more hands on, even if that requires a salary or stipend.
  • Republicans need to re-establish a vigorous ground operation in Dane County, Milwaukee County and in Western Wisconsin. I understand that demographics and politics change. But we can’t write off entire sections of the state. When we do that we lose two counties by nearly 300,000 votes. While the party should invest in infrastructure and technology, the main focus for RPW should be to develop people.
  • There will be much resistance to many of these ideas, but perhaps to none more so than this one: I believe the state party should serve as a facilitator for the county parties. They should share all their voter id, donor and other data to help counties increase their local membership. Moreover, for larger counties, we need to go back to the community branches. They worked. We had more dues-paying members in those larger counties back then. They may have been a logistical pain for the convention planners, but that system worked.
  • Some counties have done an extraordinary job year-in and year-out. The state party shouldn’t just recognize them at state convention, they should pick the brains of those leaders and find a way to emulate their successes across the state. These leaders are hold the institutional knowledge of local boots on the ground organizing that I certainly lacked when I was a 20-something RPW staffer. You don’t need a degree in political science to be a great campaign operative. I witnessed fantastic field work over the last several months by the leaders in Walworth, Washington, Marinette, Brown, Shawano, Pierce, Monroe and Sheboygan counties, to name just a few. Television and radio ads deliver messages to the masses and are extremely important. Hell, I produce and place them for a living. But without a day-to-day, peer-to-peer operation on the ground, we leave a lot of potential votes unharvested.
  • Listen and learn, too, from from the Federation of Republican Women, and the women and men who lead the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee and the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate.
  • While there are several established leaders, RPW can better facilitate training to identify and create new ones. There are a couple of thousand very active volunteers that bust their tails every campaign. There are a couple of hundred hard-core superstar grassroots leaders who have attended every one of their annual Lincoln Day dinners and the annual state conventions for the last 40 years. There are several dozen fantastic people who have basically dedicated all of their free time to keeping about a dozen of our county parties active and relevant year-round. But there are hundreds of thousands of potential volunteers and donors who could give a little of their time on a semi-regular basis. We need to harness that potential, tap into their enthusiasm and give them the opportunity to rise without having to participate for decades before assuming leadership positions.
  • Note, absent from all this is any discussion of policy. The caucus leaders in the Assembly and the Senate as well as our state’s Congressional delegation can handle the implementation of the party’s platform. The state party should be agnostic when it comes to the day-to-day political squabbles in the Madison and DC Swamps. Legislative committees handle their candidate recruitment and agenda for the session but the state party works best when it is driven by one or two elected officials.
  • Millennials often get a bad rap and we need to do a better job of reaching out to them. We need to continue to have a rigorous high school outreach and tap into the ideas and energy of our College and Young Republicans. Frankly, I’d love to see our next state chairman be someone under the age of 40. At the same time, I think the party operation would benefit from having more grey hair working on the day-to-day operations. The party will be stronger if their staff more closely resembles the pool of voters they are courting.
  • Finally, let’s make election-year conventions meaningful. If counties don’t bring their allotted number of delegates to the state convention, that’s their loss. Don’t proportion out their votes to whomever shows up from each county / branch. It would incentivize participation in the convention process. I’m also not alone in thinking that expensive, time-consuming and less-relevant “off year” conventions should be scrapped in favor of a day of service in rotating Wisconsin communities, followed by a political rally with a national speaker.

Obamagas

Heh.

The tear gas used on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border at the weekend, which prompted criticism of President Trump, was also used almost 80 times under the Obama administration, according to Homeland Security data.

Critics of Trump had denounced the action by federal agents as overkill when they used the tear gas to repel a crowd of migrants that included angry rock-throwers and barefoot, crying children.

But figures from the Department of Homeland Security, which emerged on Tuesday, show that the same gas was used more than once a month during the later years of Obama’s administration.

Critics of Trump had denounced the action by federal agents as overkill when they used the tear gas to repel a crowd of migrants that included angry rock-throwers and barefoot, crying children on Sunday at the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing

That tear gas, known as 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, was used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents a total of 126 times since 2010.

Clintons Begin Speaking Tour

You know, there was a time when it would have been considered unbecoming for an ex-president to attack the current president from a foreign nation. It was considered that because it was… and is.

Bill and Hillary Clinton launched their 13-city paid speaking tour in a Canadian hockey arena Tuesday evening, where there were banks of empty seats and the power couple accused President Trump of joining a Saudi ‘cover-up.’

The Clintons riffed on issues ranging form the U.S. elections to the Iran deal, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and the murder of Saudi dissident Khashoggi, and got a warm reception from the crowd as they jabbed at the Trump administration from north of the border.

[…]

Organizers blocked off the upper deck of seats. Officials said the Clintons sold about 3,300 seats in a venue that can hold about 19,000 for a big hockey game when the Maple Leafs play.

Mexico Suggests Payout to Keep Foreigners Out

Ummmmmmnnnnnnn… no.

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — As Mexico wrestles with what to do with more than 5,000 Central American migrants camped out at a sports complex in the border city of Tijuana, President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government signaled Tuesday that it would be willing to house the migrants on Mexican soil while they apply for asylum in the United States — a key demand of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Mexico’s new foreign minister also called on the Trump administration to contribute to development projects to help create jobs in Central America to stem the flow of migrants from the impoverished region, suggesting an appropriate figure would start at $20 billion.

The fact that there are thousands of people who want to come to America and that Mexico allowed them to stream across their country does not obligate American taxpayers to pay to fix their home countries.

Government Overestimates the Efficiency of Wind Energy

Via the Center of the American Experiment. Hat tip Powerlineblog

An industrial wind facility in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin has been decommissioned after just 20 years of service because the turbines are no longer cost effective to maintain and operate. The decommissioning of the 14 turbines took many people by surprise, even local government officials and the farmer who had five of the turbines on his property.

Why Are We So Surprised?

What’s really surprising about these wind turbines being decommissioned after 20 years is the is the fact that people were surprised by it. You’d be astonished at how many people I talk to that have no idea that wind turbines only last for 20 years, maybe 25. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory says the useful life of a wind turbine is only 20 years.

[…]

In contrast to wind, coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants can run for a very long time. Coal and natural gas plants can easily run for 50 years, and nuclear plants can be updated and retrofitted to run for 60 years. This has profound implications for the cost of electricity on a per megawatt hour basis that seemingly no one is talking about.

When the federal government puts out their cost projections for energy, the numbers they produce are called the Levelized Cost of Energy, or LCOE. These numbers are supposed to act as a measuring stick that allows policymakers to determine which energy sources will best serve their needs, but these numbers are wrong because they assume all power plants, whether they are wind, coal, natural gas, or nuclear will have a 30-year payback period.

This does two things, it artificially reduces the cost of wind power by allowing them to spread their costs over 30 years, when 20 would be much more appropriate, and it artificially inflates the cost of coal, natural gas, and nuclear by not calculating the cost over the entirety of their reasonable lifetimes.

West Bend School Board Meets Tonight

It’s a little hard to keep up, but there are three consecutive meetings of the West Bend School Board tonight for the purpose of buying land and considering a referendum for next year. Because, you know, fancy new buildings and more real estate will improve education *smh*

The Washington County Insider did us the favor of sorting through the announcements and summarizing them for us. Attend if you can. These are open to the public and all of the people who want to spend your money will be there.

NOTE that the purchase of the property requires the approval of the electors. The electors are any adult residents of the district, so show up and VOTE. Again, the people who want to spend the money will be there. If you would rather not, show up and vote in the SECOND meeting at 6:15.

Nov. 26, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Tonight, Monday, Nov. 26 the West Bend School Board will hold three meetings. Agenda items include a proposed April 2019 referendum and land purchase in Jackson.

[…]

 

The first meeting Nov. 26 is a Board Work Session at 5:15 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the Education Service Center, 735 S. Main Street, West Bend
5:15 pm, Board Room.  The meeting is open to the public.

[…]

 

The second meeting Nov. 26 is in the Education Service Center, 735 S. Main Street, West Bend 6:15 pm, Board Room Meeting of Electors  The meeting is open to the public.
[…]
The final meeting on Monday is the Regular Board of Education Meeting Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 Location: Education Service Center, 735 S. Main Street, West Bend  Time: 6:30 p.m., Board Room. The meeting is open to the public.
Note: Action Items !. 6:58 Resolution to approve the purchase of certain real property.
Category Action Items Subject  6:58 Resolution to approve the purchase of certain real property

West Bend School Board to Buy More Property

Wow. I see that the West Bend School Board is up to its usual tricks. They gave notice yesterday – the Friday after Thanksgiving – for a special meeting on Monday to vote on spending $750,000 on real estate in Jackson for a possible future school. This is despite presiding over a district with declining enrollment and $130 million in debt. Here’s the rationale:

Regardless of whether the board decides to have a referendum in spring of 2019, the property to the north of our vacant land would make our property a much better site for an elementary building. Furthermore, the purchase of this property would enable the Village of Jackson to move ahead with their plans.

It’s cute how they pretend that they might not go to referendum in spring.

Anyway, be sure to attend if you’re in town. It’s your only chance to weigh in.

The final meeting on Monday is the Regular Board of Education Meeting Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 Location: Education Service Center, 735 S. Main Street, West Bend  Time: 6:30 p.m., Board Room. The meeting is open to the public.
Note: Action Items !. 6:58 Resolution to approve the purchase of certain real property.

On guns, taxation, and tyranny

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

Governor Elect Tony Evers has begun to select his staff and he is choosing people from the far Left of the political spectrum. This indicates that Evers does not have any intention of compromising with the Republican-led legislature. Evers plans to govern from and for the radical Leftist base that elected him. Radical Leftist doctrine dictates that Evers must seek to restrict gun rights and raise taxes. Wisconsin made a lot of progress on both of those issues under Governor Scott Walker, so it is a good time to go back to basics and remember why gun rights and lower taxes are important.

When the Founders of our great nation enshrined the protection of the individual right to keep and bear arms in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, they did so for a single reason: to preserve the ability of the people to throw off a government that has become despotic.

When the Bill of Rights was written, the American experiment in self-governance was still in its infancy. The soldiers’ wounds were still healing from the long war of secession from the Great Britain and the dead were still being mourned by their families. Newly minted Americans had paid a heavy price to throw off one despotic government and knew that it would take just as much blood if they had to do it again.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms does not exist for the purpose of hunting, shooting sports, or even self-defense. It exists, as the Declaration of Independence says, so that, “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.” Throwing off a government requires an armed populace, which is why every tyrannical regime in the history of humankind has disarmed its citizens.

Americans are free because they are armed, and they are armed because they are free.

One of the principal powers granted to any government is the power to tax. At its best, a good government will collect taxes from the citizenry and use it for things that are for the general good, and for which the private sector is ill-equipped to do. The obvious things that fit this kinds of use of tax dollars are the military, law enforcement, large infrastructure needs, border enforcement, etc. At its worst, a bad government will collect taxes from the citizenry and use them to enrich favored people, oppress other people, or just waste the tax money. Welfare, corporate cronyism, wasteful government spending, etc. are examples of bad governance.

A totalitarian government can be a good government, but it is illegitimate without the consent of the governed. Conversely, a representative government can be a bad government when a tyranny of the majority fleeces a minority for its own gain.

In a totalitarian government, the power to tax is absolute and people must pay what the autocrat demands, or suffer consequences ranging from confiscation to imprisonment to death. In a representative government, the only difference is that it is not a single autocrat demanding the tax, but the majority of citizens. The consequences of refusing to pay a tax in a representative government is the same as in a totalitarian government.

Governments, whether totalitarian or representative, are the only entity in a civil society with the legal power to commit violence. That violence is directed against enemies of the nation in the form of a military, and it is directed against citizens of the nation who disobey the laws set forth by the government. The power of government is based on applied violence.

Oppressive taxes are not only a drain on our economy and fuel for bad government, but it siphons the ability of individuals to pursue their own happiness. Every dollar a government spends is a dollar that was taken from someone who can no longer use it for their own needs and wants.

Over the next several years, we can expect the Evers Administration to make a strong push to restrict gun rights and raise taxes. State legislators and the citizens of Wisconsin must see through the toxic rhetorical gas and fight for principles of more gun rights and less taxes.

Walker Appoints Schimel as Judge

Good move.

Gov. Scott Walker is appointing outgoing AG Brad Schimel to a vacancy on the Waukesha County Circuit Court.

The move comes a day after Schimel formally conceded the AG’s race to Dem rival Josh Kaul, who won by 17,190 votes. Schimel took the weekend to considered whether to seek a recount, but decided against requesting one.

“Brad Schimel has diligently served the State of Wisconsin as attorney general and the citizens of Waukesha County as district attorney,” Walker said. “Schimel has shown a commitment to the rule of law and the State of Wisconsin. He will continue to faithfully serve our state as Waukesha County Circuit Court judge.”