Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s Speech: More Red Ink And Blowing Smoke

On Tuesday night Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will enter the statehouse amid what is expected to be a major winter storm blowing across the state.  Winter winds are expected to be at blizzard  proportions. 

Governor Walker will stand in the State Assembly Chambers and give his first State Of The State address.  It is then a wind of a different type will blow. 

Some might refer to Governor Walker’s gusts as blowing smoke.

News that Governor Walker signed a bill that removes two years of taxes for any business that moves  to Wisconsin sounds grand on the face of it.  After all, it gives the impression that Walker is pro-active and determined to fulfill his campaign pledge of  creating jobs.

There was also the report that Walker added $25 million in tax credits to a state economic development program.  Again, the push for economic development is in high gear.  Who could oppose such bold and decisive action in this time of economic turmoil?

What is not so apparent at first blush when reading about all this energized action from the Walker team is that as a result of these moves, and others like it, the size of the state’s huge budget deficit is growing.

Let us not forget that just a few months ago there was a hue and cry that serious-minded Republicans were needed to be elected to stop the red ink from flowing.  They repeated in mantra-type speeches the state faced a $3.3 billion shortfall in the 2011-’13 budget, and careless spending had to end. 

And now!

Yet the special session bills that Walker and his Republicans seem intent on marshalling through the legislative process increases the red ink in the 2011-’13 budget by up to $142 million.

Clearly deeper budget cuts in Wisconsin are going to be required from health programs, education, transportation, local aids, and countless other sources to make up for the cozy relations that business is about to enjoy in Wisconsin.

As I have been watching all this take place at the Capitol I have pondered two points.

First, after Congressional Republicans in Washington forced an extension of the Bush tax cuts in late December many of those same people are outraged that the federal deficit projections continue to be a red-inked tsunami. 

It was as if those Republicans had not read the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation report showing households earning more than $1 million a year would reap nearly $31 billion in tax breaks under the GOP idea of allowing the rich to keep their tax cuts.  Or that all those tax cuts would create more red ink for the federal government.

Republicans like to paint liberal Democrats as the ones who spend foolishly without regard to the fiscal impact on the budget.  Should not the Republicans admit to foolishly providing tax cuts of one type of another at every opportunity regardless of the harm it causes to the budget?

Second, I thought that the Republicans were opposed to stimulus funding.  Was it not the GOP that scoffed at the idea of using the government to prime the pump of the economy for the past two years?  Yet, here in Wisconsin the GOP are now passing clearly stimulative tax measures, and we are all to think it is a good idea.

If only blowing smoke were an art form………..

The bottom line is that there will be a price to be paid for the  ‘anything for business’ atmosphere that is all the rage in Governor Walker’s Wisconsin.

The ones smoking the cigars at the Madison Club are not the ones to feel the wrath of the budget cuts.  The inner city kids, the elderly, college students, public employees, and countless others will suffer.

I suspect when the State Of The State speech is over there will be many such as myself who will feel the need to step outside into the cold brisk snowy night and clear our heads.

Question is who will air out the Assembly Chamber after Walker’s speech?

Father Of Two Powerful Wisconsin Republican Lawmakers Wants To Head State Patrol

Should one who was trounced in a county-wide sheriff’s race this past year be placed into the position to head Wisconsin’s State Patrol?  Should he use his powerful sons in the State Legislature to get the job?  Should one be embarrassed enough to not even try for a job when knowing it will look overtly political on its face?

Just asking.

There are times when one has to just stand back and be amazed at the audacity exhibited by others.  This would be one of those times.

At age 68, and with a few feathers already in his hat, I suggest Stephen Fitzgerald not use his sons’ political positions to leverage himself a job.  It makes him look small, and it makes the process seem smarmy.

Appearances matter, and no matter how one dices this story it ends in the same way.  No one comes out looking good.

One of his sons serves as Assembly Speaker, and the other son serves as Senate Majority leader.   Good taste might dictate that the father take a step back and let public service  be handled by the newer generation of Fitzgeralds. 

The father of the state’s two most powerful lawmakers is seeking to serve as the head of the State Patrol under Gov. Scott Walker.

Stephen Fitzgerald, 68, has served as Dodge County sheriff and a U.S. marshal in the Western District of Wisconsin – a position he left in May. His sons – Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) – took over the top positions in their respective houses following Republican victories in November’s elections.

Walker, also a Republican, confirmed Monday that Stephen Fitzgerald was seeking the State Patrol job after soundly losing a GOP primary in September to return to his former job as Dodge County sheriff.

Israel Deeply Worried Over Fate Of Mubarak and Future of Egypt

I have been fascinated by the developments in not only Egypt as the people are taking to the streets for freedoms, but also in other places in the Middle East as they try to understand unfolding events and think about the future of a post-Mubarak era. 

No where are the concerns greater than in Israel.

The New York Times has an excellent read today about the thinking that needs to take place among those who thought they were in a hard place before the events now unfolding.   Now Israel might truly be about to know the hard place.

Israelis worry that Jordan is in a precarious state and a successful overthrow in Egypt could spread there. And if the Muslim Brotherhood were to gain power in Egypt, that would probably mean not only a stronger Islamist force in Gaza but also in the West Bank, currently run by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, as well as in Jordan, meaning Israel would feel surrounded in a way it has not in decades.

If Egypt also turned unfriendly, that would quite likely stop in its tracks any further Israeli talk of peace negotiations with the Palestinians, officials and analysts said. A peace treaty with the West Bank would involve yielding territory and military control to a relatively weak Palestinian Authority. Trading land for peace with autocrats like Mr. Mubarak, some analysts say, is not a sound basis for enduring treaties.

For the military here, a serious change in Egypt means a strategic shift in planning. Giora Eiland, a former national security adviser and a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said even if Egypt did not cancel its peace treaty with Israel tomorrow or in five years, a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood would mean “you can’t exclude the possibility of a war with Egypt.”

“During the last 30 years,” he said, “when we had any military confrontation, whether in the first or second Lebanon wars, the intifadas, in all those events we could be confident that Egypt would not try to intervene militarily.”

Dan Schueftan, director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, said thanks to its treaty with Egypt, Israel had reduced its defense expenditure from 23 percent of its gross national product in the 1970s to 9 percent today and made serious cuts in its army. The relationship with Egypt also allowed Israel to withdraw from Gaza in 2005, since Egypt covered Gaza from the south.

Tea Party Hangover In Wisconsin…And The First Step For A Cure

Hat tip to Andrew.

Egyptian Army Will Not Use Force On Citizens

Another sign.  The days for Hosni Mubarak are numbered.

Egypt’s army has vowed it will not use force against the tens of thousands of people protesting for the removal of the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

It said it respected the “legitimate rights of the people”.

The statement comes ahead of a massive march planned for Cairo on Tuesday and amid a call for a general strike. 

Look Where Fox News Put Egypt On A Map!

See why I call it FAUX News?

From Facebook……..

Olivia Warnecke’s Photos – Mobile Uploads

New Wisconsin DNR Logo

Lunchtime As Winter Storm Begins In Madison, Wisconsin

“I wonder if these kind souls will keep this pantry stocked during the entire winter storm?”