Neumann vs. Thompson

Some folks seem to think the Wisconsin Club for Growth has picked sides in the 2012 United State Senate race in Wisconsin.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Under our charter, the Wisconsin Club for Growth takes no position on federal candidates. Likewise, the National Club for Growth takes no position on Wisconsin state or local candidates.The confusion among some people stems from recent advertisements run by the National Club for Growth regarding former Governor Tommy Thompson.

The National Club for Growth and Wisconsin Club for Growth are completely separate and independent organizations. Wisconsin Club for Growth focuses exclusively on state and local issue advocacy. We do get involved in Federal elections.

Furthermore, the Wisconsin Club was not consulted nor informed in advance of the recent advertising campaign. We first learned of the ad when it began airing on Fox News.

To be clear, Wisconsin Club for Growth does not intend to issue statements or offer opinions about candidates for United States Senate.

If you have comments regarding the recent advertising campaign, please contact the National Club for Growth at http://www.clubforgrowth.com .

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Looks like we’ve started something…

You probably don’t need to be reminded of the nationwide historic significance of what’s happened in Wisconsin government over the past eight months, but it feels good to say it.

For roughly half a century state and local political realities have been shaped by a corrupt symbiosis between unions and intrusive, expansionist government.

Union dues taken involuntarily from workers were (and still are) invested in making sure government keeps union dues flowing. In short, your tax dollars have bankrolled a never-ending campaign to expand government and make you pay higher taxes.

Wisconsin has launched a literal revolution against this political racket, and the nation is watching. Former Capitol staffer Christian Schneider wrote about it for National Review Online.

In suburban Milwaukee, the Brown Deer school district is implementing a plan to allow performance pay for its best teachers. “No Wisconsin public-school district has ever had the opportunity in any of our lifetimes to even think about these things,” said Brown Deer Public Schools finance director Emily Koczela in an interview with a local television station. “We’re looking at understanding what effective teaching is, how to measure it in the children’s point of view, and how to reward teachers that consistently turn in a performance that’s better than the norm,” added Koczela.

Similar uprisings are happening elsewhere.  Looking in panic to 2012, unions are spending potentially irreplaceable millions on a November referendum where Ohio voters will decide whether reforms enacted this spring will stand. As with Wisconsin’s recalls, they’re emptying the checkbook in an all-or-nothing bid to revive their money machine in time for next year’s climactic showdown.

The Columbus Dispatch is finding union members who aren’t on the same page as their “leaders.” Interestingly, the Columbus newspaper mentions a prominent player in the campaign to repeal the reforms, called “We Are Ohio.”  In the recent state Senate recalls, “We Are Wisconsin” turned out to be nothing but a front group for national unions.  Tip for Ohio voters: They weren’t Wisconsin, and they aren’t Ohio.

Instructional video

The MacIver Institute strikes again, with videotape of Leftist punks and slobs attempting to disrupt and intimidate people who are providing children with something all too rare in Milwaukee: quality education.

The scene is Messemer Preparatory School, where the vast majority of kids go on to college, in stark contrast with kids taught by (some of) the protesters seen on the tape. The kids doomed to attend Milwaukee Public Schools go on, in shocking percentages, not to college but to a life of illiteracy, innumeracy and cultural ignorance unless they somehow find a way to teach themselves.  Brace yourselves before watching the MacIver video. It reminds us to be grateful to the Left for once again unintentionally doing the rest of us a favor.

For years Brother Bob Smith has been building strong minds at Messemer. But there’s one thing Brother Bob can’t give his students. It’s priceless, and the protesters delivered it free of charge.

They allowed the students to personally witness what human beings can easily become without the discipline and sense of decency that open the door to learning in Messemer classrooms.  The kids got to see what happens when people choose to define themselves by who they hate rather than by what they can do.

It’s a lesson few of the Messemer students are likely ever to forget. And sadly for some of the people on the picket line, it may well have been the only effective teaching they’ve ever done.

Try suing Jim Doyle

As far back as when she was Wisconsin’s drunk-driving Democrat Attorney General it was widely known there was no love lost between Peg Lautenschlager and the man who preceded her in the A-G’s office, then-Governor Jim Doyle.

So he might be the one she’d prefer to be suing on behalf of her client, the Wisconsin State Employees Union (WSEU).  Arguably he’d be a more appropriate defendant than the current state government.

Let us explain.

In 2009, the Doyle administration wrested agreements from various bargaining units to take 16 unpaid furlough days to help balance a fundamentally unsound state budget.

This year the Walker administration decided that the Association of State Prosecutors—mainly assistant district attorneys—needn’t take all 16 days, having taken several furlough days prior to the Doyle agreements.

Now Lautenschlager and the WSEU are suing to be paid for six furlough days, compensation to which they have no claim under the terms they agreed to back in ’09.

The big picture is this: Doyle submits one smoke-and-mirrors budget after another, raising everybody’s taxes and stiffing his supposed union buddies for a few weeks’ salary through unpaid furloughs.

Then along comes Scott Walker, who’s accused of waging war against state workers. He preserves union members’ jobs, balances the budget without layoffs or furloughs or tax increases, and by the way, tells the prosecutors they’ve already done their share and don’t need to give up all 16 days, and that triggers a union lawsuit.

It would speak better of the union leadership if they were actually insane.  Most of their no-longer-mandatory members are smart enough to figure that out.

A failed frame-up

Police reports of statements given by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices in the bogus “choke-hold” incident show that if any member of the Court has been lucky to escape liability, it’s Ann Walsh Bradley, not David Prosser.

For weeks, Capitol insiders had been saying Liberal Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and her Mini-Me Bradley desperately needed the affair to disappear.  Why?

Because other Justices’ statements verify that Prosser was falsely accused by Bradley.  Prosser is joined by two others saying Bradley advanced on him rapidly, jabbing her clenched fist in his face.  It’s specifically confirmed that Justice Roggensack said “Ann, this isn’t like you,” and physically pulled Bradley away from Prosser.

No one with an ounce of compassion would have wanted this episode to go on any longer, for Prosser’s sake.  But slander rates no compassion.  It would have been endlessly entertaining to watch Bradley’s tale wither and decompose in open court, before the eyes of Wisconsin voters.  Bradley and the Chief had to find a way out that wouldn’t be too laughably obvious.

That the job of reviewing and ultimately discarding the case was handed off to an elected Republican district attorney isn’t hard to understand. The series of Democrats who ran this railroad from day one could no more tolerate one of their own pulling the plug than they could afford to risk two of their favorite jurists trying to hold their flimsy story together under oath.

If there’s one piece of this that deserves to be remembered, it’s what it says about the credibility of Bradley and Abrahamson. It also speaks about the Dane County “justice” system that played the angles for two months before concluding it had better find a way to flush the whole, stinking mess.

WEAC on the wane

We can’t recall anyone looking at a state budget one month after it took effect and remarking on how it had worked. But the current budget is no business-as-usual tax and spending plan. At the beginning of August, one month in, changes were already measurable.

For instance, Democrats said school districts would suffer terribly.

Let’s check that out:

  • Appleton—saves $3.1 million through competition among health insurance providers.
  • Ashland—saved almost $378,000 thanks to being free to choose its health insurance provider.
  • Baraboo—switched insurance providers to save $660,000 next year.
  • Edgerton—anticipates insurance savings of $500,000.
  • Elmbrook—estimates savings through health insurance changes at $878,000.
  • Fond du Lac—will save enough to offset a $4.4 million budget shortfall.
  • Kaukauna—will hire more teachers, reduce class sizes and introduce merit pay.
  • Kimberly—saved $821,000 by changing insurance providers.

This represents only one aspect of the budget bill’s positive impact, breaking the teacher union’s near-monopoly status as health insurance provider to school districts, It may be only the beginning.

For decades WEAC, the statewide teacher union, has been the 800-pound gorilla of Wisconsin politics. WEAC and affiliates directed almost $900,000 against Republican senators in last week’s recalls, and that’s just what legally has to be reported. But just as school districts are now free to choose insurance providers, public employees are now free to decide annually whether their union is doing them any good and whether to pay the dues government employers will no longer automatically withhold. School districts can recognize a chance to save money. We’ll bet their employees can too.

WEAC waning II

Monday WEAC Executive Director Dan Burkhalter announced that layoff notices had been issued to 40% of the organization’s staff.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Burkhalter blamed the layoffs and other budget cuts at WEAC on Gov. Scott Walker’s “union-busting” legislation.

It’s easy to understand why Burkhalter is so upset.  Before Governor Walker’s collective bargaining reforms, Burkhalter’s $242,000 annual compensation  package was paid from the forced union dues of Wisconsin school teachers.  Now he has to convince school teachers to voluntarily write a check to the union for their services.

Good luck with that, Mr. Burkhalter.