Robin Vos’s Title Loan Trip Troubles

Robin Vos’s Title Loan Trip Troubles

Company pays for his trip to London, he backs less regulations on its high interest loans.

By – Apr 16th, 2018 01:57 pm

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’s ties to a title loan company in Georgia have put him in hot water.


As Jason Stein and Patrick Marley have reported for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, two lobbyists for the title loan company, Select Management Resources, went on a trip to London with Vos last August. The trip was paid for by the GOPAC Education Fund.

The CEO of Select Management Resources, Rod Aycox, has been a big donor to Republicans in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign notes that on October 5, 2016, Rod Aycox gave his largest donation, $20,000, to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee in Wisconsin, which Vos controls.

Just a few weeks earlier, Vos had sent a letter to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau in Washington, D.C., complaining that some regulations that had been proposed would be “so cumbersome they would effectively eliminate the short-term lending industry in Wisconsin.”

A 2016 report by WisPIRG found that Wisconsin residents pay a whopping average annual percentage rate of 589 percent on loans from this short-term lending industry.

According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Rod and his wife, Leslie, gave a total of $96,500 to candidates and legislative campaign committees between 2006 and 2018. All but $1,000 went to Republicans; they haven’t given to Democrats in more than a decade.


How bad is the Fox Con? Rilly, rilly baaad

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Via Brad G.
~Thank you greedy, ignorant and evil Republicans.~
At what point do you stop allowing yourselves to be manipulated and see that you are screwing us all?


Carrie Scherpelz: “Fellow Wisconsinites, you must read this to believe it. WIGOP governing malfeasance.

“Taxpayer-funded subsidies could run as much as $587,000 per Foxconn job. WI could have hired thousands of people to do more valuable work – like teaching, policing, nursing, etc. – and still saved money. Instead, Walker’s plan means WI won’t break even on its bailout for more than 25 years. And since Foxconn can close the plant in as little as 10 years, there’s a very real chance that taxpayers could be funding an empty factory for decades to come.

“But wait: It gets worse. None of this factors in the additional millions for pollution cleanup. Foxconn has been repeatedly accused of dumping toxic metals into waterways near its other plants. And before he resigned in disgrace, Trump’s EPA chief Scott Pruitt exempted the Wisconsin facility from federal limits on air emissions. On the day it opens, it’s expected to immediately become the state’s largest polluter.

“But the most glaring blunder was revealed last week. Wisconsin residents could end up bankrolling employees who don’t even work… in Wisconsin.

“That’s the recent finding of the Fiscal Bureau, a nonpartisan arm of the state legislature. It discovered that taxpayers would be on the hook for funding Foxconn employees in other states, as long as their paychecks are run through the Wisconsin plant.

“Republican lawmakers seem to sense they’ve created an exploding cigar in waiting. Earlier this month, before new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers takes office, they passed a bill ensuring that residents will be kept from knowing exactly where their money is going.”

Scott Walker’s parting gift: A corporate welfare deal costing each Wisconsin taxpayer $1,800

As you may recall, the soon-to-be-ex governor once promised that by slashing everything from taxes to education funding, Wisconsin would become the roaring engine of the Upper Midwest.

It didn’t quite work out that way. Minnesota went the opposite direction, and now crushes its neighbor in nearly every meaningful economic category.

So last year, Walker threw a Hail Mary. With the encouragement of Dealmaker in Chief Donald Trump, Walker offered the country’s largest corporate welfare deal to Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese manufacturer of display screens for Apple.

It’s now become the worst rich man’s welfare package in U.S. history. And with each new revelation, it just keeps getting worse.

Begin with the fact that, as corporate citizens go, Foxconn falls somewhere between Enron and Mussolini.

Read the whole piece on City Pages

And… If you want to really delve into how rilly, rilly baaaad the Fox Con is, please visit James Rowens’s Political Environment

compilation of 250+ posts about how bad it is with Foxconn.


History — Academic Freedom at UW; the Role of the University in State Government

“When the test came years ago the university met it boldly where some other institutions faltered or failed. The declaration of freedom was made by the Board of Regents in 1894 when Dr. Richard T. Ely was tried for economic heresy:

” ‘ We cannot for a moment believe that knowledge has reached its final goal or that the present constitution of society is perfect…In all lines of investigation…the investigator should be absoluely free to follow the paths of truth wherever they may lead. Whever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe the great State of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.’

“This declaration of freedom was framed by Herbert W. Chnoweth, then a member of the board, now deceased, and it was incorporated as a plank in the last Republican state platform as a pledge of the party to sustain the academic freedom of the university. It has also been inscribed on a monument erected by a recent graduating class.

“In no state of the Union are the relationships between the university and the people of the state so intimate and so mutually helpful as in Wisconsin. We believe that the purpose of the university is to serve the people, and every effort is made through correspondence courses, special courses, housekeepers’ conferences, farmers’ institutes, experimental stations and the like to bring every resident of the state under the broadening and inspiring influence of a faculty of trained men. At the same time the highest standards of education in the arts and in the professions are maintained in the university itself.

“In other ways the influence of the university has been profound. When I was governor, I sought the constant advice and service of the trained men of the institution in meeting the difficult problems which confrronted the state. Many times when harassed by the conditions which confronted me, I have called in for conference President Van Hise, Dr. Ely, Professor Commons, Dr. Reinsch and others.

“I made it a further policy, in order to bring all the services of knowledge and inspiration of the university more fully to the service of the people, to appoint experts from the university whenever possible upon the important boards of the state–the civil service commission, the railroad commission and so on–a relationship which the unversity has always encouraged and by which the state has greatly profited. Many of the university staff are no in state service…

“…During the last session of the legislature a Saturday lunch club was organized, at which the governor, and some of the state officers and legislators regularly meet the university professors–Van Hise, Ross, Reinsch, Commons, Ely, Scott, Meyer, McCarthy and others–to discussion the problems of the state. Such meetings as these are a tremendous force in bringing about intelligent democratic government; they are very different from the old-time secret, back-room conferences of bosses which once controlled Wisconsin in the interest of private corporations. It is not, indeed, surprising that Dr. Eliot of Harvard, after an examination of the work done at Madison should have called Wisconsin “the leading State University,” for in every possible way it has endeavored to make itself a great democratic institution–a place of free thought, free investigation, free speech, and of consant and unremitting service to the people who give it life. ”
(pp. 32-33)


La Follette’s Autobigraphy: A personal narrative of political experiences.” Robert M. La Follette .Madison, WI: The Robert M. La Follette Co. 1911, 1913, pp. 29-33.

The Part which the University has played in the Wisconsin Revolution

“It is difficult, indeed, to overestimate the part which the university has played in the Wisconsin revolution. For myself, I owe what I am and what I have done largely to the inspiration I received while there. It was not so much the actual course of study which I pursued; it was rather the spirit of the institution–a high spirit of earnest endeavor, a spirit of fresh interest in new things, and beyond all else a sense that somehow the state and the university were intimately related, and that they should be of mutual service.”

“The guiding spirit of my time, and the man to whom Wisconsin owes a debt greater than it can ever pay, was its President, John Bascom.


John Bascom, Pres. University of Wisconsin, 1874-1887


“I never saw Ralph Waldo Emerson, but I should say that John Bascom was a man of much his type, both in appearance and in character. He was the embodiment of moral force and moral enthusiasm; and he was in advance of his time in feeling the new social forces and in emphasizing the new social responsibilities…

“In those days we did not so much get correct political and economic views, for there was then less teaching of sociology or political economy worthy the name, but what we somehow did get, and largely from Bascom, was a proper attitude toward public affairs…” (p.28)

“In all my fights in Wisconsin, the university and the students have always stood firmly behind me. In a high sense the university has been the repository of progressive ideas; it has always enjoyed both free thought and free speech…” (p.29)

La Follette’s Autobigraphy: A personal narrative of political experiences.” Robert M. La Follette .Madison, WI: The Robert M. La Follette Co. 1911, 1913.


Vinehout: What does Foxconn mean to me?

What Does Foxconn Mean to Me?

Kathleen Vinehout, WI State Senator District 31
Posted on November 01, 2018

kathleen vinehout

“Hard to wrap my head around,” the woman shared as she considered Foxconn. Just what do big budget decisions mean to us?

Work has begun on crafting the next state budget. Over the next few months, this work will continue in earnest. One hefty unbudgeted expense added to upcoming budget math is a large taxpayer funded payment to a foreign corporation.

Foxconn is the Taiwanese company building a manufacturing plant in southeast Wisconsin. To lure the company to our state, majority lawmakers and the governor created the largest state corporate give-away in American history.

The first big Foxconn payment, nearly $470 million, will come out of our next two-year budget. There is no pot of money set aside for this payment. Budget writers are faced with three choices: increase borrowing, increase taxes, or take money from other parts of state government.

When you consider the trade-offs lawmakers must make in the next budget, it is helpful to think of our tax dollars (mostly income and sales tax) like a checking account that pays for five big items. About eighty-five percent of our general fund money goes to pay for health care, K-12 education, colleges and universities, corrections and local government. Money for roads and bridges are in a separate fund.

All five areas of these areas are challenged; by chronic underfunding, growing caseloads, rising social problems (like drug addiction) and shifting demographics (for example, an aging population).

What kind of budget trade-offs must be made by budget writers to absorb the new money commitments made to Foxconn? Let’s start with the largest part of the general fund: K-12 education.

Our children’s education makes up about a third of the general fund spending. This includes the private subsidies known as vouchers. While public spending for private schools has grown dramatically, overall education revenue as a percent of our budget has steadily dropped. Over the past 15 years or so, Wisconsin moved from spending a little more than forty percent to spending less than a third of our general fund on schools.

Reviewing work by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB), one can easily see that money to public schools has still not been fully restored from the deep cuts in state aid made in the governor’s first budgets.

Looking forward to the next eight years, Wisconsin is committed to sending over two billion dollars to Foxconn. To give some context to these payments, consider this – the estimated payments to Foxconn for five of the next eight years is larger than the largest funding increase to public schools in any of the last eight years.

Repairing roads and bridges are another priority returning lawmakers must consider. Many suggest a nickel increase (about 16%) in the gas tax to keep road funds balanced. Number crunching by the LFB put this request in context. The LFB calculated that to pay for Foxconn over the next six years, Wisconsin would need to increase the gas tax by over thirty percent.

That’s without putting another dime of the new gas tax money into roads, bridges, harbors or rail, which are vital investments to a thriving Wisconsin economy.

We cannot spend money twice. Once state leaders prioritize a project like Foxconn, they limit other priorities, such as schools and roads.

Once state leaders started down the road of cash payments to corporations, they find it difficult to stop. Just a few weeks ago, our Senate Majority Leader announced a Special Senate Session to consider another large corporate subsidy to the Kimberly Clark Corporation. The decision to pass this corporate subsidy by majority Senators would further limit budget options for future leaders.

Budgets reflect our values and priorities. They set our choices and chart our state’s course well into the future.

The budget is the one bill the governor writes. Deliberations on the governor’s budget is the first significant job of any lawmaker in a new session. We don’t often think of the importance of budget actions, but it is THE most impactful legislative decision affecting our communities.

Citizens would be wise to consider how future leaders will make decisions on state priorities. Get involved. And, remember to vote!

Clint Jones: “Enchantment and the Madness of Science”

The lecture series by Clint Jones put on by UW-Stevens Point Eco-Socialists has dealt with the themes of “monstrosity” — the stranger, the creature, the monster. In the final talk, we see how we are confronted by ourselves, humanity, as “monster.” This traces back to the way humanity has come to exist on top of, dominant over, nature, the Earth.  Clint makes the strong argument that it is time for us to learn a new way of being in the world, enmeshed in it, part of nature. The role of science should be to learn how the world works, not dominate nor control nor try to “improve” on it and in the end, create monstrosity.

UW-Stevens Point James Baird Callicott Discussion Series
With Dr. Clint Jones, Philosophy Dept.

“Enchantment and the Madness of Science” Part 1
Final Fall Session

“Enchantment and the Madness of Science” Part 2
The witch, the sophist, the scientist.

“Enchantment and the Madness of Science” Part 3 Q & A
Final Fall Session at Collins Classroom Center
at Collins Classroom Center 101

“Enchantment and the Madness of Science” Part 4 Q & A

“Enchantment and the Madness of Science” Part 5 Q & A
Final Fall Session at Collins Classroom Center
at Collins Classroom Center 101

Yellow Vests Movement Official Charter

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This was furnished us by Scott McLarty, media coordinator of Green Party U.S. The source is unknown at time of posting, and would certainly seem to be the official position of at best a smaller faction within the hastily-organized general protest movement. As more details come out regarding how this Charter was developed, and by whom, we’ll add them to the story.


WI Legislature “Power Grabs” long before Evers election: Crippling local government

Questions? Submissions? Email Us!

If you were thinking that the “Wisconsin Power Grab” that began when Boss Vos and Senator Fitzgerald decided in November 2018, after losing statewide office elections, that it would be a good idea to prevent the newly-elected statewide Constitutional officers from governing…

well, you’ve been missing a LOT of “power grabs.” And these aren’t partisan fights either. These are power grabs by a power-hungry, one-party corporate state which were designed to cripple, or strangle, or “drown in a bathtub” your local governments in Wisconsin. All of which are governed by non-partisan elected officials chosen in non-partisan elections.

Here’s the List of these power grabs, as of May 1, 2018, totaling 160 (and counting) at the time.

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