Monday, May 2, 2016

Koch brothers buying kid’s brain???







A protest in Palm Springs.

A protest in Palm Springs. (Photo: The Desert Sun)

Funding for the state’s universities doesn't usually include “earmarks” for specific programs favored by right-wing billionaires.

That kind of blatant politicizing of academic integrity doesn’t happen in state-run, state-owned institutions of higher learning.

Except here.

(And several other universities around the country.)

In a cleverly subversive but legal way Arizona State University and the University of Arizona are now owned – in part – by billionaires Charles and David Koch, the dark knights of the  “dark money” who helped Gov. Doug Ducey get elected,.

According to a telling report by The Arizona Republic’s  Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, five million tax dollars would be specifically allocated from the pending state budget to the “freedom centers” at the two universities that were created with the generous financial assistance of the billionaire brothers.

The Charles Koch Foundation gave $3.5 million in ASU's new Center for the Study of Economic Liberty in order to spread the brothers political and economic philosophy in the guise of academic scholarship. In addition, ASU accepted more than $1 million in Koch money for a history professor's position in the Center for Political Thought and Leadership, a job right out of the public relations department of the billionaires.

Then there is the UA Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and, likewise, with lectures that should be titled Koch 101, Koch 102, etc.

According to Ducey’s spokesman Daniel Scarpinato, “The governor ... believes it’s important that students in our university system are exposed to a broad range of viewpoints and academic views on a number of issues, including economics. So this fits in with that priority.”

In other words, we’re spending tax dollars for Koch brothers' propaganda. In this case, $3 million for ASU’s center and $2 million for UA’s.

It’s a form of ivy-covered brainwashing.

Democrats at the Legislature have complained, but they don’t have the numbers to stop it.

“These freedom schools advocate for things that will help to abolish public education as we know it,” said Democratic Minority Leader Eric Meyer said. “We have all these needs, and they’re talking about $5 million for a think tank that spews out propaganda.”


On the bright side, Koch Brothers University only has branch campuses at UA and ASU. For now. If Ducey and his friends in the Legislature persist, it someday will be the other way around.

At least then the devil mascot will be appropriate.

Above is from:

Sun-Times: Roeder’s Opinion on Rauner



Gov. Bruce Rauner has an unhealthy relationship with bad news. He really needs negativity. It’s a strange place for a politician to find himself, since they are usually addicted to taking credit for any scrap of good news.

Rauner, however, has to make people believe that as an economic player Illinois is last, weakest, worst and so on to rally support for a “turnaround agenda” that enriches companies and the super wealthy. For the sake of that agenda, he’s blocked any reasonable state budget, holding hostage contractors and state universities that rely on public money.



A good example of the Rauner spin occurred in mid-March, when the federal government released revised data on jobs and unemployment for all the states. The revision, based on fine-tuning of statistical methods, showed that Illinois gained 52,600 jobs last year, vs. a prior estimate of a loss of 3,000 jobs. Rauner’s Department of Employment Security buried that fact in a news release emphasizing that Illinois’ job growth was “anemic” and worse than the rates of other Midwestern states.

But Rauner can’t depend on pessimism much longer. Economic trends in Illinois, after showing strong improvement the last few years, are getting worse under his watch. His budget ploy can’t be helping, as it is causing a widening circle of layoffs. First it was social service agencies, then state universities and next up might be tourism because Illinois has no money for seeking visitors.
Dig into the federal numbers a little deeper, and you see that job growth in the state has slowed considerably since the latter half of 2015 and unemployment has risen — from 5.8 percent in August 2015 to 6.5 percent in March 2016, even as the national unemployment rate held steady or declined slightly.

Rauner would say that his agenda must be enacted to put Illinois on the right track and fix the economy. But the facts don’t support his claims. His case comes down to three assertions that have made for standard right-wing talking points, but none stand up to scrutiny.

1. The 2011 increase in income tax rates killed jobs.

The tax hike is not what hurt the state. Illinois’ jobless rate rose to 10 percent in August 2011, a few months after the tax hike was enacted, but then began a steady decline that picked up steam in 2013 and 2014. Job growth, and Illinois’ performance relative to its Midwestern neighbors, also improved during those years. All that has changed now that Rauner is playing budget brinksmanship, not exactly the “turnaround” he had in mind.

2. Illinois taxes are uncompetitive with other states.

Illinois’ overall tax rate is competitive. Consider the big-ticket items: individual and sales taxes. Except for the nine states that have no income tax, Illinois’ 3.75 percent flat rate is among the lowest. Even the old rate of 5 percent that stabilized state finances was relatively low. Unlike Illinois, most states have a progressive income tax that charges more for higher earners on a percentage basis.

Indiana, at a flat 3.3 percent, can claim a lower statewide rate, but watch out: Each county in Indiana collects an additional income tax that can amount to another percentage point or two. Illinois has no county income tax.

As for the sales tax, Illinois has so many exemptions that Rauner himself plus respected agencies such as the Civic Federation have suggested broadening it to include services from haircuts to legal fees.

The Illinois Economic Policy Institute examined total state tax loads on individuals and found that in Illinois, the rate in 2013 was slightly lower than in Indiana or Wisconsin.

3. A steady stream of people and businesses are moving out of Illinois.

Rauner conjures images of moving vans bound for neighboring states to create false urgency behind his non-budgetary agenda.

KDM Consulting examined tax data to conclude that any net loss of people from Illinois to Indiana and Wisconsin was explained by Illinois’ larger population. Its report also said that out-migration declined over the last 20 years.

In 2013, a nonprofit alliance called the Illinois Innovation Network examined Dun & Bradstreet data from 2012 and concluded the state had no large-scale loss of companies and workers to its neighbors. Some left, but they were replaced by an inflow from those states, an important point given the much larger economy in Illinois.

In other words, Rauner’s policy goals are based on false or misleading claims, and that’s more troubling than a governor who wallows in bad news.

David Roeder is a research fellow at Innovation Illinois, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to progressive public policies that advance equitable economic growth. He was a longtime business writer and columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times and served, when Pat Quinn was governor, in the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Above is from:

Petitions opposing GLB RR

The Rhubarb

April 26 at 5:06pm ·

ATTENTION ALL BOONE COUNTY RESIDENTS! Petitions are still being circulated and collected in regards to the Great Lakes Basin Railroad. They will be sent to the Surface Transportation Board in time for the June 15 deadline for public comment.

If you would like a petition to sign or have a signed petition you would like to drop off you may stop by the following business:

R.J. Daniels Fuel and Tire...
8094 Fairgrounds Road
Belvidere, IL 61008
Any questions please ask for Ang Daniels
There is a Block GLB Railroad sign in the yard.

Business hours are:
Monday-Friday 7am-5pm
Saturday 7am-12pm

The Rhubarb's photo.

RR Star On the agenda: Walking school bus, youth court, railroad and road resurfacing



  • By Kevin Haas
    Staff writer

    Rockford Register Star


  • Posted May. 2, 2016 at 1:30 AM
  • In an effort to shed more light on what local government boards are up to each week, the Register Star will publish a brief look at key items up for consideration by elected bodies.
    Here are some items on the agenda this week:
    Belvidere City Council: Aldermen will consider an ordinance dissolving a special tax allocation fund and another related to the yield intersections at Eighth Avenue and West Fifth Street at its 7 p.m. meeting today at City Hall, 401 Whitney Blvd.
    Great Lakes Basin Railroad: The project will be discussed throughout the week in Boone County — the Boone County Administrative and Legislative meeting on today, the Roads and Capital Improvements Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Planning, Zoning and Building Committee meeting on Wednesday and Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday. All meetings will begin at 6 p.m. in the Boone County boardroom, 1212 Logan Ave., Belvidere.
    Machesney Park Village Board: The board of trustees is scheduled to consider a resolution to approve engineering for its 2016 road resurfacing program and to place honorary street signs on Waterview Road for Cheap Trick's Robin Zander, among other proposals. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. today at Village Hall, 300 Roosevelt Road, Machesney Park.
    RMAP: A presentation on Menomonie Street will take place at 6 p.m. today at Belvidere City Hall, 401 Whitney Boulevard.
    Rockford City Council: Aldermen will discuss several items, including a $50,000 contribution to Rockford Corridor Improvement Inc.'s proposed improvements to the walking school bus that serves Lewis Lemon Elementary School. The City Council meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 425 E. State St., Rockford.
    Rockford School District: The district's Operations Committee and Budget and Finance Subcommittee will discuss several matters, including an update on new elementary school designs. The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Administration Building, 501 7th St., Rockford.
    Rockton Village Board: The board is expected to discuss and ratify a garbage agreement with Rock River Disposal. The Rockton Village Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Village Hall, 110 E. Main St., Rockton.
    Roscoe Village Board: The board is expected to approve a resolution authorizing the village to enter into an agreement with Fehr-Graham and Associates to provide the civil site design for the proposed police department addition. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Village Hall, 10631 Main St., Roscoe.
    South Beloit City Council: Commissioners will discuss in closed session collective bargaining issues between the city and its employees. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. today at City Hall, 519 Blackhawk Blvd., South Beloit.