By John Ruberry

Last Monday I had a errand to run for work–which brought me to Milwaukee’s suburbs. And for the first time in five years I drove on Interstate 94 north of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line–on what is known as the Milwaukee to Kenosha I-94 Corridor.

A lot has changed since 2012. As I left a toll road south of the border and entered a true freeway–okay, to be fair, the toll road has been there for decades–I noticed a lot.

Businesses–with huge facilities–that weren’t there five years ago leap out at you. Most obvious is the massive Uline warehouse in Pleasant Prairie. The headquarters office of the industrial supplier moved a few miles north from Waukegan, Illinois into Pleasant Prairie in Kenosha County in 2010. Its “Chicago warehouse” followed four years later.

In the 1980s Wisconsin’s tourism slogan was “Escape to Wisconsin.” Illinois businesses are now heeding the call.

Yes, the Chicago area has a couple of Amazon fulfilment centers, but farther north on my drive I saw a massive one in Kenosha–it opened in 2015. The Milwaukee Business Journal calls it “the largest in the recent Kenosha County industrial boom.” There is a “Hiring Now” sign out front.

Sears Holdings, an Illinois loser

South of Kenosha County is Lake County in ILL-inois. There is no Lake County industrial boom. There is no Illinois industrial boom.

Why is that? Sure, tax incentives from Wisconsin’s Republican governor, Scott Walker have helped greatly. Illinois, when inept Democrat Pat Quinn was governor, offered tax breaks to Sears Holdings, which operates the Sears and Kmart brands, and Mitsubishi Motors, to encourage them to stay. This was a few months after a huge income tax hike was enacted. What about attracting new business? By all accounts Sears and Kmart are on life-support and Mitsubishi closed its Bloomington plant in 2015.

Corporate taxes might be slightly higher in Wisconsin–no place is perfect. But Illinois has the nation’s highest median property tax rate. And Illinois’ expensive workers compensation laws frighten business owners.

In 2015 Wisconsin became a right-to-work state. All the states that border Illinois except for Missouri are right-to-work states and Show Me State voters will be asked next year if they want to join the trend. Nearby Michigan has been right-to-work since 2012. Job creators don’t like unions and based on recent workplace votes, neither do workers.

Illinois has its 800-pound odious gorilla in its basement, a woefully underfunded public-worker pension system. Wisconsin’s state pensions are by most accounts fully funded. Businesses don’t like uncertainty and Illinois’ pension bomb, despite a massive personal and corporate tax hike put in place this summer, has not been defused. Not even close. Ka-boom is coming.

Blogger in Pleasant Prairie

This summer Wisconsin and the Milwaukee to Kenosha I-94 Corridor snagged its biggest prize, the Foxconn factory. The Taiwanese manufacturer will hire anywhere from 3,000 to 13,000 employees for its facility in Mount Pleasant in Racine County. Yes, Illinois had also bid on the Foxconn plant.

Indiana is also enjoying great success poaching Illinois firms for the similar reasons.

And when the jobs leave the people leave. And Illinois is one of only three states with negative population growth.

John Ruberry regularly blogs from Illinois at Marathon Pundit.

Today is election day and our friends on the left have a world of worry in states all across the county.

A lot of Democrats are in sheer panic.  We will see plenty of dishonest and dishonorable tactics used by professional Democrats to keep their pols in office, to keep their staffs in comfortable jobs , to keep their friends getting government contracts and to make sure their friends in non profits can draw large salaries “for the children”.  For these connected people their first concern is and always has been, the gravy train.

There are also a lot of Democrats who are ordinary people who aren’t remotely connected.  Some have been Democrats all their lives and instinctively hate Republicans the way Red Sox fans hate the Yankees.  Others have been sold a bill of goods by either MSNBC or their unions or the various web sites.  Still others have been taught by the celebrity culture that  Republicans are “uncool” and still others honestly hold the opinion that the ideas of the Democrat party and/or liberalism and socialism are better than the ideas of the Republican party and/or conservatism.

But regardless of motivations, selfish or selfless both groups have one thing in common.  If they were asked to pick one race,  other than their own, to go their way.  If they could wave a magic wand and guarantee that no matter how bad a disaster tonight is for them, they would know one particular Republican would lose, from Concord New Hampshire to San Diego California, from Miami Florida to Spokane Washington the answer would be the same.

The guy Democrats want to see lose most of all is Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

No single person has been the source of greater grief to Democrats everywhere than Scott Walker.

It’s not that he won in a traditional blue state, that happens on occasion, it’s not that he’s considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate,  there are plenty of GOP candidates out there ready and waiting to be hated.

What they can’t get over is he refused to be cowered in the face of all their might.

When the media said his changes were going too far, he went ahead with them anyway.

When the Democrats fled the state rather than allow his measures to be voted on, he persevered.

When he was pilloried daily on the cable networks he went on their shows and fearlessly but politely,  made his case.

When the national GOP ducked and covered and only people like Sarah Palin & the late Andrew Breitbart would back him up he soldiered on.

When the left was holding protests, occupying the statehouse,when teachers unions were getting doctors notes to skip class and make a mob, he remained cool and steady.

And when the entire left side of the country invested everything they had, everything they felt everything they desired in one last desperate recall attempt to get rid of him, he not only beat them, but beat them by a margin totally unexpected.

All that is bad enough but when Walker program went into effect not only the indentured servants forced into unions flee but the desired and suggested results that he stated happened to the advantage of cities, towns and schools all over the state, but to the disadvantage of the Democrat interests who used the public treasury as their public fiefdom.

He demonstrated that the promises of the Democrats were hollow, Walker will never be forgiven for this

Even if by the end of the day every Senate Democrat New Hampshire to Alaska fell, Even if Brian Herr could pull off the impossible dream by beating Ed Markey in Massachusetts, even if Charlie Crist collapsed in Florida and Daniel Mallow imploded in Connecticut and it would matter one bit.

Because as long as Scott Walker is defeated in Wisconsin as far as the media is concerned that will be the only story of election 2014 and the conga line of liberals and media will run from the New York to the DNC HQ in Washington.

I look forward to seeing their disappointment.


There are less than 60 days to the year and to say things are tight financially around here is to say the Titanic had a bit of a leak.

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By Steve Eggleston

It has been far too long since I visited the targeting every conservative group here in Wisconsin by politically-motivated prosecutors persecutors (I won’t give them the honor of calling them prosecutors). There have been several important updates since then. While I continue to highly recommend Wisconsin Reporter’s now-57-part expose, I’ll give the Cliff’s Notes version, culminating in the federally-ordered shutdown of the John Doe investigation/persecution.

The state-based appeal seeking to stop the investigation/persecution is being slow-played by the state Supreme Court, as liberal Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson controls the timing of the hearing of the appeal and eventual release of the opinion even though her liberal faction is outnumbered 4-3 on the average case. Actually, it’s 4-2 after Justice Ann Walsh Bradley recused herself because her son works for a firm representing one of the three still-unnamed plaintiffs, so we shouldn’t have to hear about other Justices having to pull Bradley off of people.

That doesn’t mean the news out of state courts is all bad. Judge Gregory Peterson, who took over supervision of the process shortly after it became public, quashed subpoenas against the Scott Walker campaign and three major players in conservative issue advocacy in January, ruling that there was no probable cause that any of the four groups violated any provision of Wisconsin law. The return of the items seized has been delayed pending appeal, which has not been adjudicated at either the same 4th District that has thus far been little more than a kangaroo court for the benefit of the persecutors or the state Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Eric O’Keefe, on behalf of both himself and Wisconsin Club for Growth (one of the three groups that had subpoenas targeting it quashed), filed suit in federal court seeking to stop the John Doe investigation/persecution. The persecutors-turned-defendants have been trying to assert immunity on multiple fronts, and federal Judge Rudolph Randa rejected every one of them.

The month of May has been a busy one on the federal side. On May 2, a bunch of traditional media groups sought to intervene in an attempt to get their hands on what the persecutors dug up. I suspect they’re less interested in opening up the process, or even trying to relitigate the matter in the court of public opinion like they did with the document dump in the sentencing of one of those convicted in the first John Doe, than they are in the donor lists. After all, we are now in an era where actions not approved by liberals, like donating to conservative groups and causes, are grounds for harrassment from liberals, even to the point of killing careers.

This past Monday, the Milwaukee persecutors/defendants appealed the denial of their claims of immunity to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Tuesday, Randa dropped the bombshell of the week; in a preliminary injunction, he ordered the investigation stopped and all evidence returned to the targets and otherwise destroyed. Like Judge Peterson before him, Randa found no probable cause that a crime was committed. Indeed, he found that even if everything the persecutors alleged is true, it is not only not criminal under Wisconsin law, but it represents actions protected by the First Amendment.

There also were a couple of disturbing revelations in the order. First, the raids against conservative targets were even more like raids on drug houses than originally reported, with the targets unable to even contact their lawyers. Second, the chilling effect of the leak of the existence of the “officially-secret” persecution back in October 2013 on O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth was laid out in some detail – the absence of Club from Growth from virtually the entirety of Wisconsin politics since October 2013, the claimed loss of $2 million in fundraising, and the inability of O’Keefe to talk to others about politcs.

On Wednesday, the 7th Circuit temporarily stayed the order because Randa had not officially declared the Milwaukee persecutors’ appeal frivolous (that is, designed to do nothing more than strip him of the authority to issue injunctions). They also changed the status of the evidence to effectively “frozen”, not to be turned over to anybody, destroyed, or used by the persecutors in any way. Also on Wednesday, Randa granted the media groups’ motion to intervene in their attempt to get the evidence, but in a way that signals he is likely to ultimately deny their request.

On Thursday, Randa certified the persectuors’ appeals are frivolous and reinstated the injunction stopping the investigation/persecution, with the modification on evidence by the appellate court incorporated. As of this writing, the persecutors/defendants appear to have not appealed the reinstated injunction, but if they do appeal, they would need to win on the merits of their case to continue their presecution.

On a related note, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, one of the persecutors/defendants being sued by O’Keefe and Club for Growth, announced that the DA’s office would not investigate Milwaukee County Board member John Weishan for using county resources to send “informational” mailings to residents of the 15th Assembly District, including those in Waukesha County and thus well outside his board district, shortly before announcing his candidacy for the seat as a Democrat. As a reminder, two of the four political plea deals from the original John Doe targeted aides of then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker who used county resources to work on the lieutenant governor campaign of Brett Davis. To paraphrase Judge Randa from his Thursday ruling – I am left to wonder if the Milwaukee Defendants actually read the complaint because this is prima facie evidence that the complaint that they haven’t treated the targets of the second John Doe equally under the law compared to liberal politicians and organizations is valid.

Illinois BlagoBy John Ruberry

Isaac “Ike” Carothers used to be a Chicago alderman until he pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from a developer seeking a zoning change. Ironically, his father, William, was convicted on similar charges three decades earlier  when he served as an alderman in the same part of Chicago.

Carothers is on the ballot again–this time he is running for an open seat on the Cook County Board. As the ex-con enjoys by far the biggest name recognition of the five candidates for that office, Carothers stands a good chance of winning in this month’s Democratic Primary, which will again make the Land of Lincoln a nationwide embarrassment, because in this heavily Democratic district, the general election will serve as a coronation.

In 2012, voters chose to send Derrick Smith, another Chicago Democrat, back to Springfield even though he was under indictment on bribery charges and had been expelled that summer from the state House of Representatives. An independent candidate was chosen by local pols to run against Smith in the heavily Democratic district–but Smith won easily anyway.

Smith, who is still awaiting trial, is on the ballot again this spring, but this time Democratic Party bosses are backing him.illinois lawyers

Not so with Carothers. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle held a joint press conference where they declared their support for Emanuel’s former political director.

Oh, I almost forgot. While state law prevents Carothers from running for a Chicago City Council seat, he can run for other offices, including US Congress.

This ignominy troubles the Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn, a liberal, who is calling for what he calls “Ike’s Law,” which would prevent ex-cons running for any public office in Illinois. That’s a great idea.

In a column last week, Zorn wrote of down-ballot offices, “But in races for smaller offices, voters will be less well-informed.”

Zorn moves on from there, but in that sentence he hit at the core of the problem as to why Ike’s Law is needed. What Rush Limbaugh dubs “low-information voters” are a key constituency of the Democratic Party. Generations of party and labor bosses have drummed into their followers these two words: “Vote Democratic.” Added by, “Just listen to us–only listen to us.”

That is why Derrick Smith won his seat back two years ago.Cook County sign

And the problem low-info voters extends beyond Illinois. At an Occupy Milwaukee rally two years ago, I watched in disgust as Gilbert Johnson, an AFSCME local president remark about the Tea Party, “What you have is a bunch of haters, people that tell lies, people that want to go back to the ’50s. White man rule. White man only.”

I’m pretty sure that hate-speech–by Johnson and others–was parroted by other union bosses across the nation during the 2012 campaign. And by precinct captains and even preachers at rallies of all kinds–not just Occupy gatherings.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said on the floor of the Senate last week to “turn off the Fox News” so people can only hear her version of the truth about ObamaCare.

Also last week, in a speech to political supporters, Obama called on them to reach out to Republicans “who watch the wrong newscast.”

If the low-information in voters  in Illinois start watching “the wrong newscast” or researching issues on their own instead of listening to ward-heelers, community organizers, and demagogues, the presence of Ike Carothers on a ballot would be good for one thing–a plethora of chuckles.

But the Democratic Party needs those low-info voters. And shame on Zorn, a nice fella by the way, for leaving that crucial fact out of his column.

Oh, imagine that–a president making choices about the “right” or “wrong” newscast.

How far we have fallen as a people.

For several mouths we have been told by the MSM that the republicans in Wisconsin were overreaching, that their actions are energizing democrats, that things like the Ryan budget were going to turn into disaster for the GOP.

Even after the Supreme Court win in Wisconsin the meme continued unabated.

Now after months of this we see a concrete measure of democratic confidence. Herb Kohl a 4 term democratic senator has decided to call it quits:

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) will announce Friday that he won’t seek reelection in 2012, a Democratic source confirmed.

Kohl, the quiet Wisconsin senator and owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, will depart from the Senate after four terms, setting up what could be a tough battle for his seat.

Hotair has more and Steve Eggleston at the green room has some commentary but more important than any of this is the situation.

In 2012 President Obama will be on the top of the ticket. We have been told repeated that he is a shoe in for re-election. Hasn’t the left been trumpeting poll after poll saying that no Republican in the field, certainly not a conservative like Sarah Palin, has any prayer against him? This would be the time when democrats would turn out en-mass to support him joined by the elderly in revolt against the Ryan plan!

Yet with all these trends that the media is pushing Mr Kohl decides its time to head for the hills.

There is only one response to this nonsense: Ride right through them, they’re demoralized as hell!