Wednesday, August 20, 2014

National Republican Congressional Committee launched Fake News websites. They really did.

How low will Republicans go to win it all? Dana Milbank explains:
Republicans are learning to embrace their phoniness: The Republican Party finally has admitted what has been fairly obvious for much of the past six years: It produces fake news … it's an important step for the party to embrace the phoniness.

"NRCC launches fake news sites to attack Democratic candidates" was a headline in the National Journal on Tuesday. As Shane Goldmacher reported, "The National Republican Congressional Committee, which came under fire earlier this year for a deceptive series of fake Democratic candidate websites that it later changed after public outcry, has launched a new set of deceptive websites, this time designed to look like local news sources."

These two dozen sites, with names such as "North County Update" and "Central Valley Update" look like political fact-checking sites.
 An NRCC official told me the sites are legal because, if you scroll all the way to the bottom, you'll find, "Paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee" in small print. "They're not fake websites," the official said. "These are real attack websites." Real attacks, but fake news: This is a fairly accurate summary of what the GOP's scandalmongers have been purveying during the Obama years.

Fast and Furious? No evidence was found. Money for Solyndra to pay the president's political cronies. Didn't happen that way. Obamacare would bring about the collapse of the American health-care system and replace it with socialized medicine and death panels. No such thing has occurred. The IRS scandal? Nope. And now, we have the Benghazi exoneration.

The actual truth of the allegations doesn't matter. Each one sullied President Obama's name. That's why fake news works: Falsehoods can drive a president's approval rating into the cellar while the truth still is getting out of bed. 

Ferguson gut check: Liberal vs Conservative Law enforcement in Wisconsin.

I was struck how different our law enforcement leaders differed in their approach to something like the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

Talking about the militarized confrontation in Ferguson, Rachel  Maddow brought up the violent 60's war protests in Madison, and how Police Chief David Couper came in and turned all that around. A really nice piece:

Now check out this less than grateful reelection interview with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who bashed "this soft on crime, revolving door, social engineering experiment being conducted by the DA, and the lenient Milwaukee County Judiciary...I'm going to continue to push back on it. It's hurting this community...I believe the (election) results were a repudiation of their soft on crime social engineering experiments...I promote a clash of ideas."

Fianlly, check out Madison's new Police Chief Mike Koval's approach, and tell me who you would put your confidence in. WISC:

Walker again blames Gov. Doyle and Burke for tanked manufacturing, job losses during the GOP Great Recession

This is getting ridiculous. Will someone in the media break the news to Scott Walker that conservative free market deregulation caused the GOP Great Recession, and not the former governor? I'm going mad...! And you'll notice at the end of this clip, no one corrected Walker's mistake. WKOW:

Why Vote for Scott Walker? Call in Listeners offer up Clue.

You'll get a kick out of this short compilation of "Stand with Walker" supporters calling in to WPR's Joy Cardin show. Her gubernatorial straw poll brought out the deep Walker thinkers, whose comments sounded like bumper sticker slogans. They really haven't been paying attention. Audio only:

Incidental Governor and WEDC Chairman Walker surprised 2 private Businesses and big Donors to his campaign picked in state promotion.

WEDC Chairman and incidental Governor Scott Walker accidentally started marketing 2 private businesses that just happen to donate big time money to him. They're the only private businesses out of 33 to get Walker's help. He says he didn't know. Well that's enough proof for me...WKOW News, Greg Neumann:

I'm sure Walker's like minded board members had no idea the private businesses picked and promoted by the "Certified in Wisconsin" program were also valued donors to the governor. What would make you think otherwise?

Walker not at fault, as Doe-eyed Republicans play up social media threats...Victims again.

You want to get threats, sign a recall petition against Scott Walker. Or try surviving as a liberal blogger.

Harassing politicians and bloggers is just the day-to-day pass time for the many that just need to vent.  But threats are all too easily tossed around today as well.

I put the blame on Scott Walker and a party pushing an extreme agenda, whose motto is "to hell with moderation."

Who created an atmosphere where someone is so willing to threaten a politician and his family? Scott Walker. Although threats are dumb, it's human nature for some to take that step, and the next one.

Scott Walker even said he thinks having a divided state is healthy. Scott Walker set the tone in Wisconsin, starting with his promise to "divide and conquer." Not your usual message to a state made up of two major parties. And Republicans have ignored half the state's citizens with their winner take all agenda. And they're wondering why Twitter and Facebook comments are so negative?

The final nail for me was Scott Walker's recall blacklist. If you signed a petition for his recall, Walker made it clear you didn't have any kind of future in Wisconsin while he was governor. If you're willing to blacklist Wisconsinites, you're capable of doing anything.

Scott Walker is now worried about his son's recent string of threats by one angry individual. And yet, Matt Walker has embraced his fathers agenda. He's a "20-year-old student at Marquette University (and) head of the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans." He's also been known to throw a few political verbal punches as well, playing the victim when the language gets out of control.

Republicans would love it if everyone forgot about the death threats and verbal abuse against people with yard signs or recall signup tables. How about the possible attacks at recall signers homes?

And yet the following rightwing authoritarians are now whining about being held to the same public standards, with the same public scrutiny and possibility of blowback:
Wisconsin Reporter: Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth knows the consequences of speaking out against powerful prosecutors in a politically charged investigation. “Indeed, Mr. O’Keefe has faced threatening behavior—including online stalking of his children and grandchildren—due to his participation in this litigation,” the conservative activist’s attorney writes in a court document filed this week.

O’Keefe alleges that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, two of his assistant DAs, trampled on conservatives’ rights to speech and association. “Based on these (O’Keefe’s) and other instances of retaliation and threats of retaliation, many Club supporters have specifically requested assurances that their identities will not be publicly disclosed, for fear that they too will face reprisal for their political associations and advocacy,” the attorney wrote.
What these bottom feeders are hoping for is no public accountability for manipulating our public elections.

The Truth behind the New Talking Point: Walker saved taxpayers money when he turned down Medicaid Expansion.

Rep. John Nygren likes to think of himself as a “fiscally conservative” know-it-all, saving us money. He would be if BS actually did saved taxpayers cash, but...

The going lie pushed by the Wisconsin Reporter and parroted by clueless Republicans, is that Scott Walker saved taxpayers money on a federal level by not expanding Medicaid.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau just released a report saying something a little different, but that reality has now been reshaped into something that fits neatly into the right wing bubble.

Want the truth? Here’s what I came up with after a little research, point by point, disputing Rep. John Nygren’s misdirection play. Just as scary, Nygren in co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, which means he should know better, but doesn't. WSJ:
Nygren: “Protecting taxpayers from future costs of an unsustainable government program is one of the reasons the governor and lawmakers decided to turn down the federal funds.”
Truth: Nygren reveals the GOP’s plan; they will end Medicaid. And if Scott Walker is willing to work with Medicaid’s current 60% share of funding, why not 90%? Remember, Nygren said it’s an unsustainable program.
Nygren: “What they fail to mention is that expanding Medicaid would actually cost taxpayers billions in the long run. A point that is lost on some is where that federal money comes from — the taxpayers … the dollars would come from the federal pot of borrowed money rather than the state coffers. Misguided is what I call a proposal that claims to save taxpayer dollars.”
Truth: Nygren is misguided and very wrong. Medicaid expansion is paid for through the Affordable Care Act, it’s not an outside program taking taxpayer money. The Supreme Court’s ruling struck the ACA's mandated expansion down. Actually, because so many states turned down the expansion, ObamaCare isn't spending as much as they saved.
Nygren: “An expansion of Medicaid to those who can otherwise attain affordable coverage in the private sector would mean even higher insurance premiums for everyone else on private insurance. This is due to the cost-shifting that takes place as a result of low government reimbursement for providers.”
Truth: Two big lies, and Nygren is ass backwards on this. Lie 1. Those between 100% and 138% are still very poor and can’t afford the co-pays and deductibles. That’s why they didn't sign up for the Exchanges. Lie 2. Perhaps Nygren doesn't know that Medicaid expansion actually increases government reimbursements to providers to keep doctors and hospitals from dropping patients (to Medicare levels). Just as important, doctors and hospitals no longer lose money treating the uninsured. Insurers, hospitals and doctors also benefit from a larger pool of new marketplace customers. Combining the elements above is how the Affordable Care Act pays for expanded Medicaid.
Nygren: “We implemented reforms that ensure every person living in poverty has access to health care — for the first time in state history. This is worth repeating: The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Walker worked together to ensure all persons living under the federal poverty level now have access to coverage.
Truth: Wow. An inadvertently funny new and foolish election year talking point you’ll hear over and over from Republicans. Unfortunately, their new bragging point is made possible by, wait for it...The Affordable Care Act, their most despised new government entitlement. Bizarre huh? They dumped 63,000 people, mostly families, from the rolls and sent them to ObamaCare. That doesn't include the 87,000 childless adult that would have also been covered under the expanded program. When you cut down the percentage used to define poverty, and send the rest to ObamaCare, magically every person for the first time in history is covered.
Nygren: “The waiting list had been in existence since 2009 when the Democratic-controlled Legislature imposed it. Our state also will continue to have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country.”
Truth: The waiting list disappeared because of the Affordable Care Act. And why did we have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country? Government run BadgerCare! Coverage was at a whopping 300% over the poverty line. We had a waiting list because there wasn't enough funding. So Nygren is unknowingly bragging about what he called an unsustainable Medicaid program, that gave Wisconsin one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation. 
Any questions John? 

Walker supporters okay spending $200 Million $315 Million more not expanding Medicaid. Fiscal Dodos.

 I'm finally getting to this story, but I felt a few issues, many political, were ignored.

Saving taxpayer money has never been the real reason why Scott Walker or his band of Republican pirates have screwed around with Medicaid expansion and ObamaCare. They have their ideological principles. We're seeing that now with predicted deficits for BadgerCare. Remember, hospitals we're reimbursed $73 million for treating the uninsured with taxpayer dollars, money that would have come our way by expanding Medicaid. Add that amount to the following:
jsonline: According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau Wisconsin, taxpayers would have saved $206 million over two years, 73% more than previously estimated, if officials had fully expanded its main health care program for the poor under the federal 
If Gov. Mary Burke expanded BadgerCare:
State taxpayers would save another $261 million to $315 million through June 2017. In all, the state could have saved more than $500 million over 31/2 years. 
And for "fiscal conservatives," get angry. We missed out on more money for you and me:
That would have allowed Gov. Scott Walker and legislators to put more money toward schools or roads or cut taxes more deeply than they did over the last year. The full expansion would have served an estimated 87,000 more adults each month under BadgerCare Plus. The program provides better coverage for people with low incomes — and at a lower cost — than the subsidized health plans sold on the federal marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act.
Those still in poverty just above the 100% mark won't be able to afford co-pays and deductibles. But Republicans have chosen a more ideological path to take. 
Normally, BadgerCare costs are shared, with the federal government paying about 60% and the state paying about 40%.
That percentage fluctuates slightly due to the current economic numbers nationally. It's not reneging. It's a calculation. If Wisconsin goes from 90% to 89%, do we panic? Of course not.

The unspoken issue is this; Republicans will renege on Medicare if they take control of congress and the presidency. They will block grant it, with no strings attached, allowing states to shed almost everybody from coverage. That would include a number of hoops to jump through, like an attempt to perform of a drug testing.

Mary Burke wasn't timid in her response:
"In the business world, CEOs get fired for decisions like that," her statement said. "As governor, I'm going to put common sense before politics. Governor Walker's politics-first approach has left Wisconsin taxpayers paying the price."
Will ideology trump wasting millions and spending more of our hard earned taxpayer money? And will Scott Walker admit to the Republican Party's plans to kill Medicaid? Yes.
But in comments to reporters Friday in Platteville, Walker said he was undeterred by the report and sticking by his BadgerCare plan. He said he didn't believe the federal government would provide the funding it has promised. "We haven't exposed our taxpayers to something I think eventually is going to happen ... We believe confidently going forward this federal government is likely to renege from its promises on Medicaid to the states. And we won't be exposed to that."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Paul Ryan calls Obama "a committed ideologue?" Projection much?

Much of the GOP agenda is vindictive, with Paul Ryan leading the way. It’s time to take back what the “takers” have been grabbing away from the well off.

For Ryan it’s personal. After building up his wonk creds for years, Obama had the nerve to challenge that image, making him look inhumane, cruel, elitist, and f*******.
USA Today: Ryan is withering toward the president — a breach he dates to a speech Obama gave in April 2011 outlining his budget plan. Ryan was sitting in a front-row seat reserved for him for an address he thought would embrace a bipartisan commission's deficit-reduction plan and move toward compromise. Instead, Obama blasted the GOP budget Ryan had drafted as imperiling the most vulnerable. He called for cuts in defense spending and higher taxes for the affluent.

"That was the moment where I realized, oh, wow, he really is a committed ideologue," Ryan says.
Really Paul, Obama’s the ideologue? Then like clockwork, after Ryan "got taken to the shed," the Democrats screwed it up royally:
He says Erskine Bowles, the commission's Democratic co-chairman, called him afterward to apologize, saying, "That was reprehensible behavior and I'm ashamed of it as a Democrat."
Just like a Democrat, apologizing for being blunt and utterly truthful.

Ryan’s strict hard line budgeting and attacks on the poor, the “takers,” have made Ryan a no compromise partisan. The media doesn't think so, pretending Ryan’s draconian plans for the poor are a sincere effort to open a dialogue. Yeah, I know, the Democrats have been doing this since the 60’s:
(Ryan’s) 73-page anti-poverty plan (is) an effort, he says, to start a conversation … the fact that he is calling for attention to the issue of poverty…
…blah, blah, blah. The press continues to fawn all over this elitist scrooge. I'm sure the story of his father will make him appear human. But his story isn't so unique or as sad as those families who live in poverty, and depend on those troublesome safety nets Ryan wants to cut away. 

The GOP Flip-Flop; they're now the party of continuous Frivolous Lawsuits.

I could only dream of getting the kind of press MAL Contends is getting:

GOP attorneys hit it big, they are the litigation jackpot winners, now that the courts (thanks to George W. Bush) are still stacked with conservative activist judges and justices.

Perhaps Rep. Paul Krug still hasn't figured out that now that he's a politician, he's also a public figure open to criticism. It's a distinction that protects private citizens from the full force of the media.

Maybe it's another devious plan to sue bloggers out of existence, knowing few of us can afford to take on the deep pocketed right wing special interest attorneys.  

I'll be the first to defend Krug from those who might say he looks a lot like Porky Pig.

Platitudes from Planet Paul Ryan...

Well, Paul Ryan decided to gather up his endless list of Ryanisms and put them into one Seuss-like book, "The Way Forward."

To get a sense of what you will find in this must read rehash filled with dire warnings and contradictions, behold Ryan's God-like statement of party aggrandizement:
Also out as a children's book.
This can’t be the full measure of our party and our movement. If it is, we’re dead and the country is lost.”
Yes, without the Republican Party, "the country is lost." You see, our big brother authoritarians must convert the U.S. to a one party system to save it, just as the founding fathers envisioned.

Pity the Poor Fool: Ryan shows how little he gets it. While people are repulsed by his cruel Dickensian platform, he thinks it's a "communication" problem:
He acknowledges his communication problems in explaining his budget ideas, which the House Republicans’ campaign arm encouraged candidates to disavow and left Ryan feeling “ostracized.”
Ryan even basks in his own hypocrisy, bragging how having it both ways allows him to see both sides:
While Ryan has faced criticism from Democrats who say he would like to strip social services and make changes to Social Security, Ryan writes that he saw the benefits and importance of the programs in his life. When his father died he received Social Security survivor benefits that allowed him to pay for college. Ryan writes that critics distort his plan.
I suppose it was just a coincidence that so many different critics distorted his "plan" in the exact same way. And Ryan's egocentric vision prevents him from noticing the devolution of his own party:
Ryan singles out the government shutdown in fall 2013 … the government shuttered for 16 days and the Republican brand took a massive hit in voters’ eyes.
Ryan’s in a bad State of Denial: Ryan says past economic failures were the result of bad messaging. If only he had used the right words...:
Ryan says his party needs to be more inclusive, spend far more time talking to black and Latino voters, and avoid playing into what he calls a caricature of the "cold-hearted Republican."
When a constituent once clearly explained the reality and the need for our social safety net programs, instead of getting the point, cold-hearted Ryan questioned his...terminology.
jsonline: He even points to some of his own past rhetoric as part of the problem … his use of the phrase "makers and takers" … The congressman says he began second-guessing his use of that language after a constituent approached him at the Rock County 4-H Fair in July 2012 and asked, "Who are the takers? Is it the person who lost their job and is on unemployment benefits? Is it the person who served in Iraq and gets their medical care through the VA?"

Ryan stopped using the term when he realized that "it sounds like we're saying people who are struggling are deadbeats ... The phrase gave insult where none was intended."
You know, like his condescending description of the safety nets as hammocks. No insult intended, right? 

Governing, but not Governing?!! In a mind bender, Ryan thinks governing ourselves is different than governing ourselves through government. I’ll admit, this play on words has been a pet peeve of mine for at least a decade. And yet, it makes sense to conservatives. String together just he highlighted words. It's crazy:
Ryan offers a broad attack on progressivism across the decades and a sharp denunciation of Barack Obama as a president whose "policies represent an ideological mission to re-order the human condition through state action, empowering bureaucrats to decide what's best for everyone rather than allowing citizens to govern themselves."
No one wants to decide “what’s best for everyone" except maybe the GOP. No liberal, progressive, or Democrat ever said that, or would say something so ridiculous. That’s a fiction dreamed up by conservative paranoids, who are pushing for a Borg-like one party authority. Talk about irony.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Burke the Walker "Giant Killer?"

I found this recent interview with Mary Burke on' Top Line, that I thought went well. I couldn't help but notice the headline:

One thing, the ABC interviewer suggested a great question Burke should ask Scott Walker; will you promise to make an "iron clad commitment that he will serve a full 4 years.?" Mary Burke should ask.

Kleefisch Crossbow Madness another Lazy Conservative Shortcut to Kill Deer, shorten Season?

The Walker Authority's deer and hunting policy is in shambles, and isn't getting the kind of press it should. 

With another lousy hunting season behind us (15% decline in harvest), a broken Walker promise to put more deer in the forests, deer herds dwindling, ridiculous public input on deer counts, expanded hunting in state parks, doing away with reporting deer kills at local bars/convenience stores/DNR stations, a White-Tailed Deer Trustee Dr. James Kroll who says people who call for more public hunting opportunities are “pining for socialism,” promote hunting via the fake Koch brothers "United Sportsman" group, and the expansion of private hunting permits that may exacerbate the low deer counts, we've now got to worry about the effects of crossbow hunting mania.

Are bow hunters looking at the expanded crossbow hunting law as another misstep that could have negative unintended consequences? Could be. 

Typically shortsighted Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch pushed through his lazy crossbow law without any attempt to think things through. Even worse, crossbow hunters got an exemption "from a state law that prohibits hunting within 1,700 feet of a school or hospital." To sell his idea, Kleefisch renamed his crossbow hunting "Assembly Bill 8" to the "Deer Collision Reduction Act." Now I feel better about it.
Check out the following hunters point of view regarding crossbow hunting. WPR
Bill Herrmann of Chippewa Falls, who has been bow hunting for 50 years, said that the accuracy of crossbows gives them a huge advantage over traditional bows, and that he expects high deer kills to eventually lead to shorter crossbow seasons.

Herrmann also said he doesn’t expect many bowhunters to switch over to crossbows just because they’re now able to. “The people that are in archery are dedicated archers. They’re not going to be using crossbows,” Herrmann said. “The people that are going to be using crossbows are the people who don’t want to put in the time and effort to learn how to shoot a bow.”
That describes our lazy, freeloading, public dole Republican lawmakers perfectly. After all, whose got all that time to hunt anymore? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

More Expensive for Profit Hospitals in Red States forcing many Non-Profits to Raise Rates and Cut Services too.

Medicare needs some reform, but not the kind of cuts Paul Ryan is proposing. And the idea of making a "profit" off of sick people continues to pick up steam, even though the idea itself is repugnant and rejected worldwide. 

A recent study connected to Connecticut's debate over converting non-profit hospitals to profit revealed an interesting fact: Southern and Western red states cost Medicare more than most other Northern states that have a greater percentage of non-profit hospitals. And those non-profits are influenced by profit driven hospitals in the what they offer and what they don't. That's deadly. Check out the analysis:

Non-Profits Change Behavior to Act More Like For-Profits: As the research above notes, investor-owned hospitals focus more on profitable services than non-profit hospitals and the states dominated by for-profits have higher costs. Research also shows that the overall healthcare hospital market is impacted when for-profits are prevalent.
For example, research has demonstrated that the proximity of for-profits changes the way non-profit hospitals behave financially, as non-profits start to mimic the for-profits in an attempt to stay competitive. The Schlesinger and Gray study notes, “The more for-profit hospitals in a locality, the more nonprofit hospitals (1) respond aggressively to revenue-increasing opportunities, (2) adopt profitable services, (3) discourage admissions of unprofitable patients, and (4) reduce resources devoted to treating the patients they do admit.” Another study found that, with the exception of burn care, nonprofits are less likely to offer unprofitable services in high for-profit markets.

Free Market Medicare starting at age 75? You'd have to be crazy...

The message I'm getting from reading about all the brutally draconian health care plans floated by either conservative politicians or right wing think tanks is this; they either don't understand health care or would rather die (likely) than see their own government step in with a solution.

Behold a new embarrassing attempt to seem creditable on health care. Which is it; stay true to ideological purity or face the reality of a failed health care system? Ideology of course.

"The conservative Manhattan Institute fellow and Forbes columnist Avik Roy offered his own plan (Avikcare?) that would supplant the ACA. Roy's 68-page tome (PDF) lays out policies" that will blow your mind. The lesson we should take away from the following "solution" is this; conservatives are completely incapable of solving the health care the rest of the world solved long ago. My answers are in bold
1. Gradually raise Medicare's eligibility age to 75. Is Avik f**king kidding. That keeps retired seniors in the private health care market longer, so they can pay higher and higher premiums, forcing them to blow through their life savings on insurance instead of travel. Breathtaking? Which means…

2. …Shift most Medicare and Medicaid enrollees onto the exchanges. Same answer from above. 

3. Repeal the individual mandate. This would allow freeloaders into the system again, raising health care costs to those who pay for insurance. Wow.

4. Replace the mandate and Obamacare's annual 3 month open enrollment with a 6 week open-enrollment period every 2 years, giving people a strong incentive. “Strong incentive” is conservative lingo for penalty, while being very coercive.

5. Federal premium subsidies would phase out at 317% of the federal poverty level instead of the current 400%. Cost-sharing subsidies would be converted to health savings account contributions. This would decrease the subsidies substantially for those approaching the cutoff point, making insurance unaffordable. When it comes to cost subsidies, this is just ridiculous busy work, since what's done automatically now would have to be manually take that money in their savings and pay down their premium anyway. 

6. Strips down exchange regulations so insurers can create plans that “are more attractive to consumers,” or those that are cheaper, but have fewer covered benefits. This is the creation of junk policies that pay for nothing. Everyone should see that I hope. It also straps customers with uncovered expenses all-the-while paying their monthly premiums to insurers.

7. Insurers would be allowed to charge older Americans premiums six times as high as younger people, compared with the current 3-1 differential. Wow, not a good deal for seniors, while lowering the cost for the young healthy invincible's. It creates two problems.

8. Roy’s plan would save the government $8 trillion over 30 years and increase health coverage by 12.1 million people compared with ACA projections. Impossible for all the reasons above.

9. Roy's proposal almost certainly will not appeal to members of the tea party faction, which vehemently opposes any government involvement in healthcare. Yes, the tea party is a reckless, dangerous gathering of people who either don’t know health cares history, or are incapable of learning from the past and are prone to repeat it. The free market will certainly leave the sick to die, like it did before the Affordable Care Act.

The Problem with the Press: The media will treat this like it’s a serious debatable plan, instead of the predictable nightmare anyone who reads this would see instantly. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Scott Walker isn't ready.

Mr. "Easy Street" is breezing through his first term with a stacked Republican legislature that has given him almost everything he wanted. Except a plan to create jobs...a biggie. It would have been easy to keep campaign promises in this ridiculous one party system, but that didn't happen.

In this WKOW Greg Neumann report, Walker's stunningly inept response to Mary Burke's criticism about his broken jobs promise sounded unprepared. Real bush league stuff. Don't believe me? Check it out:
Walker: "I guess I'm not surprised, but I think people should be surprised that our opponent would be running ads that essentially take a whack at Wisconsin's comeback."
That's not an answer, it's a whiny complaint.

Burke countered Walker's attack on her jobs record as Commerce Secretary, saying he's comparing apples to oranges. And she's got a point, since you can only create so many jobs when unemployment is as low at 4.8 and the market is saturated with 50,000 more people employed than Walker does now. Walker hasn't even made up the jobs lost during the Great Recession.

The latest Rasmussen Report shows Burke trailing Walker by one, 47 to 48 percent respectively.

Friday, August 15, 2014

GOP Mistake? Blatantly gets Moneyed Lobbyists to go Door-to-Door asking for votes.

It took me about a day to digest this story. Was there ever a question about who owns, controls and makes our GOP corporate puppets dance to their tune?

If you thought campaign money bought influence and favorable Republicans legislation, imagine what these politicians would owe if lobbyists went door-to-door helping them get elected:

It's almost impossible to imagine this wildly public admission by our Republican legislators whose actually running our state government.

Be amazed:
jsonline: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has stepped up efforts to get lobbyists to personally give to candidates. Leggiepalooza adds to that effort by having lobbyists and others drop off campaign literature and urge people to vote for Republicans.

Some lobbyists have expressed reservations about being asked to directly give to legislators. Similarly, some told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel they were uncomfortable with being asked to help with door knocking because they feared they could have a harder time passing bills if they didn't participate.

Profitable Postal Service struggles under GOP mandate Tammy Baldwin hopes to repeal.

It's always seemed odd to me that people who call themselves "constitutional conservatives" would back efforts to get rid of the constitutionally provided postal service. This irrational hatred for anything having to do with the government, you know-we the people, still doesn't make any sense to me.

One of the real defenders of the constitutional framework designed by our founding fathers is Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin:
WEAU: Half of the U.S. senate, including Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, wants to block a plan to shut down mail processing plants next year … a letter dated August 14 to the heads of a congressional committee and subcommittee on appropriations … calls for a one-year moratorium on the U.S. Postal Service's plans to close up to 82 of the plants. The senators said the moratorium would give Congress time to enact postal reforms they say are needed for the Postal Service to "function efficiently in the future." 

They go on to say that reports about the Postal Service's "supposed financial woes" are misleading, and that the Postal Service has taken in almost $1,000,000,000 more in revenue than it spent since fall 2012.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

GOP has Voter ID advantage in Courts: Opponents must Prove Suppression by declining turnout numbers that don't exist yet.

It looks like Wisconsinites won't be needing a voter ID anytime soon:
Gazette: U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman on Wednesday denied Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's request for a stay of his April order blocking the photo ID law. Adelman says he is denying the request because Van Hollen's likelihood of winning the case on appeal is low.
Van Hollen doesn't seem worried thought, even without any proof of voting, which he readily admits too:
jsonline: The Wisconsin Supreme Court two weeks ago upheld voter ID in two cases, and Van Hollen argued those rulings showed he would prevail in federal court.  (Van Hollen is) optimistic about his chances ...“it’s almost impossible for us in Wisconsin, as law enforcers, to prove that it’s been done.”
The wrinkle in all of this is what I thought was worth blogging about. What Van Hollen is pinning his hopes on is this remaining section of the Voting Rights Act:
MSNBC: Section 2 requires victims of racial discrimination in voting to sue after the law has gone into effect, and puts the burden of proof on them … plaintiffs have to show, essentially, that under the law, minorities now have less ability to participate than do whites, and that that’s the result of racial discrimination, either past or present.
Does Voter ID Suppress Voting?  It’s not the number of voter fraud cases, it the number of voters that show up that will decide whether voter ID suppresses turnout. And that’s has to become a problem first:
In North Carolina, black turnout for presidential elections has reached parity with white turnout. And black registration rates in the state have actually surpassed those for whites.
Judge Thomas Schroeder (who rejected an effort by civil rights groups and the U.S. Justice Department to put North Carolina’s voting law on hold) wrote the first quote in the story below:
“Plaintiffs’ experts attribute these increases to the candidacy of President Barack Obama as well as to North Carolina’s election law changes since 2000.”

And it’s exactly those election law changes—primarily the establishment of same-day registration and extensive early voting—that the Republican law reversed. In other words, the law’s challengers are caught in a bind. Right now, whites and non-whites vote at similar rates in North Carolina. That could change once the state’s restrictive law has been in effect for a while. But for now, the numbers to prove it don’t exist … voting rights advocates can now only challenge voting restrictions after they’ve been in effect for long enough to have produced evidence of harm. But by then, of course, the damage has been done.

Not every judge has approached Section 2 in the way that Schroeder did. In April, Judge Lynn Adelman struck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law. For Adelman, the fact that black turnout in Wisconsin is currently comparable to white didn’t negate that conclusion.

Rick Hasen, a prominent election law scholar at the University of California, Irvine, thinks “Given the current conservative orientation of a majority of the Supreme Court, it seems likely that a Court majority would be more attracted to the narrow reading of Section 2.

There’s one way around this Catch-22: (For the North Carolina) plaintiffs to show that Republican lawmakers acted with deliberate racial bias in enacting the law … the law’s challengers needed access to emails and other correspondence from those responsibility from drafting and passing it. And thanks to stonewalling by lawyers for the state, they’ve so far received only a small portion of those records.  By the time the law goes to a full trial next summer, they’ll likely have much more of them. But by then, of course, the 2014 election will be long since over.
Plaintiff Burden of Proof: Here’s where Republicans can do almost anything they want. From an article under the heading “Current Events vs. Founding Documents,” by chest pounding "constitutionalist" Mark Musselman:
Judge Adelman side-stepped those criteria by claiming that the defendants failed to prove voter impersonation.  Since the burden of proof is normally on the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs should have been required to prove that photo IDs block qualified electors from voting based on race, national origin or ethnicity.  In the absence of such proof, his decision is a distortion of the Constitution.  

Ferguson Missouri Police Fire on Unarmed Protesters, Neighborhoods.

This was recorded a few hours ago as the police advanced through a crowd of  protesters.

I captured this live stream from...
I am Mike Brown Live from Ferguson, MO....

Here are the two stories, one that seems likely, and one suspiciously manufactured:
CNN: Dorian Johnson, 22, told CNN that he and Brown were walking in the middle of the street when a white male officer pulled up and told them, "Get the f*** on the sidewalk." The young men replied that they were "not but a minute away from our destination, and we would shortly be out of the street," Johnson said. The officer drove forward but stopped and backed up, almost hitting the pair, Johnson said. "We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike's body and closed back on the officer," Johnson said.

Still in his car, the officer then grabbed Brown by his neck, Johnson said. Brown tried to pull away, but the officer kept pulling Brown toward him, he said. The officer drew his weapon, and "he said, 'I'll shoot you' or 'I'm going to shoot' " and almost instantaneously fired his weapon, hitting Brown, Johnson said. Johnson and a bloodied Brown took off running, and Johnson hid behind the first car he saw, he said. The officer got out of his car.

"I saw the officer proceeding after my friend Big Mike with his gun drawn, and he fired a second shot and that struck my friend Big Mike," Johnson told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "And at that time, he turned around with his hands up, beginning to tell the officer that he was unarmed and to tell him to stop shooting. But at that time, the officer firing several more shots into my friend, and he hit the ground and died." "We wasn't committing any crime, bringing no harm to nobody, but my friend was murdered in cold blood," he told KMOV.

Witness Tiffany Mitchell was picking up Piaget Crenshaw for work when she saw Brown and the officer "tussling through the window." Mitchell and Crenshaw concurred with Johnson, saying Brown appeared to be trying to pry himself away from the officer's grasp. Brown had his hand on the police cruiser, trying to push himself away, Mitchell said. Mitchell reached for her phone to record the encounter. "I didn't get the video because a shot was fired through the window so I tried to get out of the way," she said (photos were taken).

After that shot, Brown broke free from the officer's grasp, both women told CNN, and started running, but he only got about 20 feet from the squad car by Crenshaw's estimate. "The cop gets out of his vehicle shooting," Mitchell said. "(Brown's) body jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turned around and he put his hands up. ... The cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground, and his face just smacked the concrete.” Added Crenshaw, who said she was watching the incident unfold from a nearby balcony, "The (officer) actually shot kind of carelessly. They shot my neighbor's building that was on the opposite side of the police car. They then later came and removed that bullet. ... Anybody could've been standing right there." 

That Brown was unarmed is undisputed. A shot was fired inside the police car, and Brown was eventually shot about 35 feet away from the vehicle, Belmar said. The officer was taken to an area hospital where he was treated for a "swollen face," Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said, adding he had not personally seen the officer's injury.
The police account: 
Voxdotcom: This is what St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who's leading the investigation into Brown's deathsaid happened, according to Wilson: Brown physically assaulted Wilson prior to the shooting. Wilson attempted to get out of the car, but Brown pushed him back into the vehicle. Brown then physically assaulted Wilson and attempted to grab the officer's weapon, according to Belmar. At that point, the first shot was fired from the police car and eventually another shot hit and killed Brown 35 feet from the car. Wilson was reportedly injured during the encounter, and one side of his face was left swollen. Police say Brown was a robbery suspect … Ferguson Police claim Brown and Johnson robbed a convenience store prior to the shooting, and Wilson was responding to a call about the robbery when he intercepted Brown on the road.