Saturday, November 22, 2014

Capitalism collapsing Global Economies as Wages Plummet, Killing Demand and the Middle Class.

For the longest time, wage declines in the U.S. have helped increased corporate bottom lines. But it also slowed consumer demand. Not to worry, global corporations simply shifted their focus to growing markets elsewhere. But that’s about to come to an end too.

Two major stories hit the business section of the paper today, and I can’t help think they’re connected. 

Story # 1Austere economic efforts globally have taken their toll, and now growth is slowing in dangerous ways.
China's central bank unexpectedly slashed interest rates on Friday to re-energize the world's No. 2 economy, joining a growing list of major economies that are trying to encourage growth in the face of a global slowdown. The president of the European Central Bank said he was ready to step up stimulus for the 18-country Eurozone economy, where growth is meager and unemployment is soaring, encouraging delays in spending and investment. And Japan's government this week delayed a tax increase after the country slipped back into recession. 
The U.S. escaped much of this due to increased stimulus spending:
The United States is showing signs of steady growth, prompting the Federal Reserve to rein in its stimulus efforts. So far, the U.S. has escaped any drag from the slowdown overseas. Fed policy-makers said … exports are a smaller source of growth than in other developed nations and many major employers, such as health care and education providers, are largely unaffected by overseas activity.
Story # 2: Wages are plummeting due to anti-union efforts everywhere. I don’t expect a change in that anytime soon either, knowing how driven my conservative friend in Milwaukee is about these issues.

While Republicans complain about raising the minimum wage and increased dependence of Americans on government assistance (they don’t see a correlation?), the middle class manufacturing working stiff is already making close to that “job killing” $10.10 an hour already. And that can’t be good:
More than 600,000 U.S. manufacturing workers earn less than $9.60 an hour, and 1.5 million — or one-fourth of all manufacturing workers — make $11.91 or less, according to an analysis released Friday.

The National Employment Law Project said that manufacturing jobs — once considered the solid source of middle-class income — increasingly are paying wages that can barely support a family.

For 30 years, from 1976 to 2006, U.S. manufacturing workers were paid a median wage that was above the U.S. pay median. That manufacturing advantage peaked in the mid-1980s. By 2013, the median manufacturing wage was 7.7 percent lower than the median U.S. wage for all public and private sector workers, according to the Census Bureau’s survey data.

Wage concessions by unions, hiring of non-union workers, other pay cuts and broader use of temporary workers have contributed to the declining pay scales, particularly in the automotive sector, the report said. “While foreign and domestic automakers have added 350,000 new jobs in the U.S. since 2009, nearly three-fourths of all auto workers are now employed at parts plants, where workers are paid nearly 15 percent less on average than motor vehicle manufacturing workers overall.” 

It said that from 2003 to 2013, real wages for auto parts workers fell nearly 14 percent, three times faster than for all manufacturing workers and nine times faster than the drop for all occupations.
And as I’ve emphasized so many times here, the new business model after the Great Recession is to keep full time jobs at a minimum, while hiring part time workers when demand picks up:
The report also said that 14 percent of workers in the auto parts sector are employed by temporary staffing agencies, earning 29 percent less on average than workers employed directly by auto parts manufacturers.

Technology startup businesses and jobs not on Scott Walker's radar either?

There’s no getting around it, Scott Walker is focusing his job creation around manufacturing.
For the last 3 years, as chairman of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Walker did almost nothing to encourage tech and science startups.

Milken Institute’s State Tech and Science Index once ranked Wisconsin at #11 in 2010 for risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, during the Doyle administration. Now under Walker, the state slipped to 36.

Now that’s he’s more desperate than ever, Walker relented. In the last year, angel and venture capital investments are starting to play a bigger role in business and job creation. But Walker was warned over and over Wisconsin wasn't doing enough.

So the state has slipped dramatically since Walker became governor, and our anti-science and technology Republican legislature steered clear of tech completely as a way to bring jobs to Wisconsin:
WSJ: Wisconsin draws an overall ranking of 25, the same as in 2012, with higher marks for its technology and science work force (No. 17) but lower for its risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure (No. 36).

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, took issue with some of Milken’s scoring. For example, in 2010, Wisconsin was No. 11 for risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure but now ranks 36th. “Those more familiar with Wisconsin know that the number of angel and venture capital deals in the state continues to climb and that more venues, networks and opportunities are available today for people interested in starting and growing a company (here),” Still said … workforce development programs also have “dramatically expanded.”
Tech investment only came as a last resort, and mostly in the last year.
Does Milken have a bias against the Midwest? Still said the rankings “appear to lump the Midwest into the same basket, with only Minnesota breaking into the top quartile (12th).”
Uh oh, there’s Democratically run Minnesota again.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lunacy # 3: Wisconsin House GOP would prevent EPA from protecting Americans from Ebola, nuclear, biological and terrorist attacks. I'm not kidding.

My head is spinning. After every Wisconsin Republican house member voted to put special interests on the EPA's Science Advisory Board in place of scientists to make it more industry-friendly, and require EPA research to expose the private medical records of effected American citizens dying from pollution - or the rules won't count - they went one step further that will blow your mind. Roll Call:


They turned away a Democratic bid to at least give the EPA an exemption from the restrictions above so it could protect Americans from Ebola, biological terrorist attacks and chemical spills.

EBOLA DISINFECTANTS: The House defeated a Democratic bid to exempt from HR 4012 (above) any EPA actions to approve Ebola disinfectants or protect communities against nuclear, biological or terrorist attacks or chemical spills into drinking-water supplies. A yes vote was to exempt EPA actions against health threats such as the Ebola virus from the bill.
Republicans weren't about to give Democrats a victory even on this. Voting no and against preventing an Ebola outbreak or chemical terrorist attack: Republicans Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, and Reid Ribble.

Lunacy # 2: Wisconsin House GOP dismantle EPA Science Advisory Board by replacing Academic’s with corporate special interests!!! What a good idea?

This is a continuation of pure lunacy by our future Republican overlords in 2015, where science bows to the needs of business, our job creators.

Our Wisconsin House Republicans want to put corporate interests in charge of keeping out air and water clean. Gulp. We never learned anything from the amazing work by tobacco industry scientists who claimed cigarettes were healthy? Roll Call:

EPA SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD: The House passed a Republican bill (HR 1422) to reshape the EPA's Science Advisory Board to make it more industry-friendly. The board provides independent evaluations of the scientific analyses upon which the EPA bases its regulations. This bill would diminish academic representation on the board while expanding corporate membership; permit experts with financial ties to EPA-regulated industries to serve if they disclose their conflicts-of-interest; give state, local and tribal governments a guaranteed number of seats on the board and require the board to gather more public comments, among other provisions.
Don't you love those unscientific public comments?

Jaw dropping? What could go wrong with putting EPA regulated industries in charge of the EPA? What kind of mind would think this is okay?

These five minds, that's who: Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Sean Duffy, Tom Petry, and Reid Ribble. 

What are they're thinking.  

Lunacy # 1: Wisconsin House Republicans start to dismantle EPA, by requiring confidential health information be made public.

We've known for years air pollution harms and prematurely kills Americans every day, but that may not matter anymore if Republicans, who will be in charge soon, block research proving it. Then magically, the harmful effects of pollution will disappear, and anti-science marches on. Roll Call:
SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT: The House passed a Republican bill (HR 4012) that would negate specific rule making by the Environmental Protection Agency unless all data from underlying scientific studies -- including any confidential health information about participants -- has been made publicly available so that the studies can be independently replicated. Republicans said the bill would promote much-needed transparency at the EPA, while Democrats said it would thwart enforcement actions because many environmental studies depend on protecting the privacy rights of participants. Democrats said the bill's main targets are studies by the American Cancer Society and Harvard University that link air pollution with ill health and underpin the EPA's administration of the Clean Air Act.
Voting to kill more Americans with cancer and other diseases, by making scientific research completely irrelevant: Republicans Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, and Reid Ribble.


Here's Alex Wagner with the story as well:



The next post in this series will take your breath away, literally.

Conservative think tanks seek to empower us...by shifting health care costs our way!

Republicans have an odd way of putting you in charge. If you don’t mind paying a whole lot more out of pocket, then being empowered is a great idea. You’re in control when and if you ever decide to seek health care, based on what you can afford. If you make a bad decision, you have only yourself to blame. It’s guilt free politics that negatively affects every family member in the country.

This is how conservative thinks tanks are packaging the cost shift to public employees as rugged individualism:
report by the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute and the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis  Argue State-Run System Should Be Closed To New Workers, People Under 45 … state Legislature should require younger public employees to use health savings accounts instead of the state's current health insurance system.

“Once it gets done and the actual employee and the actual retiree see that they're controlling more of their health-care dollars, they accept it and they find it empowering,” researcher John Graham said.
What they're really selling? 
Citizen Action's Robert Kraig (said) it would merely shift more of the financial burden of health care onto employees. “Their same report also concedes that this is going to shift a lot more of the financial burden onto the employee. So to then turn around and say that it's empowering because you control your own account, I think it's misleading.”
Just another liberal understatement that does nothing to energize our Democratic legislators to speak out…we are so bad at this. 

Walker would sue Obama over executive orders, but has no plan for immigration problem.

In the video below, Scott Walker's first response to Obama's plan to use an executive order to reform immigration was to sue the president. That's a familiar Walker tactic in Wisconsin.

Gov. John Kasich broke from the Republican pack, saying he was open to Obama's plan. MSNBC reporter Kasie Hunt asked each of the governors later what their alternative was...they didn't have any. And the idea of "border security" is a transparent forever stall tactic that needs to exposed by the news networks.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suggested that his party should pursue a lawsuit to block Obama's plans instead of a government shutdown. He described immigration reform as important, but not as important as the economy, taxes, energy and education, and accused Obama of using the issue as a "cynical ploy" to disrupt Republicans from pursuing other agenda items.

"Come out with me on the road and I'll tell you there aren't a whole lot of people talking about immigration reform," Walker said.


Get ready to laugh at Gov. Bobby Jindal's focus group tested "blame Obama" talking point:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal suggested that a government shutdown should be on the table, but put it on Obama's shoulders.

"I don't think the president should shut down the government to try and break the constitution. The reality is this ... I don't think the president should shut down the government simply because he wants to break the law," Jindal charged.


Loved this debate between Bush communication director Nicolle Wallace and Rachel Maddow. Maddow corrects Wallace a number of times when she repeated a few current talking points about Obama and immigration. Still, Wallace thinks the party is all wrong about their resistance, and blames talk radio for misleading the public:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Walker running up projected deficit to $2.2 Billion, but still promises more tax cuts. Thank you "stand with Walker" voters.

With all the irresponsible tax cuts enacted by the Republican legislature, and now lower than expected revenues coming in, Scott Walker's Wisconsin is running deeper and deeper into debt. 

Even if some of the requested spending is eliminated or paired back, the deficit projection is a realistic look at what the state needs to maintain the same quality of life and essential services we had before. What we're seeing in this projected deficit is real world budgeting disproving an already failed ideological fantasy exemplified by the Great Recession. 
The Wisconsin Department of Administration's 2015-17 state fiscal report projects a staggering $2.2 billion deficit. 
Wow, this is just what Republicans wanted. Just ask Rep.Robin Vos:
“The numbers put out today show what it would cost to fund everyone’s wish list. The reality is that’s not going to happen. We will continue to manage the state’s finances by making prudent decisions and doing what’s best for Wisconsin and its taxpayers. We will look to cut government waste and fraud, eliminate duplicative services and set the right priorities for the state.”
The more honest answer?
Senate Democratic Leader-elect Jennifer Shilling: “The slash-and-burn approach to budgeting over the past four years clearly hasn’t worked.” 
A while back Sen. Alberta Darling was asked by a reporter what would happen if the new Republican majorities agenda failed. She answered, and I'm paraphrasing, "Make more spending cuts." Amazing.

Republicans refuse to work under the same rules they set for Democrats.

Republicans continue to work under one set of rules, partisan rules not open to anyone else. This was a nice way to start:


Unlike McConnell's opening "nonpartisan" smack down of Obama following his election win, the rules are different for Republicans like Paul Ryan, who found doesn't like it thrown back their way:

Coincidentally, I just talked to my conservative friend in Milwaukee about the different set of rules parsed out by Republicans, especially on immigration. 

Despite Obama's overwhelming reelection, Republicans for some reason didn't give in to the will of the people they talk so much about on the Affordable Care Act. Funny how that happened huh? But now, even when Obama wasn't on the ticket, the election was all about ObamaCare again. 

What I did learn from our email discussion was none of this amounted to a hill of beans to him. He didn't see the duplicity of his own snake oil selling party. What mattered to him was winning and giving everything away to business, because government doesn't create jobs. How do you break through with that kind of thinking?  

Malkin slips up: "Big Government Control Freaks are always troubled by dissent." The inadvertent truth comes out.

Well, didn't this quickly become very awkward...


...yea, those "big government control freaks" are "troubled by dissent"....


..."troubled by dissent?"...


And we all know how what happened after Selma...passage of the Voting Rights Act. Can't let anything like that happen again.

Gov. John Kasich catches Scott Walker in Lie, schools him on Common Core and Medicaid Expansion.

Ohio Governor John Kasich shut Scott Walker down. 

As it turns out, Kasich is not a dictatorial authoritarian like Scott Walker, Rick Perry or Bobby Jindal, who all looked decidedly fringe with their positions on immigration, Common Core and ObamaCare.  
Kasich was always a very partisan congressman, who later as governor, angered Ohioans with dramatic changes to collective bargaining like Scott Walker. But after reading the following debate and take-down by Kasich of Walker, it's a relief to see at least one adult in the room learned a big lesson from the resulting public protests.

Even better, Kasich caught Scott Walker making things ups again, this time about Bill Clinton's relationship with congress. Oops, Kasich was there, and that kicked off this amazing back-and-forth that's worth reading. Yahoo News
The Republican governor of Ohio John Kasich and Wisconsin Scott Walker were seated onstage at the opening plenary session of the Republican Governors Association annual conference. Call it a dry run for the primary debates. Kasich, a wily 62-year-old former congressman, demonstratively disputed Walker’s retelling of political history.

Walker, the 47-year-old conservative star, was arguing that President Barack Obama is more hostile toward congressional Republicans than President Bill Clinton was during the '90s, teeing up a critique of Obama’s plans to issue an executive order on immigration this week. Walker said, “Clinton did not say the Republicans in Congress aren't going to work with me so I’m going to do an executive order. He sat down with them.”
Here's where Walker got schooled by Kasich, a congressman at the time:
Kasich snapped almost matter-of-factly. “No, he shut the government — the government got shut down first.” And then the two men began to talk over each other.

“There was tremendous animosity,” Kasich said, almost yelling, to remind the younger Walker that he, Kasich, had been there himself as a member of Congress.

“It wasn’t —” Walker tried to get out before Kasich cut him off.

“Scott, it was!” Kasich said. “I’ll tell you, when you’re sitting around and we’ve got Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole at each other over a shutdown, it wasn’t easy either. My only point is, I don’t like what [Obama’s] doing, but what I will say: This is emblematic of where we’re going forward as a country. I mean, are we going to deal with the real problems of health care, the real problem of immigration, the real problem of a divided country? If we had not got the Clinton people to the table to negotiate … we would never have balanced the budget. Nothing gets fixed without some bipartisan support. You can’t do it without bipartisan support.”
Kasich had suckered Walker into a discussion
“You gotta be careful with the rhetoric, because you get too far out on that and people don’t want to deal.” On granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants: “I am not closed to it. You know why? Everybody in this country needs to feel like they have an opportunity.”
On Common Core educational standards: 
“We’re not doing well in the world. If we’re not careful the Googles and PayPals will be invented somewhere else. … I do think we have to have good standards. I don’t see that this is Obamacore. … The idea that kids in Iowa, kids in California, kids in Ohio, there ought to be a higher level of achievement? I’m completely for that. I think it makes sense. … It is purely local control.”

On expanding Medicaid in Ohio
“Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid, OK? Because he said there were people that were left out. We have seen stabilizing of people in our emergency rooms. Do you understand that when people can’t get comprehensive health care they get sicker and end up in the emergency room, and guess who pays for it? We do.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Business likes Walker's Wisconsin, without creating jobs or increasing demand.

Higher business rankings have nothing to do with everyday citizens. It reflects the size and breadth of corporate welfare and deregulation. It’s not exactly “free market” stuff here, since the Walker administration is merely purging the old system and replacing it with regulatory protections...for big business.  
Wisconsin ranks as the 32nd best state for business according to Forbes Magazine … Last year it ranked 41st.
Of course, the ranking has nothing to do with an actual increase in jobs or businesses. It has everything to do with corporate tax cuts, lower wages, irresponsible deregulation, and whatever it is that they call “economic climate.”  
The ranking is based on performance in six categories — business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life … the state ranking 18th in the future growth category. Wisconsin has improved its ranking in the regulatory and economic climate categories.
There’s one category we’re losing ground on fast, quality of life. You’d think with concealed carry and cuts to education we’d be headed in the other direction, but…
Its business costs and labor force rankings remain about the same as in past years. It's quality of life ranking has fallen from the top 10 in several previous years to 17th.

Raw Milk blamed for outbreak that sidelined football team and sickened 38 people. Conservative Talk geniuses stumped.

For nearly a year, conservative talk radio whiners had a tantrum over an attempt to stop the sale of raw milk in the state. It was big government going after the little guy, a farmer with the best intentions and a free market sensibility. Raw milk is safe damn it.

Oops, guess a few of those “stand with Walker” voters in northwestern Wisconsin who believed that lunacy are singing a different tune today. Journal Times:
The ongoing debate over legalizing the sale of raw milk, in this state and other states, got an instructive example on the potential dangers of that path this fall in northwestern Wisconsin. A DHS investigation has confirmed that raw milk was to blame for an outbreak of stomach illnesses that sickened 38 people at a potluck dinner for the Durand High School football team, including about 22 members of the team. With so many football players falling ill, the Durand team had to cancel two football games … some of the players lost so much weight “they looked like skeletons.”
Where are our genius talk show hosts now? Remember, you don’t need much of an education to become one of the media elite on the AM dial.
Advocates of raw milk contend it is delicious and provides health benefits, including protection against asthma and lactose intolerance. They argue, as well that it is a freedom of choice issue and the government should butt out. But the dairy industry and pediatricians have lined up in opposition, and the Durand outbreak will give them a “we told you so” moment.
Back to the unsuspecting public:
Some parents are furious because they were unaware raw milk was being served at the event. Some families reportedly face thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Enemies of the free market; doctors and the government: Heck, what do they know?
Last December, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocated a nationwide ban on the sale of raw milk because of the danger of bacterial illnesses — particularly for pregnant women, infants and children. Legislation to allow raw milk sales in Wisconsin was vetoed in 2010 by Gov. Jim Doyle, but the issue has been revived in the Legislature. We expect it will be on the agenda again. 
That's because Republicans never learn anything from reality, or the pain and suffering of actual people. Free market raw milk is a guaranteed freedom that needs to be protected. Here's a WKOW story from a few months back dealing with the same farmers talk radio hosts were convinced had a legal right to sell their raw milk. Guess not:



Coal Ash poisoning our water? Prove it says DNR.

Isn't it time to put the kibosh on that meddling EPA? Getting rid of it is the GOP’s ultimate goal, a bizarre and blatantly irresponsible goal that seems to make sense to their unquestioning voter base. It starts with getting government out of the way, and ends at hurting the “job creators.” It’s simple to understand wordsmithing that works like the saying abracadabra.

Without serious environmental “job killing” regulations, the following major threaten to our water supply would be the norm. Still, conservative voters don’t seem one bit concerned.

The question has always been; similar to climate change, why don’t we just play it safe, just in case? Throwing caution to the wind...
We Energies said the Oak Creek Power Plant ash could not be definitively tied to higher levels of chemicals like boron and molybdenum in local groundwater.
The least costly solution is to transition away from coal completely, which according to the Walker administration is an attack on that lovable black stocking stuffer, and probably a part of some liberal plot to kill jobs and businesses. We've all seen how bad things are in liberal Madison, one of the best cities in the country in almost every category?:
A new study from a Wisconsin environmental group has found that when the ash from coal-burning power plants is used in places like construction projects, some harmful chemicals can wind up in drinking water. Recently, however, the environmental group Clean Wisconsin issued a report that contends that more than 1 in 5 wells across Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha and Milwaukee counties are contaminated with molybdenum at amounts above the state health advisory level. Clean Wisconsin's Tyson Cook said the problem is that construction firms have used the ash as fill material under roads, schools and other buildings.
We're using coal ash as fill material...oh, why not. Of course, we could move to a strictly private system using bottled water? That might be more expensive than that quarterly bill you get from your municipality, but it does get government off your back and downsizes your late mail delivery.   
Ann Michna’s family, which includes her husband Frank Michna, their children, and pets, all drink bottled water. Frank, who's part of a family that has lived in Caledonia for 160 years, said he blames We Energies coal ash for spoiling his tap water and causing health problems. He said the company should be held accountable. “They tried to cover it up and say, ‘Well we’re doing the right thing now.’ But you didn’t in the past, and you need to pay for that,” he said.
Based on the DNR’s ideologically driven opinion, nothing needs to be done, because so far no one can prove beyond a reasonable doubt we’re poisoning our water. And besides, many metallic poisons occur naturally:

The DNR's Ann Coakley said that more study is possible, but said that she finds fault with Clean Wisconsin's report. “At this time we really do not concur that there is a clear correlation between the elevated molybdenum in groundwater and the beneficial use of bottom ash from coal-fired power plants,” said Coakley. “We also know that there’s evidence that molybdenum is a naturally occurring metal in Wisconsin soil and rock formation. 

Walker offers state office building construction to squeeze donors just before election.

Pay-to-play government is becoming so common place now that it won't be long before no one is even going to notice...that is until Democrats gets back into office.

After several open records requests for the names of the interested developers for a couple of state office buildings, we now know who they are. But who cares, when Wisconsin is coming back: 

WKOW: A Madison developer who donated nearly $10,000 to Gov. Scott Walker's (R-Wisconsin) campaign, after the state put out a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase and redevelop the state's Hill Farms property, is now one of four finalists being considered for the project by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA).
You’ll notice the “bidding” process started just before the elections, when campaign contributions were most needed. Even the losers ended up helping Walker win. Nice con:
The RFP process opened on October 13th, 2014 and on October 24th, Wall donated $9,975 to Friends of Scott Walker, maxing out his donations for the year.  

"What I think is very obvious and smacks of pay to play is the fact that the donation came, the donation of $10,000 to the Walker campaign, came 11 days after the RFP was announced and during prime campaign season," said Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison), who represents the Assembly district in which the Hill Farms property is located.

"There were two other companies that were part of the T. Wall bid, Potter/Lawson and I believe Miron Construction, also gave money during that same period," said Jenni Dye, research director for One Wisconsin Now … the construction and architectural firms tied to Wall's proposal, gave a total of $3,500 to Walker after the RFP period opened.

Rated #1: Liberals coddle lazy Senior’s with handouts, like mass transit, low income housing and civil engagement.

It looks like Paul Ryan was right, these social safety nets are nothing but hammocks for freeloading senior's enjoying the good life while hard working Republicans are expected to pick up the tab for transportation and entertainment.

Waukesha city residents were disappointed yet again, when greed and wealth were oddly missing on the list used to compile the ratings:
WKOW: When it comes to the best cities to live as we grow old Madison is the place to be.

The Milken Institute released their list of best cities to age in, and Madison was #1.

The list was compiled using 8 domains of a living community. They include affordable housing, accessible transportation, and civic engagement. Other Wisconsin cities include the Milwaukee area which came in at #29 on the list.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Net Neutrality is "Very Pro Business," yet GOP Against it?

Columbia University Prof. Tim Wu dispels the common myth pushed by Republicans about net neutrality; destroys innovation/job killer. That's sooooooooo wrong:



With clueless Republican voters standing up for higher cable rates and slower service, not to mention hurting those smaller job creators, it's frustrating to know these guys are in charge now:

But the Wisconsin State Journal's Tom Still does an amazing job making our current neutral internet sound good, yet improvable with...get this, "light touch regulation." Light touch regulations for guns too?

First,Tom Still praises our current net neutral series of tubes:
By any standard, the Internet ranks as one of the leading innovations of our time. It has revolutionized everything from commerce to medicine to entertainment, all within the confines of a generation. Better yet, it has done so largely without government regulation.
Let's get to the focus group approved spin pushed by Scott Walker and Still. Amazing how they now think it turns back the clock:
So, why would President Obama think now is the time to turn back the clock to Depression-era rules written when all telephones were black, hard-wired and hung on a wall?

The following talking point, using Netflix, is easily argued away with this: The guys in pizza shop who came up with idea of YouTube would not have had a chance, since they are what Still calls "lane hogs," like Netflix. 
While the FCC appeared on course for a hybrid rule to charge broadband “hogs” while protecting small users, Obama has proposed to take it to a new – or, more accurately, old – regulatory level. He wants to reclassify ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the 1934 Telecommunications Act, treating the service as a public utility.
Still has this moment of sanity:
“Net neutrality” is one of those buzzwords that inspires populist support, but it’s not as simple as the big guys conspiring to shove mom-and-pop websites into the Internet’s slow lane.

Behind the scenes, it’s also about a small handful of heavy users – the Internet’s so-called “lane hogs” – hoping to avoid paying for the right to dominate available capacity. Video consumes huge amounts of Internet capacity Today, Netflix and similar services are accommodating customers through the Internet – and gobbling up capacity in the process. Netflix pays Comcast, Verizon and AT&T undisclosed fees for a more direct connection to their networks, an arrangement that could become unnecessary if Obama’s recommendation is adopted by the FCC.
Supposedly, this whole net neutrality gimmick is all about saving Netflix a few dollars?
No wonder Netflix is leading the charge for — you guessed it — “net neutrality.”

It has functioned pretty well so far with light-touch regulation and self-policing functions.

Hunting Licenses take Plunge in reaction to DNR's new "simplified" maze of Regulations.

I documented all of this before...here, about "Dr. Deer's" disastrous takeover of our hunting rules and regulations. James Kroll said one of his recommendations was to "simplify regulations," to "put the fun back into deer hunting." Here's the DNR video of him actually saying that, with the caveat that sometime these things take a while...:



Special interest money from the Safari Club International, and the ultimate plan to bring in hunting game farms like Wern Valley, isn't sitting well with sportsmen statewide. The truth is, "small" government Republicans love regulation. And it's not exactly encouraging young hunters to take up the sport:
Wisconsin's gun deer license sales are down about 11,175, lagging behind last year's pace.
Ready for the list of whiny excuses no rough and ready hunter would ever think of giving? Would you believe deep snow?
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp told reporters … the gun deer season that deep snow in northern Wisconsin may be discouraging hunters in that region from getting out this year.
And many hunters are just fine with leaving their rifles at home? Yikes, crossbows anyone?
Hunters may have decided to participate in the state's new crossbow season and forgo the traditional gun season. She also pointed out that many hunters wait until the last few days before the season opens…
…blah blah blah. Stepp wants you to know that the maze of convoluted regulations, licenses and invisible boundaries aren't the real reasons after all.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Shell Game: Scott Walker to give your property tax cut savings onto road builders with new fees and possible new tax.

Funny thing, I wrote the title yesterday before finishing this post, and low and behold today, the Journal Sentinel's James Rowen beat me to it. Knowing when I'm beat, here's what he wrote:
Ah, your $322. Remember all that dough you were getting back in tax savings from Daddy Walker Warbucks? Scott Walker bought a lot of votes for $322, and asked you what you planned on doing with it.

Well, now we know where some of it's going next year.

To higher electric rates, as ordered by his Public Service Commission. And, in one form or another - - higher prices at the gas pump and other 'transportation' taxes or fees - - to the politically-connected, well-oiled road-building-and-trucking machine to widen more highways though driving is on the decline.
Took the words right out of my mouth. Here's the article substantiating our claim. WSJ:
Drivers in Wisconsin would have to pay an additional $751 million in taxes and fees over the next two years if a new transportation budget request is approved.

It came just over a week after Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who touted tax cuts on the campaign trail, won re-election.

Department secretary Mark Gottlieb said
1. Cost increases would include a “highway use fee” for new vehicle purchases, which would amount to $800 on a $32,000 vehicle, he said.
2. Gas taxes would increase by about $27 a year linked in part to wholesale prices of fuel.
3. And the owners of hybrid and electric vehicles would also have to pay an annual $50 fee.
4. The gas tax overhaul and new fees for hybrid and electric cars mirror ideas floated by Walker during a meeting with the State Journal editorial board last month.
The proposal aims to shore up the state’s projected $680 million shortfall in the DOT’s 2015-17 budget. And it would increase the money taken from the general fund from $133 million to nearly $574 million.
Anyone for a constitutional amendment to protect the general fund from the transportation fund?

Walker's "Tools" may just close down Montello District Schools if referendum isn't approved.

The one time "tools" Scott Walker gave to our state school districts have been exhausted. Rural area schools have sounded the alarm, but Walker isn't listening, and he certainly won't be taking State Superintendent Tony Evers reform suggestions anytime soon either. 

Without these important social center schools, small towns will eventually dry up. But never fear, we may still be able to mine or sell their land and buildings to foreign countries like China. 

Institute of Public Research:
Facing the worst of all possible choices — the loss of the heart of their community — members of the district board voted unanimously to put a recurring $1.1 million referendum on the spring 2015 ballot to keep the doors of Montello schools open.

The other options to close the gap are to cut 17 teachers or gain 100 students.

Without the $1.1 million referendum being approved, the last school year that doors would be open at Montello would be 2015-2016. “We really have no other choice,” stated board member Lisa Smith.