Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Walker won't prevent 130,000 Wisconsinites from losing tax credits on the exchanges!!!

It’s interesting to see Scott Walker work under pressure, to see how he handles potentially difficult problems heading his way. What we're learning is troubling to say the least.

The recent conflicting court decisions over the governments health exchange subsidies is a really big deal to those getting the tax credit. For many it's a matter of life and death. 

The big picture is even scarier, knowing tens of thousands of citizens may lose their ability to buy insurance in an instant. 

But Walker is an ideologue, a strict party guy, who has no desire to support anything that deviates from the platform. Sociopathic behavior? See for yourself below:
WSAU-Wheeler News: Governor Scott Walker's office says it will not rush to create Wisconsin's own health care marketplace to preserve tax subsides that were placed in doubt yesterday. Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster would not say if Wisconsin would create its own exchange if it meant preserving subsidies for users. 

She said the 130-thousand Wisconsinites under Obama-care are not affected at this point -- and the Republican Walker won't deal in "hypotheticals." 
While the courts are also supposed to seriously consider the intent of congress, and not just the faulty or ambiguous language, two activist conservative judges decided to simply misinterpret the entire reason for the Affordable Care Act. Picking up on that, as ridiculous as it sounds, Walker expects us to think Obama and congress supposedly never intended the tax credits for the the government exchanges?
Walker's office put the blame on what Webster called the government's "inept interpretation of their own flawed law." 

7th Circuit Court skeptical, wants good reason for John Doe 2 Conservative groups to remain Anonymous.

Slowly but surely the wheels of justice turn....
Twin Cities: A federal appeals court is asking two unnamed parties related to an investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall campaign and other conservative groups to explain why they are entitled to remain anonymous.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday asked the unnamed parties (Wisconsin Club for Growth) to address that in briefs due in September.

Marquette Poll shows Burke Pulling away ever so slightly.

Here are the numbers, from jsonline:
Gov. Scott Walker leads 46%-45% among registered voters, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday.

Among likely voters, Burke led Walker, 47%-46%.

Walker's job approval slipped from 49% in May to 47% in July … Walker slipping among coveted independent voters, from 49% to 45%, and Burke from 40% to 44%.

Walker's likability, 45% favorable view, compared to 47% unfavorable views. Burke, 26% favorable and 24% unfavorable.

75% heard something about the John Doe investigation, while 24% had not. Among those who knew, 54% said the John Doe probe was just more politics, while 42% said it was serious.

45% of the voters said the state budget was in a better shape, 28% the same and 22% said it was in worse shape.

On jobs, 9% said the state was creating jobs faster than other states, 42% the same as others, 43% said the state was lagging others.

Only 37% would now vote to retain, and 56% would vote to repeal, the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. 

Radio's Word Salad Simpleton Vicki McKenna serves up student data fears over Common Core.

The great right wing geniuses would like you to think they're the undaunted protectors of our freedoms, liberties and personal data. For example; Common Core student data.

From the babbling mindlessness of conservative radio talker Vicki McKenna, we're led to believe Common Core student data will be used at some later date to destroy the lives of conservative grownups everywhere. And that liberals and backers of Common Core don't give a damn about it.

Thank god we have tea party leader and mouthpiece Mckenna watching over us. In what I would call a breathless word salad of fear mongering, McKenna throws ridiculously old talking points about "teachers unions supporting leftists..." (remember Act 10 Vicki?) and juvenile comments like "are you creeped out yet? You should be." Here's one of my favorites:
"There is nothing the government needs to know about you that it would ever use to make your life better. Ever! When has the government ever used information gathered about individuals citizens to make their life better?"
When? How about gathered information to improve education, food safety, traffic signs, product safety, drug safety, health, invaluable census data used for policy and business needs centered around demographics, income, marketing, housing needs, zoning...etc. Is she an idiot? Yes.

Having been a radio veteran for 26 years and liberal talk host (Vicki and I were a team for one year), I truly believe she's just making this stuff up to fill the hour. A bottomless word salad of unrelated terms meant to dazzle the low information listener. Here's a tip, stop talking Vicki, and take a call. Breath:

Securing student data Important: But the coverage I've seen in my EdWeek email updates, nothing could be more important than privacy. From local districts, superintendents and school boards, student data is a concern they've already dealt with in their contracts and policies...locked away, or so says my own local superintendent. But beyond local governments, Common Core backer Bill Gates is at the forefront of keeping that data secure. I'm not a big fan of billionaire involvement, but Gates knows his stuff when it comes to security issues, which is an ongoing and never ending process:
As some of its competitors have been battered over their policies for protecting student data, Microsoft Corp. has sought to make sure that the issue—and what it regards as its strong record on privacy—remain firmly in the public eye. During the past year, Microsoft has supported academic research on privacy and guides for school officials on the subject. Its executives have also kept a steady presence at public forums urging school districts and policymakers, as well as parents and families, to pay attention to the issue. "Students are not products," Cameron Evans, Microsoft's chief technology officer for U.S. education, said

But as the company moves aggressively to position itself as a protector of student-data privacy, some say it also runs the risk of a backlash if it doesn't back up its talk with the kind of vigilance the technology giant promises to deliver.While it makes sense for Microsoft to market its privacy brand, "having a business reason for doing that doesn't mean they don't believe what they do," said John M. Simpson, the privacy-project director for Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based organization.

Mark Schneiderman, the senior director of education policy for the Software & Information Industry Association, a Washington-based trade association, said in a statement that K-12 companies are competing on many fronts, and promising strong "data security and related tools" is just one of them. "[T]here is a lack of understanding among parents, the media, and policymakers about what is, and is not happening in the sector," Mr. Schneiderman told Education Week. Mr. Mutkoski, the Microsoft public-sector-services official, said in an interview.

Major organizations, he added, typically expect data-privacy guarantees to be "baked into our contracts," and, he argued, school districts should expect the same.

With No Warning, Shocked Parents told Private School is Bankrupt in De Pere. $19,000 to $29,000 in prepaid tuition lost.

The Republican attempts to commodify our kids by privatizing our public schools introduces a number of other major downsides to their movement.

Private Schools can do anything they want: I want to highlight the last line in the story below:
"Parents were angered by the closing, saying no one ever warned them the school was struggling financially."
Private schools don't have to tell parents anything. And private school closing don't get nearly enough media coverage as it should. Just consider the devastating effects on students and families left scrambling to find another school-usually a public one. Search my blog with the key words "charter" and "voucher," and you'll see what I mean. It's not a pretty picture. 

Here's another reason why having a reliable, accountable public school system is so important:
AP: A private school in De Pere has closed and filed for bankruptcy, leaving some parents out nearly $30,000 in tuition payments.

A Press-Gazette Media report says the Wisconsin International School filed for bankruptcy this month. The school has estimated assets of $50,000, but liabilities of about $550,000.

Under the terms of the bankruptcy, parents who prepaid their tuition likely won't get it back. The bankruptcy filing says two families each paid more than $29,000, and several others paid about $19,000.

School officials offered little explanation when they shut down the school last month. It sent notices to parents saying it couldn't balance its books due to declining enrollment and fundraising shortfalls.

Parents were angered by the closing, saying no one ever warned them the school was struggling financially.
The dirty little secret Republicans don't want to tell parents about private schools? Important information about declining enrollment for some charter and vouchers schools never needs to be disclosed.

Republican Rep. Bill Kramer using campaign money to defend against Sexual Assault Charges.

Why am I not surprised? One of the most arrogant Republican bullies in the legislature, outgoing Rep. Bill Kramer, appears to be breaking the law again. Kramer is using campaign money to defend himself against sexual assault chargers, a personal matter and a legal no-no.

WKOW's  Tony  Galli has the story:
A campaign finance report shows republican lawmaker Bill Kramer used donor funds to pay an attorney $10,000 to defend him against felony, sex assault accusations.

"There is no way on earth that campaign funds should be able to be used by an official to defend that official against sexual assault charges," Executive Director Mike McCabe of the watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign tells 27 News. McCabe says Kramer's use of campaign funds for this purpose appears to be illegal. "This is totally inconsistent with the plain meaning of state law," McCabe says.

"State law says you can only use campaign funds if you are being investigated for, or being charged with violations of campaign finance and election laws," McCabe says.

Racine School District clears library shelves of Bible, Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain and other classics.Em

Who the hell is on the Racine Unified School District, and why are they taking away our books?

Add caption
In what is a early look at a bizarre story out of Racine, the district is purging a massive quantity of books from school library's. Breathtaking and shocking in scope, let's hope there's a detail here that makes what is happening in Racine schools less surreal than the story below describes:
Racine County Eye-DENISE LOCKWOOD: Members of the Racine Education Association are calling on the Racine Unified School District to stop “weeding” school library books out of school libraries by the “tens of thousands,” Among the books being pulled are ones written by local authors David Kherdian and Kevin Henkes; books on the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Bible, the Koran, and Beowulf.

Shel Silverstien poetry and many Dr. Seuss books are expected to be removed from some elementary schools.

At Case High School, 2,505 books were removed, including: Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Holy Bible, Pable Picasso: A Modern Master, and The Iliad & The Odyssey of Homer. “

Aaron Eick, vice president of the REA and teacher at Horlick High School, said the librarians are at a loss on how the books will be replaced. “There is not nearly enough money to buy enough books to replace what has been lost,” Eick said. The Racine Unified School District is purging “tens of thousands of books” copyrighted prior to the year 2000, according to a statement by the REA. 
From the Racine Journal Times: 
One of the hardest-hit schools was Mitchell Middle School, according to Gabrielle Sharrock, who has worked as a library media specialist in the district for five years and will start as the school’s librarian next academic year.

She said she was not consulted about books being removed and she visited the library two days after the school was “weeded” and found dozens of boxes full of books slated to be destroyed (see pic above), numerous shelves bare and most of the non-fiction section nearly cleared out.

“It was just devastating to see that,” she said. “If I had to replace all of those books with my budget it would take 16 years, and by then they would be outdated.”

Walker wants to focus on the horrors of Out Sourcing Overseas? Look in the mirror.

There's something fishing about Scott Walker's Hail Mary attack over offshoring jobs. He must know he's got a record a mile long supporting out sourcing and backing businesses that do. And yet, he seems confident none of that will stick to him.

It's also a case of "Swift boating" Mary Burke for her greatest strength, actual business experience at a very successful global company known for it's philanthropy and community involvement. It's a world most career politicians are completely unfamiliar with, like you know who, Scott Walker.

Just as surprisingly, the media is actually pointing out Walker's hypocrisy. Like WKOW's Greg Neumann:
WKOW: Gov. Scott Walker's most recent campaign finance report shows he received money, a total of $68,500 to Gov. Walker over the last six months, from at least 11 corporations that have outsourced jobs to other countries.
Here's a list of outsourcing companies Walker should be attacking next...yea, right:
WellPoint, one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, gave $15,000 to Gov. Walker's campaign.  Three other corporations gave $10,000 each, including Caterpillar, 3M - a multifaceted manufacturing company based in Minnesota, and Deloitte - a national tax consulting firm. Other corporations that donated to Gov. Walker through their PACs were Coca-Cola ($2,500), Pfizer ($5,000), PepsiCo ($2,000), J.P. Morgan Chase ($1,000), Hewlett-Packard ($3,000), General Motors ($6,000) and CenturyLink ($4,000).

U.S. Department of Labor records show those companies have had successful claims filed against them for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) … awarded to workers who can prove they are unemployed because their jobs were outsourced overseas.
No Company Outsourcers from PAC's supporting Mary Burke: Really, not one?
The campaign finance report for Democratic Challenger Mary Burke shows she raked in over $351,000 in PAC donations, but none from corporations that outsourced jobs.  The majority of PAC donations to Burke came from national and state unions.

The Burke campaign has criticized Walker, because his Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded tax credits to at least two companies that have shipped Wisconsin jobs overseas.

It looks like Scott Walker set up Wisconsinites to lose Premium Subsidies on the Exchanges. Now that's moving forward.

It was a bizarre ruling today by a conservative activist court that called into question all the tax credits people on the ObamaCare government exchanges would be receiving.

While repeal crazy low information voters cheered the ruling, little do they realize that once the subsidies are gone, insurers will literally kill them with premium price increases and exclusions. But it's a victory for them none the less.

It now looks like Scott Walker's decision to abandon our nearly completed state exchanges for political reasons will jeopardize all 130,000 ObamaCare customers in the state. Add to that the 35,000 families once covered by BadgerCare (Medicaid), who no longer have anything.

Channel3000's Jessica Arp reported this:

It was Walker's completely disconnected response pictured here, that should concern Wisconsinites; it had nothing to do with today's ruling about the exchanges, but only referred to expanding Medicaid. Another words, Walker's got nothing, no solutions, no concern over those he pushed into the exchanges and a convenient way to avoid responsibility.
The Wisconsin Budget Project: Why did Wisconsin cut BadgerCare eligibility in half for parents, based on reliance on federal funding to subsidize the federal health insurance Marketplace? 

Thanks to a ruling today by a subset of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals … two of the three judges participating in that ruling concluded that federal subsidies for the health insurance Marketplace can only go to people in states that set up their own Marketplaces … considering that 90% of the Wisconsinites who have purchased plans from the federal Marketplace are receiving federal subsidies, and those subsidies cover 74% of the cost of Marketplace premiums … The stakes are even higher in Wisconsin because Wisconsin lawmakers decided to cut in half the BadgerCare income ceiling for parents. About 70,000 fewer parents are now enrolled in BadgerCare and it was assumed by state policymakers that most of those adults would move into subsidized Marketplace plans.

Wisconsin policymakers express concerns about taking federal funding to expand BadgerCare … Ironically, those policymakers pushed through an alternative plan that costs state taxpayers more, covers fewer people in BadgerCare, and relies on federal Marketplace subsidies that might be at greater risk than Medicaid funding.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Free Market Offshoring by Global Businesses is now Bad, says clueless Scott Walker.

Boy, if you're a global corporation, with manufacturing all over the world, you might want to steer clear of Wisconsin as a place to locate your business.

Scott Walker doesn't like you,  and will go out of his way to vilify your very existence.

It's not enough for Trek Bicycle to manufacture their product here in Wisconsin as well as in the other foreign markets they serve (business 101), after all, its a global company now.

As a career politician, living and raising a family on the government dole, running an international business is not a Scott Walker strength after all.

Remember, Walker says he's is not actually attacking a successful business in our state, he's just pointing out how bad they are because the owners sister is trying to take his job.

The worst part of the ad below is how ignorant Scott Walker looks regarding the function of global businesses setting up shop in the markets they serve. Oddly, this "terrible" policy is something Republicans love and have been pushing for the last 30 years. Chairman Walker's own WEDC gave money to companies that fired Wisconsin workers for offshoring as well. Is all this just a distraction?

What I like about this is the free press and media coverage Walker is giving Burke, all the while bashing Wisconsin business. It's a twofer and I hope a game changer for this little man.
Trek, the world's second-largest bicycle maker, does not employ children at its overseas plants, John Burke said. Trek's manufacturing plants in China, Germany and Holland all follow local labor laws and pay prevailing wages, he said.

Scott Walker, the out-of-state Governor? Outside Special Interests say yes, want Walker!!!

Isn't it time Wisconsin had it's own in-state governor? It seems our state elections and interests are now in the control of out-of-state big money donors. jsonline:
Gov. Scott Walker raised more than half his sizable haul of campaign cash from outside Wisconsin this year, while his challenger Mary Burke raised two-thirds of her donations inside the state.
Breaking it down:
Of the $8.3 million raised by the Republican governor in the first half of 2014, $4.6 million, or 55.4%, came from out of state donors while $3.7 million, or 44.7%, came from within the state, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis.
Wisconsinites have a different candidate in mind: Mary Burke:
Of the $3.6 million brought in by Burke, a Democrat and former Trek bicycle executive, donors living outside Wisconsin gave $1.2 million, or 34%, and in-state donors gave $2.4 million, or 66%, the newspaper's analysis of state campaign filings found Tuesday.

WISGOP attacks Trek Bike's free speech rights to defend itself against Walker's political Smear Campaign

Warning to out-of-state businesses, don't get on the bad side of Gov. Scott Walker. 

For a party that hates frivolous lawsuits, using courts, and supports Citizens United, they sure hate it when the tables are turned.

Trek CEO John Burke featured a full page ad in local newspapers defending his company from political attacks by Mr. “Open for Business” Scott Walker. Apparently, free speech and the money that pays for newspaper ads is now illegal for businesses that have a blood tie to a political candidate.

WISGOP’s Joe Fadness continues to highlight the party’s hypocrisy and willingness to flip flop at a moments notice to maintain power. The ends do justify the means for these pirates, even if it means bashing successful state businesses. LaCrosse Tribune:
The Wisconsin Republican Party has filed a complaint with the state elections board over a full-page newspaper ad by Trek Bicycle Corp., saying it amounts to an illegal contribution to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. She is the sister of Trek president John Burke. 
That wasn't all:
The company had broken the law by responding to criticism from the Walker campaign about outsourcing by Trek. "Trek's advertisement uses corporate funds to aid the campaign of Mary Burke and uses language mirroring Mary Burke's talking points," the complaint reads.

Trek spokeswoman Marina Marich said in a statement: "The governor's television ad clearly attacked Trek, and Trek is entitled to defend itself under the First Amendment by running its own advertisements containing the true facts. We are confident that our letter published in newspaper advertisements is constitutionally protected free speech that fully complies with Wisconsin law."  
For those who don't check the comments, here one that nailed it:
Anonymous said...Sounds like the Republican Party is alleging coordination between Trek and Mary Burke's campaign. Haven't they been claiming (incorrectly) that coordination is allowed under Wisconsin law -- or at least should be following the latest US Supreme Court rulings favoring "corporate free speech"? So what's their position? That collaboration is legal for Scott Walker, but illegal for Mary Burke's campaign?

Mark Belling accused poor defenseless Mary Burke of recruiting her Brother to Fight her campaign battles.

My conservative friend in Milwaukee called to tell me how WISN's Mark Belling was about to trash Mary Burke for offshoring jobs at Trek. He even held the phone up to the radio so I hear Belling's commentary. He accused Burke of being a weak defenseless woman for getting her brother John to bash Walker for lying.
Belling: Says women like Burke are weak,
need men to defend them.

Belling accused Burke of not having the leadership to responded to Scott Walker's accusations that she ordered Trek to out source jobs to China.

Burke didn't respond? Even after running ads that RESPONDED to Walker's clueless misguided claims about offshoring jobs. Even the papers covered this one. Like this supposed "non-response" in the Journal Sentinel:
Mary Burke said that if Walker knew more about business he would understand that Wisconsin companies such as Trek, Kohler or Harley-Davidson need to manufacture around the world.
"That ad says more about him than it does about me, or for Trek," Burke said during an interview with the Journal Sentinel. "It shows that he puts politics in front of what's good for the state, and for the people. For him to drag a great Wisconsin company through the mud is bad for business. It's all about politics with him."
Burke is right, Walker is a career politician who thinks of himself as a "small businessman" managing the states economy. The state is "small?" Walker made that claim after becoming governor.

War on Women continued...: Belling then accused Burke of enlisting her brother to fight her battles for her, because you know, women are weak and depend on men for everything. Belling knew what he was doing, getting as much mileage out of his misogynistic, demeaning and completely fabricated attack on Burke.

Check out the audio clip below, which features Belling reading from John Burke's newspaper ad that offered up a few things you may not have known, like the fact that Trek helped fund the Madison bike sharing service. Gee, a business that cares about, and funds, social services. Walker can't have that:
Belling: "Mary Burke doesn't have guts to respond to a political attack ad on her by responding herself. She's got to trot out her the responding for her. Just in and of itself, it gives you an indication of her leadership skills, or lack there of."

What's just as strange is Belling's willingness to support Walker's deceptive twisting of the facts to make his case for reelection. Twisting the truth upside down is apparently fair game.

Unrelated but important: Walker's claim Trek didn't pay any corporate income tax is another fine example of lying while still telling the "truth." This factoid goes out to the guy who Tweeted he still trusts Walker more than Burke or any Democrat. Walkerites love being duped?
jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker stepped up his attack on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke and her family's bicycle business Monday by accusing the company of not paying state corporate income tax.

Burke's campaign fired back and said Walker is either "ignorant or outright lying" about how Trek Bicycle pays taxes in Wisconsin. Like many other businesses, Trek's owners pay taxes on the company's profits as individuals rather than through corporate taxes. Trek files taxes under "Subchapter S" of the Internal Revenue Service Code. In an S-corporation, the tax obligation is passed on to a company's shareholders.
Oddly, Walker doesn't have a problem with his blatant misdirection play to his supporters. Not much to brag about Scott?