Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump Budget: "The wealthy don’t have enough and the poor have too much, and they’re going to fix that.”

Trump voters thought that a big talking New York millionaire and BS'er offered them the kind of hope no Democrat could offer...suckers. Your WTF moment f**ked us all!

The politics of resentment is barreling down the tracks with the hopes of boosting the economy, save taxpayer dollars, and finally give the rich that long awaited opportunity to use their tax savings to add costly labor to their payrolls. Makes perfect sense, despite a lack of consumer demand.

What a classic "supply side" moment.

The hard political work of helping identify and grow future industries, provide higher wages, offer free education and job training...eh, it's just another word for big government. The easiest solution is to just throw people off our safety net programs, like low wage part-timers and disabled Americans on Social Security:

Reduce or eliminate trillions of dollars in taxes that are paid primarily by the wealthy, including the estate tax and the marginal rate on ordinary income paid by the richest taxpayers. 

He would lessen spending on Medicaid by $1.4 trillion over a decade, and he would allow states to impose strict limits on other major anti-poverty benefits such as food stamps. repealing President Obama’s health-care reform, which helped cover poor and middle-class households with funds raised in part through greater taxes on the rich.
From the party that gave us the Great Recession and free market voodoo economics, Trump's budget secretary and Tea Party/Freedom Caucus ghoul Mick Mulvaney said:
“If you are a 30-year-old adult, you have never had a job in a healthy American economy. You’ve either been in a recession or sluggish recovery, and you think this is normal and we are here to tell you it is not.”
Oh but it its normal, every time we have a Republican president or House and Senate majority.

Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, attributed the increase in inequality in part to President Reagan’s reductions in marginal rates paid by the rich. Zucman said that those reductions had failed to yield improving standards of living for Americans of middling incomes. “The U.S. has run a big experiment,” Zucman said. “It has failed in the most spectacular way.”

Zucman described Trump’s plans as an extension of Reagan’s approach. “If we double down on these past policies, inequality could really reach extreme and totally unprecedented levels in the years ahead,” Zucman said.

College Transparency Act needed now more than ever.

Getting government out of the way, a tired and costly ridiculous cliché, is keeping Americans from seeking out an educational path that they can affordable, while still targeting their specific career goals.

Opposition to student data collection over privacy concerns went off the rails back in 2008 and in the debate over Common Core. Attempts to integrate privacy safe guards were tossed out as an option, leaving parents and students to throw caution to the wind deciding subject matter, career selection, and which college would get the biggest bang for their buck. Bet you didn’t know
A 2008 amendment attached to the Higher Education Act reauthorization barred the federal government from explicitly and systemically integrating and connecting the dots between employment and enrollment, major program, financial aid receipt, and graduation outcomes on an individual student basis. There are of course concerns here about protecting the privacy of students, but these are outweighed by the huge benefits that would come from more robust data collection.
This was brought to you by the same conservatives who want to kill off the constitutionally required Census because it’s so intrusive, even if it helps spend taxpayer money wisely on schools, roads, hospitals, or even helps businesses target locations that would provide the best qualified workforce. The same can be said for collecting fire arm data...but I digress.

Oddly, for this Congress anyway, there's a bill gaining steam now that will help students make better more informed choices...
The College Transparency Act of 2017, just introduced as a bipartisan bill in Congress, would end this ban, and allow for federal data systems that track employment and graduation outcomes on a student-unit record basis. Specifically … to coordinate with other federal agencies. As a result, policymakers researchers and consumers would have access to data with more granular detail on student enrollment, retention, completion, and subsequent labor market outcomes from specific institutions. Importantly, the bill explicitly prohibits the construction of federal college ranking or rating schemes. It also incorporates robust protection of student information, with the expunging of all information that could be used to identify individual, and strict rules against the commercial use of the data.

Assessing colleges is a tricky business. As Beth Akers, Kim Dancy, and Jason Deslisle show in “The Affordability Conundrum,” a proper evaluation of the costs and benefits of a college requires information not simply on upfront net costs to students, but how long it will take to complete, the ability to absorb incidental unanticipated costs, the major pursued, and what post-graduation labor market outcomes one may be able to expect.

Whatever the arguments for and against the specific legislation in Congress, it is clear that student-unit record data would provide valuable additional information to a debate fraught with myths and misunderstandings.

Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia went well for him, not so much for us....

Loved this Trump/Saudi photo...pretty much right on target...Sarumon and Mordor aligned with U.S.?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Supreme Court: Republicans guilty of Voter Suppression!!!

Let's connect the dots: Today the Supreme Court decided overwhelmingly that Republican gerrymandering/voter suppression laws in North Carolina were unconstitutional. It was so bad Justice Thomas agreed:
The Supreme Court let stand a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling that North Carolina’s sweeping voting restrictions targeted African-American voters “with almost surgical precision.”

It’s now overwhelmingly clear that Republicans in North Carolina illegally made it harder for African Americans to vote and diminished the power of their votes. Today’s decision could have far-reaching ramifications for striking down gerrymandering nationwide.

In a 5-3 opinion today, Justice Kagan (surprisingly joined by Justice Thomas) ruled that North Carolina artificially increased the number of black voters in the state’s 1st and 12th congressional districts.
Didn't get the News? Of course, that didn't stop Scott Walker's grossly unqualified AG lapdog Brad Schimel from ignoring the courts decision today as if it never happened, and made this mind numbing request on the same day:
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel filed a brief today asking the Supreme Court to stay an order to redraw Wisconsin's legislative district boundaries ... saying it's likely the court will preserve the current districts and redrawing them would waste resources.
Really? After the majority decision today? 
voters filed a federal lawsuit in 2015 arguing the Republican-drawn boundaries unconstitutionally discriminate against Democrats. A three-judge panel agreed.
Wisconsin Voter Suppression a Killer: The Brookings Institute posted a story with a graphic a few days ago, that will blow your mind.

Newly released Census Bureau data confirm that both minority and black voter turnout took a decided downturn in last November’s elections ... Minority and black turnout was not only lower in the national statistics but also in key swing states.
Check out a few of the changes in the other swing states...not good right?

Now let's check out Wisconsin's loss in black voter turnout. Anyone see a problem here?

In Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and especially Wisconsin, a 2012 black turnout advantage either reversed or was eliminated in 2016 due to declines in black turnout and, in most cases, a rise in the turnout of white Americans. In Michigan and Florida, the 2012 white turnout advantage increased. In Florida, Hispanic as well as black turnout declined markedly as white turnout rose.
This is beyond the Obama effect that didn't seem to produce this wild swing in the other states. What was that you were saying Brad Schimel?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Republicans: The Not-So Freedom & Liberty Party!!!

This story out of Texas should tell you all you need to know about the true meaning of freedom and liberty espoused by Republicans, the party that loves to wave their pocket Constitutions in the air.

The list of lost freedoms and liberty's below seem almost hard to imagine, much less put to words in written bill after written bill. Remember when Republicans were repulsed by liberal social engineering? Can you say projection. Also known as a conscience clause, the vilification continues:
1. Allow medical professionals to deny care to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people and emergency contraception for rape survivors.

2. Allow pharmacists to deny birth control to women and hormone therapy to trans people.

3. Allow state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to turn away applicants on religious grounds, denying parents who are LGBT, or even those who are Jewish, Muslim or atheist.

4. An amendment added at the last minute to a nursing care bill, HB 2950, would bar the Texas Board of Nursing from punishing discriminatory actions if they are committed in the service of a nurse’s “religious beliefs” ... a nurse could “cite his religious beliefs as a reason to refuse to care for a gay patient on the grounds that he believes homosexuality is a sin” or is against his faith. “A nurse who believes that men are the head of the household,” the group also notes, “could breach client confidentiality to disclose a woman’s medical condition to her husband against her wishes.”

5. Pharmacists could opt-out of the practices that are standard based on personal religious convictions. A pharmacist could decide not to fill a prescription for hormone therapy for a transgender customer ... Or a “pharmacist could use religion as a justification to refuse to serve African-American customers because they believes the Bible mandates the segregation of the races.”

6.  Two bills that would regulate legal services, SB 302 and SB 303, now have amendments which allow for religious refusal by state-licensed attorneys ... an attorney could deny his or her duty to inform a client about his or her rights in a divorce proceeding, for example, even trying to talk the client out of getting a divorce, all based on the attorney’s religious objection to divorce.

Health Insurers blame Trump for Uncertainty and Premium Increases! Part 2

So you want more proof to send off to a few Wisconsin Trump trolls who were oddly bashed him during the election but now grovel at his feet? These little babies won the election don'cha know, and it seems like they still can't get over it themselves.

Here's what Trump is doing to personally make the ACA's exchanges fail:
NY Times: Opponents of President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement have made what may be a self-fulfilling prophecy: They repeatedly forecast the collapse of the health law, and then push it along.

Frustrated state officials have ideas for stabilizing the individual insurance market, but they say they cannot figure out where to make their case because they have been bounced from one agency to another in the Trump administration.

“We have trouble discerning who has decision-making authority,” said Julie Mix McPeak, the Tennessee insurance commissioner and president-elect of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which represents state officials. “We reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services. They referred us to the Office of Management and Budget, which referred us to the Department of Justice. We reached out to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.”

The Trump administration has sent mixed signals, reflecting an internal debate about whether to stabilize insurance markets or let them deteriorate further. Mr. Trump has said he could cut off the subsidies at any time if he wanted to.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month, Mr. Trump threatened to withhold subsidy payments from insurers as a way to induce Democrats to negotiate with him on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.
It really is this simple:
If those payments are not made, Mr. Trump said, “Obamacare is gone, just gone.”

Republicans run from Constituents, blame "threats" and "safety" concerns for blowback from their own unpopular agenda!!!

Republican speakers have played up their fear of angry liberal crowds on the nations college campuses for years. The more security they think they need, the more supposed threats they get, and the more controversy created in the media, the more famous and richer they become. Research David Horowitz's book selling, speaking tour con job, now being used by Ann Coulter and others.   

These blatant self-serving tours of victimhood are now being adopted by House Republicans…because it works.

So, who’s going to buy into the whiny Republican excuses about “threats” and “safety” as a reason not to meet with constituents anymore? What, can't take the rowdy town halls and loud angry forgotten real Americans? These are the same cowards and whiners who claimed they needed concealed carry to protect themselves against other imagined bogymen.

Maybe I’m mistaken, but constituent anger, even happiness, is the final arbiter in our system of checks and balances. You just can’t cut that out because it’s uncomfortable to answer to the public for radically unpopular decisions.

Be amazed at the Republicans fearful reaction to the perceived threats and the predictable consequences of their radical agenda. The Hill:
A growing number of House Republicans are facing physical threats from angry constituents in their districts, leading many to fear for their safety. 

Scores of GOP lawmakers have experienced going viral this year with video of constituents shouting their disagreement on support for President Trump and policies like the GOP’s healthcare bill. 

In the last few weeks alone, the FBI arrested a man threatening Rep. Martha McSally's (Ariz.) life; a woman pursued Rep. David Kustoff (Tenn.) with her car, and Rep. Thomas Garrett (Va.) heightened security at a recent town hall in response to death threats. 
 Other Republicans still holding town halls say they haven't felt physically threatened by protesters, but they worry about the depth of anger from some constituents in the polarized environment and what it means for political civility.  
Well, that kind misses the point, right? It’s policy that is the polarizing factor!!!

Our cafeteria conservatives often try to get around the Constitution by resorting to our “God given rights,” a sneaky religious expansion that runs counter to the 1st Amendment.  So is it “a fundamental tenet of western civilization?”  
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) described attendees at a town hall in his district last week who booed him down after he said people’s rights are God-given. “They booed God. They booed the pastor. They booed the prayer. They booed the name of the church. They booed when I said rights come from God,” Brat recounted to The Hill just off the House floor. “That’s a fundamental tenet of western civilization. I mean, I didn’t think that was partisan.”
One Republican who continues to tell the story about losing his special needs daughter doesn’t get that backing TrumpCare makes him a hypocrite and shameful exploiter of his own family tragedy.
Further north in New Jersey, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) faced pushback from a crowd when he began telling the story of his special-needs daughter who died at the age of 11. “Shame!” people shouted. “We’ve heard this story.” “This child in 11 years has shaped my life more than anybody. So if I talk about my daughter too much, well then so be it. But this is the one human being that has impacted my life more than anybody,” MacArthur said. Another person sarcastically yelled … “Maybe I will write a book,” MacArthur shot back. 
Yet Democrats don’t have the same problem, again because of the publics roll in our checks and balances system.
Still, not every town hall has veered into nastiness. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), a top Democratic target in 2018, said his town hall attendees expressed their clear displeasure with his positions but remained civil. “You know, they had the signs and stuff like that. But I thought they were pretty nice, I thought they were pretty respectful,” Coffman said. “From the stories I have heard in other districts, I’ve got it pretty good.”
Now gun loving Republicans, who backed Clive Bundy’s use of weapons to threaten government agents, cheered on armed civil protests for open carry, and passed right to kill “stand your ground” laws are scared to death of angry armed...liberals. Big surprise? For every action, there’s a equal and opposite reaction…or did Republicans forget? It doesn’t make it right, but desperate Americans who need their health care to stay alive are left with few civil choices:
The FBI arrested a Tucson, Ariz. man for leaving three threatening messages on McSally’s congressional office voicemail, in which he allegedly said her days “were numbered” and threatened to shoot her. A criminal complaint filed last week in the U.S. District Court in Tucson said the suspect told agents he was upset over McSally’s votes in support of Trump … the same swing district previously represented by then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011 during a constituent meet-and-greet.

In Tennessee, a woman angry over Kustoff’s vote for the GOP health care bill this month pursued a car carrying him from an event at a local university. Kustoff and a staffer eventually turned into a driveway and came to a stop. Then the woman approached the car, yelled at Kustoff and struck the car’s windows, according to local reports.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.)  spokesman Andrew Griffin said the freshman lawmaker has received at least three death threats … One constituent called Garrett’s Washington, D.C. office and said if his health care is taken away, he would take Garrett’s life away.

A constituent angry over the GOP’s healthcare bill approached Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), took dollar bills from his wallet and tried to shove them into the lawmaker’s suit pocket, the Bismarck Tribune reported
 Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) wasn’t home when his young daughter found a sign on the family’s lawn last week that read: “Traitors put party above country Do the right thing for once, shithead.”“Attack me, protest against me, but do not frighten my children at their home,” Fortenberry said in an interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto.

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) described protesters vandalizing his Gainesville, Fla. Office … “They’re mad to the point where they’re cussing at my staff, pushed one of them, poured stuff on one of the staff’s car,” Yoho told The Hill. “If they start acting responsible and respectable, we’ll do the same.” 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Overrated Paul Ryan Lied about a Little Thing like a "silly" Backroom Conversation.

I'm just documenting for historical purposes a definitive moment where Paul Ryan is lying again. Kind of makes you wonder what you can believe, doesn't it?
WaPo: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill:  “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.
Ryan denied the conversation above ever happened, over and over, calling it fake. Why?

It wasn't an important conversation, just a "joke?" Seriously, what was the big deal for the cover-up? If something this small and off the cuff was important enough to lie about, can you imagine what Paul Ryan would makeup just to pass something he was so passionate about?

Remember when his keynote address at the Republican National Convention, was just riddled with glaring errors and lies? 

The Washington Post laid it out perfectly here:


The Great Mothers Day Sellout.

Here's a short history of the woman who created Mothers Day for her mom and took it national, only to fight against the commercialization of her passion:
Katharine Antolini, a historian who has studied Jarvis and how Mother’s Day became a national holiday.

While dining at a Philadelphia tearoom owned by her friend John Wanamaker, Anna Jarvis ordered a salad — then dumped it on the floor. Jarvis hated that the food was called “Mother’s Day Salad,” named after a celebration of mothers that she had pioneered years earlier. To her, it was a cheap marketing gimmick to profit off an idea that she considered to be hers, and hers alone.

She started fights, threatened lawsuits, wrote letters to politicians, issued bitter news releases, organized protests, fought with Eleanor Roosevelt, demanded an audience with sitting presidents, among other actions. She even claimed legal copyright to the holiday, Antolini said. Her letters were signed, “Anna Jarvis, Founder of Mother’s Day.”

If she were alive today, Antolini said, Jarvis would’ve been thrilled that Mother’s Day remains popular. “But she’d be upset that people don’t remember her,” the historian said. She would probably be equally angered to know that the holiday is celebrated in part through Mother’s Day specials and sales, Hallmark cards and floral arrangements.

On May 8, 1914, Congress passed a law declaring the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day. 

She spent the next years railing against flower shop owners, cardmakers and the candy industry for profiting off the holiday. “They’re commercializing my Mother’s Day,” she complained in a letter to newspapers, according to a 1986 Washington Post story. “This is not what I intended.”

A news release she issued, according to a 1994 Post article, read: “WHAT WILL YOU DO to route charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and other termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations?”

Even charities became the target of her disdain. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, charities held fundraising events on Mother’s Day to help mothers in need. Jarvis resented that. “She didn’t want it to be a beggar’s day,” Antolini said. “She didn’t want the day to be turned into just another charity event. You don’t pity mothers; you honor them.”

By the early 1940s, Jarvis had become undernourished and was losing her eyesight. Friends and associates placed her in a sanitarium in West Chester, Pa. She died Nov. 24, 1948.

Mother’s Day has become one of the most profitable U.S. holidays, with annual spending steadily growing since 2006. This year, consumers are expected to spend a record high of $23.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Antolini said Jarvis would be enraged at that.

Health Insurers blame Trump for Uncertainty and Premium Increases!

President and CEO of Blue Shield in California Paul Markovich made me almost think there's a heart somewhere inside a giant insurance company. Check out this MSNBC interview where Markovich responded to Ari Melber's question about charging higher premiums for the sick, that it doesn't have to be that way...:
Markovich: "Not only do I not think it has to be that way, I think it's just unconscionable to make it that way. We as a not-for-profit health plan, aspire to create a health care system that is worthy of our family and friends and sustainably affordable. And I think if you look at any kind of health policy through this lens, it's important to treat people equitably..." 
...I followed up his comment with string of GOP lies about guaranteeing coverage for preexisting conditions:
“All this uncertainty is not helpful,” warned Blue Shield of California Chief Executive Paul Markovich, who said health plans were being forced to make plans to raise premiums to account for the turmoil, jeopardizing Americans’ coverage. Markovich was one of the few senior insurance officials who agreed to speak on the record, as many fear retribution from the White House or its allies.

But privately, many executives, including chief executives of major health plans, offered withering criticism of the Trump administration’s lack of leadership. “It’s hard to know who’s home,” said one chief executive. “We don’t know who is making decisions.” Another chief executive said: “There seems to be no coordination or coherent planning.… It’s a mess.” A third official observed: “There is a sense that there are no hands on the wheel and they are just letting the bus careen down the road.”
An LA Times story confirms the Trump "administration" is doing all it can to destroy the ACA - ObamaCare:
Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration’s erratic management, inconsistent guidance and seeming lack of understanding of basic healthcare issues.

The growing frustration with the Trump administration’s management — reflected in letters to state regulators and in interviews with more than two dozen senior industry and government officials nationwide — undercuts a key White House claim that Obamacare insurance marketplaces are collapsing on their own. Instead, according to many officials, it is the Trump administration that is driving much of the current instability by refusing to commit to steps to keep markets running, such as funding aid for low-income consumers or enforcing penalties for people who go without insurance.

Most health plans and state regulators interviewed for this story said the Trump administration has significantly exacerbated turmoil in the marketplaces in recent months, contributing to rising premiums and the threat of marketplaces exits.
What many said was a market adjustment in ACA rates has now turned sour due to Trump's inaction:
The uncertainty created by Trump comes as some Obamacare markets were beginning to stabilize, according to many industry and government officials. In several states, insurers and regulators noted that 2017 was shaping up to be a better year than the first several years of the marketplaces.

Many state insurance regulators are similarly dismayed by the Trump administration’s actions. In Colorado, where most consumers continue to have multiple insurance choices, commissioner Marguerite Salazar said the Trump administration threatens the whole market. “My fear is it may collapse,” she said. Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, a Republican, is so concerned the turmoil will drive away insurers that he’s exploring whether the state can make available limited benefit insurance plans as a stopgap.

Insurance industry officials and state regulators have met repeatedly in recent months with senior Trump administration officials in an effort to explain that administration’s actions are jeopardizing health coverage for millions of Americans. At one recent meeting, Seema Verma, whom Trump picked to oversee the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, stunned insurance industry officials by suggesting a bargain: The administration would fund the CSRs if insurers supported the House Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “It made no sense,” said one official at the meeting.

DeVos removes competition with Single Student Loan Collector, removes mandates to help borrowers in Delinquency or reminders for reenrollment Deadlines.

Apparently, Education Sec. Betsy DeVos doesn't see the importance of history, or she would not commit to repeating this past failure: 
The Education Department said Friday that it will select one company to collect student debt payments on its behalf, rather than the nine contractors that currently handle the federal government’s $1.2 trillion portfolio of education loans.

The new plan is a return to the way student loans used to be collected by ACS Education Services, a role that critics of the company said led to widespread failures in customer service and loan consolidations. 

Robert Shireman, a former deputy undersecretary of education recalls the department being frustrated by the amount of power ACS held as the only servicer. “We felt we had little leverage because the whole system was operated by them, and they knew it would be such a huge endeavor to change that, so they didn’t have to be responsive,” said Shireman. “There was a move to add at least a couple servicers so you’d have competition and the department wouldn’t be stuck in that situation again.
Just as bad, this “single” collection service can subcontract its work, so it won’t be so “single” after all:
And while there will only be one primary servicer, the department will permit that company to hire subcontractors to lighten the load. 
Going back to the failed system before is irresponsible and reckless, but DeVos is also going to set students up for failure, on purpose:
The new contract will strip out mandates aimed at helping borrowers who fall behind on payments and people enrolled in income-driven plans. The servicer would no longer be required to have specialists on hand to aid people in delinquency, nor would the company have to remind borrowers to reenroll in income-driven repayment weeks before the deadline. Removing those sorts of mandate reduces some of the bureaucracy of servicing but could also prove detrimental to keeping borrowers from defaulting. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Republicans Rep. John Nygren: "Taxpayers don't need to ... contribute to buying down" Tech School Tuition.

The nice thing about public education is that everyone will end up contributing their tax dollars to educate the next generation, paying it forward. That's what makes public education so affordable, it has a large pot of money, from everyone.

Spreading the cost so everyone can afford things like education, state parks and health care is a lesson lost on Republicans. Like their idea of education savings accounts, so families can take their money and spend it anywhere they want. It won't be long before childless taxpayers will be off the hook.

And so it is with Scott Walker's always popular technical schools program. But...
Republicans on the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget committee have rejected Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to freeze tuition at Wisconsin’s technical colleges.
Not even Walker is as brutal as Rep. John Nygren, who thinks it's a valuable lesson in life to be up to your eyes in student loans debt. WPR's Shawn Johnson:

"We believe it’s affordable," Nygren said. "We believe that other taxpayers don’t necessarily need to be continuing to contribute to buy down that cost artificially."
Nygren got his, now it's time to end this generational assistance program that artificially pampers kids tasked with making our future brighter.

Trump/DeVos plan to make Public Schools look bad just so they can sell choice to private-for-profits and religious schools.

Well, a big congratulation to Trump voters who thought, what the heck, let’s take a chance.

Those voters who believed millionaire Trump would help the little people…well, you’re about to get socked with higher education costs. There goes Scott Walker's tax savings, and more. No free lunch.

Public schools are on the outs and private unaccountable for-profit schools will be squeezing every dollar out you soon. Moyers and Company

Trump’s Education Budget Feeds School Privatization at The Expense of Students: The Post reports, deep spending cuts — a net $9.2 billion or 13.6 percent — for many “long-standing programs” that largely serve children and youth from low-income households.

At the same time, more money would go to incentivize “alternatives to traditional public schools” at the K-12 level and increase the costs of college loans, a federal program with significant ties to the financial services industry.
Why is Trump and DeVos doing this? 

(It) cuts programs that make public schools attractive options for parents, especially in low-income communities, while boosting federal support for “school choice” that incentivizes parents to turn to charter schools and private schools instead.
1. $1.2 billion for after-school programs would be eliminated,

2. (Eliminate) $2.1 billion for teacher training programs that lead to class-size reductions in schools.

3. Funding that supports arts education, international studies and foreign languages get the axe.

4. Federal help for educating Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students and gifted students are killed.

5. A $400 million fund to pay for an array of school-enriching services and academics — such as mental-health support, anti-bullying programs and advanced courses — gets zero.

6. Even money for Special Olympics education programs would be gone.

7. Schools would get a lot less money from the federal government for technical education, adult basic literacy instruction.

8. Trump and DeVos would take $1 billion out of the federal government’s Title I funds — money sent to the states to support educating poor children — to a new grant program that incentivizes those states to fund the competitive privately operated schools such as charters and religious schools. The grant program is called Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) that only goes to school districts that “agree to allow students to choose which public school they attend — and take their federal, state and local dollars with them.”

9. The proposed budget provides “$500 million for charter schools, up 50 percent over current funding.” 
Trump and DeVos aren't done yet reaching into your pockets, hurting the economy and stuffing your hard earned cash into the pockets of billionaire bankers...
10. The “reshaping” includes cutting loans and work-study programs for disadvantaged students and ending subsidized loans for students still in schools and the program that forgives college loans for students who eventually take jobs in the public sector. Eliminating these student loan programs means “the government could eventually make more money off of student loans” 

But not only is it ethically problematic for our government to treat college students like cash cows; it’s also just another way to ensure more money for education is directed to the immense financial empire that profits off servicing those loans, refinancing the debt and collecting on loans that go into default.
Yea, Trump is gonna take care of the disenfranchised. Suckers. 

And here's a tricky one...
$250 million for grants that would ”pay for expanding and studying the impacts of vouchers for private and religious schools.

As the Post reporters explain, “It’s not clear how much would be spent on research versus the vouchers themselves.” But what’s also unclear is how one studies the “impacts” of an initiative simultaneously as it rolls out. Rather than a research endeavor, this additional money sounds more like it’s for a marketing program.
Shredding college affordability so banks can make more money is spelled out in this Post report sidebar.

Skip the Facts, Scott Walker pushes CEO opinions that rank state in Top 10 for Business.

With a clear conscience, Scott Walker can't stop bragging about that nonsensical Chief Executive Magazine CEO opinion poll of best states for business.

Wisconsin comes in at number 10, based on the whimsical impressions of CEO's, based on nothing, no facts, statistics, research...just knowledge of those hyperbolic pronouncements in the media by Scott Walker. Yea, four more years of that.
Wisconsin in top 10 of Chief Executive magazine’s best states for business; Ranking based on CEO survey.
Job creation lags of course, and Walker's 250,000 jobs promise in 2010 still hasn't panned out. But big business giveaways that allow them to pay nothing in to support our state...sweet:
Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature instituted $2 billion in tax relief, including tax credits that virtually eliminated the tax burden on manufacturers and agricultural producers. 

Yet in the wake of the policy changes, Wisconsin still didn’t generate new jobs as quickly as Walker had hoped. Job creation got off to a sluggish start, and even today the state remains nearly 65,000 new jobs short of the 250,000 that Walker promised to create by 2015.
Chief Executive Magazine isn't shy about it's biased political leanings:
16 of the top 20 of Chief Executive Magazine’s Best States for Business are led by a Republican governors, including 9 of the top 10.  Republican governors are cutting taxes, reining in wasteful spending, slashing red tape, reinventing state government, and putting policies in place that encourage innovation and economic growth. As this survey proves, Republican governors get results. States with Republican governors once again dominate the 2017 rankings. 
But these CEO "raves" fall flat:
C.E.O. Rated Wisconsin with the following marks:
5.77 out of 10 in Taxation and Regulation
7.10 out of 10 in Workforce Quality
7.33 out of 10 in Living Environment
Right to Work? YES
Right to work was mentioned as one of the most important factors. If you believe Republicans, CEO's are dying to raise worker pay based on "right-to-work."

But here's what a few C.E.O.'s said during the judging:
"Wisconsin is improving due to state leadership, still has a way to go. Workforce is limited due to aging population not replaced well by births and tendency for college kids to leave after college…but many return."

"Walker, controversies, cronies, and policies are killing opportunities in the state."

"Both Ohio and Wisconsin are becoming more business-friendly and are willing to help businesses get established while supporting critical worker training."

"Wisconsin still has high taxes but under Gov. Walker it is getting much better."
Let's Cut through the Crap: Chief Executive Magazine ripped California, and rated it at the bottom of best states for business. Really? Chief Executive isn't the only one deceptively pushing pure right wing politics as "good business."

LA Times, Michael Hiltzik:  In his “Rich States, Poor States” ranking for the conservative, pro-business American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, conservative economist Arthur Laffer places California at a dismal 46th in economic outlook for 2016. How can these figures be reconciled?

The most obvious answer is that the business-friendliness and competitiveness rankings are pretty much baloney. They don’t actually examine what makes a state successful; instead, they merely judge its adherence to right-wing economic orthodoxy.

It shouldn’t take much thought to recognize that most of these variables, taken singly or even together, don’t have much to do with whether a state is friendly to business or with its economic outlook. Rather, they’re just conservative shibboleths: low taxes, hostility to labor, etc., etc.

California is marked down in such categories as “business friendliness,” a measure of litigation and regulation, in which it ranks 50th; the “cost of doing business” (taxes, wages, and the generosity of government incentives), on which it ranks 49th; and the cost of living.

Interestingly, the state with the second-best ranking on Laffer’s curve is North Carolina, which may be guilty of the worst self-inflicted wound in the country. That’s its enactment of legislation that discriminates against LGBT individuals. The measure could cost the state $5 billion in federal funds and business investment.

“That’s a metaphor for a different look at what business-friendly means,” Stephen Levy, head of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy comments. “Could it be that being a welcoming community is a big positive for business?”

Walker, our coattail governor, takes credit for Jobs, Low Unemployment, and Participation Rates!!!

Scott Walker is a career politician who knows how to wrap good news around all the bad news.

Last in the country for Business Startups: Our tax cutting freeloader and governor won't bother to invest in the future:
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, one of the country’s leading entrepreneurship advocacy and research organizations, wrote, not only was Wisconsin last; the gap between Wisconsin and the next-lowest states widened significantly from 2016 and 2015. The Kauffman Foundation said that without startups, there would be no net job growth in the U.S.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s office, meanwhile, said the latest Kauffman report is not a comprehensive analysis. It fails to include such data as wages, employment, industry and the long-term success of startups in each state.

Really, Walker wants to get into "wages?" More on that below. On employment, how'd that 250,000 jobs promise work out Scottie? Bottom line, Walker's statement discounts the importance of business startups...I can just hear the Democratic campaign ads now.

NonCompete Clause Problem: This was a new wrinkle thrown into the mix:
Joe Kirgues, co-founder of gener8tor, a company with offices in Milwaukee and Madison that runs a respected training program for startups, believes the prevalence of noncompete clauses in employee contracts squelches entrepreneurship here.

California and other states, he said, have moved to prohibit such clauses, which can prevent people from starting a new company immediately after leaving their employer. States without strong noncompete laws “tend to see the free movement of labor much like we encourage the free movement of capital,” Kirgues said.

“By contrast, in states like Wisconsin the non-compete laws essentially lock up those individuals who gain the most insight into how an industry might perform better by prohibiting (them) from using those skills to build a new company in that industry.”
People Moving Out of Wisconsin, Outbound migration numbers ignored:
A declining population, particularly when residents are moving out of state, often can be traced to a lack of job opportunities or a low quality of life. Between 2010 and 2015, 14,210 more people moved out of the state than moved in, equivalent to a net population loss of 0.2% over that time. Wisconsin is one of just 14 states with a net negative migration over the last five years. Home values in the state remained effectively stagnant over that time, even as the U.S. median home value increased by 12%. This is likely a product of outbound migration from the state.
Democratic Governor Jim Doyle's Great Recession: Walker's reelection bid is a smoke and mirrors extravaganza. Walker continues to blame the Great Recession on Gov. Doyle and the Democrats, blaming them for the massive job losses and high unemployment rate in the state, which by the way, was still lower than the national average. Walker repeats this so often the media has given up correcting him:

Even Walker's tweeted graph shows the dramatically lower unemployment rate in Wisconsin when he took office vs the national rate:

Here's an interactive graphic showing the exact numbers...:

Participation Rate BS: One of Walker's biggest bragging points is the states lower labor participation rate vs the national rate. But wait, our participation rate has always been lower, a trending mirror image of the slightly higher national rate...so...Walker is simply and unabashedly misleading voters, and taking credit for not really doing anything:

Walker's Rising Poverty: And who could forget this not so shocking rise in the poverty rate under Walker:
WSJ: Despite a new report showing Wisconsin has the fastest-shrinking middle class in the U.S., the Gov. Scott Walker administration says the state is headed in the right direction.

March 24, 2015: Wisconsin ranks worst among the 50 states in terms of a shrinking middle class, with real median household incomes here falling 14.7 percent since 2000, according to a new report. The Pew Charitable Trust report showed Wisconsin with the largest decline in the percentage of families considered "middle class."

The median household income in Wisconsin was $60,344 in 2000 but now stands at just $51,467 after adjusting for inflation. That’s a dip of 14.7 percent. Nationally, median household incomes fell from $55,987 to $51,939 over the period, a decline of 7.2 percent.
Walker says No Hike in Minimum Wage: Walker has the luxury those stuck in the cycle of poverty don't, and that is to dream of better days:
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and issued a statement saying: "Governor Walker wants jobs in Wisconsin that pay two or three times the minimum wage.

Scott Walker: "The left claims that they're for American workers and they've just got really lame ideas — things like the minimum wage. Instead of focusing on that, we need to talk about how we get people ... the careers that pay far more than the minimum wage."
What Walker doesn't want you know? Even business CEO's think the minimum wage should be raised, and that's from right wing word smith Frank Luntz:
The survey of 1,000 business executives across the country was conducted by LuntzGlobal, the firm run by Republican pollster Frank Luntz, and obtained by a liberal watchdog group called the Center for Media and Democracy. (The slide deck is here, and the full questionnaire is here.) Among the most interesting findings: 80 percent of respondents said they supported raising their state's minimum wage, while only eight percent opposed it. "That’s where it’s undeniable that they support the increase,” Luntz told state chamber executives in a webinar describing the results.
Note: I just did a quick search for most of the above information. So why isn't the Wisconsin Democratic Party putting even more of this stuff together and arming possible candidates with the truth about Walker's record...I have no idea.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

SNL and Colbert Unfair to Dangerous Missteps, Lies and Twitter storms by Trump!

Want something light but still stuns the senses? Tucker Carlson is your go to guy. He struck right wing gold with two Fox News women that just hate liberals. They really hate comedic liberals who make money at the expense of poor millionaire Donald Trump.

Have liberals sunk so low as to get big ratings "getting partisan and being angry" at Trump?
Kristin Tate: "The ratings are up on these anti-Trump shows because liberal snowflakes who still won't accept that Trump is our president by the way, need TV safe spaces where they can hear their own opinions reflected back at them over and over again. Stephen Colbert in particular, he really panders to the lowest common denominator of Trump hate. I mean his show isn't even funny. He literally just sits there and slanders Trump...his audience is 100 percent left wing."
Talk about projection; wanting hear their opinions reflected back at them? Ah, you are on Fox News?

What Republicans don't get is that their gaffes, missteps, lying and lunacy just keep feeding the news cycle with nonstop well deserved criticism:

The Truth in Anti-Anti-Trumpism!!!

The best way to communicate and understand the irrational conservative mind, especially the Trumpsters, is to talk to right wingers that have seen the light. 

Someone who has seen the light and admitted to making some big mistakes is radio's recent retiree Charlie Sykes. 

"Anti-Anti-Trumpism:" It's a word that caught on briefly, but will stay with me a long time, because it's so right on the mark. This best describes my conservative friend in Milwaukee, who just sent me an internet poster showing Trump's face in the sky over sailing ships, telling loyalists "we can weather this one too."

From MSNBC, here's Sykes' with the great Charlie Pierce, who said of Paul Ryan, "This notion that we're going to wait for someone like Paul Ryan, who's an intellectual invertebrate - probably the biggest fake in American politics - to do something about this particular crisis, that's ludicrous."  

"If there was one principle that used to unite conservatives, it was respect for the rule of law. Not long ago, conservatives would have been horrified at wholesale violations of the norms and traditions of our political system, and would have been appalled by a president who showed overt contempt for the separation of powers.

But this week, as if on cue, most of the conservative media fell into line … “Dems in Meltdown Over Comey Firing,” declared a headline on Fox News. Given the enthusiasm of the president’s apologists, it is likely that much of Mr. Trump’s base will similarly rally to him as it has in the past.

Loathing those who loathe the president. Rabid anti-anti-Trumpism … much of the conservative news media is now less pro-Trump than it is anti-anti-Trump. The distinction is important, because anti-anti-Trumpism has become the new safe space for the right.

Here is how it works: Rather than defend President Trump’s specific actions, his conservative champions change the subject to (1) the biased “fake news” media, (2) over-the-top liberals, (3) hypocrites on the left, (4) anyone else victimizing Mr. Trump or his supporters and (5) whataboutism, as in “What about Obama?” “What about Clinton?”

For the anti-anti-Trump pundit, whatever the allegation against Mr. Trump, whatever his blunders or foibles, the other side is always worse.

But the real heart of anti-anti-Trumpism is the delight in the frustration and anger of his opponents. Mr. Trump’s base is unlikely to hold him either to promises or tangible achievements, because conservative politics is now less about ideas or accomplishments than it is about making the right enemies cry out in anguish.

Damon Linker noted, anti-anti-Trumpism “allows the right to indulge its hatred of liberals and liberalism while sidestepping the need for a reckoning with the disaster of the Trump administration itself.” Not surprisingly, the vast majority of airtime on conservative media is not taken up by issues or explanations of conservative approaches to markets or need to balance liberty with order. Why bother with such stuff, when there were personalities to be mocked and left-wing moonbats to be ridiculed?

Conservatives will care less about governing and more about scoring “wins” — and inflicting losses on the left — no matter how hollow the victories or flawed the policies. Ultimately, though, this will end badly because it is a moral and intellectual dead end, and very likely a political one as well.

As the right doubles down on anti-anti-Trumpism, it will find itself goaded into defending and rationalizing ever more outrageous conduct just as long as it annoys CNN and the left.

In many ways anti-anti-Trumpism mirrors Donald Trump himself, because at its core there are no fixed values, no respect for constitutional government or ideas of personal character, only a freefloating nihilism cloaked in insult, mockery and bombast."

Walker Republicans: “We do not seek to withdraw from the Clean Water Act," but want allow Phosphorus Discharge into Lakes and Streams to save money.

How can we "balance" the cost of clean water the cost on business? You either have clean water or you don't, right?

The cost to business is another thing entirely. Republicans seem to have things upside down. If we don't start with reasonable regulation over farm runoff and manufacturing discharge, then the costs skyrocket for local municipalities to keep it clean.

But Republicans are now complaining about the cost of a problem they created:
A group of 31 Republican state lawmakers are calling for the federal government to help ease regulations of phosphorus discharge into lakes and streams, saying complying with the standards is too expensive for small municipalities.
I know, it's impossible to imagine allowing such a thing to continue, and yet it's right there in black and white. 
Phosphorus discharge can cause unnatural weed and algae growth in public waterways ... (laws) were adopted in 2010 by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board after eight years of scientific review and input from environmental, agricultural and municipal groups.
But scientific "facts" must be balanced with business, say Republicans. The EPA did just that, but with limits:
The EPA granted the state a waiver in response to requests from Republican lawmakers that will allow manufacturers and sewage treatment plants to be exempt from the standards for 10 years if they pay fees to help cut pollution that rain carries off farm fields, which is one of the main sources of phosphorus pollution.
But that just gave state Republicans a little more time to wordsmith another excuse. Shockingly, making the standards sound "pragmatic" with whiny "arbitrary numeric limitations" was all they could come up with:
In their letter to the state’s congressional delegation, the 31 Republicans state that while the creation of a phosphorus pollution standard was “pragmatic, the real-world application of arbitrary numeric limitations has placed significant strain on communities throughout the state of Wisconsin.”
Paying for Clean Water...Nope: The obsession to cut taxes and freeload off the land continues. Just maybe the cost of keeping our water clean will cost everyone a little more money, at least hypothetically:
The letter cites examples of communities where water utility rates would substantially increase if they have to upgrade their wastewater treatment systems. The 973 residents of Benton in Lafayette County could see average residential rates increase from $40 to $75 a month if the village pursues a chemical treatment to reduce phosphorus discharge, they wrote.
With a dash of Humpty Dumptyism (the practice of insisting that a word or phrase means whatever one wishes it to), Republicans settled for this down the rabbit hole contradictory statement:
The letter asks for permission to revise the standards ... “We do not seek to withdraw from the Clean Water Act or ignore our stewardship of the waters in Wisconsin,” the letter states. “We simply seek a way to balance our responsibility with reasonable expectations that we can realistically reach.”
Love that alliteration..."balance our RESPONSIBILITY with REASONABLE expectations we can REALISTICALLY REACH." Anyone see "balance?" The question is; just when is the time to spend that kind of money? 

Sadly, environmental groups struck back with the force, stating forcefully that it was..."unfortunate?" 
More than 20 environmental groups sent their own letter to the congressional delegation in response to the request, calling it a “new attack on the sensible, science-based rules put forward in 2010” and “unfortunate.”
Republicans Cost Taxpayer Millions...again: 
The letter states the DNR conducted a cost-benefit analysis in 2012 that found the rules created a more than $18 million net economic benefit, including $1 billion in increased property values, $596.7 million in additional recreational economic activity and between $4.8 million and $11.4 million in reduced lake cleanup costs per year.
Our anti-science DNR imagined a world where businesses and communities would unfortunately try to keep our water clean: 
The DNR also estimated in 2015 that compliance with the regulations could cost businesses and municipalities $7 billion over 20 years.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rioting or Protesting? Authoritarian Republicans again take aim at Shredding 1st Amendment and Public Dissent.

The Republican war on protesters continues to morph into what can only be described as an authoritarian dictatorial one party state. Nope, I'm not being hyperbolic.

Shredding the 1st Amendment, again, Republican State Rep. John Spiros wants to kind of blur the line between "protesting" and "rioting." After all, who's to say what active loud protesters are doing exactly...maybe rioting, maybe protesting...find the right court, who knows. Depends on whether you want to arrest them, to send a message. ACLU where are you:
State Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield) introduced a package of three bills that would seek to define the actions of a riot and provide a criminal penalty as well as provide a penalty for blocking traffic and/or carrying a firearm while rioting. 
What, a penalty for carrying a firearm...weren't guns supposed to make us safer. Guess that was an inadvertent slip of the truth, for once. 

These armed brave rugged "freedom and liberty" loving independent real Americans can't take the 1st Amendment heat from their constituents. Maybe people are angry over Republican policies? No, they just hate the fact they lost the election...: 
“I have been deeply affected by the news reports all around the country and in our own state of individuals who are seriously damaging property, creating general chaos, and threatening the safety of innocent bystanders with danger and in some cases, life threatening injuries. 
Fear of "the other" motivates Spiro to protect us against "outside" ideas that challenge the authority.

Under the lie that Republicans want to keep us safe...isn't that what guns/concealed carry was supposed to provide...protesters and/or rioters must be punished as felons. 
Rep. Spiros said, "Senator Wanggaard and I are introducing these bills to ensure our public remains safe from these sorts of actions, while protecting the right to peaceful assembly,” blah, blah, blah.
Riot or Protest? Hey, no problem here for the 1st Amendment because they said so: 
These anti-riot bills accomplish the following three goals: define a riot, prohibit carrying a firearm while rioting, and prohibit blocking traffic while rioting. Under these new laws:
1. Any individual who chose to participate in a riot; 

2. Carry a firearm during a riot;

3. Or block traffic during a riot would be subject to criminal penalties. 
And just in case you were worried about Republicans cracking down on your 1st Amendment rights, naw, they say there's nothing to worry about:
Rep. Spiros said, “These bills were intentionally crafted to protect both 1st and 2nd Amendment US Constitutional Rights, while providing law enforcement the proper tools to keep public safety and order. I believe it is important to protect our citizens and ensure civil liberties while punishing those who seek to cause harm and destruction." 
How'd we ever live without this crackdown? To use an often repeated Republican line..."can't we just enforce the laws we have on the books already?"