Thursday, April 28, 2016

Republican Billionaire Says GOP Pathological about Deficit, country needs Stimulus.

I thought I would let a conservative billionaire tell the trolls the truth. CNBC:
Icahn: Republicans don’t understand economics and it’s killing the country: Republican lawmakers are suffering from a near "pathological" misunderstanding of the national economy, and they may be hurting markets and Americans alike, billionaire investor and Donald Trump supporter Carl Icahn told CNBC on Thursday.

Icahn, who Trump had previously suggested could serve as his Treasury secretary, warned that markets will have a " day of reckoning " without fiscal stimulus, and argued that the U.S. government "certainly could do more spending."

"The Republican Party that I used to be more sympathetic with — I'm right in the middle now but what I would say is Congress is in this massive gridlock," he said, explaining that the Republican-controlled body is "obsessed with this deficit to a point that I think it's almost pathological."

The result of this gridlock and a lack of fiscal stimulus has been that the Federal Reserve has been forced to keep interest rates low, and that has created "tremendous bubbles" and "the wealth gap."

Additionally, worrying about a deficit when there is no significant inflation and the dollar remains the global reserve currency is not a smart way to govern, Icahn said, adding that "a country is not a company."

While a company would go bankrupt if it owed too much money, the same could not be said of the United States anytime soon, Icahn explained, reiterating that he can't "understand this obsession" that many Republican politicians have with the deficit.

"They keep saying we owe all this money to China , but we're really not going to pay it back ever in a normal way," Icahn said. "So China decides 'I want my money back.' OK, well how do you want it back? You want dollar bills, you want Treasurys, what do you want?"

Icahn said, "And I never thought I'd agree completely with guys like (economist Paul) Krugman, but in this sense he's sort of right: I mean, you absolutely need fiscal stimulus in this economy."

Walker is one Ghoulish Sick As**ole.

What does it take to wake the news media up? 

Scott Walker has been so upfront and fascinated with schemes to make insurance company more money soaking the sick and dying, that it stuns the senses. Every other country in the world thinks its appalling and wrong to profit from the sick. 

He didn’t want to extend Medicaid (BadgerCare) because as he said he wanted people to buy insurance. Yes, he said that over and over, and no reaction from the media. His pal Paul Ryan wants to throw more of our money into the insurers pockets by partially privatizing Medicare with no cost containment. 

Now he wants insurers to make money off the elderly and disable. JS:
Gov. Scott Walker's administration wants to shift multibillion dollar programs serving more than 55,000 elderly and disabled people from long-standing nonprofits to national for-profit health insurance companies … affecting the Family Care and IRIS programs.
And Walker doesn’t want insurers to miss a month’s worth of profits either…uh, at the request of insurers:
The Walker administration wants the Legislature's budget committee to allow the program to be implemented in coming months ... “we believe the sooner we can transition to improved services, the better off consumers and taxpayers will be," said a statement from Walker spokesman Tom Evenson.

The insurance industry wants the committee to take up the plan by the end of May. "The sooner the committee acts, the sooner reforms may be implemented, and the sooner both service recipients and Wisconsin taxpayers will reap the benefits of these needed, person-centered reforms," said a statement from R.J. Pirlot, executive director of the Alliance of Health Insurers. His group includes Anthem, Molina, United Healthcare, Humana Inc. and other insurers.
Gee, the insurer that whine it couldn’t make enough of a profit from the ACA exchanges, United Healthcare, wants in on Walker’s plan. Wonder why?

And as we all know, insurers are determined to save premium payers money, even if it hurts their profits, right? And like ObamaCare, Walker’s plan won’t DECREASE the cost of care:
The saving represents smaller cost increases than those currently projected…

In May 2015, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said "Because the Department (of Health Services) has indicated that primary and acute care savings have already been realized...it is unclear what additional savings would be realized or other benefits gained from the integration of these services," the fiscal bureau wrote.
Oh and the other Walker connection? Let’s just say this isn’t so much that magical free market solution Republicans are always talking about. This isn’t getting government out of the way, It’s using government to get what private business wants:
Walker's former chief of staff, Eric Schutt, went to work for UnitedHealth Group this year as senior vice president of external affairs. Schutt was the top aide to Rhoades when she was in the Assembly and a co-chairwoman of the Joint Finance Committee … skeptic of Family Care. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Walker angry about money spent challenging Voter ID, will punish us by opposing cash for information campaign on the new Law.

Scott Walker doesn't like it when Wisconsinites question his authority. Those who challenged his voter ID law are now going to regret speaking out against him. They'll think twice next time, as Walker ponders punishing everyone by not telling them about the new voter ID regulations. JS
Republican legislative leaders showed an openness this week to spending $250,000 on ads informing the public about the state's voter ID law even as GOP Gov. Scott Walker expressed skepticism about the idea.

Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), the committee's co-chair. "I think it's something we should look for. It contributes to more people knowing what has changed in the system."

But Walker: "The fact is that the state had to spend a whole lot of time and money defending the law, and continues to do so today," he told WBAY-TV. "If people were really serious about that, they should have allowed the state to use all that money to fight in courts to use that in promoting the system."
Yes Scott, we've all learned our lesson, dissent will not be tolerated and may be costly, that whole 1st Amendment thing. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Republican Entitlement: their own Tax Delinquency's are okay, despite being 5 Times more prevalent than IRS employees.

In what should have been a completely embarrassing moment of elitist thinking and flat out hypocrisy by House Republican (including all WI Republican members except Ryan), oddly turned out to be anything but. They're in charge, and they get to work under a different set of rules than the rest of us. It was a high five moment for Democrats, who decided not to sit back and take it anymore. Roll Call:
IRS STAFF WITH TAX PROBLEMS: The House passed a GOP-drafted bill (HR 1206) that would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from adding staff until it either (a) vouches that none of its 80,000 employees have a “serious” tax-delinquency not being resolved or (b) reports to Congress on why it cannot provide such a certification. Republicans said it was “hypocrisy” for IRS employees to have their own tax problems.
Real Hypocrisy? The Democrats made an important point to ivory tower Republican political elitists:
Democrats said tax delinquency by congressional staffs is five times more prevalent than at the IRS.
So the Democrats made Republicans vote on it. Republicans didn’t back down though, essentially saying they were special, more deserving, entitled, and aren't subject to the same standards than the people they serve:
The House defeated a bid by Democrats to negate HR 1206 (above) whenever serious tax delinquency on congressional staffs exceeds that at the Department of the Treasury, the parent agency of the IRS. The congressional rate is about 5 percent, compared to 1.19 percent at Treasury and 9 percent in the population at large, according to floor debate on this motion.
Voting yes were Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, and Gwen Moore.


Our elitist father figure authoritarian “leaders” voted in their own self interest; Jim Sensenbrenner, Glenn Grothman, Shawn Duffy, and Reid Ribble.

Like Food Stamps, Republicans want you to Work for Health Care! Oh, and getting dropped for Preexisting Conditions returns.

I hope Republicans get their ObamaCare replacement plan together just in time for the elections.
The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) on Friday submitted its recommendations to shape a plan ...  The recommendations come from the RSC’s already-existing legislation, the American Health Care Reform Act, which would completely repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a new system. 
I promise, it will be ugly, and Americans aren't going to like it. Who's brilliant idea was it to bring back preexisting conditions? Republicans of course, as away to protect insurance company profits, by dumping sick people into the state high risk pools with even higher premiums. The Hill:
The law would undo ObamaCare’s provision that bars insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions and instead set up a system of high-risk pools for them.
You'll also like their insulting suggestion only lazy people take advantage of health care subsidies. Republicans think you should work health care, pay out of pocket for all your premiums, and then wait a year to write them off as a tax deduction when you file. Not many can afford that. And tax deductions don't count as much as tax credits. Currently, the ACA deducts that subsidy off your monthly premium immediately, so you don't have to shell out money you don't have.
The proposal would replace ObamaCare’s refundable tax credits with a tax deduction, which tends to provide less help to low-income people by reducing the taxes people owe rather than allowing for the possibility of getting money back in a refund.

If you were ever faced with a hypothetical choice between a $100 tax deduction and a $100 tax credit, you would want the credit. Unlike a tax deduction, a $100 tax credit reduces your tax dollar-for-dollar($100). On the other hand, a tax deduction reduces your taxable income by $100. If you are in the 25% tax bracket, a $100 tax deduction reduces your taxes by $25.
Conservatives Lost Principles: Drug testing food stamp recipients and requiring them to work has been a Republican goal for years, now being realized in many red states, so why not health care? Their idea to block grant money to the states for Medicaid would result in the same draconian regulations and right wing social engineering we're seeing on choice and voting. We're talking about basic life saving health care. Think about it, what does working have to do with broken legs, contagious diseases, heart attacks and cancer?
The RSC argues this change would “encourage work while ensuring the federal government does not create another new entitlement program.”
Those in Poverty Dumped Again, Guess they can't Keep Their Doctors!!! Medicaid expansion would die, and so would people: 
By repealing ObamaCare, the measure would also undo the law’s expansion of Medicaid, which has provided much of the coverage gains that have led to an estimated 20 million people gaining insurance from ObamaCare. The RSC says Medicaid spending is climbing at an unsustainable rate and is too often providing care for able-bodied adults.
Yes, there's that term again, "able-bodied adults," like that somehow makes health care affordable?
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, part of the task force put together by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), said recently the group needs “another month or so” to come up with a plan.
Almost all of these free market proposals has already been a part of our health care system before the ACA, and it was a disaster. Republicans want to go back to that:
 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Conservative Radio's Jay Weber wants Democrats to Apologize to Scott Walker for demanding Medicare Expansion!

There's more people on Medicaid than there should be? Saving money is "compassionate," not saving lives by providing health care? Republicans shouldn't have to pay anything to keep the public healthy, magical wizards should do it? Oh no, Medicaid participation turned out to be more than originally thought!

The genius that made these clueless comments, WISN's Jay Weber, is telling "every moron Democrat" to apologize to Scott Walker now. You see, Walker was right about states still having to pony up to pay for Medicaid expansion. The other half of the story Weber was too big a "dope" to look at was the higher costs states would have to pay turning down Medicaid expansion.
Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature's opposition to the law is projected to cost $678.6 million in state tax dollars through the 2017 fiscal year.
All the while covering fewer people while resulting in higher health care costs overall for everyone else. What a deal? In the audio clip below, Sen. Alberta Darling admitted to Weber the state had a $700 million hole in the budget for gods sake, and that's without expansion. Gee, I wonder how much Ohio has to pay for covering more people?
Ohio taxpayers will be on the hook for over $130 million to meet the 5 percent state match, more than double the projected $55.5 million.
Yup, that's it, and a whole lot less than Wisconsin, unless you have a different way of doing math. Walker is also doling out $30 million from the general fund so hospitals won't lose money caring for the uninsured (the fed is giving $30 million as well). Oddly, Republicans screamed about a similar backstop plan in the ACA marketplaces that helped insurers recover some of their lost revenues. Guess that's somehow different? 

Weber should be fired for not just radio malpractice, lying, but for being such a sycophantic Walker "stooge."  Dope and stooge were two of Weber's words in the clip below...back at ya.



Liberal Media? Weber started as a news reporter, and then became news director. Yea, real liberal media...

Scott Walker’s message is absolutely clear on this; he wants to save money by cutting off as many people as he can from health care via reductions in access to Medicaid (BadgerCare). This isn’t about saving people’s lives, saving them years of agonizing pain, or reducing the rising cost of health care, this is about saving general revenue dollars for future tax cuts.  

Weber brought up the usual one-sided trashing of Medicaid expansion by such publications as the Wall Street Journal and National Review, and gave no attribution this time around. Right wing tabloids never report how much states would pay if they didn't expand the program (they paying about 40% of the cost, not the ACA's a measly 10%). Analysts have found that without change, costs would skyrocket for everybody else. So instead of right wing spin, here are the facts:
States opting out of the expansion of Medicaid is projected both to drive up insurance costs and to save the States relatively small amounts (with some, like Minnesota, showing up to a billion in new revenue under the program).

The 22 states that didn't expand Medicaid eligibility last year saw their costs to provide health care to the poor rise twice as fast as states that extended benefits. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey of Medicaid directors showed that those that didn't broaden coverage saw their Medicaid costs rise 6.9 percent in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2015. The 29 states that took President Obama up on his offer to foot the bill saw their costs rise only 3.4 percent.
That 3.4% rise is what Walker is whining about. Keep in mind, that’s modest when you consider participation rose 18% – 3 times as much as non-expansion states.

A National Review article inadvertently ripped into a purely Republican “private plan” for expansion that increased costs...but sure, that's Obama's fault?
Arkansas reached an unprecedented agreement with the administration to accept the Obamacare expansion, but only under the condition that the newly eligible population would enroll in private health plans … They called it the “private option,” and claimed it would control costs.

The private option was supposed to be “budget-neutral” for the federal government, but federal auditors have calculated it will cost $778 million more than expected over just the first three years. The Arkansas Republican “private option” ended up increasing the cost of the ACA and the state.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Moral and Ethical Choice? Kansas Republican tax cuts Cut Children’s programs, road work, education funding.

It's coming Wisconsin....

Democrats keep waiting for that tipping point, when die hard Republican voters realize supply side economics doesn’t working. Don’t hold your breath for their moral enlightenment.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback led the way, prompting similar cuts by Scott Walker, although technically, Walker cut college funding before Brownback. Even Republican legislators in Kansas are now hoping to reverse some of the cuts, like the ones Brownback (and Walker) made for farmers and manufacturing:

Some Republicans want to reverse a key policy that exempted 330,000 farmers and business owners from personal income taxes. Republicans in some other states have watched the Kansas tax-cutting experiment closely … a way to generate business investment and economic growth. But it hasn't worked out as envisioned and the state has struggled to balance its budget ever since.  
Again, failure just results in more cuts:
Brownback prefers the borrowing backed by part of the state's tobacco revenues, which now are set aside for children's programs.

The state Department of Transportation announced it would delay 25 major highway projects set to begin before July 2018 ... carry forward $17 million in immediate cuts ordered on state university campuses last month into the next fiscal year that begins in July.
Wisconsin State Sen. Alberta Darling exposed right wing thinking when a reporter asked if tax cuts fail, producing large deficits, what next?
Darling: "Well when you see that coming then you further have to reduce spending."


It's a no fail plan for failure. There's no down side to their argument. Failure is rewarded:
It was the fourth consecutive semiannual forecast to be more pessimistic than its predecessor. Tax collections have fallen short of expectations 11 of the past 12 months.
We're getting the same results in Walker's Wisconsin. And no lesson learned. What a surprise.

Walker takes credit for Wisconsinites finding jobs. Taking away their food really works?

If it sounds too good....well, that's the rule I go by anytime I hear Republicans brag about a law they say is working.

And so it is with Scott Walker's latest pronouncement that reaffirms the right wing idea that every one of those starving unemployed workers are lazy "takers." They had to be pushed into jobs by cutting off their food supply, a cruel punishment that requires 80 hours a month in work training to get food stamps. That's the going rationale that makes it acceptable to envious conservative voters.
Walker: "We will take care of our neighbors and fellow citizens, but for those who are able to work, we expect something in return."
Some of those on the FoodShare program got work, but was it because of the work requirement? Walker wants us to think it was, despite any lack of proof:
32,193 people food stamp recipients enrolled in the program since April 2015 and 11,971 participants gained employment in the past year.

More than 41,000 people lost access to food stamps within the first year of a new state law after the state said they failed to seek employment. 
But here's where Walker makes himself look good due to the lack of information:
The department does not track how many of those who gained employment are no longer enrolled in the FoodShare program.

Nor does the administration track how many people who are eligible for the program found work on their own.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Walker's Wisconsin Tanking, poll says!!!

Scott Walker can do no wrong:

1. Scott Walker supporters say it's a lie voter ID was meant to suppress votes, despite a Republican senators chief of staff witnessing such discussions.

2. After Rep. Glenn Grothman admitted voter ID will play a part in  helping defeat Hillary, stand with Walker drones said "that's not true."

3. When it comes to Scott Walker turning the state around with big bold policies, a template he says the nation should follow, Wisconsinites are no longer willing to play the fool...except his drone army. According to the WPR/St. Norbert College Poll, we stink even worse than the Great Recession?:

Walker has only his the low unemployment numbers to brag about, but that's because he signed reform that makes it harder to get unemployment benefits.

In one of the most jaw dropping examples of just how bad those changes were, pushed by big business...well, thankfully, the courts stepped in...CapTimes:
Employers can’t deny unemployment benefits to employees fired for inadvertent errors, the 4th District Court of Appeals said Thursday in a ruling that an attorney in the case said could affect “thousands” of workers … follows a challenge to a 2013 law that allows employers to deny unemployment benefits for “substantial fault,” a legal concept that the court said is legally untested.

The case pertains to former full-time Walgreens employee Lela Operton, an elderly woman who made eight “cash handling errors” over the course of 20 months ... Her total number of transactions during this time were estimated to number 80,000. The errors involving the WIC checks included the acceptance of a $6 check for a $6.17 purchase for a 17-cent loss, another check overdraft for $2.89, accepting a check before its valid date, handing a check back to a customer instead of retaining it for deposit, failing to get a customer's signature on a check and inadvertently placing another check in a customer's bag.
And this is Walker’s message to hard working Wisconsinites? No mistake…none:
The state Department of Workforce Development initially denied her unemployment benefits on the grounds of “misconduct.” An administrative law judge later ruled that because Operton never “intentionally or willfully disregarded the employer’s interests by continuing to make cash handling errors,” her dismissal was due to substantial fault. The state Labor and Industry Review Commission upheld the administrative law judge’s ruling, which was also upheld by Dane County Circuit Judge John Albert.

The appellate ruling notes that in the 2013 law, the Legislature enacted ... “’Substantial fault’ a completely new legal concept not previously in existence,” Appellate Judge Paul Reilly wrote in the decision. “LIRC is not applying an old statute in a new way; it is applying a new statute to a new concept" ... discounted Walgreens’ and LIRC’s argument that the cumulative effect of Oberton’s errors “cross over the line” to disqualify her for benefits. “Repeated inadvertent errors do not statutorily morph into ‘infractions’ ... Reilly noted that the law was expected to reduce benefit payments from the unemployment insurance trust fund by $19.2 million, the same amount of the fund’s deficit.

Options include appealing the case to the state Supreme Court.
That's why Wisconsinites woke up:


Despite division, protests and predatory enticement of minors, Jesus Lunch organizers feed on attention and anger.

I'm mystified by the number of people who don't seem to be concerned about minor children 14 to 17 being approached by adults tempting them with food and a off kilter right wing religious messages. 

Today a protest sign read "Jesus would Compromise," which pretty much says it all. The Jesus Lunch "moms" didn't do this to compromise, they did it to indoctrinate and introduce what Thomas Jefferson was afraid would happen without the separation of church and state - religious intolerance and division.

The scene today with a growing crowd of student protesters is their new Jesus inspired normal:
Jesus Lunch organizer Melissa Helbach. "For as much as some people think it's dividing, other people are saying it's bringing the school together."
What about the funding? A February 8 Wisconsin State Journal story reported:
The Madison Christian Giving Fund aims to help faith-based programs … (said) Scott Haumersen, the fund’s chairman. Mama’s Lunches, which gives free lunches and a gospel message to students across the street from Middleton High School ($5,000). Mama’s Lunches, which gives free lunches and a gospel message to students across the street from Middleton High School ($5,000).
WISC had this coverage:



The lack of action by Middleton High Schools Principle Plank also had a lot to do with it. Zealot infestations like this usually start off small. Parents are now opening up about what they do know, and it paints an ugly picture:
Dear School Board, I learned today that at least some of the parent organizers of the Jesus Lunch were violating the MHS rules as early as 2014 when they hosted unauthorized "brunches" inside the high school on late start days. As a parent of an MHS student, I am frustrated that this occurred, apparently without the knowledge of school staff, and am concerned for my students' safety. 

When I learned of statements made by one of the children of the Jesus Lunch parents during class last fall, specifically "Muslims are like rabid dogs and should be shot." I was even more angry that this has been allowed to go on for so long.

All students deserve to feel safe at school. As parents, we should be able to send our children to public school without the fear that they will be enticed by adults pushing a religious or political agenda in exchange for free food. I am disturbed by my friends' accounts of their children being pressured to attend the lunches by upperclassmen on their sports teams. It's not as simple as "If you don't like it, stay away."
 Another unsettling story is revealed:
My son went to two of these brunches to do a little recon. At one of them, when he was asked to sit down there were already plastic cups with blue liquid in them at each seat. Towards the end of the meal, the women encouraged the students to imagine what life would be like if they woke up with no sense of taste because they had not prayed to God the night before, asking him to allow them to have it. They then told the students to drink the liquid, apparently to simulate the sensation of loss of the sense of taste. My son said he thought the liquid was mouthwash, but the moms refused to identify it. Since the majority of mouthwash contains alcohol, I'm pretty sure they were coercing students into drinking alcohol.
More....
It seems that the JL organizer (Helbach) was in constant contact with the PD asking to have the protesters removed or backed up because she felt threatened. From what I’m hearing she wasn’t the one being assaulted, but it certainly goes nicely with her story of being persecuted.
Students have had enough of the division, from forced inclusion by peers, or vilification of students who are vocal opponents:
Students and adults opposed to the event protested Tuesday, demanding the event be stopped or moved to a different location.

"It's just inappropriate. They should go to a church and in their own time invite students. It shouldn't be this kind of predatory, opportunistic, bribery of big lunches and handing out Bibles and Jesus literature at the same time," Annie-Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, said.
As one story goes, some students needed protection from the their wicked classmates:
Last semester they gave away surgical masks inscribed with the words "This is my Muzzle," citing Psalm of David:  "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked."
You really have to look for this crazy stuff to even think to bring it up. Check out this from Cognitive Dissidence  and the MacIver Institute video which features participant responses.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

AG Schimel lets Lincoln Hills John Doe Probe of Youth Abuse expire, protecting Scott Walker!!!

Scott Walker’s AG lapdog Brad Schimel apparently never asked for an extension to end the abuse of boys and girls…in fact, Walker and Schimel asked a judge to shut down the investigation. JS:
The do-nothing AG
Under a law Gov. Scott Walker signed last year limiting how such investigations can be conducted…made them automatically shut down after six months unless an extension was approved by a panel of 10 judges.
Walker just did away with at least one threat that would have held him accountable for his inaction on the horrific abuses at Lincoln Hills for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls in local media. The FBI is still involved:
Prosecutors for more than a year have been looking into claims of child neglect, prisoner abuse, sexual assault and record destruction at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls.
And that's why the John Doe law was changed. Worse? Anybody watching the AG race knew why Schimel had to be AG, and conservative voters made it happen:
"It's not because of the law," Walker said of winding down the John Doe probe within six months. "The reason they (AG) gave to us (for shutting down the John Doe probe) was that he felt they were complete with the work they did and that they were deferring to federal authorities."
Of course Schimel would say that. He promised, said with absolute clarity, that he would uphold whatever law Walker and the Republican majority passed.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Jesus Lunch, shaping young minds with sandwiches and chips.

The arguments are now bordering on lunacy. Suddenly, minors have all the sensibilities and wisdom of mature adults. And here I thought Republicans didn't think young people were smart enough to even vote. Even more amazing is the divisive and combative ugliness of self righteous Jesus freaks turning Middleton into a religious battleground for their own selfish reasons. Yea, real community minded.

Their names are missing on their website. If you really want to see where Melissa Helbach's family is coming from, check out hubby Casey Helbach's Facebook site. Islamophobia comes to mind.


So what is their Christian message? After all, people are under the impression it's all about the teachings of Jesus, no big deal. Perhaps organizer Melissa Helbach's own kid gave us the answer, via one concerned parent:
"My daughter has had classes with one of the Helbach (sp) kids. He has openly advocated for killing Muslims as the solution to global terrorism. He's spewed hateful rhetoric while touting himself as "self made". She's been upset and frustrated by his behavior."
Another parent chimed in...
Moreover after my son criticized those comments, both cars in front of our house were vandalized. By someone. Lots of Christian behavior here...
Nice group, prince of peace message, you know. 

Rules are posted and clear
These are minors under the supervision of the school district. They protect and educate our kids, like my two sons. Who are these strangers spreading the "Christian" message, which is whatever they think it is. Imagine other groups trying to influence and indoctrinate a whole school filled with curious minors. Their parents should still call the shots, not Jesus Lunch "moms."

The following video clip is a two parter. . Think they weren't looking for a fight? This video was featured at the Education Action Group Foundation, a supposed "non-partisan" right wing group making the rounds on the Fox News Channel, The Blaze, and the Fox Business Network.

The first half recorded by Melissa Helbach's husband shows the group being greeted by Middleton's Superintendent Don Johnson, who calmly shook hands with them and asked for a little conversation.  You'll hear "talk to our attorney" a number of times. The last half (3:57) features conservative radio's biggest BSer Vicki Mckenna, who fed into the religious rights manufactured hysteria with Jesus Lunch's attorney Phillip Stammen.
This poster was handed out at the last Jesus Lunch
McKenna: "They physically blocked them, is what you're saying. They actually physically tried to block them from accessing the park? 

Stammen: "Yes, yes, they put cones in the way, and then they confronted them when they walked up, and they wanted to repeatedly keep talking to them..."
Heaven forbid we keep talking...needless to say, the superintend did little to block their efforts.

Just a note, I'm a Lutheran. One of my sons has already been confirmed, and the other is currently taking classes. We're just like any other liberal progressive church going family. McKenna, like all Republicans, have to paint a different picture to make the following hate filled comment work:
McKenna: "What the left needs to do is make believers bigots. They need to turn Christians into monsters, and they need to kill off God."

If you were wondering where the Freedom from Religion Foundation has been, well, their waiting in the wings....here's the last part of their letter to the school district:


You can keep up to date on all this at the Facebook site, All Middleton Students Deserve Respect.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sick Jesus Lunch Child Enticement continues...

Want to put a face to the pushy Jesus Lunch loons? Meet Melissa Helbach, one of five women who need to feel loved and accepted, and who thinks they could be my kids "mom" too. Does she believe in contraception? Is she part of the "pro-life" movement against abortion but won't lift a finger to make sure everyone has life saving health care? Does she believe Jesus is the answer and not science?

Why is Melissa Helbach motivated to spread the word to minors next to a public school? Why not camp out at one of the many private Christian schools using the public's money to conduct weeklong Sunday schools? What's her message? From the many comments I've read, no one is asking what it is they're talking about, their positions. People seem to think Christians have the same message as Jesus. Forget about the radical Christian right or past Christian messengers like David Koresh, all is well when it comes to influencing minors away from their parents:

Their website does not include their names. Brave Christian soldiers...?
Helbach didn't intend to cause a controversy, but hell, with the threat of suing the district, guess she's hit the media jackpot. District administrators sadly played right into their hands. WISC:



One parent in northern Wisconsin had this to say:
Middleton Schools just needs to institute or enforce with threat of expulsion as they do at my town's high school, that students don't leave the grounds during the school day.  For reasons of legal liability and foremost student safety. Access to student autos and parking lot thus controlled for the school day, also.  I guess no booze or pot behind that reasoning also.

No one has mentioned that policy yet on line or WPR.  Our rural high school Gibraltar township Door County, the school doors are locked during the day.  Admittance by office personnel only, immediately into the school office to sign in and get a guest pass.  Staffed until the buses leave the school grounds about 3:20 PM and after school activities commence.

Simple school policy issue not involving property rights or park permits. 1997 we students held a cafeteria boycott for better lunches, outside serving eventually shut down by county sanitarian, but we got real food in school after that.
Here's my own response in the comments section, where oddly no one could grasp the idea we were talking about kids under 18, being manipulated by adults. This is about parents raising their children, and not handing them over to right wing religious fanaticism:

   

Walker fails to warn public about dangerous killer bacteria, thinks we can't handle it, waits 3 months.

The disturbing father complex that underlies everything Scott Walker does as governor could have killed a lot of people. He always knows what's best for us, doesn't he? WISC:
Records show Wisconsin health officials waited several months to announce an outbreak of a rare bloodstream infection to the public.

Gov. Scott Walker said when it became clear health officials couldn't find the source of the outbreak on their own, they went to the public. The department said it wanted to avoid inspiring fear among the public.
Like Walker and Republicans never did to inspire fear of terrorism, left wing socialist anti-American protesters, voter fraud, and killer drug dealing immigrants? 
WBAY-TV obtained the records under an open records request. The station reported Friday the Wisconsin Department of Health Services began investigating the outbreak of the bacteria known as Elizabethkingia in December.  but waited to announce it to the public in March. Eighteen deaths have been linked to the outbreak in Wisconsin.
And maybe if someone knew about it we'd know more about what caused the outbreak?

ObamaCare proves, Insurers can't make money when they have to compete.

The fantasy that health care will ever become competitive under the ACA or a Republican market based plan is proving to be complete nonsense. Insurance companies are proving that point over and over again, inadvertently admitting they have no desire to compete under any scenario.

Irony: When Republicans tell us how horrible ObamaCare is, they're also admitting to the failure of the insurance based system. It didn't work before ObamaCare, it's hardly working now. And the GOP's market based plans assume insurers will stand by letting Americans buy cheaper policies, which is just plain crazy. They've got share holders to answer to.

In another article about the impending collapse of the ACA's marketplaces, the focus is always on insurer profits, and not on health care. Notice that? The Hill:

Insurance companies can't make money competing, it's that simple:   
Insurers warn losses from ObamaCare are unsustainable: Insurers say they are losing money on their ObamaCare plans at a rapid rate, and some have begun to talk about dropping out of the marketplaces altogether ... some observers have not ruled out the possibility of a collapse of the market, known in insurance parlance as a “death spiral.”
Pricing is a problem for insurers when people can easily shop and compare plans in one place. That won't be possible buying insurance across state lines or through advertising from junk mail. 

The line that says it all? 
Larry Levitt, an expert on the health law at the Kaiser Family Foundation said, “There are enough people enrolled at this point that the market is sustainable. The premiums were just too low.”
Yea, thanks to competition! Am I crying alligator tears for prices that are too low? Are you kidding?
Another risk, should regulators reject large premium increases, is that insurers could simply decide to cut their losses and drop off the exchanges altogether.
Like my conservative friend in Milwaukee said, single payer is trouble free and easy, a lesson he learned after being on BadgerCare for awhile.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Scott Walker serving up the Deer Hunter treat: Diseased Venison

Long before Scott Walker destroyed and basically dismantled the DNR, he went out and hired a game farm advocate to break Wisconsin away from our traditional deer management practices to hunter driven policy based on demand and pet peeves. 

This can be a serious problem when you're trying to control the spread of chronic wasting disease. Anyone want to eat venison contaminated with it?

I've been blogging about this for some time (search CWD in the upper left corner). We're now faced with a nearly out-of-control problem.WPR:
More Wisconsin deer are testing positive for chronic wasting disease ... more than 9
percent, according to state figures. But the number of deer being tested is down from years past ... 3,138 deer, down from 5,465 in 2014. The situation has some lawmakers arguing that the governor and DNR should be more active in fighting the problem.


DNR Wildlife Management Bureau director Tom Hauge (said) hunters didn’t have to visit a deer registration station last hunting season ... (do to) electronic registration system ... funding for testing has also decreased since the disease was first discovered in 2002.
Would you Eat CWD infected Deer? Sure, why not...
A team of researchers from universities in the United States and France say they’ve found new evidence that it’s possible for humans to contract the agents that cause CWD. They injected mice, whose DNA had been modified to resemble humans, with mutated proteins called prions. Testing showed two out of 20 mice tested positive for prion infection.

But former Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Member Dave Clausen advised the results are not cause for alarm. "This study does not mean that human infection is a foregone conclusion," Clausen said. "All it does is demonstrate that it is possible."
That's all it does. Feel better?

Democratic criticism Politics, or actual Criticism? And while Democrats want to deal with this and other problems, they're not being taken seriously, because well they're...the "left." Scott Walker said as much, when he lied about the states commitment, and redefined the Democrats honest fact based criticism as gotcha politics:
Walker said science will drive future deer management decisions – not politics. Walker said the state is committed to a healthy deer herd: "We’re ready and willing to hear their recommendations. They made a call to be more aggressive, but they didn’t give us specifics. If they’ve got specific ideas, we’d be more than happy to work with them or anybody else."
No specifics? Oh god where do we start unpacking that load of BS? First let's see what Walker has done "specifically," besides propose leaving road kill to rot on the side our state highways:
1. The DNR has half the CWD testing budget it had last year.

2. Last year the DNR stopped using the term “CWD management zone” … “In the absence of having any management strategies or tools to deal with it, it is basically an endemic area … endemic means: It’s here to stay.”

3. George Meyer, a former DNR secretary said, “It is going to spread further and further out and eventually ... biologists in the department ... are not allowed to talk about it and not allowed to bring forth proactive measures to deal with it.”

4. The agency will solicit samples at only two locations in southern Wisconsin ... down from between 15 and 20 locations in recent years.

5. Janesville Gazette Xtra: Wisconsin deer farmers can opt out of the state's chronic wasting disease monitoring program without upgrading their fences under an emergency rule the state DNR adopted Wednesday despite concerns the move could spread the disease ... spare deer farmers extra expenses. The DNR recorded 29 escapes this year (2015) alone ... "The DNR fencing requirement is the last safeguard to prevent further CWD contamination of the wild deer herd," Meyer said.

6. Walker says Gov. Jim Doyle and the DNR have engaged in "political games" and "put bureaucrats in Madison ahead of hunters of the state."

7. Trustee Dr. James Kroll said people who call for more public hunting opportunities are “pining for socialism.” He further states, “(Public) Game management is the last bastion of communism.”

8. AP: A state board voted to limit a new law ... The Sporting Heritage Bill ... expanding hunting rights in state parks ... after Wisconsin residents said they wouldn't feel safe ... DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said the board should remember that lawmakers passed the law with the intent that hunting be expanded. “Ours is not to debate what the elected officials decided,” she said.
As for the Democrats offering specific ways to deal with CWD? Well, other state's are doing just the opposite of Scott Walker:
1. DNR Is Unlikely To Act As Deer Herd Faces Possible Starvation: Minnesota Starts Emergency Deer Feeding Fund, But Wisconsin's DNR Can't Follow Suit Without Legislative Approval.

2. In Illinois, where officials continued to reduce the herd in diseased areas, there has been no increase, University of Illinois researchers found in a 2014 study. The prevalence of the disease is much lower in northern Illinois, where targeted sharpshooting has been used by Illinois wildlife officials since 2002. The prevalence rate is under 1% in Illinois' 12-county CWD area. In 2007, the DNR defended the use of sharpshooters as an "efficient and effective tool in reducing deer numbers and removing diseased deer," because the shooters were killing more antlerless deer than hunters were.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ted Cruz' not so secret Right Wing Socialist agenda.

UPDATE- 4/16/16: Good news, Ted Cruz promises not to ban dildos if he becomes president, how silly! The Hill:
WABC radio host Curtis Sliwa asked Cruz if he would ban “the sale of sexual toys, dildos, or anything that sexually stimulates you,” after Mother Jones revealed that Cruz defended a ban on the sale of dildos as Texas’s solicitor general.

“Look, of course not, it’s a ridiculous question, and of course not,” Cruz added.


The headline in Mother Jones was enough to get my attention:
The Time Ted Cruz Defended a Ban on Dildos: His legal team argued there was no right "to stimulate one's genitals."
David Corn chronicles the tortured logic of right wing social engineering. Here's a condensed version:
In one chapter of his campaign book, A Time for Truth, Sen. Ted Cruz proudly chronicles his days as a Texas solicitor general … Yet one case he does not mention is the time he helped defend a law criminalizing the sale of dildos.

In 2004, companies that owned Austin stores selling sex toys and a retail distributor of such products challenged a Texas law outlawing the sale and promotion of supposedly obscene devices. Under the law, a person could go to jail for up to two years. But a federal judge … ruled that selling sex toys was not protected by the Constitution. The plaintiffs appealed.

Cruz's solicitor general office had the task of preserving the law. In 2007, Cruz's legal team, working on behalf of then-Attorney General Greg Abbott (who now is the governor), noted, "The Texas Penal Code prohibits the advertisement and sale of dildos, artificial vaginas, and other obscene devices" … Cruz's legal team asserted "any alleged right associated with obscene devices" is not "deeply rooted in the Nation's history and traditions." 

The brief insisted that Texas, in order to protect "public morals," had "police-power interests" in "discouraging prurient interests in sexual gratification, combating the commercial sale of sex, and protecting minors." There was a "government" interest, it maintained, in "discouraging…autonomous sex." The brief compared the use of sex toys to "hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy," and it equated advertising these products with the commercial promotion of prostitution.
My favorite line?
Cruz's office declared, "There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one's genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship."

In a 2-1 decision issued in February 2008, the court of appeals told Cruz's office to take a hike. No, government officials could not claim as part of their job duties the obligation to reduce masturbation or nonprocreative sexual activity. And the two judges in the majority slapped aside the solicitor general's attempt to link dildos to prostitution: "The sale of a device that an individual may choose to use during intimate conduct with a partner in the home is not the 'sale of sex' (prostitution)."

“Whatever one might think or believe about the use of these devices, government interference with their personal and private use violates the Constitution."

But Abbott and Cruz wouldn't give up. Abbott and Cruz quickly filed a brief that argued "engaging in consensual adult incest or bigamy" ought to be legal because it could "enhance their sexual experiences." 

Walker not governing, Fails to solve Lincoln Hills misconduct; poor treatment, racial slurs, inappropriate use of restraints, slow medical care...

What happens when you put people in charge of managing government who hate managing government? You get the kind of negligence and incompetence we’re seeing from the Walker administration.

If you didn’t already know what was really happening, then this headline today might be deceiving:
"State Officials Reaffirm That Protecting Youth At LincolnHills Is A Top Priority" … amid news that placement of troubled youth from Milwaukee at the northern Wisconsin site hasn't slowed much.
AG Brad Schimel, the bumbling Scott Walker lackey who oddly promised total allegiance to him when he ran for office (see video below), lied about improvements at Lincoln Hills:
Doh!
"Schimel said concerned relatives should know the state's priority is youth safety. We have no higher responsibility as government that to take care of juveniles who are in our care."
But a little over a week ago the Journal Sentinel reported the following story that got little attention:
"Chief judge says poor treatment of youths continues at Lincoln Hills" … despite staffing and policy changes at the facility amid an ongoing federal probe of alleged abuses.
Walker, who's off flying around the country right now, apparently doesn't have time to be troubled by the less desirable youths of our state. Little has changed, as witnessed by health officials: 
Members of the county's mental health professional team interviewed Milwaukee County youths in the facility. White says the team either witnessed or received reports from youths about staff's use of racial slurs to youth; lack of therapy provided to at least one youth who has repeatedly requested it; overuse of solitary confinement, particularly for youths with mental health issues; lack of timely medical attention; and inappropriate use of restraints.
Walker's changes at Lincoln Hills were more rhetorical than real:
Corrections officials said the department has not been able to substantiate any of the incidents in her letter. "If Chief Judge White can provide additional details regarding her allegations to the Department of Corrections, DOC will investigate fully," department spokesman Tristan D. Cook said in an email.
Department spokesperson Cook isn't trying to hard:
One county team member was interviewing a DOC staff member when a youth reported hearing another inmate potentially overdose on pills. The staffer indicated a supervisor would be notified. About 15 minutes after the county member finished the interview, she heard another youth call out about the same possible overdose. The county team member said it didn't appear any DOC staff responded to the incident. Other observers have reported slow responses from staff at the youth prison. 
Here's Brad Schimel's jaw dropping promise to actively and politically carry out Walker's agenda. His challenger, Susan Happ, sadly reminds us what a real grasp of the issues was like once upon a time in Wisconsin:


Christian predators lure Middleton High School minors with food at bizarre "Jesus Lunch."

The following story isn't much different than letting strangers hang out at schools offering minor students candy.

Next year I'll have two sons at Middleton High School, and I don't appreciate uncooperative predator adults who refuse to work with administrators, foisting their agenda using food to lure students off school grounds to indoctrinate them with a message I don't have any control over. These are minors for Gods sake!

While the school's principal gave a number of policy reasons the "Jesus lunches" should stop, one big one was left off the list; the school is my surrogate during the day for my minor children. Filling these young influential minds with whatever fringe religious message they concoct is not happening if I can help it.

Officials are trying to work with these lawsuit seeking zealots to find some way to make the Jesus lunches function under the watchful eye of the school district, which is insane. Instead, Middleton should make the park off limits, and ban students from hanging out there. I don't know who these "moms" are and why they decided to target kids, but they did that, and it's creepy to say the least.

Here's WKOW's  coverage of these Jesus freaks:


Their attorney Phillip Stamman (said) “the question here is not us being in opposition to the school, but rather that we have a right to be in Fireman's Park. Fireman's Park - a public park owned by the City of Middleton - remains accessible to everyone in the public for the purposes of assembly and free speech.

The five mothers who started Jesus Lunch declined an interview with 27 News. They have obtained permits to use the park from the city of Middleton and have hired an attorney to represent them as they move forward with plans to host more events, saying it's well within their First Amendment rights.
Just what we need, a Jesus carnival sideshow next to the school. 

Scott Walker's Rube Goldberg Voting System may just get more complicated...for all the right reasons this time.

Republicans don't like to make anything easy. Imagine how much extra time we'd all have if we didn't have to shop for health insurance every year. I'm also convinced Republicans want to make voting so hard or inconvenient that people will eventually just lose interest.

As the title suggests, there's a possible change coming to the voting process, and this time as Martha Stewart would say, "it's a good thing." I can't wait to see what Scott Walker and the Republican legislature will do next, since this puts them in a tough spot. If they don't go along with it right away...it just confirms what Rep. Glenn Grothman said was true. JS:
Wisconsin and other states have adopted voter ID laws more stringent than Indiana's. For instance, Indiana's law allows people who can't get IDs to sign affidavits at the polls instead of showing IDs. Wisconsin has no such provision — a point the appeals judges noted Tuesday.

"Indeed, one may understand plaintiffs as seeking for Wisconsin the sort of safety net that Indiana has had from the outset. Under Wisconsin's current law, people who do not have qualifying photo ID ... cannot vote, even if it is impossible for them to get such an ID. Plaintiffs want relief from that prohibition, not from the general application of (the voter ID law) to the millions of persons who have or readily can get qualifying photo ID. The right to vote is personal and is not defeated by the fact that 99% of other people can secure the necessary credentials easily."  

But the panel of appeals judges on Tuesday ... noted instances where government agencies have lost birth certificates in fires or where people have been told they can't get an ID without a Social Security card and they can't get a Social Security card without an ID. The three judges who issued Tuesday's ruling — Easterbrook, Diane Sykes and Michael Kanne — were all appointed by Republican presidents.
The almost laughable argument yet, came from Walker's AG lapdog Brad Schimel. Only a total incompetent screw-up would offer up this excuse, and I'm paraphrasing; a record number of people, mostly Republicans, turned out voter! So hey, what's the problem?  You can't make this stuff up:
Johnny Koremenos, a spokesman for Attorney General Brad Schimel, emphasized, "Given the overwhelming success of the DOT program, and the fact that our state's recent primary elections involved record turnouts, we are confident that we will prevail on the narrow issues that the court remanded on." Koremenos ... noted voters can get IDs for free from the state Department of Transportation.
Of course that has nothing to do with the problem, but it'll probably sufficiently fill the dead still air between the voters ears who are dying for another order.

Check out the Nation's story on one victim of voter ID: