Friday, September 30, 2016

Walker's phony Voter ID Credentials Scheme Exposed! Judge orders State Report by October 7th.

In a block bust discovery: The Nation's Ari Berman reported that Scott Walker's plan to provide a quick voter IDs to those who don't have a birth certificate still wasn't up and running yet. So US District Judge James Peterson immediately stepped it:
WSJ: Judge orders state to probe report that DMV gave false information on voter ID: Judge James Peterson's order followed a report this week by The Nation that cast doubt on whether Gov. Scott Walker's administration is following a judge's instructions in a court challenge to the state's voter ID law.
I know, it seems crazy to have the state (fox) investigate itself (the hen house) over defying a court order to provide these ID credentials for at least the upcoming election:
The Nation report featured recordings of exchanges with DMV employees that appear to thwart efforts by a homeless man to obtain an ID to vote in the November election.

Peterson, who is presiding over one of two pending legal challenges to Wisconsin's voter ID law, ruled in July that the state must promptly provide voter ID credentials, valid in the November election, to people who request them -- even if they lack some of the underlying documents needed to obtain an ID.

"These reports, if true, demonstrate that the state is not in compliance with this court’s injunction order" from July, Peterson wrote. "The report should explain the scope of the investigation, its results, and any corrective action to be take.”.

Peterson's order instructs the state to "investigate these allegations and provide a report to the court by Oct. 7."
Here's a Twitter screen capture posted by Nation reporter Ari Berman:

"It Just Takes Time:" Admit it, Walker never had any intention of following through on his plan to provide voter ID's until after the election, whether he got caught or not:
Molly McGrath, the national campaign coordinate for VoteRiders, which helps people get voter IDs, accompanied Moore to the DMV and recorded the trip. Read this exchange between her and DMV employees:
More here at Think Progress
Molly: If you initiate the petition process do you get an ID for voting?

DMV Employee 1: No, you don’t get anything.

DMV Employee 2: No, you don’t get anything right away.

Molly: Ok, so even if we start the petition process, and it takes eight weeks, he wouldn’t be able to vote.

DMV Employee 1: Right, right, right.

DMV Employee 2: Well, I don’t know, they’re working on that. It’s kind of up in the air right now.

Molly: I thought you could get an ID, like the sign says over there: “No birth certificate, no problem.” You can get an ID to vote.

DMV Employee 3: You can. It just takes the time.

Molly: So even if we just start the petition process, he wouldn’t get anything temporarily that says you can vote?

DMV Employee 3: Nope. Nope.

Here's Zack Moore,in his own words:

Arkansas AG defends Trump attacks on Miss Universe Alicia Machado, blames Trump's bad behavior on Clinton.

I was going to title this "Trump weary blogger posts another Trump horror story."

Amazing really; Miss Universe Alicia Machado got a quick mention during the last debate to highlight Clinton's latest ad about Trump's misogynistic attitude toward women.

Since then Trump has not been able to let it go. This jaw-dropping video below is a must see for women everywhere. MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle did an amazing job of exploring every, I mean every angle of Trump's reaction with Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge, who oddly chose to ignore and excuse Trump's bad behavior at every turn.

If you ever wondered how Republicans think, or rationalize their support for a guy like Trump, this interview makes it crystal clear. Watch to the end, it's worth it. Host Stephanie Ruhle impressed:

Check out Trump's Tweets:

Just as surreal, this actual commentary coming from Newt Gingrich, shifting the blame back to Clinton and using Benghazi in the same breathe:
“This is the new Benghazi lie. What Hillary tried to set up and what they apparently spent months preparing is an ambush as false as Benghazi. It was as false as her claim she was under fire in in Bosnia. It was as false as the lies she told on her emails. The elite media, which is Clinton, I mean, they totally identify with her, they took it hook, line and sinker.”

Trump now reeling out of control & hackers block Trump/Cuban story! Supporters believe U.S. deserves this.

The morning brought on a battery of Trump stories that should scare the daylights out of even low information Trump voters.

The weirdest story mirrors the Democratic Party's hacker problem that has oddly reared its head in this years election:
The Hill: Newsweek is suggesting a digital attack that knocked down its website Thursday night may have been designed to thwart a story about Donald Trump. “Last night we were on the receiving end of what our IT chief called a 'massive' DoS (denial of service) attack,” said editor-in-chief Jim Impoco in a statement.  "As with any DDoS attack, there are lots of IP addresses, but the main ones are Russian, though that in itself does not prove anything. We are still investigating," Impoco added.
Looks like someone didn't want the public to this:
Newsweek: Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort
I've screen captured a number of the reports to save space and hours of wasted time...this is an unrelenting daily thing. It's no secret Trump supporters care more about shoving Trump in our face, real grownup like, than being frightened by the dangerous careless rhetoric of their candidate:

The Wall Street Journal blasted Trump in its endorsement of Clinton:
“No one witnessing Mr. Trump’s primary race — his accumulation of Alt-Right cheerleaders, white supremacists and swastika devotees — could fail to notice the menacing tone and the bitterness that came with it.”
And this endorsement just came in....
The San Diego Union-Tribune on Friday endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, ending nearly 150 years of backing Republicans for the White House: 
"Terrible leaders can knock nations off course,” the editors added. "Venezuela is falling apart because of the obstinance [sic] and delusions of [former Venezuelan leader] Hugo Chavez and his successor.
 Argentina is finally coming apart out of the chaos created by [former Argentine leader] Cristina Kirchner and several of her predecessors. Trump could be our Chavez, our Kirchner. We cannot take that risk.”
Still More....

And don't forget the local yokels, like the kind words below from Rep. Robin Vos, always a good judge of character:

I found this video of Hillary Clinton's "shimmy" during the debate. Not sure whether I like it or just becoming more desensitized to the dreck featured on Facebook...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trump's victim count mounts up, will supporters be next?

Trump's political adventure continue as we quickly approach a fascist state. If we've learned anything, we now know most Republican voters lack principles, critical thought, and maturity.

So here's a quick rundown of the latest Trump fiasco:

On Tuesday, CNN published footage from the press conference in which Trump and a trainer casually discussed the need for Machado’s weight to get back down to an acceptable number. Machado would later claim she was simply planning to work out at the gym that day and that she was caught off-guard by the reporters Trump invited to watch. “I had my self-esteem on the floor,” she said. “It was the most horrible moment that some girl can [have].”

Hillary Clinton invoked Machado’s name as a reminder of Trump’s history of crude commentary about women. "...he called this woman ‘Miss Piggy.’ Then he called her ‘Miss Housekeeping,’ because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name: Her name is Alicia Machado. She has become a U.S. citizen,” Clinton replied. “And you can bet she’s going to vote this November.”
Just a Note: During the first debate, Trump said a little too much:
Trump turned one of the GOP's best Clinton attacks around on himself: When Clinton brought up Trump's debt and business dealings, she cited a report that said the real-estate mogul might owe "Wall Street and foreign banks" as much as $650 million. Trump went on a tirade to defend himself

He and others have cast on Clinton many times, accusing her of coziness with the industry because of her paid speaking engagement at banks … Of course, getting paid by Wall Street is very different from owing Wall Street money ... if Trump makes it to the White House, we won't know what kind of favors Trump may owe. Trump praising banks — those "very fine institutions" in his words — couldn't have happened at a worse time. 

Trump Misogynists feeling good, Empowered:

Rampant Republican misogyny, like racism, is coming out of the shadows, and we can thank "The Incredible Trump" for that.

Remember the outrageous "Hillary shimmy" after Trump's angry out-of-control tirade about his outstanding temperament?

Fox News' opinion writer Todd Starnes summed up how America felt about this:
I wish there was bipartisan agreement demanding Trump never sniffle into his mic again. I was amused by the failed attempt by the media to make something out of this possible sign of cocaine addiction...ah, I didn't mean to suggest he's hooked on drugs, I'm just bring it Trump:
During the debate, Trump's frequent sniffling was a widely discussed topic on social media, giving rise to the hashtag #Trumpsniffle on Twitter. In a TV interview with "Fox and Friends" the following morning, Trump denied being sick, saying "No, no sniffles, no cold," according to Reuters.

"It could be almost anything," said Dr. Alan Mensch. When asked about his sniffling, Trump brought up a technical issue rather than a medical one. "The mike was very bad, but maybe it was good enough to hear breathing,” he told "Fox and Friends."
Trump never said why he had the sniffles, an actual tell tale sign of cocaine use. As important as this could be, we would never want to beat this possibility into the ground like Clinton's "shimmy" or involuntary convulsive tremors.

It's a Mans World: The MIC's Mitch Hank got a few revealing calls from men who weren't shy about their conservative family values and the place woman should have in a mans world:
Caller Paul: "I say Trump take off the gloves, and plow into her. And, and to all the people that say oh, she's a women, you gotta treat, you women out there, you wanna (inaudible) in a mans world..." 
Or this...
Caller George: "He (Trump) kept his calm, they were waiting for him just to blow up, she was edging (egging) him on, wanting to show the nutty guy, the crazy guy, the sexist pig. He's a real guy!"

Mitch: "Why did he keep lowering himself into the mic, when the mic could have picked him up. He did the 29 interruptions?"

Caller George: "Because he's not a professional...he's not a smooth politician." 
Or this...
Caller Dave: "The Wicked Witch of the East comes out and says, one down and two to go, she's cockin' off...she's the new "Pokeman" (Pokemon) for the game in Japan, so that's what they said about her (laughing)."

Mitch: "Dave are you aware of the rampant misogynist rhetoric you are engaging in..."

Caller Dave: "I don't care, she brings it on herself."  

Trump supporter trashing Clinton's "free college" idea: "If it's a free education, than it means nothing, it'll be worthless."

Hillary Clinton's proposal to provide a publically supported "free" college education gets the old mind bending Republicans down-the-rabbit-hole treatment.

In the past, student loan debt was measurably smaller compared to skyrocketing loans now. That was confirmed by Dumb Ron Johnson when;
...based on his experience in the mid-1970s ... his $663 tuition at the University of Minnesota was 1,700 percent lower than it is today.
Clinton's plan also doesn't pay for student housing and food, which is also a big expense.

One Wisconsin Now reports "over 800,000 Wisconsin borrowers (have) over $19 billion in federal student loan debt alone."

The comment below by a Trump supporter attending his rally in Waukesha last night mirrors my conservative friend in Milwaukee's point of view:

"I paid for my own college, I didn't ask anyone else, my parents didn't pay for it, I worked when I went to school, there's nothing wrong with that. If it's a free education than it means nothing, it'll be worthless."  
To be fair, if the idea "a free education" means nothing and is worthless, than maybe the same can said about K-12? Should we make child labor legal again so kids can feel the pain of paying for their schooling? Republicans have already created K-12 savings accounts.

The Trump fans comment also ignores the drag student loans have on the economy and consumer spending. Maybe the slow US growth can be pegged in part on high student loan debt? No, we should instead yearn for the old days, before we had a chance to learn from our failures.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Walker gives Health Care Costs a shove Upward, blames ObamaCare.

Republicans may whine about health care costs skyrocketing under ObamaCare, but it's all just a show. Thanks to Scott Walker and his band of plundering pirates, ObamaCare will cost more and wither away just like they said it would.

The irony? Walker's anti-ObamaCare supporters are now buying junk policies. And you know what, some of them deserve it.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin:
Walker Administration Deliberately Rigging Health Insurance System to Raise Rates: Almost as many people enrolled in substandard “lemon” health plans in Wisconsin as buy individual coverage through
We know this because of an inadvertent admission by Deputy Insurance Commissioner J.P. Wieske during a recent hearing, that...:  
"...a much larger number of Wisconsinites than previously believed are enrolled in substandard health plans which do not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)."
Those stubborn and not so "fiscally conservative" Walker backers decided to "keep the plan they already had." 
In the hearing Wieske testified that 203,000 Wisconsinites are covered by so-called “transitional plans,” often referred to as “grandmothered” plans. Currently 239,034 Wisconsin health consumers are enrolled in individual coverage on This means the ACA marketplaces in Wisconsin would be much larger if these transitional plans were prohibited.
People on these grandmothered plans...
...tend to be healthier, because the insurance corporations were still permitted at the time to discriminate against people with health conditions. Wisconsin exercised the option to continue these plans, while Minnesota and many other states working to improve health care access banned them.
Why keep the old plans? To slowly destroy ObamaCare by keeping half the people off the exchanges:
1. Substandard “lemon” plans increase prices in the ACA marketplace by skimming healthier people.This deprives healthier individuals from the ACA marketplace, leaving the remaining population sicker and costlier, and raising rates.

2. Even when they are cheaper, substandard “lemon” plans can be dangerous for health consumers when they face a major injury or illness. These plans often have gaps in coverage or extremely high cost sharing ... raising premiums by as much as 10 percent and decreasing enrollment” (Rand Corporation). “Integrating these underwritten members into the ACA pool is expected to improve the health status of the market as a whole, which could lower the relative cost of coverage on average.” (Milliman Actuaries)
So there you have it. And we keep electing people who hate government so much they'll do anything to make it worse:
“It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Walker Administration is deliberately trying to destabilize the Affordable Care Act by allowing insurance companies to skim healthier consumers,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The impact of this policy is to rig the health care system against Wisconsin families ... The only party who benefits from the continuation of lemon health plans is the insurance industry, which is allowed to continue to profit by separating the healthy from people with health conditions.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Trump Deplorable Voters Love being Lied To.

It's true Trump voters don't care what he says or if he's lying, since they think the liberal press is going after him with a vengeance anyway. Fight fire with fire, lies with lies. While Clinton has the "appearance" of not telling the truth, depending on the media spin, Trump's a proven liar by over 53% by fact checkers. 70% at one. Here's more...
A candidate who wallows in bigotry, who incites violence, who verbally abuses his critics, who is a self-avowed threat to the free presswho trashes U.S. generals while praising Vladimir Putin, who demeans Gold Star families, gets less negative coverage than his opponent, a lifelong public servant who is one of the most accomplished and admired women on the planet.
For the duration of the 2016 election, Clinton has been subjected to hostile commentary, misleading analysis, deceptive reporting, and outright poll manipulation ... Hillary has some things she should have handled better, but that’s about it ... there’s no serious scandal on her record ... no evidence that she’s ever sold out to Wall Street ... no corruption, intrigue, or deceit. Kevin Drum explains: Washington Post: “There is no equivalence between Ms. Clinton’s wrongs and Mr. Trump’s manifest unfitness for office.” 
The LA Times wrote:
Trump says that taxes in the United States are higher than almost anywhere else on earth. They’re not. He says he opposed the Iraq war from the start. He didn’t. Now, after years of spreading the lie that President Obama was born in Africa, Trump says that Hillary Clinton did it first (untrue) and that he’s the one who put the controversy to rest (also untrue). Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has. “It gives him not only license, but incentive to spin fantasy, because no one expects him to tell the truth,” said Republican strategist Rob Stutzman, who worked against Trump during the primaries. “They believe they’re getting lied to constantly, so if their hero tells lies in order to strike back, they don’t care.”

 Republicans have used Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of State to cast doubt on her honesty, saying she has been untrustworthy for
decades. Nonetheless, the scope of Trump’s falsehoods is unprecedented, and he is dogged in refusing to stop saying things once they are proved untrue.

Republicans have used Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of State to cast doubt on her honesty, saying she has been untrustworthy for decades. Nonetheless, the scope of Trump’s falsehoods is unprecedented, and he is dogged in refusing to stop saying things once they are proved untrue.

BuzzFeed unearthed an audio recording showing that Trump backed the Iraq invasion and a 2011 video in which he called for swift military action against Moammar Kadafi, then the leader of Libya. In the months since those disclosures, Trump has lied dozens of times on both issues, saying he opposed the use of force in Iraq and Libya.

Thomas E. Mann, a resident scholar at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, said Trump appears to recognize that a faction of the Republican Party has lost respect for facts, evidence and science — presuming, for example, that anything negative said about Obama is probably true.

PolitiFact at the Tampa Bay Times … has rated 70% of the Trump statements it has checked as mostly false, false or “pants on fire,” its lowest score. By contrast, 28% of Clinton’s statements earned those ratings. “As we noted … no other politician has as many statements rated so far down the dial,” PolitiFact writer Lauren Carroll reported in June. “It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”

Marty Kaplan, a professor of entertainment, media and society at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, “I’m confused,” he said, “whether the whole fact-free zone that he’s in is a strategic calculation or a kind of psychosis.”

ObamaCare Exchanges not a job killer, and Americans auto enroll instead of forcing insurance companies to compete, resulting in higher prices.

It looks like Americans don't have enough time in their busy lives to shop for health insurance. It's crazy really, going through the ritual of picking the least draconian plan year after year, just to save lots of money. Too much work.

Nothing could be easier than going online and comparison shop for insurance. But that's not happening, resulting in higher prices for those seeking insurance.

Here are two important ObamaCare facts recently revealed by the Kaiser Family Foundation:
1. Obamacare was not a job killer: One of the more prevalent concerns surrounding Obamacare's implementation of the employer mandate -- the actionable component of Obamacare that requires employers to offer health coverage options if they have 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTE) -- was that it would coerce employers to reduce full-time employees to part-time, or it would result in job cuts.

Since Obamacare was officially launched, 7% of employers with 50 or more FTE bumped part-time workers up to full-time compared to just 2% of employers who cut full-time workers to part-time. 
2. Competition among insurers is a genuine issue: For starters, competition among insurers is actually declining. 

The other issue is that we're not seeing consumers necessarily making informed purchasing decisions with the information afforded to them. In each of the past two years millions of Americans have auto-enrolled in their previous year's plan, which is a potentially terrible idea. Plan coverage options and premiums change each year, and what may have been the best value one year may not be the next. What this essentially demonstrates is that the consumer isn't taking the time to shop around, which is further putting pricing power back into the hands of insurers. 

Getting Played Again: Good Cop Paul Ryan vs Bad Cop Trump!!!

Republicans have played both sides of the issues for years. Double standards and rank hypocrisy is so common place on the right, most people now just roll their eyes, essentially saying "Are you still talking about that...?"

Now with the bar set super low for Trump (and they thought Obama's lack of experience was bad), Republicans are playing a new game that's gotten little attention; good cop/bad cop. 

I noticed this as I was paging through news headlines showing Paul Ryan denouncing Trump positions at every turn. 

Playing "good cop/bad cop" also provides a phony "both sides" appearance, meaning no one has time for the Democratic Party side to an issue. Let's face it, Trump low information voters heads would explode if that happened. 

Here's the timeline showing good cop Paul Ryan, standing up to bad cop Trump, taking positions that aren't nearly as bad as Trump's:

Friday, September 23, 2016

Trump supporters claim Obama made them look like racists.

GQ's Keith Olbermann had this to say about...
Trump Ohio County Campaign Chair Kathy Miller said there wasn’t any racism before Barack Obama became president. Really.

Clinton Health Care Plan adds 9.1 Million, Trump cuts 20 Million People off, meaning they can't keep their Insurance or Doctor.

The following story isn't that surprising, because other reports have said pretty much the same thing, but it does add to the growing list of reasons why Trump's health care and tax plan would destroy the country. 

While other articles put Trump’s disastrous health care plan first - because it is that horrific - I'm going to focused on Clinton’s better plan, right out of the gate. NBC News:  
The Clinton proposal includes a new tax credit for deductibles and copayments not covered by insurance, a richer formula for health law subsidies, a fix for the law's "family glitch" that can deny subsidies to some dependents, and a new government-sponsored "public option" health plan.

Taken together, the analysis estimated that Clinton's proposals would reduce the number of uninsured people in 2018 to 15.8 million, which translates to a gain of 9.1 million people with coverage. Not included were Clinton's idea for allowing middle-aged adults to buy into Medicare and her plan to convince more states to expand Medicaid.
Great plan. Now let’s look at Trump’s decidedly free market model that’ll drop 20 million people from coverage…I guess that would mean a lot of Americans wouldn’t be able to keep their insurance plans or doctor, right? 
According to the Commonwealth Fund study released Friday, Donald Trump would cause about 20 million to lose coverage while Clinton would provide an additional 9 million people.

One worrisome finding is that the number of uninsured people in fair or poor health could triple under Trump. When uninsured people wind up in the hospital, the cost of their treatment gets shifted to others, including state and federal taxpayers.

The study panned one of Trump's main ideas: allowing insurers to sell private policies across state lines. Insurers would cherry-pick the healthiest customers and steer them to skimpy plans … the overall conclusion seems to be on target ... "You could quibble about some of the modeling, but directionally I think it's right," said economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a center-right public policy center.

The study estimated that Trump's repeal of "Obamacare" would increase the number of uninsured people from 24.9 million to 44.6 million in 2018. The tax deduction and interstate health insurance sales would help some stay covered, but the Medicaid block grant would make even more people uninsured. The result would be an estimated 45.1 million uninsured people in 2018 under Trump - an increase of 20.2 million, reversing the coverage gains under Obama.
Trump Tax Plan adds Trillions to Debt: And for those who like Trump because he'll shake things up politically in Washington:
Recent analysis that delved into the candidates' tax proposals, by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, found that Trump's latest tax proposals would increase federal debt by $5.3 trillion over the next decade, compared with $200 billion if Clinton's ideas were enacted. 
Imagine how that’ll shake things up, debating what to cut next. 

Republican Refusal to Fund Flint Water disaster put the "squeeze" on the Democrats?

It's not just a media setting a low bar for Trump, how about the Republicans? 

Here's the latest ghoulish, politically motivated scheme, supposedly designed to embarrass and blame the Democrats for a government shutdown. They're now heroes for stripping out poison pill riders:

Republicans on Thursday presented what they said was a clean bill stripped of conservative policy riders ... provide $500 million in relief to flood victims in Louisiana, West Virginia and Maryland, fund the battle against the Zika virus and provide aid to communities dealing with opioid addition ... But it does not include aid for the community of Flint, where residents can’t drink the tap water due to high levels of lead.
Let me get this straight; that's supposed to squeeze the Democrats and make the Republicans look good? Blatantly ignoring and politicizing the water disaster in Flint Michigan? Am I in Bizarro World now? Heck, The Hill story even points out this was their gruesome intention:
Republicans think if Democrats try to block the funding bill, they’ll get blamed for derailing legislation to keep the government operating, fight Zika and help thousands of displaced people in Louisiana.
For gods sake, why are we letting Republicans play politics with natural disasters, disease and lead laced drinking water. What does it take for the media to finally remove the kid gloves they put on long ago to appear "fair and balanced?"

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Here are the real Trump voters. Funny the news networks somehow missed this...

Republicans Deep-Seated hatred for Wisconsin Grows!!!

Republicans are hard at work making their "in-the-bag" rural voters, and a few city dwellers, even more angry about government, securing their support while sticking it to them in the next budget.

No matter what the final Republican budget looks like, it’s the original draft proposals and ideas that will tell you all you need to know about the party’s soulless lack of humanity and vision.

Proving once again the state can’t afford the tax cuts already in place, and the future tax cuts promised to campaign donors, Wisconsinites could see…WSJ:
I keep going back to this prophetic cartoon.
1. A decrease of nearly 27 state prosecutor positions to help save $2.4 million.

2. Millions less in state funding for schools.

3. The elimination of the state’s grain inspection program.

4. Fewer course offerings at UW System universities in order to save $195.3 million over two years. 

5. Emergency management would stop stockpiling sandbags for communities to fend off floods. 

6. Counties would pay for state parole services.
It’s interesting to note the thinking behind these cuts and cost shifts to local governments; forget about 25 years of progress, population growth, inflation, and the negative consequences of meat cleaver tax cuts:
Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, said … the law was an important step to “right-size” state government. He noted that the state budget has grown from $26.6 billion in 1991 to $73 billion.
There's a "right-size" to state government?

These now required 5% hypothetical budget cuts submitted under protest by some agencies may not happen, but it does provide an excuse to bring them back later...and they will.

Oh, and Republicans talk big about protecting the integrity of elections and eliminating supposed voter fraud, but get a load of this cut:
The Elections Commission would cut $205,400 by eliminating investigations; reduce voter ID training.
Truth be told, I kinda saw that coming a mile away.

And I'll bet you never gave these a second thought:
1. Allowing just the rear plate.

2. Reducing the amount of salt the department buys for roads.

3. Eliminating the annual notice vehicle owners receive to renew their registration.

4. Eliminate striping on 1,150 miles of roadway.

5. Repurpose or close seven rest stops. 

6. Jettison about $8.5 million in maintenance, such as crack filling and road sealing.
Anyone need to know where the road is late at night thanks to that costly white striping? Or how about road crack filling and sealing so frozen water doesn’t disintegrate road surfaces? That's alright, local governments will be paying for that later.

I don’t know about you, but getting rid of rest stops for travelers is a big one. I actually grade the states I drive through by how much pride they take in their highway system, and how they accommodate visiting motorists who might need to stop for water, rest or use the restrooms. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Temporary" end to ObamaCare offered up by Dumb Ron Johnson...gee, thanks?

Dumb Ron Johnson must think we're dumb too.

In what appears to be a "we're not kidding" effort by Republicans reacting to reduced ACA Marketplace insurer participation, their plan is to completely dismantle ObamaCare...I mean introduce competitors not on the exchanges.

I just had to shred this one. Lets take a look at the State Flexibility to Provide Affordable Health Options Act...
Let's see, reward taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies who decided not to be on the exchanges, offering fewer health services for the same price, but also allow people to go without any coverage at all. Wow, that sounds like a world without ObamaCare.

Maybe I've got something more time...

  • Give states with a failing Obamacare exchange the authority to allow residents to use their Obamacare subsidy to purchase any health plan of their choice, even those off the exchange, for the 2017 plan year.
  • If the state chooses to use this authority to allow residents to use subsidies outside of the exchange, the legislation will waive the Obamacare law’s requirement that you must buy a specific health care plan or pay a fine of as much as $2,000 for a family of four next year. 
But wait, wouldn't that drain the exchanges and hurt insurers, collapsing the whole ACA while increasing the uninsured and filling emergency rooms with unreimbursed health care?

That's our Dumb Ron Johnson.
A summary of the State Flexibility to Provide Affordable Health Options Act is available online HERE

Health Care Costs Increase, but not because of the Affordable Care Act!

Even during the run-up to the Affordable Care Act, the media and health care pundits never brought up the deplorable state of our private insurance based system.

I remember it well as a small business owner because I had to shop in the individual market every year after receiving huge premium increases to re-up. While the media claimed increases somewhere around 10%, mine were 20 to 30%. Looks like I was right. LA Times:
Family premiums have increased 20% over the last five years, which is a lot but a darn sight better than the 31% hike over the previous five years, and a huge improvement over the staggering 63% growth in the five years before that.
A look at the latest stats will probably prompt Republicans to blame ObamaCare for increased health care costs, but that would be a lie. Here's the headline:
Sick: The biggest increase in healthcare costs in 32 years: The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that spending on healthcare rose last month by the biggest amount (1%) in more than three decades.
But it’s wasn't ObamaCare's fault, or even insurance companies jacking up premiums; blame hospital costs and drug prices. This is very important to understand;
The overall price of medical treatment increased by 1% in August … the largest monthly gain since 1984 … The cost of hospital services climbed 1.7% in August, the biggest gain since October 2015, while the average price of prescription meds jumped 1.3%. That means average drug prices are up 6.3% over the last 12 months, the largest such increase in two years.
Health care is NOT a Consumer Product: The most egregious mistake Republicans like Paul Ryan make is treating health care like a consumable product. We don't "shop" for care, but receive it when we are least able to do anything but get immediate medical help.

Ghoulish Health Care Profits: Republicans must think buying health insurance makes this a consumer product, but ridiculous. In other industrialized countries, there are strict laws barring anyone from profiting off of the sick and dying. Makes sense, right? And that should be a dilemma for Republicans, but isn't because...
This country already spends $3 trillion annually on healthcare. That represents about 17% of total economic activity. The average for all nations within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is 9%.

It’s deeply worrying that one of our most robust and reliable engines of economic growth is the business of sick people. Unless, that is, having the biggest hospital and drugstore bills is a point of pride.
It's a nasty revelation that I hope a few conservatives might start thinking about.

The other big topic I’ve been shouting about for years; Workplace Employee Deductibles and Health Savings Accounts, a Republican idea that brings about self rationing and bankruptcy so sick people have "skin in the game," like they don't already have a lot to lose:
Many Americans are paying more out of pocket for healthcare as they try to keep a lid on monthly premiums by accepting higher insurance deductibles … annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health plans are up an average 3% to $18,142 ... high-deductible plans shifting a greater share of the spending burden to patients … insurers keeping costs down by providing less-comprehensive coverage. Twenty-nine percent of all U.S. workers are now in high-deductible plans, up from 20% two years ago, according to Kaiser.
And what about drug prices?
recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that while the average price of generics has come down in recent years, more than 300 generic meds have experienced “at least one extraordinary price increase of 100% or more.” Investigators found 15 generic meds that have seen price hikes of more than 1,000%.

Obama Delegitimatized to Millions of Americans, Trump says, never-mind.

Really, the media is still trying to differentiate between the "good" Trump and the "bad" Trump?
The Hill - 09/17/16: After several weeks of positive news cycles and polling gains brought about by a more disciplined campaign, Donald Trump has committed a series of stumbles in recent days that experts see as a return to “bad Trump.”
I'm hoping the media has finally turned the corner on this nonsense after getting conned over his ridiculous, politically motivated take back, of his oddly successful birther movement. Great summary from All in with Chris Hayes:

In the strongest push back yet, the following Washington Post article should be a media call to arms, before they single handedly hand the country over to a raving lunatic:
It’s time for TV news to stop playing the stooge for Donald Trump: Donald Trump said “Jump,” and TV news said “How high?” It happened again Friday morning when the Republican presidential candidate held the media hostage for nearly an hour after promising a major news announcement.

“Breaking News: Trump To Make ‘Big Announcement’ on Birther Issue,” said the banner on MSNBC. “Soon: Trump To Address Birther Issue,” said CNN’s banner. Fox News was, of course, along for the ride. While they waited, and waited, Trump provided what amounted to a campaign infomercial and shamelessly promoted his new Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington. When it was over, and he had said the absurdly obvious — that he now accepts that President Obama was born in the United States.

“We got played again,” CNN’s John King said on the air. And that was as obvious as the announcement itself.

Trump as recently as Thursday night had declined to put to rest his long history of promoting the false idea that the country’s first African American president was not born here. Based on implausible conspiracy theories, that idea was never more than a thinly veiled appeal to racism, intended to delegitimize Obama’s right to hold the highest office. And yet, reporters turned out in droves, live cameras at the ready.

Dan Gillmor, a media scholar at Arizona State University, on Twitter called this episode “universal sewer dwelling” for cable news ... no journalist with a shred of integrity would have covered it.” Saying the press got played, he said, is an understatement. “This is a campaign and a candidate that completely understands how the press works — or doesn’t work — and exploits the blatant weaknesses of political journalism.”

“CNN and others were pulled into the whole three-ring circus — I’ve never seen anything as crass and disingenuous ... breathtaking." said Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief who is now the director of the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs. 

“President Obama was born in the United States. Period,” Trump got in his shots at his rival, falsely alleging that Hillary Clinton had started the birther controversy. Fact checkers, including The Washington Post’s, have repeatedly disproved this claim.

Voters may question Trump's qualifications, but project his own massive fraud and criminal allegations onto Clinton.

After 25 years of relentless attacks by Republicans, is it any wonder Hillary Clinton has a “trust” issue?

It’s paying dividends now for Republican and their blindly dedicated voters. Sadly, it also plays to the more gullible Democrats who are used to adopting conservative talking points and memes, instead of working on their own. 

One political scientist observed the following dangerous trend, without even considering the deep seeded gender bias on the right: WPR:
Lilly Goren, professor of political science at Carroll University, said the controversy surrounding how both leading presidential candidates managed their respective charitable foundations will most likely be more damaging to Hillary Clinton because it speaks to the Democratic nominee's biggest weakness — trust … wondering if she's obfuscating the truth and not being completely transparent.
Goren points out voters are more concerned about whether Trump even qualifies as a candidate for president than the more egregious fraud allegations against him:
Goren said investigations into the Donald J. Trump Foundation found more egregious incidents of mismanagement, even illegal activity, particularly a case involving a fundraiser for the Florida attorney general who decided not to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University.  

However, Goren said the backlash will likely hit Republican nominee Donald Trump with far less force because voters are primarily concerned with his ability to serve as president, not his trustworthiness. 
 "Generally, the poll numbers have indicated (voters') skepticism with regard to Trump is whether or not he is fit to be president ... And so the Trump Foundation narrative and the investigation into it doesn't directly lean into that narrative.
Unlike most political candidates, Trump decided not to get past these damaging allegation early on. It’s possible any number of lawsuits, federal investigations and fraud allegations might just dominate these last few weeks of his campaign. Maybe even kill his polling numbers.

In my dreams.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Walker's "small government" gets BIGGER!!! 3 ID's; less Secure Voter Photo ID, Photo ID for voting and check cashing, and a Drivers license. People who don't drive pay for Roads!

Let me see, a photo id card for voting, issued by the state, makes it legally clear you are who you say you are. After forking over a birth certificate, social security card and other forms of ID, Wisconsin knows it’s you, so vote. Again, the card codifies for legal purposes, you are who you say you are…with a picture to boot.

Not anymore, in our madcap upside down bubble world of Scott Walker. This Walker scheme is truly unbelievable, and would give Wisconsin 3 separate forms of ID. My head is hurting. That’s small, deregulated government? JS
Gov. Scott Walker’s administration wants to stamp “voting purposes only” on the free
IDs the state makes available, making it harder for people to use them to open bank accounts or prove their identity when they pick up their children from day care.
Walker’s not done dragging everybody down the rabbit hole: 
The Division of Motor Vehicles also is proposing having the state produce cheaper, lower-quality IDs that have fewer fraud protections.
Huh, FEWER fraud protections. Kinda the opposite of what Republicans said they wanted to with voter photo ID?

And it doesn’t stop there either. This is Walker’s way of funding the transportation department. Those cheaper low quality ID’s will force the poor and elderly who don't drive to spend money on the better photo ID, which should be free.
State officials believe the changes would increasing transportation funding by nearly $1 million over two years.

Jon Peacock, research director for the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families said, “I don’t think the elderly and low-income people who don’t drive should be the state’s target for boosting revenue for transportation spending.”
Ya think? These are the people that most likely don’t drive, paying to build the highways? My god.
Peacock said the proposal would create confusion because the state would begin issuing two types of IDs – ones that could be used only for voting and ones that could be used more broadly – as well as driver’s licenses. “Do state lawmakers want a pharmacist to tell my 80-year-old uncle that he can’t get his heart medication because he has the wrong kind of ID?” Peacock asked.
Walker’s Republicans promised those who didn’t have an ID could get a free one, avoiding the whole constitutional problem…until they realized it costs the state money.
The voter ID law made state IDs free to those who said they needed them for voting purposes. The result: Very few people pay the $28 fee for state IDs these days, according to budget documents.

In fiscal 2015, the state took in $437,000 from ID sales – 86% less than the $3.2 million it received in fiscal 2010.
In a comment only Republicans lacking a conscience would say or even think:
In the DMV budget request filed last week, officials noted the free ID cards have value beyond their ability to be used for voting. “If free ID cards were marked for ‘Voting Purposes Only’ this may discourage people from obtaining a free ID for purposes in addition to voting.” 30% of those seeking IDs would begin paying for them if the free ones were eligible for voting only.
There's a reason Walker refused to raise user fees -taxes- to fund transportation:
That would generate $970,000 over two years. However, some of that new money would be offset by $164,000 in costs because the state would have to alter its computer systems to accommodate the new type of IDs.

Trump? Surely he Jests.

Listening to radio announcers and TV pundits analyze the content of Hillary Clinton’s speeches and policy details ignores the fact that we’re comparing something…to nothing.

We think we’re so smart discussing the issues, like there are two sides to compare. 

Instead, what we have is an actual political candidate standing next to...a court jester. And we seem oblivious to just how absurd this whole thing really is.

In what’s turning out to be a real life version of the movie “Idiocacy,” for gods sake, Trump the "candidate" spews nothing but shear lunacy:
Trump’s Politifact Score: 4% true / Clinton Score: 23% true.

Trump’s Politifact Score: 35% False and 18% Pants on Fire / Clinton Score: 11% False and 2% Pants on Fire.
Trump had a combined 53% False rating, and we're not even including Mostly False. Wow, and Hillary's the "liar."

An article onCNBC I think revealed what’s really behind Trump's success; Sales Puffery. Jake Novak, senior columnist wrote this:
It's called "puffing," and that is the official term that legally protects salespeople and businesses from making boastful claims about their products and services that no one really expects to be provable by empirical facts …(like) Budweiser calling itself the "king of beers." Trump's natural state is building up his brand and properties in a way that would make a used car salesman blush. The public is used to it and accepts it just as we accept that used car salesman boasting about the 2005 SUV he's pushing. 

And Trump is helping achieve this result by making sure he maintains his salesman's image for as long as possible. Every time Trump mixes his salesman persona into the political arena he immediately puts himself into that less scrutinized salesman's role. It's why he gave the news conference at his new golf course in Scotland, it's why he talks so much about how he's still running his businesses, and it's why he launched his campaign from Trump Tower.

Hillary Clinton's one and only image in the public mind is that of a politician. We don't look at her in any other context. Not only are politicians held to a higher truth-telling standard than salespeople, we don't even focus on their policies all that much to balance what they say. For the most part, politicians are what they say and salespeople are what they sell. It's the best way to understand why Trump gets away with some much of what he says. Ultimately, that's not his product.

Compared to the tough scrutiny his fellow Republican candidates and Clinton endure, the salesman standard is better. And that's why people like John King are getting played and they don't even know how much they've been played. Political reporters are not like financial journalists or consumer watchdogs, and they're certainly not experts in psychological warfare. This is why they not only don't understand Trump's appeal, it's why all their efforts to scrutinize and fact check him out of the race have failed.

You have to check out the TV series "BrainDead," with reruns on Amazon Prime and OnDemand. The show plays on today's politics, featuring clips of both Clinton and Trump, along with ant-like aliens that destroys peoples brains turning them into stark raving Republicans.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Something is Wrong: Wisconsinites vote to spend more for schools, Walker spends less?

It’s beginning to sink in; Ideological management of public education does not work in the real world.

Think about it; While 80% of state school districts voted to raise taxes, we're still applauding Walker's Republicans for cutting taxes. What's wrong with this picture?

Since I was a kid in the mid 60’s, Republicans attacked public education for its top heavy administrations. That continued until the 90’s, when Republicans decided “cutting to the bone” was the only way to solve the supposed spending problem in our schools.

In 2011, under Scott Walker, Republicans abandoned the idea of public education altogether, cutting spending and giving what was left to private businesses.

Discrediting teachers for their summers off, union backing and professional salaries played well to envious conservatives who wanted public employees to get kicked around like they did in their private workplace. 
So pure ideology usurped the real world needs and expectations of Wisconsinites who loved their public schools. What made us uniquely Wisconsin, paid for with higher taxes, didn’t make sense to Republicans anymore.
But in an odd twist, most voters didn’t hate their local public schools. In many ways, schools in those smaller districts made communities come together.
That was never more evident than when I learned this from State Public Schools Superintendent Tony Evers:
"Today, almost 80 percent of school districts approve referenda. Citizens are voting to tax themselves because the state ain't pulling its weight."
80% is huge, and a clear signal Republican are ideologically disconnected from their constituents on public education. Evers also said…
WPR: The negative rhetoric about the teaching profession needs to end if the state is going to solve what he called "critical staffing shortages." The public already supports increased spending for education ... But one strategy is free and we can do it today. We need to end the negative rhetoric surrounding the teaching profession. Teachers teach because they care about kids. We ought to treat them with respect and pay them as professionals.”
Check out the nice piece at Jake's Economic TA Funhouse, where he has a Lewis Black video:
Lewis Black: "If you didn't give the teachers summer off you fuckin' moron ... we'd have to be building insane asylums to the sky."