Thursday, October 18, 2018

Oh-Oh, a 4th "disgruntled" former Scott Walker Cabinet Secretary said Walker lacks integrity, advances his career at tremendous cost to Taxpayers and Families!!!

Who the hell is making all these former cabinet secretaries so disgruntled? Scott Walker, that's who.
AP: A fourth former Cabinet secretary Paul Jadin in Gov. Scott Walker's administration is speaking out against the Republican incumbent.
The others are former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall, former Financial Institutions Secretary Peter Bildsten, and former Transportation Department Secretary Mark Gottlieb.

Keep in mind Scott Walker was forced out and fired as chair of the Wisconsin Economic Development Committee.
Paul Jadin is a former mayor of Green Bay and was the first secretary of Walker's economic development agency, WEDC. 

In the letter, the former Walker officials urge voters to support Democrat Tony Evers for governor because Walker's administration "lacked integrity."
This was amazing as well:
Jadin says he quit his $208,000-a-year job at the Madison Regional Economic Partnership on Wednesday so he could comment freely.
As Jadin put it...
"We were proud to lead the way ... that pride evaporated at various times for each of us as we found ourselves disagreeing with both policy and practices within the administration that lacked integrity. It became clear that his focus was not on meeting his obligations to the public but to advancing his own political career at a tremendous cost to taxpayers and families.
"Disgruntled" Overused so Walker Quietly moves on...
Walker's campaign issued a statement praising work of the economic development agency since Jadin left, but did not address his criticisms of the governor.
Let's end this on another not so surprising conclusion...
"During the recall in 2012, he stopped attending cabinet meetings and delegated state business to his chief of staff and DOA Secretary. When he decided to run for president in 2015 he subordinated Wisconsin interests to those in Iowa and New Hampshire and his policy/budget proposals started to clash with members of his own party who still would have to stand for election in Wisconsin."

Walker's former transportation secretary Mark Gottlieb also said earlier this year that the GOP governor isn't telling the truth about road projects and is taking a high-risk gamble that could see the state invest billions of dollars in obsolete highways.

Education Gov. Walker and Right-Wing Elites attack public schools again saying, "you're going to love our tax cuts, whether you like it or not."

"You're going to love our tax cuts, whether you like it or not."

The "fellows" at the loony bin of right-wing politics, the MacIver Institute, are saying desperate school districts are trying to avoid "education" Gov. Scott Walker's latest attack on our public schools by taking away the Energy Efficiency Exemption. Yea right, "supposed energy efficiency," like anyone cares about that?
...the termination of the Energy Efficiency Exemption (EEE). This loophole allowed school districts to raise taxes for supposed energy efficiency projects without going to referendum. Last year alone, districts collected an additional $92.3 million through the EEE. With the program eliminated, property taxes in those 148 school districts will automatically drop $92.3 million.
Flat earth Republicans have again drummed up phony outrage over school districts attempts to save energy costs by upgrading systems and building new schools that are environmentally friendly and better learning environments. Yea, like climate change, is real.

Republicans not only hate the clean energy push, but they are also desperate to preserve high fuel costs for Big Energy campaign donors. So they're claiming districts are scamming taxpayers with promises of energy savings when all they want to do is trick them into building modern high tech schools. As the Cap Times' "State Debate" put it...
The conservative MacIver Institute's Bill Osmulski complains that Wisconsin school districts are using "massive tax cuts" engineered by Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature to mask "huge" referendum tax hikes. It seems the harder state officials try to cut taxes, the harder local school district officials try to figure out ways to spend, he asserts.
It's alright to laugh. Check out the MacIver "News" services comment below, and tell me if their logic could also be applied to the massive and "considerable" Foxconn handout that won't be paid off for 30 or more years. Ironic?
The energy savings on many of these projects is negligible. It will be decades before the savings justify the expense – which was considerable. 
 Crazy isn't it? I remember not too long ago when the steel pole building-like Kromrey Middle School had a massive and dangerous mold problem. There were giant fans airing out rooms and hallways 24/7 because of its outdated or nonexistent ventilation system. At a district meeting with parents, there were some who didn't care and thought a new school was an overreaction, that the unsolvable problem was something we could live with.

So after cutting the EEE, districts will see a "tax cut"...unless they smartly propose what would be a revenue-neutral spending referendum. Did you ever get the idea that families actually want their kids to get a great education, putting that first, above tax cuts?

Their mindless whining continued, with MacIver "fellows" condescendingly saying district residents just don't understand these "tricks" or how to spend their money wisely. But I thought people knew best?
Throughout the state, there are a total of 61 districts going to referendum next month. The combined cost is $1.25 billion for construction, $157 million for one-time operations, and $26 million in permanent annual operations spending. Not all of those districts have the EEE “opportunity levy” to exploit, but there are other ways to create the same illusion of little to no tax impact. 
Authoritarian Much? MacIver wants you to believe that the "conservative elite" at the state Capitol, Walker, Republican "leaders," and think tanks should be calling all the shots, not you. Like they say, "You're going to love our tax cuts, whether you like it or not."
From the tactics and literature accompanying this year’s referendums, it appears the harder the state works to provide property tax relief, the harder local school officials will work to keep local taxpayers from ever benefiting from it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Leah Vukmir is a Monster.

"Nurse" Leah Vukmir knows better, so I'm going to assume her latest disgusting ad is simply another cruel scam played on those who probably don't understand our Rube Goldberg health care system.

1. Private Health Insurance Companies are Great, what's not to love? Yes, that's Vukmir's message. Vukmir's latest ad features Theresa, from Madison, who suffers from a rare lung disease.  Theresa says in the ad, "I wouldn't be here without my insurance." Yup, you gotta love the medical care provided by sales agents at private health insurance companies?

2. "Baldwin wants to eliminate private health insurance!" Well, yea, because under a single payer system, the government would become the insurer. (In some countries, insurers manage their systems)

3. "She wants the government to choose when I can see my doctor, and what care I receive." Outrageously false, scary, and a grotesque fabrication. More tragically, it actually describes our old "private health insurance" system before the ACA, the one Vukmir wants to go back to, that had limited networks, exempted coverage, and had a pre-approval process from the insurer.

4.  "Sen. Baldwin is so radical, that it literally takes my breath away." What is radical is experimenting with billions of Americans lives by instituting the worlds only free-market-based health care system. There's a reason every industrialized country in the world found it immoral and unethical to make a profit off of sick or dying people. Vukmir exploited Theresa's totally uninformed position and is satisfied she continues to believe every fear-mongering lie.

Like I said, Vukmir's a Monster.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Walker criticized Tony Evers for a Middle Class Tax Cut?

Okay, I thought this was funny coming from Scott Walker, who's been taunting Gov. candidate Tony Evers to say how much he's willing to raise taxes, that he actually criticize a tax cut...Walker now doesn't like tax cuts?
Gov. Scott Walker and former Gov. Tommy Thompson ... criticized Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers' recently released 10 percent tax cut for middle class families.
See, Democratic tax cuts are bad, Scott Walker/Trump Republican tax cuts are good:
The tax plan would affect families earning less than $150,000 a year. It would also cut taxes by 10 percent for individuals earning less than $100,000 annually. According to a press release on the plan, the tax cut would reach approximately 86 percent of Wisconsin tax filers. Evers said he would fund the tax cut by rolling back cuts the Walker administration has given to higher earners, manufacturers and large agricultural operations.
Getting rid of a tax cut that never created any jobs but did stuff the pockets of major manufacturers didn't set right with Walker:
Walker said Evers' plan amounts to a tax hike. "If you pay more in taxes, that's a tax increase." 
I know, it's genius like that that's gotten us to this point, where we gave manufacturing a pass on educating their own future employees. Walker didn't stop there, reminding us how his dear dictator and "friend" Trump is making farmers lives miserable with tariffs:
Walker said, "It will raise taxes on farmers who are just devastated with the global economy. The last thing they need is a tax increase."
No, the last thing they need is Trump playing chicken with farmers living hoods. But sure, let's blame a small tax increase on farmers who get almost none of the tax cut on Evers? Here's WPR audio:

But wait, the Wisconsin Budget Project pointed this out just the other day:
It’s misleadingly named, as it mostly bypasses farms: While both manufacturers and agricultural producers can receive the credit, the bulk of the tax cut goes to manufactures. In the past, about $5 out of every $6 of the credit has gone to cut taxes for manufacturing businesses, rather than to farmers. That means that Wisconsin farmers are mostly left out of this credit, even though the name of the credit includes both industries.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Trump's National Alert's begin...

The Dumbest Trump GOP Health Care comments!

I think it's time Democrats start destroying the most ridiculous Trumpian health care talking points making the rounds right now. Come on, these are the easy ones.

From the Tammy Baldwin/Leah Vukmir debate last night:
Vukmir: "The left has glommed on to this as their issue," Vukmir said of pre-existing conditions, adding that she supports that insurance feature.
Response: No, Trump Republicans have glommed onto the issue by adding it to their campaign ads across the country. Reporters, ask them how they'll pay for such a costly benefit. It's easy to say they support it. This was one of the toughest issues when it came to writing the Affordable Care Act and the reason premiums increased the way the did, besides all the threat by Republicans to repeal the law.
Vukmir dubbed "Medicare-for-all" as "Baldwincare," and said, "she wants to turn over the entire shebang to government."
Response: Oops, I guess Vukmir missed the part where even Republicans are calling it TrumpCare now. Second, we're turning the insurance part of health care over to the government, not hospitals or doctors, which will remain private.
"You want everyone to have the same thing," Vukmir said of Baldwin's philosophy on health care.
Response: You can pair that with "states should tailor their own plans." Nothing could sound dumber, and Democrats are letting them get away with it? I have yet to meet a doctor specially trained to treat cancer in Iowa, but not in Wisconsin or Texas. That's because it's laughably ridiculous. We're all human and have the same biology. The only difference is how each person is affected, and that we'll leave up to our hospitals and doctors to decide what to do. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Walker has to keep fixing things he broke, like Health Care.

I was going to "Hulk Smash" Scott Walker's claim that thanks to him, insurance rates will be lower on the ACA exchanges, but then I found a few other wildly important points of interest.

First, Walker is again saving us all from himself and Trump's sabotage of the ACA-ObamaCare. Citizen Action:
Walker’s actions have increased premiums on individual market by at least 17%, and Donald Trump’s sabotage of the ACA has increased premiums by at least 18%.
And Walker's grand 4.2 percent savings in 2019 (a smaller increase)?

A Brookings Institution study estimated that absent federal policies disrupting the marketplaces, premiums would have dropped 4.3 percent nationwide in 2019.
Wow, thanks, Scott Walker.
Tens of thousands more would have health care and tax payers would have an extra $1 billion. That’s if Walker would have expanded BadgerCare," said TJ Helmstetter, Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
This is What Walker Calls Success??? Walker is spending all his time putting out the GOP fires he and Trump have created. Thankfully, you can now send that extra pocket change from Walker's tax cuts to insurers:
1. Minnesota’s premiums are decreasing for 2019; Minn-13% vs Wi-6%.

2. 45% more expensive in Wisconsin in 2018 to 59% more expensive in 2019.

3. $533 per month for premiums in Wisconsin vs. $335 in Minnesota for a 40-year-old purchasing the benchmark plan on their own without a federal tax credit.
Republicans we're Scaring Insurers: It wasn't the ACA so much as it was repeal-and-replace:
Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation (said) "There was a repeal-and-replace debate going on. President Trump was out there talking about the law collapsing," Levitt said. Congress and the president ended certain subsidies for low-income Americans. To prepare for that, and for just general chaos, insurers raised rates. But then things turned out to be not as terrible as insurance companies thought ... enrollment stayed remarkably stable this year.
And besides reinsurance...
One reason 2019 premiums will be lower? It has to do with how high they were in 2018. They increased by an average of 36.9 percent for 2018. "These premium decreases are really about returning excess profits," he said.
Here's audio from NPR's Marketplace that explains what happened, and why Walker is just taking credit again, for something that for the most part was happening anyway:

In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, insurance company profits are higher than they were before Obamacare. And now some insurers are returning to markets they'd abandoned.
But all of this goes out the window if Walker, AG Brad Schimel, and Congress get the court decision they worked so hard to get:
Wisconsin is one of the lead states in the lawsuit that argues the ACA should be scrapped because Congress got rid of the penalty for not having insurance when they passed the GOP tax cut bill.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hey College Republicans, Single-Payer will set Prices and Pay for Health Care! Motivating Lower Prices a Free Market Fantasy.

It's funny how something you come across earlier in the day comes up again later and oddly ties everything neatly together.

PolitiFact did a great job explaining the concept of a "single-payer" health care system. This line stood out for me, and should really be mentioned every time a Democrat talks about the issue:
According to the group Physicians for a National Health Program, a single-payer national health insurance system is one in which a single public or quasi-public agency sets prices and pays for health care, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands.
Then I came across this MSNBC interview with a "college Republican," where Mr. Smarty pants confidently pushed a private free market system, claiming only competition will magically lower prices. He had no idea a public agency would step in and set national prices for every kind of treatment. Do conservatives do any research at all, ever:

Walker has no plan for Clean Energy Jobs and Energy Production, saving Wisconsinites on their energy bills.

The latest Marquette Poll saw an oversample of Republican respondents, which depressed many Democratic voters hoping for a "blue wave." Imagine 4 more years of Scott Walker, a guy who's manage to sell his voters on having Wisconsinites fund transportation costs instead of all those out-of-state drivers. That's amazing.

Conservative politics and gerrymandering have managed to force Wisconsinites to accept the inevitable higher cost of their agenda.

Walker's Fossil Fuel Knuckledraggers: We don't produce our own oil, coal, or gas. We're dependent on fossil fuels from other states that make a profit off us, the ratepayers. 

Four more years of Walker will see us falling even further behind other states that have embraced clean energy and a future rich in cheaper solar and wind energy. You won't see Walker's Wisconsin anytime soon in this top ten list of states:

These efforts contributed to the 2.25 million-plus efficiency jobs last year in the United States."
Hell, we're not even mentioned in the article, that's how bad we are at present, with not a whisper of adopting any of the following in any serious way:

  • Utility and public benefits programs and policies: 13.5/20 points
  • Transportation policies: 4/10 points
  • Building energy efficiency policies: 5.5/8 points
  • Combined heat and power: 1.5/4 points
  • State government initiatives: 4/5 points
  • Appliance efficiency standards: 0/3 points
  • Total score: 28.5/50 points

Imagine Scott Walker or the Republican legislature thinking long-term and saving us real money...
States spent just under $8 billion on energy efficiency in the utility sector last year, up from $7.6 billion in 2016, and saved nearly 27.3 million megawatt-hours. That's a 7.3 percent increase in electricity savings and could power about 2.5 million homes for a year.
And Republican voters would be happy paying so much more for less reliable, 20th century based energy, while other states plan ahead? Remember, instead of a gas tax, Walker raised registration fees on electric/hybrid cars...:

The report highlighted that Massachusetts launched a plan to set new three-year energy savings targets and approved $220 million to modernize its electric grid. The goal is to improve efficiency and reliability and pave the way for the deployment of smart meters.

California and eight other states rolled out updated plans that encourage people to buy zero-emission vehicles, while Missouri moved to incentivize the rollout of more electric vehicle charging stations. Furthermore, more states are pushing for zero-energy construction, referring to buildings that produce as much power as they use.

Trumpian true believer can't point to one example why Trump is great.

Take 51 minutes and enjoy the following, slightly profane laced debate, trying to answer the question; what one success can true believers point to that earns their undying respect for Trump.

The show's host calls himself "Destiny," and he posted a debated he had with a Trump Republican caller on Youtube. The 51-minutes goes by incredibly fast due to Destiny's rapid-fire debate style. The audio slips out of sync a bit, but the video portion is not really that important, except when he pulls up Google searches proving his point. The caller gets credit for staying civil throughout.

Even with my short attention span, I couldn't pull myself away. Make sure the sound is turned down a little when viewing this at work because it starts off with a short loud highlight:

Cable TV and Movie Studios not that into 4K, while Consumers wait patiently in front of their 4K TV's for them to catch up.

4k TV's are really a major step forward in clarity. There really isn't anything like it.

But wait, consumers are still stuck with blurry old "high definition" programming. And don't hold your breath for 4K cable programming or a decent 4K Blu-ray player any time soon. The entertainment industry just isn't that into 4K or you.

With all the hoopla now about 8K TV's, you'd think the entertainment industry would be urgently rolling out 4K discs and cable channels like crazy. Naw.

I got a bad feeling about this when I tried to upgrade to a simple component Blu-ray recorder, which would have replaced my old DVD recorder...which was an upgrade from my now long retired VHS recorder. That's how I get all my video clips for the blog.

Kids: All of this came into sharp 4K focus when my 16-year-old asked if I would buy about 8 Marvel Universe movies for this weekend. Yea, it's a crazy request, but I thought about it for a while and then looked into what it would take to do that.

First, 4K disc's are way too expensive. That doesn't help to roll out the format, does it?

Second, I don't have a 4K Blu-ray player. That's because they're too expensive, and because not all 4K formats are included, like Dolby Vision. And because manufacturer updates are glitchy and screw up the machines. Seriously?

Third, if I did go through with my kid's request, I'd have to buy blurry outdated Blu-ray discs or rent the 4K movies from Netflix or Amazon Prime. That's really really expensive. The only remaining electronics retailer Best Buy sucks at having any worthwhile 4K discs in stock.

Fourth, why are Netflix and Amazon Prime racing to get 4K streaming movies into peoples homes but our local cable provider isn't? Their product looks ultra shabby on my LG OLED 65" TV. And I'm paying them $170 a month for service?

Worse still: No one else is debating how bad the lag is for new technology. I haven't seen anything like this before, and I've been through the change from reel-to-reel, cassettes, CD's, VHS and Beta, DVD's, and now Blu-rays.

Get your act together for crying out loud.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tech Illiterate Scott Walker thinks "Flat Screen TV's" all the rage, ignores Job Creating Alternative Energy

It's been frustrating watching our tech-illiterate governor Scott Walker run from tech-heavy bioscience at the UW, tech-heavy high-speed rail, tech-heavy health care systems, groundbreaking tech-heavy new medical treatments, and tech-heavy climate science.

That's why the Foxconn fiasco was so insane. Suddenly, a tech epiphany hit our clueless governor. That resulted in an overreaction and lots of taxpayer money to bring "tech" for the "first time" into Wisconsin. Who knew?

What, Plan for Modernized Power Grid, Alternative Energy? Imagine Scott Walker and top GOP Republicans working with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to modernize energy and our power grid in Wisconsin...I know, I'd laugh too if it wasn't so sad:
Columbus Business First: After more than a year of planning, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has unveiled its PowerForward report, a roadmap to the modernization of Ohio's power grid. Utilities must undertake modernizations that take into account new technologies, renewable energy, electric vehicles, home interfaces like smart thermostats as well as big-picture security issues like emergent cybersecurity threats.

Not binding, PUCO said the 44-page report will serve as a framework ... heard from experts and stakeholders ... focused on emerging technologies that promise to transform Ohio's energy industry and the regulations needed to manage it.
This is not even on the Walker administrations radar:
The energy industry in Ohio will mean more interaction between consumers and their utilities. "This grid is decades old, and in some cases, centuries old," Chairman Asim Haque said. "We want these investments to be made and deployed cost-effectively."
State Utilities Charge Past Walker: While Walker wants to support coal because it's supposedly "less expensive," our state utility companies are so over coal:

ShepherdExpress: We Energies wants to reduce carbon emissions, preserve fuel diversity and reduce costs to customers. “We’re really focusing on retiring our older, less efficient, coal-fueled units, building advanced technology natural gas units and investing in cost-effective, zero-carbon, renewable generation, like utility-scale solar. Utility-scale solar in the past few years has increased in efficiency, and prices have dropped by 70%, making it a really cost-effective option for our customers. We are very focused right now on utility-scale solar.”
Yet Walker still isn't connecting tech to the wind and sun, you know, unlimited free fuel with no shipping costs via our roads or rail: 

Wisconsin lags other states in solar energy production. According to Peter Murphy of MREA, “Policy truly is the only thing—not technology and not financials—that stands in the way of solar deployment in Wisconsin,” he says. “Two easy policies that Wisconsin could enact, following the states of Minnesota and Illinois, are community solar and third-party financing.”

Milwaukee and surrounding areas would experience a solar boom that would likely include options to help low-to-moderate income families reduce their electric bills. And renters, not just property owners, would be able to access the benefits of solar. There is no good reason why we don’t have these solar-friendly policies here,” Murphy says.
1. Community solar (sometimes referred to as “community solar gardens”) involves a large solar array—a small power plant, in effect—which serves multiple households, businesses and institutions. 
2. Third-party financing is an arrangement in which someone other than the property owner owns the solar array and charges the consumer less than what the utility charges.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs - Republican Rural Voters Rake in "Green" Dollars while voting for Anti-Wind/Solar Politicians: 
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ #1 and #2 fastest growing jobs in the U.S. are solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians. These jobs are good, solid middle class jobs with annual salaries pushing close to six-figures. Beyond construction, the plants (particularly wind farms, with their many moving parts) offer good jobs in the long term.

Not only do wind and solar power bring jobs, they increase the local tax base for revenue-starved public schools and other districts. For example, Nolan County in Texas has seen its tax base increase almost eight fold to nearly $3 billion dollars since the West Texas wind rush began.

Republican Empty Promises over Preexisting Conditions they'll never want to pay for!!!

Republicans can't seem to shake their biggest issue in 2016 that gave us Trump; repealing ObamaCare.

They failed badly at repeal because they never got close to an agreement on a replacement plan that didn't take 20 to 30 million Americans health care away, according to the CBO.

Desperate Election Year Hail Mary: They're now promising to support coverage for preexisting conditions, a very expensive requirement that even the ACA had a problem reigning in. Paul Ryan's disturbing and scary looking clone Bryan Steil doesn't mean a word of his support. By the way, Trump is trying to do away with coverage:
Bryan Steil is running to bring Wisconsin style solutions to Washington:1. Protect Pre-Existing Conditions
Republican Howard Marklein pretends he doing something about preexisting conditions, rural broadband, and fixing roads...nice try:

Where would the funding come from? High-risk pools were funded by taxing insurers who then passed that cost onto everyone's monthly premiums. And that made health insurance even more unaffordable to even healthy Americans. It even gave birth to those unaffordable high deductibles HSA's.

Covering Preexisting Conditions Impossible under Republicans, and they know it: WPR put together the best report detailing this GOP created mess, a mess they hope their voters never catch onto:

Republicans have been campaigning against the law known as Obamacare for nearly a decade. Despite all of its difficulties, for many people, the law is better than the health care system it replaced. 

"In so many ways, change aimed at creating more and lower prices for millions of Americans," said Trump during a White House ceremony last October. But short-term plans don't cover much because they don't have to. They're not even considered insurance under the ACA. They were meant to be temporary, used by people in between jobs.

Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has called them "junk plans" and the Wisconsin Medical Society is against them, saying the coverage often isn’t adequate.

Short-term plans don’t have to take people with pre-existing medical conditions or provide benefits like coverage for maternity, mental health, prescription drugs and substance abuse treatment. They can last up to 364 days and be renewed for up to 36 months. 

Republicans say they'd bring back a health care option known as high-risk pools. These high-cost plans were often the only option for people with expensive medical problems before the ACA. Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir says they worked before and they could work again. "I support protecting people with pre-existing conditions. We did it here in Wisconsin before it was even part of Obamacare. I support bringing health care decisions back to the states," said Vukmir during an interview on Wisconsin Public Television’s Here & Now special on the U.S. Senate race.

Wisconsin had a high-risk pool until 2014 that was touted as a national model. But it had high premiums and a lifetime limit on benefits. That worried cancer groups

Going back to that system could be especially difficult now, said Nancy Wenzel, the CEO of the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans. That's because more people have pre-existing conditions today compared to when Wisconsin's high-risk pool went away. "If we’re talking about the population today, it’s 10 times that amount. So we can’t just plug and play a solution of the past," she said.

The numbers bear that out. Wisconsin's high-risk pool covered 24,000 people at its peak.Today, 200,000 Wisconsin residents use the ACA's private marketplace today.

Democrats forcing Wisconsin Republicans to run on issues they've hated, ignored.

It's jaw-dropping, but not surprising, to see every Republican candidate touting their desire to bring rural broadband to all areas of the state. But they've done near nothing the last eight years of their supermajority to make that happen. They even turned back federal money to speed up the process.

Here's just one example: Republican Howard Marklein pretending he cares about rural broadband, preexisting conditions, and deteriorating roads...ah, no!:

We've seen how the "free market" works in Wisconsin, especially when it comes to rural broadband. Makes you wonder how Republicans can keep telling the same old lies about the wonders of the private sector:
Without government assistance, broadband providers say, they couldn't afford to extend the service to sparsely populated areas because there aren't enough customers to justify the cost.
The easily congested and not-so-fast wireless rural system now being installed has frustrated those who were told this was the solution. Funny how electric and telephone wires found their way into remote rural areas, huh?  It proves it can be done...why not today? But Walker Republicans didn't care until Democrats chose to run on this stuff:
Feb. 18, 2011: One of the governor’s first acts back in 2012 was to turn away nearly $23 million in grant funding that would have allowed the state to expand fiber optic broadband networks to 82 schools and 385 library facilities. We lost 150 full-time jobs that could have been created by this project.
"The state taxpayers would have been on the hook for the entire amount if the state could not meet the grant's precise requirements," Mike Huebsch said in a memo to school and library associations. "This is simply not an acceptable risk." 
The most recent state budget contains only $6 million spread over four years for broadband deployment.  
Imagine this from Scott Walker: Yet Minnesota's Democratic Governor took his billion dollar budget surpluses to expand broadband:
The Minnesota Office of Broadband Development has already managed $30 million in broadband investment in that state since it launched in January 2014. The legislature recently approved a $10 million annual investment in broadband expansion, and Gov. Dayton has proposed investing $100 million of the state’s nearly $2 billion budget surplus in bringing broadband to rural communities. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Trump's War on Liberals is Real yet played down by News Media!

My son the college freshman gave me a little lesson yesterday over Trump's latest attacks. It's simple:
1. rule of law = Republican Party = authoritarian rule.

2. democracy = Democratic Party = rule of the mob.
Republicans are always reminding us that we're not a democracy, but a republic. That "will of the people" thing is not the desired outcome. Think voter suppression.

As you watch this Trump video, it all becomes perfectly clear:
This explains why Scott Walker and State Sen. Leak Vukmir thought Act 10 protesters were trying to intimidate them. They saw them as a mob.

“In their quest for power, the radical Democrats have turned into an angry mob. Each of you will have a chance in just four weeks to render your verdict, on the Democrats’ conduct, at the ballot box. If you allow the wrong people to get into office, things could change. They could change and they could change fast. You don’t hand matches to an arsonist and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob ― and that’s what they’ve become. The Democrats have become too extreme and too dangerous to govern. Since right from the moment we announced [Kavanaugh’s nomination], radical Democrats launched a disgraceful campaign to resist, obstruct, delay, demolish and destroy.”
 Check out this lengthy tweet thread from David Neiwert to get the whole picture of the Trump nightmare war against liberal=Democrats=mob:

4) I’m almost surprised that, after the remark about the rule of the mob, Trump didn’t then lead the crowd in a chant of “Lock her up!” That’s how brazen they have become.
5) But this is the state we are at now. One side of the political aisle, and only one, appears intent on provoking a violent civil war in America. And it is the party currently in power.
6) Sure, they like to claim that the Left is planning to provoke a civil war. You can find all kinds of people saying that, including Tucker Carlson.

7) But no one on the left actually talks about it or, for that matter, really even thinks about it much. There are no left-wing pundits talking about civil war. But you can find dozens of right-wing pundits doing so. Are rightwing pundits right that America is on the brink of a civil war?

8) They pay lip service to denying that they hope for it, but their constant obsessing and chatter about it tells us otherwise. Especially when they fantasize about the better world that would emerge afterward.
9) Of course, the most prolific promoter of the “civil war” idea is Alex Jones and his Infowars operation.
10) But it has spread everywhere on the right, including to Fox News (see Carlson above) and to Rush Limbaugh.

11) Mind you, this is nothing new for Limbaugh. He made nearly an identical claim back in 1995 after the Oklahoma City bombing occurred.

12) Indeed, as I explain in some detail in _Alt-America_, the militia/Patriot movement is where the whole “modern civil war” idea originated, and it has remained largely alive in the same sector in the intervening years.

13) It gained real life in the Tea Party movement, which hosted organizations like the Oath Keepers that openly discussed preparations for a civil war. This is also where we saw it become common for people to talk among themselves about killing liberals.

14) Let’s also not forget radio host Michael Savage, an early and prominent Trump supporter. He published an entire book dedicated to essentially fomenting a civil war (under the guise of preventing one).

15) In the runup to the 2016 election, this kind of talk intensified. Militias especially were planning a violent resistance to a Clinton administration.

16) Recall especially the Kansas militia gang that planned a McVeigh-style truck bombing of a community of Somali Muslims in Garden City. Their plans called for the attack to take place the day after the election.

17) This kind of talk became common among not just militia types, but spread to rank-and-file Trump supporters as well.

18) After Trump won, it only took a week or two for them all to shift gears and begin preparing to act violently in Trump’s defense. They ginned up the whole "violent radical left" storyline in the runup to Trump's inauguration. ion

19) Now when you hear talk about a civil war, it is most common in the context of preventing his impeachment.

20) And now we have gangs of heavily armed right-wing thugs, largely outsiders from rural and exurban areas, invading liberal urban centers with the full intent of provoking violence so that they can portray the American left as innately violent.

21) I’ve covered about a dozen of these events. I hang out among the alt-righters and militiamen who populate that side and listen to them. They all are brimming with eagerness to beat the shit out of liberals, and they’re prepared to kill if they deem it necessary.

22) The Proud Boys are a classic proto-Brownshirt operation in the formative stages. Look at the shirts their members have been wearing to the “free speech” events they organize with the intent of provoking a violent response.

23) What does that mean? Well, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet murdered thousands of his own citizens in the 1970s simply for opposing him politically. He had right-wing death squads do most of the dirty work.

24) A number of these murders occurred when the death squads would drop political dissidents from great heights out of helicopters. Thus the back of the T-shirt. Which is now sold as official Proud Boys gear.

25) Moreover, all these shirts are being printed with a logo calling them “Right Wing Death Squads.” There’s even a webpage devoted to their apparel. Google it. Here's their logo.
26) So now the faction that has long fantasized about civil wars is openly fantasizing about murdering their fellow Americans by various means, most of them as cruel as a good psychopath can dream up. These folks are fanatical authoritarians.

27) And they are entirely right-wing. There is no counterpart to this on the left. Even the most rabid anarchist/communist/whatever group doesn’t direct this kind of rhetoric at its opponents. Moreover, the far left is a tiny and powerless faction. Unlike the alt-right.

28) Moreover, it is the far right that now controls all three houses of government in the United States. And the most powerful of all, the president, has a long habit of using eliminationist rhetoric to attack his opponents: “Lock Her Up!” was just one of many such.

29) Now he is describing half of America – the larger half that did not vote for him, and which now opposes his agenda at every turn – in such terms. Dismissing them as a “mob” and suggesting that they not only cannot govern but cannot BE governed is lethally dangerous.

30) Yet to hear the centrist media figures and their favorite subjects, centrist politicians, discuss all this ferment, you would think that both sides are engaging in this kind of prewar rhetoric. It’s absurd.

31) So, listen up, Chuck Todd, Evan McMullin, Susan Collins, and every other hand-wringing centrist wannabe: IT’S NOT BOTH SIDES. Only one side is trying to gin up a civil war in this country.

Legislative Audit Bureau still alive and kicking Republican ass...

In a nicely written piece for the Cap Times, Sen. Kathleen Vinehout details the importance of the Legislative Audit Bureau, and how it's the only way we can determine if the government is doing a good job or not and whether the laws passed were working. Kind of important right?

Vinehout also took the opportunity to remind voters what happened around June 9th, 2015:

These two dangerous GOP knuckleheads, Rep.'s Jarcho and Craig, wanted to take away the only measuring stick available to hold the Walker administration and majority Republican legislators accountable to voters. In a twisted "cart before the horse" kind of logic, Jarcho and Craig argued the LAB didn't somehow prevent problems their backward GOP legislation created. They thought, what good is the report if it's after the fact? You can't make this stuff up:
They said the bureau does a “tremendous” job, but it fails to prevent problems. Jarchow and Craig said in the email:
“Unfortunately, the statutory process under which the LAB operates focuses more on retrospective examination rather than proactive fiscal action and bad practice (deterrence). In many instances, by the time an audit has occurred the political will (or new legislative composition) necessary to change a state program has diminished.” 
Jarcho and Craig wanted to replace the LAB with partisan inspectors general...for the heck of it?
Under the bill, the audit bureau would be replaced by a system of inspectors general working within state agencies. Rep. David Craig wasn’t available to discuss his assertion that the inspectors would be better at getting ahead of problems.
Maybe there was an even more devious plan? Yup, and since both Legislators are anti-environment, is it any surprise this additional provision was included:
The proposal includes a provision that would require anyone challenging a state agency decision to seek review by an inspector general before using another avenue, such as a contested case hearing in which an administrative judge rules. Environmental groups use the hearings to contest state Department of Natural Resources pollution permits they believe provide inadequate protections to air and water quality.
As Vinehout detailed, this is what we would have been missing. The point is, the LAB shows us ways to improve legislation:
The Legislative Audit Bureau helps answer questions about the effectiveness and efficiencies of state government. Recently, the work of the nonpartisan LAB was given the highest possible rating by the National State Auditors Association. The auditors’ work provides answers to questions such as: Did the program meet its goals? Did the program follow state law? How was the money spent?

Without the LAB’s work, our state would not be able to conduct business with the federal government due to requirements for a review. Nearly 30 percent of Wisconsin’s $76 billion budget is federal money. Without the work of the Audit Bureau our state could not borrow money or issue bonds. Our state has about $14 billion in bonds (debt).

The LAB staffers are the sentinels of state government. They point the way to problems, offer recommendations to solve those problems, and give the “all clear” that everything is working well.

Trump's Scary lies about Medicare threat gets published in USA Today, roundly criticized!

We're supposed to believe that Trump wrote a USA Today opinion piece attacking liberals, progressives, and Democrats, over Medicare-for-all. "Our" president, dividing and vilifying Americans he calls the enemy with paranoid conspiracy theories.

Trump knows seniors are the GOP's biggest and most reliable voting base, which prompted the included bullshit editorial below.

Many are criticizing USA Today for printing Trump's piece without one shred of fact-checking. When it comes to pre-existing conditions, just today, Trump threatened to veto Sen. Tammy Baldwin's resolution to block Trump's short-term junk insurance rollout:

Trump Has Been Falsely Claiming He Supports Pre-existing Conditions Protections on the Campaign Trail
Politifact: “Trump’s Pants on Fire Claim About Democrats, Pre-existing Conditions” [Oct 5, 2018] “Trump Misleads on Pre-existing Conditions” [Oct 2, 2018]
Politifact: “Trump [is]…on the side of those whose lawsuit would effectively end protections…for people with pre-existing conditions” [Sept 30, 2018]

Trump's Medicare Lie Election Strategy: Trump just as quickly contradicts his fake support of Medicare saying that it's government-run and takes away all private insurance plans, which Medicare doesn't do: People still need to buy supplemental insurance to pay for copays and deductibles in Medicare (this should be eliminated) and the privately contracted Medicare Advantage plans.

Universal Health Care would finally render the maze of insurance programs out there now obsolete and simplify the system, reducing the cost of care. The current cost of our private health system is $34 trillion, $2 trillion more than a universal plan, Trump is arguing to keep in place.

Trump strings together false "facts" and very misleading scary sounding scenarios that just aren't real:

"We have seen Democrats (trying to) end Medicare ... take away benefits that seniors have paid for their entire lives (Nope)... eliminates all private and employer-based health care plans (yes) ... would cost an astonishing $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years ($2 trillion less than current) ... we are now seeing health insurance premiums coming down (No, but same claim GOP bashed Obama for making)... Democrats harmed seniors by slashing Medicare by more than $800 billion over 10 years to pay for Obamacare (actually cut costs closed donut hole)... seniors would no longer be able to depend on the benefits they were promised (Nope)...  lead to the massive rationing of health care (Nope) ... Doctors and hospitals would be put out of business (Nope) ... Seniors would lose access to their favorite doctors (it's universal, any doctor is their doctor so just the opposite) ...  Medicare for All would really be Medicare for None, today’s Medicare would be forced to die (HUH) ... the end of choice for seniors over their own health care decisions giving total power and control over seniors’ health care decisions to the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Ridiculous and insane)!!!
Universal healthcare means every doctor is your doctor, every hospital is your hospital, no surprise "out of network" bills arriving in the mail, and no more GoFundMe pages to pay crushing medical bills. 

Still, it's hard to get around the fact that a U.S. president would stoop so low as to paint this poisonous blatantly absurd picture of Democrats just so Republicans can "win" in the upcoming election. Not one point below is true: 
Americans might think that such an extreme, anti-senior, anti-choice and anti-consumer proposal for government-run health care would find little support among Democrats in Congress. Unfortunately, they would be wrong ... we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America ... Democrats are also pushing massive government control of education, private-sector businesses and other major sectors of the U.S. economy ... Today’s Democratic Party is for open-borders socialism. This radical agenda would destroy American prosperity. Under its vision, costs will spiral out of control. Taxes will skyrocket. And Democrats will seek to slash budgets for seniors’ Medicare, Social Security and defense.
And we all know how Paul Ryan has tried for years to shift the cost of Medicare to seniors, exposing premiums to market forces that would raise premiums and out of pocket costs. Oh, and also increase corporate profits. Coincidentally their tax cuts just so happen to make it necessary to cut back on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. But...

Republicans believe that a Medicare program that was created for seniors and paid for by seniors their entire lives should always be protected and preserved.

Scary Time for Men!!?

Hopefully, I won't have to take down this great lyrically to the point song about our latest national embarrassment, Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Here's Lynzy Lab with a list of real issues men never have to deal with:

Walker thinks adding back $1.4 billion in lost state revenue would "take out a lot of growth and prosperity!!!

Scott Walker passed a manufacturing/Ag tax credit that zeroed out state taxes for entitled companies and businesses that passed the burden of educating their future employees to taxpaying families.

Since when did that make any sense, and why did conservative voters go along with getting stuck with the bill through local school referendums?

Even worse, it's upside down thinking like Walker's that supposedly created this quid pro quo to special interest corporate campaign contributors with no job creation requirement.
WPR: Walker told members of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce at a luncheon in Madison, "About 88 percent of all the recipients ... are small businesses. Businesses that make less than $1 million a year. If we were to wipe that out, we would be taking out a lot of the growth and prosperity in the state."
Really, restoring this massive loss of tax revenue "would be taking out a lot of prosperity in the state?" That's how upside down Wisconsin politics has become under Walker's bent out shape priorities. Walker's political spin couldn't change the Legislative Fiscal Bureau numbers:
The Legislature's nonpartisan budget office projects the credit will have cost state government a total of $1.4 billion by the end of the current budget in June. It's projected to cost state government roughly $295 million this year alone.
And those "88 percent of all recipeints" that "are small businesses"?
The 88 percent figure cited by Walker reflects the total number of filers who took advantage of the tax credit according to a memo by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. But that same memo showed that the wealthiest 12 percent of all recipients received roughly 73 percent of the payout, an amount that totaled $159 million in 2017.
 Here's WPR's Shawn Johnson's story: