Monday, June 18, 2018

If you're a liberal constituent, Vukmir might just reach for that gun out on the table!

Living up to her name "Nurse Ratchet," the not so popular State Sen. Leah Vukmir is now desperately trying to drive up her conservative creds with personal death threats, a popular right-wing tactic used by conservative college speakers so they could demand the big bucks for supposedly risking their lives.

Really, like those in the public eye haven't all gotten one or two "death threats?" To top it off, she saved an old 2011 threat so she could use it in a job interview, like say for Senator?

Anyone else comfortable with their representative flashing heat on a table top? Sure cuts down on unhappy voters. Vukmir's got a theme going; taking on those murderous, terrorist union thugs:

It's a scary liberal terrorist gun-toting world out there filled with government protesters, so we need this kind of authoritarian Senator:

The unhinged terror sympathizing left wing politics of Tammy Baldwin?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Trump Destroying Dairy Industry and free market driven Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation not held accountable for losing family Dairy Farms on their watch!!!

The dairy industry in the U.S. is in trouble, but not because of what Trump claims are outrageous Canadian tariffs. It's because the "free market" milk glut is so large, that even an open market with Canada won't come close to solving the problem. But Trump's whining about it appears to be working for rural farmers (a tactic also adopted by Gov. Scott Walker), and I can't explain why.

Canada's Milk Cartel: Canadian farmers run a milk cartel, fixing milk production and prices, avoiding any handouts by the government via price supports. But milk there is priced one to three dollars higher:
Canada's dairy industry is run like a cartel, where the farmers fix prices and limit supply while the government sets strict limits on imported milk, all with the goal of keeping the Canadian dairy industry profitable.
While Walker never made an attempt to lead or solve the dairy states biggest problem, Trump's impulsive trade-by-the-seat-of-his-pants style of "negotiating" made matters worse, and America's Dairyland farmers should angry.
Experts say Canada milk cartel would have probably collapsed under the multinational trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership – but then Trump pulled out of that trade deal, prompting Canada to revert to its half-century tradition of treating its dairy farmers like sacred cows.
I personally believe the U.S. dairy industry could adopt similar controls, a minimum price, a supply management system, with surpluses purchased by the government to feed the poor, and a campaign similar to "gluten-free" where lactose-free milk is the go-to basic family purchase. Go ahead, laugh, but anyone got any better ideas? Love to hear from farmers who know a lot more than me about possible solutions. Here's what recently took place:
(April) More than 50 groups from across the country — including the Wisconsin Farmers Union, Family Farm Defenders and the National Family Farm Coalition —  want the government to set a minimum price that farmers would get for their milk — at a break-even point of $20 per hundred pounds, or about 11 gallons, compared with $13 paid in some months of the downturn.

They’re seeking a milk supply management system to stabilize volatile markets. And they’re asking the government to purchase surplus milk for use by emergency food providers, such as food pantries.

Some of the solutions may seem extreme, but so is the crisis that’s rapidly eroding America’s rural economy and threatening families, according to the farm groups. “In the last few months, dairy marketing cooperatives have provided suicide hotline information to members along with milk checks,” the groups said in their letter to members of Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Technology and massive dairy farms (CAFOS) dramatically increase milk supplies, destroying the smaller family farms in the process, both in the U.S. and Canada.
The number of CAFOs in Wisconsin grew 400 percent from 50 in 2000 to 252 in 2016, state figures showed, and the megasize farms drove increases in milk production. At this point, Merrill farmer James Juedes said, something like a minimum farm-milk price would only work if it’s coupled with supply management. Otherwise, “the big farms would just smile and add more cows,” he said.

Juedes blames the demise of small dairy farms on the rapid rise of big operations that have flooded the marketplace with milk and are supported by taxpayer subsidies and pro-growth policies. "They're just waiting to see how many of us small farms go under so they can come in and grab our land," he said.
While Canada took a not-so-free-market path to saving dairy farms, the U.S. made the problem worse by handing it over to insurance companies, just to save tax dollars:
Congress voted in 2014 to modernize the way it tries to help dairy farmers ... with a program whereby farmers could buy insurance that supposedly would cover them when milk prices tank. The new Market Protection Program hasn't worked ... Its payouts are so low that many farmers don't even bother buying the insurance ... It now usually costs dairy farmers more to produce milk than they get when they sell it, driving some of them out of the business ... "...a federally designed formula, and that formula does not include the costs of actually producing milk."
Put another way...
Gordon Speirs, a former Canadian dairy farmer who now milks about 2,000 cows in Brillion, sympathizes with farmers’ complaints about the U.S. government’s Dairy Margin Protection Program.

“It’s like a safety net that is hanging five feet above the ground when you are jumping off the Sears Tower. It’s not going to save you,” he said.
Trump's simpleminded attack on Canadain tariffs breaks down this way:
(Canada) sets quotas limiting imports to a tiny share of the dairy market. Once the quotas are met, imported dairy products get hit with gigantic tariffs: 241 percent for fluid milk, for example, 245.5 percent for cheese and a whopping 298.5 percent for butter.

In spite of those limits, American dairy farmers still manage to sell more dairy products in Canada than their Canadian counterparts do in the United States because Canadian processors need that extra milk to turn into cheese and other products for export to third countries.
The U.S. dairy farmers saw that extra milk cut when Dairy Farmers of Canada allowed farmers to sell their milk below the higher "propped-up" prices ... "essentially pushing American milk producers out of a sliver of the Canadian market in which they had long been able to compete."

But like most short-term Republican plans, not only would an open border put Canadian dairy farmers out of business, but it wouldn't solve the problem...:
Dairy industry pros realize, too, that further opening Canada's milk market would only do so much good. After all, Wisconsin alone produces more milk than all of Canada, and America's share of a worldwide milk glut is way too big for Canada to ever absorb"I think it would be fantastic for Canada to open up its market, but I don't think there's a dairy farmer in America who's looking for Canada to bail out the U.S. industry," said John Newton, director of market intelligence for the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Trump's ability to quickly turn his back on anyone who disagrees with him, destroyed his credibility as a negotiator on the world stage, because who can trust him:
"Canadian dairy farmers and their families are concerned by the sustained attacks by President Trump with an aim to wiping out dairy farmers here at home, "said the group's president, Pierre Lampron, in a statement. “President Trump isn’t going after the system of supply management as much as looking to dump surplus subsidized U.S. dairy products on the Canadian market,” Lampron said.
Protectionism Big for U.S. Too: The list is a long one, but here's just a quick sample:
But it should be noted that many otherwise free-trading nations go weird when it comes to food. Japanese rice tariffs have been as high as 1,000%. To protect its meat industry, France has passed a law banning the use of labels such as "soy sausage" or "mushroom burger" on vegetarian products. And in the United States, Big Sugar cynically props up a nakedly protectionist law that guarantees a minimum price that's a quantum leap beyond the amount customers would pay on the global market
As one conservative columnist wrote at Business Insider:
But the G-7 changed everything — at least, until Trump's next change of mood. As Nathaniel Taplin wrote this week in the Wall Street Journal: "It finally happened: US President Donald Trump picked a fight with the nicest people on earth." And with everyone from French President Emmanuel Macron to Ontario's incoming populist premier Doug Ford (a supposed Trump clone) explicitly backing Trudeau, Canada's prime minister has no reason to back away from his popular (but economically perverse and self-defeating) claim that "we will always defend our supply management system."

History shows that all politicians have a mixture of good and bad ideas. But rare is the public figure whose approach is to toxic, so off-putting, that he manages to poison even the most impeccable public-policy positions merely by dint of advocating them. And while American dairy producers have trouble getting their product into Canada, Trump's poisonous influence wafts freely across borders. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Tribal Trump Party cultists bow and pray to Narcissistic Authoritarian Bully!!!

The Trump Party: It's an official cult:
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) fessed up: “We’re in a strange place. It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it? It’s not a good place for any party to have a cult-like situation as it relates to a President that happens to be purportedly of the same party. To have an administration that wakes up every day on an ad hoc basis just making stuff up as they go along with no coherency to it — I think us having to weigh in on that would actually cause them to have to think about what they’re doing versus, ‘Well, I’m upset with X today so I’ll do this.’ ”
After all, the Trump Party said so...
The Republican National Committee chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel added a creepy, totalitarian note. “Complacency is our enemy. Anyone that does not embrace the @realDonaldTrump agenda of making America great again will be making a mistake,” she tweeted. Pyongyang or Moscow or Beijing propagandists would be proud. You must embrace our leader, or else!
Many Republican voters have morphed into zealot Trump Party cultists, buying into the myth that politicians who don't help solve their problems are just believers in small government. Conservatives and rural voters are losing everything just so they can get rid of one or two regulations they hate:
Economically dislocated Americans: right-leaning or independent voters who harbored no great love for the president, but whose communities are unrecognizable to them now, mainly because of automation and global competition and all the social ills they wrought, like broken families and addiction. The culturally affronted crowd you see reflected on social media all the time ...These voters don’t think much about an economic future; they want a time machine that will take them back to an orderly America ruled by white dudes, where you could say whatever you wanted without being labeled a bigot or a sexist, where you didn’t have to worry about gay rights and women’s rights, and where black guys getting dragged out of a coffee shop for no reason was called Wednesday.
Think about it, the Trump Party's politics of resentment has directed voters to cut their own throats:
The findings suggest that political efforts to cut welfare programs are driven less by conservative principles than by racial anxiety, the authors conclude. That also hurts white Americans who make up the largest share of Medicaid and food-stamp recipients. President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans have proposed deep cuts to both programs.
Perpetually outraged Republicans who attacked "King" Obama's overreach were only angry because it wasn't their "12-year-old bully" king doing it:
WaPo: Sandra Jones thinks his tough talk has done some good and intimidated dictators around the world. “I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but as dumb as he sounds sometimes — when he goes up there and acts like a 12-year-old bully — I think at the end of the day, he has good intentions." 
Obama was ridiculed for the slow economic recovery, yet Republicans who did nothing until the tax cuts, are oddly now taking credit for it:
Bill Campbell understands why Trump has threatened to pull out of the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, rejected a huge Pacific trade pact and announced new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum — to exert American authority on the world stage. If those changes actually go through, prices on groceries and other items will probably go up for consumers like him and that there might be less work for truckers and others who rely on the steady flow of goods through the port. He said such sacrifices are worth enduring now for the long-term good of the country.
Standing by and groveling at the Feet of their Orange Idol Trump:
In Nevada, brothel owner Dennis Hof, the star of a TV show about prostitution and the author of “The Art of the Pimp,” blew past a Republican incumbent to win the nomination for a seat in the state legislature. In an interview, Hof said that Trump “blazed the trail” for him. “He gave me the confidence that I could do this — I could be a reality TV star, an author and a brothel owner and then be elected to serve,” said Hof. “I want to keep the stuff that the president’s got going.
Rural Republican Trump Cultists don't need no health care:
Arizona: With 83 rural hospitals having closed nationwide since 2010 and hundreds more in jeopardy, many rural healthcare experts and some policymakers want to see more rural communities with struggling or closed hospitals do what Douglas did, make an exception for rural providers (to charge a higher fee) that open free-standing emergency departments (EDs) replacing shuttered hospitals. Nearly 20% of U.S. residents live in rural areas, according to the Census Bureau ... Expanding Medicaid to low-income adults in the 18 states would help rural providers.
Our own state Republican candidates proudly declare their unquestioning loyalty to their orange malignant narcissist:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Republicans stick with Trump Party's Plumer, to hell with clean drinking water and people with preexisting conditions.

Wisconsin's 42nd Assembly District north of Madison kept that Republican seat, not because candidate Jon Plumer had any real solutions to issues troubling the state, but by spreading fear and acting like Trump. And if you add a little spousal abuse and tough fatherly love into the mix, how could you possibly lose? 

Even worse and more embarrassing for Trumpian low-bar Republican voters, they chose as their "lawmaker" a guy investigated for a domestic dispute, disorderly conduct and issued a warrant for not showing up for his court appearance...he didn't think it was mandatory? That's the kind of thinking we need in Madison's Capitol. 

But not even these infractions match Plumer's manly Trumpian explanation...where he had to blame someone, like his daughter, instead of just letting go:

Deeper in the gutter still, was the following ad by the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, calling Democratic candidate Ann Groves Lloyd a "socialist" who "thinks the United States are terrorists, and that we're like North Korea." Voters, really, that made sense to you? 

But I really loved woman 2's response to that comment, when she instantly linked "socialism" and being "like North Korea" health care?:

Woman 2 in ad: "North Korea? Let me guess Groves Lloyd support single payer health care?"

Woman 1 in ad: "Yes, even though it kicks 200 million Americans off their plans..."
Socialist single-payer health care, you know, like EVERY other rogue industrialize country in the world. NOTE: How do you "kick 200 million Americans off their plans" when single payer covers everyone with health insurance? Those "Rube Goldberg plans" go away forever, and are instead replaced with a system where every doctor is your doctor, and every hospital is your hospital. No bills, no bankruptcies. The horror.

Clean Drinking Water, Health Care BAD: Yup, Ann Groves Lloyd must have scared a lot of people with her ad below trying to protect our drinking water. Somehow, it looked more insane than the Assembly Committees factually incorrect lunacy.

Or Lloyd's hope to provide health care to people with preexisting conditions without going broke. That's crazy, we need a rural Wisconsin version of Trump, and for now, we've got one:

Sunday, June 10, 2018

It's Official: Trump a Dictator, says Fox News!!!

Republicans run against "liberal terrorists" again, running away from tax cuts and trade wars!

We hear disenfranchised Republican voters say it all the time; they want to be heard and be on the winning side of an improving economy.

But first, we have to destroy the American liberal terrorists.

"Not Backing Down" is GOP Weapon against Liberal Terrorists: Republicans, confronted with publically lying to voters, are now just doubling down, portraying the truth as "politically correct" speech. The horror.

War crimes supporter State Sen. Leah Vukmir attacked anti-torture Sen. Tammy Baldwin for her vote against Trump's pick to head the CIA, Gina Haspel, who helped set up "black sites" used to detain and torture individuals accused of being "terrorists," along with destroying videotaped evidence.

While Vukmir still stubbornly supports torture, learning nothing from history, Haspel said she changed her mind...:
"...With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken. The United States must be an example to the rest of the world, and I support that."
Not Vukmir, who appears loyal to the Trumpian extremes mirroring Dick Cheney.

Odder still is Vukmir calling out liberal outrage over this and know, stuff like her campaign ad shown below. Yet Vukmir claims that she and Walker's "positive success story" has been the focus...using the same picture?

Asked point blank by Mike Gousha if she still stands by calling Baldwin a terrorist, Vukmir said yes via a convoluted word salad. For the record, Baldwin never said anything about Sheikh Mahommed's attacks on Haspel, what Vukmir describes as Baldwin "disappearing:"
Vukmir: “When the 9/11 mastermind — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed attacks Gina Haspel, an eminently qualified woman who would be an excellent and historic choice to lead our CIA, Senator Baldwin is nowhere to be found. If this is what it takes to get people talking about Tammy Baldwin’s liberal record and her tendency to disappear and not represent us then so be it."
Looks like Vukmir is the one who believes Sheikh Mohammed should be taken seriously, not Baldwin. 9/11 is still being exploited by Republicans despite happening under a Republican administration.

Here's what a desperate ideologue looks like under stress, smiling her way through some very ugly territory about the outraged unhinged left...:

Friday, June 8, 2018

More Questions Mueller Needs to Ask...

Walker's Tax-exempt Back-to-School Grab Special Interest Grab Bag!

Love this list of tax-exempt back-to-school items Scott Walker put together as a bribe for his reelection. Besides a number of obvious and bizarre gives to certain constituent interests who've never moved past the 1980's, you gotta wonder just how tech-savvy our "Foxconn" loving Republicans are:

Let's unpack some of this stuff:

1. Still calling them bathing suits, not swimsuits?

2. A beach cape and coat? Love the 1950's look...

3. Halloween costumes? Even a costume shop owner was surprised. 
News 3 contacted a number of local business owners, and many of them had not realized that they sold items that would be free from sales tax.
4. Garters and Garter Belts and Girdles? For sexy adventures when the kids are away only.

5. "Overshoes!" They're called galoshes...when was the last time parents did this to their kid?

6. "Rubber Pants"...what am I missing here?

7. "...not athletic shoes with cleats or spikes" really helps those kids going out for sports.

8. "Slippers?" Finally, someone included this item just for the hell of it.


1. Personal Digital Assistants, or PDA's...someone is still using these?

2. "Not including Cellular Phones" because Republican legislators still don't know how to use them?

3. Seriously, "Diskettes" and "Compact Discs?" Floppy discs, seriously? Because no one uses flash drives, right, or cloud storage for homework? And jump drives aren't even included.

4. Handheld Electronic Schedulers! Wow, portable things we can hold in one hand powered by electric batteries? 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Social Security and Medicare the target, and Republicans won't fix it.

Besides the recent GOP tax cuts that lowered our payroll taxes, stagnant wages and fewer workers supporting seniors on Social Security and Medicare in the future will have a lasting negative impact. So is it any surprise the programs may have looming funding problems?

The Democrats warned voters about Paul Ryan's not so hidden agenda behind the tax cuts (besides letting people who have tons of money to keep even more it); he wanted to cut our major self-funded insurance programs via lies about their solvency, retain the current cap on income, and ignore the declining worker support for the programs.
A new report on Social Security and Medicare finds that the system is now paying out more than it brought in, forcing the system to dip into its $3 trillion pool of reserves — for the first time since 1982.
Ryan set this up and is now retiring with a smile on his face, because he knows his dream cuts are inevitable:
Overall, it suggests that taxes to fund systems for retired or disabled Americans either have to go up, or benefits have to eventually be cut. Today, there are 62 million people in the Social Security System, a number that'll jump to 90 million by 2040. And by then, there will be fewer workers supporting those beneficiaries.
Trickle Down Voodoo will Save us All? You were waiting for this one, weren't you?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said "the administration’s economic agenda — tax cuts, regulatory reform, and improved trade agreements — will generate the long-term growth needed to help secure these programs and lead them to a more stable path."
As for Ryan, it's not the unfunded tax cut spending, it's those working-class Americans retiring and the disabled to blame...:

And Sen. Tammy Baldwin said this:

If Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the countries infrastructure cost so much and is running out of money, why are we cutting taxes that fund what we need?

And finally, more and more Americans aren't buying into that old "Democrats are just being partisan" argument anymore. From MSNBC's Steve Benen:
As we discussed a few weeks ago, Critics of the Republican tax plan made several key predictions during the abbreviated debate over the proposal: (1) the corporate windfall would go toward stock buybacks, not capital investments; (2) the package was filled with sloppy errors that would need to be fixed; (3) the plan would be used as a pretext to go after Social Security and Medicare; (4) the tax breaks would wreak havoc on the nation’s finances; and (5) the American mainstream would reject the regressive plan and Republicans couldn’t use the tax breaks as some kind of electoral life preserver. (6) the “pass-through” provision would principally benefit the wealthy, not small businesses. Republicans, at least publicly, made the case this wouldn’t happen. The evidence now points in the opposite direction.

Thanks to HUD's Ben Carson, here's the 16 Most Terrifying GOP Words!

I just want to update an old Ronald Reagan joke about the 9 most terrifying words. Here's my version of the 16 most terrifying GOP words: "I'm from the government and I'm here to make things "simpler, less invasive and more transparent." That's a quote from Ben Carson.

You gotta know you're about to get screwed royally. But it's simpler.

The most unqualified HUD Secretary in U.S. history, Ben Carson, is about to make Scrooge's "are there no workhouses" a U.S. reality:
Carson wants Americans living on housing assistance to put more of their income toward rent and he wants to give public housing authorities the ability to impose work requirements on tenants.
Instead of asking 30 percent of a person's adjusted gross income, Carson wants the poor to pay 35 of their GROSS income, in other words, no deductibles for child care or high medical expenses. It's simpler.

What does this mean for seniors 65 and older, and the disabled? Nothing for 6 years, after that, every generation of seniors, the disabled and hard-hit families will get nailed. Thank you Baby Boomers:
HUD officials said the proposal would not impact rents paid by those currently receiving federal subsidies who are 65 and older and those with disabilities, for the first six years. Officials say more than half of the families HUD serves are elderly and disabled.
Why this matters:
"The bill would actually increase rents for households that have high medical or child care expenses by eliminating income deductions for those costs. So the greatest burden of the rent increases would be felt by seniors, people with disabilities and families with young kids."

Republicans like Paul Ryan have proposed a similar scheme with Medicare, passing the pain off onto generations that haven't really thought much about their future benefits. But it is simpler, transparent and less invasive.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

After 8 Years, Election Year Walker pulls Dairy Farmer rescue out of his a**!!!

If you've been following my blog, I've been begging Scott Walker and the Republican legislature to save the dairy industry, an odd request considering the fact that we're "America's Dairyland." Republicans even wanted to retire the slogan so they could emphasize their massive Foxconn handout with something more high tech.

Suddenly in a difficult election year...8 years later, Scott Walker got wind of his massive failure with dairy farmers and is now trying to cover his ass, like he did with the youth prisons and the ObamaCare exchanges. The reality is even worse for dairy, and all the signs were there 8 years ago...the message is clear, he's just not that into you (dairy farmers):

WPR: On Tuesday morning, Gov. Scott Walker announced the creation of the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0. "By creating this task force, industry experts can work together to create real solutions that can help our farmers, processors, and allied organizations, and to ensure that our dairy industry is not only our past, but our future."
Trump's outrageous trade tariffs could ultimately hurt dairy farmers that rely on other crops to sustain themselves when dairy prices are low.
“I thank the Governor for recognizing the importance of the dairy industry to our state’s economy,” said DATCP Secretary Harsdorf, "as the industry works together to maintain Wisconsin’s status as a leading dairy state.”
Bigger the Better-CAFO's (concentrated animal feeding operation): Ya think? But don't think for one second Walker is trying to save Wisconsin's family owned small and mid-sized farms under 700
dairy cows...that's way too small to be bothered with:

Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at UW-Madison, who will lead the new group of experts says that saving the small dairy farms at the expense of the overall state dairy industry is not a good idea. “I’m not going to tell people that we should somehow try to freeze farm structure as it is today, that this is perfect ... I think, would be real short-sighted ... When a farmer is a better cow manager and then maybe later becomes a better people manager and then a better manager of business and finances, he has both the incentive and the wherewithal to manage a bigger farm. So I think that the bigger farms have sorted out a lot of our better farmers.”
In other words, if you don't get bigger, you're either not one of the "better managers" or you're living in the past. Or maybe you're one of those odd "organic" type farmers, which nowadays isn't so odd and just about everywhere you look:
But Stephenson believes there should always be a place for the small dairy farm in Wisconsin. “That means that some of these farms are going to be able to find a customer base that values things like organic, grass-fed or some other connection that leads them to a smaller farm operation.” 

The group also is expected to address how the industry must do a better job of selling their products and the new technologies used to make them, Stephenson says. “...the changing consumer ... the younger generations like the millennials don’t care about the guy in a white lab coat at all. They care about what Susie Blogger says about the product.”
Well, maybe Stephenson will care about what this blogger says when it comes to the lack of marketing lactose-free milk products. In a google search for "lactose free," almost everything came up with milk alternatives...but not milk. Think about it, when nearly 65 percent of the population thinks they're lactose intolerant, whether they are or not, why is that market completely ignore:
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, some 30 million to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant … Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy … including up to 75 percent of African Americans and American Indians and 90 percent of Asian Americans. People with ancestry from Northern Europe, on the other hand, have a 5% rate of lactase deficiency.
The National Dairy Council may be doing more harm than good playing down the lactose problem, handing the market over to alternatives like soy, hemp, almonds, and coconut.
Prevalence of lactose intolerance may be far lower than previously estimated ... data from a national sample of three ethnic groups, reveals that the overall prevalence rate of self-reported lactose intolerance is 12 percent -- with 7.72 percent of European Americans, 10.05 percent of Hispanic Americans and 19.5 percent of African Americans who consider themselves lactose intolerant.
Lactose-Free? Actually, they add lactase that turns lactose into digestible sugar, making milk just a little bit sweeter:
Lactose has already been digested into glucose and galactose, you don’t need to be able to produce the lactase enzyme to digest the milk.
Funny thing, Walker gives credit to the UW, the one entity he and Republicans have attacked and defunded relentlessly for years:
Wisconsin is also home to a vibrant dairy processing industry, renowned universities and research facilities, extensive network of agribusinesses, and the World Dairy Expo ... 96% of the state’s dairy farms are family owned ... creates nearly 80,000 jobs and generates $43.4 billion in economic impact every year, nearly half of agriculture’s total economic impact.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Baby Boomers don't give damn...

This follow-up of my blog post exposing the philosophy behind the corporate takeover of the U.S. under Trump hits even closer to home. It documents how my generation, the Baby Boomers, have plundered the nation's wealth and destroyed its social solidarity. Guilty as charged.

Combing through today's news, I came up with few glaring symptoms of that plundering:
Jon Stewart: “Please understand that a lot of what the right does, and it’s maybe their greatest genius, is they’ve created a code of conduct that they police, that they themselves don’t have to, in any way, abide.”

Alternet: The feeling that we’re part of an Embattled Majority is what gives us the sense that we’re all stars in our own action movie, that our current mediocrity is mere prelude to some glorious overcoming, that the din of the polis might evolve into our very own theme music. And in Trump’s America, solid facts—the lifeless bodies of school students, the realities of institutional racism, the norms and laws hourly flouted—are commuted into things that can be ignored.
"Surpluses as Far as the Eye Can See:" That was the what economists were saying just before George W. Bush became president and gave those surpluses back as tax cuts. It was the prevailing Baby Boomer attitude that those weren't surpluses at all, but money taken from them, and they wanted it back. Screw the mounting bills and debt. Want proof...

Being a Baby Boomer myself, every word by Bruce Gibney below details what my gut has been telling me for years:
Vox: According to Bruce Gibney’s book A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America, boomers have committed “generational plunder,” pillaging the nation’s economy, repeatedly cutting their own taxes, financing two wars with deficits, ignoring climate change, presiding over the death of America’s manufacturing core, and leaving future generations to clean up the mess they created.

The boomers inherited a rich, dynamic country and have gradually bankrupted it. They habitually cut their own taxes and borrow money without any concern for future burdens. 

The American Society of Civil Engineers thinks there’s something like a $4 trillion deficit in infrastructure in deferred maintenance. It’s crumbling, and the boomers have allowed it to crumble. Our public education system has steadily degraded as well, forcing middle-class students to bury themselves in debt in order to get a college education.

Most of our problems have not been addressed because that would require higher taxes and therefore a sense of social obligation to our fellow citizens. But again, the boomers seem to have no appreciation for social solidarity ... basically the inverse of JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This gets flipped on its head in a massive push for privatized gain and socialized risk for big banks and financial institutions. This has really been the dominant boomer economic theory, and it’s poisoned what’s left of our public institutions.

I think the major factor is that the boomers grew up in a time of uninterrupted prosperity. And so they simply took it for granted. They assumed the economy would just grow three percent a year forever and that wages would go up every year and that there would always be a good job for everyone who wanted it.

The irony is that boomers criticize millennials for being snowflakes, for being too driven by feelings. But the boomers are the first big feelings generation. They’re highly motivated by feelings and not persuaded by facts. And you can see this in their policies.

Take this whole fantasy about trickle-down economics. Maybe it was worth a shot, but it doesn’t work. We know it doesn’t work. The evidence is overwhelming. The experiment is over. And yet they’re still clinging to this dogma, and indeed the latest tax bill is the latest example of that. Time after time, when facts collided with feelings, the boomers chose feelings.

I'll give you something abstract and something concrete. On an abstract level, I think the worst thing they’ve done is destroy a sense of social solidarity, a sense of commitment to fellow citizens. That ethos is gone and it’s been replaced by a cult of individualism. It’s hard to overstate how damaging this is.

On a concrete level, their policies of under-investment and debt accumulation have made it very hard to deal with our most serious challenges going forward.

So if we unseat the boomers from Congress, from state legislatures, and certainly from the presidency over the next three to seven years, then I think we can undo the damage. But that will require a much higher tax rate and a degree of social solidarity that the country hasn’t seen in over 50 years. That will not be easy, and there’s no way around the fact that millennials will have to sacrifice in ways the boomers refused to sacrifice, but that’s where we are — and these are the choices we face.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Road Kill Walker leaves Deer on Wisconsin's Roadsides for underfunded Department of Transportation

Road Kill Walker is back, and the voters are starting to notice, big time. Plus, get a load of this Scott Walker shuffle.

Let's start with the first-ever "First Alert Traffic Note" for road kill deer. Drivers now have to watch out for the excessive number of road kill deer dotting the shoulder of our beautiful Wisconsin highways.

And get this, the DNR shifted the responsibility of road kill collection to the DOT, because the DNR now has budget constraints. But wait, doesn't the DOT also have a major budget shortfall and road maintenance delays? Walker's got nowhere to go with the problem, so he figures what doesn't get picked

You just can't make this stuff up. From WKOW TV.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Gov. candidate Tony Evers got it right...

I couldn't help but make this comparison...

State Superintendent and Gov. candidate Tony Evers said about surviving throat cancer...:
"I beat cancer and I will beat Scott Walker." 

Presidential candidate and Gov. Scott Walker said, after declaring "I want a commander and chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists does not wash up on American soil...:"

Friday, June 1, 2018

Trump unleashes Private governing elite of Corporate Power...wholly released from public accountability!

I've been depressed the last few days watching Trump destroy the future of the U.S. economy with draconian immigration policies and now tariffs. But to understand what Trump Republicans are really doing, you have to read this amazing piece from Alternet by Lynn Parramore. 

The first half of this post introduces the late economist James Buchanan, who with Charles Koch, unleashed the corporate takeover and dismantling of public institutions, like the ones we've seen here in Wisconsin. The second half puts Wisconsin on the frontline, quoting a section of the book by Nancy McClean, Democracy in Chains, that may explain a lot.

If you've ever wondered how we got to this point, wonder no more:
“Despotism may be the only organizational alternative to the political structure that we observe,” James Buchanan had written in The Limits of Liberty. If you have been wondering about the end result of the Virginia school philosophy, well, the economist helpfully spelled it out.

James McGill Buchanan was incensed at what he saw as a move toward socialism and deeply suspicious of any form of state action that channels resources to the public. Why should the increasingly powerful federal government be able to force the wealthy to pay for goods and programs that served ordinary citizens and the poor? Buchanan insisted that people were primarily driven by venal self-interest. Crediting people with altruism or a desire to serve others was “romantic” fantasy: politicians and government workers were out for themselves, and so, for that matter, were teachers, doctors, and civil rights activists. They wanted to control others and wrest away their resources: “Each person seeks mastery over a world of slaves,” he wrote in his 1975 book, The Limits of Liberty. The people who needed protection were property owners, and their rights could only be secured though constitutional limits to prevent the majority of voters from encroaching on them, an idea Buchanan lays out in works like Property as a Guarantor of Liberty(1993). Buchanan saw society as a cutthroat realm of makers (entrepreneurs) constantly under siege by takers (everybody else) His own language was often more stark, warning the alleged “prey” of “parasites” and “predators” out to fleece them.

Buchanan wanted a private governing elite of corporate power that was wholly released from public accountability … Suppressing voting, changing legislative processes so that a normal majority could no longer prevail, sowing public distrust of government institutions— all these were tactics toward the goal … everybody knows that free markets have externalities and other problems. So he wanted to keep people from believing that government could be the alternative to those problems.”

Koch preferred Buchanan to Milton Friedman and his “Chicago boys” because, quoting a libertarian insider, Friedman wanted “to make government work more efficiently when the true libertarian should be tearing it out at the root.” Buchanan and his associate Henry Manne focused on such affronts to capitalists as environmentalism and public health and welfare, expressing eagerness to dismantle Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare as well as kill public education because it tended to foster community values. Feminism had to go, too: the scholars considered it a socialist project.

“40 percent of the U.S. federal judiciary,” writes MacLean, “had been treated to a Koch-backed curriculum.” despite the rhetoric of Virginia school acolytes, shrinking big government is not really the point. The oligarchs require a government with tremendous new powers so that they can bypass the will of the people. This requires greatly expanding police powers “to control the resultant popular anger.”  The spreading use of pre-emption by GOP-controlled state legislatures to suppress local progressive victories such as living wage ordinances is another example of the right’s aggressive use of state power.

Could these right-wing capitalists allow private companies to fill prisons with helpless citizens—or, more profitable still, right less undocumented immigrants? They could and have. Might they engineer a retirement crisis by moving Americans to inadequate 401(k)s? Done. Take away the rights of consumers and workers to bring grievances to court by making them sign forced arbitration agreements? Check. Gut public education to the point where ordinary people have such bleak prospects that they have no energy to fight back? Getting it done.

Would they even refuse children clean water? Actually, yes. The Koch-funded Mackinac Center pushed for legislation that would allow the (Michigan) governor to take control of communities facing emergency and put unelected managers in charge. In Flint, one such manager switched the city’s water supply to a polluted river, but the Mackinac Center’s lobbyists ensured that the law was fortified by protections against lawsuits that poisoned inhabitants might bring.  To many, this sounds grotesquely inhumane. 

People who “failed to foresee and save money for their future needs” are to be treated, as Buchanan put it, “as subordinate members of the species, akin to…animals who are dependent.’” While Americans grapple with Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency, we may be missing the key to changes that are taking place far beyond the level of mere politics. Once these changes are locked into place, there may be no going back.
Some pointed to what happened in Wisconsin in 2011. The newly elected governor, Scott Walker, put forth legislation to strip public employees of nearly all their collective bargaining rights, by way of a series of new rules aimed at decimating their membership. These rules were more devilishly lethal in their cumulative impact than anything the antiunion cause had theretofore produced. What also troubled many people was that these unions had already expressed a readiness to make concessions to help the state solve its financial troubles.

Over in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie started attacking teachers in startlingly vitriolic terms, one headline, “Teachers Wonder, Why the Heapings of Scorn?” Why indeed?

Equally mysterious were the moves by several GOP-controlled state legislatures to inflict flesh-wounding cuts in public education, while rushing through laws to enable unregulated charter schools and provide tax subsidies for private education. In Wisconsin these same G OP-controlled legislatures also took aim at state universities and colleges, which had long been integral components of state economic development efforts—and bipartisan sources of pride.

Then came a surge of synchronized proposals to suppress voter turnout. In 2011 and 2012, legislators in forty-one states introduced more than 180 bills to restrict who could vote and how. Most of these bills seemed aimed at low-income voters, particularly minority voters, and at young people and the less mobile elderly. As one investigation put it, “the country hadn’t seen anything like it since the end of Reconstruction, when every southern state placed severe limits on the franchise.”

The all-out campaign to defeat the Affordable Care Act. The White House had worked from a plan suggested by a conservative think tank and tested by Republican Mitt Romney … Yet when the plan was presented to Congress, opponents on the right almost immediately denounced it as “socialism” … they shut down the government for sixteen days in 2013 in an attempt to defund it.

When the Republicans would not agree to conduct hearings to consider the president’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant in early 2016, even the usually reticent Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas spoke out. “At some point,” he told the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, “we are going to have to recognize that we are destroying our institutions.”

William Cronon, a University of Wisconsin historian and the incoming president of the American Historical Association, did some digging after Governor Walker’s attack on public employee unions … His investigations convinced him that what had happened in Wisconsin did not begin in the state. “What we’ve witnessed is part of a “ well-planned and  well-coordinated national campaign.” Presciently, he suggested that others look into the funding and activities of a then little-known organization that referred to itself as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and kept its elected members a secret from outsiders. It was producing hundreds of “model laws” each year for Republican legislators to bring home to enact in their states … rewrite tax codes, undo environmental protections, privatize many public resources, and require police to take action against undocumented immigrants. What was going on?

In 2010, the brilliant investigative journalist Jane Mayer alerted Americans to the fact that two billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch, had poured more than a hundred million dollars into a “war against Obama.” She went on to research and document how the Kochs and other rich right-wing donors were providing vast quantities of “dark money” (political spending that, by law, had become untraceable) to groups and candidates whose missions, if successful, would hobble unions, limit voting, deregulate corporations, shift taxes to the less well-off, and even deny climate change. 

Mosquitoes defend Outdoor Realm from Human Invaders!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Wrong headed Trump's Immigration Clampdown wrong time, wrong direction!!!

Immigration Policy Disaster caters to small voting base: A reckless Trump is setting up the U.S. for a major economic upheaval in the next decade and beyond. Let's start with all the labor shortage red flags first...keep in mind, this is before the new Trump immigration policies kick in:

1. Since the recession, productivity has risen “more slowly than at any other period in U.S. history. And the Trump administration’s plans to reduce immigration—both legal and illegal—could hamper another source of labor force growth.

2. Valuewalk: From 2017 to 2027, the nation faces a shortage of 8.2 million workers ... It’s the most substantial shortfall in at least 50 years. The crunch threatens to stall America’s economic engine ... Oil and gas stay in the ground because there aren’t enough workers to extract it; homes aren’t built because builders can’t find enough laborers. In Maine this winter, the state couldn’t find enough people to drive snowplows.

3. The labor force participation rate, which measures the percentage of the adult population that’s working or actively seeking employment, has dropped to 63% from 67% in 2000.
What, Merit-Based Immigration Repealed Too? Trump has already abandoned his merit-based immigration plan...

The Trump administration is working to slash the number of visas granted to Canadian and Mexican professionals as part of ongoing NAFTA negotiations among the three countries ... part of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative promised during the 2016 campaign. The administration wants to limit the number of eligible professions and decrease the number of visa renewals...Approved occupations for the TN visa include accountants, hotel managers, land surveyors, nutritionists, engineers and computer systems analysts. 

"It is in our national interest to bring the best and brightest minds from around the world to work in America, create companies in America, and create jobs for American workers,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., who represents Silicon Valley, said. “Simply reducing the number of visas available does little to benefit our nation.”
Trump Rescinding the International Entrepreneur Rule Too? Repealing everything "Obama," this out-of-nowhere rule sounds pretty good, like a real business and job creator to me...
The Department of Homeland Security announced late last week that it was moving ahead with plans to rescind the International Entrepreneur Rule, which would have allowed immigrant founders of startups to remain in the U.S. for up to five years ... Obama-era initiative was designed to allow immigrants who were creating new companies (and new jobs) in the United States to remain in the country for two-and-a-half years (with the possibility for another two-and-a-half year extension) as long as they were meeting milestones for company growth and development ... an attempt to woo more immigrant entrepreneurs (a group that's accounted for the creation of over half of the startups in the U.S. that currently enjoy valuations of over $1 billion) to the country and make America more competitive at a time when countries from France to Singapore are doing more to bring startup founders to their shores.
Wow, what's not to like about that? Well, it's an Obama thing - they loved calling it overreach - and "America" comes first, whatever that means...

The rule-making was seen by many Republicans as an example of executive office overreach ... a response to Congress' inability to pass immigration reform ... when other countries were making it easier for entrepreneurially savvy emigres to settle in their borders, according to Obama officials. “It is very entrepreneurial, it is very free market-oriented, and so I think any Republican who is serious about business would have to take this rule seriously,” Leon Rodriguez, the former director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services under President Barack Obama. 
Pot Head Employees? Sure: Republicans in Wisconsin didn't take seriously a Democratic bill to remove pot from the list of drugs tested for in employees and applicants. Walker is again, behind the curve:

FPI Management, a property company in California, wants to hire dozens of people. Factories from New Hampshire to Michigan need workers. Hotels in Las Vegas are desperate to fill jobs.

Those employers and many others are quietly taking what once would have been a radical step: They're dropping marijuana from the drug tests they require of prospective employees. Marijuana testing — a fixture at large American employers for at least 30 years — excludes too many potential workers, experts say, at a time when filling jobs is more challenging than it's been in nearly two decades.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Walker's decaying Bridges force Farmers to travel extra miles, wearing out less traveled roads down!!!

Yup, another story...I'm not quite sure why rural conservative farmers keep voting for Scott Walker after he just keeps making things worse. What is happening, seriously?

It’s not crop prices that keep Shane Goplin up at night. It’s infrastructure.

Goplin, who grows corn and beans on about 3,000 acres in northern Trempealeau County, has seen the drive to his fields quadruple thanks to weight limits that keep him from driving trucks and harvesters across aging bridges. 

New weight restrictions were placed on nearly 200 Wisconsin bridges — most on county and town roads in the western part of the state — this spring. As a result, farmers and truckers have been forced to take detours to get their products to market and haul half-filled loads from “landlocked” fields.

“This is a very serious concern for us. We want to make sure farmers can get to and from their fields,” said Rob Richard, senior director of governmental relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. “If they can’t make the quickest, most efficient route they’re just adding wear and tear to other roads. … then it becomes a larger issue.”

While Walker and our congressional Republicans ignore the plight of the entire dairy industry, they're now allowing the rural network of roads to disintegrate for every other farmer trying to make a living, while the cost of their business and equipment skyrockets. Add to that slow or no rural broadband:
“It’s unacceptable in an agricultural state like Wisconsin that we have no schedule for when these bridges are going to be replaced,” said Craig Thompson, president of the Wisconsin Transportation Development Association, a coalition that supports increased investment in the state’s transportation network. “We need a schedule.”

Bill Freise, who hauls about 150 to 175 truck loads of grain to La Crosse each year from his Melrose farm, said bridge postings in recent years have forced him to find a series of new routes.“That’s not the end of the world. But someplace along the line we have to address our infrastructure,” Freise said. “What we’re looking at here is just the tip of the iceberg.”
UPDATE-Tuesday, 5/29/2018: Oh No, Bridge Collapses during Walker reelection efforts!!! It's amazing how much additional spending Walker is able to stomach during election years? State roads and bridges are crumbling, while Walker repackages much-needed maintenance revenue as budget surpluses to justify tax cuts? Wake up...

WPR: In a press release issued by Gov. Scott Walker's office on Friday, Walker announced $76.4 million in state aid going to 113 bridge projects scheduled for a program cycle running from 2018 to 2022. The current state budget included an increase of $20 million to the DOT’s local bridge program. Walker said, "We are providing the largest increases to local road and bridge aids in 20 years.
A very grandiose Trumpian declaration indeed. In other words, only collapsing bridges will be "needed to achieve safety."
WISDOT Secretary Dave Ross echoed the governor's applause of the "Replace-In-Kind" program ..."This means we're going to build exactly what is needed to achieve safety and to improve the transportation infrastructure."