Tuesday, May 31, 2011

School Choice just Republican Social Engineering...for a profit...I mean for the kids.

Hey, school choice is really great, check out the ad where they say so, on the internet. That's what John Gard is telling us, and he should know.

Watch as the Green Bay superintendent insists his district doesn't need or want "choice" schools, while former assembly speaker John Gard, and now a representative a School Choice Wisconsin, knows more than the sup. does about what's best for the area.

The stark difference of a "jam it down your throat," know it all authoritarian former Republican bully and those overseeing public education has never been more fully realized.

Kinda gives you the idea that there's more to this "choice" thing than educating our kids. Profits?

From WPT's Here and Now:

Did You See Eric Cantor? Can We Finally Start Using the word Sociopath?

The controlled carefree indifference from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor about helping families in Joplin, MO, with matching budget offsets or no deal, is as breath taking as it is infuriating. 

I've never seen anything like it. This should scare the hell out of any normal person watching. If the country isn't there for natural disaster relief, what hell good is it under Republican control?

The Bottom Feeding Trolls of the Republican Party. Whiny Con Artists Distract from Questionable Signatures in Dem Recalls.

You can’t say they didn’t try. But you can say they don’t have anything left, morally or ethically, that ties to them to this or any other world.

Like illegally passing the elimination of collective bargaining, Republican recall operatives would love to rush their signatures through, because something might be wrong? Hiding something?

Cap Times: Residents connected to the recall efforts of three Democratic senators called for the state's top election official to resign Tuesday, charging the agency he oversees is slanting recall results toward the Democrats … came after the agency's board voted Tuesday to move ahead with recall elections against three more Republican senators, while postponing its decision to vote on the petitions to recall three Democratic senators. 
Maybe the objections to the Republican recall efforts were troublesome enough to require taking more time. But Kevin Kennedy, the director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, also asked for more time to determine if recalls against sitting Republican Senators were legitimate. But whine, whine, whine, stamp your feet and cry "unfair." 

But the real reason is more obvious; pressure to pass questionable signatures all in the name of appearing “nonpartisan.” Like everything the Republicans have done so far, being nonpartisan has never been a huge concern, and gaming the system is.
Orville Seymer, director of field operations for the Milwaukee-based Citizens Responsible for Government, or CRG, Network, said the GAB's actions are unfairly and purposefully affecting the momentum.
The poor victims of their own making.  

Firedoglake.com on the GOP's Platform of Disaster Capitalism

While we have been frantically playing defense against relentless assaults on multiple fronts, from anti-union legislation to draconian anti-choice laws to the attempted privatization of Medicare, the selling off of public assets to the private sector has received little attention.

As states face a budget shortfall of $125 billion dollars for fiscal year 2012, leaders are searching for creative ways to fill budget gaps, while refusing to consider the one legitimate solution: forcing tax-dodging corporations and the rich to pay their fair share in taxes … politicians of all stripes prefer to cut pensions, close schools, slash child nutrition programs, and most importantly privatize, privatize, privatize!Description: http://raniakhalek.wordpress.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

The most insidious privatization scheme so far this year was in Wisconsin, the center of the state budget battles.  A provision in Republican Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill would have empowered politicians to sell any state-owned heating, cooling, or power plant, including those located in prisons and the University of Wisconsin campuses, to anyone for any price at any time, without public approval or a call for bids … the provision was ultimately removed from the budget bill … it is expected to be taken up again later this year.

Here’s a great explanation as to why we call it the Shock Doctrine, and why Dick Cheney’s “deficits don’t matter” comment betrays the GOP intention all along:

In the Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein thoroughly documents how wealthy elites often use times of crisis and chaos to impose unpopular policies that restructure economies and political systems to further advance their interests.  She calls these orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, “disaster capitalism.” On its face, this theory seems conspiratorial, however a brief review of recent history demonstrates a trend of intentional crisis generation.

Paul Krugman understood this concept in 2003, during the implementation of the Bush era tax cuts:
“the gimmicks used to make an $800-billion-plus tax cut carry an official price tag of only $320 billion are a joke, yet the cost without the gimmicks is so large that the nation can’t possibly afford it while keeping its other promises … but that’s the point. The Financial Times suggests that ”more extreme Republicans” actually want a fiscal train wreck: ”Proposing to slash federal spending, particularly on social programs, is a tricky electoral proposition, but a fiscal crisis offers the tantalizing prospect of forcing such cuts through the back door … they reaffirm the perception that the government is inefficient and incapable of providing what they believe private enterprise can do better.

The fact of the matter is that those now shrieking about big government debts and deficits have spent the last decade maximizing government spending with unaffordable wars, financial deregulation, and tax cuts for the wealthy … Today, the consequences of their actions, which they were warned about, are the ploy these very same people are using to justify the accelerated demise of welfare programs, and the incremental destruction of the meager social safety net that guarantees Americans won’t starve in their old age.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Maine Doctors turn down tort reform!! Republican author says, “It was like a slap in the face.”

Think about it; in a free market, would the government regulate malpractice payouts? Would it regulate who can sue and who can’t? Would the government step in and protect business from consumer accountability?

Of course not, but that’s just what the Republican Party has packaged and sold as “deregulate free enterprise.” But are times changing?

NY Times: With Republicans in complete control of Maine’s state government for the first time since 1962, State Senator Lois A. Snowe-Mello offered a bill in February to limit doctors’ liability that she was sure the powerful doctors’ lobby would cheer. Instead, it asked her to shelve the measure.

“It was like a slap in the face,” said Ms. Snowe-Mello, who describes herself as a conservative Republican. “The doctors in this state are increasingly going left.”

But doctors are changing. They are abandoning their own practices and taking salaried jobs in hospitals, as more doctors move from business owner to shift worker, their historic alliance with the Republican Party is weakening … Indeed, after opposing almost every major health overhaul proposal for nearly a century, the American Medical Association supported President Obama’s legislation last year because the new law would provide health insurance to the vast majority of the nation’s uninsured, improve competition and choice in insurance, and promote prevention and wellness, the group said. The Maine doctors’ group once opposed health insurance mandates because they increase costs to employers, but it now supports them, despite Republican opposition, because they help patients.

Helping patients? Those damn health insurance mandates are ending up saving lives. It's like a slap in the face. 

Rightbloggers, Hypocrites, and Bizarro World Witticisms surrounding MediScare!!.

With a little research and a lot of time on their hands, the Village Voice did this interesting piece on the right wing contortions over the push back from Rep. Paul Ryan’s attack on Medicare.

What, not everyone thinks like them?

Kathy Hochul's surge coincided with heavy, issue-specific campaign advertising, reminding NY-26 voters that Republicans in Congress supported a plan to turn Medicare into something like a benefit-limiting voucher program, aka Not Medicare.

Rightbloggers quickly grasped the true lesson of the event: That the man behind the GOP program, Congressman Paul Ryan, should run for President.

But before that, many had seen The Agenda Project’s parody ad, where grandma no longer has to appear in front of a death panel, instead Rep. Paul Ryan will personally give them a little push:

This rare Democratic shot over the bow elicited many of the reactions below:

"This is the Marxist left in action and it's only gonna get worse," said The Hot Joints. "New Low," said Politicons.

"The same people who are all for euthanasia and death panels are essentially calling Paul Ryan a murderer for trying to save Medicare," groused Creative Minority Report.

"The Dems conveniently leave out the part that any change in Medicare will not affect people on Medicare now," said The Conservative Lady, "only those who are younger than 55." So, seniors, it's only your children who'll get pushed over the cliff when they get old and sick -- why you stressing?

Some plotted a response ad. "Maybe some conservative group should produce a sequel in which the granny pushes young children off the cliff?" tweeted The Weekly Standard's Philip Klein. "An ad that's truer to life," rejoined Allahpundit of Hot Air, "would have [kids] tossing money at granny and then diving headfirst off the cliff voluntarily." (Oh, please make that ad.)

Ace of Spades, asserting that the Democrats would let Medicare go bankrupt and bring in "death panels," said, "if, faced with these facts, seniors not only acquiesce to this outcome, but in fact affirmatively choose it, then they'll have no one to blame but themselves, and they can cry to someone else when they can't get coverage." Nobody's gonna tell himRepublicans don't care about seniors, including seniors.

Jazz Shaw of Hot Air tried to rally GOP voters with this battle cry: "One seat more or less isn't going to make tsunami level headlines. But that doesn't mean it's not worth the effort."

Ryan, Tea Party, demand “leaders” end Medicare as we know it!

Leaders don’t follow. They don’t listen to “popular” opinion, consider descent, see the many protesters or need to “follow” the will of the people. Leaders know what is good for the people, what is right, and aren't swayed by an out of touch "entitled" public.

That’s the Paul Ryan message. 

Ryan’s been very clear that he must lead the public away from what we know as self preservation, that instinctive but self-destructive human trait:

Leaders don’t have to listen. We’ve seen the Republican legislature and Scott Walker lead despite the massive protests to save collective bargaining from the budget ax. They are leading us from the error of our ways.

This is the rhetoric we’re hearing now, since Ryan has been hitting the concept hard in the media, the same media that hasn’t noticed. Most startling is how Ryan and the radical tea party movement have similar agendas now, one where leaders hold authority over the bumbling publics need for the overly generous Medicare program. 

A balanced budget is so much more important than the human carnage resulting from dismantling our entitlement programs. Ryan and the tea party are tough risk takers who lead:

Jamie Radtke, a Virginia tea-party candidate for the U.S. Senate wrote, “Take the tough and, yes, politically risky stand to put our economy back on track. We finally have conservatives in Congress who have the guts to lead … and Republicans need to embrace them. No more politics. Will you join me in full support of Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity Plan?"

The Pied Piper was a great leader too, and you might remember how that ended.

Deplorable Mediscare/Health-Scare Tactics by....

...Republicans. Like Rep. Paul Ryan warned in his oh so scary way, "you’re hastening a debt crisis; you’re bringing about Medicare’s collapse." Or this: "Obama-care kills Medicare as we know it," adding that his plan would stop the cuts to Medicare that the president insisted on.

Nothing "scary" there!

But what the Democrats didn't do, was package the GOP campaign being rammed down our throats for two looooong years, under the banner of "Healthscare." Remember...?

GOP Healthscare campaign wasn't so long ago.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Republicans Repeal Public Financing of Elections!!! Wisconsin is open for Business campaign money!!

What’s so wrong about taking corporate money out of state elections with public financing? Apparently, a lot.

It was so wrong, the Republican finance committee couldn’t wait to get rid it! And just to rub it in the face of Democratic committee members and their constituents, they took the remaining money in the fund and financed one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country.

Sen. Bob Jauch gave this great impassioned speech on the issue that no doubt sailed right over the heads of his fellow Republican committee members, who voted in lock step with Gov. Walker’s proposal.
Jauch: "This is selling the Wisconsin election process...impartial justice is replaced with indecent exposure...the Supreme Court had Citizens United, this is Citizens Diminished."
There's more:

JAY HECK, the executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, wrote this for the Cap Times: “In a stunning display of horrible judgment  … on May 25 all 12 Republican members on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted to end the state’s 33-year-old system for public financing of elections and to use the funds to implement the most onerous voter ID law in the nation. Both incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and challenger Joanne Kloppenburg agreed to accepted full public funding … Now Republicans … have invited special-interest groups and unlimited campaign money to fill the void left by the destruction of these reforms.
What should become an issue for the upcoming re-call elections,
Three Republican state senators who had supported public financing and the Impartial Justice measure “flip-flopped” and now oppose campaign finance reform: Sen. Alberta Darling, Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, and Sen. Luther Olsen … All three face recall elections this summer.
If there ever was a reason to vote these special interest pleasing/looters of the public interest, out, then this would be it.  

nicknicemadison's channel.

Wisconsin's Biggest Ass*#@e

Ezra Kein Breaks Down Paul Ryan's Gobbledygook. Ryan's Flim Flam revealed without all the numbers and demagoguery.

WashingtonPost: Let me begin by saying that though I’m eager to do an interview where we can really engage with one another’s arguments, I appreciate Paul Ryan response to my questions and hope we can continue the dialogue. In this post, I’m going to focus on his two most important arguments:
”Our premium-support plan is modeled after the Medicare Part D prescription-drug program,” Ryan writes, “in which providers compete against each other for seniors’ business.” 

Let’s start with the costs. Since 2006 — the first year of the benefit — Medicare Part D’s average premium has risen by 57 percent (pdf). Between 2010 and 2011, premiums rose by 10 percent.  But it’s a lot faster than inflation, which is what Ryan needs for his plan to work. As the actuaries write, “The reduced estimates reflect a higher market penetration of generic drugs and a decline in the number of new drug products that are expected to reach the market during this period.” Another reason that the program’s costs came in lower than expected is that fewer people signed up. 

But the bigger issue is that Ryan’s plan is capped while Medicare Part D isn’t. In Part D, the federal government pays, on average, 74 percent of program’s costs. And that support grows alongside the program’s costs. Ryan’s plan covers about a third of beneficiary costs, and that support grows at the rate of inflation — much more slowly than the rest of the program, or than Medicare Part D.

Which brings us to the rest of the world. I asked Ryan how he could say that government control never works in health care when Germany, the Netherlands, France and other countries pay so much less, and get as much or more, than we do. Ryan’s reply:
"Canada’s health-care system consumed 40 percent of provincial budgets in 2010. The French health-care system has run deficits since 1989 and is currently facing a $15 billion shortfall. The British health-care system is cutting millions of scheduled operations because the government simply cannot afford to pay for them."
This is basically a dodge. First, he changed the countries: He moved to Canada and the United Kingdom rather than the examples I mentioned. Ryan’s wrong to draw an equivalence between our costs and theirs. In 2008, Canada spent about $4,000 per person, per year, on health care. The United Kingdom spent a bit more than $3,000. We spent about $7,400 … suggesting that we’re all facing the same sort of pressure is flatly wrong. When attacking the systems in other countries, he cherrypicks numbers to demonstrate they want to save money in the health-care systems but ignores the numbers showing that they spend half as much as we do. The result is that he gives people the wrong impression of both Medicare Part D and health systems across the world.

And saying this is all about “who should make the decision” is too simple by half, or perhaps by three-fourths. Under Ryan’s plan, the relevant decisions are made by whether you have the money to pay for what you need, whether your insurance provider says “yes” or “no,” and whether Congress decides to increase or decrease the size of the subsidies.

As he says elsewhere in his response, his plan is all about making Medicare less generous, about finishing off the open-ended, fee-for-service model he believes is driving costs. The reality is that if Ryan’s plan held growth to the same rate as Medicare Part D, it would implode, while if it closed 50 percent of the gap between our system and the Canadian system, it’d be a wild, unmitigated, unbelievable success. 

But that just underscores how important it is for us to be realistic about what we can do, clear-eyed about what has and hasn’t worked elsewhere, and open to ideas that don’t fit with our philosophical preferences. 

Walker Wakes up to Sycophantic Urges, but only after Bipartisan Outrage

It’s the original intent of a proposed bill that I find more fascinating than what ends up getting passed into law.
Although Scott Walker may have been shown the error of his ways, it was his servitude to big business that may have embarrassed even his devoted flock, to demand changes. Putting it simply, it was a taxpayer giveaway that dropped a lot of jaws around the state.  
jsonline: Gov Scott Walker is planning substantial changes to a bill derided by some lawmakers as a "dubious giveaway" and "crony capitalism" benefiting insurance companies and other special interests, a Walker spokesman said.
And the cost to taxpayers was even worse than what was originally planned.
And a Department of Revenue estimate says that the $400 million bill, intended to jump-start job creation, would cost the state up to $590 million over 17 years. The final cost could be higher because the state would have to borrow part of the initial sum.

The portion of the bill that has drawn intense bipartisan criticism is the Jobs Now Fund, which would provide $200 million in state tax breaks to insurance companies in exchange for $250 million of their own capital. At the end of the fund's life, the capital companies would be allowed to keep 75% to 80% of the profits. And the companies would not have to reimburse the state for the tax credits.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said Friday, "Certainly criticisms have been raised of the CAPCO part. ... It's something we're looking at.”

Reporter Dan Bice’s (conservative leaning but gets the facts right) article went on to state the obvious:
When governments give tax breaks, they are typically intended to benefit the payer who bears the burden of a tax. In this case, the state would be giving the tax credit to insurance companies which aren't paying, but rather collecting, the taxes that customers pay with their premiums, said state Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer (I -Manitowoc). "It would be as if we had a tax holiday on school supplies and let Wal-Mart keep the sales tax they collected," he said.
Even crazy Glenn did a spit-take: 
Sen. Glenn Grothman calls the bill a "dubious giveaway" and said the state should get back any money it puts into the fund. "Normally an investor gets their principal back. This is like investing with an investment banker and having him keep your principal and only give you your profit back," Grothman said. 
Actually, it would be like having the banker keep your principal - and three-quarters of the money it earns. You would receive just 25% of the profit on the money you gave away.
But Democrats aren't about to be talked out of emphizing just how bad this deal was:
Ziegelbauer says "There's a lot of crony capitalism in these things, and this one is the height of it," he said.
Even worse, the possible candidate for Sen. Herb Kohl's seat, Ted Kanavas, proposed a similar plan:
The current legislation mirrors a proposal introduced by Former state Sen. Ted Kanavas in 2003. "It was the fastest moving model that was out there," Kanavas said.
"I just think there are concerns. People probably have questions," said Rep. Mary Williams (R-Medford), who chairs the committee. "It's better to be cautious. I just really think this is something very big."

Why are Taxes off the Table for GOP? Top Income Earners paying 18 percent effective rate.

Do Republicans ever tell the truth...ever?

As House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders in Congress continue to assert that tax increases even on the very wealthiest Americans are "off the table," one rationale sometimes advanced for this view is that Americans who work hard and become successful have to pay over a third of their income in federal income taxes. However, data recently released from the IRS show that this is not remotely true.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ryan's Budget Criticism Real, not Demagogued.

Rep. Paul Ryan's over use of the word Demagogue finally gets called out for what it is, a lie.

Michael Smerconish reveals that Ryan's definition of Demagogue is incorrect, and Ezra Klein reveals Ryan is wrong about describing his plan as a premium support program, instead of as a voucher. 

Can't Ryan get his own plan right, or is he in fact, demagoguing us?

Memorial Day Reminder why Gas Prices are so High; Wall Street, who else!

I can't post this story enough. Republicans continue to block the government watch dog, the CFTC, from stopping speculators from jacking gas prices through the roof. HELLO OUT THERE! It's called market manipulation.

From MSNBC this wonderfully easy to understand insiders look, from Dan Dicker, the author of "Oil's Endless Bid":

Rep. Rob Woodall on why he wants to keep his taxpayer provided health care benefits: "...because it's free!"

Republicans have told us over and over that a single payer health care system isn't free. They've also told us health care in general isn't free, and originally proposed a mandate that everyone buy their own health care. It was the responsible thing to do...until they took that back.

So in another example of hypocrisy and flat out projection, I give Rep. Rob Woodall, who doesn't give a rats ass about anybody but Rob Woodall. It's so...Republican.

When asked why he doesn't give up his government provided health care, and go out into the free market to buy his coverage, in one fell swoop Woodall destroys 20 years of Republican rhetoric.

Smart-ass Woodall: "...it's because it's free, it's because it's free!!!"

Ralph Lang; Perfectly legal gun owner!

Passing out guns like food samples at the super market is about to become law in Wisconsin. Democrats have yet to promise repeal or major changes to the lunatic hobbyist's threat to my families safety.

So here's Lawrence O'Donnell's recent comment, not as heavy handed, but to the point about Ralph Lang and the approval of our new "constitutional carry" bill.  It's all that needs to be said.

Rep. Kathy Hochul's Democratic Message

Democrats would be wise to get a transcript and memorize every word from Rep. Kathy Hochul, who appeared on Rachel Maddow's show, and run on it. This is the best messaging yet from a Democrats this year, and an honest winnable campaign strategy any candidate would be a fool to pass up. I'll admit, it caught me by surprise;

Republican Priorities not even close to Public Sentiment; Roads over Education, really?

The amazing revelation below, after tying two completely different budgetary moves together, says all that needs to be said about the disastrous Republican lawmaking at the Capitol. 

jsonline: Republicans on the committee approved Walker's proposal to cut state aid to technical colleges by nearly one-third.  The cut to schools came just hours after the committee voted on party lines to funnel $160 million from the state's main account into roads and bridges - money that otherwise could have gone toward schools or other priorities. Democrats tried unsuccessfully to restore more of the proposed cuts to education

"The GOP is throwing concrete over kids," Rep. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) said.

‘Nuff said.

Friday, May 27, 2011

50 Consecutive Votes for Prosser in Verona, which went 75 percent for Kloppenburg?

Not that this would have any impact one way or another, and it is an observation by someone involved in the recount, I still couldn't help finding it interesting if true. From Mark Crispin Miller blog:

From Richard Charnin (whose full summary of the WI recount, with historical background, is at

Amazing: 50 Consecutive Prosser Base Hits
A recount observer claimed that there were 50 consecutive ballots for Prosser in Verona, a city in which Kloppenburg had 75%.

If true, it is absolute mathematical proof of fraud.

The simple probability calculation:
Prob = 0.25 ^ 50 or 1 in 1,267,650,600,228,230,000,000,000,000,000 !!!

The 50 consecutive Prosser ballots could not have happened by accident.
There you go. So what is the explanation? So how did it happen?

Talk Host McKenna Bashes Protests, filled with Cops and Fire-fighters, Families, Teachers...How Dangerous is That?

Here we go again! As Bush once said about catapulting the propaganda, if you say it enough, it becomes real in the alternate universe of conservativism.

WTDY's Sly in the Morning caught this audio of conservative witch-winger Vicki McKenna, spinning another yarn about the "dangerous" family protests at the state Capitol, you know the one with all the police and fire fighters. McKenna attempted to make the case for Republican legislators, who illegally pass the collective bargaining law, by saying the were forced to do it because...get this...protesters were occupying the Capitol.

I also included a Sly caller claiming to be a Democrat, who couldn't stop pushing the fact that Walker WON, along with conservative activist Justice David Prosser. He WON. I heard this a lot from my conservative friend in Milwaukee during the election. All he could talk about was winning, issues didn't matter, Republicans were going to WIN. Yeah, I got it. It really is a game to these people, and less about governing.

Here's another example of "Chaos at the Capitol," a term used by WTMJ TV 4 in Milwaukee, as described by WIBA's McKenna:


Right Wingnut Jerome Corsi, birther, has a bridge to sell you, to fantasy land.

I really love this latest conspiracy theory put out there for the crazy right wing bottom feeders. I usually don't waste my time with this stuff, but what the hell!

Jerome Corsi, the author of the ill-timed book titled, "Where's the Birth Certificate?," wrote this “article” for WorldNetDaily in the desperate hopes right wing conspiracy theorists would not abandon the Republican Party’s expansive Obama smear campaign. After all, he’s black.
Newly unearthed information about Hawaii's procedure for numbering birth records at the time Barack Obama was born casts further doubt on the authenticity of the short-form and long-form birth certificates published onlinewith the president's authority … analysts have wondered how Obama could have been issued a registration number that is higher than the numbers of the published birth certificates of Susan and Gretchen Nordyke, which were registered three days later than the president's.
Some have speculated that even though Obama's birth certificate was received by the registrar Aug. 8, 1961, the registration number could have been assigned a few days later by a clerk processing a batch that included the Nordyke twins' birth records … But a 1955 article by Hawaii's registrar general in 1961 stated birth certificates were numbered immediately upon acceptance by the registrar-general.
Here's the Daily Show with another great conspiracy theory:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Osama bin Laden Conspiracy Theory
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Only a Republican can get away with not giving aid to tornado victims and not be accountable!!

Here's Keith Olbermann on one of the most startling money saving decisions yet come out of the Republican House:

The Ryan Disconnect; Life vs Are we worth saving?

This great short CBS News interview, oddly casual, gets to the heart of Paul Ryan disconnects with his constituents. As soon as the topic gets close to the actual consequences of his "Path to Corporate Prosperity," Ryan automatically veers off into policy jargon. It's either cruelly intentional, or frighteningly sociopathic. For example:

Question: "Don't you think the issue no one wants to touch though, is how expensive end of life care has been, and whether you call it rationing or something else, at some point you really need to get serious and looking...does a 100 year old need dialysis...these kind of questions?"

Instead of trying to save a human life, without the concern for how much it costs, or the painful choice of self rationing, Ryan obtusely argues who should ration. Another words, the 100 year old is beyond the age of saving:   

Ryan: "The question then is; should this be something the government decides, or should that be something...I think that is something the family should decide."

No, what we're talking about is not having to worry about having to decide at all, or what it will cost. But Ryan doesn't pick up on that all important humanity factor.

Ryan then continues to push the lie that an unelected government panel will make that decision for us. That panel of "unelected bureaucrats, created in the Patient Affordable Care Act," has not been given that power, and he knows that. It's the old and discredited "death panel" argument.

Darth Vader (Dick Cheney) “I worship the ground the Paul Ryan walks on,” he said referring to the Republican congressman from Wisconsin. “I hope he doesn’t run for president because that would ruin a good man who has a lot of work to do.”

"Mr. Ryan may claim — and he may even believe — that he’s facing a backlash because his opponents are lying about his proposals. But the reality is that the Ryan plan is turning into a political disaster for Republicans, not because the plan’s critics are lying about it, but because they’re describing it accurately ... If anyone is lying here, it’s Mr. Ryan himself, who has claimed that his plan would give seniors the same kind of coverage that members of Congress receive — an assertion that is completely false ... 'If you demagogue entitlement reform,' says Mr. Ryan, 'you’re hastening a debt crisis; you’re bringing about Medicare’s collapse.' Maybe he should have a word with his colleagues who greeted the modest, realistic cost control efforts in the Affordable Care Act with cries of 'death panels.'"

Wisconsin Schools may have a case against Walker's budget cuts before the state’s Supreme Court.

I’m not sure if this is already something in the pipeline, but if it isn’t, it should be.

The state constitution guarantees funding for public education, and any major cuts to it, may lower the quality and state promise. And that would be unconstitutional.

The story below about a recent supreme court decision in New Jersey, may be the publics biggest  weapons yet in defense of our schools:

March 2011
Thom Hartmann newsletter-
The New Jersey state Supreme Court told Governor Chris Christie he is in violation of the state's constitution with his massive cuts to education. That state constitution requires the state to, "provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State..."
But thanks to Christie's budget cuts - a lot of New Jersey schools - mostly in poor districts - are not meeting that obligation - thus the court is forcing Christie to replenish the $500 million he cut out of education. But Christie isn't the first Governor slapped down by his state's Supreme Court. 19 other high courts have told their mostly Republican governors that their education cuts are unconstitutional. 
Of course - when it comes to turning public education over to profit-making private schools for their millionaire buddies - Republicans tend to ignore what any constitution says and don't think twice about screwing over poor students.

Business is making the adjustment to the new economy, but Americans are not, as many are now stuck in low paying, tight pay-check to pay-check budgets.

Liberals and Democrats have been sounding the warning for a while about middle class pay, but Republicans have been claiming that employees assumed incorrectly that they were entitled to a living wage. Another words, middle class families were making too much.

Guess what? Republicans are winning the war on labor.   
WallStreetJournal: Less income, more layoffs. That isn’t a combination to bring joy to U.S. consumers. The soft patch seen in the first quarter is carrying into the spring. And consumers are the ones slipping toward trouble
The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its calculation of first-quarter real gross domestic product … The new mix of growth was very troubling … the growth came from inventory accumulation and less from consumer spending … Even more alarming for the outlook: The BEA now says real disposable income barely grew over the past three quarters.

Meanwhile, U.S. businesses are raking in a boatload of cash.
So cutting wages and forcing consumers to cut back on spending is a good thing, while companies are still able to rake in huge profits?

What’s not to like about capitalism?

Rapture Malfunction!!!! Do-Over Coming?

Call it a mechanical failure of biblical proportions, but just as the rapture was about to happen, God blew a fuse. It happens to even the best handy man, as many men are willing to admit. Not to worry, like any guy...or God, a quick read of the instructions laid out in the bible and all should end without a hitch on Oct. 21st.

But proof of the malfunction is really embarrassing for God, and leave it to "liberal" godless Madison to point out the mistake, with the whole world watching:

WSJ: Did the Rapture happen in Madison after all? Or was it the work of a clever band of artistic pranksters? Clothing with apparent burn marks along with such personal effects as wallets, watches and keys was found Sunday on the largest hill of Olin-Turville Park, according to a Madison police report.

It started like this: A local resident called the police Sunday after seeing the items in the park on the shore of Lake Monona. The responding officer found about 30 sets of clothing. “It was as if people had been on their backs and vanished in their birthday (suits), leaving all material possessions behind,” DeSpain said in the report. “There were wrist watches where arms should have been and sets of keys in pants pockets.”

He also quoted the officer describing burn marks on the clothing, which was spread out in a circular fashion: “All outfits ... were perfectly laid out as if the people wearing them had met with some sort of forceful and immediate action. (The clothing) had varying levels of what appeared to be burns or melting, as if exposed to some sort of intense heat source.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Most Embarrassing “Jobs Agenda” Yet!!! Republicans Simply Need a Better Marketing Plan.

Framing is everything in politics, and lately, Republicans have been wildly off the mark. It’s not that people don’t understand their agenda, it’s that people get it, and Republicans don’t have a good focus group tested come back.
Politico: House Republicans unveil their vision of an agenda that promotes economic growth today, combining old prescriptions for lowering taxes, deregulating industry and boosting trade into a package they say complements their strategy to cut spending.

The proposal signals an acknowledgment from Republicans that they have to communicate to the public about how they would create jobs, not just how they would shrink government.

So here it is, with “Job” right there in the title; 'House Republican Plan for America's Job Creators.' 

Poof, magical jobs will appear everywhere. They openly admitted as much: 

What we are trying to portray is this: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said earlier this week. ”The (plan) relies on economic growth to tackle our debt and create jobs.”
141 days and now a jobs plan? This old stuff? This is the same plan that tanked the global economy:

The plan calls for cutting taxes on corporations, individuals and small businesses to no more than 25 percent; allowing companies to repatriate foreign profits without being taxed; approving trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea; expanding domestic oil drilling; rewiring the patent process; requiring congressional approval of executive branch regulations that have a significant impact on the economy; and continuing to slash spending.
Ooops! I think they forgot the part about…jobs? Ezra Klein wrote this great analysis:

The document explains on its first page. "As a result, most Americans know someone who has recently lost a job, and small businesses and entrepreneurs lack the confidence needed to invest in our economy. Not since the Great Depression has our nation’s unemployment rate been this high this long.”

You don't have to admire the Democratic policy agenda to wonder if someone in Speaker Boehner's office shouldn't have raised his hand and pointed out that George W. Bush was president four years ago and he was a Republican, and perhaps there should be a pro forma mention of Wall Street and the financial crisis somewhere in this narrative. Sadly, the most significant employment crisis in generations has stopped generating new thinking and has become simply another opportunity to bash the other party while pushing your perennial agenda. That's a shame, because with 15 million unemployed and the recovery sputtering slight, we really do need new thinking and a sense of urgency on behalf of both the unemployed and the economy. In fact, we need it now more than ever. 

Republicans, like Sen. Eric Cantor for instance, are turning on their voters, and won’t help with disaster aid unless there are cuts in federal spending.

In an amazingly moment of cruelty, Republican are showing how insignificant voters they are to their agenda, and how they've transformed in totality to the party of corporate wealth and greed. What a time to without aid to tornado ravaged Americans.
Politico: While much of Joplin, Mo., is still under rubble from a devastating tornado, conservatives in Congress are starting to argue for a tougher approach to disaster aid, demanding that any funding be offset by cutting federal money elsewhere.
A tougher approach to disaster aid? Really, that's where they're drawing the line now? That’s not all;

Disasters will no longer be considered “emergencies” if conservatives win this battle to redefine the way Congress funds aid packages for states and cities stricken by natural and man-made catastrophes. “I do not believe in offsetting emergency funds, period,” Missouri Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, a senior GOP member of the spending panel, said.
This is what voters asked Republicans to do when they elected these ghouls into office?  

Feel lucky Republicans? Guns in the Capitol a great idea, pushed by Sen. Pam “guns” Galloway.

I’ve been saying all along that if a concealed carry law were ever passed, then politicians need to feel the same sense of “security” that my family will feel when they see a frightened paranoid gun toting hobbyist strutting his sorry ass around Target.

This is the topic I’ve been waiting for!!!

Wisconsin residents would be allowed to carry concealed weapons without getting permits or any training under a bill a Senate committee approved Wednesday … The vote came the same day an email from a top aide to Gov. Scott Walker was released that said as of six months ago Walker was prepared to sign "any" concealed weapons legislation. 
Gov. Walker will sign “ANY” gun legislation? You’re friggin’ kidding me!

But here’s my favorite part of the story:

In discussing the idea, Sen. Pam Galloway (R-Wausau), author of the concealed weapons legislation, told the committee she would support allowing people to bring guns in the Capitol.

"So what's the point of having metal detectors?" Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) responded, referring to high levels of security that have been put in place in the Capitol in response to recent protests.

Galloway's comment on allowing guns in the Capitol comes after weeks of complaints from Republicans that they have felt unsafe at times because of the ongoing protests over curtailing collective bargaining for public workers … In response to the weeks of protests, Walker has closed all but two entrances to the Capitol and installed metal detectors at them. Protesters show up on a daily basis, though in much smaller numbers than they did earlier this year.

There are a lot of liberal gun hobbyist as well, who would gladly take their concealed carry weapons into the Capitol as a form of protection against the “one party rulers,” dictating their six gun justice statewide. Who doesn't feel threatened by these political ideologues?

WTDY’s Sly in the Morning talked to Jim Palmer from the Wisconsin Professional Police Association about their opposition to the lack of training and permitting of concealed carriers (edited). Vicki McKenna and Charlie Sykes are also featured.

I found this interesting comment about a "well regulated militia," worth considering:

Or as Hamilton put it in context in the 29th Federalist paper, "To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss.

Demagogic Rep. Paul Ryan's Demagoguery!

I’ve always liked Dana Milbank’s work, even though I haven’t always agreed with him. But in the piece below, he nails the real Paul Ryan's “DEMAGOGUERY” for what it is, cheap parlor tricks and hypocrisy:

WashingtonPost: On Wednesday morning, Rep. Paul Ryan awoke to find that his plan was being blamed for the loss of a solidly Republican congressional seat in a New York special election … So he headed over to the cameras in the Cannon House Office Building Rotunda to vent about Democrats’ “Mediscare” tactics. “The president and his party have decided to shamelessly distort and demagogue Medicare,” … Moments later, he took his complaint to Fox News  … “It’s a preview of the scare tactics, distortions, demagoguery, to try and scare seniors.” And Ryan is well qualified to call out shameless demagoguery and scare tactics: Over the past two years, he has practiced both.

Speaking on the House floor in 2009, he said the Democrats’ health-care legislation would “take coverage away from seniors,” “raise premiums for families” and “cost us nearly 5.5 million jobs.” Later, he said the health plan would bring about government “rationing” of health care.

He also labeled the plan “a government takeover of our healthcare system,” claimed America was at a “tipping point” toward a “European social welfare state,” and gave a wink to the “death panel” allegations. His suggestion that the legislation would result in the IRS getting “16,000 agents” to police the health-care law was knocked down as “wildly inaccurate” by Factcheck.org.

Ryan responded just as the Democrats had responded during the health-care fight: with bookish analysis. Ryan might be worthy of more sympathy if he hadn’t been one of the people clubbing Democrats with slogans about trampled liberty as they labored to explain exchanges and cost curves. Now Ryan is the one trying to define the narrow difference … while Democrats accuse him of forcing seniors into destitution … he cast aside bipartisan solutions and said he wanted to take the issue to voters. Democrats gave him exactly what he asked for.
But Milbank, like others in the media, often creates a false equivalency between the death panel tea party low information voter, and the CBO fact based protester using sound logic and math. That’s why we’re in this mess. As long as we continue to treat the other side’s lunacy as substantive debate material, we will continue to move further to the right. For example, in the same article:

He’s right about that. Democrats and, particularly, liberal activists, are engaged in some shameless demagoguery (one group’s ad shows a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman and her wheelchair off a cliff). In both cases, the proponents decided to act without bipartisan support. Opponents whipped up opposition at televised town-hall meetings. Proponents discovered that their nuanced explanations of the policy couldn’t compete with the other side’s shrill sound bites. 

Struck Down!!! Sen. Scott Fitzgerald Wrong About Legality of Passing Collective Bargaining Law! Big Surprise!

Hot head Sen. Scott Fitzgerald's insistence the judicial branch had no business interpreting the legality of the legislative branch, came across as dumb and hyperbolic. Today he looks even dumber and even more unqualified to be a "lawmaker," after Judge Sumi struck down the rushed through, jammed down our throats collective bargaining law.

This is a lawless Republican legislature:
jsonline: In a 33-page decision issued Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi said she would freeze the legislation because GOP lawmakers on a committee broke the state's open meetings law in passing it March 9.

"This decision explains why it is necessary to void the legislative actions flowing from those violations," wrote Sumi, who was appointed to the bench by former GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson. But the issue is far from settled. The state Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for next month on whether to take over the case.

GOP lawmakers also have said they would consider passing the law a second time as part of the 2011-'13 state budget if it was necessary to ensure that it takes effect.

From WISC 3 News:

Here's more, including Judge Sumi's reasons for striking down the law, from TMJ4:

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that Republican legislators violated Wisconsin's open meetings law by calling the meeting without a 24-hour notice. She said that renders the law void. She had put the law on hold while she considered the case.

Using the same language basically as those who demanded passage of the voter ID law:

Sumi said violating the open-meetings law betrays the public's trust.

"The court must consider the potential damage to public trust and confidence in government if the Legislature is not held to the same rules of transparency that it has created for other governmental bodies," she wrote in a 33-page decision. "Our form of government depends on citizens' trust and confidence in the process by which our elected officials make laws, at all levels of government."

The judge's ruling is a victory, said Marty Beil, executive director of the state's largest public employee union. "It tells legislators `You can't be arrogant,"' Beil said. "You have to do it in the light of day. You can't take stuff away from people in a backroom deal."

See Judge Sumi's ruling here.

Ed Schultz: What radio needed and was not getting was quality control...until Now.

Ed Schultz did what you won't find one conservative talk show host do, self police and discipline themselves. Ed apologized to Laura Ingraham tonight for calling her a "right wing slut." A needless barb, but mild compared to references made by conservative talkers.

It shook him up so much, he pulled himself off the air at MSNBC for an indefinite period of time. Sure it might have been a mutual decision, but Ed's reference to his kids tells me it's more than that.

Good on you Ed.

Republican Worm Rep. Patrick McHenry tries to put Elizabeth Warren in her place. Fails.

Republican power is an ugly thing to watch, and this clip proves it. Elizabeth Warren, who designed the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, is being denied a vote to put her in charge by the Republicans. The GOP wants to take an even bigger chance with out financial system, and Warren is standing between them and big money (and possible collapse).

But Rep. Patrick McHenry smarmy attack and accusation that Warren was lying reminded me of how Republicans are always exploring new uncharted lows to stoop to. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We Got Ours! The Selfish Generation Makes “Tough Decisions,” Abdicating Their Responsibility to Educate our Children.

Society has had an obligation to educate its young, free. In in our state constitutions. It's one way to maintain a good quality of life and compete globally. Shockingly, that responsibility no longer applies, and you can blame bad economic policy and the use of disaster capitalism.

An educated society, is now to costly; You wanted kids, so pay for ‘em! Good-bye the American dream:
WSJ: Budget shortfalls have prompted Medina Senior High to impose fees on students who enroll in many academic classes and extracurricular activities. The Dombis had to pay to register their children for basic courses such as Spanish I and Earth Sciences, to get them into graded electives such as band, and to allow them to run cross-country and track. The family's total tab for a year of public education: $4,446.50. Public schools across the country, struggling with cuts in state funding, rising personnel costs and lower tax revenues, are shifting costs to students and their parents by imposing or boosting fees for everything from enrolling in honors English to riding the bus.

At high schools in several states, it can cost more than $200 just to walk in the door, thanks to registration fees, technology fees and unspecified "instructional fees."… many are now asking parents to pay for supplies needed to take core classes—from biology-lab safety goggles to algebra workbooks to the printer ink used to run off grammar exercises in language arts. In some schools, each class comes with a price tag, to be paid at registration. Some schools offer installment plans for payment. Others accept credit cards—for a processing fee.

Public-school administrators say the fees allow them to continue to offer specialty classes and activities that would otherwise fall to the budget ax.
As a society, we are now complacent, and willing to except mediocrity:
Some parents support that approach, saying they'd rather pay for honors physics or drama than see those opportunities eliminated altogether … Some educators, too, argue that fees are good public policy.
No, it isn’t “good” public policy. It’s crazy.
In a time of fiscal austerity, they say it's not fair to ask taxpayers to fund an all-inclusive education … school revenue has plunged, mostly due to cutbacks in state funding … Squeezed by lower tax revenue and higher expenses for programs such as Medicaid.
We are now slowing down the gifted, boring them in yearlong classes, souring them on school. 

Nationally, district after district has eliminated or cut enrichment programs for gifted students, help for struggling readers, advanced math and science courses, music, art, foreign languages, drama, sports. Even worse, the education community no longer believes a public education is beneficial to society as a whole. The excuse is, “it’s not fair to the entire community.”
Yes it is, and we all benefits.
Collene Van Noord, superintendent of the Palmyra Area School District in southeast Pennsylvania, said, "If we can pass on the added costs for some of our more expensive courses to direct users, it seems more fair than to pass them on to the entire community" in the form of tax hikes, she said.
That’s bullshit. Check out what this family had to pay:
In Medina, the charges imposed on the Dombi family's four children include $75 in generic school fees, $118.50 for materials used in biology, physics and other academic courses, $263 for Advanced Placement exams and $3,990 to participate in cross-country, track and band. That's not counting the $2,716.08 the Dombis paid in property taxes specifically earmarked for the schools.

To shave costs, the Medina school board eliminated 106 teaching positions, or 20% of the teaching staff, over two years. Class size increased—from 25 kids per teacher, to 31 or 32. Many AP science and math classes were eliminated, along with the German and French programs. The district also reduced its offerings in art, music and other electives.
Referenda on tax increases for education no longer galvanizes a community to look to the future:
"We can't afford to get our teeth fixed because it's too expensive," said Joyce Harris, who is 70 and voted against the proposed tax hike. "If we have our taxes go up to pay for little Joey's football, that's not exactly fair." The track team, for instance, shrank from 191 to 92 student athletes. "It's like half your family is suddenly gone," said 15-year-old Tessa, a runner.

Some academic costs also jumped. The school cut advanced calculus to save money, so a handful of top students were left with no math class. Worried that would look bad on her son's college applications, Cindy Fotheringham shelled out $850—plus $150 for books—to enroll him in an online calculus class. At the elementary school level, many parents will pay $30 per student next year to cover math workbooks and writing journals, which will bring in about $68,000 for the district. Administrators say the cuts and fees prompted about 100 students to switch to private schools.