Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ryan Plan ends up Raising Local Property Taxes to make up for Federal Cuts.

Just more ammunition for a Paul Ryan opponent in 2014 (hopefully it Rob Zerban). The numbers make all the sense in the world:
Demos: Here's a winning slogan for the GOP: "Higher Property Taxes Now!" It turns
out House Republicans recently did vote, effectively, to jack up property taxes nationwide, although that fact has gotten very little attention. According to a recent analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:
The Ryan budget would further shift costs to states by imposing deep cuts in funding for a wide range of other state and local services … the Ryan budget would cut non-defense discretionary funding by an average of 18% below the tight funding caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) over the next ten years. About one-quarter of non-defense discretionary funding goes for grants to state and local governments to support services that states and localities provide, such as education, law enforcement, and water treatment facilities. Such a cut would mean that states and localities would lose nearly $25.2 billion in 2014, on top of the cuts they will absorb as Congress shrinks funding for such grants … States and localities would lose $256 billion over the ten years from 2014 through 2023 - an 18 percent cut - in addition to the cuts they would absorb due to the BCA caps (These figures do not include additional cuts that the Ryan budget would make in highway, mass transit, and other transportation spending, as explained below.)
So here's an obvious question with two obvious answers: What are localities going to do as billions of dollars in state and federal aid starts to dry up? They will a) cut spending, particularly for education; and they will b) raise property taxes. House Republicans have not actually come out and called for higher property taxes, even though that's what the Ryan budget will mean. 

Forget Guns, try the "Ex" Knife set

I get these Fab emails all the time, and here's one of the more curious gifts for knife storage....

Republicans State Sen. Mary Lazich has it both ways, but will voters ask why?

At Retiring Guys Digest, we're seeing the beginnings (I hope) of tying the Republican Party's opposing positions together for all to see, including low information conservative voters.

It seems Sen. Mary Lazich likes local control sometimes, but top down, big government, one size fits all control when it's politically advantageous. When it comes to sex ed's abstinence only...local control; when it comes to absentee size fits all control from the state. Check it all out here (I liked his graphic).

We are Losing....

I thought these two headlines, in just one day, pretty much means we're in real trouble.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Brewer tickets to vote? Right wing would have you think so...

Root River Siren has this interesting new outrage on the right:
Charlie Sykes and Mouth-Breathers Central have their ladies underwear in a bunch because the Martin Luther King Community Center in Racine is giving away tickets to a Brewers game on April 2nd - which is also spring election day.
Check out the gory details of Republican projection here.

Magazine size matters, Connecticut Effect Matters, Schools as targets…Matter. Doing nothing Matters.

I've always wondered why the general public should somehow feel safe around complete strangers walking around with loaded guns. We don't know anything about these people, or what motivates them to ignore the frightened general public. How does their false confidence and sense of invulnerability affect how they react in certain situations. No one ever talks about the other side, the majority of those who view their public safety as a threatened constitutional right.

Sermon over.

Magazine Size Matters: Republicans and the gun marketing group, the NRA, would like to brand the magazine size issue silly and irrelevant. Changing a magazine by a rabid gun owner is so fast and flawless that nothing could ever go wrong.

Yet Adam Lanza left all of his 10 round magazines home and the took the 30 rounders instead. Why was that? Rachel Maddow highlights why magazine size matters.

We also have to stop gun enthusiasts from insulting our intelligence when they make the idiot claim that changing a magazine doesn't break the stream of gunfire long enough for someone to escape or stop the gunman. We should no longer tolerate this dumbing down of the American public. 

With threats of a Senate filibuster, and the likelihood of the House shelving the legislation, Republicans are more than willing to make it legal for criminals and the mentally ill to buy guns via the gun show loophole. President Obama is well aware of the right wing threat:

Maybe their idea of freedom would be to remove all the laws that aren't perfect, that don't completely stop bank robberies, speeding, adding toxic chemicals to the food we eat, manufacturing dangerous products, loosening workplace safety, freeing up school curricula etc.   

I ran into a conservative friend yesterday who believed the lie about the Second Amendment being necessary to overthrow an out-of-control U.S. government. Funny, the whole constitution pretty much prevents that from happening, that's why it's such a well crafted document. Gun confiscation is impossible because of the amendment they talk so much about protecting. So what the hell's the beef? 

Technology may make predicting Health Care Costs impossible.

Ezra Klein posed an interesting question; can we really predict the cost of health care for future generations when the smallest piece of technology can change everything?

Klein points to the following device that really could change everything, if it doesn't disappear into the black hole of time, like so many other game changers:
WaPo: Scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a minuscule implant that measures various blood chemicals and sends the results, via Bluetooth, to your smart phone. The upside? Your smartphone knows when you’re about to have a heart attack. And it can call someone on your behalf. It is, after all ,a smartphone. This particular device might prove, for one reason or another, to be bunk. Many seemingly magical inventions do. Consider how dramatically these devices will change medicine. Right now, the medical industry is fundamentally reactive.

Something goes wrong, and we go to them to fix it. This will make medicine fundamentally proactive. They will see something going wrong, and they will intervene to stop it. It’s like “Minority Report” for health care.

This is why I don’t put much stock in projections of health-care spending that run 30 or 50 or 75 years into the future. Will biometric devices in constant communication with the cloud make medicine more or less expensive? Will driverless cars prolong life in a way that saves money or costs it? Will the advances in preventive technology make medicine so effective that we’re glad to devote 40 percent of gross domestic product to it? Who knows?

President of Popeyes clueless over company employee Obamacare coverage. So what's all the whining about?

Big business CEO's aren't so smart. They never have been.

Yet we revere them and want to hand the keys to the country over to them. Heck, they must  know what they're talking about, right? Or are they just as partisan and just as ideologically blind as your local teabilly voter? It seems we now know the answer to that question:
Huffington Post: Ralph Bower, Popeyes' U.S. president, told The Huffington Post on Friday that he expected some workers to choose to work part-time because he thought the mandate to obtain health insurance applied only to full-time workers. Bower later corrected himself in a statement to HuffPost, but did not walk back his prediction "I was mistaken in my earlier statement that only full-time employees would be subject to the mandate. In fact, everyone is required to have health care," he said.
Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told HuffPost Friday that Bower's reasoning "seems quite confused." "There's no difference between working full-time or part-time in terms of how the individual mandate works," Levitt said. "I can't see any advantage from a health insurance perspective of someone working part-time."

Republicans Oppose Saving Peoples lives for Cheap Gas Pump Prices.

Have we become so hardened by the partisan divide that can we no longer tell right from wrong and feel moral outrage?

While Democrats worry about offending constituents by taking a position on anything, Republicans can get away with openly declaring that gas pump prices are more important than peoples lives or childhood respiratory ailments. The story below, as usual, offers up no outrage or the repugnant nature of the Republican position:
The Environmental Protection Agency aims to reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent in 2017. The agency claimed the change would save lives and cut down significantly on respiratory ailments by making the air cleaner … by slashing smog- and soot-forming pollution come 2030, the EPA projected the overall changes to fuels and cars would prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths and 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children. 
The health benefits alone make the change worthwhile…but wait, are all those lives and respiratory ailments really worth higher prices at the pump?
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said "Increases in gas prices disproportionately hurt the nation's most vulnerable individuals and families -- with $4 dollar a gallon gas the norm in many parts of the country, we cannot afford policies that knowingly raises gas prices."
It’s the money stupid, not lives. And you know, Upton will never ever really see a time when it is affordable. Peoples lives/childhood respiratory problems take a back seat to gas pump prices.

That said, we’re doing everything we can to make sure our kids aren't left with huge deficits, by taking future dollars from our children's Social Security and Medicare coverage.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Gay Marriage Arguments from Supreme Court.

I put together a bunch of clips making the argument for gay marriage:

Uppity Black President living large in White, golf, cook....

Pure unadulterated racism is now on display with accusations the Obama's are living an unfair lifestyle, with designer shoes, Michele's dress, vacations...even Rush claimed the Obama's of "uppityism." Stunning stuff, from MSNBC:

Caterpillar could shed 300 jobs in South Milwaukee. Still open for Business?

While the state has slipped to 44th place in private job creations, Caterpillar had very bad news for labor:
Huge cuts are on the way at Caterpillar Global Mining in South Milwaukee. The maker of heavy mining equipment rounded up employees on Thursday morning, March 28th to let them know they might not have a job in a few months. Caterpillar plans to cut 40% of the workforce at the South Milwaukee plant. That could mean a loss of up to 300 jobs. Caterpillar officials say business is slowing. They released the following statement on the matter: “Various Caterpillar facilities and business units are taking action to bring our production in line with demand.”
From Fox6 in Milwaukee:

But this announcement came at an odd time according to one union worker:
 “What is Caterpillar hoping to accomplish by five days before negotiations begin to scare and threaten the workers with a massive layoff?” said union member Ross Winklbauer. “If they really have planned this massive layoff, why have they contracted with Milwaukee Area technical college to train replacement workers, scabs, when things are as slow as what they try and tell us,” said Winklbauer.

Working Together, the Dumb Ron Johnson Way: "We don't have the other side quite honestly admitting we have a problem."

A Dumb Ron Johnson quote to remember:

There are so many things wrong with this guys thinking.  "It's the private sector jobs that are long term self sustaining, not government jobs." Really? 
Johnson said, “I’m willing to work with anyone who’s willing to acknowledge the problem and work with me in good faith to solve it, but we’re not there yet. In fact, we don’t even have the other side admitting that there’s a problem.”
So if we admit we're wrong, Johnson will help us? 

For Dumb Ron Johnson, the world is made up of absolutes and sweeping generalizations. The two comments following the story in the FDLReporter said it best:

So begins the New Republican Image Campaign: Rep. Don Young says “Wetbacks” common term growing up.

Growing up conservative and learning from the crowd you hang with:
USA Today: The Alaska congressman Rep. Don Young, in office since 1973, used the term "wetbacks" in a radio interview earlier this week. He "meant no disrespect" and explained the term was commonly used when he was growing up on a farm in central California.

New Audit Bad News for Mr. Bumble, Scott Walker, which begs the question: Would you hire a Republican to run you’re business like they run our government?

A simple question for voters: Why hire (vote for) people that hate government, to run government? Now, with that in mind…

I noticed an interesting “backward” move, a costly move in bumbling Scott Walker’s budget proposal. At a time when health care reform depends on updating and moving to electronic records, Walker has uncharacteristically decided to repeal a tax break for business, which should tell you how much he really wants to sabotage reform:
Sunset Electronic Medical Records Tax Credit. [Page 176, Item 12]. Repeal the
electronic medical records tax credit for tax years beginning after December 31, 2013.
That’s not all. Anti-government Republicans would rather freeload and collect a taxpayer check, than take the time to spend our money wisely:
Wisconsin Reporter: A newly released state audit gives another public relations black eye to the state’s embattled economic development agency The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau’s State of Wisconsin Fiscal Year 2011-12 Single Audit report tracks the $12.9 billion in federal financial assistance state agencies administered in the most recent fiscal year.
Keep in mind that Republicans love the idea of “block grants.” Paul Ryan wants to turn Medicaid into a block grant program, because states can do a better job spending it? Oops, it’s opposite day again in Republican world:
Auditors found … lapses in oversight in the administration of federal Community Development Block Grants by WEDC.  The Department of Administration handed off control of six of 10 programs under the block grant funds, and … they just didn’t always do a very good job of keeping track of said money, according to the audit.

“For 11 of the 35 reimbursements we selected, DOA and WEDC staff agreed that no monitoring visits were performed at those local entities … “As a result, DOA is unable to demonstrate that amounts paid to these local entities were for allowable costs and activities.”
Is Walker intentionally trying to prove how bad government can be?
The economic development group, WEDC, proudly pointed out in a statement: “This audit illustrates the extraordinary steps WEDC’s current management has taken to be transparent and forthcoming about challenges the organization faces and past mistakes,” said Reed Hall, CEO of WEDC.
I’d like to see Republicans say that, or give that much latitude to Obamacare. Don't think so...

Finally, in what I would call this an OMG moment. The Walker administration…well, you just can’t make this stuff up:
And the audit bureau note that the agency lapsed federal money marked for individual programs into the state’s general fund. The federal government doesn’t much care for that, reminding DOA that federally funded dollars need to go where they are intended, not into the nebulous state general account. DOA in paying back the misdirected money paid back too much, and is now eligible for reimbursement, according to the audit.
See. Would a Walker opponent use this government bumbling in their campaign for governor? God I hope so.

Reading Scott Walker's Book considered Torture?

Salon pulled no punches....

He's the right guy for our sociopathic governor. Here's a sample:
Thiessen is a very poor Washington Post opinion columnist who wrote a book in which he strung together a series of distortions in support of the thesis that torture is great. Before the book and the column gig, he was a speechwriter for George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. (Before that, Thiessen spent six years as a spokesperson and “policy adviser” to unreconstructed white supremacist Sen. Jesse Helms, which is another thing that should effectively bar him from participating in civilized society.)

Thiessen likely got the job because he’s written a bunch of columns lauding Walker as a leader at the forefront of the “GOP revolution.”
The Beloit Daily News had this poll:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Who Created Business Uncertainty During Protests? Divide and Conquer? Not Scott Walker, says Walker!

Scott Walker knows better, and his droopy dead eyes and steady demeanor is getting old, old, old:
jsonline-Craig Gilbert: Asked Thursday about new numbers showing Wisconsin lagging in job growth, Gov. Scott Walker pointed to the uncertainty he said business owners felt because of the political tumult that rocked Wisconsin early in his term. A lot of employers here I think can relate to the fact (that) uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges for employers big or small or anywhere in between. There was a lot of uncertainty.
Scott Walker seems to think his plan to "divide and conquer," and drop the bomb, had nothing to do with the states business uncertainty. Sure that's just crazy, but in fact, I don't think business gave a rats butt about politics. What they care about most is consumer confidence and demand. But that's not on the Republican Party's radar. After all, consumers don't have deep enough pockets.
Jack Norman, former research director of the left-leaning Institute for Wisconsin's Future (said), "The plunge in job growth, compared with other states, coincides exactly with Scott Walker's time in office. This is no mere coincidence. . . . Act 10 led to large cuts in public workers' take-home pay, which was a blow to the state's economy."
Capitalism doesn't scream "certainty" either. In fact, it should be just the other way around for a healthy competitive marketplace to work.

Walker hopes to stump any future political opponent with "what would you have done?" Silly Scott, that's easy, but first his comment:
He said any critique of the job growth in his term "should be done in context," and he said his policies were pro-growth. "As people move forward in the next year or two and look at our pace (of job growth), the other question they're going to have to ask is, if they're judging us, it's not just a judgment (of) 'are you successful?' But 'what more can be done?' or 'what would someone do alternatively?' " he said in the February interview.
Where the hell do we start; high speed rail, education funding (k-12 and state colleges) and job training, alternative wind and solar energy, an internet sales tax, state border toll...hell, add your own. Even more important:
Wisconsin’s state and local government employees’ incomes shrank by $529 million dollars, a 2.55% decline.
Walker's opponent will also remind voters about all the borrowing and spending, and the phony supposed surpluses he gave back, while still short changing important government services. From WKOW:

Republicans aren't trying to move the state forward. They're trying instead to create the perfect red state, with a guaranteed Republican majority. And they're not done yet. Their own agenda is now blocked up because they can't raise taxes to fund all the things that need to fund, like infrastructure improvements and farmland runoff oversight. They don't have Democrats to blame anymore, and they never had protesters to blame...ever.

FIRST TIME...finally: Gilbert's one of the first reporters to ever mention Walker's lie about Gov. Doyle's job loss numbers, where he includes the Great Recession.
Walker's office released a statement Thursday noting that the state lost more than 100,000 jobs overall during Democratic Jim Doyle's second term (which coincided with the recession)...

Will Scott Walker's Jobs Record Snuff Presidential Ambitions?

The final numbers are out, and it's just as we suspected. It's all Scott Walker's fault...really.

Under Gov. Doyle, Wisconsin’s jobs picture looked good. According to jsonline’s Craig Gilbert:
In 2010, it outperformed the nation as a whole and ranked 11 among the 50 states in private-sector job growth.
Scott Walker loves to blame Doyle for all the Great Recession job losses, and the press lets him. But as you can see below, before Walker, Doyle and the Democratic legislature were ranked 11th in job creation. From March 2010 to March 2011, Wisconsin beat the national average:

Stop digging Scott, we're already
down to 44th place in priv
Nor is it welcome news for Gov. Scott Walker, who campaigned on a promise of 250,000 additional private sector jobs in his first term … Wisconsin ranked 11th among the 50 states in 2010 in private-sector job growth.
Enter Scott Walker:
But it dropped to 38 in 2011. For example, between 2004 and 2007, private-sector job growth was slower in Wisconsin than in the U.S. as a whole, and the state ranked anywhere from 30 to 42 annually. In 2008 and 2009, Wisconsin ranked closer to the middle. But in 2011, Wisconsin fell well behind the national rate of private-sector growth, ranking 38. And its more recent rankings have been worse.
This is how Walker’s vision of a purely ideological economy works. It doesn't. 

Oh how the mighty have fallen in job creation, from 11th to 44th...

Republicans Victimhood on Full Display thanks to Dumb Ron Johnson's "Victims of Government Project."

Republicans are so emboldened by their power and the tea party jackals that they're telling us point blank how they want to hurt us. Yet they're the victims?
Have I got a deal for you...

Conservatives have had to hide in public, cower on campus and hold their tongues at parties. Their policies have suffered and failed because there are too many Democratic laws still in place.

They’re the unfortunate victims of a society rotting from liberal socialism. What they've earned is being taken from them blah, blah, blah.

Dumb Ron Johnson has become the mood ring of tea party whiners, and a window into the dark victimized world of well-off clueless conservatives, scratching and scraping for another excuse to blame their troubles on somebody else, namely the poor.

"Victims of Government Project?" Johnson has offered up a pathetic big government shoulder to cry on for our spat upon conservative victims, who just so happen to have opposition crushing political power in our state Capitol.
Cap Times-Steve Elbow: The freshman GOP senator from Wisconsin unveiled his “victims of government project,” inviting Americans to share their stories of excessive federal regulations. “The root cause of our economic and fiscal problems is the size, the scope, and the cost of government — all the rules, all the regulations, and all the government intrusion into our lives. The Victims of Government series is designed to demonstrate that — in a very personal and powerful way. Over-regulation consumes massive amounts of the people’s money, too often lacks common sense, has no heart, costs jobs and economic growth."
Ouch, things must be pretty bad, I guess. Johnson’s victimization platform skips over the Clinton presidency, when Bill and the Democratic congress passed a tax increase that was then followed by budget surpluses “as far as the eye could see!!!” Big government and regulation...didn't seem to victimize too many people back then.

But it's government by the people that has too much control. We need to give that up to the private owners class.
Johnson can even point out one man’s story. ONE MAN?

I bet I can come up with more than one victim's story when it comes to our private health care system…oh that’s right, Johnson isn't interested in stories of horror and death resulting from the rules and regulations developed in the private sector.

Freeloading Dumb Ron Johnson forgot his own job description; lawmaker. The purpose of the house and senate, among other things, is to go back and change conflicting rules and clashing regulations. Doh!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Health Insurers Threaten Public with Blackmail, will Raises Premiums as Backlash to Obamacare.

Isn't it time we stop holding businesses harmless? We generally accept anything and everything they do.

Business can withdraw medical treatment for people. Businesses move their companies to another state or country leaving millions of Americans without jobs. And now…they can threaten us, with blackmail.

Even with the influx of millions of new customers and revenue, the health insurance industry is threatening to blow up reform. If we had included a public option, they would not have had this opportunity.

Will we still hold them harmless?
Health care reform sticker shock is coming, a Humana Inc. executive told business leaders Tuesday. “In 2014, the American public is going to wake up, and when they realize what Obamacare has done to them and what it’s going to cost them, there’s going to be an uproar,” said Jerry Ganoni, president of Humana Small Business and Specialty Benefits. He was speaking at the St. Norbert College CEO Breakfast and Strategy Series.

Oops! Scalia offers up the right to privacy regarding Gay Marriage and procreation.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought conservatives didn't believe the Constitution had a broad guarantee of privacy.

Yet in this comment made yesterday by Justice Scalia on his question: 
"I guess we could have a questionnaire at the marriage desk, when people come in to get the marriage, you know, are you fertile or are you not fertile..." 
he offers what appears to be a off-the-cuff broad reading of the right to privacy :

Opponents of Roe v Wade feel privacy rights should not have been extended to protect a woman’s choice to have an abortion because of the their First Amendment rights. They feel like their religion should be extended, in violation the First Amendment rights of other people’s religious beliefs, to apply to everyone else.

Here’s a great look at what the Constitution does say about privacy:   
umkc: The Burger Court extended the right of privacy to include a woman's right to have an abortion in Roe v Wade (1972), but thereafter resisted several invitations to expand the right.  The choice of a woman to have an abortion was found in Roe v Wade to be the sort of fundamental personal decision deserving privacy protection under the Fourteenth Amendment's liberty clause (Liberty Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment: No State shall... deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law).

In what respects is abortion a private matter, and in what respects might it not be?  If you don't believe that the Constitution protects the decision to have an abortion, do you believe that it would prevent the government from forcing a woman to have an abortion and, if it would, what is the constitutional basis for that protection?

The future of privacy protection remains an open question.  Justices Scalia  and Thomas, for example, are not inclined to protect privacy beyond those cases raising claims based on specific Bill of Rights guarantees.  The public, however, wants a Constitution that fills privacy gaps and prevents an overreaching Congress from telling the American people who they must marry, how many children they can have, or when they must go to bed.  The best bet is that the Court will continue to recognize protection for a general right of privacy. 
I thought this statement kind of summarizes my own feelings about our right:
The most frequently quoted statement by a Supreme Court justice on the subject of privacy comes in Justice Brandeis's dissent in Olmstead v. U. S. (1928): "The makers of our Constitution understood the need to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness, and the protections guaranteed by this are much broader in scope, and include the right to life and an inviolate personality -- the right to be left alone -- the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. The principle underlying the Fourth and Fifth Amendments is protection against invasions of the sanctities of a man's home and privacies of life. This is a recognition of the significance of man's spiritual nature, his feelings, and his intellect."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Justices, Gay Marriage and the Off Ramp.

Check out the legal analysis regarding the Supreme Courts arguments for and against gay marriage.

First, this long back and forth from Justice Kagan and Scalia over procreation and a 55 year old couple. NYU Constitutional Law Professor Kenji Yoshino with Rachel Maddow:

I liked this from Alex Wagner because of here guests, Jonathan Turley, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson, and NY AG Eric Schniederman. Great bunch of Supreme Court clips too.

Government Spending under Walker Cloaked in Secrecy!! What is he hiding?

Walker and the Republicans promised transparency...another broken promise...another campaign issue for Walker's challenger. Holy crap, we even lost out to Texas and Florida. Hey Walker, make fun of Illinois again.

WKOW: The grades are out and Wisconsin received an "F" when it comes to government spending transparency.

A new report from WISPIRG ranks the 50 states on how much online access people have to government spending information. It ranks Wisconsin as the fourth worst when it comes to accessibility, saying the state lacks one go-to website for information on state spending.

"We give the public very little information about individual state budget expenditures, about economic development subsidies and tax expenditures like tax breaks or deferments," Bruce Speight of WISPIRG told 27 News today at the Capitol.

The states with most transparency are Texas, Massachusetts, Florida and Illinois.

Gun Store Owner denies Right to Bear Arms for Customer Based on Politics. Goodbye Constitution?

While the Second Amendment is the most important guarantee, according to all conservative pocket Constitutionalist's, right wingers can still come up with reasons to take the right away.

In this amazing example of hypocrisy, authoritarianism, and another reason to never believe conservative ramblings about the Constitution, one gun store owner decided not to sell a firearm to a guy based purely on politics.

Kinda blows the whole rabid “right to bear arms” bullshit, doesn't it?
TPM: Mark Kelly's purchase of an AR-15 high-powered rifle has been canceled by the owner of a Tucson, Ariz. gun store, because the former astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabriele Giffords (D-AZ) planned to turn the gun in to police, the Arizona Daily Star reported Monday.

Douglas MacKinlay, who owns the store, Diamondback Police Supply, explained the decision in a Facebook post Monday:

“While I support and respect Mark Kelly’s 2nd Amendment rights to purchase, possess, and use firearms in a safe and responsible manner, his recent statements to the media made it clear that his intent in purchasing the Sig Sauer M400 5.56mm rifle from us was for reasons other then for his personal use. In light of this fact, I determined that it was in my company’s best interest to terminate this transaction prior to his returning to my store to complete the Federal From 4473 and NICS background check required of Mr. Kelly before he could take possession this firearm. A full refund was sent to Mr. Kelly, via express mail, on Thursday of last week."
Kelly purchased the rifle earlier this month, along with a pistol, to show how simple the background check process is. 
Lawrence O'Donnell even covered the story, because it means that much:

One Nation under One Party Rule: Republican Fascism is Real.

I recently called out Republicans for their obvious endorsement of creeping fascism.

But looking into the reason why the word “fascism” is rarely used (no one else wants to state the obvious), I found that academics have tried to make it sound utterly confusing and way too multifaceted (it is, but today's conditions can be fine tuned).  So I pieced together the following points that should clarify and update the word fascism, to describe the Republican/Tea Party agenda:
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”-Benito Mussolini

 “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”-Sinclair Lewis's (alleged) comment
Check out the statement below that reminded me of Paul Ryan’s rush to experiment with an untried system of government based on the free market: 
“Fascist originated within a matrix of élite experimentation with novel forms of political control and populist legitimation.”-Sage Journals
With Republican governors and legislatures ignoring local control for a more top down approach to expanding their agenda, along with vilifying descent, isn't it time to call it what it is? The following article said it best for me. A little bit of Naomi Klein’s concept of “disaster capitalism” is thrown in for good measure:
Two Ways of Looking at Fascism, by Matthew N. Lyons, draft April 2007

Gregory Meyerson and Michael Joseph Roberto, in an October 2006 Monthly Review article, "It Could Happen Here," see fascism as an intrinsic structural tendency of capitalism in crisis, a form of rule that is promoted strictly from the top down. The substance of their argument seems to be that the growing crisis may persuade most representatives of capital that they need to establish a much more repressive and authoritarian state. 
Lyons article continues, by focusing on the “right wing” of 2007:
By right-wing I mean a political orientation that reinforces or intensifies social oppression as part of a backlash against movements for greater equality, freedom, or inclusiveness. Populism means a form of politics that uses mass mobilization to rally "the people" around some form of anti-elitism. Right-wing populism mobilizes a mass movement around a twisted anti-elitism (often based on conspiracy theories) at the same time that it intensifies oppression. In place of leftist conceptions of class struggle, fascists often draw a phony distinction between "producers" (including "productive" capitalists, workers, and middle classes) and "parasites" (defined variously as financiers, bureaucrats, foreign corporations, Jews, immigrants, welfare mothers, etc.)

Right-wing populism appeals largely to middle groups in the social hierarchy, an important part of fascism's mass base. The fascist vision is totalitarian in that it celebrates one group -- national, ethnic, religious, or racial -- as an organic community to which all other loyalties must be subordinated, advocates coordinated top-down control over all institutions, and rejects in principle the concepts of individual rights, pluralism, equality, and democratic decision-making.

The collective rebirth aspect of the vision declares that the community must be rescued from a profound inner crisis, largely by purging "alien" ideologies and groups of people that are considered threats to the community's unity and vitality. This vision often draws on romanticized images of the past but points toward a radically new cultural and political order. Historically, fascists have colluded with capitalists and bolstered the economic power of big business.
A few good reads: Chris Hedges wrote American Fascism back in 2008.  Another book, by David Neiwert, The Eliminationists came out in 2009. Also, Friendly Fascism, and The Anatomy of Fascism, by author and historian Robert O. Paxton, who offers up this fairly comprehensive and useful definition:
"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pridemore's Media Blacklist...sure.

State Republican Rep. Don Pridemore tried for awhile to walk back his successful attempt to blacklist a few media outlets and reporters, but found out how hard it was to keep lying, so he eventually decided to just come out and admit it. And even laugh about it. From Upfront with Mike Gousha, Pridemore shows us how Republicans would run things if they had complete power without the threat of challenge.

State Rep. and Schools Superintendent candidate Pridemore paints Irresponsible picture of private voucher education

The race for State Schools Superintendent is an opportunity for all of us to get a much clearer picture of the Republican Party's plans for education. Just like the national party's admission they really want to privatize our social safety nets, Republican Rep. Don Pridemore lays it our for us; he would love to hand over the guaranteed market of educating out kids to private interests. Appearing on WPT's Here and Now, here's some "choice" moments:

Rep. Pridemore stresses one of the most misleading talking points about voucher schools; popularity. Voucher advocates always talk about the growing numbers choosing vouchers. Well, a lot of  people bought Snuggies, you know what I mean. Pridemore trashes the states big test used to grade schools, for touchy feely intangibles, and incumbent superintendent Tony Evers nails him for it.

Plus, the Racine school district budget director and supporter of vouchers warned property taxes will go up, but who cares says Pridemore:

Bonus incentive payments have another big flaw, effectively explained by Superintendent Evers; the richest and best school districts will be rewarded with even more money, and become even wealthier, instead of spending that money turning failing schools around. Evers wins this one hands down:

Superintendent Evers shines a bright light on the "target" painted on teachers backs by the unintended (or intended) consequences of Act 10. Teachers are now dealing with the fear factor of their profession:

From WKOW's Capital City Sunday, Greg Neumann asks whether public school will actually lose money, and Evers explains how Milwaukee's 20 year voucher experiment should have been paying dividends by now, and hasn't:

Spreading Government Around the State, away from Madison's "Closeted Cocoons...higher educations...and lower Crime rates."

This editorial was just too humorous to pass up without passing it along first. Who thinks of this stuff? Even though it's lightly edited, "you'll get the message:"
Beloit Daily News: ONCE AGAIN, the State of Wisconsin is preparing to spend more than a billion dollars in capital projects to be used to house government workers. And, once again, the vast majority of the money will go to build up Madison.

We understand that government has been housed in the capital city for longer than anyone alive can remember … FRANKLY, THAT’S PART of the problem with government.

Government culture becomes so separated from the realities of everyday life elsewhere that the level of understanding and, therefore, responsiveness can be severely compromised. The rules and regulations are produced in closeted cocoons and citizens become mere abstractions. Think about it.

Demographically, Madison enjoys higher educations, higher home values, higher household incomes, lower crime rates ... well, you get the picture. It’s that way not just because state government is there, and the University of Wisconsin flagship, but also because of the vast army of lawyers and lobbyists and others who flock to Madison to buy influence. It’s a potent combination that leads to affluence, security — and out-of-touch smugness.

THERE WAS A TIME when locating all government offices and personnel in physical proximity to one another made sense. That was when transportation was by horse and communication was by telegraph.

In the day of jet planes and interstate highways … Skype and Facetime; of fiber-optic networking, such considerations hold no sway.

Spreading government around would accomplish at least two worthy goals: (1) An economic shot-in-the-arm for any community lucky enough to host a government facility, and (2) culturally, government would benefit from a closer connection to common people.

Change is never easy … time may not yet be ripe for blowing up the bureaucracy and spreading it out among the people.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. We would love to hear a debate on the subject from those elected to represent Wisconsin’s citizens. After all, they’re supposed to be looking out for us, not just the system.

Walker to co-write autobiography with former Bush and Rumsfeld adviser. Credibility Problem?

Feel free to contribute a possible title for Scott Walker's upcoming book:
The Hill: Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is co-writing a book with Marc Thiessen, who served as a chief speechwriter for former President George W. Bush. In addition to focusing on Walker’s governorship, the book will also be autobiographical … The as-yet untitled work will be published by Sentinel, an imprint of Penguin Group. Walker tapped Thiessen, a former adviser to Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, to collaborate on the project because of his familiarity with “the political and fiscal aspects of Walker’s efforts.”
"Wisconsin Needs Walker?"

Joe the Plumber goes "Sheriff David Clarke Nuts," says "You can either pee or vomit on yourself and hope that you do not become a victim, or you go to your local shooting range."

Samuel Wurzelbacher, or aka Joe the Plumber, put out his own online PSA (it's cheaper that way) to counter Mayor Bloomberg's own message about gun control. He start his message with the above comment. It's oddly similar to Sheriff David Clarke's fear mongering, check it out:
Clarke: "You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back."
Joe the Plumber ended his message this way:
"That way, God forbid, if you or your family is ever attacked, you can shoot the bastard."

What a genius. 
Huffington Post: This isn't the first controversial anti-gun control videos released by Wurzelbacher. During a failed campaign to unseat Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) last year, he posted a video blaming gun control for the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust.

“In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated,” Wurzelbacher said in the video, while loading a shotgun. “In 1939, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others unable to defend themselves were exterminated.”

Wurzelbacher is raffling off an AR-15 rifle on his website in protest of debate over an assault weapons ban. 

Recent state pension recipients continue to see cuts in payments, all the while the fund managers are raking in six figure BONUSES. Surprised?

Money redistribution always goes upward:
AP: Wisconsin's pension fund managers were given more than $8 million in bonuses as a reward for strong investment returns, nearly double what they received last year, according to records released to The Associated Press on Friday. The bonuses come as most retirees are about to see their pension payments decrease in May for the fifth year in a row due to effects of the 2008 recession. 
Six figures?
Chief Investment Officer David Villa is getting the largest bonus of nearly $421,000. Two managing directors, Bill McCorkle and Ron Mensink, were the next highest with bonuses of nearly $287,000 and about 282,000, respectfully.

Last year, the state's core fund, a diversified group of investments that includes benefits for all 167,000 retirees in the Wisconsin Retirement System, grew by 13.7 percent. While the state's investments grew, core fund investors will see a cut in benefits of 9.6 percent starting in May because pension payments are based on a five-year smoothing formula. Even in 2008, when core fund investments dropped by 26 percent, the board handed out $1.7 million in bonuses. State of Wisconsin Investment Board spokeswoman, Vicki Hearing said, "If we paid outside managers, it would cost more than three times the money to manage those same funds."
Some comfort and transparent distraction. It's funny, but if we didn't have these geniuses on the board, I wonder how many other geniuses would take the job for so much less with small or no bonuses. 

Imaginary Wisconsin needs Laws Restricting Absentee Voting Hours.

Absentee voting has taken a bizarre surreal turn, thanks to big government Republicans living in imaginary Wisconsin. I have little doubt Republicans will somehow restrict absentee voting hours statewide, but it’s their missteps that have betrayed them, and their attempt to suppress voting.

For instance, did you know supposed "cheap" rural taxpayers didn't want to pay for expanded absentee voting hours? Well, many of them didn't know that either. In fact, rural areas have expanded hours and special weekend times too. But no one told our now embarrassed Republican legislators.

Walker Republicans fabricated a war between rural and urban areas over absentee voting hours, saying rural areas can’t afford to expand hours.

Even though it’s a choice made locally, to spend the money or not, our big government authoritarians are trying to convince people that it’s unfair to country folk to make that choice. So they drafted a law limiting hours.

That when the law ran into a buzz saw of complaints from rural and urban communities alike.

Damage control is out of Control: Our supposed grand supporters of “local control” and opponents of “one size fits all” big government regulations are proving to be big liars on both fronts. 

Embarrassed Republicans are now playing the blame game, and it’s not pretty or smart:
Republican Sen. Mary Lazich: “Despite statements by a Milwaukee talk show radio host, I never once shot down, killed, voted against, or held up Assembly Bill 54 (AB 54) relating to the standardization of times for voting by absentee ballots in person. The bill is not a senate bill. I expressed that it is unfair that some voters have much more opportunity to vote than other voters. I explained that the bill needed some work and was not ready for prime time.
The reality
The proposal could be even more vexing for clerks in small towns, who often work part-time and at the convenience of local residents, said Richard Stadelman, executive director of the Wisconsin Towns Association … it's not unusual for small-town clerks to open their offices on nights and weekends to accommodate in-person absentee voting. He said his group opposes the bill as written.
Lazich supports a statewide restriction on absentee voting that matches a fictional problem rural areas have when it comes to accommodating voters after hours and on weekends.

Republicans may not like any of the laws passed by Democrats to solve real problems, but writing laws that apply to problems seen in some imaginary world? We've got a big problem.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gay Son vs Faith? Really?

USA Today should be ashamed of themselves, even on their opinion page...but what did you expect from the main stream media.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

One Dumb Parent Changes National Test Question because she Disagreed with Correct Answer regarding 9/11!!

No one else complained! And why would they, when the answer to a test question on 9/11 happened to be true. Yet after only one uninformed parent complained, all hell broke loose. But more on that in a moment.

But first, the issue that set her off; the CIA’s listed reason why Al Qaida attacked the U.S... It was our policy's abroad in the Arab nations. It’s true no matter how angry bumper sticker patriots deny it, like Kara Sand for instance:  

Checking your child’s homework is a natural duty for any parent, but one mother stumbled upon a controversial question on her fifth graders quiz, and she’s ticked off.  “It asks why the U.S. may be a target for terrorism. Her son chose the correct answer - ‘decisions we made in the United States that negatively impact people elsewhere.’” (Via KRISTV) Kara Sand believes the question suggests America was partially to blame for the September 11 terrorist attacks. She took a photo of her son’s test, and posted it to Facebook where it went viral, garnering support from thousands of other angry parents.

The test was based on an educational video by the company Safari Montage, which provides downloadable educational videos on several subjects for grades K through 12. The company stands by its video on government and terrorism, but has apologized.
Promote the general welfare…
There are so many people who want to force their ignorance of the constitution on everyone else. The General Welfare Clause is settled law, and allows the federal government the ability to provide for it citizens. But because one totally rabid and clueless individual can’t tell the difference between personal responsibility and the Clause, students will be deprived of the chance to be a little bit brighter than she is now.
Kara Sands tells us the quiz opened her eyes to the content in lessons taught at the school. Her biggest concern is curriculum called CSCOPE. One worksheet on the Bill of Rights names food and medicine as rights, not personal responsibility. "He got marked wrong, because it is, it is our responsibility for shelter, it’s our responsibility for food for medicine, it’s not the government's responsibility," Sand said.
Yes it is our personal responsibility if we can afford it, but when we can’t, the government will provide the essentials of life and not let us die. I thought that’s what made our nation great.
Sands says parents need to get involved. "When I teach my children that you have to work hard and you have to earn a living and they go to school and learn something different I absolutely take issue with that," Sands said.
Maybe mom needs to sit in on a class a learn a little something.

Tina Fey's "Actors Studio" performance of Sarah Palin.

Deficit doesn't have to be Zero!!! Just More Republican Fear Mongering.

I saw this from Bloomberg's Josh Barro, and thought it summed up nicely why zeroing out the debt is another ridiculous obsession from the Republicans...and Paul Ryan.
Barro: "The federal government has run a budget deficit in 46 of the last 50 years. So if budget deficits are going to destroy the American economy, they're taking an awful long time about doing it."

Bloomberg News: My colleague Evan Soltas has ably explained why we never need to balance the budget: So long as the economy keeps growing, the government can keep borrowing more money, and it’s all sustainable if the debt does not grow too large relative to the economy. That’s how it’s been possible for the U.S. government to run budget deficits every year since the 1970s, save a handful during the Bill Clinton administration, without blowing up the economy.

People are resistant to this message.

There are appropriate times for individuals to borrow, such as when getting an education or buying a home. But over a lifetime, the individual is supposed to be working to pay down debts and build wealth But the government does not have a life cycle; it plans to exist indefinitely. So it makes much more sense to compare the government to a corporation, which also plans for indefinite existence and therefore may have debt as a permanent part of its capital structure. There is not necessarily an expectation that a firm will decrease its debt load over time, and if a company keeps growing, its debt load may keep getting larger without being a sign of financial distress. 

Good News for possible challenger Rob Zerban, Ryan unfavorable rating 54% according to Rasmussen Poll

People are finally catching on. jsonline:
A Rasmussen Reports poll released this week says 35% of likely U.S. voters have a favorable view of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. That's down from 50% … The new poll says 54 percent now view Ryan unfavorably. 

Middle Class Duped, Ripped-off!!! The Dumb Ron Johnson Promise not to pay back borrowed money from Trust fund

The bizarre Republican campaign to stiff the middle class, by not paying back the borrowed Social Security Trust Fund money is getting little if no media attention.

Congress has been raiding our Social Security retirement trust fund for decades, to spend on tax cuts among other things. Now, the Republican tightwads in the tea party want to walk, and not even pay it back.

Before we reform the tax code and make spending cuts, why not pay off our bills first? That's if Republicans really want to save our kids from the crushing pain of deficits. Instead, the Republicans want to leave the Trust Fund empty, and steal money from our kids Medicare and Social Security benefits in the future, by reducing what they'll get in retirement.

It almost takes your breath away. Am I the only one who's noticed?

Dumb Ron Johnson is even telling us that point blank. But the money isn't gone, it's borrowed. It's not "worth zero," as Johnson claims, unless dumb Americans can be lead by dumber Americans like Johnson.

Talking point Tips: To make it goes.
Republicans refuse to pay down their debt after spending like drunken sailors.

Republicans refuse to pay back the money they BORROWED from the Social Security Trust Fund.

Republicans are stealing from our kids Social Security and Medicare funding by reducing their benefits so they can reduce taxes today. 

Dumb Ron Johnson plays the old "Let's Blame Obama for Slow Economic Growth" game.

Thanks to the Paul Ryan House, and the Senate GOP filibuster's, U.S. economic growth has been slowed enough to start blaming Obama for his "spending failure." Well, he couldn't spend.

Again, the slow recovery is Obama's fault, not the senate filibuster or the actual body of government that won't spend, and controls the purse strings, the House.

Dumb Ron Johnson tried to make that point with the chart below. If Republicans hadn't obstructed stimulus spending with filibusters, there's a good chance liberal Keynesian economic policies would have succeeded, proving supply side a failure. And the GOP couldn't take that chance. That's why dummy is out trying to reinforce the idea that Obama's to blame:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wishful thinking makes voter fraud a reality. They got caught, even without Voter ID.

Republicans love telling people how easy it is to commit voter fraud, really isn't, and you will get caught. All bad results and all without voter ID.

I’m amazed at the balls a few people had trying to vote more than once. You can’t tell me Republicans didn't have any idea people would try to game the system, after telling them how many different ways they could vote more than once? Nice try, but we got em. Some of the cases are actually do to ELECTION FRAUD, a few unintentional, and some from shear stupidity:
jsonline: Milwaukee County prosecutors Thursday filed voter fraud charges against 10 people, including two accused of double voting in 2012 elections and two felons ineligible to vote.

A Milwaukee woman who is accused of signing a recall petition against Republican Gov. Scott Walker three times; and the petition circulator who collected those signatures.

Chad Gigowski, 27, is charged with voting in the November election in Greenfield and in Milwaukee, providing false information to a Greenfield election official and registering in more than one place … he told investigators he and a friend tried voting in at least two other spots before casting a vote in Greenfield. But records show he cast ballots in each city, according to the complaint. Gigowski faces up to 10 ½ years in prison and $30,000 in fines.

Brittany M. Rainey, 23, was charged with lying about her past as a felon to vote in last November's elections.

Caitlin B. Haycock, 24, is charged with a misdemeanor for signing her name and both her parents' names to a Walker recall petition on Nov 15, 2011. Haycock's parents, Virginia Hirsch and Mitch Haycock, separately signed Walker recall petitions on their own, the complaint said.

In another case linked to the Walker recall, Deborah Mehling is charged with a civil violation for signing a petition sheet as circulator even though her daughter had collected one of the signatures. Mehling faces a fine of up to $200.

Brian Uecker lived in Greenfield but in November voted in a ward in that city where he once resided but no longer lived.

Fozia Nawaz of Milwaukee voted in November in Greenfield, telling investigators she did so because it was easier.

Looks like Fat Cat Republicans in Waukesha County are Unhealthy.

Perhaps we'll see a thinning of the conservative herd. Those fat elitists in Waukesha, the same ones who like to turned their noses up at the hard working rabble in Milwaukee and Dane County, may just be killing themselves off from their own opulence. If Scott Walker stays in power, they’ll be dropping like flies in just a few years.

There’s a price for being an envious white collar Republican:
Waukesha Patch: Waukesha County fell from seventh to 13th among Wisconsin counties this year in the fourth annual County Health Rankings, published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

An area where Waukesha County has consistently slid is in morbidity (The quality of being unhealthful). The county was 13th overall in 2011, 22nd last year and 32nd in 2013. Notable changes in individual morbidity measurements from 2010 to 2013 include:

Percent of babies with low birthweight, up from 5.9 percent to 6.4 percent

Adults reporting fair or poor health, up from 9 percent to 10 percent
 It’s not like the wealthy elite don’t have great health care nearby:
The county was ranked No. 2 for clinical care and No. 3 in social and economic factors.

It was the second consecutive year the county fell backward. It was ranked fourth in the first two years of the survey, dropped to seventh in 2012 and now is down to 13th, among 72 Wisconsin counties.

The study ranked each county by data in the following areas: Morbidity, Mortality, Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors, Physical Environment.

Wisconsin company headquarters lured to Minnesota with Corporate Welfare.

I doubt I would have been given so many incentives to live in my fair city when I was house hunting. Maybe I should have tried.

It pays off well for business, and not a peep out of tightwad conservatives so worried about people getting something for nothing. But that’s what corporate handouts are, freebees. Oh sure, they may create jobs, but why the freebees? They would have created the jobs anyway.

Where was Scott Walker? Take a look at this outrageous giveaway: 
Hudson Patch: Minnesota persuaded Valley Cartage to move their headquarters across the river with a $940,000 economic development package that includes a tax abatement, a sizable forgivable loan, job-training funds and energy credits. The package also includes $500,000 from the Minnesota Investment Fund and $400,000 from the state’s Job Skills Partnership as incentive to move. The deal means about 50 new jobs in Minnesota—paying an average salary of $52,000—and creating a $30 million impact on the economy.