Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Public Trusts Republicans on Economy and Job Creation?

If any part of this Rasmussen poll is to be believed, we're in real trouble. Depending on political affiliations in the sample, let's hope it leaned heavily Republican:

Sly's Interview with Winnebago County Executive and possible candidate for governor Mark Harris! Says Walker Setting us up for Fall and more Cuts.

In this Sly interview with Mark Harris, I inserted a statement he made at the end, and put it in the beginning. It's that important, because he nails the Republican formula for downsizing government; create deficits with tax cuts and borrowing, just so they have an excuse to make more cuts because government is still spending to much (and it always will be).

This guy is great, and has my support so far (audio):

Ryan's corporate tax cut sounds awful when Obama says it, so says the Lyin' King.

What can you say about our 1% warrior Paul Ryan?
Ryan: “The president claims his economic agenda is for the middle class. But it's actually for the well-connected.”
He’s always looking out for the hardest hit, the downtrodden, the poor and the hungry, especially after he and his Republican friends caused the Great Recession. Who else would come to their aid by showing them they don’t need food stamps, unemployment or health care security.  

The projection king himself just can’t stop lying.
Ryan: “Obama said he's interested in tax reform for corporations -- but not for families or small businesses.”
Sorry to interrupt, but Ryan wants the poor to pay taxes while providing tax reform for corporations. I won’t do it again…let’s continue:
Ryan: “He wants to give some businesses relief from ObamaCare. But he refuses to give the same relief to families.”
I've got to interrupt, but Obamacare is relief for families, and businesses successfully dragged their feet whining and complaining. Sorry…there’s more:
Ryan: “He wants to funnel money to his green-energy cronies. But he refuses to let us develop our energy resources and create good-paying jobs.”
Hold on, Obama wants to give subsidies to green-energy like congress did to those big oil cronies, because wind and solar is where the good-paying jobs of the future are. Okay, no more interruptions:
Ryan: “Today we have record poverty and high unemployment. For too many families, the American Dream is out of reach.”
I’m sorry, but we weren't saying anything like that in 2000 when we had surpluses, you know, just before Bush and the Republicans took over and spent like drunken sailors…including you Paul. Thanks for leaving that for us.
Ryan: “What the president is really offering is to replace government by the people with government by the experts.”

Sorry, I have no idea what that means, no idea really.  

The Republican Infestation of the Capitol city knocked Madison off Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s “hot towns” list!!!!

Now with the streaming hoards of conservatives filling our Capitol and eateries, not to mention tea party gun owners get bused into town by Americans for Prosperity, the 20’s retro feel here has completely wiped us off the list of “hot towns” in Kiplinger.
Cap Times-Mike Ivey: Madison isn’t on this latest list of “hot towns” but an unlikely neighbor on the other side of the Mississippi River made it.

Dubuque, Iowa is ranked No. 10 on the Kiplinger's Personal Finance new list of “10 Great Places to Live.”

It’s also interesting that so many college towns made the list but not Madison, which hasn’t shown up on as many “best places” lists as it did a decade ago. Perhaps the cost of living has gotten too high or the protests at the Capitol have cooled the town’s reputation for peace and tranquility.

Madison's Union Thugs and Commie Liberals Scare Off Crime!!!

I'm not sure who to credit, Scott Walker's authoritarian armed concealed carry, stand with Walker brownshirts, or the frightening roving crowds of liberal unionista's scaring people out of the Capitol and our fair city.

Again, it's so sad the media continues to adore Madison's progressive liberals with award after award, when they should be praising Waukesha for keeping the riffraff out.
Realtor magazine: AOL Real Estate recently analyzed the FBI’s report on crime to find the cities with populations of more than 200,000 that have violent crime rates “substantially” below the national average.

Here are the top 10 “safe zones” that made its list:
1. Irvine, Calif. (ninth consecutive year named safest city in the nation)2. Fremont, Calif.3. Plano, Texas4. Madison, Wis.5. Irving, Texas

Republican Anger and Envy: The Odd Case for Killing Food Stamps, and the Consequences.

Republicans don’t seem to want to get it; the Great Recession wiped out millions of large and small businesses and the jobs that went with them; 40 years of wage stagnation....the reason so many people are now on food stamps.

Instead of looking at the reason why so many people are on food stamps, and solving that problem first, they’re going after, vilifying and trying to kill the program that feeds so many working Americans.
New research is now giving us a look at the unintended consequences of teaching these food freeloaders a tough lesson in life:
NY Times: Nearly half a million people … would lose their eligibility for the (food stamp) program under proposed cuts that are expected to be taken up again by Congress. An additional 160,000 to 305,000 recipients who do get enough to eat would also lose their eligibility and the ability to adequately feed themselves. In total, about 5.1 million people would be eliminated from the program, according to a new report.
Problem solved, right Republicans?
The Health Impact Project, a Washington research group, released a study on Tuesday about the impact of the proposed cuts to the food stamp program … (by) the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report said cuts to the program would not only affect the ability of low-income households to feed themselves but would also increase poverty ... a lack of food would lead to increases in illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure among adults … In children, the cuts would lead to higher rates of asthma and depression. Diabetes alone could increase federal and state health care costs by nearly $15 billion over the next 10 years, the report found.

“We wanted to make sure that health is part of the debate,” said Dr. Aaron Wernham, the director of the project. “There is a large body of public health research which shows how food insecurity affects health.”
Yes, that’s important, and would seem to be the most convincing argument yet:
The $20.5 billion in cuts is expected to be the starting point for a new measure, and the Health Impact Project used that amount as the basis for its study. The food stamp program has become a target for conservatives in Congress as it has grown over the past decade. Nearly 48 million people currently receive food stamp benefits, and the program costs about $80 billion a year.

Dr. Wernham said “It’s a trade-off between paying for rent, medicine or food,” he said. “Policy makers need to understand what the health impacts are going to be if they make the kinds of changes they are considering to the SNAP program.”
This “kill food stamps” movement, which includes those hungry drags on our society, is really a denial of the historical reason these programs became law in the first place.

This is disaster capitalism; a situation in which a government takes advantage of a major disaster (Great Recession) to force people to accept economic policies they would never normally permit.

Are there no work houses? If jobs are scarce and you’re desperate to feed your family, you would be at the mercy of whatever business wants to pay you. The term “job creator” didn't really apply to business, it was another more acceptable name for “wealthy.” Businesses don’t exist to create jobs, they’re in it to make money with as few people (jobs) as possible.

Crazy Gun Losers at Wisconsin Carry Inc. manufacture story around buy back program.

Here's a short sample and part of the bigger story you can read here, at Root River Siren:
Critics of gun buy-backs (who can't comprehend the notion of anyone voluntarily surrendering a firearm) say the gun buy-backs only net junk guns, BB guns and air rifles.

These aspersions are cast to dampen community support (i.e. donations) for the event.

To make sure they are correct, members of Wisconsin Carry, Inc. came to Racine last Saturday weighted down with BB guns and broken guns to sell and promptly released a statement saying the guns purchased in the buy-back were worthless.

GOP backed Banks the real job killers. Family Restaurant forced to Close.

It occurred to me after reading the following story that Obama's Affordable Care Act isn't shutting down businesses, it’s the GOP’s biggest supporters…the banks. Yeah, the ones American’s bailed out.

The horror story started with an illness, and the owner falling behind on his bank payments. Instead of working something out, the bank foreclosed. It’s business, take a hike. Maybe depositor's should too.
The Mount Pleasant Patch: After nearly 60 years of serving Racine, Dino's Restaurant will close its doors at the close of business on Sunday.

Dino Dominici opened the restaurant at the corner of 16th Street and Phillips Avenue in 1955. Now 82, he said it feels terrible to see his life's work closing. "I've been here for 58 years, paying the bills and now the bank doesn't want to work with us," he said. "We're doing good business and we have good customers."

Dominici said the trouble began over two years ago when he had to have open heart surgery and couldn't keep up with the payments. When he was on the mend, the family tried to get the bank - Tri-City National Bank - to work with them, but the family couldn't meet the cash requirement.
Dave Ferderer, Dominici's grandson, told Patch Monday that the business is going through foreclosure despite an agreement that the bank would own the building and the restaurant would lease. Then, he said, he got a call from the family's lawyer saying the deal was a bust and foreclosure proceedings would commence.

"We started going through this two years ago, trying to get them to work with us, but they just wouldn't," he said. "For some reason, they'd rather see an empty building than give a local business another chance."

Dominici's daughter - and Dave's mom - Rosalie Ferderer said several times during an interview with Patch Monday that she can't believe the restaurant is closing after all these years. "I just can't talk about it," she said, wiping tears. "I worry about what will happen to our employees and the shut-ins who rely on us for food. It feels like my heart is being ripped out." Dominici shrugged and agreed. "This feels terrible," he said.

For Dave, the hardest part of closing is thinking about where his employees will go. "My chef has been here for 30 years, I see him every day," he continued. "And other employees, too. Chris Myhre, an assistant manager, has been with the restaurant for 16 years. her voice waivered and cracked occasionally during our conversation.

"We found out last week," she said, referring to when Ferderer broke the news. "And it hurts, to be honest. This is more than a job. I've worked here for 16 years, and this is my family."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Smashing the High Graduation Rates Myth at Voucher Schools.

Education historian Diane Ravitch mentioned Milwaukee's voucher program and explained away the higher graduation rates touted by choice lobbyists and backers:
I received the following email today from Senator Mitch McConnell. He really needs to get some people on his staff who can read and understand education research.

He would learn, for example, that students in voucher schools have not outperformed students in public schools anywhere. He would learn that voucher schools appear to have a higher graduation rate because they have a huge attrition rate.

For example, in Milwaukee, 56% of the students who started vouchers schools in ninth grade dropped out before reaching graduation. So, the 44% who did not drop out were more likely to have a higher graduation rate than the public schools that accepted the dropouts from the voucher schools.

Why do these so-called “conservatives” want to destroy their own community’s public schools? There is nothing conservative about that.

Funny they don’t mention that vouchers have never been approved in any referendum. Voters don’t want their public dollars to go to religious or unregulated private schools.
That was easy.

Part Time workers Hours Cut? The Numbers Say No...for now.

I thought this graph pretty much reflects the reality of employee part time hours, which are not getting cut in any great way, counter to the claims of a few cheap bastards that everyone's doing it.  Wonkblog:

Walker to innocently sign into law anything that comes his way to expand Act 10, but don't blame him.

Scott Walker can always point to the money saved by Act 10. That's the easy part. But it also ignores all of the unintended future consequences his attack on labor will end up producing later on, too numerous to mention.

The Natural Cancerous Growth of Act 10: Walker won't be happy until were all left with no actual way to live in retirement, an odd goal supported by conservatives everywhere. Benefits or no benefits, if government can save money now, who cares about the future lives of Wisconsinites? It's a national party dream that makes us all part of what I imagine to be a scene from The Road Warrior.   

Fox 6's Mike Lowe takes a look at Walker's next step: 

Act 10 limited most collective bargaining powers for most public employees. Police and fire unions were exempted from the reforms, but now, Gov. Scott Walker has suggested expanding Act 10 to include those unions.

“I think now, for those areas, having seen that the world didn’t come to an end for other municipal employees, there might be a greater opening going forward because they’d say, ‘hey, you know, things worked out,’” Gov. Walker said Monday, July 29th. Gov. Walker says he won’t propose the expansion of Act 10, but he would consider it if bills passed through the Legislature.

Gov. Walker repeated his assertion that he’s not out to destroy unions, saying “the unions that offer value will continue to see members,” both in the public and private sector.
Of course Walker milked all the value out of unions, so any decline in membership will be blamed on the unions, and not our anti-employee/anti-constituent governor.

But the Republican Party ploy of taking both sides of an issue, to either confuse their low information base or use in campaign ads disputing their actual position...whatever it is, gets the Walker treatment. From Blue Cheddar:
There was a story released by WUWM at 5:58 PM MON JULY 29 called Walker Says Collective Bargaining Limits Could Solve Other States’ Problems in which Walker says it might be time to expand Wisconsin Act 10 to public safety workers.

Then at 5AM today, Tuesday July 30, 2013, I ran into this:Walker Says He Won’t Push For Ending Collective Bargaining For Police Or Firefighters

Walker is either market testing another assault on worker rights, he got something printed to send to his severely right of center donors, or else he is just being his usual arrogant megalomaniac prick self.

Softening Reputation as Lyin' Ryan, he desperately constructs funny "getting Weinermobiled again" story.

'This Town' (Blue Rider Press), Mark Leibovich's new book, contained this folksy aside about regular guy Ryan:

 "In early August, when Romney tapped him, Ryan's life got predictably insane: he coined a new phrase, 'to get Weinermobiled.' It referred to a summer he once spent working for Oscar Mayer in northern Minnesota. A reporter asked him if he ever drove the Weinermobile. 'I did actually, as a promotion for turkey bacon at a grocery store,' he said. 'Then Wikipedia or something wrote that I was the guy who drove the Weinermobile.' That was its own job. Ryan only drove it once. But the story spread and he gets accused of lying. 'So now, whenever something like that happens, we say, "Oh, I'm getting Weinermobiled again." ' "
Yeah, that's makes everything good again?

Paul Ryan trashed Senate Immigration bill, admits "no one reads 1,000 page bills" anymore. Let's elect someone who does?

In a Mt. Pleasant Patch piece, Paul Ryan slipped up. At a recent listening session, he panicked. I had to read this three or four times just to make sure I wasn't missing something. Sure Ryan lies, but we have rarely seen him caught this off guard, saying something so unrehearsed and so desperately stupid in front of a largely Hispanic crowd, that it almost takes your breath away:
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan assured hundreds of Hispanics Friday that undocumented residents would not have to worry about deportation under his vision for immigration reform ... Speaking in Racine at his 16th listening session with the Hispanic community, Ryan said he wants to put those who are in the country illegally on a type of probation. If they followed the rules, paid a fine and got a job, they could become citizens in 15 years, he told an audience of about 300. 
In what is an obvious stalling scheme to pass only border security, and to eventually forget about citizenship for illegal immigrants, Ryan tried to sell an unbelievably convoluted 5 bill plan. This at a time when Ryan's house of Republicans can't pass one bill that makes any sense:
Why five bills are better than one: Ryan said at least five different bills that address his
He actually did say that...
four points could hit the House floor in October. Several members of the audience asked why he doesn't support the Senate bill.
Ready for it?
He said he can't support the Senate bill because it's too unwieldy, for one, at 1,000 pages, and no one really knows what's in it. "Passing legislation in stages is best because no one reads 1,000 page bills," he noted. "We've been doing that and how well has that worked?"
Remember that at the polls when you see the name Rob Zerban next to Ryan. We need at a minimum, a "reader" in congress. Is that too much to ask of our freeloading Republican politicians taking a taxpayer paycheck?

The Old Con Artist Returns: Again, Ryan refuses to give any of what we can only assume are the disgusting and repugnant bill killing details:
Still, Ryan said he wouldn't get into specifics about his plan until he had other members of the House GOP at the table with him. "These are the details that get hammered out in legislation so I'm not going to go into the fine particulates," he said. "What I'm trying to do is show where there's a broad consensus and how to get immigration reform that works. All these specifics ... that's something we're going to have to figure out."
Doesn't that just piss you off? 

Charter School's "A" Grade gift to Big Republican Campaign Donor.

A big thanks to Blogging Blue for this privatization charter school gem exposing the early start of something we’ll see a lot more of from choice advocates; cheating:
AP EXCLUSIVE: GOP DONOR'S SCHOOL GRADE CHANGED: Indiana school Superintendent Dr. Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks from at "C" to and "A". 

Still want to get government and parents out of the way when it comes to holding our public schools accountable, by moving to a corrupt private system?

Scott Walker uses O'Donnell Tragedy for "Disgusting...blatant poltical purposes" on Campaign and County Time.

Remember this Scott Walker statement, "It is disgusting that anyone would use a tragedy for such blatant political purposes," because it describes exactly what Walker did with the O’Donnell parking structure accident that killed a 15-year-old boy on June 24, 2010.

For Walker, the ends justified the means in his efforts to become the next governor. Where the John Doe investigation let Walker off, even though it successfully prosecuted his completely corrupt handpicked staff, this O’Donnell effort removes all doubt. 

jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker worked simultaneously with his campaign staff and county aides in coordinating responses to media inquiries, open records requests and news stories about the 2010 O'Donnell Park tragedy, according to newly released emails. The records show that Walker was integrally involved in the efforts to challenge any negative publicity
Here’s that Walker line again, directed at both his campaign and county staff.
"It is disgusting that anyone would use a tragedy for such blatant political purposes," Walker wrote in a draft statement that he sent on July 20, 2010, to a small circle of campaign and county staff, including campaign manager Keith Gilkes, campaign adviser R.J. Johnson and Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli.
How clear is this connection, and how “disgusting” was it to “use a tragedy for such blatant political purposes?”
Walker's top Milwaukee County fiscal aide, Cindy Archer, emailed Walker and Walker campaign aides on July 8 that "we may be responding too quickly" to requests for O'Donnell-related records made by his Republican primary rival, Mark Neumann, and by the state Democratic Party. "My sense from Keith is that we should be operating one step above ignoring them," Archer says in an email to county staffer Kelly Rindfleisch.

“One step above ignoring them,” with regards to the death of a 15 boy? Still not completely disgusted by this sociopath?

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind Farms: Walker helped kill 33 Wind Energy Jobs, other States having Banner year.

Tax subsidies for wind and solar are drying up. Add to that Gov. Scott Walker’s distaste for any but coal and gas and legislators trying to stop wind development in the state, and you’ve got a job killing policy.

These job losses are Walker’s and our state congressional Republicans fault:
WKOW: A manufacturer that makes parts for wind turbines is closing its facility in Cuba City. 33 people will lose their jobs when the Wausaukee Composites factory closes … their primary customer is closing one of its facilities … it has been unable to find any new customers or other wind energy business because of federal tax law changes and decreased investment in the wind energy industry.
A while back, WKOW's Greg Neumann did a detailed report on wind opposition in Wisconsin:

Meanwhile, in this report from WPT's Market to Market, wind is picking up all over the country. Want to know what we're missing...maybe you don't. Great report on wind energy:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mary Burke revealed!

Get a glimpse of Madison School Board member Mary Burke responding to Walker name calling on her possible run for governor. From WKOW's Tony Galli:

By the way, WKOW is kicking news ass covering politics. WISC is pretty close.

'icki McKenna now hates rich political candidates. Funny how that works out like that.

What next, a Capitol Ban on Roving School Kids? Sly points out Blaska hypocrisy.

With all the attention centered on the arrests at the Capitol, you’d think they would try to be as factual as possible. No such chance with the administration. They do realize making obvious lies will exposed almost immediately:
WKOW: A Dane County official disputes a state official Stephanie Marquis’ claim a scheduled state capitol wedding ceremony took place in the rain, as dozens of protesters inside the capitol occupied the building's rotunda.

County court commissioner Daniel Floeter tells 27 News he officiated the wedding ceremony, and said it was held outside the building by design, with no precipitation. "We did not do the ceremony in the rain," Floeter says.
If anything, Capitol Police might have to crack down on the problem of large groups of school kids getting in the way:

Floeter says the only delay in the ceremony just before noon resulted from the brief presence of about fifty school children.
Here's more from WKOW's Greg Neumann with the Blaska "permitted" sing-in with comments from 93.7's Sly:

Ask Republicans How Charter School Privatization is going...

Privatization offers up the brightest and the best...

Wisconsin Reporter Defends Wal Mart's Drain on Taxpayer Dollars.

Wisconsin Reporters “Watchdog staff” simply amazed me today. Get a load of this title:
“Democrats complain having a job costs taxpayer dollars”
Crazy right? Oh, it gets even more surreal. There are three important dangers signs that spell the end of our democratic republic; Authoritarianism, projection, and rationalization. You’ll find all three here.

Let’s fall head first into this rabbit hole, with Dr. Merrill Matthews, a Resident Scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation. Great group name? 

Rationalize away...
The House Democrats’ Committee on Education and the Workforce has released a paper trying to demonstrate how Wal-Mart’s low-wage model costs taxpayers nearly $1 million per store … at least $904,452 per just one Wisconsin Supercenter. Where to start!?

While the paper claims it focuses on Wisconsin because it has the most complete and up-to-date data, you can bet that attacking rising GOP star Gov. Scott Walker had a lot to do with it.

Second, Wal-Mart’s average hourly wage of $8.81 is only 19 cents an hour less than President Obama’s proposed minimum wage increase of $9.00. Nearly everyone who qualifies for welfare benefits under Wal-Mart’s average wage would also qualify under Obama’s minimum wage.

Third, Democrats’ outrage is disingenuous because they never miss an opportunity to move the goalposts by increasing the eligibility-threshold for welfare benefits.

Finally, the paper says nothing about how Wal-Mart employing about 1.4 million Americans reduces government dependence. Employee benefits do not come free. If Wal-Mart chose, or was forced by government, to pay higher wages, it might cost fewer tax dollars, but consumers would likely pay higher prices. And the company’s effort to be the low-price leader could become a thing of the past.

Why does Obama have to go on vacation so often during our continuing economic crisis? Well, he doesn't.

"Obama's on vacation again" outrage is just another lie and distraction we've put in graph form here. You didn't really think Republicans need leadership in Washington from Obama every time he went on vacation, did you? This proves my thesis; Republican like small government because they're lazy "on the government dole" freeloaders. Any questions?


Ed Schultz, Progressive Magazine's Ruth Conniff, John Fugelsang reveal the real Scott Walker, they don't hold back!!

After watching the Ed Show from Sunday, I nearly got off the couch to clap. I did shout though. Ed and his guests got it so right about Scott Walker. Stephanie Miller features John Fugelsang on her radio program often, but here, after hearing how he ripped into Scott Walker, you will have a new best friend. What Fugelsang said about the Capitol protesters is amazing...not to mention his joke about arresting folk singers.

A must see:

Blaska sings out-of-tune, kills traditional American songs with other protesters at Capitol!!!

Give WKOW's Greg Neumann credit, that guy is everywhere. Take a look at his play-by-play Tweet + picture about Sly's protest against David Blaska's tea party singalong at the Capitol today:

For fun, here's the conservative fringe group MacIver Institute's coverage, which is nicely put together considering the time they had, and heck, it's pretty good. Sly and all. Blaska's 3 dozen to Solidarity's 200...thugs:

If you have a chance, check out the great story at Jake's Economic TA Funhouse on the other options open to the Solidarity Singers, and Blaska's tasteless Twinkies statement.

Depending on how much time you have, Neumann interviewed right wing loon David Blaska about his singing protest at the Capitol today. Rep. Melissa Sargent took this guy on as well, and verbally knocked him to the floor. When you get Republicans to focus, and press them for an answer, they fold like a house of cards.

I've edited each guest up, and included the whole shebang, depending on who you want to listen to most.

Blaska first: With gems like, "Why does David Blaska have to get a permit and they don't ... No ones ever said the Capitol is the property of the Solidarity Singers ... They're their own worst advertisement. the intransigence, the self entitlement, the public tantrum they're displaying...they're turning off the people of Wisconsin."  All crackpot comments that prove how easily these guys fall in line with their "leaders." If you've ever wondered how despots take power with the peoples approval, watch David Blaska:

Here's how Rep. Melissa Sargent argued for the protests, a lesson for Democrats everywhere on how not to back down and get to the point:

Or the whole interview by Greg Neumann:

WMC President and CEO sets bad example for other businesses by getting facts wrong in press release disguised as a news story.

The big lie from the big business lobby WMC, and their sky-is-falling CEO who doesn't understand numbers yet:

In reality (California and New York) and based on actual numbers you would think a business lobbying group would use if it wanted to be taken seriously, exposes the lies spilling from the president of WMC. And he probably believes his own BS. Talk about embarrassing. 

From a HHS report released on July 18, looking at the marketplace rates so far compared with CBO estimates:
In the six states the lowest small group silver premium for single coverage, weighted by small group age distribution, is 8% to 36% lower than the estimated pre-Affordable Care Act 2014 averaging 18%. Similarly, the small group premium from the second (silver) lowest cost issuer for 2014 is 6% to 36% lower than the estimated pre-Affordable Care Act 2014 small group premium averaging 15% lower across these six states.
That would be a lot lower than CBO estimates (so it's working), and a little more than a bare bones junk policy that covered nothing, with huge out-of-pocket deductibles.  For a complete recent breakdown, I highly recommend Jonathan Cohn's report here.

WMC Pres. and CEO Kurt Bauer goes on to lament the elimination of toxic pollutants in Wisconsin and the harm to the state because Republicans refused to move on from dirty coal fired plants to cleaner technologies (it's all their fault). All the while still pushing nuclear, just after a plant closed due to the lack of buyer and consumer interest. Oh, China is polluting, so why can't we? And they put this guy in charge?

Note: I had a number of high deductible Health Savings Accounts, one with a deductible of $10,000 out-of-pocket believe it or not. They would raise it mid-policy and tell me in a letter.

Another little known nightmare involves drug riders, that cost between $400 and $800 a year, whether you use a prescription or not. You can't opt out either. If you decide to remove the rider, it's gone for good. They won't put it back on. Now that's what I call health care freedom.

Republicans wield Ax over Industry Regulations they know nothing about, just to reduce the number of pages.

Regulation is getting the “too many pages” treatment in Wisconsin now by Republicans. Never mind the reason a regulation came to exist in the first place, there's just too many “pages.”

And thanks to the Wisconsin Reporter we can see the lunacy of the “too many pages” argument coming into sharp focus. There are two excellent examples getting the attention of the Assembly’s Review of Administrative Rules Committee:
Holes in Swiss cheese holes must be of a certain size. No kidding.
Looks like a bunch of partisan Republican bureaucrats are about to micro manage an industry they have no familiarity with; cheese making,  Here’s why “cheese holes must be a certain size.”
In general, the larger the eyes in a Swiss cheese, the more pronounced its flavor. Cheese with large eyes doesn't slice well, and is one reason why US manufacturers usually produce a product less aged and flavorful than imported cheeses of the same style. Baby Swiss has smaller holes and a milder flavor. Lacy Swiss is a small hole Swiss cheese made with low fat milk.
Another words, hole size is related to the kind of cheese you’re interested in buying, a strong flavorful Swiss or mild. Here's another example from the article:
Nursing homes, for instance, can be fined if the orange juice is off by a degree, according to a specified range.
“A degree” probably refers to the actual top limit a food can still be stored safely. After that, there’s a chance of bacterial formation. Outrageous and unnecessary? I didn't think so.

So with these two examples in mind, our Republican authority, with little or no oversight and debate, is about to make us all rugged individuals who will have to suffer the consequences of our choices in our now deregulated society. Hell, it might even make you think twice about buying something, and that’s always good for our economy.

Or you could think of it in the way Rep. Dan LeMahieu does, completely upside down yet ideologically principled:
 “Regulations take money from the pockets of citizens and business every day,” said Rep. Dan LeMahieu, R-Cascade, who co-chairs the Assembly’s Review of Administrative Rules Committee. “We should be confident that these rules actually protect individuals, rather than just putting a burden on businesses.”

With that in mind, lawmakers are taking on a seemingly monumental task — reviewing and updating the entire administrative code. Line by line … All 1,768 chapters … All 11,764 pages.
And when it’s finally whittled down to 10,150 pages, will that be small enough? 
“Hopefully by the end of the day, we won’t just be making cosmetic changes,” LeMahieu said.
For a look at the Walker outline, check out the Wisconsin Regulatory Review Report.

Walker Okay with Secret Surveillance. We're not Surprised.

The Walker Authority, as like to call them, apparently isn't shy about getting behind spying on Americans. While most people see a huge problem with the FISA court and the evolving Bush policy, now on steroids, Walker sees power and a way to keep it:
jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker, on stage with other potential 2016 presidential candidates -- said Thursday he did not see a shift toward libertarianism among grass roots Republicans over national surveillance programs.

“I see a few loud and vocal people talking in Washington and I don’t think that necessarily reflects where the party is,” Walker said, according to this New York Times story.
Walker said the same thing when hundreds of thousands of protesters came out against his policies, and recall forms came in listing nearly a million signatures. It's always those few "loud and vocal people" who don't reflect Scott Walker's agenda. Take Walker's word for it, everybody else stands with him:
Walker made the comment after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a forceful defense for the surveillance programs started by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and continued by President Barack Obama. Christie’s comments were a pointed rebuke of politicians like U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, another potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

Citations for Solidarity Singers not Popular even in Waukesha County.

In conservative Brookfield, I thought this online poll was a very encouraging sign:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dumb Ron Johnson still doesn't know Union Members pay Taxes too.

Dumb Ron Johnson would have you believe corporate cash is a wonderful influence on our elections, but look out for union money. A flustered Johnson is so tied up in a knot over union representation, that he doesn't know dues paying union employees are actual tax payers too. They even live, breath and spend money locally. Here he talks about pensions...
Johnson: "...these are benefits you were pointing out had been negotiated between politicians and unions. And unions are pouring dues in, to elect those very same politicians that sit across from them at the bargaining table. Where's the taxpayer in that equation? 

The taxpayer doesn't exist so again, what ends up happening is  you get are these labor agreements agreed to by politicians, elected by the unions, and the fact of the matter...the taxpayer can't afford them."
Where's the taxpayer in the equation when private business pours millions into campaigns to steer government their way? They're not. Earth to Dumb Ron Johnson, union members are TAXPAYERS.

Hell, even in Citizens United, the conservative court gave equal standing to businesses and unions to spend lots of money. Johnson remembers only one part of that decision.

Does this guy make us all feel a whole lot smarter after watching him stumble and stammer his way through an interview? Again, great stuff from Upfront with Mike Gousha:

Dumb Ron Johnson spreads stupid all over Obamacare again.

Upfront with Mike Gousha dug up gold during an interview with the dumbest buy in the Senate this weekend.

Dumb Ron Johnson confirmed he still knows nothing about the Affordable Care Act. Johnson fears the bogie man in reform, from too many pages in the act, to the decline of care and innovation. These pure fabrications are the only things holding up Johnson's, and the tea party's arguments. Otherwise, they've got nothing....which is what they've got.
Johnson: "'s going to lower the quality of health care, it's going to lead to rationing, it'll really limit medical innovation..."
Wrong, oh so wrong on all accounts; that's why every other industrialized country in the world has a national health care plan that cost less, doesn't ration, and has better health care outcomes than the U.S.. The fact is insurers are rationing care now. Guess he never got that memo.

Finally, what inventor will stop inventing because of a small tax? Ridiculous and just more of the mindless drivel this guy continues to get away with.

But even more outrageous; he actually advocates throwing everybody in Wisconsin under the bus by saying the state should be able to opt out of Obamacare. Yeah, we don't have sick people going bankrupt in Wisconsin, or families without coverage, or patient's topping out their yearly allowance:
Johnson: "We can take care of ourselves in Wisconsin."
This from a guy who married into wealth. Gousha asked him if Republican opposition had something to do with the employer mandate delay. Here again, Dumb Ron Johnson either didn't know or chose to ignore the dozens of Republican governors who didn't cooperate.
Johnson: "So far the Republicans haven't been able to do anything to change the course of this law. What's causing the "train wreck" is just the implementation alone of it, 20,000 pages..."
The misapplied use of the term "train wreck," said by Sen. Max Baucus to describe Obamacare if Republicans kept obstructing it, is getting so old not to mention and an insult to our intelligence.

Breathless as usual and in a total panic over the downfall of our country, Johnson is a national embarrassment.

Sen. Fitzgerald lets it slip, Capitol Arrests meant to intimidate and Isolate Politicians from the People.

This odd and very unsettling warning went out at the Capitol, reported in the Wisconsin State Journal like it was just another day in the park.
WSJ: Fitzgerald warns politicians to not get near protesters … Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s office sent a note to legislative offices warning staff not to congregate along the balcony during the protests. “If you are in the vicinity of the illegal demonstrations that have been taking place over the noon hour in the rotunda, you will be considered part of the protests and are subject to being ticketed,” the message said.
Fitzgerald is aware that even innocent bystanders at the Capitol are targets for arrest. For a majority party that says they’re trying to protect everyone’s right to visit the Capitol, that’s not what I'm seeing, and leaves no doubt that they're outright lying. What better reason for a judge to find the “protest permits” unconstitutional. It’s impossible to say whose there to protest, and whose just watching, unless that wasn't the point:
Joe Meiller, a Madison Metro bus driver who brought his two sons to watch the singalong Friday from the balcony, was upset that he was asked to leave by Capitol police.

“We didn’t sing or clap once,” Meiller said. “If I observe a bank robbery nearby, am I a participant because I was nearby?”
Meiller is a participant by Capitol standards, because that’s the point of the arrests…shear intimidation and government censorship. Unconstitutional as hell.

But just as bad, Fitzgerald is telling politicians and their staff to stay away from their constituents. An interesting way to serve the people.    

The Fat Blaska Sings, the Day Wisconsin Surrendered Freedom to the Walker Authority!

Should I be surprised the Wisconsin State Journal’s conservative whiner Chris Richert had a hard time understanding why the Solidarity Singers didn't buy a permit. Or that a former Republican county supervisor, David Blaska, bought one because his leaders required it? It’s what some have described as authoritarian conservatism. They don't get the long term point.

Who would have thought that the party who likes to think of themselves as “constitutional conservatives,” would think to first ask to get their governments permission to protest? I’m thinking it would be almost comical to get one of them to “channel” a founding father, which they often do, to justify such a policy.

Blaska’s “permit protest” will unintentionally represent only one thing…surrender. His party subservience will be on display for all to see. And this is what passes for rugged individualism? 
WSJ: “They have commandeered this space, and the fact is, to get my song in edgewise, I’ve got to get a permit,” said David Blaska, a conservative columnist who is organizing the group he calls the “We've Got a Permit” singers.
“'We've Got a Permit' singers,” really? It's breathtaking. To be honest, I never thought I’d see the day we had such unquestionably blind obedience to a political party. Watching Blaska cower before his leaders should give everyone watching, a sinking feeling that something is terribly wrong here:
Blaska will lead his group in singing “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”
I've pointed to this article below in the past, and find it the best explanation yet about what is really going on, from George W. Bush on up to Scott Walker, Rick Snyder, Rick Scott... Terms like "Right-Wing Authoritarians," "Social Dominators" and the "Double High Authoritarian" who possesses " 'extra-extra unfair' natures," are all ways of describing Republicans today. From former Nixon White House counsel John Dean of Watergate fame, the “Triumph of the authoritarians,” appearing in the Boston Globe on July 14, 2006. All this from a real conservative:
Contemporary conservatism … calls for packing the courts to politicize the federal judiciary  … the monocratic leadership style imposed on the US House in 1994 … destroy the deliberative nature of the US Senate … Today's Republican policies are antithetical to bedrock conservative fundamentals.

Authoritarian conservatives are, as a researcher told me, "enemies of freedom, antidemocratic, antiequality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian and amoral." And that's not just his view. To the contrary, this is how these people have consistently described themselves when being anonymously tested, by the tens of thousands over the past several decades.

Authoritarianism's impact on contemporary conservatism is beyond question. Because this impact is still growing and has troubling (if not actually evil) implications, I hope that social scientists will begin to write about this issue for general readers. It is long past time to bring the telling results of their empirical work into the public square and to the attention of American voters. No less than the health of our democracy may depend on this being done. We need to stop thinking we are dealing with traditional conservatives on the modern stage, and instead recognize that they've often been supplanted by authoritarians.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Banks can come and take your Home away! Hey, Let's make government smaller?

As the tea party movement tries to hand everything we have over to private industry, all the while defending property rights (no one said they were smart), big money has other plans for you and your home.

Note: Republicans are big on “certainty” for business, but they’re less than enthusiastic about making their constituents feel certain. Like the bank or mortgage company taking your home...because they can.

Now, it looks like none of us can be certain about living in our own homes. Think I’m kidding? We've actually managed to get to this point, where banks are now saying they can do anything:  

rTV6: A Hamilton County (Indiana) family is taking legal action after they were locked out of their Carmel townhouse.

Michael’s family (in) April decided to move to a bigger home and rent out their townhouse. (One day) Michael found their townhouse was locked and the utilities were turned off. "Our lender changed the locks on us," Michael said.

A notice was left: alerted the family that, "all persons entering this property (must) provide an explanation of their visit, sign and date the form." Michael was locked out, even though his bank statements show he is current with his mortgage and his loan doesn't mature until 2033.

The family hired lawyer Kathy Davis to deal with their mortgage servicer Green Tree Financial.
"The woman told me -- this is something that I will never forget, honestly -- she told me that they were the mortgage company, and if they wanted to change your locks, they could," Davis said. Davis has handled more than 100 cases involving mortgage companies. "This is something I have never heard of, ever," she said. "(It's the) first time I've seen something like this." 
Davis has filed a lawsuit in Hamilton County seeking damages. Green Tree Financial and Safeguard Properties declined to comment on this story due to the pending litigation.

The Call 6 Investigators found foreclosure fiascos that caused headaches and heartaches around the country. In 2009, a Kansas City, Kan., man was notified his home was in foreclosure though he was current and his loan was up in 2032.

In 2010, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home was foreclosed even though the owner did not have a mortgage.

Scott Walker, GOP, try to Vilify ObamaCare before public finds out about Lower Small Business Insurance premiums through Exchanges.

While the following is great news for Americans, the bad news is we’re still talking about INSURANCE COMPANIES. The rate savings below are insurance company rates, not the actual cost of care. We've still got to tackle rising doctor fees and hospital costs. 

So with that in mind, Obamacare, and not the phony un-passable proposals Republicans continue to churn out as a way to look like they’re doing something, continues to lower prices. The GOP’s summer home campaign in August will attempt to convince constituents they shouldn't buy health care coverage. It may sound ridiculous, but to their supporters, a vengeful attack on ObamaCare is worth freeloading off the responsibly insured. I guess freeloading is just another word for freedom. 

So when it comes to these supposed business friendly guys like Scott Walker, who has personally done everything he can to sabotage the new marketplaces (all the while whining that implementation has been slow), their efforts are falling short of angering and hurting small businesses. 
Washington Post: Obamacare driving down health insurance costs for small businesses in Washington, DC.: District officials last week announced that, for the third time since they started posting proposed plans on a new health insurance marketplace for small businesses, an insurer has lowered its initial prices for coverage. It is a sign, they say, that the marketplace will help bring down health costs for businesses, which have skyrocketed in recent years.

Kaiser Permanente is the most recent to drop its rates, lowering premiums by 4.4 percent. United HealthCare previously dropped its rates by more than 10 percent, and then again by about 5 percent, while Aetna has lowered its prices by more than 5 percent. “These lower rates are more incontrovertible proof DC Health Link is already bringing competition to the insurance market,” William P. White, the city’s commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, said in a statement.
Scott Walker’s “business friendly” image also doesn't automatically mean small businesses will suddenly and magically save money. He would have to create policy, and Republicans aren't into that right now. And some small businesses (large too) don't want to provide health care for their employees.

This isn't the only success story either:
The District’s exchange isn’t the only in which prices are falling. The Department of Health and Human Services recently evaluated proposed insurance premiums in 11 states, reporting that prices … in those states have come in an average of 18 percent lower than the premiums employers were paying prior to the Affordable Care Act.
Again, don’t confuse free market competition between insurers to actual lifesaving health care, which isn't a market based consumable product, but a human necessity. Everywhere else in the world, it's a right. There’s even more savings coming for small businesses:
In April, the administration announced it would delay for one year a requirement that business owners be allowed to choose different plans for different workers through the health insurance exchanges, a feature meant to provide added flexibility and help drive down costs for employers.

Republicans and other critics of the law have (been) pitching them as evidence the legislation is not working. Mila Kofman, the executive director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, suggested the opposite, noting the plummeting prices … “It is exciting to see that insurance companies in the District are already aggressively competing for business through the online marketplace,” she said.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Walker and Jindal on ObamaCare: Opinion Wrapped in Utter Lies!

Did Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal just bash business?

I’m talking about ultrasound Governor Scott Walker and school privatization failure Governor Bobby Jindal’s Wall Street Journalopinion piece today. Wow, if they meant to talk up business, and the value of the insurance industry in health care, something went terribly wrong in the translation.
click to enlarge

In fact, they made my argument for a single payer system. How could you come to any other conclusion after Walker and Jindal describe how business is doing everything they can to game the system and retaliate against their employees?

After reading “Unworkable ObamaCare,” health care for humans appears to be the last thing on their minds; boohoo to poor business interests who will do anything to screw their workers.

Throughout the commentary, business comes across as ruthless, conniving, and unappreciative of the people who help them stay in business, their employees, as anyone could. 

This is the GOP's summer Obamacare take-down strategy for August. Transparent and disciplined. Walker and Jindal don’t see anything hideous in the way business has decided to trash Americans working for them. Sick stuff. Below, my response is first, their dumb-ass fictions follow: 
Wrong, offering nothing to back it up: “Obama famously promised that if you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan? It was a brilliantly crafted political sound bite. Turns out, the statement is untrue.”

Wrong, GOP trying to derail Obamacare: “states across the country, whether red or blue, have spent countless hours and incalculable dollars trying to keep the ObamaCare train on its track, but the wreck is coming.”

Wrong, GOP Gov’s turned exchanges down due to mistrust: “If the experience of those working with the ObamaCare implementation at the state level had been taken into account, progress might have been possible, but the administration has treated states with mistrust.”

Wrong, Walker’s own plan offers even greater uncertaintly: “Adding to this mounting problem … grave uncertainty that surrounds this law.”

Wrong, CBO didn’t say this or mean Obamacare caused losses: “Congressional Budget Office reported that seven million Americans will lose their employer-based health insurance as a result of ObamaCare.”  

Wrong, 40 hour work week not affected, part time increased before Obamacare: “also destroy the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

Wrong, delay due to business foot dragging, and individual marketplace unaffected: “recognizing that ObamaCare is a ticking bomb, the day of reckoning for businesses is put off, but not for everyday citizens.”

Wrong, rest of industrialize countries have one-size-fits-all national health plan: “We also know that a one-size-fits-all approach like ObamaCare simply doesn't work. It only creates new problems and inequalities.”

Wrong, Obamacare put in place to slow rising unaffordable premiums, which is nothing new: “Health-care premiums are going up.”

Wrong and mean spirited, Walker and Jindal brag how business is gaming system…because that’s what they do. How nice: “Those businesses that are hiring often take on part-time workers to stay under the full-time cap. Older individuals seeking work are finding that companies are reluctant to take a chance on their potential health-care costs.”

Wrong, health care proposed since Nixon, Obamacare similar to Ryan’s plan. This whole opinion piece is designed to assign blame to Obama, despite their destructive efforts:“…wasn't thought through before it was rushed into law. No wonder we hear that the Obama attack machine is gearing up to blame everyone but the law itself for the chaos that lies ahead.”

John Birch Society's Fred Koch made Millions helping Stalin build Power Plants!!!

The other day on WPR's Joy Cardin show, Claire Conner, author of Wrapped In the Flag: A Personal History of the Radical Right, filled us in on the John Birch Society and its current incarnation, the tea party.
Before there was the TEA Party, there was the John Birch Society. Joy Cardin's guest this hour can speak personally to the inner workings of the Society. Her parents were founding members. Learn about the similarities she sees between the John Birch Society of the 1950s and the TEA Party of today. 
Here's a shortened 7 minute clip from the hour long program that gets to the heart of the tea party movement and the ugly origin of the Koch family money. What's that about George Soros guys?

Detroit Bankruptcy a product of Reaganomics, Republican policies, not black population or unions.

I found it fascinating how Republicans in Michigan, with their democracy killing “emergency managers,” weren't taking the blame for failing to save the city. This bankruptcy is under their watch. Yet they're able to easily get tons of press blaming everyone else. 

Thisonce-beautiful performing arts center
(The Michigan Theater) is now a parking garage.
Check out the Time Magazine article
What took 40 years of job killing outsourcing that lead to the decline of manufacturing is now being blamed on the “black population” and unions. Letter writers in the local paper blame "selfish" laborers for destroying Detroit. 

Thom Hartman summed it up best in his daily email, finally bringing up the gorilla in the room, disaster capitalism.
"Republicans are thrilled that Detroit has filed for bankruptcy. Because - for the GOP - the fall of Detroit is a talking point goldmine. Conservatives like Neil Munro and Sean Higgins hope that maybe - just maybe - if they can convince the American people that big bad unions and Democrats are to blame for the death of Detroit, then they can get them to forget that conservatives have destroyed this country with 30-plus years of Reaganomics and voodoo economics. Union-bashing is bad enough - but there's another, even uglier dimension to the GOP's Detroit meme. The Motor City is eighty-five percent African-American. In fact, it has the highest black population - percentage wise - of any major city in the United States. So when Republican pundits and politicians talk about "mismanagement" and "bad governance", what they are actually saying is that black-people aren't capable of running a city.

Blaming minorities for social problems is a tried and true Republican tactic. Reagan had "welfare queens" and the air-traffic controllers. The modern GOP has Detroit. However, it wasn't unions or black people that bankrupted Detroit - it was decades of pro-corporate and anti-middle class free-trade policies that gutted the city of its industrial core. Over the next few weeks, you'll hear a lot of hand-wringing from conservatives in the media about how Detroit is a sign of things to come and how this is what happens when you give Democrats, workers and "disorganized people" (that's right-wing doublespeak for African-Americans ) control of a big city. But remember, the Republican solution for Detroit is just more of the same: gutting social services.

This is disaster capitalism. It's an opportunity for wealthy white speculators to experiment with all of their austerity dreams. And if that comes with a chance to demonize poor people, black people, and unionized workers - well - that's just the icing on the cake."
Here’s another view, from racist Ted Nugent:
Ted Nugent is “shattered but not at all surprised” and he already knows just who to blame: the left.
“Liberal democrats took hold of the greatest, most productive city on earth and turned it into a bloodsucker excuse-making hell,” Nugent told TMZ. “If allowed to continue, our president will do the same to the whole country,” added Nugent, who currently lives on an estate in Concord, MI. “Heartbreaking and tragic.”
It’s that black guy in the White House, isn't it, not Bush's Great Recession or Republican outsourcing and deregulation?