Saturday, August 31, 2013

Did Republicans give a Half Million Dollars of taxpayer money to United Sportsmen after they misrepresented their tax exempt status?

Lobbyist front group United Sportsmen may have lied about Tax exempt status for $500,000 of taxpayer money, a violation of law.

So what’s new. Still more money mismanagement from our Republican legislature, this time awarding a half million bucks to a group of right wing lobbyist tied to the Koch Brothers, who lied about their tax status. Don’t Republicans ever ask any questions, do any research or have any business sense at all?

Apparently not. Like the paramilitary groups brought in from Arizona who didn't have any of the required licenses for their weapons, now the DNR is awarding political cronies taxpayer money despite no proof of their 501(c)(3) status. That’s how things look now, which is how it would have looked had Republican sugar daddies asked the completely unqualified United Sportsmen a few questions.
jsonline-Jason Stein/Michael Phillis: State and federal registries have no record of a group that claimed federal nonprofit status in winning a controversial grant to promote hunting and fishing, a Journal Sentinel review has found … United Sportsmen presented itself as having a designation as a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Neither the IRS website, an official state registry of charitable groups, nor the popular private website GuideStar have any record of that status being given to either the United Sportsmen foundation or an affiliate group.

Since Thursday, the Journal Sentinel has made repeated requests to United Sportsmen's board president to provide the federal Internal Revenue Service letter determining it qualifies as a federal nonprofit. The federal tax code prohibits false claims of 501(c)(3) status and requires groups claiming it to produce their IRS determination letter on request, according to the federal agency. Groups still waiting on an IRS determination typically present themselves as seeking that status, not as having it.

State DNR spokesman Bill Cosh declined comment on whether the DNR had concerns about any possible misrepresentation by United Sportsmen about having received the federal designation. 

Scot Ross, executive of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, said United Sportsmen's tax-exempt status still needed to be cleared up. "It raises serious concerns about the legitimacy of the organization and even larger concerns about the elected officials who spearheaded this half-million-dollar earmark," Ross said.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Walker Authority asks if story where he's backing away from jobs promise be removed from TV site! Attempt at censorship?

Scott Walker can't take the heat.

In this amazingly well done story by WJFW-TV 12, the anchor makes it very clear Scott Walker is worried. He now has even more to worry about; attempted censorship.

PolitiFact picked up on our story from Monday, seeing it as a sign that the Governor could be backing away from his campaign pledge.

On Wednesday, the Governor reaffirmed his promise.

All this attention seemed to concern the Walker administration.

Walker's press secretary, Tom Evenson, called Newswatch 12 on Tuesday, and asked if we could be persuaded to take Monday's story off our website. 

After Faking Brutal Attacks by Liberals, 2 Republican "victims" still not charged.

Wisconsin Reporter’s M.D. Kittle (Dec. 2012) reminded me of two Republican lowlifes, who spewed phony charges of being “victimized” and beat up by liberal thugs.

Why they thought they had to be physically bruised and battered is anybody guess, but voters believed their stories for a while, maybe in some cases still do.

First, the “hit” by Rep. Mark Pocan supporters:
Still no charges in two reported assault cases with political implications several weeks after the high-profile incidents went public.

Police say the case of Kyle Wood, the openly gay Republican campaign volunteer who in late October recanted his story that he was beaten up because of his political affiliation and sexual orientation, is in the hands of Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, awaiting a formal decision on charges. Just hours before police announced that Wood had recanted, conservative news organization Media Trackers reported that Wood had provided harassing text messages that Media Trackers claimed came from Pocan’s spouse. Those texts turned out to be bogus.
Thanks to one reader who passed along this final update on Kyle Wood from Cognitive Dissidence:
An event happened recently that flew under everyone's radar - Kyle Wood was sentenced to 30 days in prison.
Not prison, but jail, but what does it matter.

Obama thugs supposedly took care of this politically tied “victim.”
Elsewhere, Whitewater Police Chief Lisa Otterbacher told Wisconsin Reporter this week police still are “working on a few things” in the alleged assault on Sean Kedzie. Kedzie, the son of state Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, in October told police he was attacked by two men who, Kedzie said, attempted to take his Romney-Ryan political sign. Otterbacher said investigators met with Sean Kedzie last week, but the investigation is “kind of at a standstill.”

MacIver Institute, the right wing fringe group, lobby's for Low Wages in new Service Economy. Bad idea?

Old arguments...never die in Republican world. Despite the shift from manufacturing to a service based economy, conservatives just can't make the transition. Those low wage entry level service industry jobs are now family supporting U.S. jobs. We were warned this would happen, and it has.

But instead of adjusting the wage scale to accommodate the new reality, conservatives are stuck in the 50's, 60's and 70's. While manufacturing has moved on, leaving the U.S. for slave labor countries with dirt cheap wages, Republicans are now confused over what to do next. Or are they?

As mind boggling as it is to imagine their outrageous new campaign, I have a feeling they're only just getting started. If anything, it should start scaring the daylights out of most Americans who never thought it would come to this. Are parents really going to happy seeing their kids living in abject poverty?

It would make the MacIver Institute happy! I'm almost speechless over this campaign, sponsored by the Market Wage Action Alliance (can you believe that name?)...

Higher Employee Health Care benefits resulting in lower wages.

Rising employer health care costs are coming right out of an employees pay check in lower wages and lower wage increases. The idea of getting rid of the old employer connection with coverage is picking up steam, which means a single payer system isn't too far off. 

From the Washington Post comes this analysis.
The National Journal published a widely-shared article Thursday comparing premiums in the employer market to those in the individual market, exploring what would happen if employers dropped coverage. Clara Ritger, the author, concludes that “for the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchanges than what they’re currently paying for employer sponsored benefits.”
 That conclusion leaves out crucial information about how employers pay for health insurance–and what else they would do if coverage got cut. National Journal’s analysis focuses on … (what) employees might see deducted out of each paycheck. It ignores the really big contribution that employers pay and that economics research shows to come out of workers’ wages. 
 The total premium, including employer and employee costs, come at the cost of workers’ wages. This is known as the wage-fringe tradeoff. “What we do know is that when health-care costs go up by a dollar, wages go down by a dollar.” 

Amitabh Chandra, another Harvard economist, for his part, says he’d actually prefer it if his employer, Harvard, booted him onto the marketplace–and gave him the increase in wages that his research suggests he would receive. “I’m paying for a super generous plan from Harvard right now in the form of lower wages,” he says. “I could take a higher wage and spend some of it on a nice summer vacation.”

Now Republicans are all wrong about Medicare Spending too.

Mother Jones may give Dumb Ron Johnson and Rep. Paul Ryan something to think about...are you kidding? Well, they should think twice of course, but won't. Johnson and Ryan want to delay Obamacare for Americans because implementation will only show them for the hucksters they are, and trash their doom and gloom predictions. After all, every other industrialized country has cheaper and better coverage than the U.S., so it's not really a big surprise, except to them.
Care: Medicare Costs Are Down, Down, Down, By Kevin Drum: Last week brought some confirmation of this from the Congressional Budget Office. Michael Levine and Melinda Buntin took a look at Medicare spending per beneficiary over the past three decades and came to a very similar conclusion: "Growth in spending per beneficiary in the fee-for-service portion of Medicare has slowed substantially in recent years. This is good news, but in fact, it's even better news than it seems at first glance. Medicare plays a big role in setting rates and spending priorities for the entire health care industry … with Obamacare's cost controls set to kick in over the next decade, we could be entering a virtuous circle of reined-in health care spending for years to come. 

Let Republicans be Republicans for once, in all its ugly grotesqueness.

I’m not sure why it’s a good idea for Democrat to help Republicans be a better party. We keep giving them advice, wishing that someday they’ll see the light and change their ways. Stop trying to help. I cringe every time I see a Democrat or liberal talking head give them advice. Get a clue, this is who these people are. They're not like us at all.

What we’re seeing right now from the Republican Party are cocky, unrestrained ideologies letting gubernatorial and legislative success in states across the country go to their collective heads. We're getting a firsthand look at the authoritarian underpinnings of a party hell bent on revenge, paranoia, hate and racism.

Take conservative talker Bryan Fisher for instance. I say go nuts Bryan, tell us what you really think of Hillary Clinton.  

That's not name calling at all, is it? I especially liked this promo for another right wing book, this one entitled "Escape to Freedom," that envisions a country tea party Republicans hope to see someday.  It's an exercise in outrageous projection. Keep it up guys, we seeing your fear:

Romney loss ends 47 percent reign of freeloading terror. Lazy low wage tax dodgers now part of 43 percenters.

A number we knew would climb under a Mitt Romney presidency is falling now, thanks to Pres. Obama. 
The famous “47 percent” are now down to 43 percent: Remember that moment in the 2012 campaign when Mitt Romney was caught on tape lamenting the fact that “Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax”? Sure you do.

Well, it turns out that stat needs updating. The Tax Policy Center reports that the 47 percent is now down to 43 percent, as more and more households paid income tax in 2013:
The Tax Policy Center chalks the change over the past few years up to the improving economy, (slowly) rising incomes, and the expiration of various stimulus-era tax cuts. Those all add up to more people getting hit with income taxes. If current trends hold, the number of households that don’t pay income tax is expected to fall to 34 percent by 2024. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Service Industry Economy should see Living Wage for Fast Food Workers.

Here's a look at the walkout of fast food workers in Madison and analysis by Jared Bernstein on the history and need for a minimum wage hike. Let's face it, now that the U.S. has been turned into a service industry economy, it's about time the jobs that can't be off shored get a minimum wage increase. One guy said he didn't want to pay any more money for food, a real class act.

Watch Rep. Paul Ryan lie again at around the 4 minute mark, and Bernstein state matter-a-factly the truth was just the opposite.  WISC and MSNBC:

Capitol Arrests Update...

Happen to have a few videos of news coverage here, WISC and WKOW, on the Capitol protests, so for those not from the area, here they are. First police officers joined in the Solidarity Singing:

Here's a look at the arrest of Marty Beil, executive director of Wisconsin AFSCME Local-24:

More Wisconsin Taxpayer money spent on Trains. Thanks High Speed Rail Deniers.

The following story won't faze my conservative friend in Milwaukee one bit. What's in the past....

Remember the mobs of mindless tea party losers pushing Scott Walker to abandon high speed rail and leave $800 million of our own federal tax dollars in D.C.?

Well, those same tea party dunderheads are now going to cost the rest of us tens of millions of dollars of our hard earned taxpayer money to upgrade and build onto the Hiawatha train line from Milwaukee to Chicago.

jsonline: A new rail concourse at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, which serves Amtrak passenger trains and freight trains … it's finally on track building a mezzanine spanning five tracks, with elevators and escalators ... and an improved pedestrian tunnel underneath the tracks that passengers can use in emergencies. The project hit several bumps over the years.

Previously, Gov. Jim Doyle's administration planned a $20 million rehabilitation of the train shed that would have been fully funded through an $810 million federal high-speed rail grant. But Scott Walker campaigned against high speed rail in his run for governor and, after taking office, refused the grant money, putting state taxpayers on the hook for more of the cost of the upgrade.

Previous cost estimates put the current project in the $17 million range … About 55% of the project is federally funded, and Wisconsin taxpayers are picking up the rest. 
Walker continues to cost Wisconsin taxpayers more and more money, borrowed money in many instances, while our federal taxes get sent somewhere else. Don't you love small government?

Job Killing Trade Agreements!

From the Economic Policy Institute, research that proves free trade agreements kill U.S. jobs:

Ending Sequestration would create 900,000 new jobs-CBO!!! So, who's backing this job killer....hmm?

This is just an estimate:

Walker Blames Syria, unrest in world, for bad jobs record in state!!

Thank the Daily Kos for this big nugget of Scott Walker Lunacy:
Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Scott Walker stated Monday:
The President, working with other leaders on a global basis, can try and put some pressure on to get things under control in the Middle East and provide stability there, because that will help our economy and if they don't it has an impact. We can do all the good possible, we can get the state back on the right track, but if there's instability around the world it will inevitably have an impact."

Taxpayers give Half a Million Dollars to Right Wing Lobbyists to promote hunting and fishing, which includes Mining, campaign concerts, and wetland development.

This is the most blatant political payoff and waste of taxpayer money yet from the Walker Authority. Seriously, nothing like in-your-face crass cronyism to desensitize the public for future grand giveaways just waiting in the wings.

I need to catch my breath.
jsonline: A controversial $500,000 grant for promoting hunting and fishing was recommended by a state committee  … The United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation, a group with close ties to GOP politicians and other conservative organizations, is the only applicant for the award … a virtual lock on the money.
Here’s the most outrageous part; it has to be done fast:
Scott Gunderson, the committee chairman repeatedly said during the meeting that the agency was required by the state budget passed in July to quickly award the grant — one of the DNR's largest to an outside group planned in fiscal year 2014. "I think we have to follow the law," said Gunderson, who voted for United Sportsmen. "I never think it's a tough decision to follow the law."
The budget required the grant be given immediately. Amazing.
United Sportsmen has no history of doing the kind of training called for in the grant. The grant was quickly approved in May … Its language prevented most established conservation groups from applying for the grant.
Even some Republicans have a conscience:
Mark LaBarbera of Hazel Green, the sole member of the committee to vote against United Wisconsin, asked the group's president a number of questions about its finances, structure and qualifications, stressing that "people around here think this just doesn't smell right." Afterward, he said he wasn't satisfied with the answers as given. "I didn't think we had a clear enough answer that I could vote yes so I had to vote no."
This interesting note from Daily Kos about a comment from Greg Palast:
The Koch Operation, Americans for Prosperity, had its Chief set up a front called United Sportsmen of Wisconsin. United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, which appeared and then instantly vanished after the recall vote...
And now that these Republican lobbyists have the taxpayer money, it’s time to actually create United Sportsmen:
United Sportsman president Andy Pantzlaff said that his group would do a national search for a full-time executive director; and hire a full-time director of operations and part-time staffer to work on public policy.
They will serve their masters to promote other radical right wing lobbyists to spread propaganda in of all places, our schools:
The group would also bring programs such as the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle gun safety program into schools to try and change the trend of declining youth interest in hunting. "Failure is not an option," Pantzlaff said. "We have to try something new and innovative."
And like good Republican politicians who always say they're safe guarding taxpayer money:
The state budget includes no requirement that the grant be put out to competitive bid in the future...
Promoting hunting and fishing really means something else:
United Sportsmen of Wisconsin has been lobbying lawmakers in favor of sporting legislation such as the creation of a wolf hunt as well as bills to ease the way for a controversial open-pit iron mine in northern Wisconsin and to better enable development in wetlands … sponsored the Sportsmen Freedom Fest and Concert in Lake Delton with Americans for Prosperity and the National Rifle Association in October 2012, just ahead of the presidential election. United Sportsmen has apparently already received significant funds. In 2011, the group Citizens for a Stronger America reported in its tax filing giving $235,000 to United Sportsmen.
I hear crickets coming from tightwad conservative voting groups...teatards, anyone....? Here's both WISC TV and WKOW's coverage:

Dummy Downer Ron Johnson still in full Panic mode over Spending on Social Security and Medicare. The Rich might not make as much money!!!

Is it possible that Dumb Ron Johnson is…
...nearly halfway through his six-year term as Wisconsin’s freshman U.S. senator...
God, it seems like forever. 

As usual, Johnson is obsesses over what he feels is the fall of the U.S. empire and the American dream:
Cap Times: He launched into a familiar PowerPoint presentation that he described as “depressing,” describing the federal government’s spiral into debt and overspending over the past 100 years. Johnson said the $17 trillion in federal debt is putting the American dream of prosperity at risk.
Is it really? The gap between the rich and poor has never been wider, with all the money directed upward. Heck, it's increasing every day. How is it possible under Johnson’s scenario, the wealthy keep getting richer and richer?

Shouldn't our debt "death spiral" really put an end to the top one percents “American dream of prosperity” too? I don’t see the rich getting hurt yet, do you?

Has it ever occurred to Dumb Ron Johnson that what he calls spending our way into debt, paying for Social Security and Medicare, may be due to a lack of funding for these programs. Another words, the debt would disappear if we’d just shift the money from the top and “spend” it on those life saving programs for our seniors. After all, our parents and grandparents put their time in and made this country an economic leader. Shouldn't we be thankful to every retiree, now and in the future?
“I just want to grab America by the lapels and say, ‘Do you understand what you are doing to your kids?’” said Johnson, his fists clenched and shaking at the audience.
Hey dummy, “Do you understand what you are doing to our seniors?”

And Johnson’s wise advice to our young, future, money making entrepreneurs…
He said those who want to stay out of poverty have the best chances of doing so if they graduate from high school, don’t get addicted to drugs and alcohol and don’t get pregnant out of wedlock.
He left out marrying into money.

Here's what it takes for a guy like Johnson to be an environmentalist:
“I view myself as an environmentalist,” Johnson said. “But when you support policies that would cripple the economy... I consider those extreme policies. I care about the price of gas and the cost of energy.”

Walker called out as Phony: Sen. Mike Ellis says he’s no Free Enterprise Republican.

If you’re on the Republican Party’s business sh*t list, don’t even try starting or bringing your business to Wisconsin.

The Walker Authority has again decided to pick winners and losers with their lack of support for a Kenosha Casino. 

Sen. Mike Ellis finds that a bit contradictory for our “open for business” governor:
jsonline: Senate President Mike Ellis on Wednesday questioned Gov. Scott Walker's plans for deciding whether to approve a Kenosha casino, signaling he viewed one of Walker's standards as anti-free market.
You see, it’s all in Walker’s court right now, and he’s slowwwww walking this one. With a set of completely arbitrary rules to make it impossible to work, Walker’s trying to hide from this one:
Walker, who now has the lone say on approving the Menominee Indian casino at a former greyhound track, has said he would approve the facility only if there is consensus among the state's 11 tribes. That appears unlikely…
So what is Mike Ellis supposed to think?
"This seems to me to be counter to the concept of free enterprise," Ellis (R-Neenah) said of Walker's policy. He said Walker's criteria would be like requiring Home Depot to get approval from Menards and other competitors to build a new store. Casinos are no different from any other type of business, Ellis said. "Are we going to start saying we can only have so many gas stations?" Ellis said. "Are we going to start saying we can only have so many hardware stores?"

Walker has said he has three standards for considering any new casino. The new gambling venue must result in "no new net gaming" in the state, must have community support and must have the approval of all the state's other tribes. Walker plans to begin soon a 60-day period to gather comments from the tribes.
Like when he listened to them about the iron mine? Let’s just be honest; Walker said no. Here's WKOW's coverage: 

Taxpayer Subsidize Churches to the tune of $82.5 billion a year, even when they get political. Where's the separation there?

We should remove the tax exempt status of churches. They're already breaking IRS rules by endorsing candidates during church service on "Pulpit Freedom Day," an in your face challenge they hope will go to the conservative activist supreme court.

I believe churches that play politics shouldn't get a tax exemption, and so do a lot of other people.
Policymic: The specific regulation against pulpit politics stems from a 1954 amendment that then-Senator Lyndon Johnson sponsored, stating that in order to retain their tax-exempt status, churches must refrain from direct political activity (the right points to Johnson's reelection campaign, which faced stiff opposition from two local nonprofits, as the motivation behind the amendment). Between the inauguration of the income tax in 1894 and this amendment, churches enjoyed tax-exempt status without any regulations on their political speech. From the IRS’ perspective, placing limits on churches’ political speech doesn't have anything to do with a particular dislike of churches. Rather, if churches are allowed to make political speeches from the pulpit, then the whole system of tax exemptions would stop making sense. 
But think of the massive subsidies taxpayers are giving churches to preach the endorsement of political candidates. It's mind boggling, and maybe churches that do break the law should be pursued and lose their tax exempt status:
WaPo: You give religions more than $82.5 billion a year: If, all of a sudden, churches, synagogues, mosques and the like lost their tax privileges, how much tax revenue would that generate? Ryan T. Cragun, a sociologist at the University of Tampa, and two of his students, Stephanie Yeager and Desmond Vega, took it upon themselves to figure it out. They’re not exactly disinterested parties; their research appeared in Free Inquiry, a publication of the Council for Secular Humanism. But Cragun is a serious sociologist of religion and the data seems to check out. The full scale of subsidies religions get is pretty staggering.

Of course, these subsidies do more than reduce revenue. Property tax exemptions, in particular, distort real estate construction decisions and allocate more land to religious entities than would otherwise be the case, which drives up rents for everyone else (especially since religious groups tend not to buy property in high-density, skyscraper-style developments and instead get a whole lot of land for themselves). 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Walker has no business celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s March for Freedom. None.

Holy crap, did this just happen?
Channel3000: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's office has rung an online bell as part of
an international ceremony to honor the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech … commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that paved the way for civil-rights legislation.
At the same time:
Gov. Scott Walker says protesters at the Capitol should "follow the rules" and get permits. Walker restated his position Wednesday as Capitol Police arrested a prominent union leader during the daily lunchtime singalong. Wisconsin State Employees Union Executive Director Marty Beil was led away in handcuffs.
To Walker, King's use of out of state protesters and union thugs would probably delegitimize the movement if it were being held today.

Raising Taxes kills jobs, business? Myth! California proves Republicans Wrong.

Ed Schultz talked about this the other night, and now Wonk Blog picked up the story. It's a big one, because it proves once and for all, tax increases boost state revenues, making them healthy. And isn't that what business is looking for?
California raised a bunch of taxes this year. Its economy hasn’t collapsed: Six months ago I wrote that California was diving into an interesting political and economic experiment: Could it keep adding jobs even after slapping its wealthiest residents with the highest state income tax rate in the nation?

Most of the economists I talked to in the state predicted the tax hikes wouldn’t matter much. A lot of conservatives wrote me to predict the opposite.

What’s happened since? Well, California kept adding jobs, and at about the same rate as the nation overall. The analysts at Beacon Economics in Los Angeles noted recently that California accounted for a quarter of the nation’s net job growth last month. 

One thing, at least, seems clear: The doomsday predictions haven’t come true. California is still recovering. We’ll check in again in a few months to see if the data give us any better idea of whether, and/or how much, higher taxes have dampened that recovery. 

Rep. James Sensenbrenner knows Voting Rights Act is toast, but the "phony outrage" show must go on.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner wants to reinstate the Voting Rights Act...kinda, maybe, but probably not.

Here's Ari Melber with a look at Sensenbrenner's latest comments, along with Colin Powell's and a sane sounding Steve Schmidt.

MAL Contends wrote this scathing reveal about Sensenbrenner's phony outrage:
Here's what the phony Sensenbrenner said last week:
Congressman Sensenbrenner: "I regret that the Department of Justice announced its intent to file a lawsuit against Texas’ Voter ID law citing Section 2 to the Voting Rights Act. The Texas legislature passed Voter ID, and Governor Perry signed this legislation into law in 2011. Voter ID laws are an essential element in protecting the integrity of our electoral process and do not have a discriminatory intent or effect. (But he's a Voting Rights champion, just ask him. This line of crap has been peddled since at least 2009 by Diana Marrero of the GOP's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
And this final thought:
As for the crown jewel of the Civil Right Movement, the Voting Right Act, gutted (Section Four) by five GOP members of the Supreme Court, no doubt Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-White People) is hard at work in his Milwaukee suburb drafting a contemporary formula that will pass GOP muster on the Court one week after slamming the U.S. DoJ and Attorney General Holder for using Section Two of the Voting Rights to protect Texas voters against Texas’ Voter ID law. He's not.

Middle Class Businesses and Jobs take a hit in new Economy.

Race to the bottom is here: We heard about that race to the bottom from presidential candidate and business man Ross Perot, when he described it as that great "sucking sound" of jobs leaving the U.S..

It's happened, and we can now graph the results. It means there's no real middle class market for jobs anymore. Period.
Click to enlarge

Many of the industries with red down arrows were big Wisconsin bread winners once. Scott Walker unfortunately is basing his comeback on many of them, while cutting back or discouraging the green, upward businesses.

The top graph is described this way:
Washington Post: (This is) one way to see the labor market getting increasingly polarized over the past decade, as industries with low average pay grow significantly and mid-range industries wither — mainly driven by the steep decline in U.S. manufacturing. Since 2010, lower-wage jobs like food preparation and personal care have grown fast. So have high-end jobs in management, finance and health care. But a number of middle-class occupations, particularly teaching and construction, have continued to decline.
The second graph shows areas' in the middle that clearly show a lack of middle class, good paying jobs:
Click to enlarge
Here’s Joshua Lerner of the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis:: “Where we have seen slower growth is in the middle. The light blue bars, which I term lower middle-wage jobs account for about 40 percent of all occupations in 2012 yet account for just 26 percent of the growth. The dark blue bars, which I term upper middle-wage jobs, account for another 19 percent of all occupations and 0 percent of the growth. This, by definition, is job polarization.”

Walker scrambles to explain revisionist Jobs Promise! The Truth: Job growth due to Recovering Economy, Slowed by Walker Blunders and Failed Ideology.

It’s a lesson for the media; ask one or two follow-up questions about empty promises or nonsensical statements, and Republicans like Scott Walker stumble all over themselves trying to fix the un-fixable.

Even worse, or actually better from my standpoint, it’s now forced Walker to double down.

Its official, Scott Walker’s sticking with his promise of 250,000 jobs because he believes the corporate thieves who are telling him what he wants to hear.
jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that nothing has changed in terms of his promise that the state would add 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term. Walker was reacting to critics, including the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, who say he had abandoned his campaign pledge in 2010.  "We haven't changed our stance." "And that's why we have a big, bold aggressive goal," he said.
Goal? Oops, there he goes again, backing away from his promise.

The jobs created in this state so far are jobs that would have normally been created anyway with the economic recovery, no thanks to Walker and his legislative pirates.

But it would be foolish not stress even more (1) Walker’s bad choice of appointees, (2) the complete mismanagement of the WEDC, (3) massive transportation borrowing due to their pledge not to raise taxes (or fees) ever, (4) favoritism for their fossil fuel addiction over the emerging green energy industry, (5) Medicaid debacle that turned away our own federal dollars, (6) high speed rail flub costing taxpayer tens of millions for track and train upgrades...I could go on. We’re really a downturn away from everything collapsing again. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Scott Walker's revisionist Promise get reelection spin!

The Walker sh** hit the fan today, and just in time for his reelection. According to the latest report from Politifact regarding Scott Walker's grandiose jobs promise and pander:
On Aug. 26, 2013, Walker talked about what happened before he took office. And he referred to the promise as a "goal.”
Here's the offending, contradictory clips...see if you too can detect any difference between now and then:

"My goal wasn't so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the four years before I took office, when I was campaigning, I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs in the state. I said, 'It's really not about jobs, it's about real people, real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state,'" Walker told reporters.

Rhinelander television station WJFW reported on the governor"s comments under an online headline that read: "Walker backs off campaign jobs pledge at Merrill stop.”  

We asked Walker's office about the report from Merrill, and whether the governor was backing away from the jobs promise.
"Absolutely not,” spokesman Tom Evenson said in an email. “In that story, Governor Walker was providing the context behind the goal.  Governor Walker set the goal because it’s about real people and real families all across Wisconsin.  Governor Walker’s number one priority is helping the people of this state create jobs.”
It's worth noting that in his short statement, Evenson three times refers to his boss's top promise as a "goal.”

Walkerisms tired, phony, brutal and downright insulting.

It's time to finally address the often repeated Scott Walker nonsense the media doesn't question or find just a little unsettling.

Walker laid it on thick the other day at a Republican Party summer fundraiser in Montgomery, where southern tea party dummies "baa, baa" in unison.

First, the false premise, required to make the following statement seem like a solution:
President Obama and his allies “measure success in government by how many people are dependent on the government. We should measure success by just the opposite, by how many people are no longer dependent on the government,” Walker said.  I don’t want to make it harder to get government assistance. I want to make it easier to get a job.”
Ass-backwards isn't it? There's that elusive jobs thing again. If we did create jobs first, which Walker can't do with his policies, people wouldn't be dependent on government. But that would require "work," it would require debate, even ideas. Kicking people off the programs first is so much easier and fulfilling.

Let's face it, Republicans don't have courage, or they wouldn't be gerrymandering their districts and suppressing the vote. But when they do talk about "courage," they're really telling us we won't like the laws their passing for pure ideological reasons. Their leaders, not followers of public opinion:
“We need to embody courage at the local level, at the state level and Lord knows at the national level,” Walker told the crowd. “In times of crisis what people want more than anything is leadership,” he said.
We've seen that kind of leadership before, throughout history, and it didn't turn out well.  

Walker wants to empower people by financially crushing them with job insecurity, low pay and benefits, and the uncertainty of disappearing safety nets. Desperation is the newest job qualification:
“Why is putting more people on Medicaid a good thing? I want more people off Medicaid, not because we are pushing them out, but because we are empowering them to find jobs,” Walker said.
Walker believes education grows on trees, and is not derived from educators, research and all those professionals we call bureaucrats:
“We care about (children's) education, not about the education bureaucracy,” Walker said.

AG Van Hollen takes Democratic Party position on Drunk Driving Problem.

The Walker Republicans are proving to be just as contradictory as their congressional counterparts. This time on drunk driving.

Their old "tough on crime" rhetoric continues to impress constituents, even though it's been proven to be a disastrous taxpayer money pit over and over again.  Still, their inner self righteousness and need to garner public sympathy is just to hard to resist. Drunk driving is one of those incredibly emotional issues Republicans just love to exploit.

Enter partisan conservative AG J.B. Van Hollen. He's taking the Democratic position that there are more cost effective ways to deal with drunk driving, than throwing people prison. Yes, this is another Democratic solution ripped from their hands and made "Republican" by the press.

I'm pretty much fed up with the media pretending Democrats just don't exist or that their ideas aren't mainstream enough until a Republican offers up their official stamp of approval.

Here's another stolen solution, JB style:
Dumb......................................and Dumber!
FoxPointPatch: The state’s top cop opposes a lot of what’s contained in the bills being pushed by state Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, and Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills (on drunk driving), questioning the cost and effectiveness of the legislation. “I know we have limited dollars and I want to use them in the most effective and efficient way possible,” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told reporters at a Treatment Alternatives and Diversion symposium in Madison on Friday.

The six proposed bills targeting drunken driving are projected to cost state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in increased prison time, litigation and court bills. On one proposal alone the state Department of Corrections estimates an increased cost of $226 million in prison bed days and another $236 million for construction of new facilities. “When you have unproven get-tougher-on-drunk-drivers legislation that costs a lot of money, it may not be the best way to reduce drunk driving or better protect the public if you can use that money in other categories. The reality is a lot of those dollars can be better spent on programs such as (OWI courts),” Van Hollen said.
No, really?

The walking cliche named Andre Jacque. How'd this guy get elected?

Rep. Andre Jacque is your everyday extremist checklist Republican. This guy has never proposed anything original. It's "Conservative politics for Dummies." You can't tell me this guy isn't the reason health care cost continue to rise either. Here's the headline from the jsonline:
Dumb as a board!

Rep. Andre Jacque wants English as official language in Wisconsin

Who doesn't feel a little dumber after just reading that? Yeah, that's what we need, that'll create jobs. Jacque offers this brilliant justification: "...saying it will encourage immigrants to learn the language and improve their prospects in the state."

Do a search of my blog for more of his check list Republican proposals. My god this guys crazy.

Toure takes on Racism after shooting of Australian student.

To my conservative friend in Milwaukee and anyone else who might listen, here's the right response from MSNBC's Toure about the tragic shooting of Chris Lane:

I just read this stomach turning story below, that makes it official for me; guns are now simply another way to deal with everyday disagreements. You can argue, or you can just shoot your way to wing the debate. Guns were supposed to make us safer. Everyone was the next Lone Ranger:
jsonline: Three teenagers playing basketball were shot Monday evening after an argument with a resident on Milwaukee's south side, police said.

The three, boys ages 15, 16 and 17, were taken to a hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening ... the boys were playing basketball with others in the 1500 block of S. 26th St. when one of those playing got into an argument with a neighborhood resident. The resident left but returned about 6:30 p.m. and fired several shots from a handgun, according to the release. 

Ed's Back talking about ObamaCare.

I feel like an old friend is back. He is...Ed Schultz.

Ed's 4 pm show featured a few Republican efforts to destroy Obamacare, and a guy who can't wait to to be on the Affordable Care Act. President of the Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint was asked why Republicans keep voting to defund ObamaCare when the president will only veto the bill. DeMint actually replied, "Well, we don't know that, do we?"  Just amazing. His solution; "(We) will get better health care just going to the emergency room." These guys are really that stupid. Good stuff from Ed again:

It's not safe to go to the Capitol anymore. Police now turning on Protesters and Onlookers alike!!!!

It was bound to happen.

Capitol Police Chief David Erwin's absence is telling. Unlike Chief Tubbs, who played the buffer between protesters and his police force, Erwin's cowardice and high salary separates him from his fellow officers. He's a leader watching from the back row. Perfect Walker material.

Wanna go to the Capitol for a visit? You would be risking everything, not to mention a big fat fine or a wasted day in court. Boy, what a way to make it easy for everyone to share the Capitol.

Erwin hopes to train and discipline the protesters. But with the tensions mounting day after day, and a few favorite protesters to arrest, what you're about to see was inevitable; an unprovoked attack.

"Segway" Jeremy Ryan posted the following video of Damon Terrell simply taking pictures, until officers out-of-the-blue surprisingly tried to arrest him. This raw video clearly shows Terrell as an observer:

WKOW's Greg Neumann covered the event:

Just think, this is what Scott Walker would bring to the presidency.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lincoln on the current wave of Despotism.

The Way I See It:  Sorry, but I've got to get this little rant off my chest, because the news media seems intent on dangerously circling around the subject of despotism. I have a few quotes from Abraham Lincoln that will make everything so much clearer.

The Republican/Tea Party movement is based on their odd definition of "self-governance." We're seeing that now with Hobby Lobby's resistance to ObamaCare. They're insisting their religious beliefs extend into their commercial business, which ends up governing the lives and religion of their private sector employees. Abraham Lincoln Spoke on the Kansas Nebraska Act
"I trust I understand, and truly estimate the right of self-government. My faith in the proposition that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own, lies at the foundation of the sense of justice there is in me … When the white man governs himself, and also governs another man, that is more than self-government--that is despotism." 
I love that line.

The Republican political elite: I believe the extremists on the right rise to the top as Republican politicians. With a few tweaks to reduce employee safety nets, these elite politicians have set out to create a desperate low wage worker (slave).  Mitt Romney's "Corporations are people my friend" laid it all right out there for everyone to see.

With the Walker Authority discounting public protests and deciding who can or cannot gather to speak out against government policy, conservatives are unwittingly putting in place our new set of "masters." Their "leadership" means passing laws the public won't like, but needs, for their own good. It's the opposite of real self-government.
"The master not only governs the slave without his consent; but he governs him by a set of rules altogether different from those which he prescribes for himself. Allow ALL the governed an equal voice in the government, and that, and that only, is self-government."
Thanks, I feel better now.

Walker, Republican crony Capitalism just Amazing. Taxpayer money encourages campaign contributors and employs former tea party state senator!

The following story is something you might find hard to believe, or maybe not. Sure you’ll hear about the $70 million in added tax revenue that will get eaten up quickly by other unexpected cost in the current budget, but will you hear much about another last minute addition that hands money to donors? It literally just gives them money, period:
Journal Sentinel-Jason Stein: A $500,000 sportsmen's grant slipped into the state … is set to go to a group with ties to Republican insiders that has praised GOP politicians and lobbied for legislation such as lowering regulations on iron mining and development in wetlands. The United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation Inc., a group formed in January with no record of its own in outdoors training, is the only applicant for the scantly noticed two-year grant to promote hunting, fishing and trapping in Wisconsin that is being reviewed Thursday by a special panel. If the grant is approved, the state could end up paying it every two years to United Sportsmen…
Wait for it….
…which has said in its application that it would use most of the money to pay its staff and consultants.
Ah, taxpayer money well spent. Are you sensing a little bit of arrogance and entitlement yet? Guess who drafted the payoff?
…unanimously voted into the state budget in May after just seven minutes of discussion by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, which acted on a motion drafted by outgoing Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder.
Open to every applicant (favored by Republicans that is) who knew about it:
George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (said the) wording of the budget motion prevented Meyer's federation from applying for the award. "We think its purpose is important. But clearly it looks like it was put together for one group."
It gets worse too; claim total ignorance when caught:
In an interview, Suder said (he) wasn't aware that United Sportsmen would include his former chief of staff, Luke Hilgemann, in the application as one of its educators. Hilgemann recently left his job overseeing and lobbying for the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity to take a job in Washington as the No. 2 executive for the group favoring conservative economic policies.
Business and government...fascism, now in control. But that's not all folks:
Suder said United Sportsmen was "eminently qualified" to receive the grant but when asked did not offer any specific qualifications.
One of the least qualified former tea party state senators who quit gets a job:
One of the educators listed in United Wisconsin's application was Pam Galloway, a former GOP state senator from Wausau who last session helped pass a concealed-carry law — also a big priority for Suder, and later stepped down from the Legislature.
Rammed down our throats? Does a 7 minute discussion period qualify, versus the outrageous one year debate for ObamaCare?
And due to the lack of public notice, several eligible groups weren't aware of the grant until after application deadline. Don Kirby, executive director of the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, said he had no knowledge of the grant. "Our organization would have been interested to pursue this," Kirby said. "I'm more than a little disappointed to find out now." The Wisconsin Waterfowl Association has a long history of running Learn To Hunt and other training events.
Rep. Scott Suder passed this handout to United Sportsmen knowing almost all the money went into pockets of former politicians and campaign contributors, and not to promote fishing and hunting. 
According to the group's application, United Sportsmen would use $370,00 on salaries and $20,000 on employee benefits over the first two years, plus $56,000 more on unidentified consultants. The grant will provide $200,000 this year and $300,000 in 2014. Thereafter, it will provide $450,000 in each two-year budget. The grantee will have to provide $150,000 of its own funds in matching dollars in each future two-year budget.
Republicans as usual have not even come up with a way to fund the grant in the future:
The state money in the first year will be from general tax revenue; the DNR said it was still clarifying how the grant would be funded beyond 2013.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Money in Washington is Killing us. Are lobbyists our Shadow government?

Remember when the conservative activist Justices on the Supreme Court said money didn’t corrupt? An unforgettable moment for me. Of course, they were lying through their teeth, or horribly disconnected from life, which I’d like to reconnect them to sometime.
The Hill: ObamaCare's architects reap windfall as Washington lobbyists: ObamaCare has become big business for an elite network of Washington lobbyists and consultants who helped shape the law from the inside.

More than 30 former administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staffers who worked on the healthcare law have set up shop on K Street since 2010. Major lobbying firms such as Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, The Glover Park Group, Alston & Bird, BGR Group and Akin Gump can all boast an ObamaCare insider on their lobbying roster — putting them in a prime position to land coveted clients.
I'm not surprised, I just got done watching this week’s Moyers& Company. You may not  sleep at night after watching this:

Bill talks with author and New York Times journalist Mark Leibovich about his latest book, This Town, in which he writes that money rules D.C., and status is determined by who you know and what they can do for you. 

Hmm, Beer!

Having brewed my own beer, and continue to relive that experience vicariously through every craft beer I buy now, this is great news:
WKOW: The craft beer industry is still growing in Wisconsin … there are nearly 100 … More than two dozen others are in the planning phase around the state. Craft beer captures 30 percent of the market in some other states.

South Shore Brewery owner Bo Belanger is president of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild. He says there's plenty of room for more craft breweries, since they account for just 5 percent of beer sold in Wisconsin.
This one comment said it best:
"plenty of room for more craft breweries"...what a coincidence, there is plenty of room for more craft beer in my diet.

Rep. Robin Vos can't make case for growing list of voter suppression ideas.

Voter suppression artist Republican Rep. Robin Vos is pretty sure he can do away with poll worker errors, all of them. But if not, well...someone's gonna lose their vote. These are the kind of "tough decisions" out "leaders" must make for us, especially those wayward adults who just can't make it without big government Republican guidance.

When you hear "leadership," run the other way, it means Republicans are going to pass more laws opposed by their constituents.

So, from the same guys who brought us the trouble and bumbled WEDC, comes a new perfect, error free election system that "protects" our vote. Can't wait?

On WKOW's Capitol City Sunday, Greg Neumann mentioned to Vos that many of the election solutions being proposed, are based on anecdotal evidence.  Nuemann pressed Vos for any strong data proving fraud is taking place:
Vos: "Well I believe it is, and once again a lot of what happens in the world is anecdotal."
Huh? He really did say that? But the following really stuck out as one big lie:
Vos: "...when they look at prosecutors, they have a lot of priorities. They're not going to go out looking for example for voter fraud,  because they have to prosecute people who commit crimes..."
Nuemann's next guest, United Wisconsin 's Lisa Subeck, corrected Vos by pointing out how JB Van Hollen set up a voter fraud task force. They don't have time Robin? You can see that near the end of the video:

What gets me about this sneering smart ass, is that Vos uses what I call the "Beaver Cleaver" take. I grew up watching the Beav, and as he got older he never seemed to lose those goofy little boy facial expressions, when he really should have. To illustrate, here's a group of Vos looks, from the nose scrunch to the concerned but innocent eye squint. Just a little bit condescending, ya think?

Outgoing Rep. Scott Suder compares new job on PSC to legislating: "...won't be based on politics...!"

If you ever needed proof Republicans don't give a damn about science or the facts, this is the moment you've been waiting for. It's all about political power and ideology.

Thank you (former) Rep. Scott Suder, for letting your guard down. Here's Suder on taking the job in the Walker administration:
"It will be a professional role, that won't be based on politics, it'll be based on science and decision that are made in a joint effort for everyone, not just for Republicans, not just for Democrats."
Of course that's ridiculous, after all, we're talking about Scott Suder. From Capitol City Sunday:

Republican Rep. Steve Nass backs racist Political Incorrectness on School Mascots: "...the Indians are coming after all of them!"

Confirmed: Rep. Steve Nass is a racist. How does he feel about offensive mascot names? A lot of things in life are offensive, so deal with it, because Republicans aren't about to give up on Aryan superiority.  This from the sensitive party of whiners who blame Democrats for name calling?

Throughout the interview with Upfront's Mike Gousha, Nass warns local school districts about the "Indians." Could he have said "American Indians," or "Native Americans," sure.

But Nass doesn't care, and has probably never been in a conservative conversation where anyone objected to the use of racist terminology. But that's another big topic.

It's funny to hear Nass push local control over racist mascot names, but not over local control over vouchers, school funding, district negotiations with teachers over working conditions...etc, where it's one size fits all.

Nass is even outraged over the very idea Democrats passed a law when they had control of the legislature that Republicans objected too. Political incorrectness gone amuck. Add to that Nass' dislike that one person can get the ball rolling on an issue. Heck, he even defends forcing taxpayers  to support a district dumb enough to spend $30,000 to $80,000 to fight the law.

That's the problem with conservatism, it's filled with stark contradictions that would embarrass a normal person. I blame it on stupidity and a sociopathic disconnect with other people. But then I'm not a doctor.

Let's completely redo our state boundaries based on conservative rural voters and liberal city dwellers, or by population.

Republicans in Colorado don't like the way liberals in the "north" are running the state, basically ignoring the rural areas, so they're proposing to break the state in two, like oh the North & South revisited. 

I guess we could say the same for the Scott Walker Authority, who is running the state like one big cow pasture, ignoring the densely populated areas known as "cities." Disliked by conservatives everywhere, these massive state revenue pits are populated by liberals. My new north/south map looks something like this:

But I thought the following idea deserves a bit more attention than my feeble attempt, and probably has a little more research backing it up:
Fakeisthenewreal: Urban planner/artist Neil Freeman drew a great map of what that would look like.
Electoral Reform Map

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Public on to Voucher Con, taxpayer support of Religious Teaching.

The following recent poll results reflecting public's dissatisfaction over voucher laws being passed nationwide by Republicans, is not good news coming into the midterm elections. It is good news for Democrats who have reflected the public mood for years. Maybe this time parents will have had enough;  
Ed Week: This year's annual PDK/Gallup Poll on American attitudes toward public
schools found that while charter schools enjoy (70 percent) broad support, many of those surveyed—70 percent—oppose vouchers for private school tuition … 70 percent opposed allowing taxpayer dollars to cover families' private tuition costs, the highest proportion of opposition to vouchers in the history of the survey and an increase of 15 percent points from last year alone. 
So of course opponents trashed the results, because it didn't fit into their extensive “parents know what’s best” campaigns to exploit the insecurities many families feel about being "good parents." Marketing, by the way, that aims to turn our kids into customers and profits. 

Flimsy excuses about “poorly designed questions” abound as privateers worry that buying off Republicans legislators, who end up passing voucher schemes without public support, is now working against them. Big surprise. Funny, conservative whiners aren’t saying the same thing about the “poorly designed questions” regarding ObamaCare, which has wider support than vouchers.   
The Friedman Foundation for Education Choice said in an email statement to Education Week that "compared with findings from other recent surveys on school vouchers, the PDK/Gallup poll is an outlier.” 
They’re welcome to the Bizarro World opinion, but that doesn't change the polling results. Perhaps they can explain why another group pushing vouchers opposed the poll even before knowing the results?
Before the survey was even officially released, the Center for Education Reform came out in opposition to the survey itself. The center's president, Jeanne Allen, said she "expects that the 2013 poll will again feature poorly designed questions, potentially leading to a misrepresentation of how the public feels about school choice, charter schools, and other issues related to education reform."
Judging by all the Wisconsin communities that oppose vouchers in their neighborhoods, I’d say the poll was right on the money, wasted taxpayer money.

In many ways it’s also turning out to be a life saver for religious schools struggling to stay open. I've been holding onto the following clip about our own statewide voucher program, that proves it’s not really about test scores or graduation rates; it’s all about religious teaching. Who wants to use taxpayer money supporting someone else’s religious beliefs on what are basically weeklong Sunday schools? 70% know have the answer. WISC: