Friday, January 31, 2014

Republican Judge withdraws endorsement, again cites Walker Recall Blacklist as reason.

When will the media ask why a perfectly legal democratic process like a recall, is being used to silence Walker's opposition? In this case a "nonpartisan" judge.

This is authoritarian behavior, and it's unquestionably a form of government censorship. And yet, the judge withdrawing his endorsement is repeating a similar action he took against a judge he unseated after referencing the blacklist. Any one?
jsonline: An Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland, elected after attacking the incumbent for signing the Gov. Scott Walker recall petition has withdrawn his support for a Milwaukee judicial candidate after learning she had also signed the recall petition.

Laura Gramling Perez, a Milwaukee County court commissioner, is running for Branch 32 of the county's circuit court … added that the signature and wrong address that Election Watch found online were not hers.

Executive Order Debate? Has Cable News Gone Mad? And what about Bush's mind boggling "Unitary Executive" idea?

If you ask any Republican if they remember the Bush/Cheney argument for the "unitary executive," where Bush would have had ultimate power over everything...they don't remember. I remember it well, and so did Barney Frank in this rare public mention. From Al Sharpton yesterday:

Another phony issue, another major distraction; despite the history of Republican presidential executive orders that should have stopped this media driven debate cold, the conservative low information voter welcomes just one more thing to bash our socialist, undocumented first black Kenyan born president. Of course it has nothing to do with racism or their inability to tolerate another biracial Cheerio's ads.
BloombergNews: In the aftermath of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, there is a lot of confusion about the phrase “executive actions.” “Executive orders,” issued by the president personally, often involve large-scale, government-wide matters.

Executive orders are nothing new. In his first five years, Obama issued 167 executive orders -- a lower rate than George W. Bush (291 over eight years), Bill Clinton (364 over eight years), George H.W. Bush (166 over four years), Ronald Reagan (381 over eight years), or for that matter Dwight Eisenhower (486 over eight years). 

In the general category of “executive action,” much of the most important work comes from “regulations,” which typically have the force of law.

Before they are finalized, significant regulations are subject to careful scrutiny within the executive branch, and also to a process of public comment. They must also comport with the law. For this reason, it is misleading -- a kind of rhetorical trick -- to suggest that they are “bypassing Congress.” On the contrary, Congress has previously authorized them through legislation. Most of them are not subject to serious legal challenge.

Ice Fishing Setback: Drone attack on thirst blocked by FAA.

The question I have about the viability of delivering beer through drone filled skies; how do you know your precise co-ordinates, and what about mid-air collisions? 

Like a half conscious mouth drooling alcohol induced fantasy, this video may disappoint ice fishing enthusiasts everywhere....

FoxNews: The Federal Aviation Administration has put the brakes on a brewery's plan to deliver cases of beer to ice fishers on lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin-based Lakemaid Beers recently adopted its own version of a delivery drone … the Lakemaid Beer Drone, has been tested on several frozen lakes. The company recently posted a video on YouTube that shows a shop keeper getting a call for a delivery, writing down co-ordinates and strapping a case of beer to a drone. The drone then delivers the beer to ice-fishermen on a nearby lake.

Lakemaid Beer Company’s president, Jack Supple, told the Star Tribune the Lakemaid Beer Drone is grounded for now. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Great Recession deniers at MacIver Institute blame Minimum Wage on high unemployment.

Sshh, don't mention the Great Recession. The two charts below are being used by the right wing bumblers at the MacIver Institute to prove just how bad raising the minimum wage would be for the poor. Workers would even get their hours cut. Ouch.

Um...the Great Recession? Like Scott Walker blaming former Gov. Jim Doyle and Mary Burke for job losses around...2008, the MacIver Institute is blaming high unemployment on a hike in the minimum wage around...2008.

What happened around 2008? Oh yea, their glorious Great Recession.

Take ownership guys, after all, all your charts are base on it.

Rich still spending money, saving even more, despite warnings against recent tax increase!!!

As it turned out, that "job killing" tax increase on the wealthy didn't decrease their spending at all, and didn't hurt their ability to still put away huge amounts in their savings accounts.
Business Insider: In a new note to clients, UBS's U.S. economics team led by Maury
Harris and Drew Matus (say) people making more money save a bigger chunk of their paychecks. Harris and Matus … believe this buffer will blunt the impact of recent tax hikes. "We believe that the recently legislated higher household sector taxes in 2013 considerably overstate the related negative consumption impacts," they write.

Higher Federal income taxes on relatively wealthy taxpayers should be accompanied by a drop in savings … Saving rates increase sharply at higher income levels…
The Bad News we Already Knew: I received this interesting note from my Wonkblog email:
Obama wants businesses to raise pay. Here's why they probably won't listen. "Companies have discovered that precisely by keeping wages lower, they have been able to boost profits to record levels and fulfill their ultimate goal: rewarding shareholders. In a report released earlier this month, Goldman Sachs chief U.S. chief economist Jan Hatzius noted that the strength in corporate profits is "directly related to the weakness in hourly wages."" Jia Lynn Yang in The Washington Post.

Our Tea Party Partisan Presidential Wannabe Scott Walker: Bad Manager!!

Even the general media pundits see our dictatorial governor as THE example of an ideologically driven politician, and not “managerial” in any way at all. 

Take for instance this article in USA Today titled: "State of the states: What to do with their surpluses?" The response from Democratic governors differs greatly from the one standout Republican governor mentioned in the article, and for good reason, it's irresponsible

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Republican: "What do you do with a surplus? Give it back to the people who earned it. It's your money," he said.
   • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat: "We have gone from a $10 billion deficit to a $2 billion surplus in just three short years," he said. "We can increase our investments in education, health care, economic development and still provide more tax relief."

• California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat: "Boom and bust is our lot and we must follow the ancient advice, recounted in the Book of Genesis, that Joseph gave to the Pharaoh: Put away your surplus during the years of great plenty so you will be ready for the lean years which are sure to follow."  
Quite a stark contrast?

When he took office, Scott Walker described himself as a small business man trying to solve the states financial situation. A laughable self image to be sure. Only a career politician would suggest giving back revenue any other business would use to strengthen their economic well being. He’s a strict by the book tea party conservative ideologue:
"With the exception of high-profile governors — like Walker — who might have national aspirations, most governors tend to avoid ideological messages," said Daniel Coffey, an assistant professor at the University of Akron who has studied State of the State Addresses. "They're more managerial in their approach to governing, especially in their approach to budgets," Coffey said.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Inside the Conservative Mind: The Twisted Sandy Hook Hoax.

I watched a few short segments of these two sick videos that deny Sandy Hook ever happened. The brutal and twisted thinking that went into the production of these videos is enough to make you nauseous. Each and every gut wrenching rationalization for the sake of gun ownership is so appalling I couldn't pass up a chance to expose it, and the thinking coming from the right wing alternate reality. It ain't pretty, and I wouldn't blame you for moving on. I just had to document that this is really happening. Sorry:
Based on the incomparable presentation by Sofia Smallstorm, this documentary is a must-watch for any Sandy Hook researcher. This video accompanies Sofia's original presentation and spot-on analysis by adding a distinct audio/visual layer. A best effort was made to reinforce the original material, maintain accuracy and stay true to the original reporting.Regardless of which "hook" is used, staging deceptive events requires secrecy; specifically the authorized secrecy afforded to the state. The fuel that powers conspiracy is secrecy. 

The Rise of Iron Fisted Republican Power and Entitlement. Here Comes Michael Grimm....

Blogging Blue highlighted what we’re seeing more of these days under one party Republican rule, especially here in Wisconsin. This really isn't just one isolated incident either. It’s manifest destiny, an attitude of entitlement by Republican thugs. Blogging Blue wrote:
Conservatives, especially here in Wisconsin, are really fond of attacking so-called “union thugs,” but here’s an example of a Republican Congressman acting like an absolute thug. Watch as Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York.
I added on the follow-up story where the reporter described what happened.

For conservative voters, this should be an unsettling insight into their party. How could this not be a threat to their freedom and liberty too?    

Rep. Huelskamp poster boy of current GOP. And according to recent polls, Americans still trusts them to Govern our economy.

Another Republican moment of lunacy. And you think these guys should run the country? Holy crap!
Rep. Tim Huelskamp went off on the president on Twitter during the State of the Union address, then defended the tweets in a heated interview where he called MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow a “cheerleader.”

Walker Flips Position, Injects himself into legal System to Fire Teacher. This after rejecting a Veterans pardon. But Walker loves teachers?

Firing teachers at will is something Republicans have been working on for a long time. Now they have their first execution to prove their "moral" purity.
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."-Bush
No Pardons-the Law is the Law: Scott Walker believes in the legal system so much that he even turned down an Iraq war veteran's request for a pardon (the guy wanted to become a police officer):  
Walker has said he doesn't consider pardon requests because he doesn't believe he should inject himself into the criminal justice system. "To me, the only people who are seeking pardons are people who have been guilty of a crime and I have a hard time undermining the actions of a jury and of a court."
Flip Flop: "Undermining the actions" of the court(s): Even a decision by the state's highest court of law didn't slow Walker down in what he saw as an election year story of "moral" values. After a court ordered a fired teacher to be reinstated and the state Supreme Court agreed, Scott Walker's respect for the law and courts disappeared. After all, didn't Walker just defeat and vilify teachers? 
Gov. Scott Walker has asked State Superintendent Tony Evers to begin license revocation proceedings for a Middleton teacher reinstated to his job this month after being fired in 2010 for looking at pornographic images at school. “After hearing from concerned parents..."
Here's Channel3000 with their coverage:

Actually only one parent.
Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said the governor sent the letter to Evers after hearing from one of those parents. In an email last week, an aide to the governor told parent Kira Dott that the matter was under the jurisdiction of the local school board and “further from the Governor’s jurisdiction as this was decided in the courts.”
Flip Flop: Just like that, Scott Walker is setting out to undermine the local school board and courts, in a big way. Here's a short history, a legal process Walker is about to reverse: 
Other teachers also found to be violating the district’s policies on Internet and technology were not fired. An arbitrator ruled in 2012 that the district “has just cause to discipline Harris but because the penalty of discharge is excessive, arbitrary and an abuse of discretion, the penalty needs to be reduced to be comparable to other penalties for similar offenses,” and that he should be given a 15-day suspension instead.

Circuit and appellate courts upheld that ruling. Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear the school board’s appeal of the arbitrator’s ruling, prompting the district to comply with the ruling and reinstate Harris.
 But a little known law passed in the shadow of Act 10 has suddenly put Walker in control:
A law known as Act 84 that was passed in 2011 further clarified immoral conduct to include looking at pornography on school computers. In the letter, Walker said “it appears (Harris’) behavior meets the definition of ‘Immoral conduct’” … giving Evers the ability to revoke Harris’ license … reforms Walker worked to put in place that gave “local school districts the tools they need to hire and fire teachers based on … professional conduct. 
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator:"
 “We have a legal system in this country,” Harris’ lawyer, William Haus said. “You go through four years of litigation and now the governor chimes in? There has to be an end of a process ... you can’t go through four years of expensive litigation and it goes all the way to the Supreme Court and suddenly we have someone who knows better.”

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Walker a drag on our future, keeping our kids from doing better than their parents.

Just in time for Scott Walker's attempted reelection, bad news that should add to Mary Burke's arsenal. While Republicans claim to care so much about leaving our kids a better state and lower taxes, it won't matter much if their policies also keep our kids from doing better than their parents
The Washington Post: A surprising map of mobility: "Which parts of the country do you think have done the best job ensuring that children born to working-class families do better than their parents? California, with its booming tech industry? New York, with its financial wizards? Utah, with its deep social ties and communitarian values? Try Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Mississippi do the worst job helping kids advance."-Ezra Klein

Ridiculous Voluntary GOP Health Care Plan costly, exacerbates problems in old system.

The Affordable Care Act’s main focus has been on the individual market. That’s where all the GOP criticism has been aimed at so far. 

So let's change the subject: As a distraction, Republicans today came out with their own reform plan that centers on employer coverage. So let’s take a look at it anyway.

Remember when Republicans backed a number of plans that took the health insurance deduction away from employers? That would have forced employers to drop their coverage, which in turn, would have force employees off their plans, take their doctors away. 

Knowing this, Republicans had to “softened” their extreme position: 
Washington Examiner: In consideration of the backlash against the way that Obamacare has disrupted people’s insurance coverage, the new GOP proposal … instead of scrapping the employer health insurance tax exclusion, the proposal would merely cap it at 65 percent of the average plan’s costs. The savings generated the cap … would be used to help finance tax credits to be offered to individuals earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level (or annual earnings of about $35,000 for an individual). A new division of the U.S. Department of Treasury known as the Office of Health Financing would administer the credits. Obamacare’s subsidies are more generous and go up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

In cases where individuals qualify for a tax credit high enough to cover the cost of a plan but never sign up for insurance, states have the option of automatically enrolling them in a default policy, though the individuals would also have the ability to opt out.
So really…no plan, it’s optional. The 35 percent left over will be considered part of an employees income, and taxed. A tax increase. More voluntary reform:
Under Obamacare insurers can only charge 3 times as much to older Americans as younger … The Coburn-Burr-Hatch proposal would allow insurers to charge older Americans 5 times as much … states would be permitted to set their own ratio below that amount, or opt out of the requirement altogether.
No plan, but it’s optional. Profits are also increased. Or how about change that isn't really change at all:
Pre-existing conditions … the GOP proposal would require insurers to offer coverage to anybody who has applied as long as they have maintained continuous coverage, without Obamacare’s full ban on the practice … incentive for everybody to maintain their insurance coverage negating the individual mandate.
That’s what we have already. Out of work? Try making the premiums. That’s right you can’t. Another option, but don’t count on it:
In cases where individuals qualify for a tax credit high enough to cover the cost of a plan but never sign up for insurance, states have the option of automatically enrolling them in a default policy, though the individuals would also have the ability to opt out.
I wish I were joking. Here’s one of the most irresponsible ideas yet:
The proposal would also expand the use of tax free health savings accounts by allowing funds to be withdrawn to pay premiums for long-term care insurance and COBRA.
So when you’re sick, you don’t have any money left after paying for your premiums. This is for the wealthy folks, who can add money anytime they want. Most people with high deductibles don’t have anywhere near the full amount in their accounts, I know, I've been there.
Instead of expanding Medicaid, the proposal would reform it to give more flexibility to states and allow Medicaid beneficiaries the option of using their tax credit to purchase private coverage. The proposal encourages states to adopt medical malpractice reforms.
Voluntary again. Good luck with the CBO grade:
The Congressional Budget Office has not evaluated the proposal, which hasn't been put into legislative text. But the authors argue it would be “roughly budget-neutral over a decade” and “competitive” with Obamacare when it comes to how many people would be covered.
Voluntary, yet budget neutral? Wow. Oh, and this…
The new Coburn-Burr-Hatch plan would not usher in a free market for health insurance in the United States.

Right Wing gives Walker pass on Jobs Promise, but goes after all the Obama broken promises...he never made.

Funny thing, I checked Wisconsin Reporter and the MacIver Institutes websites and didn't find one story about Scott Walker's broken jobs promise. Not one.

Odd isn't it, when all you're hearing from the right wing these days is how Obama broken his promises.

Promises by the way he never really "promised." Republicans always make and get away with empty promises, a tactic not taken up by Democrats. That's why Walker's campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs stood out for voters. Who would be that crazy unless they thought they could do it, right? Suckers.

So today the right wing is filled with reminders of all the supposed broken promises Obama didn't actually make. It's not just hypocritical, but red meat-like bullshit conservative voters just gobble up.

Upfront's Mike Gousha wrote a comment as well about the Marquette poll that reflected the public's low expectations of the governor.

Ironic? The tweet below comes right after Scott Walker's "empty rhetoric, broken promises" state of the state speech:

Walker Celebrates Radio Talk Hosts Right Wing Spin Machine Anniversary. Shameless Admission?

Jaw dropping and crass? While Democrats bump into walls trying to shape a message, the right wing propagandists are openly celebrating the anniversary of another misinformation network of fake outrage and sidetrack issues.

And the governor publically and shamelessly loves it.
Message to Democrats, since there's nothing secret about their authoritarian right wing intentions, why are we still talking about compromise?

 More accolades pouring in...

Monday, January 27, 2014

That Giant Sucking Sound? Voters taken in by Slick Scotty.

I am a little surprised, and maybe pretty much a stick in the mud for complaining so much about Scott Walker.

The new Marquette University poll proves Wisconsinites love Scott Walker and believe just about everything coming out of his party bosses press releases and media machine. Walker's 47% lead over Democratic opponent Mary Burke, at 41%, isn't just amazing, it's the defensive mechanism voters feel after giving everything up to Walker in reaction to the Great Recession caused by Gov. Doyle.

Wisconsinites need a leader, a tough father figure who stands his ground, no matter what people say.

I know this is just an early poll, who cares right, but if by now it isn't obvious where this state is headed...who am I to say.

Despite Walker's opposition to what the public really wants in that same poll, he's still...okay. A nice mild mannered guy. Jobs, safety nets, higher pay...Walker remains detached and unruffled.
62% said they would like to see the minimum wage increased, with 35% saying they didn't.

33% said they would like to see the $7.25 an hour minimum wage increased to $9, and 25% would like to see it raised to $10.
53% would like to extend unemployment benefits to the long-term jobless, while 42% were opposed.
It is true Wisconsinite's don't care about health care, or about getting their own federal tax dollars back to cover more people. What a hassle.

Taxpayer support of sick people in state's high risk pools, so insurance companies can make a profit from just healthy people, is a lot better than a buggy website that offers tax credits and competition.
35% had a favorable view of health care reform and 56% had an unfavorable view.
Perhaps Wisconsin is getting just what it deserves for a government, with Republican voters happier than heck being told how to live their life under the ruling party's definition of freedom and liberty.

I had no idea so many people living in Wisconsin hated what this state had become over the last century.

Small Businesses Uncertain, afraid of being Blind Sided by another Economic Crash!!!

BizTimes Executive Editor Steve Jagler may have started a whole new conversation nationally with this interesting tidbit from the Council of Small Business Executives; since they don't want to be caught by surprise again by another economic collapse, the uncertainty of "deregulation" may be holding business back.
Jagler: "They will forever, I think, be wary of what could blind side them again. They are determined not be blindsided and bloodied like they were with the Great Recession."   
This is a big story, and a scoop by Upfront's Mike Gousha:

Something never mentioned by the GOP, because it would explain the higher unemployment rate, is the new business model hatched from the wreckage of the Great Recession; a reduced permanent work force supplemented by part time workers during times of higher demand. And since demand lags do to lower wages, more people remain out of work.

Like tort reform that attacked the victims of medical errors instead of preventing the errors in the first place, the GOP is now attacking the unemployed instead of the reasons for slow job growth and anemic demand. Nothing ever changes because of them.

GOP Says Planned Parenthood profiting off Abortion, which still hasn't reduced unwanted pregnancies. Huh?

My head is spinning after following this GOP tweet down the rabbit hole: abortion…contraception…unwanted pregnancies…an old 1999 CDC report. 

Looks like social engineering, wedge issues are front and center for the GOP in 2014. The following first paragraph shows how a mass of disconnected factually untrue statements combined with actual statistics are spun into GOP truth:
Click to enlarge. See a doctor if
enlargement lasts for more than 4 hours.
The Root, a “black media” subsidiary of The Washington Post, claims that “safe” abortion and contraception save women’s lives. Special correspondent Keli Goff presents a free advertisement for Planned Parenthood. Never mind the abortion chain has never reduced the national unintended pregnancy rate…EVER. The CDC reports (since they started tracking this data in 1995) that the national unintended pregnancy rate hasn't been reduced at all. It’s still 49%. But, Planned Parenthood has successfully increased their share of our tax dollars (now at over $540 million per year) and nationwide abortions since then, currently aborting nearly 330,000 annually.
Unintended pregnancies happen to both married and unmarried women, and in some instances, it’s not always a bad thing. It’s all part of the confusing upside down “keep-them-guessing” blitz of unrelated ideas salad that has made the Republican tea party a laughing stock, yet still a force to reckon with thanks to low information voters. 

This alarmist racist rant pretty much says it all about how bad those minority communities are:
We have more access to contraception and “comprehensive” sex education than ever before yet the black community is plagued with exponentially higher STDs (8 times higher Chlamydia cases and 20 times higher Gonorrhea infections than majority population), massively higher abortion rates at up to 5 times that of whites (e.g. New York State), and devastatingly high fatherlessness where 72.3% of black children are born into homes without fathers. Single female-led homes are the largest contributor to child poverty, increasing poverty risk by 5 times. How’s that for empowerment?

If we just didn't have areas like that…?

Making a Profit off Educating our kids GOP's big campaign promise for 2014!!!

The GOP will be running on the issue of vouchers this upcoming election, but it won't really be about education. It's another marketing ploy to soften their problematic anti-minority image, the one they've so meticulously constructed over the last 50 years.

That's why I found it interesting to see Upfront's Mike Gousha comment on this issue at the same time RNC knucklehead Reince Priebus started tweeting the wonders of "choice" and how profiting off our children's education somehow empowers parents:

The not so subtle Priebus tweet:

Gee, ya think Jeb Bush might be running for president too? 

Just the fact that students are now referred to as commodities should tell you something. 

Republican State Sen. Dale Schultz won't run. Can't identify with his party anymore.

Sad to say my favorite Senate Republican at the Capitol is not seeking reelection. It's goodbye for now from Dale Schultz, who is hinting at a comeback somewhere else:
State Senator Dale Schultz says he's walking away after a lengthy career, choosing to retire after spending the last few of his years in political turmoil. He laments the state of his party, and admits to still feeling "uncomfortable" with his vote last session on voter ID.

"While I certainly believe we need to safeguard the integrity of the ballot box, I think we have crossed the line on a couple of occasions," said Sen. Schultz. "And it’s been a very uncomfortable situation for me having to vote along with the caucus because I've tried to be a good Republican."
Here's the story from Channel3000/WISC:

WKOW's Greg Neumann featured the pre-recorded interview with Schultz on the same day as Schultz's announced retirement. Wanna know why I like him, because he makes more sense and articulates his positions so much better than what we're getting from most Democrats:
Schultz: "Before I talk about what I think is warranted or what I'd like, I want to tell you about what my constituents think..."

Republicans want insurers to make money, by making taxpayers to pay for sick people in state run high risk pools.

Okay, maybe now conservatives and tea party losers will finally get the message. It can't get anymore obvious than this:
Economic Times: Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has suggested transition legislation that might initially eliminate some provisions ... Two separate House Republican proposals would address the needs of people with pre-existing conditions through state-run "high-risk" insurance pools.
Socialized Risk: The state-run, taxpayer supported high risk pools would take all of societies sick, and let healthy premium paying "customers" add to insurers bottom lines. What a deal?

For Democrats, it's best to frame it this way; taxpayers take the sick and insurers take the healthy. I dare any Republican to make that sound fair.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Poll finds Conservatives believe Rich, not Minimum Wage Employees, Work Harder!

If you've every worked a minimum wage job before, it's hard to forget how hard and unforgiving some of them were. Republicans would like to think we're all lying. The shocking "truth" for them is, white collar managers work even harder than back breaking laborers. From the Daily Kos:
A new Pew Research Center/USA Today poll echoes Quinnipiac in finding a fundamental difference in how Republicans and Democrats see economic inequality and poverty: Republicans actually believe that rich people are rich because they worked harder and poor people are poor because they didn't work hard enough:

Chris Christie: "The caricature of a third world despot," and the Dehumanization of Workers.

In a companion piece from Blogging Blue's great post on Chris Hedges' take on the demise of liberalism, I thought his description of conservative presidential wet dream Chris Christie was right on target. It's the rise of the bully.

Retaliatory politics isn't a unique feature of the Christie administration, we're also seeing it here in Wisconsin under Scott Walker and his one party band of Republicans thugs, who are not quite as abrasive but just as effective. Hedges wrote this:
Truthdig: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been Wall Street’s anointed son for the presidency. He is backed by the most ruthless and corrupt figures in New Jersey politics … The brewing scandal over the closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge is a window into how federal agencies and the security and surveillance apparatus would be routinely employed in a Christie presidency to punish anyone who challenged this tiny cabal’s grip on power.

Christie is the caricature of a Third World despot. He has a vicious temper, a propensity to bully and belittle those weaker than himself, an insatiable thirst for revenge against real or perceived enemies, and little respect for the law and, as recent events have made clear, for the truth. He is gripped by a bottomless hedonism that includes a demand for private jets, huge entourages, exclusive hotels and lavish meals. Wall Street and the security and surveillance apparatus want a real son of a bitch in power, someone with the moral compass of Al Capone, in order to ruthlessly silence and crush those of us who are working to overthrow the corporate state. 

…if Christie becomes president, see the vast forces of the security state surge into overdrive to stymie and reverse reform, gut our tepid financial and environmental regulations, further enrich the corporate elite who are pillaging the country, and savagely shut down all dissent. The corporate state’s repression, now on the brink of totalitarianism, would with the help of Christie, his corporate backers and his tea party loyalists become a full-blown corporate fascism. Christie’s large public entourage always includes a videographer who captures the governor’s frequent public humiliation of those—public school teachers are his favorite targets for ridicule—who have the audacity to question his judgment. These exchanges are immediately edited and uploaded to YouTube. There are now more than 600. 
Here's a bonus:
Chris Hedges discusses the psychology of the super rich; their sense of entitlement, the dehumanization of workers, and mistaken belief that their wealth will insulate them from the coming storms
More at The Real News

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mike "Uncle Sugar" Huckabee thinks Liberal men control Women like Conservative men think they do.

If you were ever unclear about the subservient roll women must play under Republican rule, than watch this clip of Mike Huckabee "projecting" how he thinks liberal men treat women.

Huckabee has to create this false premise in order to attack birth control.
OurFuture: In a speech to the Republican National Committee: “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”
Huckabee is so wrong that at times he's saying just the opposite of what he intended. An early start on the war on women this midterm election season:

Funny story: in 2005, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee signed a law mandating Arkansas insurance plans provide contraception coverage, including church-affiliated organizations such as hospitals and universities.

By Design, Walker's talk of a Manufacturing Revival Blown out of Proportion.

Since Scott Walker wants us all to bank heavily on the return of manufacturing in the state, I thought this quick examination was a nice but unwelcome reality check:
Steve Rattner shares charts on U.S. manufacturing, showing why the country won’t return to manufacturing levels seen in the 1950s and ’60s.

Walker's Income and Property Tax Cuts Benefits Wealthy Again.

Here's what Scott Walker's irresponsible knee jerk budgeting looks like, according to the Wisconsin Budget Project:

A fairer tax cut would be on just the first tax bracket, since that would effect all incomes while helping the poor and middle class. But that's not Walker's or the Republican goal. It seems responsible household taking the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel poll online are catching on. 
Jon Peacock, the director of the budget project, opposes the tax cuts … said Walker could have restored the earned income tax credit that Walker and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature cut in 2011 by $56.2 million over two years. Walker also ended annual inflationary increases for the homestead tax credit, which is a property tax break that shows up as a credit on income tax returns for low-income homeowners and renters. "People shouldn't be misled to think there's much in it for the bottom two-fifths of Wisconsin," Peacock said of Walker's latest plan. 

Andrew Reschovsky, who researches tax policy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the proposed property tax cut would be of some help overall to renters, but it would also help state companies with Wisconsin parcels and well-to-do families with vacation homes, not just elderly homeowners struggling to pay their annual tax bills. "(Walker's) solution does not offer a lot of relief to those who really need it," he said.

Democratic lawmakers were more blunt. "It's more of the same," said Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), who sits on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. "It's, 'Let's give more money to the wealthy and hope it trickles down.' The problem is it doesn't work." He said the tax cuts were funded with past cuts to public schools, technical colleges and the University of Wisconsin System.

Walker says to struggling Families who've seen wages decline, raising minimum wage "a misguided political stunt."

Perhaps WISGOP can wrap their tiny little brains around this Mary Burke position:
Burke said she believes Walker’s proposed tax cuts, which come in a re-election year, are “about politics.”
“I think it’s an approach that someone who’s been in politics their whole life takes,” Burke said.
Scott Walker's biggest liability is that he's a career politicians, whose made it very clear he doesn't understand business or wages.

Getting businesses to like you Scott is easy if you give them what they want, like the Wisconsin Grocers Association's need for low wages. But what they want is rooted in the myths and fictions that are a part of the Republican ideology. 

Incoherent messages like the following are backed by business because is saves them money, not because they make sense or contributes to a stronger economy:
“I think it is nothing more than a misguided political stunt,” Doing that will only lead to the elimination of entry-level jobs and cut pay for other workers, Walker said. 
Shear lunacy; a higher minimum wage would "eliminate" entry level jobs? Will we really say goodbye food service jobs, clerks, cleaning crews, seasonal hiring...? The list of minimum wages jobs goes on and on. America is a service economy now, or haven't career Republican politicians noticed?

Higher wages "a political stunt?" If Republicans took just a second longer to think about it, there's a chance they would realize how preposterous that idea is. Arguing against higher wages--which would only increase consumer spending, increase consumer demand and result in more job creation--ignores just how taxpayers are subsidizing businesses by paying for their food stamps and health care needs. 

Career politicians have never understood these concepts because as small business owners know, it takes awhile for these ideas to settle in as a fundamental way of doing business.   

Walker is a victim of his own hyperbolic media created image and non-existent successes; he believes it all:
“If you want to put a buzz saw on the economic recovery we've seen in this state, you just start piling on regulations like increasing the minimum wage,” Walker said. 
Democratic State Rep. Cory Mason said it best:
“If he really thinks that raising wages for people making minimum wage is a political stunt, then he shouldn't be governor.”  
Political Heat figured it another way, that blows away Walker's petty election year handout:
The average homeowner is set to receive about $150 in tax savings from Walker’s plan. Meanwhile, an increase in the minimum wage by $2.85 (up to $10.10 per hour) would increase wages for those single full-time workers by about $5,928 annually.

Walker State-of-the-State "Speech is so full of sh**..."-State Rep. Christine Sinicki.

Democratic Rep. Christine Sinicki said what I was screaming at the TV on her Facebook. Here's Lawrence O'Donnell to explain:

Walker explains mistake introducing felon in state-of-state address, says "These are not examples of people I hired, people I put in my cabinet." Oh really?

This is not about the felon/sex offender guy introduced by Scott Walker during his state-of-the-state speech, which was awkward enough, this is about how Walker explained away his mistake. Did he really want to remind us of the six convicted people he had around him? This is so Freudian:
"Remember, these are not examples of people I hired, people I put in my cabinet, or people that in any way work for the state government..."
He wouldn't have brought it up, unless he had actually mentally disconnect from the consequences of the first John Doe investigation and arrests, or he really doesn't remember it. At 1:30 minutes in, Walker lets it slip:

I don't know a thing about the felon/sex offender guy who got the standing ovation. The company he works for thought enough of his turnaround to send him to the Capitol, so he must be doing something very right. I hope this Walker blunder doesn't have a negative effect on his job. Here are the details:
Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday he was frustrated that a registered sex offender and felon was allowed to stand alongside him during his State of the State speech.

Christopher Barber, a 32-year-old welder, was one of 13 newly hired workers Walker brought out to stand behind him during the opening minutes of his Wednesday speech. Walker didn't know that Barber, of Two Rivers, is a registered sex offender with two felonies and three drunken driving offenses. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported on his criminal record Thursday. Online court records show that Barber was convicted of third-degree sexual assault in 2005 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Walker said. "This particular individual was one of the last people added. He came from a credible employer in the state who gave us the suggestion at the last minute."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Walker’s rejection of Wind and Solar Energy resulting in bigger bills for you and me, now and in the Future. Other states will be lowery their bills.

Scott Walker is doing what he can to slow or stop green energy progress in the state.
Renewable energy businesses that want to develop projects in Wisconsin are having success in other states … DVO, a Chilton-based company that is the state’s leading builder of waste-to-energy digesters, is actively pursuing projects in places like Serbia, Chile and Vietnam … Vermont and other states … less demand in Wisconsin after utilities increased the price they would pay to buy the electricity generated by the dairy farm digesters in the state.

Matt Neumann, son of former Republican Rep. Mark Neumann, of Sunvest Solar in Pewaukee, said his company has been actively installing solar projects around the country … Of more 212 projects the company has in the pipeline this year, just one is in Wisconsin, he said.
While other states have been moving quickly into solar, giving Americans the freedom to create their own energy and save money, Walker is trying to protect energy companies from losing their market monopolies. For example, in far off Arizona the power company wanted to charge solar customers and extra $100 a month to discourage the spread of solar panels. That didn't exactly work, but others are trying to do the same.
Nationwide, 80% of new solar installations last year came in states like New Jersey, California and Arizona that have given the go-ahead to third-party ownership.
It’s what Walker and the Republicans won’t allow to happen here:
Wisconsin needs to open the door to more solar through allowing third-party ownership of solar projects, which enable solar developers to own the panels and homeowners and businesses to lease the panels on their rooftops.
What’s the holdup?
Utilities have concerns about allowing too many solar projects, and the ripple effect on other customers if large businesses and other customers shift to generate their own power. Utilities have fixed costs that need to be paid for and policymakers need to be measured to assure that utility finances aren't upended by distributed generation, he said.
Walker is cutting taxes so you can spend more on your energy bills:
The state is falling behind its neighboring states, speakers at the conference said. Michigan built more wind power in 2012 than Wisconsin has built over the past 15 years … In Minnesota and Iowa, where utility costs are less expensive than Wisconsin, utilities are well on their way to hit 25% to 30% of their power from renewable sources.
It’s a market driven green energy movement, pure “economics, it’s cheaper:”
In Minnesota, Xcel Energy is moving to build more wind farms in a bid to meet the renewable energy standard as well as reduce its overall emissions, said Mike Bull of the Center for Energy and Environment in Minneapolis. In addition, the new wind farms are projected to reduce costs for customers over time because there is no fuel price that needs to be paid when the wind blows, Sullivan said. As a result, Xcel’s aggressive move to add wind power in 2013 represents an investment of more than $3.5 billion, said Michael Noble of Minnesota-based Fresh Energy.

“None of that was driven by mandates. None of that was driven by renewable energy standards, none of that was driven by state law,” he said. “That was all driven by economics: it’s cheaper.”

“We must always push the bar up a little higher to see how much we can do because this is a competitive world,” said Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center.
Oops, scratch Walker’s line about moving Wisconsin forward:
Schoenherr, of the Department of Administration, said the time isn't necessarily right to move forward … because utility sales are flat … time to consider it would be when the state is looking to add more power plants.

The state should move first to expand funding for renewable energy projects through the state Focus on Energy program – which has suspended funding for renewables twice in recent years, said Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point.

Not so Business Friendly Scott Walker could cost Employers up to $37 Million for his Refusal to expand Medicaid!!! But he's got his principles.

Despite the economic reality that corporate giveaways hurt the state, and widen the income gap, Scott Walker has also decided to cost businesses here up to $37 million in penalties for not expanding Medicaid from 100% to only 138%. 

Petty to the point it now hurts business, Walker has offered no excuses. Not only are taxpayers forking over cash to area hospitals for treating those not covered by ObamaCare and Badgercare, but businesses are on the hook for a Walker created penalty. Don't even bring up rejecting our federal tax dollars. Gov. Scott Walker's decision not to expand the state's Medicaid coverage could cost large Wisconsin employers about $37 million in tax penalties, according to a national analysis released Wednesday. Starting next year, employers with at least 50 full-time workers will face a tax penalty if their workers get subsidized coverage through the federal online exchanges. But companies won't face a penalty if those workers get subsidized coverage through Medicaid instead.

A report by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. estimated that of 31,000 uninsured Wisconsin adults working full-time who are between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about 12,000 work for large employers who'll be hit by the tax penalty. That works out to a penalty of about $2,000 to $3,000 per affected worker, for a total cost in Wisconsin of $25 million to $37 million, said Brian Haile, a vice president at Jackson Hewitt who conducted the analysis. "The only way for the state to remove that liability is to extend Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent," he said. 
The governor didn't seem to care. This tells me they've got a messaging problem. Walker’s opponent, Mary Burke, would be a fool not to beat this into the ground:
J.P. Wieske, a spokesman for the insurance commissioner's office, questioned the validity of the numbers in the report … "It's assumption after assumption off of national numbers. It's not a Wisconsin-based number."
Mary Burke even has Tammy Baldwin as a backup :
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, spokesman, John Kraus, said the latest report shows that Wisconsin is paying a price for Walker's decisions. "This report makes clear that the path Governor Walker has taken will increase costs for Wisconsin businesses at a time when we need them investing in economic growth and creating jobs for people looking for work in our struggling economy," he said in an email.

GOP Anoints Waukesha County DA Brad Schimel as only Republican AG Candidate.

Taking the choice away from the people, right wing leaders are banking on Schimel, while Democrats opened up the field by offering up 3 choices. 

Mugging the Camera, Walker's State-of-the-State Droned On for 1 Hour 7 Minutes, stealing Paul Ryan's "Path" and renaming it "Blueprint" to Prosperity.

Not one word about the most ponderous, self aggrandizing state-of-the-state speech...ever? 1 hour and 7 minutes? Really, nothing?

Big surprise Scott Walker milked as much media face time as he could. And yet his laundry list of ludicrous seat-of-the-pants ideas stretched on and on for 1 hour and 7 minutes. With so much time, he purposely stayed clear of trying to form a concise coherent "Blueprint" people in the state could understand.

Nothing Scott Walker said in the state-of-the-state was new. He simply rolled standard platform theory into a jumble of long term tax cuts that will essentially putting the state behind the eight ball again during the next economic slowdown or recession.

For Republicans, that's a good thing. They'll force the next Democratic majority to rescue the state again, like Gov. Jim Doyle had to do, while roundly criticizing them for returning tax fairness to the equation. Isn't the news media getting tired of this yet?

Blueprint to Prosperity? Did Walker really steal from Paul Ryan's own "Path to Prosperity?" Oddly, weren't we already 3 years into this supposed "path?" Not working yet?

Note to Democrats: Walker's divide and conquer plan, turning neighbor against neighbor, succeeded in securing a very large percentage of his conservative base in Wisconsin. That base is defensive and protective of their candidate. No matter what Walker does, they'll vote for the guy.

My conservative friend in Milwaukee is a perfect example. He's so tired of defending Walker and bashing Obama, that he's decided to distance himself from politics altogether. Whatever happens now is off his radar, and not a factor in the upcoming election. I wonder how many other conservatives have taken this same low information hard line path?

And will someone please ask why, after over 3 years, Walker is still blaming Gov. Doyle for all of his problems, including the Great Recession?

And speaking of the Great Recession, Mary Burke wasn't even there when it hit. The GOP's got nothing. Come on, this is the easy stuff.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Republican writing law to exempt wetland lot from DNR Regulation so developer can build and sell house.

What we're now seeing is a conservative government of personalized legislation, churning out volumes of new regulation written specifically for individual Republican club members to change or exempt them from the rules everyone else has to live by.

Rep. Joel Kleefisch twice wrote child support legislation for just one millionaire deadbeat dad. Now we have a developer who wants to build a house on a parcel of wetland that would exempt that single lot from DNR oversight. Really. Who would have the balls to do this? Outgoing Republican Rep. Garey Bies: 
Special Interest Legislation Exhibit A
WSJ: Cliff Tebon has been waiting a long time to build a house on a small corner lot in Purves Lagoon, a subdivision he helped develop on the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal leading to Lake Michigan.

The neighborhood is “a little piece of utopia,” Tebon said. But since 1995, the state Department of Natural Resources has blocked construction on Tebon’s lot, saying development could, among other things, endanger water quality in nearby Sturgeon Bay.

A bill (written by Rep. Garey Bies) before the state Legislature would reverse that and give Tebon permission to fill in the wetland and build the house, which he plans to sell. Assembly Bill 602 would allow whoever builds a house on that lot — and only that lot — to do so without permission from the DNR.
Who can argue with "logic" like this:
“I can’t see how this little postage-stamp piece of property is going to ruin the whole world,” said Bies, R-Sister Bay. “Right now, it’s an eyesore in a very nice residential area.”
Hey, it's not about the environment, it's about entitlement:
Tebon and Bies said the bill is about fairness.

The Slippery Slope:  Tony Depies, Sturgeon Bay city engineer, said he worries about the precedent the bill would set. “I’m very concerned about it, because are you going to start to apply exceptions for even larger wetlands?” Depies said. “It could be a very slippery slope.”

Walker blows revenue surpluses to get reelected.

There's something so wrong about Scott Walker’s use of the Obama recovery to secure his own reelection. Walker's "George W." plan, to return revenues that could have paid down our government debt, has been shown to be historically short sighted and an outright bad idea:
jsonline: Walker said his plan would add perhaps $100 million to the $725 million shortfall projected for the next two-year budget by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Brilliant. When your average Wisconsinite is lucky enough to have a little extra money in their pocket, they instinctively want to pay off their outstanding bills and debts first. Not Walker who's desperately trying to keep his job:
WSJ: Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, said in his conversations with about 200 constituents over the past week since the surplus was announced, he hasn’t heard anyone clamoring for more tax cuts.

“‘Don’t you see through these election year tricks? We just want you to balance the budget,’” Schultz said in summarizing what he’s heard from voters. “I’m looking for a serious plan to get rid of the structural deficit.”
It should be unsettling to know the governor didn't react in the same responsible way. 
Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) said he wanted to cut taxes this spring but that his goal also was "not to jeopardize the long-term fiscal health of the state. We need to sequester some of this revenue on a down payment on the structural deficit…”
Walker is basking in the revenue windfall of consumer spending and business profits due to the national economic recovery, which Obama supposedly has failed at miserably.   
"This (surplus) is in place because the economy has gotten substantially better," Walker said. "In addition to that, it's also because of good fiscal management...”
Yet, Walker’s “…overall plan would leave the state in worse financial shape in the long term.” 
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said some GOP lawmakers in his house want even more (tax cuts). Vos brushed aside the projected impact of the proposal on the next state budget.  
And don't forget:
...other revenue sources will dry up in upcoming years as the state income tax on agriculture and manufacturing, for example, is phased out.
The mostly invisible Democratic Party has yet to formulate a single coherent message for Wisconsinites to chew over the surplus. This is an election year, right?

I’m concerned about restoring the cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit. Or restructuring a funding formula for the transportation department, or help the DNR hire more people to oversee the expanding sand mining industry in the state? There’s more:
Remember these estimates from Dec. 2011? Wisconsinsfuture
The fiscal bureau's recent estimates on the state budget don't account for a projected $93 million shortfall within the state's Medicaid health programs in the current budget or a projected $18.9 million shortfall in the welfare-to-work program, known as Wisconsin Works, or W-2.

Democrats Tuesday argued that Walker has too simplistic a view of the economy … The National Association of State Budget Officers expects almost all states to see at least some budget surplus this year.
So it wasn't what Walker did that gave the state a surplus. You think Walker’s thank you card praising Obama's supposed "failed" stimulus will ever be sent?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dumb Ron Johnson wrong again in a Big Way.

Big Failure? What else doesn't he know?

What is it about GOP Governors?

Republican governors reflect party bankruptcy, and disrespect of government:

N.J. Schools Superintendent Suspends 5 Principals for Speaking out against Gov. Chris Christie school Privatization Movement.

Republicans no longer care about local control.

In Wisconsin, Scott Walker is determined to spread private voucher education statewide, killing public education and Common Core at the same time. Plus, in an action that neutralizes the elected office of the state superintendent, the GOP will oversee educational changes and remove local school board involvement altogether.

But the same thing is happening in N.J., where similar attempts to destroy public education are moving quickly forward, even while Chris Christie is getting all that attention.

Check out the following comment by Gov. Chris Christie about his education superintendent’s decision to bully and suspend indefinitely five principals for speaking out against privatization:
Edweek: During a public appearance Wednesday at a school in Beach Haven, Christie was asked whether he and Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf plan to renew (superintendent of schools) Cami Anderson's contract, given the level of criticism from the Newark community, about the job she's doing.
"Yes we do, and we're going to renew it because she's done a great job, and I don't care about the community criticism," Christie said. "We run the school district in Newark, not them."
Welcome to the Republican idea of democracy; an authoritarian, top down style of “representation,” a contradiction if there ever was one.

Is “I don’t care about the community criticism” clear enough?
Journalist Bob Braun today carries a report on the decision by Anderson to "indefinitely suspend" five of Newark's principals. Braun explains:
Four of the principals...tried to answer questions from local residents worried about what would happen to their children as Anderson moves toward a wholesale transfer of public school assets to the KIPP Schools, a charter organization that operates TEAM Academy Charter Schools. Questions Anderson wasn't answering. Ms. Anderson's action in suspending the four principals is the last straw in a chain of inept, and horribly out-of-touch decisions.

The four principals have a constitutional right to speak out. The Newark school district is not a military dictatorship, and Ms. Anderson is neither an army general nor a police chief. 
This little aside should send a chill:
Senator Ron Rice, who represents Newark in the NJ Senate, spoke about another incident in which the Newark Administration locked students in a school library to speak with them about the school closings and reorganization and would not allow parents access.  The parents were at the school for a PTA meeting. 

On a more positive note, new legislation to stop forced public school closings was introduced in both the NJ Senate and Assembly.