Monday, March 31, 2014

Overwhelming Approval of Obamacare at Ted Cruz Facebook page.

If you can visit the Cruz Facebook page featuring this question:

Comment after comment not only support the law, but tells a story. Just amazing. Here's a sample:

Republicans are trying to Kill Us with small government, and succeeding.

Uppity Wisconsin found the great chart below that oddly shows how Republican policies are actually killing us, literally. 

The chart compares preventable deaths due to the lack of health care, and preventable gun deaths. Both issues have gotten the GOP deregulation treatment. If we let government just get out of the way, well, a lot of people will die. Now Republican governors are attacking the poor and middle class by not expanding Medicaid. What does that mean to Wisconsinites?

According to Uppity Wisconsin:

Again, the chart shows what a little deregulation can do. I give you liberty and freedom...from breathing:

Koch influence in Kenosha School Board Race, Sly Protest of Americans for Prosperity and more Vicki McKenna BS.

Our outside electioneers, the Koch brothers Americans for Prosperity group, are now controlling campaigns all over the state. Think what they'll do for Scott Walker.  UPDATED HERE.

Is it just a coincidence that just after voter suppression rules were put in place, out-of-state campaign cash is suddenly flooding in, controlling our issues and candidates for public office?

Conservatives love this stuff, because winning is the bottom line. Like Padme said Star Wars 3, "So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause," or a Walker win.

Kock's in Kenosha School Board Race? It's hard to believe, but true:
Kenosha News: About 60 demonstrators voiced their opinion in front of the Kenosha Unified School District Educational Support Center ... The picketers carried signs critical of the Americans for Prosperity group … Guest speaker John “Sly” Sylvester of Madison talk radio WEKZ-FM 93.7 spoke to the marchers on a megaphone in an effort to “fire up the troops.”

I talked to Sly about the latest rantings from WISN's Vicki McKenna's. McKenna and Kristi Lacroix of AAE Wisconsin tore into Sly for "the bullying tactics used by the Kenosha teachers union at their recent rally." McKenna and Lacroix whined about Madison based Sly injecting himself into Kenosha's election, and yelling at Lacroix's 13 year old daughter. Not only did Sly deny that, he mentioned how Madison based McKenna was there the previous week. Oops.

How dare Sly protest the Koch brothers influence. Remember, citizen participation via unions, via radio hosts, via independent citizen voices is frowned upon by Republicans. Below, McKenna repeated the fabricated story about Sly "screaming" at Lacroix's daughter, which wasn't true. Does she ever confirm anything?

Dark Money and the Koch Brother Invasion: The Kenosha News wrote the following:
Americans for Prosperity … funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch … is getting involved with the Kenosha Unified School Board race.

David Fladeboe, state director of AFP, said the organization has a field team working on the race, doing phone banks and canvassing in the district … the group decided to become involved in the race due to the board’s approval of new union contracts … the group is interested in remaining active in Kenosha County beyond School Board politics, saying “We’ll be active in that corner of the state all year.”

Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause, a Wisconsin campaign spending watchdog group, said Americans for Prosperity (are involved) in northern Wisconsin where the group has gone after opponents of a proposed iron ore mine … he had not heard of the group being involved in school board races in the state. He called the development “very, very alarming.”

“Obviously the teachers unions have always weighed in, but for the Americans for Prosperity to do it, boy, I have not heard of that in school board races,” Heck said. “It’s a new trend. It’s now in virtually every competitive congressional and legislative race, but now it’s county supervisors and city council members. And now school board members down in Kenosha,” Heck said. “It’s the nationalization of state and local politics in Wisconsin.”
Isn't that the tea party complaint about Common Core, which isn't true by the way. And while McKenna screams about liberal “dark money,” she never mentioned the Koch brothers on her program.
Groups like Americans for Prosperity spend on issue ads … they do not have to report who donates money to their organization. 
Cognitive Dissidence's Jeff Simpson posted this Robert Greenwald video showing what did happen under Koch brothers rule on the Raleigh, N. Carolina school board. I never heard about this outrageous horrific story, which is truly jaw dropping. This is what's really behind school privatization:


Embarrassed State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf Stumped trying to explain how Shorter Uniform Early Voting Hours will work in Big Cities.

Uh-oh, it looks like our Republican politicians were blowing smoke up our butts touting the benefits of the new uniform early voting hours. Outgoing Sen. Dale Schultz was right not to try and defend the unexplainable and what is obviously a policy of voter suppression.

This morning on WPR's Joy Cardin Show, Sen. Sheila Harsdorf couldn't explain how shorter uniform hours would work in big cities with more people. The fact that it doesn't was a point surprisingly ignored by news outlets.

Here's Harsdorf stumbling all over herself trying to make sense of the senseless supression, and finally resorting to the standard "maintaining the integrity of elections" bullshit. Funny thing, a few other red states did, and said, the same thing. Coincidence...didn't think so:

Correcting Lyin' Paul Ryan...again.

The only good that came out of Paul Ryan's run for vice president is that we now know he's a lying phony. Is that just liberal name calling? Not if it's the truth.

Ryan's opponent Democratic candidate Rob Zerban would wise to incorporate a few of the important reality base points below about Ryan's mischaracterization of poverty and Medicaid. From Bill Moyers:
Ryan: “It’s time for an adult conversation,” he told The Washington Post: The problem is that a prerequisite for any adult conversation is telling the truth and it is there the congressman falls monumentally short.

In addition to Rep. Ryan’s recent, racially-coded comments about “our inner cities” where “generations of men [are] not even thinking about working,” his rhetoric around policy should raise red flags for anyone — including the media — assessing his credibility.
Here are the facts that simply scream common sense:
report from Emily Oshima Lee, policy analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, examines the hatchet job Rep. Ryan did on Medicaid ... The Washington Post generously described as a “critique.” Indeed, Ryan’s report ... misrepresenting and cherry-picking data — is a dangerous disservice ... assessing antipoverty programs.

Lee notes that Ryan misuses research to imply that Medicaid coverage leads to poorer health. “The privately insured comparison is patently unfair because these people tend to be higher income and that comes with a whole host of health privileges.” She notes that Medicaid enrollees tend to struggle a lot more with chronic conditions and illnesses than other populations writes Lee, in my opinion admirably resisting the temptation to add, “duh.”

Ryan also argues that Medicaid coverage has little positive effect on enrollees’ health. But as Lee points out, Ryan conveniently overlooks studies showing lower mortality rates; reduced low-weight births and infant and child mortality; and lower mortality for HIV-positive patients. “…such as increased use of preventive care and greater financial security.”

Despite Ryan’s shabby work when it comes to antipoverty policy, the media repeatedly seems willing to overlook it. That’s another strike against the prospects of a truly adult conversation about poverty — in addition to honesty, it requires accountability.

Rep. Ryan also plays on fears of low-income people abusing the welfare system when he asserts that Medicaid coverage improperly increases enrollees’ use of health care services, including preventive care and emergency department services ... by comparing Medicaid enrollees to uninsured people ... “Presenting data that Medicaid enrollees use more health services than the uninsured affirms that insurance coverage allows people who need care to seek it out,” writes Lee, “and that being uninsured is a major barrier to receiving important medical care.”

Further, one of the two studies Ryan references explicitly states that “neither theory nor existing evidence provides a definitive answer to… whether we should expect increases or decreases in emergency-department use when Medicaid expands.”

Walker's Wisconsin turns away jobs in Solar and Wind Industries.

Conservative voters must not be aware of all the jobs their party leaders are turning away every day because of their total dislike for wind and solar energy. The few that do know, are being told it’s a plot to destroy big oil companies for the more expensive green energy industry. And yet they’re okay grumbling about higher pump prices three or four times a year. Go figure.

Like I've said before, certain industries are well aware of Wisconsin’s 'red state" opposition to their business model. We’re open to only Republican approved businesses, and wind and solar aren't in that mix. From WPR:
Not exactly a new idea....
Wisconsin now trails all other Midwest states in megawatts generated by wind turbines. Jeff Anthony of the American Wind Energy Association says other states continue to ramp up their wind energy sector, while growth has slowed here. “For Wisconsin, due to some inconsistent policies and somewhat hostile business environment, we really don't have that much wind energy planned at this point.”

Changes in state energy policy would bring more energy jobs to the state, and more reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Anthony worries some of the 28 Wisconsin companies that make parts for wind turbines will relocate if the state doesn't become more pro-wind.  Alternative energy advocates also say Wisconsin is lagging behind on solar.
And while we wait to hear from at least one Republican who likes wind and solar, because it’s only a good idea if they say so, poor wayward Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin has already written a bill:
Sen. Tammy Baldwin is introducing legislation to use federal money to help high school students earn credits toward careers in renewable energy, which she said will help the environment and the economy.

Baldwin calls it the GREEN Act. Baldwin's bill would also let technical schools invest in green energy projects to power their own campuses, while serving as a sort of laboratory for students who would learn how to build and maintain the systems.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Burke's Venture Capital plan vs Corporate Welfare, they're not the same.

If you missed WPT's Here and Now special on venture capital, catch the highlights below. You can watch it all here. It's changed my perspective on the whole idea, and it might do the same for you.

Burke making up late start, offers counter arguments to cliched Walker Campaign disaster.

In reaction to a long Facebook discussion over Mary Burke and the wimpy Democratic Party of Wisconsin, I thought this latest interview from WPT's Here and Now might help fine tune the message a bit. Burke now has more to offer than when she first announced, which seems to be where a few unhappy progressive voters are still at right now. Click the link above for the whole thing:

Walker enters Sheldon Primary!!! Billionaire to pick Presidential Candidate for 2016 with blessing from conservative voters.

Without an ounce of outrage coming from the right wing, I'm beginning to think that even conservative voters are okay with losing their government to the lords of corporate success. Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers to be exact. 

While Republican joke about the liberal obsession with Koch money pouring into elections, that doesn't change reality, or absolve them of any responsibility for letting it happen.

If any of the following were being written about a Democrat, it would be the end of their political career. But thanks to the media, the public is used to hearing this stuff from right wingers:
PRWATCH: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and other GOP presidential hopefuls are jetting off to Las Vegas for an exclusive gathering with billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, who is reportedly assessing the field for 2016 after plowing $92 million into the 2012 presidential election cycle. During Walker's hotly contested 2012 recall elections spurred by Walker's crackdown on collective bargaining, Adelson wrote the Wisconsin governor a $250,000 check.

One Republican strategist calling (it) the "Sheldon Primary."
Here's Chris Matthews comment on Adelson's Primary:

Walker takes control of John Doe Investigation via Lawsuit by Wisconsin Club for Growth.

The Walker Authority is now showing what he could do if he were desperate enough (besides voter suppression).
Cap Times: Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm initiated the John Doe investigation that’s looking at campaign collusion between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign staff and right-wing “dark money” groups that backed Walker in the 2012 recall campaign.

Now Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the groups under scrutiny, is suing Chisolm for violating its free speech, freedom to assemble and equal protection rights.

Enter Walker:
And Walker gets to decide who Chisholm’s attorney will be and the attorney’s hourly rate, writes Bruce Murphy in Urban Milwaukee. Walker has erected a “Chinese Wall” between himself and the case, appointing his Chief Legal Counsel Brian Hagedorn, to make the calls.

“Hagedorn also gets to set a cap on the total amount paid to the attorney,” Murphy writes. “That is another way that the Walker administration may be able to control how much representation Chisholm and company receive.”

ObamaCare signup delay same, even shorter than Bush's Medicare Part D delayed roll out.

I think the following says it all about the phony partisan anti-Obama GOP forces in Congress. And no, they can't have it both ways:
Flashback to 2006: When Bush extended an enrollment deadline.

NBC News/MARK MURRAY: As Republicans complain about the Obama administration’s latest deadline extension for Americans to purchase health insurance, Democrats are countering with this reminder: The Bush administration did something similar in 2006.

Back then, as it was implementing the Medicare prescription-drug benefit Bush had signed into law, the GOP presidential administration announced it was waiving penalties for low-income seniors and those with disabilities who signed up late.

As one Knight Ridder report put it at the time: The move follows a recent administration decision to allow the same impoverished beneficiaries to sign up for Medicare drug coverage until Dec. 31. "In other words, you can apply after May 15th without penalty. And that's important for low-income seniors to understand," President Bush told a group of older Americans in Sun City Center, Fla., on Tuesday.

There’s one key difference between Bush’s Medicare prescription-drug benefit and Obama’s health-care law: Democrats didn’t try to scuttle the Medicare law’s implementation (especially since some of them had voted for it), while the same isn’t exactly true of GOP actions regarding the health-care law.

Christie's Bogus Bridge-gate "Investigation" an Insult to Americans Everywhere.

A bizarre answer for what has been called a "white wash" investigative from Chis Christie's own investigator. 

In a blatant attempt to exonerate Gov. Chris Christie from his “Bridgegate” scandal,  Christie’s attorney blamed Bridget Kelly, and the way she handled her broken relationship, for the closure:
Raw Story: Christie Attorney Responds To Kelly Lawyer's Charges That Report Was Sexist: "We treated both David Wildstein and Bridget Kelly exactly the same. They deserved the assessment that we gave both of them … And that’s what the evidence showed," Mastro said on ABC's "This Week" … (Mastro) said it was "obvious" that Kelly had an ulterior motive, but couldn't say why when asked by "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos … he was confident his report would not be contradicted by the investigation conducted by the U.S. attorney's office. "We had no incentive to do anything other than to get to the truth," Mastro said.
But the following clip compilation proves how little Republicans respect the intelligence of their constituents, women in particular, who they think will believe anything. From MSNBC:

Wisconsin Congressmen vote against the preservation and designation of many future Federal National Monuments.

Saving federal land from looting, excavation or their destruction would seem like a good thing, unless you’re a Wisconsin congressman hell bent on big oil profiting from oil and mineral exploration.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 passed so presidents could quickly save national monuments, instead of going through a lengthy congressional battle. It was for "... the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest. President Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower National Monument on September 24, 1906 … (and) the Grand Canyon National Monument"-Wikipedia.

Because Obama went ahead with a few other proclamations, our GOP leaders were outraged:
The most recent proclamations were the establishment by President Barack Obama of Fort Ord National Monument in California on April 20, 2012,Chimney Rock National Monument on September 21, 2012,[3] and Cesar E. Chavez National Monument on October 8, 2012.[4] President Obama created a further five National Monuments on March 25, 2013, including the First State National Monument in Delaware, the first National Park Service site in that state.[5]
Can you blame our GOP leaders outrage and push back; the federal preservation of monuments? From Roll Call:
ANTIQUITIES ACT OF 1906: The House passed a bill (HR 1459) to weaken presidential authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to preserve certain federal lands in their natural state. The law was enacted to give presidents a quick means of preventing the looting of archeological and historical resources such as Indian relics on federal land. But critics say modern-era presidents have been overly aggressive in giving “national monument” protection to federal acreage in the West. The bill limits presidents to one national-monument designation per state in their four-year term and subjects preservation decisions to lengthy National Environmental Policy Act reviews.
I know, Republicans are big on national environmental policy, but still (I kid). Voting to prevent the proliferation of many future federal monuments from dotting our already gorgeous country side: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble 

Wisconsin GOP Fab Five vote to violate Endangered Species Act by “deeming it…compliant!!!” So there?

Again, it’s how they vote that will tell you all you need to know how Republican governance will look under their control. The Roll Call feature of the Wisconsin State Journal is one of the most important weekly wraps of GOP voting there is. There's no ambiguity in our GOP politicians positions.
There back....
It’s a shocking look into the stunning disregard for everything:
REGULATION OF MOUNTAINTOP MINING: the House on Tuesday passed a GOP bill (HR 2824) to retain mountaintop-mining regulations from the George W. Bush administration that a federal judge struck down in February on grounds they violate the Endangered Species Act. Issued in December 2008, what is known as the “Stream Buffer Zone Rule” curbs but does not prohibit the coal industry’s practice of dumping fractured rock and other waste from blasted mountaintops into adjacent streams and valleys. In part, this bill would “deem” the Bush-era rules in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. The Obama administration is drafting replacement regulations.
I'm not sure how "deeming" something legal changes what has been determined to be a violation, but....guess who voted yes? The free market five: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble. 

Environmental Plundering will be Scott Walker’s Legacy.

The NY Times piece “The Fight for Wisconsin’s Soul,” details very simply what the whole Gtac ore mine controversy in Northern Wisconsin is all about:
The $1.5 billion mine would initially be close to four miles long, up to a half-mile wide and nearly 1,000 feet deep, but it could be extended as long as 21 miles. To facilitate the construction of the mine and the company’s promise of 700 long-term jobs.

Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation last year granting GTac astonishing latitude. The new law allows the company to fill in pristine streams and ponds with mine waste. It eliminates a public hearing that had been mandated before the issuing of a permit, which required the company to testify, under oath, that the project had complied with all environmental standards. It allows GTac to pay taxes solely on profit, not on the amount of ore removed, raising the possibility that the communities affected by the mine’s impact on the area’s roads and schools would receive only token compensation.
And we know that money does not have any actual influence on politicians, or so says the Supreme Court:
According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a campaign-finance watchdog, GTac executives and other mine supporters have donated a total of $15 million to Governor Walker and Republican legislators, outspending the mine’s opponents by more than 600 to 1.
Militia protection and no state license:
GTac responded to a minor altercation with protesters unconnected to the camp by hiring an Arizona-based private-security firm, which sent guards armed with semiautomatic weapons to patrol the mine site. (The guards have since been withdrawn; the camp is still there.)
Mike Wiggins Jr., the chairman of the Bad River tribe, and Pres. John Kennedy ignored:
Last summer Mr. Wiggins played Governor Walker a recording of Kennedy’s speech. Mr. Wiggins said that the governor appeared indifferent to Kennedy’s words; Mr. Walker has never wavered in his support of the mine.  
Ignoring what history tells us, and the no consequences attitude of like minded political actors:
GTac’s president, Bill Williams, is facing a criminal inquiry in Spain for alleged environmental crimes, which are unrelated to the GTac mine. The charges state that runoff from an open-pit mine where he once worked as an executive contaminated local groundwater. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Waterford School District Dumps Federal Lunch Program!!! Won't Pay for other kids lunches.

Now I've seen everything. I can't wait for this disaster to unfold.
Waterford school district drops federal lunch program: Students at Waterford Graded School District may notice a difference on their plate next year. The district has decided to opt out of the federal lunch program.
Monologues of Dissent discovered this incredible piece of clap trap libertarianism foisted off onto the Waterford School District area parents. From the Waterford Graded School District site, watch the actual discussion to avoid paying for someone else's kids lunch. You're on your own now kids...

I tried to include the TMJ4 embeded video, but it started to play automatically and featured the Republican Governors Association Mary Burke attack ad over and over. Click here to see how Act 10 is leaving public education up to losers like WGSD District Administrator Chris Joch. He isn't really in charge is he?

Surprise, ALEC vice chairwoman State Sen. Leah Vukmir and AG Van Hollen not above the law.

Oh how the story has changed. But don’t be distracted by the final outcome; Two Republicans now look like real losers, and proved to voters they really do think they’re above the law.

The story below doesn't say it, as usual, but it’s clear State Sen. Leah Vukmir lied about turning over all her email communiques between her and ALEC. She’s now releasing them:
WSJ: The agreement comes as part of a lawsuit settlement between Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, and the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal advocacy group. Vukmir previously claimed she had produced all records in compliance with state law, but is now expected to release more records from a private email account,
She lied, and continues to do so with the following whopper:
Vukmir, ALEC's second vice-chairwoman, said "I regret the technical issues we had fulfilling this request, but I have now fulfilled the request and turned over all records.”
Huh? Vukmir originally said she was above the law, and didn't have to reveal anything publically until she left office. Just as embarrassing, AG J.B. Van Hollen backed her up and used the state's reputation to defend her in court.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's office filed a motion to dismiss the case arguing legislators are immune from litigation while in office. As part of the settlement, Van Hollen agreed to withdraw that argument … Van Hollen faced heavy criticism for trying to apply the constitutional protection to the entire two-year session a legislator is in office. If it had been upheld by a court, the interpretation could shield lawmakers from complying with the state's open records law as long as they hold office. 
May that be forever on his tombstone. Thankfully, we dodged a bullet on that one. 

Even worse, taxpayer got stuck with the bill, and I'll bet not one conservative voter will ever find out because of the media grip Republicans have on talk radio:
Vukmir agreed to pay $12,500 in lawyer's fees and $2,500 in punitive damages as part of the settlement … DOJ spokeswoman Dana Brueck said the state will pay those amounts.
The Onionesque element of this story went something like this:
ALEC has stamped internal documents as confidential ... Vukmir acknowledged that the ALEC confidentiality disclaimer has no force of law in Wisconsin, and that records located in personal emails or online drop boxes are subject to the open records law.

This is how Republicans view power, and try to exploit and change the law. 

Brown County Republican candidate and wife call Democratic State Senator a Murderer.

Just more of the same cruel and insensitive stuff from the mind trust on the right. The Republican Party can apologize all the want, but when does it get to be too frequent and too much of a bad thing? 
GB Gazette: Brown County’s Republican Party is distancing itself from County Board candidate Jason Wisneski after statements he made about Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen, whose granddaughter was killed in a 2007 accident. Chairman Mark Becker issued a statement Wednesday calling for Wisneski to resign from the Republican Party of Brown County. “This action is being taken because of recent comments made by Mr. Wisneski referring to State Senator Dave Hansen as a ‘murderer’ regarding the tragic death of his grandchild,” read the email that accompanied the statement issued by Becker.

Wisneski made the statements on the Press-Gazette Media website after the news organization reported on his 2008 conviction on a charge of mistreating an animal.
“It’s funny how they never bring up Dave Hansen murdering his grandchild though,” Wisneski wrote in his post, which was later removed. “Hanson is a murderer but because of who he is and his money he got away with it. Yet liberals forgive the child killer. Can you say hypocrisy?” Wisneski’s wife, Monica Podgurski-Wisneski, posted.
In 2007, Hansen accidentally struck and killed his 23-month-old granddaughter while backing out of the driveway of his Green Bay home. She died instantly of her injuries.

Friday, March 28, 2014

College debt another bad Republican idea.

I really thought I was making headway with my conservative friend in Milwaukee the other day on health care, when he ditched what we were talking about and said "government shouldn't be involved in health care."

I'm guessing he would say the same thing about student loan debt...and almost everything dragging down our economy. They don't like the obvious answers, the easier more obvious solutions that save money and free people up to do other important things. 

One Wisconsin Now has been pushing student loan reform for awhile, and now has Mary Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor on board. But even their solution is a band aid compared to what other countries have successfully done, as shown in the cartoon to the below.  
New Hope for Solutions to $1.2 Trillion Student Loan Debt Crisis in Wisconsin? Gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has included some of the common sense solutions from the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act in her newly released "Invest for Success" jobs plan. Specifically Burke calls for creating a mechanism to allow Wisconsin borrowers to refinance their student loans to take advantage of lower interest rates, just like you can with a home mortgage or other consumer loan. And Burke would allow borrowers to deduct student loan debt payments on their state taxes, just like you can with home mortgage loan interest.

Original research by One Wisconsin Institute found that borrowers with an undergraduate degree in Wisconsin were making average payments of nearly $350 per month for almost 19 years. The impact of this debt is dramatic and negative for the entire state economy. And freeing a generation of well-trained, well-educated Wisconsinites from the chains of crushing debt will spur the entrepreneurism and small business creation needed to break out of our economic doldrums.

Walker's one party authority admits intimidation works, worth the money. Opposition will not be tolerated.

Wow, in response to a court order, the DOJ's cost-benefit analysis of arresting protesters at the Capitol avoided the use of...numbers!!! The arrests are being made based on rightwing authoritarian “principles,” like silencing their opposition and discouraging dissent. Leaders lead, they don’t need to listen.

In what is a shockingly irresponsible display of partisanship, AG J.B. Van Hollen didn't bother to fulfill a judge’s simple request:
WEAU: Dane County Circuit Judge Peter Anderson asked DOJ in January to provide a cost-benefit analysis of pursuing so many citations.

(The DOJ) didn't offer any numerical data, saying instead that legislators concluded the benefit of access rules that protect Capitol visitors outweighs enforcement costs and prosecutors have great discretion on what cases to pursue.
They also avoided outrage over all that wasted taxpayer money. 

No word yet on the judges reaction. 

Walker's Voter Suppression Law means longer lines, fewer low-income two shift workers and works against the will of the people.

We've all been behind someone in a line that seems to take forever, right. Well, bring something to read, because that’s what it’ll be like when you vote early. 

The completely unnecessary Walker voter suppression law rarely gave us a clear picture of what it would be like waiting in line.

With no logical reason behind it except their down-the-rabbit-hole logic that early voting should be “uniform” statewide, city clerk’s not only opposed the law but laid out the following problems:
Chippewa Herald: For Madison, the new law will reduce in-person absentee voting from 127 hours before statewide elections to 110, with the loss of weekend hours more likely to affect low-income voters who work two shifts during the week or lack transportation or child care to vote during the week, according to City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl. She added that voters can expect longer lines and more delays ... because her staff will also have to take care of their regular business during the week. When we’re open for absentee voting on the weekend, all we’re doing is absentee voting,” Witzel-Behl said. “We’re able to be more efficient that way because we’re focused on one thing.”
Walker did line-item-veto the incredibly deceptive limit of 45 hours of early voting sandwiched within the 55 hour, 8 am-7 pm “window” of opportunity. Even my conservative friend didn't get it until I explained it to him 3 or 4 times.

Did the Republicans carry out the will of the people regarding early voting? Doesn't look like it: 66% of those same people liked the current hours/liked even more hours:
A Marquette Law School poll found respondents supported more early voting, rather than less. 39% said three weeks with three weekends; 27% favored two weeks with one weekend; Only 12 percent supported the new rules, though 20 percent said they support no early voting.
There were 32% of the people who have soured on the idea of voting. Perhaps soon Republicans will demand “certainty” when it comes to running for office. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Walker's "Unintimidated" Foreign Policy threat to world: "My sense is just, you shouldn't point a gun at somebody if you're not prepared to shoot."

Wondering what "President Walker" would do foreign policy wise? Can you say war? In a Slate article titled "Scott Walker’s Foreign Policy: Reagan, Reagan, and More Reagan," Walker makes it clear he's got a hair trigger. And his desperate attempt to look like Reagan explains his brutal in your face push for Act 10 (highlighted below):
It's interesting that Walker engaged with Phil Klein when the reporter asked him to sketch out some national security views. Less interesting: Walker's actual answer, which led off with the Ronald Reagan reference he has previously used to explain his collective bargaining reforms.

Walker: "When Ronald Reagan took that action against the air traffic controllers, that in my mind was the beginning of the end of the Cold War," he said. "And the reason was, from that point forward nobody doubted how serious Ronald Reagan would be as president. Our allies knew that they could trust him, that he was rock solid. Our adversaries knew not to mess with him."
Like Bush/Cheney, who made countless empty threats, Walker again reinforced his rigid authoritarian "leadership" qualities and warns the American public he's not interested in what they think: 
“To me, if you have a strong America led by a strong president who makes serious statements about what they mean not only on national security and foreign policy, but on all other issues, we're not going to be faced with many of these situations because people will know if they're allies we can be counted on and if they're adversaries not to mess with us,” he said. “And when … a red line in discussions about Syria which apparently (he) was never serious about doing anything about, no wonder, whether you were in Iran or Russia, or anywhere else around the world, no wonder people feel certain comfort taking action because they don't see this administration as willing to act. I'm not necessarily encouraging that we draw red lines all over the place. My sense is just, you shouldn't point a gun at somebody if you're not prepared to shoot.”
Walker's comforting message to the world? He's prepared to shoot.

Zero Tolerance for Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham and East High principal Mary Kelley, Fire Them Now!!!!

As the father of a 15 year old honor student in high school, it blows my mind that adults in charge of East High school, and the district superintendent, would want to expel an honor student for the teenage mistake of bring alcohol on a field trip. Teenagers, no matter how smart, will make bad decisions from time to time. But when adults make even dumber decisions, they should be fired. Start with Jennifer Cheatham and Mary Kelley.

I can’t even imagine how disruption it would be for my son to go through a one and half year expulsion, just how disruptive it would be to his education, not to mention his close circle of friends during this major transitional time in his development. This shocking and irresponsible over reaction should not be tolerated by any parent. Do parents really need this possibility hanging over the head every time their kids makes a dumb mistake? I realizing now that this has been going on for years.
I’m pissed. Read about this extremely horrific reaction by, of all people, our educators. It turns my stomach. Keep in mind that while this is happening…
What a mistake....
WSJ: The Madison School Board (will be) vot(ing) on a comprehensive rewrite of the school district’s discipline code. Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham says the new code will move away from “zero tolerance” to methods that allow students to learn from their mistakes and stay in school.
That’s utter touchy feeling bullshit, since Cheatham’s real world response is just the opposite:
A high school honors student with no history of disciplinary problems pours a couple of shots of bourbon into a water bottle and brings it to school to take on a field trip. An anonymous tip leads school officials to confront the girl before she gets on the bus for the trip and the alcohol is confiscated.

What’s the appropriate punishment for this 14-year-old girl?

Mikki Smith, assistant principal at East, recommended Maia be expelled until the end of the current school year … But Cheatham recommended an additional year of expulsion, through the 2014-15 school year, for conduct “which endangered the property, health or safety of others,” she wrote in an affidavit.
Well, that will “allow students to learn from their mistakes.” Brutal and heartless...
Cheatham did not attend the expulsion hearing … But Smith, East High principal Mary Kelley, and district expulsion coordinator Joseph Hill spent hours convincing the hearing examiner that Maia should be expelled … independent hearing officer Alicia Connolly-Lohr, who heard the case … found Maia had endangered others by bringing alcohol to school and adopted Cheatham’s recommendation that she be expelled until June 2015. The School Board can accept, reject or amend the recommendation of the hearing officer.
According to the Isthmus article, Cheatham had this response to her hypocrisy:
Cheatham agreed some will see a contradiction in her comments about the future direction of student discipline and the expulsion recommendation she made for Maia. "Situations like these have actually led us to the proposed changes we're bringing to the board," she said. "I have no doubt that the board [will be]... making their final decisions with the new guiding principles in mind."
The response by teachers and parents?
Three teachers submitted letters asking that Maia be allowed to return to school, citing her contrition for what she had done and her potential as a student. One teacher said he had never witnessed “such austere” treatment of a student in many years in the classroom.

Maia's mother, Melissa Meyer (said) “This is a girl who craves learning, who loves to be with friends, who wants to play her sports, who wants to sing in the choir — they pulled all that out from under her. It has been very hard on her. She did not get out of bed for a week. We were very concerned.” 

The family explored sending Maia to the Phoenix expulsion diversion program offered by the school district, despite lesser educational opportunities offered through it. But Att. Spitzer-Resnick said that the district’s rule is that the Phoenix option is pulled off the table if a student decides to take the case to an expulsion hearing, and would not negotiate about keeping the option open. “It’s take it or leave it,” he said.

The bottom line is obvious:
“At no point did anyone talk about what is right for the child,” Meyer said.

Koch Brothers Money now Poisoning the Political Environment in Iron County. What next, the water?

The iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin is getting an influx of Koch brothers money...and they have absolutely no interest, or really anything to gain in our state, so says Scott Walker. 

MAL Contends has been covering this story extensively from every angle and wrote this just recently:
The Wisconsin State Journal is reporting the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is dropping over a 1,000 political pamphlets defaming residents in Iron County as "anti-mining radical(s)" in an effort to elect pro-mining members of the Board of Supervisors in the April 1 election. (Verberg) ... "A well-funded Wisconsin conservative group is blasting seven county board candidates in sparsely populated Iron County, calling them 'radical anti-mining' environmentalists," reports Verberg.

No election is too small for the Koch brothers, and they are wreaking havoc on a planetary scale.
All In with Chris Hayes noticed, and talked to The Progressive Magazine's Ruth Conniff about it:

Americans for Prosperity's Stefano filibusters, plays victimized woman card after getting ObamaCare Facts Wrong!!!

In what was an apparent ploy to appear ambushed by nice guy Chris Hayes, Americans for Prosperity's blathering BSer Jenifer Stefano tried to create a liberal "war on women" moment.

Pushing her not stop load of crap on Hayes, who tried and failed to get a straight answer, Stefano came across like a bad prankster fulfilling a bet she made in a bar.

This is the best the Koch brothers could find to debate skipping the purchase of health care coverage?

The one glaring moment that actually shocked Hayes, was Stefano's claim that Medicaid recipients at the 130 percent of poverty mark could make up to $94,000 a year income. She of course was confusing the income ceiling for receiving the tax credit in the exchanges for a typical family plan. She really thought poverty level families made up to $94,000. This AFP stooge even repeated it over and over.

But in the tea party world, directed by the Koch's through Americans for Prosperity, that's what passes for "giving facts," as she put it. When asked about why she feigned concern for those in poverty when she really just wants to just kill ObamaCare...:
Stefano: "You know nothing about have no idea why I wake up in the morning..."

Hayes: "No, we've talked before."

Stefano:  "You don't know what I fight for, and believe in. You know nothing about me, you know nothing about my family. You  don't  know if I was born and raised in a trailer park. You don't know what I did. How dare you, like Harry Reid, undercut the voice of a woman simply because she disagrees with you. Now you may not like where I'm coming from on public policy, but you have no right to undercut my voice. As a woman I've worked very hard to take on the Republicans...

Hayes: "I've put you on my TV show, I'm not undercutting your voice."

Stefano: "You are undercutting my voice to make it personal, saying I wake up to do have no idea about me or my life. I don't care. This is what I want, stick to the facts. STICK TO THE FACTS. Talk about facts logic and reason. How dare you personally attack me and what I believe in. Typical, because you can't win, unfortunate..."
Facts, like people in poverty making $94,000 a year? My guess is she's now a real hero, despite losing her argument by declaring her victimhood for the whole nation to see. What a pathetic display of ignorance. And by the way, was she kidding about being raised in a  trailer park?

Here are a few relevant comments:
#1 What Stefano is doing is called the Gish Gallop. The Gish Gallop is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood in real time. Sam Harris describes the technique as "starting 10 fires in 10 minutes." She has this technique down to a science. She had not a single truthful coherent statement during the whole entire segment.

#2 In formal debate, it is also refered to as Argument by Verbosity and/or Shotgun Argumentation... and for reasons of falatious argumentation would have been shut-down immediately. Hayes was far more patient than a I would have been. She is a disgusting piece of work... 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mary Burke still trails Walker, but still Early.

Here are a few important results from today's Marquette Law School Poll, jsonline:
Walker held a 48% to 41% advantage over Burke, in the latest Marquette University Law School Poll released Wednesday … Walker's job approval. 47% approved and 47% disapproved of Walker's performance.
Walker’s stagnant growth in Wisconsin is wholly dependent now on the national economic recovery, which ironically, might just get Walker reelected. Voters just aren't aware of Walker’s ideological failure or seem that concerned about his wildly outrageous jobs prediction:
54 percent said the state was headed in the right direction and 42% said it was on the wrong track, virtually unchanged from January … 80 percent of those polled said Wisconsin will not meet Walker's target of creating 250,000 jobs by the end of 2014, while 13% said the state would add the jobs … how important their vote would be on the issue of adding 250,000 jobs, 29% said it would be very important and 44% said it would be somewhat important … 49 percent viewed Walker favorably compared to 47% who had an unfavorable view of the governor  … 43% said they had a less favorable impression of Walker.

Early voting: 39% said three weeks with three weekends; 27% favored two weeks with one weekend; 20 percent favored no early voting.

53 percent said local government should be allowed to regulate sand mines, while 35% said the state should be in charge of the regulation.

63 percent supported a raise in the minimum wage while 33% were opposed.

42 percent said use of marijuana should be legal while 52% said it should be illegal.

Support for gay marriage was strong … 48 percent backed marriage for gay couples, while 24% supported civil unions. 24 percent said there should be no legal status for gay couples … 36 percent would continue Wisconsin's constitutional ban against gay marriage, while 59% favored repeal.

8 percent of people said health care reform should be kept as is; 52% said it should be kept and improved; 18% favored repealing and replacing the act; and 18% wanted an outright appeal.

Rep. Paul Ryan was viewed favorably by 39% and unfavorably by 35%.

Common Core is a way of thinking, not a curriculum.

I decided to screen capture this ridiculous "Common Core" math problem making the rounds in conservative circles everywhere. Mind numbing to say the least, Common Core does not have a curriculum, like the math problem below. Its goal is to help kids think critically.

Blame the math course used by the school, or the teacher, but not Common Core. After reading through many of the comments, people appear to believe Common Core is responsible for the example here. Pathetic:

The New Economy Needs a Raise!

The Great Recession change the business model in the U.S. for better or worse. Along the way we had to deal with the "great sucking sound" of jobs leaving the country too. Economists rightfully predicted we would become a service economy. But mining?

The rap about the service economy is that its never paid well. Which brings us to the timely discussion of raising the minimum wage for service industry jobs to $10.10 an hour, especially for those people supporting families. It would also reduce food stamp and Medicaid spending. But that's too easy.

The following graph is proof. Funny thing, from the looks of it, the EPA hasn't killed off the energy industry yet despite all the GOP whining.

There's something unsettling about the return of mining as an economic engine when we're competing intellectually with other global powers. And without ObamaCare, the health care business wouldn't be gangbusters either.  

Walker Campaign says Mary Burke's expansive Economic Plan similar to theirs, but will take us Backwards?

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke came out with a detailed economic and jobs creation plan the press apparently wasn't ready to receive. For years they did just fine not knowing what Scott Walker was doing, leaving those decisions up to our “leaders.”

The media got so lazy that even the dumbest Walker ideas were taken seriously.

Dumb Jobs Promise Litmus Test: Scott Walker’s promise to create 250,000 has turned out to be one hell of a broken promise, with the current count sitting at a miserable 103,000. 

And the press bought into this preposterous 2010 campaign promise. Here’s what the reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal wrote in two different parts of the article, like it really meant something:
"Burke discussed her plan at Marquette Law School … and it didn’t include specific goals for job creation similar to Walker’s 250,000 jobs pledge."

"While Burke didn’t promise a specific number of jobs that Wisconsin would create if she is elected, she did provide some numbers."
So Burke is criticized for not making the same foolish and desperate jobs promise to get elected as Walker? 

Burke’s Plan = Walker’s Plan, but Burke will move us Backward? Besides the noticeably embarrassing Walker promise to match Burke’s 40 page business plan (with lots of words I'm told, maybe in extra large font too like before), the Walker campaign claims Burke is doing everything Walker’s doing already, but will only move Wisconsin backwards?
Walker said in an interview that his administration has already been investing in different industries and venture capital.

Walker’s campaign said voters couldn’t trust Burke to help create jobs. “Mary Burke’s plan looks familiar because Governor Walker has already taken the lead on policies aimed at closing Wisconsin’s skills gap, lowering tuition costs, and improving the state’s business climate,” Evenson said.
But that “familiar” plan will not move us “forward” like Walker. Let's face it, you can’t trust a former business executive who hasn't been a career politician for the last 20 years:
“At the same time, Burke’s plan contains policies that would kill our recovery and take us back to the days of billion-dollar deficits, double-digit tax increases, and record job losses. Voters simply can’t trust Mary Burke on jobs.”
Because as the media never corrected, the job losses during the Great Recession were Burke’s fault.

The thugs that make up WISGOP are still doing their best 3 Stooges act with name calling and verbal eye pokes. Joe Fadness makes Reince Priebus look like a Rhodes scholar. You'll notice how the party of rugged individualism can't function without their leaders:
The Republican Party of Wisconsin released its own scathing version of Burke’s jobs plan with a website accusing her of failed leadership … the party’s executive director, Joe Fadness, criticized Burke for saying she wanted to bring outsourced jobs back to Wisconsin, saying that her former company was part of the problem. “Ironically, Mary Burke’s plan criticizes outsourcing, begging the question if she will follow her own advice and bring Trek’s 800 employees overseas back to the United States.”

Forget WISGOP loved outsourcer Mitt Romney or that Mary Burke had nothing to do with Trek's corporate decisions. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Burke Squashes Walker like a bug on Jobs Plan, reduces Walker to 8th Grade Level.

The gloves are off, and Walker's Democratic opponent for governor set a higher bar than Walker ever did.

In fact, Mary Burke's detailed 40 page report completely flattened WISGOP's ridiculous talking points for the past 3 months. Burke even called Walker's jobs plan a bad 8th grade term paper. Love it:

WKOW: Mary Burke released her plan for making that happen Tuesday, while also taking a few shots at Gov. Scott Walker's (R-Wisconsin) performance on jobs. 

Burke unveiled the 40-page "Invest For Success" jobs plan in front of a large crowd that gathered at Marquette University Law School for On The Issues with Mike Gousha.  "I brought my plan along and I brought Governor Walker's plan from 2010," Burke told the Marquette audience.  "This is four pages.  You know, I've seen 8th grade term papers that have more work put into them."
Here's nice coverage of Walker's deer in the headlights response, and his desperate looking promise to release his own "detailed" response in a few months (can't be outdone by a female Democrat) Ah, Scott, you had three years and all we got was your lousey 8 pages and WEDC.

Burke's best response to TREK outshoring jobs:
"You know, I'm running for Governor. I'm not the CEO of Trek"

Fond du Lac School Censorship Teaching Students what life is like under Conservative Authority Oversight.

Hey, it’s just a "minority of people sensitive to the word censorship," that’s all.

I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

Despite a million recall signatures and hundreds of thousands of protesters at the Capitol, Scott Walker described them as simply representing a minority viewpoint.

Now the strongly Republican area of Fond du Lac wants to make sure their kids learn how to avoid important issues,  just like they do, making things like our rape culture off limits. 
jsonline: Now after a public outcry over Fond du Lac School Board members on Monday heard from students, residents, free-speech advocates and rape survivors who flooded the meeting to speak against enforcing a censorship policy of student media, according to the Action Reporter Media.

"The Rape Joke," a story in the February issue of Cardinal Columns … detailing what she called a "rape culture." It featured the stories of local sexual assault survivors. The article initially generated positive feedback, including from faculty members, many of whom now are criticizing the district's decision to enforce the prior-review policy.
Here's the kicker and amazingly dictatorial view that mirrored Scott Walker's disrespect for protesters:
School Board member Eric Everson told Action Reporter Media that the policy is not censorship, just "adult oversight." "This type of thing garners big news because you have a very active and involved minority of people who are very sensitive to the word censorship," Everson said.
Watch Fond du Lac Superintendent James Sebert give his lame reason to censor the students; producing pieces that represent and protect the school district? What does that mean? Following Sebert are a few students stunned by the attack on their paper and their hard work. FDL Reporter:

This insulting behavior by adults may be even a bigger lesson for these students:
Former state Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager (said) “A commonality among sex assault victims is their fear of speaking out. Ms. Kumar was able to articulate for them on their behalf the horrors of what happened to them,” Lautenschlager said, referring to the three female sex assault victims in Kumar’s story. “And then some days later Ms. Kumar finds out that she (and her fellow writers might occasionally) be silenced because somehow her speaking out on behalf of these victims was inappropriate for school conversation.”
You can get more insight into this issue at the Wisconsin Soapbox, always great stuff.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Oral Chemo Debate Exposes Vos and Kleefisch as the Ghouls we thought they were.

With the damage done in the assembly, the oral chemo drug bill now moves back to the senate for another vote. After adding an amendment requiring more of a cancer patients "skin in the game," the GOP calls that money, Republicans showed us who they truly were. When you have to go through this kind of hell to get something this simple passed, it's nothing short of scary.

My conservative friend in Milwaukee was noticeably upset when he called me, saying he just got off the phone with the governors office to tell him to line item veto the $100 monthly payment. He's been personally touched by family members who have had cancer, who had to stop working because of the disease. Knowing that, he knew patients didn't have the money to pay even $100. I never saw him this pissed off.

Having always been interested in understanding how conservative minds think, I found Rep. Robin Vos' methodical upside-down logic stunningly detached. The following audio clip also features Representatives Sandy Pasch, Joel Kleefisch, and Brett Hulsey in that order.

Vos used watching his grandparents battle cancer to take a shot at Democrats and the people they saw struggling with the disease. Vos then used the way his grandparents ran their business, balanced their books, made a profit, but still found a way to buy health insurance as sign of strength and character. Sad, other industrialized countries removed that unnecessary heart wrenching burden.

But my blood boils when Vos balanced oral chemo with making it "cost effective." He has the balls to say "the last thing we want is for anybody not to be able to afford insurance...!" Where has he been for the last 30 years?

Paul Ryan has always focused on Poverty? Media Keeps Myth Alive.

Let me get this right; solving the problem of poverty, along with long term unemployment, has been on Rep. Paul Ryan’s radar for a long time? It’s almost as if the press, in this case AP, is oblivious to his actual plan to get rid of these nagging problems and safety net programs. They also know of his ideological hero, Ayn Rand I hope.

Republicans like Ryan simply want to cut the poor and unemployed loose, having them disappear into society, knowing that there aren't enough newspapers to report all the devastating stories from disenfranchised Americans.

The case of the long term unemployed provided the first test for Republicans last December. They now know the unemployed, who continue to lose benefits month after month, are no longer part of the media focus. The GOP has "disappeared them"…problem solved.

But it’s even worse when an outlet like AP makes it seem like Ryan's “signature issue…(that) dates back to his time…working for former vice-presidential nominee Jack Kemp” has anything to do with really helping them make a living wage or expand the jobs market. His be proud don’t eat strategy is somehow a plan?
AP: Rep. Paul Ryan is making poverty a signature issue … The Wisconsin congressman had hoped his work on poverty could be a positive: His interest in the issue dates back to his time as a speechwriter working for former vice-presidential nominee Jack Kemp. He has spent much of his time since returning to Congress focused on the issue, touring poor precincts, giving speeches and producing a detailed, 205-page report on poverty, while indicating that he may introduce legislation to deal with the issue.
Ryan hopes the poor will disappear under the flood of cheerful stories about the bullish investor market and rosy corporate profits reports.

The media has already started writing stories about how the long term unemployed are probably here to stay, so we should get used to that simple fact of life.

Ryan’s comment below cements the idea that “government” and “the people” are two separate entities, and that we can’t rely on our elected lawmakers to solve the problem:
"This enforces the idea that this is government's responsibility, and you don't need to do anything about it. That's not true."
I thought that was the reason we had government, or am I missing something?

Ryan Helps the Poor Myth Builds: The AP article ended on this bizarre defensive note about our misunderstood Paul Ryan and his plans to cut the safety nets:
Mary Berry, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who served as the chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1993 to 2004 (said), "Democrats will jump all over them in the messaging game, no matter what they say, and they won't be given the benefit of the doubt — that's politics."
But there are no doubts, except for those created by the media.