Monday, June 30, 2014

Ginsberg Responds to the Conservative Activist Supreme Court Bullies.

Here's a piece on the Justice Ginsberg descent
Addressing the majority of her colleagues — including all but one of the six men sitting on the Supreme Court — Ginsburg wrote: "until today, religious exemptions had never been extended to any entity operating in 'the commercial, profit-making world.'" 

“The reason why is hardly obscure. Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community. Indeed, by law, no religion-based criterion can restrict the work force of for-profit corporations...The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight. "In sum," Ginsburg adds about the free exercise claims at the heart of this case,“‘[y]our right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.’” "Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations," she writes,  "its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private. Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate." 
Here’s  more from Ginsberg’s decision, in her own words:
“Again, the Court forgets that religious organizations exist to serve a community of believers. For-profit corporations do not fit that bill. Moreover, history is not on the Court’s side. Recognition of the discrete characters of “ecclesiastical and lay” corporations dates back to Blackstone, see 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 458 (1765), and was reiterated by this Court centuries before the enactment of the Internal Revenue Code. See Terrett v. Taylor, 9 Cranch 43, 49 (1815) (describing religious corporations); Trustees of Dartmouth College, 4 Wheat., at 645 (discussing “eleemosynary” corporations, including those “created for the promotion of religion”). To reiterate, “for-profit corporations are different from religious non-profits in that they use labor to make a profit, rather than to perpetuate [the] religious value[s] [shared by a community of believers].” Citing Braunfeld v. Brown, (1961), the Court questions why, if “a sole proprietorship that seeks to make a profit may assert a free-exercise claim, [Hobby Lobby and Conestoga] can’t . . . do the same?”

But even accepting, arguendo, the premise that unincorporated business enterprises may gain religious accommodations under the Free Exercise Clause, the Court’s conclusion is unsound. In a sole proprietorship, the business and its owner are one and the same. By incorporating a business, however, an individual separates herself from the entity and escapes personal responsibility for the entity’s obligations. One might ask why the separation should hold only when it serves the interest of those who control the corporation.

In any event, Braunfeld is hardly impressive authority for the entitlement Hobby Lobby and Conestoga seek. The free exercise claim asserted there was promptly rejected on the merits. The Court’s determination that RFRA extends to forprofit corporations is bound to have untoward effects.Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private.19Little doubt that RFRAclaims will proliferate, for the Court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood—combined with its other errors in construing RFRA—invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faith.

Importantly, the decisions whether to claim benefits under the plans are made not by Hobby Lobby or Conestoga, but by the covered employees and dependents, in consultation with their health care providers. Should an employee of Hobby Lobby or Conestoga share the religious beliefs of the Greens and Hahns, she is of course under no compulsion to use the contraceptives in question. But “[n]o individual decision by an employee and her physician— be it to use contraception, treat an infection, or have a hip replaced—is in any meaningful sense [her employer’s] decision or action.”

It is doubtful that Congress, when it specified that burdens must be “substantia[l],” had in mind a linkage thus interrupted by independent decisionmakers (the woman and her health counselor) standing between the challenged government action and the religious exercise claimed to be infringed. Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.

Indeed, approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be “perceived as favoring one religion over another,” the very “risk the Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.” Ibid. The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield, cf. Spencer v. World Vision, Inc., by its immoderate reading of RFRA. I would confine religious exemptions under that Act to organizations formed “for a religious purpose,” “engage[d] primarily in carrying out that religious purpose,” and not “engaged . . . substantially in the exchange of goods or services for money beyond nominal amounts.”

More 5-4 Conservative Activist Supreme Court Decisions. Will the Media ever notice? Religious freedom for Companies.

Let's make the Roberts court the most overturned court in U.S. history soon, okay?

We now have the possibility of a separate religious "nation" of companies exempt from constitutional requirements. Reporter Chris Hedges warned us this was highly likely. He was proven right today. And the conservative activist justices, all men, are having their way like never before.  This decision is just the first, setting up many more anti-women cases.

Some in the media are saying this is a narrow decision, giving this court a pass again, but it really isn't.

The 5 male justices think they can keep women from getting contraceptive coverage and throwing equality out the window for corporate religious reasons. Instead of science, they allowed the belief of Hobby Lobby to decide their case.

Oh, and this is what women pay out of pocket instead of having insurance coverage:

A Better Idea: Business, say the five conservative justices, can force women to pay their own way. This means that having or not having a child is a woman's "problem." Perhaps woman should take that one step further, and cut men off from their connection to fatherhood too, if and when they choose. They should take custody rights away from these incidental fathers who have so little to do with family planning. Guys apparently want to be free from the burden of birth control, and the justices are using religion to do that.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Republican Voters Continue to Distract themselves with the IRS Scandal. Now Offered $1 Million for Recovered Emails.

I'm posting this for my conservative friend in Milwaukee who needs to be convinced he's being duped by the IRS "scandal," another manufactured Fox News distraction.

In this clip, Alex Wagner gets a laugh out of Louie Gohmert's $1 million reward to anyone who can recover Lois Lerner's destroyed emails. Oh, and her hard drive crash was real well before the this became a story, and the forensic lab - not some tech guy - said the information was unrecoverable.

Note to anyone following this; Fox News is going to great lengths to get negative comments from any technical source they can think of, despite the fact these sources have no knowledge or connection to anyone and anything in this story.

Retired Judge Sumi on Act 10 Decision and the Supreme Court that overturned it....

From WPT's Here and Now, a little gloves off background from Judge Maryann Sumi on Act 10 and the politically divided conservative activist State Supreme Court:
Anchor Frederica Freyberg talks to former Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi on her career and Act 10 decision.

Hypocrite Justices protected by free speech zones around their Ivory Towers.

What does free speech have to do with protecting citizens from verbal and physical harm? These zones were established because of past abuses and deaths caused by anti-abortion zealots, not some arbitrary ban. 

As Rachel Maddow and others have pointed out, there have been free speech buffer zones established for other groups too, like the Supreme Court itself. Conservatives didn't complain, in fact liked it, when "free speech zones" were set up a blocks away from Bush/Cheney events. But Justice Scalia seems to be missing the point:
“Today’s opinion carries forward this Court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents. There is an entirely separate, abridged edition of the First Amendment applicable to speech against abortion. Because, like the rest of our abortion jurisprudence, today’s decision is in stark contradiction of the constitutional principles we apply in all other contexts, I dissent.”
 Here's Rachel Maddow with examples of other buffer zones:

Here's a nice piece on a new book about Scalia, and just how unacceptably "activist" this guy is, especially about the Second Amendment:

Dumb Ron Johnson out to lunch on Rural High Speed internet access, thinks free market is solution.

When the free market didn't step in to provide electrical service to rural communities, the government stepped in. The same is true about high speed internet today. But some like Dumb Ron Johnson don't either have a historical reference point or an awareness of the current rural problem connecting to the internet. Johnson lost his argument over and over, but you'd never know it by his confident and clueless talking point offensive.

If the "free market" hasn't stepped in yet to help spread high speed internet access nationwide, what makes Johnson think that that's about to change?
Tim Marema, editor of the Daily Yonder: If competition alone will ensure that rural Americans get great communications services, why were some phone companies mistreating consumers ... until the FCC stepped in?  For competition to work, you need a good referee. 

Jodie Griffin of Public Knowledge and Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) during a Senate subcommittee hearing on the role of government in ensuring quality communications services. 

Senator Johnson says competition alone will ensure companies deliver "excellent" service ... “If you have a company that doesn't have very good [phone] service, don’t you think customers are going to switch to another company? Don’t you think that competition would do a better job of guaranteeing that [service] than heavy-handed government trying to guarantee that?”
How many choices do we have in cities? Can you imagine the lack of choices in rural America? In fact, the media has been reporting on this problem of some time, especially in southeastern Wisconsin, Johnson's home state. The smirk on Johnson's face proves he's wasn't there to learn, just preach his free market theories in the face of the overwhelming real world evidence rural America needs help. Remember, Wall Street banks didn't seem to care too much about there customer based when they cheated them and created the Great Recession. Here's a clip of that debate:

Without an even-handed set of rules real competition frequently doesn't make it to rural America. Ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, John Thune (R-South Dakota), thinks the FCC needs to do even more to correct this problem. They seem to disagree with Senator Johnson’s notion that competition without enforcement of the rules will make sure that rural Americans get a fair shake. 

There ought to be a lesson here as we continue the transition from our old phone system to the new, Internet-based system of the future. To make a system like that work, it takes a lot of competition – and a public referee to ensure we all act fairly and follow the same rules.

Republican Governors Tax Cuts Flop, don't create jobs.

Scott Walker is dead last in the Midwest for job growth, and that’s after tax cuts and draconian cuts to spending.

Like Walker, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback made even bigger cuts, and now it’s all falling apart:
WaPo: Gov. Sam Brownback … tout the success of his economic program, particularly several rounds of income tax cuts amounting to the largest in the state's history … job growth hasn't exactly materialized … job growth in Kansas has actually lagged behind the U.S. average, especially in the years following the first round of Brownback tax cuts in 2012.

Niraj Chokshi reported on a Center and Budget Policy Priorities study of Kansas' cuts. In an unusually frank assessment from the nonpartisan think tank, the study's authors concluded that "Kansas is a cautionary tale, not a model. As other states recover from the recent recession and turn toward the future, Kansas’ huge tax cuts have left that state’s schools and other public services stuck in the recession, and declining further — a serious threat to the state’s long-term economic vitality. 

Meanwhile, promises of immediate economic improvement have utterly failed to materialize." Every month brings fresh economic news that further validates these findings
Here's Scott Walker's private sector jobs chart, see any similarities? Republican supply side economics is a failure, and needs to be stopped:

After posting this story, I noticed Uppity Wisconsin also covered this incredible similarity, and wondered why the media isn't going after Scott Walker like they are with Sam Brownback. A good question.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Irresponsible Wisconsin Republican Congressmen vote to shrink Natural Gas Supplies, Raise Prices and Export Supplies to Countries that sponsor Terrorism.

In the back pocket of big oil, Republicans are not only pushing the XL Pipeline to export gas out of the countries, they're also planning on padding the industries pockets with natural gas export money. You can say goodbye to low natural gas prices for Americans already on tight budgets, like senior citizens:
EXPEDITED NATURAL-GAS EXPORTS: The House passed a bill (HR 6) requiring prompt Department of Energy (DOE) action on applications from U.S. companies to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries in Europe and elsewhere with which America does not have a free-trade agreement. Critics said this would truncate DOE's reviews of whether applications are in the public interest in terms of assuring adequate and affordable domestic supplies of natural gas.
Voting to drain our supply of natural gas and raising prices? Paul Ryan, Jim Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, and Reid Ribble.

Democrats to the Rescue? Not if Republicans can help it:
LIMITS ON GAS EXPORTS: The House defeated a Democratic bid to prohibit natural-gas exports under HR 6 (above) that raise household energy costs for U.S. seniors on fixed incomes or benefit countries that are state sponsors of terrorism or conductors of cyber-attacks on America. 
I can hardly believe I'm about to type this: Voting against cheap natural gas prices for senior citizens and for selling gas to countries that sponsor terrorism: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble

I wish I were making this stuff up. And yet Republicans are still threatening to be reelected in November.  

Wisconsin Congressmen vote to Repeat Great Recession with deregulation!!!

The free market Republican Great Recession was so much fun, let’s bring back the conditions that caused it. From Roll Call:
CURBS ON FINANCIAL REGULATION: The House passed a bipartisan bill (HR 4413) that would renew the Commodity Futures Trading Commission through fiscal 2018, curb its regulatory powers, add investor protections and increase the national debt by $948 million over five years. Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, the agency has begun the first federal regulation of the $700 trillion derivatives market, whose collapse in 2008 helped crash the U.S. and global economies and trigger taxpayer bailouts of financial firms. In part, this bill would subject new CFTC rules to time-consuming cost-benefit analyses and exempt derivatives trading by overseas subsidiaries of U.S. financial institutions from direct CFTC supervision.

A yes vote was to reauthorize the CFTC with weakened regulatory powers: Ryan, Kind, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, and Ribble.
The shocking fact that they didn't learn their lesson when millions of jobs disappeared during the Great Recession, collapsing some European countries, is inexcusable. Here's free market loser Alan Greenspan:

Reckless Wisconsin Republican Congressmen vote to pollute inland Aquifers and...the Great Lakes!!! I'm not exaggerating.

Jobs are one thing, but a total disrespect for the environment at the expense of supposed job creation is lunacy. Wisconsin’s congressmen couldn't be more in the pocket of big oil. From the department “You can’t make this stuff up:”
CROSS-BORDER PIPELINE APPROVALS: The House passed a bill (HR 3301) to weaken environmental reviews of cross-border pipeline projects between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico … critics said it would allow any rejected Keystone application to be resubmitted under relaxed environmental standards. In part, the bill would limit reviews to areas at or near international borders, thus exempting long stretches of pipelines over aquifers and through interior terrain from National Environmental Policy Act standards.
Yes, our state Republicans voted yes on this bill: Voting yes: Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble.

Voting no thank god Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, and Gwen Moore

But even worse, especially for our congressmen, they were against this...:
PROTECTION OF GREAT LAKES, OGALLALA AQUIFER: The House refused to bar approvals of oil pipelines under HR 3301 (above) that could rupture and spill toxic chemicals into the Great Lakes or the Ogallala Aquifer beneath South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.
Voting to allow pipelines that could rupture into our Great Lakes? Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, and Ribble. Come on Democratic candidate opponents, use this stuff!!!! From a Wisconsin State Journal feature Roll Call.

Cheap Paul Ryan wannabe, Marco Rubio, sees profits in our seniors and the sick!

Republicans have a plan to save America, and Marco Rubio laid out his plan to "'Reclaim' the American Dream."

See for yourself if anything Marco Rubio is proposing will put the American dream within reach of future generations:
A. increasing private-sector options for Medicare and Social Security. 

B. Repeal of President Barack Obama’s health-care law.
Rubio wants to make private sector profits from our senior benefit programs and the health care needs of sick Americans in the form of private insurance. Ghoulish and ethically reprehensible? No, it the "21st century reality," as defined by Rubio.  

U.S. Fire Sale: Flag waving Republicans are so unhappy about the country that a complete economic and social makeover is in order. Literally, everything has “failed:”
“The fundamental challenge that we face is that every single one of our institutions in this country – from government to higher education and everything in between – has completely failed to adjust to 21st century reality. None of them are responsive to the new world that we now live in, where globalization and information technology have changed the nature of our economy. And our laws and our education system simply don’t reflect this.”
Taking the words right out of my mouth, liberal PAC American Bridge responded with a few simple questions:
“Rubio has consistently advocated against policies that support working-class families, including the minimum wage and the extension of unemployment benefits. Today's speech is as phony as it is calculated, smoke and mirrors meant to distract voters from the anti-working class agenda Rubio has consistently pushed in the Senate. 

With so many attacks on the middle class -- including his support for the Ryan budget and the sequester -- we can't be exactly sure which impacts he means. Is he talking about the 1.3 million Americans for whom he attempted to block UI benefits? The 300,000 people who aren't receiving heat assistance because of the sequester? The millions of low-income families who would lose SNAP, CHIP and other critical benefits under the Ryan budget?”

Yea, what about that?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Walker campaign desperate, resorts to lying in ads. So little to brag about?

It looks like Mr. "Unintimidated,"  Scott Walker, needs to lie about his opponent? Could it be those soaring CEO approval ratings aren't impressing the average middle class voter? 
Our rating: In a campaign ad, Walker says that "when Jim Doyle was governor and Mary Burke was commerce secretary," Wisconsin saw "billions in middle-class tax hikes on nursing home beds, gas, phones and garbage."

As a cabinet secretary, Burke would have had some impact on one of Doyle’s budgets. And it did contain increases on those four items. But the ad misfires badly on the math and the blame game.

Proposed new taxes and fees in that one budget totalled $366 million on nursing homes, gas, garbage and phones, not "billions." And the tally was far less in the final version of the budget Doyle signed.

Beyond that, Burke was gone when Doyle’s subsequent budget sought up to $1.35 billion more for those items in 2009.

We rate Walker’s claim False.

Duffy argues against swapping Prisoners of War to Swift Boat Bergdahl.

Rep. Sean Duffy can't be serious. At Duffy's YouTube channel, this clueless former MTV star inadvertently made the best case yet why he needs to go.

Featured in a post at Cognitive Dissidence by Jeff Simpson, Duffy never looked more vacuous and out of his element. Duffy made it clear he is not a deep thinker. He's also not aware of when he's losing an argument. Duffy's questions and misguided contradictory statements about the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl swap were proven wrong over and over again by Mark Jacobson, a former adviser to Gen. McChrystal  and Patraeus.

Again, Duffy thought his "performance" in the video was a bragging point, an impressive show of concern over the swap and his grasp of foreign policy.

But Duffy's jaw dropping lack of depth on Bergdahl and prisoner swaps in general is not just scary, but should be a major concern in his district. What an amazing loser:

"Together, we are Koch!!!"

Replacing the "I am AFP" slogan, that made conservatives look like Borg extensions of their billionaire puppeteers, didn't turn out so well this time around either:
"I Am Borg?"
WSJ: The brothers, together reportedly worth about $80 billion, are looking to soften their brand by running a national ad campaign that focuses not on their politics, but on the inherent goodness of their mega-congomlerate Koch Industries, which last year raked in $115 billion in revenue. The ads have recently begun airing in the Madison market.
"One of our nation's largest private companies is proudly built on American values and skill," gushes a dulcet female voiceover. "Koch Industries started in the heartland and has expanded to nearly every state." A story about the ad campaign recently ran in Advertising Age.
The ad ends with the moony statement, "Together, we are Koch."
Stunningly disconnected from reality:

Republicans wrong again, new ObamaCare Enrollees didn't rush out to see Doctors.

Republicans warned us ObamaCare would result in a rush to the doctor and a sudden massive shortage of general practitioners.

That didn't happen. People didn't go, they didn't abuse their new ability to see the doc and demand too many tests.
Bloomberg: The Heritage Foundation Chief Economist Steve Moore and Democratic Strategist Robert Zimmerman discuss what disappointing GDP means for the health-care system. They speak with Trish Regan and Michael McKee on “Street Smart.”

More talk about Walker's John Doe 2 Problem...

Republicans can't get enough of the idea that money is free speech. Hey, maybe we should print more of it? Money is freedom they can hold in their hand. And "freedom" has always been tied to buying something, like big gulps, unhealthy food in school lunches, incandescent light bulbs, guns, junk insurance policies across state lines, politicians with campaign contributions. That's freedom, and that's money.

Ed Schultz with The Progressive's Ruth Conniff:

Al Sharpton with a few clips of WTMJ's Charlie Sykes and Walker:

Here's the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's web ad that is surprisingly good:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Michelle Bachmann pushes Lawsuit against Obama, blows Neil Cavuto's mind....

John Boehner is planning to sue Obama for writing all of those executive orders. Sure it's petty and costly to taxpayers, but he and the Republican do-nothing congress don't have nothing else to do.

But for Fox News' Neil Cavuto, it seemed crazy and a waste of time. Why now he asked Michelle Bachmann, and why not solve the problems Obama's trying to solve with executive orders, instead of wasting time going to court?

This is a rare common sense moment for Fox News, and an example of what would happen if the media tried to get Republicans to explain the unexplainable:

I wasn't the only one who saw this amazing exchange. I just ran across this Huffington Post coverage:
Huffington Post: Cavuto asked Bachmann "why now" for a lawsuit “if this has been going on for a long time now," adding that he considers it “an enormous waste of effort.”

“Fix whatever’s wrong right now instead of dragging the other side to court … just do something, you know what I’m saying?” Cavuto said. “Where was your rage when Democrats -- when Democrats where going after President [George W.] Bush on the same use of executive orders?" Cavuto said. "Because I think you knew then that was a waste of time then, and I think you know in your heart of hearts this is a waste of time now … by the way Rome’s burning." 

Eventually, Bachmann brought up the idea of defunding the Executive Branch, which she had also mentioned earlier.

Cavuto brushed off the suggestion, saying "Democrats would be in their right mind to laugh you out right now."

The Incredible Republican Voter Fraud Guy!

From Shorewood Now's Jeff Rumage, this nicely researched report on the most outrageous case of voter fraud yet. Again, a photo ID would have done little to stop this “Stand with Walker” foot soldier. I’ll bet he was a big Voter ID supporter too:
According to a criminal complaint, 50-year-old health insurance executive Robert Monroe cast two ballots in the April 2011 Supreme Court election between David Prosser and Joann Kloppenburg, two ballots in the August 2011 recall election between Alberta Darling and Sandy Pasch, five ballots in the Gov. Scott Walker recall election in June 2012, one illegal ballot in the August 2012 partisan primary election and two ballots in the 2012 presidential election. 

He is accused of registering at his address in Shorewood, as well as in Milwaukee, using his mother's former Lake Drive address and a fake social security number. He is also accused of taking his son to vote in Shorewood, even though he was registered in Waukesha but was living in a college dormitory in Milwaukee at the time.

During the Pasch-Darling recall election in August 2011, he cast an early absentee ballot using his Shorewood address and in Milwaukee using his mother's former Lake Drive address.

Monroe allegedly voted five times during the Walker recall election in June 2012. He cast an early absentee ballot in Shorewood, and on Election Day, he cast ballots in both Shorewood and Milwaukee. He sent multiple messages to his two sons asking them to vote.

Posing as his girlfriend's son, Monroe requested Shorewood Village Hall send an absentee ballot to his address in Shorewood, even though his girlfriend's son actually lives in Milwaukee. Monroe voted and signed the absentee ballot with a false name without the knowledge of his girlfriend's son.

Monroe allegedly pulled a similar trick using the name of his own son, who lives in Waukesha. After receiving multiple text messages pleas from his father on Election Day, Monroe's son voted on Election Day in Waukesha, which caught the attention of the Waukesha Clerk's Office.

Monroe allegedly gave up false names and chose to go to another state in the 2012 presidential election. According to the complaint, he cast an in-person absentee ballot in Shorewood on Nov. 1, and then several days later, voted in person in Lebanon, Ind., where he owns a second house. He used his Indiana photo identification card at the polls in Indiana. 

Another Walker problem: 8th Worst in Nation for Water Quality, and no Plan.

Besides passing a mining bill that lowered environmental regulations, what else has Scott Walker done to "preserve" Wisconsin's water quality? Perhaps I missed that story:
jsonline: The water quality at Wisconsin beaches has been rated the eighth worst in the nation, based on the percentage of water samples taken in 2013 in which bacterial counts exceeded the standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wisconsin placed 23rd out of 30 coastal and Great Lakes states, according to a report released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Fourteen percent of Wisconsin's water samples failed to meet the EPA's standards for safe beach water.

Devoid of Populist Policy, GOP will pursue lawsuit against Obama.

It’s funny how the AP reporter didn't actually notice the big underlying story in the piece below, even though they eluded to it a number of times; that despite a Democratic majority in D.C., Republicans have held up the majority’s agenda. Americans will never know if liberal policies are better because Republicans have held everything up . 
Like all Republicans, John Boehner thinks Democrats are “ignoring the American people’s elected representatives”…even though Democrats hold a majority.

I've highlighted the various clues:
AP: House Speaker John Boehner could file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama in days, in an attempt to challenge the administration's heavy use of executive actions to further its agenda.

"The president has a clear record of ignoring the American people’s elected representatives and exceeding his constitutional authority, which has dangerous implications for both our system of government and our economy," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement. 
The lawsuit is just a prelude to the bigger movement to impeach Obama, which is really a clear admission by Republicans that they can’t win on policy ideas. 

Tea Party turns on Big Business!!! Oops.

It looks like the tea party is purposely killing off the GOP’s major funding source, big business. Way to go Koch brothers.

The tea party pressure to actually be a “free market” utopia, while reducing the size of government, has just become a huge problem for Republicans and their corporate funders. Businesses are now worried they may lose most of their Republican favors and handouts. 

I noticed this article today from AP:
Faced with conservative opposition, House Speaker John Boehner is declining to take a position on renewing the Export-Import Bank … His new stance deals a blow to a top priority of the business community. "Some people believe that we shouldn't have it at all, others believe that we should reauthorize it … The government agency provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to help foreign buyers purchase American-made products. Its charter expires in September, and without legislation, it would not be able to back new loans.

...but conservative groups are opposed, saying it amounts to corporate welfare and that the private sector can fill its place.
By coincidence, WaPo’s Greg Sargent noticed the same thing, and wrote a piece that highlighted the dangers of encouraging the radical right. I'm enjoying the irony:
The GOP is letting Tea Party predilections and preoccupations set the party’s agenda — at the direct expense of the business community’s priorities.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has vowed a major effort to defeat Tea Party candidates and invested $100,000 in Cochran’s victory. 

It’s unlikely House GOP opposition to the Ex-Im Bank will lead to a government shutdown, but that possibility cannot be ruled out entirely. Last fall’s government shutdown, of course, was a symbol for the business community of the perils of Tea Party influence over the GOP. Then there’s the Highway Trust Fund. If it becomes insolvent, it could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs … But GOP leaders’ ability to come up with a way to pay for this is already constrained by Tea Party hostility to government. Most glaring of all: Immigration reform … the general GOP posture is that this crisis makes reform less likely, when it should make it more urgent … the business community sees it as key to growing the economy.

Poetic Justice: Voter Fraud now used against Republican Primary Opponent.

What goes around comes around. No honor among thieves;
Crooks and Liars: Chris McDaniel, another Tea Party favorite who was supposed to breeze to victory over incumbent Sen.Thad Cochran, was defeated in Mississippi runoff and instead of conceding, hinted at voter fraud and then told his supporters he'd see them soon. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Maybe we need Voter ID to Stop Republicans From Voting Illegally 13 times?

Voter ID wouldn't have made a huge difference, but hey, this guy did steal my vote.

Thank you Joan Walsh. The media is starting to pickup on "projection." It will explain everything:

Salon: It’s always seemed strange that Wisconsin Republicans like Reince Priebus and Scott Walker would insult their own state by claiming that it has a problem with voter fraud and needs tougher laws to prevent it. Wisconsin has traditionally been known for an uncommonly clean political culture (until recently, anyway), and I’ve never quite understood why conservatives would want to impugn it.

Can you say “projection”?

ObamaCare increase Insurer Premiums in 2015 in Florida, some prices went down.

WaPo Greg Sargent tweeted the good news out of Florida today that appears to contradict the sky is falling predictions Republicans made about Obama's health care "train wreck."
It's time for Democrats to start pointing out how wrong Republicans were, no?
Something unprecedented may be unfolding in Florida's individual health-insurance market: None of the nine companies that have filed their 2015 rate requests so far wants an increase. In fact, two of the companies -- Molina Healthcare of Florida and Sunshine Health -- actually requested a price cut.

"The fact is, an overall pattern of insurers not seeking rate increases -- and even seeking rate decreases -- is unheard of," said Greg Mellowe, policy director for the consumer advocacy group Florida CHAIN.

Walker's Big Government Republicans Spend more, take Local Control Away.

Republicans continue to spend more taxpayer money than ever before, despite their rhetoric and reputation as fiscal conservatives.

A big Republican government is pure and righteous, with God and freedom on its side, while Democrats are the enemy. It's that simple. But if you look at this spending chart, their bullshit falls apart:

Unfunded Mandates and State control over Local Government: Rep. Peter Barca asked the
Legislative Fiscal Bureau for a list of unfunded mandates and laws that stripped local control:
Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said a new memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau details a long list of 64 ways that Republican legislators have significantly expanded the reach of state government over the past three and a half years. Wisconsin Republicans have substantially increased the role of state government by eliminating local control and increasing the number of unfunded mandates passed on to local communities. 

"From historic cuts to school funding (2011 Act 32) to eliminating key landlord/tenant provisions (2013 Act 76), Republicans are slashing critical public services while catering to special interests. Republicans passed a measure (Act 146) that significantly restricts the ability of local communities to set their own hours for early voting. Assembly Republicans also introduced the following extreme measures last session that would have severely eroded local community power:
•AB 476 –a bill that would dictate how individual communities regulate frac sand mining, which was put forward despite strong opposition from groups like the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Wisconsin Towns Association.

•AB 750 –a bill to keep hardworking men and women from earning a living wage by attempting to roll back local living wage ordinances that have, in some communities, been successfully in place for years

Doh! Conservatives Bash Biden for plan to Retire on his Government Benefits Package!

Under the heading "You can't make this stuff up," Republicans are apparently saying, "Yes you can."

He's a freeloader. Vice president Joe Biden now expects to live the life of ease by soaking taxpayers when he retires. He's now bragging how the benefits he received as an elected government official will help in in retirement:
Not the Onion!!!
“I have no savings account, but I have a great pension and a great salary,” Biden told the crowd at the White House Summit on Working Families.
Not quite a member of the millionaires club, but heck, why didn't he plan ahead?
However, Biden’s poor financial planning means that taxpayers will have to foot the bill for his retirement.
Maybe, just maybe, that was Biden's "financial plan" all along?

Still, it looks like Biden is going to swim against the tide of Republican career politicians giving up their government pensions and health care guarantees too. What, they haven't?

Well then I expect the Free Beacon will follow up the Biden story with other government trough feeders like Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner etc..

The moral of the story: Those nasty pensions and employee benefits drain resources from employers. Only moral wealthy people with lots of socked away money deserve comfortable retirements.

Shorewood Walker Supporter commits Voter Fraud 13 Times.

Maybe it's just a case of conservative projection again when it comes to voter fraud. 

This amazing example of fraud proves the biggest cheaters are Republicans, who aren't as confident about winning as they would like us to believe. Maybe it's their agenda?

But this guy did take away my vote, and maybe yours too. WisPolitics:
Shorewood resident charged with 13 felonies over alleged multiple voting: Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old Shorewood health insurance executive, was charged Friday with 13 felonies related to his voting a dozen times in five elections between 2011 and 2012 using his own name as well as that of his son and his girlfriend's son. "During 2011 and 2012, the defendant, Robert Monroe, became especially focused upon political issues and causes, including especially the recall elections," the complaint asserts in its introduction.

After Milwaukee County Judge J.D. Watts ordered the records related to a secret John Doe investigation be made public after … According to those records, Monroe was considered by investigators to be the most prolific multiple voter in memory. He was a supporter of Gov. Scott Walker and state Sen. Alberta Darling, both Republicans, and allegedly cast five ballots in the June 2012 election in which Walker survived a recall challenge.

According to the John Doe records, Monroe claimed to have a form of temporary amnesia and did not recall the election day events when confronted by investigators. This double voting allegedly occurred after he was made aware of a double-voting investigation involving his son.

The investigation was initiated after authorities in Waukesha found that Monroe's son, Benjamin, had voted in person in Waukesha in the June 2012 recall election … An absentee ballot for Benjamin was also cast for Benjamin using the Shorewood address of his father. Also … an absentee ballot was cast using the name Grant Mueller, son of Robert Monroe's girlfriend, using the Shorewood address. The first election Monroe allegedly voted more than once was in the April 2011 Supreme Court race in which incumbent David Prosser faced Joanne Kloppenburg, a race so close that it eventually led to a recount.

Each of the 13 counts carries a penalty of up to $10,000 in forefeitures and three-and-a-half years in prison, for a total of $130,000 and 45-and-half years. If convicted of a felony, he would lose his right to vote.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dumb Ron Johnson leaves constitution up to a vote: "...go with the judgement of the American people."

I think people should be able to vote on gun rights. I think people should be able to vote on whether money is speech, or that corporations are people.

Let’s put things in the constitution up for a vote:
USA Today: Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican elected in 2010 with Tea Party support, says he won’t oppose gay marriage if that’s what the voters decide. “I think marriage is between a man and a woman. But again if the voters decide that they want gay marriage, I’m not going to oppose it. I’ll certainly go with the judgment of the American people in terms of where they want to fall on, whether it’s abortion issues or gay marriage or whatever. Let the voters decide. 
So much for our God given inalienable rights, or the 14th Amendments equal protection clause:
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Let's have vote on whether this clause is relevant now.

Wisconsin Income taxes High? Only if you're Well Off.

You've probably heard how high our income taxes, right? Republicans can look like heroes when they cut them. But in reality, the wealthy are the ones getting the meaningful cuts. 

Thanks to the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance, we can prove that point:
Wisconsin’s income tax claims a greater share of income than all but 10 of the 41 states with a general income tax, according to federal figures. 

But, a new study from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX), “State Tax Rankings: Digging a Little Deeper,” finds that rank can actually range from as high as seventh to as low as 33rd, depending on filer income. WISTAX is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to public policy research and citizen education he Badger State is one of 33 with a graduated income tax; i.e., the tax rate increases with income. Wisconsin was one of 10 with the most progressive income taxes in 2010.

Increasing tax rates, a sliding standard deduction, and relatively generous credits for low-income households help explain the varied ranks by income. For example, a married couple with two children earning $20,000 per year would have the 33rd highest income tax burden in the nation. However, that rank rises to 25th at $35,000 and 15th at $50,000.

Taxpayers with incomes of $75,000 or $100,000 paid income taxes that were higher than those in most states (7th and 8th respectively). At higher incomes, the Badger State ranked between 12th and 16th.

Bigger Energy Monopoly touted by Scott Walker.

Another Scott Walker victory?

Whew, just when we thought energy monopolies were going to lose their grip to the growing solar panel industry.

In what is already an unfair energy marketplace, Wisconsinites who don’t have a choice in who they buy energy from are about to see "competition" decline even further.

In a press release touting “superior service” and “competitive pricing,” Wisconsin Energy is about to become the 8th largest natural gas distributor in the country. Doesn't sound competitive to me. Just as disturbing, Wisconsin Energy will now control the big transmission line bully of the state, ATC.

At a time when utility companies are losing money to customers switching to solar panels, this merger sounds like a preemptive move to stop or slow down legislatively any attempt to compensate rate payers for producing their own energy. With monopoly size comes lobbying power.

The following hyperbolic announcement is just so much smoke being blown up our ass:
Wisconsin Energy to acquire Integrys Energy Group for $9.1 billion … creating a leading Midwest electric and gas utility … Larger, more diverse regulated utility company with the financial strength and technical depth to meet customers' future energy needs; creates 8th largest natural gas distribution company in America … to maintain high levels of reliability and improve customer service … the combined company will hold a 60 percent stake in American Transmission Co.
Words like “regulated” and supposed “competitive pricing” are already a part of the messaging campaign:
Gale Klappa, chairman and CEO of Wisconsin Energy said, "We believe this combination provides a unique opportunity to create the premier regulated utility system in the Midwest, with superior service and competitive pricing for years to come.
The merger has yet to be approved.

Jindal to nation: "People are ready for a Hostile Takeover of Washington D.C.!!!

Besides the title quote, Jindal played up this false premise:
Jindal: "The left is trying to silence us." 
An absurd, impossible idea that oddly makes sense to conservatives. And yet conservatives in Wisconsin are overjoyed by Scott Walker's attempts to silence protesters at the Capitol. Is Walker "trying to silence us?"

Overthrow Alert: It looks like the U.S. is headed for a “hostile takeover.” We're seeing it take shape in the militia movement, the open carry protests, a tea party candidate talking about “Second Amendment remedies,” and the Cliven Bundy lunacy that culminated in the deaths of two policemen in Las Vegas.

Of course Republicans will deny they had anything to do with the consequences of their irresponsible advocacy of lone gunmen revolutionaries. But some like Jindal see these individual uprisings as a beginning to a patriotic movement:
AP: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spoke at the annual conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, accused President Barack Obama and other Democrats of waging wars against religious liberty and education and said that a rebellion is brewing in the U.S. with people ready for "a hostile takeover" of the nation's capital.

"I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States," Jindal said, "where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren. I am tired of the left. They say they're for tolerance, they say they respect diversity. The reality is this: They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them. The left is trying to silence us and I'm tired of it, I won't take it anymore."
A false premise that not just sounds stupid, but doesn't seem possible, unless I missed the FEMA detention camps dotting our nations landscape. It's the conservative world of opposites and contradictions. Take for instance Bobby Jindal’s response to Common Core. Despite his own parties attacks on Obama for usurping congress with executive orders:
Earlier this week, Jindal signed an executive order to block the use of tests tied to Common Core education standards in his state.
So Jindal's call for a revolution or a takeover of our nations Capitol, sounds like the constitutions own definition of treason to me, or sure comes close. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Conservative group says Ban on Lying in Political Ads "chills core political speech."

Get this: A right wing conservative group, anti-abortion’s Susan B. Anthony List, is fighting to keep lying in campaigns a protected free speech right. In defense of lying, the group said a legal ban “chills core political speech.”

Republicans think lying is at the core of political speech. I’m loving this:
Fox News: A national anti-abortion group wants a federal court to block an Ohio law barring people from recklessly making false statements about candidates seeking elective office. The Susan B. Anthony List filed a motion Friday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, asking that the law not be enforced … the motion says the statute violates free speech rights and "chills core political speech."
Highest Court on Board with Lying:
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that the group could challenge the law, raising doubts about whether Ohio's law and similar ones in other states can survive complaints that they violate free speech rights.

The anti-abortion group challenged Ohio's ban when it … planned billboards attacking then-U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus in 2010 … accused him of supporting taxpayer-funded abortion with his vote for Obama's health care law … The billboard owner feared threatened legal action by Driehaus and declined to post the ads.
Truth in Advertising: This law made the system work, discouraging lies from being used to falsely sell bad products. But smear political candidates? But that’s the catch; you can lie about who governs our country, but can’t lie about consumer products.
FTC: When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence. The FTC looks especially closely at advertising claims that can affect consumers’ health or their pocketbooks.
But shouldn't that include politicians who would directly affect our health and pocketbooks too? Political ads are made to “sell” the candidate to the public, just like cereal.

And if lying is determined to be a free speech right in political advertising, what’s to stop this new "right" from repealing our truth in advertising laws altogether?

The Lazy Press: Does ObamaCare fund abortions with taxpayer money? The news article never said. Why?
The anti-abortion group during the 2014 midterm elections plans to criticize members of Congress who voted for the health care law. The group maintains that its statement about … abortion is true … The Obama administration has steadfastly denied that.
A quick Google search: No taxpayer money pays for abortions. A separate fund paid for by the insured can be provided by insurers on the exchange, depending on state laws. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Defensive Walker makes the case to do away with "partisan" Democratic District Attorney's. There's only one real party...

It’s not the denial by Scott Walker that’s unsettling, but his suggestion that only Republican DA’s can be trusted with the law and “nonpartisan” investigations. These subtle comments provide the emotional gun powder for agitating the base. Maybe the media should ask Walker why he thinks Democratic DA candidates shouldn’t run for office.

In his desperate attempt to contain the damage, he let it slip in this editorial:
“The truth on the widely covered John Doe is that two judges, one state and one federal, reviewed the accusations of partisans within a Democratic District Attorney’s Office and determined their theories have no merit or basis in law.”
What does that say about Walker’s respect for elections and those who see things Democrats?

The enemy among us: Walker’s “above the law” arrogance toward "petty liberal partisans" opposed to his one party ideal of government and “truth” is unnerving:
Each of these judges explicitly issued judicial orders that these partisan prosecutors must end their investigation immediately. These are the truths that need to be stated over and over again to fight the slander directed at me and our campaign by my political opponents.
Walker the Victim: Remember, this is about pay-to-play, campaign funding that pushes the limits and attempts to get around the law, whether legal or illegal. This isn’t about his failed agenda, it’s about elections controlled by big government corporate special interests. 

Bottom line; why wouldn't conservative prosecutors be considered just as partisan? 
Still, many in the media proceed as though the opinion of the partisan prosecutorsignore the truths I have stated above. No charges. No case. Watching the media frenzy, it is clear that this is what happens when someone takes on the big government special interests. I will not back down. We will continue to fight using the truth...

Free Market Failure: The Great Recession!!!

A nice series on the failure of conservative free market economics hit all the right marks with one example after the next. Check out part one of the series here, at Populist I especially liked the following quote, which I framed for downloading. It was THE defining moment:

Proof? Here's the video I edited together with the reckless comments of Gov. and Presidential candidate Rich Perry:

Here's a little more. Part 2 and part 3 are here.
Since Ronald Reagan, two serious economic crises, one of which was and is devastating to our society and possibly our future. One very damaging unnecessary war (not only for us but for innocent citizens of Iraq…and we wonder why Arabs hate us), tax cuts primarily for the wealthiest Americans that have dropped our annual revenues to approximately 15% of GDP from 20% under Clinton and Carter, causing massive deficits and a national debt of $16 trillion.

So we know what to expect from Conservatism. Promises of gold in the hills, promises that tax cuts will create a more vibrant economy, promises that all will be well, until…things don’t work out. And now what is their solution, those Conservatives working for huge corporations and billionaires…the Conservative solution is to blame the average person for wanting the “entitlements” we all paid for over 40 years or more of a working life. Conservatives want to cut Social Security and Medicare. 

Judge Randa Blocks Media Access to John Doe 2 Documents to hide possible Walker Lawbreaking.

Republicans have touted the wonders of conservative judges and justices for the last decade. They aren't shy about nominating strictly conservative candidates. And no one seems to think that’s odd. Due to that, activist conservative judges have never felt more arrogant and powerful. They’re now rewriting law and legislating from the bench. Like Judge Rudy Randa.

Referenced in a nice piece at Rock Netroots, it appears Judge Rudy Randa’s partisan nature bubbled over:
Wisconsin Reporter: In a scorching critique, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa verbally hammers the prosecutors in a politically charged John Doe investigation for seeking “refuge in the Court of Public Opinion, having lost in this Court of law.” The federal judge’s stinging assessment of the prosecutors-turned defendants in a civil rights lawsuit came in a ruling Thursday that rejects in part unsealing a raft of records related to the investigation, a move that Randa believes is needed to protect two unnamed intervenors in the matter.

The prosecutors, in a filing last month, criticized conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and his Wisconsin Club for growth ... “(It is) beyond irony that the plaintiffs and their counsel now ask the Court to block media access to the documents that outline the investigation and detail the reasons why the plaintiffs’ conduct was subject to scrutiny,” the prosecutors claimed.
Is Walker Guilty of Coordinated Spending in Violation of Campaign Law? Here’s a legal look at the possible violation:
jsonline: Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Irvine who authors a popular blog on election law, said Thursday that the Citizens United case didn't go quite as far as many people think it did. The ruling left intact certain limits on coordinating such spending with candidates or their campaigns, restrictions similar to the Wisconsin laws.

"We're talking Wisconsin law" in the John Doe case, Hasen said, "but it’s fairly analogous. All kinds of issue advocacy can count as coordination, and therefore be illegal," depending on the specifics. Both Hasen and another election law expert, Ohio State University law professor Daniel Tokaji, think Randa's interpretations of the law will not be shared by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"I was flabbergasted by some of the things he said that were like applauding coordination," Hasen said. Tokaji said coordination is illegal for good reason, because it "raises the specter of corruption," and the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the purpose of preventing the exchange of cash for political favors. He said the new documents don't suggest the prosecutors looking into the Walker campaign were biased.

Ilya Shapiro, from the Cato Institute, called Thursday's developments "sort of a non-story" and a "fishing expedition" that doesn't change anything. Shapiro predicts the 7th Circuit will affirm Randa's findings but "with less sweeping rhetoric" on narrower grounds.

Another Walker Lie on National Television. Fox News willing Dupe.

It really is just amazing how "stand with Walker" loyalists are willing to believe anything from this known liar and manipulator. My god at least question something, anything:

PolitiFact: Walker said the secret John Doe criminal investigation of his campaign has been "resolved" and two judges have said it is "over."

His characterization is misleading at best. The investigation has been stopped, for now, under one judge’s ruling. But the second ruling, while a serious blow, did not end the probe, and in any event prosecutors have appealed the two rulings Walker mentioned.

We rate Walker’s statement False.