Sunday, November 30, 2014

Big Government Republicans to collect DNA samples of Wisconsinites for possible future use, but oppose DNA data for public health policy.

Any privacy concerns warranted under our big government Republican DNA screening process for supposed lawbreakers?

Yes, Republicans want to keep a DNA record of you, to be used for whatever reason in the future.
jsonline: The state Department of Justice has hired nearly 20 more workers … so that it will be able to handle … additional DNA samples when new collection requirements take effect next year … expects to receive 25,000 samples from felony arrests and 40,000 samples from misdemeanor convictions next year.

DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony and certain sex-related misdemeanors. A Republican-backed law dramatically expands the grounds for collection … requires anyone convicted of any misdemeanor to submit a DNA sample. Civil rights advocates, though, contend the expanded collection is an invasion of privacy. 
Welcome to “small government” Republican values folks, and the invasive nature of their controlling “authority.”

The Upside Down World of Conservatism: So what could explain the objections to a similar collection of DNA samples used to treat newborns and guide public health policy?
jsonline: A major bill that supports newborn screening nationwide has stalled in Congress because some Republican senators have privacy concerns about genetic research funded by the legislation. Blood is collected on a card that is sent to state public health labs for testing, in order to identify conditions that are often easily treatable. The cards are often later used anonymously for research. It's unclear which specific research is causing concern, although the Senate committee has said research on DNA has allowed people to be re-identified, even though initially they were anonymous.
Is it the “less we know” Republican way of doing things?
Samples are used for quality assurance testing, to help refine cutoff levels for identifying specific disorders, as well as many other studies on various public health issues. 
So in this case, Republicans are worried about the future use of DNA samples? My head is hurting. Yet they’re not worried about the use of DNA samples of adults who commit a minor legal infraction?

No wonder conservatives don’t know which way is up anymore and just vote along party lines.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

PSC kills Renewable Energy Jobs with MG&E base rate increase - a penalty- for solar users.

With two Scott Walker appointees, the Public Service Commission voted 2-1 to raise base rates for MG&E customers, especially renewable energy users.

Besides negatively effecting seniors and low income Wisconsinites, the rate increase will nearly kill any savings for those converting to green wind or solar energy.

And don't believe for a second this will be the last time we see a base rate increase, making any conversion to solar a really bad idea for customers.

The rate increase is part of a larger war against the movement to switch to renewable energy taking place in other states, where fossil fuel utilities are pushing back with billing penalties.

Worse for Wisconsin: Any chance we'll see wind and solar industries set up shop here is all but over. Ideologically, their just not welcome here. Subtract them from the small list of preferred business customers within the Republican Party that garners favor through campaign contributions. Job creation never was the real goal.

From WISC and WKOW:

Deer count down 20,000!!! DNR blames Fog, Rain, and maybe earlier start of Christmas Season too?

Gone are the rugged hunters heading out to conquer the elements so they can enjoy another traditional deer hunt. A little rain, a little morning fog...right up there with bitter cold temps and 6 feet of snow. Why can't it be just right?

I'm enjoying the mismanagement of recreational hunting by our Republican administration and right wing DNR. It couldn't happen to finer bunch of conservative "stand with Walker" gun toting believers. They now have a chance to ignore science, develop policy based on public opinion, and eventually move the state to a system of game farms with a plentiful stock of deer etc. for frustrated hunters.

They deserve it, after trashing everything else for you and me, with their one party know-it-all scorched earth approach to government. Here's the report from WISC and WKOW:

Republicans may not invite tyrant Obama to State-of-the-Union!

I'm not sure how long it will be before Democrats begin to notice that the Republicans are playing for keeps. They want a one party authoritarian system of government, with dictatorial leaders and a national religion. They will stop at nothing to do it, even refuse Obama's State-of-the-Union speech. 

This is a full frontal assault. Surprisingly, there are no plans to develop a Democratic offensive of their own. This whack job party of rugged small government individuals can't wait to install their own "leaders," ideologues promising to make unpopular decisions that may not represent the people's will, but what the heck, it's for their own good. If it sounds dictatorial, it is. Here's what they're "thinking:"
Bloomberg: A series of political commenters, led by the editor of the National Review, have a new idea for Speaker John Boehner: refuse to invite President Obama from the State of the Union address. 

The thinking behind this proposal is that it would aptly demonstrate the level of GOP discontentment with the president, in case he doesn’t already know. Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, told The New York Times Tuesday night that if he were John Boehner “I’d say to the president: ‘Send us your State of the Union in writing. You’re not welcome in our chamber.’”

Last week, the conservative website Breitbart suggested suggested Boehner do the same “so that the elected representatives of the people do not have to listen to, or applaud, a man who is violating his oath of office and governing as a tyrant.” Meanwhile, unnamed congressional Republicans are privately considering yanking the State of the Union welcome mat, according to Politico.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Schimel's Department of Business Justice!

The biggest story, completely ignored during the attorney generals race, was Brad Schimel’s open admission he would be a rubber stamp for the Republican legislature.

Schimel’s rubber stamp has new and bigger implications, now that's he's our next attorney general, after seeing who Schimel put in as his top aide. There’s no hiding what appears to be a big business takeover of our legal system. jsonline
A lobbyist for Walmart, the state's biggest business group and more than a dozen other businesses and organizations will serve as the top aide to incoming Attorney General Brad Schimel … appointed Andrew Cook to serve as his deputy secretary.
Besides being the president of the Madison chapter of the Federalist Society, a right wing group of activist conservative lawyers, what legislation has Cook’s stamp of approval?
Cook represented the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, a group that successfully pushed legislation making it harder to bring civil lawsuits.
The corporate takeover of Wisconsin is complete with this astonishing list of clients:
Walmart; Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business lobbying group; 3M; Aggregate Producers of Wisconsin; Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity; Association of Wisconsin Surgery Centers; the holding company for Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Lockridge Grindal Nauen, a law firm with offices in Minnesota and Washington, D.C.; Manitoba Hydro; Marathon Petroleum Company; Xcel Energy; Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, a group that successfully pushed legislation making it harder to bring civil lawsuits; Wisconsin Defense Counsel; and the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association.
Here’s a sample of reader comments:
-There is not one citizen in 100 who approves of the influence of lobbyists. So what does Brad Schimel do immediately after getting elected? He appoints a full time lobbyist to serve as his deputy secretary!!

-Will the Federalist Society be moving it's headquarters to Wisconsin, too, as did the John Birch Society?

-Doesn't the attorney general also handle consumer protection issues in Wisconsin? If so, this appointment is a total disaster.

-Watch for Cook to bend empathetic ear to mining interests in the very near future. Through his work with the Great Lakes Legal Foundation, he has been a a go-to source for interests looking to "streamline" the process. BTW, Cook is seasoned ALEC adviser, and his firm is the WI lobbyist for Koch Industries. If the right wants us to quit bringing these groups up, quit making it so easy. Open For Business still sound like a good slogan?
The Walker fascist movement is upon us, supported by the sycophants willing to replace "government" with anything, even something they don't understand:
Fascism is capitalism in decay. - Vladimir Lenin

Fascism is capitalism plus murder. - Upton Sinclair

Fascism is very much a mob movement. - P. J. O'Rourke

The Real Walker Deficit? A possible $4 billion Hole!!!

Do we have a $2.2 billion projected budget deficit or don’t we? Let’s cut the crap here. It could very realistically be more.

The most amazing mind to chime in on the issue is Winnebago County Executive and former Democratic candidate for the 6th Congressional District Mark Harris. Cap Times:
When Walker took office that year, the state faced a $2.5 billion shortfall. After about $1.1 billion of state agency funding requests were added in, that projected deficit amounted to $3.6 billion.

(Harris) voiced concerns that people might compare it with the $2.2 billion estimate from the DOA memo … pointed out a difference in the way the two figures were calculated.
Harris is pointing out how the new Walker estimates include “projected” new revenue, where under Doyle’s shortfall, no revenues were figured in. Big difference:
Think what I can do to the country!
The (Doyle) $3.6 billion number was based on the baseline biennial budget number — including neither increases in revenue nor increases in expenses — combined with agency budget requests, Harris said.

But the current DOA estimate includes $1.4 billion in new revenue. "If you back these revenue increases out of the $2.2 billion figure you will get $3.6 billion," Harris said in an email.

Harris also said "Revenues for the last eight months of this fiscal year would have to run more than 8 percent ahead of the same months of the prior fiscal year in order to reach the DOA projection," Harris said. "I believe that the shortfall measured on a similar basis with four years ago would be close to $4 billion."
If that weren't bad enough, Walker's recently proposed tax cuts will only make things worse:
The state expects revenues to fall $2.2 billion short of what state agencies have requested to operate in the 2015-17 budget.

But those agencies won't get everything they ask for. Plus, these calculations don't account for income and property tax cuts promised by Walker for the next budget. That means this estimate will change.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Did we really need this? Time to believe in the Democratic Party again.

I am so tired of these old wimpy Democratic losers who've abandoned their populist principles and have done nothing but empowered the most radical Republican Party ever. Yea, 40 million uninsured isn't that important:

UPDATE: Here's more of Schumer's ridiculous and un-Democratic policy lunacy that continues to kill the party in elections. And just what would Democrats stand for Chuck?
In a high-profile speech on Tuesday dissecting Democrats' losses in this month's midterm elections, Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, listed "a cascade of issues" botched by the White House, the party lost because the White House messed up on "a cascade of issues," starting with the healthcare reform push in 2009, at a time when Americans were more preoccupied with the recession.

Also on Schumer's list of White House errors: the rollout of insurance marketplaces, fixing wait lists for veterans' hospitals, dealing with the first case of Ebola in the United States, and even security at the White House itself.

In some ways, Schumer's remarks were typical of the kind of "post-disaster syndrome" of finger-pointing common after election losses, said Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University.

Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi also rebuked Schumer, saying in a statement, "We come here to do a job, not keep a job." 

Gov. John Kasich trashes Scott Walker's lie about Common Core.

Scott Walker outright lied about Clinton's "friendly" relationship with Republicans back in the early 90's, taking a shot at Obama's supposed partisan use of executive orders. That much was made very clear by Gov. John Kasich.

But just as newsworthy was Kasich's take down of Walker's lie about Common Core, when Scottie portrayed it as a government takeover of our schools. Instead, it's a national standard that compares every state equally. Maybe Walker wasn't paying attention a little while back, when some state's under No Child Left Behind lowered their standards to look good and avoid penalties.

Ironically, Walker looked even more foolish when he bragged about Wisconsin's high test scores, high standards and high rankings...a direct result of Common Core, in place for the last 4 years. He's under the impression that it's a national curriculum, a conclusion he reached based on nothing more than GOP talking points. Even worse, Walker thinks Act 10's attack on collective bargaining made kids smarter.

As you'll see, Kasich grew more and more frustrated by the continued misrepresentations by the panel of governors, most notably Scott Walker. From the Republican Governors Association panel: 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Scott Walker's phony "Clinton worked with Republicans" story not going away...ever.

An interesting thing happened on last Friday's Week in Review, on WPR's morning show.

In response to Obama's use of executive orders, former Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow blurted out the same completely manufactured answer as Scott Walker, when he praised Bill Clinton for working with majority Republicans instead of going it alone as the imperial president. Coincidence? No, memorized. Here's the audio:

Farrow was also wrong about the Democrats not trying to move immigration "down the road" when they had control of the senate and house. Republicans never count their use of the filibuster:
DREAM Act: Perhaps the most consequential blocked bill in 2009 and 2010 was the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were children when they immigrated, provided they serve in the military or go to college. It was blocked twice, once as an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that was paired with repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and once as part of the banal-sounding Removal Clarification Act of 2010. It had already passed the House, so if not for the filibuster, it would be law.
Check out that now infamous moment where fellow Republican, possible presidential candidate and former congressman Gov. John Kasich corrected Walker in no uncertain terms.  From the Republican Governors Association panel, a few clips of Kasich insisting on solutions, not division:

Walker's can't get out of "divide and conquer" mode.

Special thanks to WPR reporter Shawn Johnson. 

The Freeloader Class is in Charge of the State, as Roads Crumble and Highways look like S**t.

This will be so much fun to watch. Republicans are now going to have to show us how austerity and tax cuts will make our state prosperous again. Even more fun, watching penny pinching cookie cutter conservatives and tight wad business lobbyists whine about paying their fair share.

The truth is, with higher deficit projections, somethings got to give:
The agency budget requests, which generally followed the Governor’s instructions for just maintaining existing programs, exceed the anticipated General Purpose Revenue (GPR) by $2.2 billion during the 2015-15 biennium (assuming the state does carry over a $65 million balance). 
WMC’s business members are worried, and one GOP legislator thinks squeezing inefficiencies out the DOT will pretty much do the trick, like not making our roadways look good for visiting travelers.
Business Groups Issue Statement on Transportation Finance "Our respective groups acknowledge the need for revenue increases in the Transportation Fund to meet critical infrastructure improvements. However, we question whether the amount of the revenue increases proposed by the Department of Transportation are appropriate.  

We are also concerned about some of the proposed funding mechanisms, and the extent to which they may place Wisconsin employers at a competitive disadvantage.
Translation? Freeloaders, every one of them. They want a beautiful and well educated state without paying for it. Small government, small government, small government.....let's cut all the fat at the DOT:
The Department of Transportation wants to raise taxes and fees by about 750-million dollars to fund its projects. Northwoods Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) points out "Before I will vote for any tax for fee increases, you have to show us some efficiencies within your budget," Tiffany said. "I think the DOT budget is $4 or 5 billion, something like that. You need to show us that you're spending those dollars effectively and efficiently. I expect those things to happen first. The last thing we should do is raise taxes or fees." Tiffany suggested cutting back on projects that only improve the appearance of roadways.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Conservative Voter outrage over "Stupid" comment doesn't include same claims by O'Reilly or Hannity!!!

I have often called "stand with Walker" backers low information voters. They don't care about his failures, because they care more about how they can win or lose based on gotchas and character assassinations. My conservative friend in Milwaukee is more concerned about Obama than anything Walker has done. 

So are low information voters really stupid, as Jonathan Gruber personally believes? From Media Matters:
Gruber Referred To "The Stupidity Of The American Voter" While Discussing The Affordable Care Act in 2013.  “…call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass."
The Republican outrage machine went into overdrive, exploiting the moment for a little self denial that allowed them to wipe away all their past, really stupid comments. Nice try. 

Funny how stupid conservative voters never objected when their own "leaders" made the same claim. Here are some examples: 
O'Reilly: "Low Information Voters" "Don't Know Anything." On the October 24, 2013 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said, "The President was not elected on performance. He was elected on personality and apathy. Low information voters don't -- who don't know anything and really couldn't care less about their country broke heavily for the President." [Fox News Channel,The O'Reilly Factor, 10/24/13, via Nexis]

O'Reilly: "Low Information Voters" Are "Not Interested In The Outside World," Unable "To Make Intelligent Decisions In Life." On the August 15, 2013, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly described "an American citizen" who "is not interested in the outside world that person will not be able to make intelligent decisions in life. Those are the so-called low information voters." [Fox News Channel, The O'Reilly Factor, 8/15/13, via Nexis]

Hannity: People With "Low Information Voter Syndrome" "May Cancel Out Your Well-Informed Vote." On October 29, 2013, Hannity complained about "low information voter syndrome" among people who didn't know that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare were the same.

HANNITY: Oh, boy, low information voter syndrome. Our very own Ainsley Earhardt hit the streets of New York to see if people understand that the Affordable Care Act and "Obamacare" are actually one and the same. And as you just heard, the answers by people are downright scary. And by the way, they may cancel out your well-informed vote -- as we continue tonight here on "Hannity." [Fox News Channel, Hannity, 10/29/13, via Nexis]

Hannity: "Low Information Voters" Believe "Lying Campaign[s]." On the April 24, 2013, edition of Hannity, Hannity argued that "lying campaigns" that "demonize conservatives" work because of "low information" voters. From Hannity:
TUCKER CARLSON: The idea that any cuts to government will strand people with illnesses without a cure and if we pass this or that bill we will cure Parkinson's or AIDS. It is an insult to people with Parkinson's and AIDS because the truth is, it is not that simple. You don't flip a switch and these really complex diseases are cured. This is ludicrous and you have to wonder who sat down and wrote this and what the majority leader thought when he read it off the card. Does really he believe this? Is there a single person that buys this?

HANNITY: You know what, Tucker? I think this lying campaign they use it because they think it works. They demonize conservatives all the time.

CARLSON: Anybody who takes what he says value and is moved to vote on that basis should not be voting.

HANNITY: But they are in big numbers.

CARLSON: You are too dumb to vote if you buy that.

HANNITY: Rush calls them low information voters. There are a lot of them. [Fox News Channel, Hannity, 4/24/13, via Nexis]

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Capitalism collapsing Global Economies as Wages Plummet, Killing Demand and the Middle Class.

For the longest time, wage declines in the U.S. have helped increased corporate bottom lines. But it also slowed consumer demand. Not to worry, global corporations simply shifted their focus to growing markets elsewhere. But that’s about to come to an end too.

Two major stories hit the business section of the paper today, and I can’t help think they’re connected. 

Story # 1Austere economic efforts globally have taken their toll, and now growth is slowing in dangerous ways.
China's central bank unexpectedly slashed interest rates on Friday to re-energize the world's No. 2 economy, joining a growing list of major economies that are trying to encourage growth in the face of a global slowdown. The president of the European Central Bank said he was ready to step up stimulus for the 18-country Eurozone economy, where growth is meager and unemployment is soaring, encouraging delays in spending and investment. And Japan's government this week delayed a tax increase after the country slipped back into recession. 
The U.S. escaped much of this due to increased stimulus spending:
The United States is showing signs of steady growth, prompting the Federal Reserve to rein in its stimulus efforts. So far, the U.S. has escaped any drag from the slowdown overseas. Fed policy-makers said … exports are a smaller source of growth than in other developed nations and many major employers, such as health care and education providers, are largely unaffected by overseas activity.
Story # 2: Wages are plummeting due to anti-union efforts everywhere. I don’t expect a change in that anytime soon either, knowing how driven my conservative friend in Milwaukee is about these issues.

While Republicans complain about raising the minimum wage and increased dependence of Americans on government assistance (they don’t see a correlation?), the middle class manufacturing working stiff is already making close to that “job killing” $10.10 an hour already. And that can’t be good:
More than 600,000 U.S. manufacturing workers earn less than $9.60 an hour, and 1.5 million — or one-fourth of all manufacturing workers — make $11.91 or less, according to an analysis released Friday.

The National Employment Law Project said that manufacturing jobs — once considered the solid source of middle-class income — increasingly are paying wages that can barely support a family.

For 30 years, from 1976 to 2006, U.S. manufacturing workers were paid a median wage that was above the U.S. pay median. That manufacturing advantage peaked in the mid-1980s. By 2013, the median manufacturing wage was 7.7 percent lower than the median U.S. wage for all public and private sector workers, according to the Census Bureau’s survey data.

Wage concessions by unions, hiring of non-union workers, other pay cuts and broader use of temporary workers have contributed to the declining pay scales, particularly in the automotive sector, the report said. “While foreign and domestic automakers have added 350,000 new jobs in the U.S. since 2009, nearly three-fourths of all auto workers are now employed at parts plants, where workers are paid nearly 15 percent less on average than motor vehicle manufacturing workers overall.” 

It said that from 2003 to 2013, real wages for auto parts workers fell nearly 14 percent, three times faster than for all manufacturing workers and nine times faster than the drop for all occupations.
And as I’ve emphasized so many times here, the new business model after the Great Recession is to keep full time jobs at a minimum, while hiring part time workers when demand picks up:
The report also said that 14 percent of workers in the auto parts sector are employed by temporary staffing agencies, earning 29 percent less on average than workers employed directly by auto parts manufacturers.

Technology startup businesses and jobs not on Scott Walker's radar either?

There’s no getting around it, Scott Walker is focusing his job creation around manufacturing.
For the last 3 years, as chairman of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Walker did almost nothing to encourage tech and science startups.

Milken Institute’s State Tech and Science Index once ranked Wisconsin at #11 in 2010 for risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, during the Doyle administration. Now under Walker, the state slipped to 36.

Now that’s he’s more desperate than ever, Walker relented. In the last year, angel and venture capital investments are starting to play a bigger role in business and job creation. But Walker was warned over and over Wisconsin wasn't doing enough.

So the state has slipped dramatically since Walker became governor, and our anti-science and technology Republican legislature steered clear of tech completely as a way to bring jobs to Wisconsin:
WSJ: Wisconsin draws an overall ranking of 25, the same as in 2012, with higher marks for its technology and science work force (No. 17) but lower for its risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure (No. 36).

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, took issue with some of Milken’s scoring. For example, in 2010, Wisconsin was No. 11 for risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure but now ranks 36th. “Those more familiar with Wisconsin know that the number of angel and venture capital deals in the state continues to climb and that more venues, networks and opportunities are available today for people interested in starting and growing a company (here),” Still said … workforce development programs also have “dramatically expanded.”
Tech investment only came as a last resort, and mostly in the last year.
Does Milken have a bias against the Midwest? Still said the rankings “appear to lump the Midwest into the same basket, with only Minnesota breaking into the top quartile (12th).”
Uh oh, there’s Democratically run Minnesota again.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lunacy # 3: Wisconsin House GOP would prevent EPA from protecting Americans from Ebola, nuclear, biological and terrorist attacks. I'm not kidding.

My head is spinning. After every Wisconsin Republican house member voted to put special interests on the EPA's Science Advisory Board in place of scientists to make it more industry-friendly, and require EPA research to expose the private medical records of effected American citizens dying from pollution - or the rules won't count - they went one step further that will blow your mind. Roll Call:

They turned away a Democratic bid to at least give the EPA an exemption from the restrictions above so it could protect Americans from Ebola, biological terrorist attacks and chemical spills.

EBOLA DISINFECTANTS: The House defeated a Democratic bid to exempt from HR 4012 (above) any EPA actions to approve Ebola disinfectants or protect communities against nuclear, biological or terrorist attacks or chemical spills into drinking-water supplies. A yes vote was to exempt EPA actions against health threats such as the Ebola virus from the bill.
Republicans weren't about to give Democrats a victory even on this. Voting no and against preventing an Ebola outbreak or chemical terrorist attack: Republicans Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, and Reid Ribble.

Lunacy # 2: Wisconsin House GOP dismantle EPA Science Advisory Board by replacing Academic’s with corporate special interests!!! What a good idea?

This is a continuation of pure lunacy by our future Republican overlords in 2015, where science bows to the needs of business, our job creators.

Our Wisconsin House Republicans want to put corporate interests in charge of keeping out air and water clean. Gulp. We never learned anything from the amazing work by tobacco industry scientists who claimed cigarettes were healthy? Roll Call:

EPA SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD: The House passed a Republican bill (HR 1422) to reshape the EPA's Science Advisory Board to make it more industry-friendly. The board provides independent evaluations of the scientific analyses upon which the EPA bases its regulations. This bill would diminish academic representation on the board while expanding corporate membership; permit experts with financial ties to EPA-regulated industries to serve if they disclose their conflicts-of-interest; give state, local and tribal governments a guaranteed number of seats on the board and require the board to gather more public comments, among other provisions.
Don't you love those unscientific public comments?

Jaw dropping? What could go wrong with putting EPA regulated industries in charge of the EPA? What kind of mind would think this is okay?

These five minds, that's who: Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Sean Duffy, Tom Petry, and Reid Ribble. 

What are they're thinking.  

Lunacy # 1: Wisconsin House Republicans start to dismantle EPA, by requiring confidential health information be made public.

We've known for years air pollution harms and prematurely kills Americans every day, but that may not matter anymore if Republicans, who will be in charge soon, block research proving it. Then magically, the harmful effects of pollution will disappear, and anti-science marches on. Roll Call:
SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT: The House passed a Republican bill (HR 4012) that would negate specific rule making by the Environmental Protection Agency unless all data from underlying scientific studies -- including any confidential health information about participants -- has been made publicly available so that the studies can be independently replicated. Republicans said the bill would promote much-needed transparency at the EPA, while Democrats said it would thwart enforcement actions because many environmental studies depend on protecting the privacy rights of participants. Democrats said the bill's main targets are studies by the American Cancer Society and Harvard University that link air pollution with ill health and underpin the EPA's administration of the Clean Air Act.
Voting to kill more Americans with cancer and other diseases, by making scientific research completely irrelevant: Republicans Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, and Reid Ribble.

Here's Alex Wagner with the story as well:

The next post in this series will take your breath away, literally.

Conservative think tanks seek to empower shifting health care costs our way!

Republicans have an odd way of putting you in charge. If you don’t mind paying a whole lot more out of pocket, then being empowered is a great idea. You’re in control when and if you ever decide to seek health care, based on what you can afford. If you make a bad decision, you have only yourself to blame. It’s guilt free politics that negatively affects every family member in the country.

This is how conservative thinks tanks are packaging the cost shift to public employees as rugged individualism:
report by the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute and the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis  Argue State-Run System Should Be Closed To New Workers, People Under 45 … state Legislature should require younger public employees to use health savings accounts instead of the state's current health insurance system.

“Once it gets done and the actual employee and the actual retiree see that they're controlling more of their health-care dollars, they accept it and they find it empowering,” researcher John Graham said.
What they're really selling? 
Citizen Action's Robert Kraig (said) it would merely shift more of the financial burden of health care onto employees. “Their same report also concedes that this is going to shift a lot more of the financial burden onto the employee. So to then turn around and say that it's empowering because you control your own account, I think it's misleading.”
Just another liberal understatement that does nothing to energize our Democratic legislators to speak out…we are so bad at this. 

Walker would sue Obama over executive orders, but has no plan for immigration problem.

In the video below, Scott Walker's first response to Obama's plan to use an executive order to reform immigration was to sue the president. That's a familiar Walker tactic in Wisconsin.

Gov. John Kasich broke from the Republican pack, saying he was open to Obama's plan. MSNBC reporter Kasie Hunt asked each of the governors later what their alternative was...they didn't have any. And the idea of "border security" is a transparent forever stall tactic that needs to exposed by the news networks.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suggested that his party should pursue a lawsuit to block Obama's plans instead of a government shutdown. He described immigration reform as important, but not as important as the economy, taxes, energy and education, and accused Obama of using the issue as a "cynical ploy" to disrupt Republicans from pursuing other agenda items.

"Come out with me on the road and I'll tell you there aren't a whole lot of people talking about immigration reform," Walker said.

Get ready to laugh at Gov. Bobby Jindal's focus group tested "blame Obama" talking point:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal suggested that a government shutdown should be on the table, but put it on Obama's shoulders.

"I don't think the president should shut down the government to try and break the constitution. The reality is this ... I don't think the president should shut down the government simply because he wants to break the law," Jindal charged.

Loved this debate between Bush communication director Nicolle Wallace and Rachel Maddow. Maddow corrects Wallace a number of times when she repeated a few current talking points about Obama and immigration. Still, Wallace thinks the party is all wrong about their resistance, and blames talk radio for misleading the public:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Walker running up projected deficit to $2.2 Billion, but still promises more tax cuts. Thank you "stand with Walker" voters.

With all the irresponsible tax cuts enacted by the Republican legislature, and now lower than expected revenues coming in, Scott Walker's Wisconsin is running deeper and deeper into debt. 

Even if some of the requested spending is eliminated or paired back, the deficit projection is a realistic look at what the state needs to maintain the same quality of life and essential services we had before. What we're seeing in this projected deficit is real world budgeting disproving an already failed ideological fantasy exemplified by the Great Recession. 
The Wisconsin Department of Administration's 2015-17 state fiscal report projects a staggering $2.2 billion deficit. 
Wow, this is just what Republicans wanted. Just ask Rep.Robin Vos:
“The numbers put out today show what it would cost to fund everyone’s wish list. The reality is that’s not going to happen. We will continue to manage the state’s finances by making prudent decisions and doing what’s best for Wisconsin and its taxpayers. We will look to cut government waste and fraud, eliminate duplicative services and set the right priorities for the state.”
The more honest answer?
Senate Democratic Leader-elect Jennifer Shilling: “The slash-and-burn approach to budgeting over the past four years clearly hasn’t worked.” 
A while back Sen. Alberta Darling was asked by a reporter what would happen if the new Republican majorities agenda failed. She answered, and I'm paraphrasing, "Make more spending cuts." Amazing.

Republicans refuse to work under the same rules they set for Democrats.

Republicans continue to work under one set of rules, partisan rules not open to anyone else. This was a nice way to start:

Unlike McConnell's opening "nonpartisan" smack down of Obama following his election win, the rules are different for Republicans like Paul Ryan, who found doesn't like it thrown back their way:

Coincidentally, I just talked to my conservative friend in Milwaukee about the different set of rules parsed out by Republicans, especially on immigration. 

Despite Obama's overwhelming reelection, Republicans for some reason didn't give in to the will of the people they talk so much about on the Affordable Care Act. Funny how that happened huh? But now, even when Obama wasn't on the ticket, the election was all about ObamaCare again. 

What I did learn from our email discussion was none of this amounted to a hill of beans to him. He didn't see the duplicity of his own snake oil selling party. What mattered to him was winning and giving everything away to business, because government doesn't create jobs. How do you break through with that kind of thinking?  

Malkin slips up: "Big Government Control Freaks are always troubled by dissent." The inadvertent truth comes out.

Well, didn't this quickly become very awkward...

...yea, those "big government control freaks" are "troubled by dissent"....

..."troubled by dissent?"...

And we all know how what happened after Selma...passage of the Voting Rights Act. Can't let anything like that happen again.

Gov. John Kasich catches Scott Walker in Lie, schools him on Common Core and Medicaid Expansion.

Ohio Governor John Kasich shut Scott Walker down. 

As it turns out, Kasich is not a dictatorial authoritarian like Scott Walker, Rick Perry or Bobby Jindal, who all looked decidedly fringe with their positions on immigration, Common Core and ObamaCare.  
Kasich was always a very partisan congressman, who later as governor, angered Ohioans with dramatic changes to collective bargaining like Scott Walker. But after reading the following debate and take-down by Kasich of Walker, it's a relief to see at least one adult in the room learned a big lesson from the resulting public protests.

Even better, Kasich caught Scott Walker making things ups again, this time about Bill Clinton's relationship with congress. Oops, Kasich was there, and that kicked off this amazing back-and-forth that's worth reading. Yahoo News
The Republican governor of Ohio John Kasich and Wisconsin Scott Walker were seated onstage at the opening plenary session of the Republican Governors Association annual conference. Call it a dry run for the primary debates. Kasich, a wily 62-year-old former congressman, demonstratively disputed Walker’s retelling of political history.

Walker, the 47-year-old conservative star, was arguing that President Barack Obama is more hostile toward congressional Republicans than President Bill Clinton was during the '90s, teeing up a critique of Obama’s plans to issue an executive order on immigration this week. Walker said, “Clinton did not say the Republicans in Congress aren't going to work with me so I’m going to do an executive order. He sat down with them.”
Here's where Walker got schooled by Kasich, a congressman at the time:
Kasich snapped almost matter-of-factly. “No, he shut the government — the government got shut down first.” And then the two men began to talk over each other.

“There was tremendous animosity,” Kasich said, almost yelling, to remind the younger Walker that he, Kasich, had been there himself as a member of Congress.

“It wasn’t —” Walker tried to get out before Kasich cut him off.

“Scott, it was!” Kasich said. “I’ll tell you, when you’re sitting around and we’ve got Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole at each other over a shutdown, it wasn’t easy either. My only point is, I don’t like what [Obama’s] doing, but what I will say: This is emblematic of where we’re going forward as a country. I mean, are we going to deal with the real problems of health care, the real problem of immigration, the real problem of a divided country? If we had not got the Clinton people to the table to negotiate … we would never have balanced the budget. Nothing gets fixed without some bipartisan support. You can’t do it without bipartisan support.”
Kasich had suckered Walker into a discussion
“You gotta be careful with the rhetoric, because you get too far out on that and people don’t want to deal.” On granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants: “I am not closed to it. You know why? Everybody in this country needs to feel like they have an opportunity.”
On Common Core educational standards: 
“We’re not doing well in the world. If we’re not careful the Googles and PayPals will be invented somewhere else. … I do think we have to have good standards. I don’t see that this is Obamacore. … The idea that kids in Iowa, kids in California, kids in Ohio, there ought to be a higher level of achievement? I’m completely for that. I think it makes sense. … It is purely local control.”

On expanding Medicaid in Ohio
“Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid, OK? Because he said there were people that were left out. We have seen stabilizing of people in our emergency rooms. Do you understand that when people can’t get comprehensive health care they get sicker and end up in the emergency room, and guess who pays for it? We do.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Business likes Walker's Wisconsin, without creating jobs or increasing demand.

Higher business rankings have nothing to do with everyday citizens. It reflects the size and breadth of corporate welfare and deregulation. It’s not exactly “free market” stuff here, since the Walker administration is merely purging the old system and replacing it with regulatory protections...for big business.  
Wisconsin ranks as the 32nd best state for business according to Forbes Magazine … Last year it ranked 41st.
Of course, the ranking has nothing to do with an actual increase in jobs or businesses. It has everything to do with corporate tax cuts, lower wages, irresponsible deregulation, and whatever it is that they call “economic climate.”  
The ranking is based on performance in six categories — business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life … the state ranking 18th in the future growth category. Wisconsin has improved its ranking in the regulatory and economic climate categories.
There’s one category we’re losing ground on fast, quality of life. You’d think with concealed carry and cuts to education we’d be headed in the other direction, but…
Its business costs and labor force rankings remain about the same as in past years. It's quality of life ranking has fallen from the top 10 in several previous years to 17th.

Raw Milk blamed for outbreak that sidelined football team and sickened 38 people. Conservative Talk geniuses stumped.

For nearly a year, conservative talk radio whiners had a tantrum over an attempt to stop the sale of raw milk in the state. It was big government going after the little guy, a farmer with the best intentions and a free market sensibility. Raw milk is safe damn it.

Oops, guess a few of those “stand with Walker” voters in northwestern Wisconsin who believed that lunacy are singing a different tune today. Journal Times:
The ongoing debate over legalizing the sale of raw milk, in this state and other states, got an instructive example on the potential dangers of that path this fall in northwestern Wisconsin. A DHS investigation has confirmed that raw milk was to blame for an outbreak of stomach illnesses that sickened 38 people at a potluck dinner for the Durand High School football team, including about 22 members of the team. With so many football players falling ill, the Durand team had to cancel two football games … some of the players lost so much weight “they looked like skeletons.”
Where are our genius talk show hosts now? Remember, you don’t need much of an education to become one of the media elite on the AM dial.
Advocates of raw milk contend it is delicious and provides health benefits, including protection against asthma and lactose intolerance. They argue, as well that it is a freedom of choice issue and the government should butt out. But the dairy industry and pediatricians have lined up in opposition, and the Durand outbreak will give them a “we told you so” moment.
Back to the unsuspecting public:
Some parents are furious because they were unaware raw milk was being served at the event. Some families reportedly face thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Enemies of the free market; doctors and the government: Heck, what do they know?
Last December, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocated a nationwide ban on the sale of raw milk because of the danger of bacterial illnesses — particularly for pregnant women, infants and children. Legislation to allow raw milk sales in Wisconsin was vetoed in 2010 by Gov. Jim Doyle, but the issue has been revived in the Legislature. We expect it will be on the agenda again. 
That's because Republicans never learn anything from reality, or the pain and suffering of actual people. Free market raw milk is a guaranteed freedom that needs to be protected. Here's a WKOW story from a few months back dealing with the same farmers talk radio hosts were convinced had a legal right to sell their raw milk. Guess not:

Coal Ash poisoning our water? Prove it says DNR.

Isn't it time to put the kibosh on that meddling EPA? Getting rid of it is the GOP’s ultimate goal, a bizarre and blatantly irresponsible goal that seems to make sense to their unquestioning voter base. It starts with getting government out of the way, and ends at hurting the “job creators.” It’s simple to understand wordsmithing that works like the saying abracadabra.

Without serious environmental “job killing” regulations, the following major threaten to our water supply would be the norm. Still, conservative voters don’t seem one bit concerned.

The question has always been; similar to climate change, why don’t we just play it safe, just in case? Throwing caution to the wind...
We Energies said the Oak Creek Power Plant ash could not be definitively tied to higher levels of chemicals like boron and molybdenum in local groundwater.
The least costly solution is to transition away from coal completely, which according to the Walker administration is an attack on that lovable black stocking stuffer, and probably a part of some liberal plot to kill jobs and businesses. We've all seen how bad things are in liberal Madison, one of the best cities in the country in almost every category?:
A new study from a Wisconsin environmental group has found that when the ash from coal-burning power plants is used in places like construction projects, some harmful chemicals can wind up in drinking water. Recently, however, the environmental group Clean Wisconsin issued a report that contends that more than 1 in 5 wells across Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha and Milwaukee counties are contaminated with molybdenum at amounts above the state health advisory level. Clean Wisconsin's Tyson Cook said the problem is that construction firms have used the ash as fill material under roads, schools and other buildings.
We're using coal ash as fill material...oh, why not. Of course, we could move to a strictly private system using bottled water? That might be more expensive than that quarterly bill you get from your municipality, but it does get government off your back and downsizes your late mail delivery.   
Ann Michna’s family, which includes her husband Frank Michna, their children, and pets, all drink bottled water. Frank, who's part of a family that has lived in Caledonia for 160 years, said he blames We Energies coal ash for spoiling his tap water and causing health problems. He said the company should be held accountable. “They tried to cover it up and say, ‘Well we’re doing the right thing now.’ But you didn’t in the past, and you need to pay for that,” he said.
Based on the DNR’s ideologically driven opinion, nothing needs to be done, because so far no one can prove beyond a reasonable doubt we’re poisoning our water. And besides, many metallic poisons occur naturally:

The DNR's Ann Coakley said that more study is possible, but said that she finds fault with Clean Wisconsin's report. “At this time we really do not concur that there is a clear correlation between the elevated molybdenum in groundwater and the beneficial use of bottom ash from coal-fired power plants,” said Coakley. “We also know that there’s evidence that molybdenum is a naturally occurring metal in Wisconsin soil and rock formation. 

Walker offers state office building construction to squeeze donors just before election.

Pay-to-play government is becoming so common place now that it won't be long before no one is even going to notice...that is until Democrats gets back into office.

After several open records requests for the names of the interested developers for a couple of state office buildings, we now know who they are. But who cares, when Wisconsin is coming back: 

WKOW: A Madison developer who donated nearly $10,000 to Gov. Scott Walker's (R-Wisconsin) campaign, after the state put out a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase and redevelop the state's Hill Farms property, is now one of four finalists being considered for the project by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA).
You’ll notice the “bidding” process started just before the elections, when campaign contributions were most needed. Even the losers ended up helping Walker win. Nice con:
The RFP process opened on October 13th, 2014 and on October 24th, Wall donated $9,975 to Friends of Scott Walker, maxing out his donations for the year.  

"What I think is very obvious and smacks of pay to play is the fact that the donation came, the donation of $10,000 to the Walker campaign, came 11 days after the RFP was announced and during prime campaign season," said Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison), who represents the Assembly district in which the Hill Farms property is located.

"There were two other companies that were part of the T. Wall bid, Potter/Lawson and I believe Miron Construction, also gave money during that same period," said Jenni Dye, research director for One Wisconsin Now … the construction and architectural firms tied to Wall's proposal, gave a total of $3,500 to Walker after the RFP period opened.

Rated #1: Liberals coddle lazy Senior’s with handouts, like mass transit, low income housing and civil engagement.

It looks like Paul Ryan was right, these social safety nets are nothing but hammocks for freeloading senior's enjoying the good life while hard working Republicans are expected to pick up the tab for transportation and entertainment.

Waukesha city residents were disappointed yet again, when greed and wealth were oddly missing on the list used to compile the ratings:
WKOW: When it comes to the best cities to live as we grow old Madison is the place to be.

The Milken Institute released their list of best cities to age in, and Madison was #1.

The list was compiled using 8 domains of a living community. They include affordable housing, accessible transportation, and civic engagement. Other Wisconsin cities include the Milwaukee area which came in at #29 on the list.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Net Neutrality is "Very Pro Business," yet GOP Against it?

Columbia University Prof. Tim Wu dispels the common myth pushed by Republicans about net neutrality; destroys innovation/job killer. That's sooooooooo wrong:

With clueless Republican voters standing up for higher cable rates and slower service, not to mention hurting those smaller job creators, it's frustrating to know these guys are in charge now:

But the Wisconsin State Journal's Tom Still does an amazing job making our current neutral internet sound good, yet improvable with...get this, "light touch regulation." Light touch regulations for guns too?

First,Tom Still praises our current net neutral series of tubes:
By any standard, the Internet ranks as one of the leading innovations of our time. It has revolutionized everything from commerce to medicine to entertainment, all within the confines of a generation. Better yet, it has done so largely without government regulation.
Let's get to the focus group approved spin pushed by Scott Walker and Still. Amazing how they now think it turns back the clock:
So, why would President Obama think now is the time to turn back the clock to Depression-era rules written when all telephones were black, hard-wired and hung on a wall?

The following talking point, using Netflix, is easily argued away with this: The guys in pizza shop who came up with idea of YouTube would not have had a chance, since they are what Still calls "lane hogs," like Netflix. 
While the FCC appeared on course for a hybrid rule to charge broadband “hogs” while protecting small users, Obama has proposed to take it to a new – or, more accurately, old – regulatory level. He wants to reclassify ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the 1934 Telecommunications Act, treating the service as a public utility.
Still has this moment of sanity:
“Net neutrality” is one of those buzzwords that inspires populist support, but it’s not as simple as the big guys conspiring to shove mom-and-pop websites into the Internet’s slow lane.

Behind the scenes, it’s also about a small handful of heavy users – the Internet’s so-called “lane hogs” – hoping to avoid paying for the right to dominate available capacity. Video consumes huge amounts of Internet capacity Today, Netflix and similar services are accommodating customers through the Internet – and gobbling up capacity in the process. Netflix pays Comcast, Verizon and AT&T undisclosed fees for a more direct connection to their networks, an arrangement that could become unnecessary if Obama’s recommendation is adopted by the FCC.
Supposedly, this whole net neutrality gimmick is all about saving Netflix a few dollars?
No wonder Netflix is leading the charge for — you guessed it — “net neutrality.”

It has functioned pretty well so far with light-touch regulation and self-policing functions.

Hunting Licenses take Plunge in reaction to DNR's new "simplified" maze of Regulations.

I documented all of this, about "Dr. Deer's" disastrous takeover of our hunting rules and regulations. James Kroll said one of his recommendations was to "simplify regulations," to "put the fun back into deer hunting." Here's the DNR video of him actually saying that, with the caveat that sometime these things take a while...:

Special interest money from the Safari Club International, and the ultimate plan to bring in hunting game farms like Wern Valley, isn't sitting well with sportsmen statewide. The truth is, "small" government Republicans love regulation. And it's not exactly encouraging young hunters to take up the sport:
Wisconsin's gun deer license sales are down about 11,175, lagging behind last year's pace.
Ready for the list of whiny excuses no rough and ready hunter would ever think of giving? Would you believe deep snow?
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp told reporters … the gun deer season that deep snow in northern Wisconsin may be discouraging hunters in that region from getting out this year.
And many hunters are just fine with leaving their rifles at home? Yikes, crossbows anyone?
Hunters may have decided to participate in the state's new crossbow season and forgo the traditional gun season. She also pointed out that many hunters wait until the last few days before the season opens…
…blah blah blah. Stepp wants you to know that the maze of convoluted regulations, licenses and invisible boundaries aren't the real reasons after all.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Shell Game: Scott Walker to give your property tax cut savings onto road builders with new fees and possible new tax.

Funny thing, I wrote the title yesterday before finishing this post, and low and behold today, the Journal Sentinel's James Rowen beat me to it. Knowing when I'm beat, here's what he wrote:
Ah, your $322. Remember all that dough you were getting back in tax savings from Daddy Walker Warbucks? Scott Walker bought a lot of votes for $322, and asked you what you planned on doing with it.

Well, now we know where some of it's going next year.

To higher electric rates, as ordered by his Public Service Commission. And, in one form or another - - higher prices at the gas pump and other 'transportation' taxes or fees - - to the politically-connected, well-oiled road-building-and-trucking machine to widen more highways though driving is on the decline.
Took the words right out of my mouth. Here's the article substantiating our claim. WSJ:
Drivers in Wisconsin would have to pay an additional $751 million in taxes and fees over the next two years if a new transportation budget request is approved.

It came just over a week after Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who touted tax cuts on the campaign trail, won re-election.

Department secretary Mark Gottlieb said
1. Cost increases would include a “highway use fee” for new vehicle purchases, which would amount to $800 on a $32,000 vehicle, he said.
2. Gas taxes would increase by about $27 a year linked in part to wholesale prices of fuel.
3. And the owners of hybrid and electric vehicles would also have to pay an annual $50 fee.
4. The gas tax overhaul and new fees for hybrid and electric cars mirror ideas floated by Walker during a meeting with the State Journal editorial board last month.
The proposal aims to shore up the state’s projected $680 million shortfall in the DOT’s 2015-17 budget. And it would increase the money taken from the general fund from $133 million to nearly $574 million.
Anyone for a constitutional amendment to protect the general fund from the transportation fund?