Monday, November 30, 2015

Walker's corporate foot soldier AG Schimel abandons law for Capitalism

In one of the most partisan and embarrassing opinion pieces, Attorney General Brad Schimel admits in a Journal Sentinel editorial “Why Wisconsin is suing the EPA,” that he’s there to protect business special interests. And he's got a long list of non-legal reasons why he's supporting Scott Walker's lawsuit.

The following list of purely political justification by Schimel to waste taxpayer money on a lawsuit against the EPA is really jaw dropping. Let's start with his killer opening paragraph:
A lump of Coal this Christmas?
JS: As a strong supporter of capitalism and the free market, certainly I don't begrudge former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg his billions of dollars. I do find it ironic, though, that a man who fuels a private jet and heats his penthouse advocates for federal regulation that will significantly raise electricity rates and kill jobs in Wisconsin.
What in gods name does Bloomberg's private jets have to do with coal pollution? Also keep in mind, the PSC has now dramatically raised rates twice, in the last two years, with no Walker administration objections. In fact, Walker whined that electric bills could jump as much as 29% if the EPA rules go into affect. Yet the PSC raised the fixed rate charge for electricity by more the 80% using good old dirty coal.

Schimel's got every GOP talking point down to the letter. Perhaps he thinks if he says it, that must make it legal:
As one of the top manufacturing states in the country, Wisconsin has much to lose if the Obama administration succeeds in its plan to destroy the viability of clean-coal electric generation.

We in Wisconsin have been and continue to be responsible environmental stewards while also protecting jobs. 

Not only will the EPA rule cause the U.S. to lose jobs to countries such as China and India, but the repercussions of the EPA rule actually may result in increased global carbon dioxide emissions. If American manufacturing jobs move to China and India, both of which rely heavily on uncontrolled coal-fired plants, there is a real potential that carbon dioxide emissions, along with emissions that actually do qualify as "pollution" under the Clean Air Act, will increase globally.
One more thing, Democratic AG's suing are doing so by order of their Republican governors, so it isn't really "bipartisan:"
 ...if the coalition of Republican and Democrat state attorneys general do not succeed in their challenge to the EPA's edict. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Republican wants government to take away your Property.

Conservatives are supposed to be big on property rights. Just another myth. 

While law enforcement agencies are taking away peoples property at an alarming rate, whether guilty or innocent, there's a backlash brewing, but not in Wisconsin:
Townhall: Asset forfeiture revenues to law enforcement agencies have skyrocketed since the "tough on crime" 1980s-90's. It's not hard to understand why: legal reforms put in place both at the federal and state level in those years allowed law enforcement agencies themselves to keep the funds from civil asset forfeiture proceeds. This is the process of civil asset forfeiture ... the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks director Jason Pye say that the tide has turned.
"It's a civil liberties issue, it's a due process issue, but first and foremost, it's a property rights issue. This is legal plunder. What they're doing is wrong, and we need to fix this... I've been surprised at how activists have embraced this issue."
The opposite is happening in Wisconsin, thanks to Republican Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, who wants to take your car away over a simple violation. Hmm, try that with guns....
WSJ: Driving without a valid license could result in a vehicle being impounded under a Republican proposal aimed at reducing drunken driving ... Rep. Joe Sanfelippo circulated a bill ... a court could extend the length of time a vehicle is impounded after which the driver would have to pay any fines and impoundment fees. If the vehicle isn’t claimed within 30 days of the release date, it could be disposed of or sold.  

“This bill would help keep dangerous and irresponsible motorists off the road ... There have been numerous occasions where residents have had their licenses either suspended or revoked but continued to drive illegally." 

Molly Gena, a lawyer with Legal Action of Wisconsin, which represents low-income clients, said the majority of Wisconsin’s driver’s license suspensions and revocations result from the inability to pay fines, rather than bad driving. As a result, the bill will “punish poor people and prevent them from getting to work or finding employment. Impounding their vehicles will make it even harder for them to get out of poverty. It will perpetuate the cycle of poverty and unfairly punish people solely for being poor.”
And what about families with just one car and multiple drivers? They can't have a car either? Big government police state Republicans. This reminds me of the time Scott Walker added peoples homes to the Medicaid debt collection list, where any dollar amount you can't pay puts your house on the market. There going after the poor and declining middle class.

Threatened by Lawsuit, Florida Christian group takes control of Mt. Horeb school.

You’ve heard it before; Republican Governors say they want to replace Common Core with a unique statewide educational policy. Local, local, local!!!

Except when they don’t. Are ready for another right wing lie?

What does a supposed Wisconsin "centered" curriculum really looks like under conservative authority rule:
WSJ: A 6-year-old student went to school at Mount Horeb Primary Center with a new public identity. It was her first day introducing herself to classmates as the girl her mother says “she really is.” In an effort to support the student’s transition from male to female, and to help her young classmates understand, the school had planned to read and discuss the book “I Am Jazz,” the true story of Jazz Jennings, a transgender girl who stars in a TLC reality show named after the book.

But the reading didn’t happen after the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based religious conservative organization, threatened to sue the school district for teaching the book and overstepping parental rights.
Florida!!!? This is an early warning shot that can't be ignored. The threat of a simple lawsuit is powerful, and could bankrupt or severely limit local school districts. Think about it, outside groups from anywhere in the country can call the shots. And they can do this over any issue they don't support.

Same goes for Local Transgender Restroom policies: While districts were developing their own plans, with local input, the national right wing opposition to transgender restrooms prompted state Republicans to create a “separate but equal” policy, bestowing second class status to kids seeking support. Do we really want another battle against the supposed "gay agenda?"   

That’s why this is so dangerous. It nurtures fear and distrust in future adults, a core right wing value:
Parent Amy Lyle said that the Primary Center’s initial decision to read the book excited her and her husband because it showed that the schools were looking to shed some light on a subject that is becoming more open in our society. 
“We firmly believe that education and information creates informed and compassionate children who turn into compassionate and respectful adults. It’s our obligation to provide the information. Families can have their own discussions outside the school, but the information should be provided. I don’t know if there is a more important lesson to be taught in our schools (than inclusion).”

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Walker's race tainted cheap shot at untrustworthy President, on Syrian Refugees, still doesn't justify unconstitutional act against Syrian Refugees.

No surprise, Scott Walker has joined the Republican pack of liars using a not so subtle racial attack on President Obama. First, blame him for Paris? He really did:

Walker's recent comments are also dripping with authoritarian assurances of keeping us safe, using words like "certain" and "guarantee," suggesting that only his party provides such protections:
"Our concern is for safety, and we cannot...we don't currently feel certain that this federal administration is doing all that it needs to be done to guarantee that uh, none of these related individuals related to ISIS or other affiliated groups..." 
Walker rationalizes that by breaking federal immigration law, he can actually "guarantee" our safety. Sure, of course our brave leader can. Think we'll ever hear Walker and other Republicans use that excuse over and over again to get strip the Constitution of any meaning? Welcome to authoritarian rule: WISC:

WSJ: Gov. Scott Walker defended his plan to not welcome Syrian refugees into Wisconsin, saying the Obama administration’s handling of the Paris terrorist attacks shows it can’t be trusted to ensure the refugees are not a threat on U.S. soil.

Walker blasted President Barack Obama’s administration for what he characterized as an intelligence failure in the lead-up to the Paris attacks earlier this month, which left 130 dead.

“The president himself said ISIS was contained and hours later, there was an attack on Paris. How did they not know about that? What kind of intelligence do we have that doesn’t allow the president of the United States to know that there’s a threat on a major global city like Paris?"
Walker Unconstitutional and Lawless: Maybe as a felon, Walker will be bumped from office:
The ACLU of Indiana has sued that state’s governor, Republican Mike Pence, for taking similar action ... similar lawsuits to be filed against some of those states. In a lawsuit filed in federal court on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration, the ACLU claimed that Pence’s decision to bar Syrian refugees violated the Constitution, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the federal government’s exclusive authority over immigration. Judy Rabinovitz, deputy legal director of the ACLU’s immigrants’ rights project said in a news release, “He does not have the power to pick and choose between which lawfully admitted refugees he is willing to accept. Singling out Syrian refugees for exclusion from Indiana is not only ethically wrong, it is unconstitutional. Period.”

Obama lashed out saying he “cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate.”

Republicans ignore, avoid releasing positions on Planned Parenthood shooting.

So is it a coincidence some guy with a firearm randomly picking a Planned Parenthood clinic to shoot at the police and kill three people? Pro-lifers would never think to kill anyone. That’s the kind of blameless “reality” right wing true believers live in since the "radicalization."

And even if the clinic was the gunman’s target, it had nothing to do with past PP doctors murders, threats, or all the comparisons to Nazi concentration camp experiments. The going excuse now for all mass shootings; mental illness! So move along, nothing to see here. And yet, reports say the Colorado Springs shooter wasn't affiliated with any party, to the relief of conservatives everywhere, adding this:  
The suspect in the attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic made a comment about "no more baby parts" after his arrest. A loner from North Carolina who liked to spend time in his mountain cabin … people can make "inferences from where it took place" … "If you talked to him, nothing with him was very cognitive - topics all over place.” ... his voter registration Robert Lewis Dear identifies as a woman.
Ignore the problem: Scott Walker was one of the first politicians who came right out and said it was bad it was to talk about the countries problems. Instead, Walker wanted us to be dreamily talking up the positives. So the GOP's silence of the shooting should come as no surprise:
Walker: "One, I think in general if anyone focuses on racial discord we’re going to get more. If we focus on unity we’re going to get more of that ... if we focus on things that unite us, ways to share the American dream."
Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger had the conflict avoidance routine down, even vilifying and asking the CEO of Planned Parenthood to apologize for suggesting her clinic was the target. Strange too, since she never really said that. Kinzinger even deceptively brought up the discredited PP body parts video to appeal to the base instincts in his party:

While the shooter was active inside the Planned Parenthood clinic, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) went on live TV and blasted the organization. “We saw these barbaric videos, and that was something that many of us have a legitimate concern about,” Kinzinger said. 

Kinzinger is known for his incendiary rhetoric about Planned Parenthood. “I mean it’s Nazi Germany. You think of the doctors in the concentration camps experimenting on their victims. It’s kind of reminiscent of that,” he said of Planned Parenthood earlier this year.” Kinzinger also criticized a statement from Planned Parenthood about the incident as “very premature.” He said that, if it was later discovered the shooter was not targeting Planned Parenthood he would “fully expect an apology.” 

Friday evening (same night), Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains CEO Vicki Cowart said, “We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack,” the statement read. “We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Panicky GOP Hunters want to give kids guns to keep tradition alive....worst reason ever.

So, 40 other states allow kids of any age to carry and fire guns. Well, then, let’s jump off the cliff with them. It doesn’t just seem like a bad idea, it is a bad idea based on the irrational fear we’re losing too many young future hunters to…what, supermarkets.
WPR: Under the measure sponsored by Rep. Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, children under 10 years old would be able to hunt next year … (which he) said studies show lifting the current age requirement for mentored hunting won't lead to more hunting accidents … it's needed to keep the state's hunting tradition alive. The number of new hunters taking up the sport has been declining in recent years.
Opposite day every day in Republican World: Here’s another fine example that “makes sense:”
Kleefisch said it makes sense to remove the age limit to encourage families to get children excited about becoming hunters early in life.
Then there are the adults in the state who I hope someday will in charge again before it's too late, if it isn't already:
The bill faces opposition from some hunting instructors who say the current age restriction is similar to those for voting, driving and drinking and should not be changed … said hunting instructor Paul Piencikowski of Waupaca: 
"Kids are always welcome to go with their parents without hunting. There is an age of passage … whether we attach it to driving, whether we attach it to voting, whether we attach it to drinking. Why would we want to eliminate that from the aspect of hunting that children can actually look forward to?"

Armed Republican protesters shred 1st Amendment religious rights for Muslim's to push Christian Fascist nation.

The Republican exploitation of the terrorist attacks in France, by candidates desperate to win the White House, does come with consequences. Check out the twitter picture below in Irving, Texas.

This is happening now; gun toting thugs following and intimidating Muslims Americans exercising their First Amendment right. What, in a Christian nation like ours?

Chris Hayes took a closer look at the supposed "Islamization of America," where the leader of the armed protests posted the names and addresses of Muslim's in Irving on Facebook. Irving's wack-a-doodle Mayor Beth Van Duyne has falsely stated the mosque there established the countries first Islamic court to practice Sharia law. That won't radicalize the targets of fear mongering Republicans:

While I've been trying to make the case that Republican are fascists, every conservative troller I've encountered were convinced that it's really just the other way around...

...but as is always the case, when a Republican is making the same case as I am, suddenly everybody starts listening. Here's an incredibly effective ad that should have been produced by a Democrat...instead, it's Gov. John Kasich making my case:

Trump might be shocked to know this:
Smithsonian: The Statue of Liberty was originally designed to be a Muslim woman, the Smithsonian Institution's magazine says. An article on the government-administered museum’s blog, Smart News, claims one of the designers of Lady Liberty drew inspiration from monuments in Egypt and originally intended to construct a veiled female peasant on the Suez Canal. The article cites historian Barry Moreno, author of multiple books about the statue, whose Islamic origins were also reported last week by The Daily Beast.
Howard Dean let loose on Republican fear mongers and fascist. Great stuff and should a part of every Democratic interview with the media:

During the interview below, Chris Hayes received this early Christmas gift from tea party favorite Rep. Steve King, who blathered on about requiring Muslim immigrants to deny their religion in order to stay in this country. King even claims Muslim's don't assimilate well in our Christian nation because they bring with them Sharia Law, which is incompatible to Americanism:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rubio to turn attacks on ISIS into YouTube videos, you know, real presidential like.

A reality show where we blast ISIS targets and then play it back for the rest of the world see? Who will host this brutal show? Marco Rubio probably:  
Yesterday in Iowa, per NBC News, the junior senator from Florida said:
“I believe we should be carrying out attacks against Sunni leadership nodes, videotaping the whole thing and putting it up on Youtube [sic] so that the world can see these people are not invincible. I want the world to see how these ISIS leaders cry like babies when they’re captured. I want the world to see how these ISIS leaders, once captured, begin to sing like canaries if they survive.”
Rubio says it’s time to give ISIS a dose of its own medicine.

Not just Insurers: Drug Price Hikes will kill you and U.S. health care system too.

While we're watching the insurance base health care system crumble, the countries pharmaceutical industry might just strike the final blow, pricing almost everyone out.

Insurance Ripoff: The Democrats and Obama administration still aren't making the above argument against insurance and big pharma. The fact that insurers can't make high enough profits and meet investor expectations on the exchanges isn't ObamaCare's fault, it's the private insurance industry model. Reminder; insurers aren't doctors or hospitals; and they don't provide consumers with extra freedoms when they're locked into their own provider networks.

Drug Company Ripoff: Here's the jaw dropping latest from an industry that mimics some of the ravaging diseases it treats.

A new study just found that:
Derma-Smoothe oil is a topical treatment for eczema that cost $46 in 2009. This year, its $323. Retin-A Micro, an acne skin treatment, cost $178 in 2009. This year, it’s $915.

Cara cream, which is used to treat wartlike, precancerous growths as well superficial, basal-cell skin cancer … jumped from $159 in 2009 to $2,865 this year.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a Canadian-based company that is known for buying the rights to drugs and raising their prices, (is raising its) acne drug, Retin-A Micro 413% … Targretin gel, used to treat a type of cancer in the skin known as cutaneous T-cell lymphoma was the most expensive drug on the list, rising in price from $1,687 in 2009 to $30,320 this year.

"This is really a phenomenon that is pervasive throughout the entire pharmaceutical industry," said lead author Miranda Rosenberg. "It has the potential to bankrupt our system."
The study comes at the same time this just broke:

Martin Shkreli, the face of pharmaceutical greed!!!
Turing Pharmaceuticals AG will not will not change its decision to raise the price of a decades-old drug, Daraprim, by more than 5,000 percent, backing out of previous statements that it would cut the cost by the end of the year … which jumped from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill earlier this year. 
Getting back to the new study.... 
The research comes amid growing concern and government inquiries about dramatic increases in prescription drug prices in general. Michael Carome, a physician and director of the Health Research Group of the watchdog organization, Public Citizen said the price increases are not due to inflation or higher priced ingredients. "It's because companies can jack up their prices and patients are held hostage," he said. Public Citizen issued a report on what it said were needlessly high Medicare Part D brand name drug prices. It blamed the prices on congressional restrictions on the government's ability to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry.
Remember, government cannot use its citizen backed bulk buying power to lower prices, like other countries do. It's the purist form of ideological conservatism, and really bad economics.  
(According to the study), many of the drugs on the list with the biggest price increases have been on the market for 10 years or more.
Prescription drugs just cost more in the U.S. than in other countries where they can be purchased for a fraction of the price.
Drug-makers can get extensions on their patents, allowing them to keep out generic competitors.
Medicare cannot legally negotiate lower drug prices, unlike governments in other countries.
Mergers in the pharmaceutical industry have allowed some companies to corner the market on products.

70% of Arcadia voters send Right Wing Frac Sand Mayor Kimmel packing, take community back.

It was almost impossible to know from media stories what really happened after local Arcadia Wisconsin voters successfully recalled their 10 year sitting mayor. I had to read through a half dozen stories to piece together the evidence. Suffice it to say, Mayor John Kimmel was a dictatorial right wing loon.
The recall process was filed by Duane Matelski, who claims Kimmel limits input from the public and experts who do not support his positions.

In response, Kimmel has said the recall effort is a fraud, and those behind it have a personal vendetta against him.
Yup, another Republican "victim," unable to accept responsibility for his own actions.  

His ouster may not indicate a trend, but in your typical rural frac sand mining community, residents may have had enough of the corporate free-for-all to plunder their local environment, risk their health, and reduce property values.

When you look at Mayor Kimmel’s lopsided loss, it’s clear this guy wasn't just in his own clueless world, but had it coming.
Longtime Arcadia Mayor John Kimmel was ousted Tuesday in a special election triggered by frac sand complaints, but driven by ongoing discontent in the city over Kimmel's tenure. Rob Reichwein, a Trempealeau County supervisor, won with almost 70 percent of the votes. 

The petitioners against Kimmel … expressed concern that Kimmel didn’t allow enough input at public meetings, didn’t work closely with residents about various concerns regarding frac sand and other issues, and wasn’t a responsible steward of the city’s resources.
Right wing Authoritarian Record: In our now deep red state, Kimmel assumed he could do anything. Residents were unimpressed.

Back in September 2011, Kimmel was suspected, but cleared of misusing Arcadia funds for a trip to D.C. to attend a rally for the American Public Power Association, a supposed non-partisan group opposed to “the proposed emissions guidelines for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants.” Add to that the following...
In 2006 Kimmel had proposed four ordinances: 
1. alerting federal agents to complaints of undocumented workers; 

2. making English the official language of Arcadia; 

3. forbidding any other nation's flag from display without an American flag alongside; 

4. and ensuring that all signs and city documents be printed only in English.
 No surprise, he backed away from his wacky right wing proposals after a public backlash...again.  

Need another reason to have a statewide Democratic campaign to replace our "wrong direction" Republicans? 

Monday, November 23, 2015

GOP Turkeys hate Obama Pardons on Thanksgiving.

I'll let Public Policy Polling stuff these Republican turkeys with own bitter tasting Obama-derangement syndrome: 
The examples of the GOP's reflexive opposition to President Obama's agenda are many
but this may be the best one yet: by a 27 point margin Republicans say they disapprove of the President's executive order last year pardoning two Thanksgiving turkeys (Macaroni and Cheese) instead of the customary one. 

Only 11% of Republicans support the President's executive order last year to 38% who are opposed- that's a pretty clear sign that if you put Obama's name on something GOP voters are going to oppose it pretty much no matter what. Overall there's 35/22 support for the pardon of Macaroni and Cheese thanks to 59/11 support from Democrats and 28/21 from independents.

Carson's take on Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers has roots in Comedic History....

I suppose there is a chance in some dystopic future Bill O'Reily's books on history will be the only source we have left to cling to, and be taken as fact.

But seriously, it's Ben Carson's historically inaccurate comments that I found funny, and reminiscent of a Bob & Ray bit from the mid-60's.

In an interview with C-SPAN, Carson was asked about his book, "A More Perfect Union." Here's our sleepy eyed, near comatose candidate Carson:

Carson Inaccurately Credits Thomas Jefferson with Writing Constitution: But in reality, the founding father was the lead author of the Declaration of Independence. Carson erroneously said the founding fathers had "no elected office experience."
"I’m impressed by a lot of them, but particularly impressed with Thomas Jefferson, who seemed to have very deep insight into the way that people would react. And he tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.”
Carson's response reminded me of this great bit from Bob & Ray, about another historical author:

Republicans exploit Syrian Refugees to win Presidential Election!

Disappointingly, Democrats were willing accomplices to GOP efforts to spread stupidity and fear about Syrian refugees. Our own Rep. Ron Kind jumped on board the “stupid” bandwagon. See the list of gutless Democrats here.

It’s hard to imagine anyone getting behind the following compilation of reckless uninformed fear laced rants, but they did, marking another very dark moment in U.S. history. I put together all the clips I could find in just a couple of hours, so there's still a whole lot more I missed. Will we look back on all this with utter disgust? This is what the Republican Party is using to divide the public in order to win a presidential election. It's eleven minutes of mostly hate and a few moments of honesty:

The claims that the screening process isn't rigorous enough is total BS, as you can see that by the screen capture here:

Consider this journey into the manufactured fear of Syrian refugee terrorists getting something for nothing:
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) suggested that Syrian refugees are just trying to come to the United States for a "paid vacation" ... "We’re paying them about $15,000 a year in free health care, free food, free shelter, free clothing, free transportation," according to audio posted by ThinkProgress. "That answers very quickly why so many of them want to come to the United States of America. Were paying them to come here. It's a paid vacation!"
Speaker Paul Ryan constructed this Orwellian take on the refugees, after constructing what would be an indefinite road block to Syrian immigration: "Certified safe by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence." Of course it's never going to happen, and yet...
 "We are a compassionate nation. We always have been, and we always will be."
You would think Ryan had access to the chart below, or have some working knowledge of it after cooking up his impossible test for Syrian refugees trying to come to the U.S.:

The only person that could cut through the GOP rhetoric? Comedian John Oliver picked up where our news media dropped off the face of the earth:

“Every generation has had its own ugly reaction to refugees, whether they are the Irish, the Vietnamese, the Cubans, or the Haitians, and those fears have ben broadly unfounded. In fact, there was only one time in American history when the fear of refugees wiping everyone out did actually come true, and we’ll all be sitting around a table celebrating it on Thursday.”
And religious freedom? It apparently has more to do with contraception and gay marriage than it does letting Muslims freely exercise their religion beliefs:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Republicans to allow babies and kids of any age to carry a gun hunting with their "responsible" mentors.

Parents were always quick to remind their kids, "just because you can doesn't mean you should."

Those days are gone with our defiant juvenile playground bullies in charge of state. That advice was apparently a parental wrong they're now determined to make right. They're in charge, and no ones around now to take away their toys...guns.

Okay, I'm gonna say it again just for grins...this time I think, even conservative voters will have had enough? I can dream:
Mentored huntingSenate Bill 301 would eliminate the minimum age for hunters in the state's mentored hunting program. It would also allow multiple weapons to be used during a mentored hunt, effectively allowing the mentor to hunt alongside the novice.

Current law requires mentored hunters to be at least 10 years old and allows only one weapon be used.
Yes, the adults in the state are of course stunned by this unexpected irrationality: 
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation issued the first official reaction to the bill. It is strongly in opposition, said Ralph Fritsch, a WWF member from Townsend.  "The program was designed well and has been very safe with the 10 age limit and only one weapon," Fritsch said. "There is no need to change it, and possibly a big risk if you do. We feel it is irresponsible." The WWF board of directors voted unanimously. 

Republican take aim at tradition, and Deer Hunting Customers at Taverns & Gas Stations, telling them to register deer online.

The memories of hanging out at the tavern with my dad, who made the rounds swapping stories about the ones that got away, are fading away now. And unfortunately, the next generation won't even know what they're missing as they register their deer kill online.  

I suppose technology marches on, but our job creating Republicans didn't hesitate to plow ahead anyway and do away with the already small amount of business taverns and gas stations have in the winter months during the hunting season. Real job creators...
Hunters can register deer by phone, but not everyone pleased: For the first time, Wisconsin’s 600,000 deer hunters can register their deer by phone and Internet. The new system has some tavern and gas station owners concerned about lost business.

The new registration system has been in place for archery and bear season this fall. Cook, the owner of Uncle Mike's, noticed the change right away."Business is way down. You just don't have the influx of hunters," said Cook.

Al Bock, owner of the Cabin Bar & Grill in Coloma, said his tavern was always busy during the gun-deer season, but when it became a registration station five years ago, business doubled.
He can kiss that business goodbye. And like everything else Republican legislators and Walker appointees don't give a rats ass about, they've got their know-it-all response:
The DNR sees it differently. 
Now shut up, they won.

Yes, Republicans want to sell arms Terrorists in US!!!

When you summarize a failure like banning the sale of guns to terrorists, you can see just how radical Republicans have become, and mindlessly beholden to the wacky NRA. 
Democrats are renewing calls for Congress to pass legislation aimed at preventing terrorists from buying guns. Similar bills — including a post-9/11 measure backed by the Justice Department under Republican President George W. Bush — have been stymied for years, thanks in large part to opposition from gun-rights groups and congressional Republicans.
Yes, our frightened party of armed panicky paranoids have been arming terrorists for years and no one knew, especially those brainy tea party dunces.
According to a March analysis by the Government Accountability Office, people on the FBI's consolidated Terrorist Watchlist successfully passed the background check required to purchase firearms more than 90 percent of the time, with more than 2,043 approvals between 2004 and 2014. The office is an investigative branch of Congress.
I guess it fits into the current narrative, that any gun law is worthless, since terrorists and criminals will find a way to get fire arms anyway. So what's the use?

Seriously, this new bill fine tunes the ban on gun sales to terrorists, and it's still expected to fail to get the votes in the Republican Senate and House:
The new Democratic push would let the attorney general compile a list of known and suspected terrorists. Federally licensed gun dealers would be barred from selling firearms to them if government officials believed they might use the weapon for terrorism.
Again, inept Republicans want to reassess and discuss it, you know, talk about it for awhile, until we forget about it completely. Now that's governing with courage and leadership:
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., did not respond directly when asked Thursday if he favored barring people on the watch list from buying guns, saying, "We are just beginning this process of reassessing all of our security stances."
The fact that the new Democratic proposal is a fined tune list of suspected terrorist, and not just those many people on the "watch list," the NRA wants to misdirect and anger members by accusing the Dems of exploiting the Paris attacks:
The National Rifle Association signaled this week it will oppose Feinstein's bill, as it did those before it … "It is appalling that anti-gun politicians are exploiting the Paris terrorist attacks to push their gun-control agenda and distract from President Obama's failed foreign policy." 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Quick to Kill the GAB, Republicans wait till next June to roll out new elections agency.

After Republicans hastily completed their extraordinary session with rapid fire destruction of election oversight and campaign finance laws, they've oddly decided to roll out the new elections agency at the latest possible date; June 2016, 5 months before the election.

The board of former judges losing their jobs at the GAB asked Scott Walker to fire them early, so the new setup had some time to get the process right:
Tasking a new agency with elections oversight months before the 2016 election could lead to headaches for voters, according to the director of the state's elections and ethics agency -- on track to be dismantled by a bill lawmakers passed this week. 

In a newly released memo to Walker, the GAB’s Kevin Kennedy urged Walker to veto the measure. One of the reasons Kennedy gives is that, under the bill, the new elections commission would take effect June 30. The upcoming general election is Nov. 8. It is a presidential election year -- those elections typically attract the most turnout -- and likely to be the first in which the state's voter ID requirement is enforced on a mass scale.

Kennedy writes that the timing "will create significant administrative problems for the conduct of elections in the upcoming presidential election year. The effective date of this bill – roughly five months prior to a major federal/state election – is irresponsible, if not reckless, and could have major impacts on voters across the State of Wisconsin," Kennedy tells Walker in the memo.
Reminds me of the Democratic warnings about WEDC, and we know what happened there. Oh, I forgot, they were just being partisan. 

And since “irresponsible” is their middle name, and Republicans have set the bar so low, their voters won’t find the following comment remotely shocking:

"I think it's a good time to do it," the bill's Assembly sponsor, Rep. Dean Knudson, said last month. 
Of course he does.

Kentuckians against gay marriage & abortion now realize...they voted against their own health insurance?

The liberal rational side of the issues have always had a hard time understanding Republicans who vote against their own best interest. We now have a glimpse into why. It all starts with “taking their country back” from the “Democrat” terrorists, who must be purged from the political process. Feeling cornered, conservative have no other choice than to vote Republican:  
The 66 percent of Owsley County that gets health coverage through Medicaid now must reconcile itself with the 70 percent that voted for Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin, who pledged to cut the state's Medicaid program and close the state-run Kynect health insurance exchange.
Crazy yes, but there's a reason behind the apparent madness:

Read more here:
Kentucky voters create ‘a big problem’ for themselves: We talked last week about a middle-aged Kentucky man who relies heavily on Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, but nevertheless voted for Gov.-elect Matt Bevin (R), who ran on a platform of destroying Medicaid expansion. “[I]t doesn’t look to me as if [Bevin] understands,” the man said, struggling with the consequences of his own vote. It’s a problem that apparently didn’t occur to him until after he backed the far-right candidate.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported today on Owsley County, Kentucky, where most local residents receive health coverage through Medicaid, but where most local residents also voted for the anti-Medicaid candidate.

Lisa Botner, 36, belongs to both camps. Botner, a community college student, said “Just with the blood tests, you’re talking maybe $1,000 a year without insurance.” So why in the world would she support Bevin and vote to undermine her own interests? “I’m just a die-hard Republican,” the woman said.

The Herald-Leader article quoted a political scientist who crunched the numbers and found that the Kentucky counties most reliant on Medicaid expansion were also the most likely to vote for the candidate who vowed to tear down Medicaid expansion.
The following nails it:
Owsley County Judge-Executive Cale Turner responded, “To be honest with you, a lot of folks in Owsley County went to the polls and voted against gay marriage and abortion, and as a result, I’m afraid they voted away their health insurance.”
Conservative media had a big hand in it as well:
The community's largest-circulation newspaper, the Three Forks Tradition in Beattyville, did not say much about Kynect ahead of the election. Instead, its editorials roasted Obama and Hillary Clinton, gay marriage, Islam, "liberal race peddlers," "liberal media," black criminals and "the radical Black Lives Matter movement." "The people I talk to, health care wasn't even mentioned," said Gary Cornett, chairman of the Owsley County Republican Party.
When we saw the signs, "Keep government out of Medicaid," Republicans saw an exploitable hole you could drive a Mack truck through:
Transylvania University, political scientist Andrea Malji said she heard people back home denounce "Obamacare" while thousands rushed to sign up with Kynect. They didn't seem to realize that Kynect is the same thing as Obamacare.".
Medicaid and the survival of Rural Hospitals: This is a national problem:
In Alabama, where about a month ago, Gov. Robert Bentley (R) acknowledged something unexpected: he’s starting to see the benefits of Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act. The Republican governor conceded that Alabama has been “realistic” and consider the future of rural hospitals. Georgia, which has struggled with rural hospitals closing because state Republicans refuse to consider Medicaid expansion, saw another facility announce last week it will permanently close in December – the “fifth rural Georgia hospital to shut its doors since 2013.” 

Walker's WEDC Disaster Continues.....

WEDC Probably Breaking Law: Here's a quick note on their latest possible illegal activity:
Since 2009, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the Commerce Department have awarded $101.7 million in jobs tax credits, but only had the statutory authority to award $80.4 million over that period, according to a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
It appears WEDC is spending money in advance, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, funds that would normally have been allocated to future legislatures and governors.
Department of Administration disagrees, saying the allocations were allowed because they were awarded in WEDC contracts and will be claimed in future years. Under that interpretation, WEDC could sign new tax credit contracts totaling $220 million in 2017 stretched out over 10 years, effectively binding future Legislatures and governors to honor those contracts, according to Bob Lang, director of the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau ... his analysis was based on consultation with several legislative lawyers. “They believe that it is unlikely that DOA’s interpretation would be upheld,” Lang wrote.
Wouldn't you know, the governors panting lapdog AG Brad Schimel will be right there defending Walker's latest con:
The Department of Justice plans to issue an informal legal opinion supporting the DOA analysis. A spokesman for Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, who is also on the WEDC board, said he’s not certain there is a problem that needs to be resolved given the DOA and DOJ interpretation.
Everything is going as planned. 

Walker's losses mounting up, Tyson Foods in Jefferson is leaving too, shedding 400 workers.

Wisconsin's new business climate, graded tops by corporate CEO's everywhere, is killing the state. 
The Tyson Foods plant in Jefferson will be shutting down next year. roughly 400 workers all expected to be laid off by October 2016 ... the plant in Jefferson has been in operation for roughly 100 years
Here's WKOW's coverage:

Adding insult to injury, congress just made cuts to the National guard, impacting a few local communities:
The Wisconsin National Guard will be shutting down units in Chippewa Falls and Hayward by 2017 as part of a national reduction … calls for eliminating 36 full-time positions and 274 traditional Guard positions in the state by 2017, trimming the state’s Guard by about 3.6 percent.
Add to that Scott Walker's magical jobs and business creation machine, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, where it continues to do everything wrong:
AP: Johnson Controls Inc. plans to cut 277 jobs when it consolidates an office in Glendale ... 114 workers will lose their jobs in late January. Another 163 will lose their jobs between February and the end of June ... The center is one of four the company operates around the world. The others will remain in operation and are located in China, Mexico and Slovakia.

While all this was happening, Scott Walker got a brand new job,  a reward for what he's done in Wisconsin:
Gov. Scott Walker is the new Vice Chair of the Republican Governors Association (RGA). “The record Governor Scott Walker has established in Wisconsin is enormously impressive," outgoing RGA Chairman Gov. Bill Haslam said in a statement. 
Impressive only if failure was the best thing you were good at. What in gods name is going on?
The Oscar Mayer plant closure in Madison and the loss of over 1000 good jobs. 

Nearly 500 Enbridge Energy workers in Canada and the United States were laid off, including employees in the Superior area. MetalTek International, in Waukesha cut 13% of its workforce last week ... 60 employees.

In October, Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson announced it would cut 250 salaried positions. In September, General Electric sliced 350 jobs in Waukesha. HyPro of Whitewater is laying off 62. In Janesville, Data Dimensions cut 120 workers and Grainger laid off 20.
According to Citizen Action:
Wisconsin will have lost more than 10,000 jobs in mass layoffs by the end of the year. There are no easy solutions to fix Wisconsin's economic woes. However, it is clear what we are doing is not working and we must change paths.

WEDC, Governor Walker’s discredited jobs agency, mistakenly assumes that giving aid to well-connected corporations will trickle down to workers. Wisconsin’s declining economic vitality is rooted in the failure of our political and business leaders to develop a serious strategy for expanding economic opportunity.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

ObamaCare threatened by Wall Street and low Insurer Profits!!!

This story is not what the media would have you believe.

Say it with me: "Insurance isn't health care!"

My conservative friend in Milwaukee called me and said, "See, ObamaCare is failing." 

It's a common mistake. He's conflating UnitedHealth - an insurance company, on Wall Street, answering to investors - with the real providers of health care; doctors or hospitals.  

UnitedHealth only covers about 500,000 people in the Health Care Exchanges, so they're not a big player, but the spin on this deceptive and ghoulish. 

UnitedHealth may leave the exchanges because they can't make the kind of profit their investors want. That's what Wall Street is all about:
If an insurer sets premiums that are too low or attracts customers that are too sick, it can suffer losses. That can be a particular risk in new markets ... If one of the largest and presumably, by reputation and experience, the most sophisticated of the health plans out there can’t make money on the exchanges, then one has to question whether the exchange as an institution is a viable enterprise,” Skolnick said.
Jaw dropping? We're not talking about health care, we're talking about insurance companies being profitable on the stock exchange. Like many of the bigger more well known insurers, they probably overpriced their policies, and didn't get the kind of business they were counting on.
While UnitedHealth has been slower than some of its rivals to sell Obamacare policies, the announcement may indicate that other insurers are struggling, said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst at Mizuho Securities.
The point is, health care might collapse due to lower than expected profits for shareholders on Wall Street, not because people needed a doctor or hospital. Profits!!! Insurance is a care isn't:
“The company is evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment..."
While UnitedHealth gets its doom and gloom day in the headlines, other big insurers are saying just the opposite, seeing money in their future:
“It’s way too early to call it quits on the ACA and on the exchanges,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said on an Oct. 29 conference call. “We view it still as a big opportunity for the company.”
Just watch the clip from Bloomberg News, and you'll see how profits take president over keeping people healthy. You'll be especially disappointed to know you won't see the promotional material, and damn it, none of those wonderfully high commissions for the sales people:
Bloomberg guest: "They have stopped putting promotional material behind their plans they're selling this year. They're not going to be paying high commissions to the people they have selling these plans on the markets..."

This isn't health care, it's insurance!!! The following is even better, suggesting an eventual single payer system, and the absurdity of "choosing" the amount of coverage to save money:

My conservative friend tipped me off to the above clips. Despite having watched them, he never notice the profit motive.

Ben Carson will change the way we see the country...literally.

I don't know what conservative voters are thinking, if they're thinking, when they blather on about Ben Carson. 

Case in point, this amazing campaign moment (yes, another one): 
Happy Geography Awareness Week! Ben Carson's presidential campaign inadvertently underscored this point Tuesday night, when it took to social media to share a map of the United States in which five New England states were placed in the wrong location. 

As you can see, in Carson's map the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are moved northeast by about 150 miles or so. Vermont and New York now have hundreds of miles of new beachfront property. Massachusetts shares a border with Canada. Maine straddles what is now the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Also, if you look closely at the mid-Atlantic area, you'll see that Virginia's portion of the Delmarva Peninsula is colored red to match Maryland, rather than gray with the rest of Virginia.

Walker's PSC hiking Energy Bills again, while he sues EPA for possible hikes in energy bills?

UPDATE- Saturday: The rate increase was reduced, and that's a good thing. 
Rates for customers of a Green Bay electric utility are on track to drop in 2016, but the customer fixed charge will rise by $2 a month ... Customers of Wisconsin Public Service Corp. will pay a fixed charge of $21 a month next year, after the state Public Service Commission trimmed the utility's request to raise the fixed charge to $25. The utility had raised the fixed charge by more than 80% in January, to $19 a month from $10.40 a month.
That's still an increase. But something else was encouraging, probably due to the fact Wisconsin is getting national attention as an outlier in discouraging green energy:
While approving the smaller increase, commissioners also authorized a study looking at the impact of fixed charge increases on customers. On the fixed charge issue, commissioners Phil Montgomery and Michael Huebsch initially sought to keep it unchanged, with commission Chair Ellen Nowak advocating a $21 charge. Montgomery said it was time for the PSC to review the impact of the fixed charges. He and Huebsch agreed to the increase in the charge to $21 as long as the commission agreed to a review.
But rates were lowered because the utility, unfortunately, saved money cutting 182 jobs in the Green Bay area:
Savings were found primarily thanks to the low price of natural gas burned in utility power plants, The commission trimmed $11.3 million in expenses in light of recent job cuts in Green Bay announced by the utility's parent company. WEC Energy said this month that it eliminated 2% of its workforce, with cuts taking place at its operating headquarters in Green Bay, Milwaukee and Chicago. 
Below is the original story: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The scary thing about conservative voters is that they never seem to get confused over confusing GOP policies. Maybe that's the disconnect between our two ideologies. Yet some of this stuff is ridiculously obvious.

An Energy Rate Hike vs An Energy Rate Hike...huh? Scott Walker and his AG lapdog Brad Schimel (oh boy did we see that coming), said they're suing the Obama administration over the new carbon emission rules because consumers would be hit hard by rate increases. jsonline:

The states say the rules will heap higher costs on consumers and business … require new plants to use expensive and unproven technology, said Schimel, a Republican.
Walker: "The Obama administration ignored the concerns submitted by Wisconsin ... instead pursuing a political agenda that will increase costs and prevent the construction of future power plants producing reliable, affordable electricity for our state."

No Really, Walker doesn't care about Increased Energy Costs: It's hard to watch Walker's manic support for one dying industry (coal), and support for reviving a depleted, stagnant automated industry (manufacturing). But wasting taxpayer money suing the government in the name of keeping consumer energy price down isn't just foolish, it's also a Walker lie.

Walker, not Obama, is about to increase energy costs again on Wisconsinites when his own GOP dominated PSC, approves a rate hike just last year. What, no complaining or lawsuits?
A year after receiving an 83% increase in the fixed customer charge on monthly electric bills, Wisconsin Public Service Corp. is seeking another increase in that fee — this time by an additional 32%. 

Wisconsin has become an outlier on fixed charges based on what utility regulators have approved around the country. A review of decisions in other states by Renew Wisconsin found that 35 utilities proposed to increase their fixed charges ... Of those, 14 utilities were required to keep the charges unchanged, while 18 were allowed increases between 1 cent and $4.30 a month. The biggest increases were the three in Wisconsin, ranging from $6.83 to $8.71. "Only in Wisconsin have large increases been granted," said Tyler Huebner, executive director of Renew Wisconsin, a renewable energy advocacy group.
So cry me a river Scott Walker and Brad Schimel, about rate hikes under the new EPA standards.  

Walker stacked the Public Service Commission deck so they could stuff the fossil fuel energy industry pockets with money:
The current chair is Ellen Nowak ... was the chief of staff to Waukesha County Executive … the legal counsel to the Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly … deputy director of School Choice Wisconsin … practiced business litigation at Mallery & Zimmerman, SC in Milwaukee.

Nowak serves alongside Michael Huebsch (R)(16 years in the state legislature, four years as Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary) and Phil Montgomery  (previously served six terms as a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Assembly). 
Keeping Seniors in their Homes? More BS: Walker's plundering Republican pirates say they're helping seniors stay in their homes by saving them a laughable $1 on their property taxes. But those same Republicans are forcing seniors to spend that dollar and $7 more on their energy bills. Oh wait, even that wasn't enough?
If approved, the fixed charge paid by WPS customers will have more than doubled since last year, from $10.40 to $25 a month, Patricia Finder-Stone of AARP said during a public hearing on the Green Bay utility's proposal.

"It makes consumers pay more before they even turn on their lights," she said. "This increase has a disproportionate effect on seniors and others that are living on limited or fixed incomes."
Thanks to Obama-derangement syndrome: "Stand with Walker" voters can not only delight in getting bigger energy bills now, but they can also sleep comfortably knowing their sue happy state government will be locked in the coal fired past for some time. I also found the graph below that I just had to post here. The wonders of coal: