Monday, May 30, 2016

Competition on ObamaCare exchanges worked!!! Lowered premiums!!! Now Insures want Out Due to Lower Profits!!!

Republicans think you forgot how our old health care system, before “ObamaCare,” failed miserably.

Who the hell is nostalgic for the days when insurers dropped people with pre-existing conditions, jacked premiums and deductibles up to unaffordable levels, and allowed insurers who cherry pick the healthiest Americans?

Since when do we rank health care by how much insurers make?

Hello, treating the sick and dying…remember that?

Now see how Forbe’s packages the Affordable Care Act as a failure because it cut insurance company profits, while saving you and me money. It should be a shock to your sense of humanity:
The story is similar for other insurers. Many have decided to abandon markets they have long served. That’s left people fewer options for coverage. And with less competition on the exchanges, the plans that remain have more freedom to hike premiums. Obamacare’s ongoing dysfunction is bad enough. But the looming collapse of its exchanges is prompting calls for even more government involvement in health care — even a single-payer system.
Competition Worked, Lowered Prices - now Insurers Want Out: Flipping market competition on its head, suddenly lower prices are bad...for them? Think about that; competition made insurers cut their premiums, which is now making them drop out of the exchange. If anything, the ObamaCare exchanges worked too well.

Forbe’s also wants you to think the ACA is “government” health care, when in fact it’s just a mall for private insurers:
It takes a special kind of reasoning to respond to the spectacular failure of government that is Obamacare by calling for, well, even more government.
Their Loss is Our Gain: Think of the next statement as money we saved shopping on the exchanges, and not money insurers “lost.”
Health insurance companies lost as much as 11 percent on their exchange plans last year. That’s more than double the amount they lost during the exchanges’ first year.
The following anti-competition group of insurers is part of a rogue’s gallery of blood thirsty profiteers, salivating for a Paul Ryan style plan of junk policies offering a la carte services (what you can afford) and loop holes you could drive a Mack truck through (small print legalese):
Insurers have responded by heading for the exits. UnitedHealth will now only sell health plans in three statesHumana abandoned several markets after posting a 46 percent drop in earnings. Premera Blue Cross will leave Oregon and a dozen counties in Washington State.
Want competition to work, stay away from these ghouls.

Promise? Not Quite: My own brother is pretty well off and told me how angry he was that he didn't at least get some kind of deal under the exchanges. I agreed, upper middle class folks should get something, but it wasn't like he'd go broke paying his own way. I know for a fact he would never go without coverage. Which brings me to the articles final statement.
These subsidies don’t apply to millions of middle-class people. To afford premiums, many must cut other parts of their household budget — or go uninsured.

The Obama administration promised that this wouldn’t happen. The White House said that Obamacare would “curb excessive premium growth for . . . millions of Americans.” It said that ... creating online exchanges would yield a marketplace where insurers competed on price and quality. But many Americans have not benefited. One in two disapproves of the law.
"...creating online exchanges would yield a marketplace where insurers competed on price and quality" and it worked, lowering prices and hurting insurance company profits. Cry me a river.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Seattle Jesus Pizza Lunches, like Middleton's Jesus Lunch, taps teen appetites and naive willingness to be exploited.

The real argument against this new wave of adult exploitation of our kids with "Jesus food," has everything to do with unauthorized individuals accessing our kids under the care of our public schools. 

That said, Seattle had their own problem, which now seems to be over with a local church agreeing to change their free pizza's lunches to an after school event. In this case, union cafeteria employees saw lunch purchases decline, in the face of free low nutrition pizza. The fact that a local church has more invested in the community than a few wealthy families threatening lawsuits seems to have made all the difference here. Still, school food could use a little boost in culinary preparation:
SEATTLE: A school cafeteria workers union is threatening a Seattle church over free pizza that parishioners are distributing to students at three local high schools during lunch time. Once a week for several months, youth pastor Nick Steinloski and other volunteers with Bethany Community Church in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood have delivered pizzas to students during lunch time just off campus at three high schools – Nathan Hale, Ingraham, and Rooselvelt, KOMO reports. The union accused the church of luring students in with the pizza to force feed them religion.

Church leaders received permission for the giveaway, which is possible in part because of the school have an open campus … “It takes about 10 minutes to get rid of 40 large pizzas. We are not telling them a Bible story before they get pizza.”

Regardless, International Union of Operating Engineers business manager Dave Westberg contends the pizza giveaway is hurting food sales in the school cafeterias … “the latest information is that they are serving @ 750 students a week Domino’s (high fat, empty calorie) pizza from boxes out of the trunk of a car near Ingraham, Hale and Roosevelt schools.

Youth pastor Nick Steinloski said, “They said we were taking away a job, hours from employees at school in the kitchens because kids weren’t buying lunch.”
Middleton Mentioned: The article gets one thing wrong, Jesus lunch is not a "church" sponsored event, it's an in your face "religious freedom" excuse by zealots with lots money to throw away.
The situation in Seattle isn’t the first squabble ... At Wisconsin’s Middleton High School, free church-sponsored “Jesus Pizza” lunches at a local park have swelled to as many as 900 students in recent months as school officials there have repeatedly, unsuccessfully attempted to stop the giveaway, EAGnews reports.

“While we were sharing our message, which was about three minutes long, they started chanting ‘keep Jesus in the church.’ The kids didn’t retaliate. Then some of the protesters walked through with signs, heckling the kids, but they didn’t respond – they just kept eating,” parent volunteer Melissa Helbach said of a May 10 confrontation. “All of us volunteers were so impressed. It was the power of the Holy Spirit – it was a really cool thing to see.”

In Seattle, Steinloski agreed to move the event to after school to eliminate the lunch time conflict. At least one student who spoke with KOKO believes the cafeteria workers union would be better off focusing on improving their own product than limiting students’ options.

“If they would cook it a little better, then they would have students up there eating, you know what I’m saying?” Nathan Hale junior Tajon Williams said.

Dumb Ron Johnson doesn't want professional financial advisers WE HIRE to put our interests ahead of their own.

Having been in real estate for many years, I fully understood and believed very strongly in representing my clients, those who hired me to look out for their best interests. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It's crazy to think otherwise.

But oddly, our rugged independent free market Republican’s don't need loyal professionals with a fiduciary obligation to look out for their best interests. Why would you expect that....Roll Call:
STANDARDS FOR FINANCIAL ADVISERS: The Senate passed a measure (HJ Res 88) that would kill a new Department of Labor rule requiring those who provide professional advice to retirement and pension plans to adhere to fiduciary standards obligating them to put clients’ financial interests ahead of their own. It was due to take effect in April 2017.
Throwing common sense right out the window: Voting to allow the professionals we hire to con us and stuff their pockets with our money? Ron Johnson. Honestly, I can’t imagine one tight wad conservative who would let someone they hire represent someone else.  

Of course terrorist commie Tammy Baldwin voted against the free market, and allowing con artists to rip us off. What is life without a few risks and money to burn?

Missouri makes it Easier to Shoot Each Other.

Even in the old wild west, towns collected guns from those entering the city limits. Obviously, they didn’t think to take an “originalist” look at the Constitution.

Missouri is smarter than traditional real Americans still discovering the country.
Missouri lawmakers passed yet another dangerous pro-gun law this year …  this one would allow people to carry a concealed weapon — with no training and no permit.
Basically, it’s called constitutional carry. No limits. Could it be our genius founding fathers wanted everyone to have a load gun with them?

Finally saying what I never found the right words to say myself, and combining “constitutional carry” with “stand your ground/Castle Doctrine” laws:
Sen. Jason Holsman, a Kansas City Democrat noted: “We’re essentially authorizing a citizen without training to have a firearm. Then another citizen who is afraid that that citizen has a firearm can shoot and kill them, because they feel they’re in fear for their life because that untrained citizen has a firearm.”
That’s what this whole thing is going to meltdown to someday, if it isn't already happening.

Oh, and speaking of Missouri's "stand your ground" law...that was also changed, as Sen. Holsman indicated above....
The lawmakers also approved a controversial “stand your ground law” ... It would expand the self-defense claim that citizens already can use in a shooting to make them even more likely to get away with an unjustified shooting.

Read more here:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ryan's House Republicans vote to dramatically cut the Federal Free Lunch Subsidies for growing problem of low Income Students.

Right wing socialism is here, and coming on strong. Packaged as the "real America," conservative voters see an infallible party simply trying to save their country with "common sense" bigotry and traditional racism. Ah, looking back, what a time it never really was.

The Walker/Schimel transgender restroom lawsuit is a beautiful example that. I want to focus on one line in the lawsuit seen in the video clip:
"...turning educational settings into laboratory's for massive social experiments, and running roughshod over common sense policies that protect children."

Right, unlike the state GOP making racist school mascots perfectly legal, turning the UW into a job training school, dumping Common Core because...?  Or on a national level pushing abstinence only classes, banning less flattering American history and replacing it with "American exceptionalism," avoiding climate change science, or making public schools profit centers and students commodities.

Massive social experiments like those?

Massive Social Experiment on our Children - Junk Food vs Junk Food? The most bizarre example of the GOP's "massive social experimentation?" Trashing food stamp recipients who buy junk food, while pushing for more junk food in our school lunchrooms in opposition to Michelle Obama:
Possible cuts to the federal free schools meal program could drastically impact low-income kids not just across the country ... the Education and Workforce Committee backed the bill that would scale back the number of schools receiving free or reduced lunches. It would also make it so that states wouldn't have to follow federal nutritional standards. Fewer students would receive free and reduced priced meals..
Republicans running roughshod over their own "Massive Social Experiment" that would take food away from students? What's the excuse; lazy kids should stop freeloading? WKOW:
Janesville School District Nutrition Manager Jim Degan is concerned ... 65% of the District's students rely on subsidized or free breakfast and lunch. "That's taking five steps backwards, we have made the effort we are providing healthier food for the children and what are we here for, to provide the best nutritional meals we can provide, so that's what we are attempting to do."

"You're then cutting quality or the standards we fought so hard for," he said. 27 News checked around at other schools in our viewing area, in Beloit, their district says 76% qualify for the Federal Free Meals Program, that number is 50% for the Madison School District.

Dumb Ron Johnson can't dodge Tomah VA blame.

I continue to hear veterans bash Democratic candidates for problems at the Tomah VA. Funny thing, not one Republican representative or senator ever got blamed or mentioned. Didn't anyone think to get a hold of these strong defenders of veteran services?

It wasn't until long after Dumb Ron Johnson's name started to come up. Strange too, since Johnson was the sitting senator when this story hit the fan, not Feingold by about 4 years.

To straighten this mess out, finally, WISC's Jessica Arp blows the whole thing up in Johnson's face:

The memo in question was sent by a union official who represents Tomah workers, Lin Ellinghuysen. A news story last October highlights two memos, in 2008 and 2009, detailing issues with the doctor and narcotics. Both were marked by Ellinghuysen as "hand-delivered" to the offices of Feingold and other Democrats.

In October she said she told someone to deliver the memos for her, but had "no proof they were ever delivered." Then in January she said she made the delivery note "in error," and that she had a "foggy memory" about any meetings with Feingold about issues at Tomah.

Feingold and the other Democrats listed in the report say they have no record of actually getting the memo. While the memo detailed "unexpected deaths" at Tomah, including suicides, the only death officially considered linked to this issue was in 2014. That's five years after the original memo and four years after Feingold was voted out of office.
Basically, Dumb Ron Johnson is focusing in on...nothing at all. Sure beats debating the issues.

So what about Johnson? Oh, he's got a list of excuses in the tank tea party voters would love, no matter how irresponsible and how many veterans were hurt:
Johnson's office says it got complaints from Honl, and they were sent to a Senate subcommittee. It turns out, though, that the paperwork was only sent to another subcommittee aide who never told Chairwoman Sen. Claire McCaskill or Johnson. Johnson aides have said he was not personally aware of any issues at the VA until January of 2015.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) suggested his office might have responded faster to complaints but his staff was busy during the lame duck session "doing job interviews and stuff." Johnson made the comments in a radio interview on the Jerry Bader Show.
"You have to understand what happens here, in between Congresses. There’s a high level of churn within offices. Actually, two of these people on these email chains voluntarily left for other opportunities, other offices. And so, you've got to understand the reality of the situation," Johnson said.
Well oh yes, that's the reality of the situation. But Johnson is quick to point a finger at Tammy Baldwin, because she's a Democrat who hates veterans.

Transgender Bathroom policy violates religious freedom? "I think (God) wrote in my heart that I shouldn't go into a woman's restroom..." - Republican Rep. Tom Larson.

Not another one. This time the Walker administration's "follow-the-leader" time consuming right wing socialist agenda includes another taxpayer supported frivolous lawsuit against Obama; transgender bathroom policy. 

Scott Walker is now making the crazy claim that the Department of Education’s Title IX law is some kind of "executive order," in conflict with our 1st Amendment religious freedoms. Hey, it's all there in the Bible. As for AG Brad Schimel...has there ever been more clueless political ass kissing operative? JS
"President Obama's attempts to rewrite the laws of our country without congressional consent and approval are not going to be tolerated by the State of Wisconsin."  
Kind of makes you wonder why Walker and so many other Republicans ran for president if they were just waiting to take orders from Congress. I can't remember Walker ever asking "hey congress, tell me what to do." Just the opposite. Walker hysterically bragged he wanted to personally "wreak havoc" as president. I still can't get over how cluelessly dumb it was to use that term.

Getting back to Schimel...  
State Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) blasted the action, "The Department of Justice has really become this right-wing law firm that brings these lawsuits. I'm alarmed by it. ... This is political litigation. This is not about lowering crime or making the public safer." 
It's obvious Walker and Schimel are shamelessly exploiting two of the most obvious ploys used to successfully manipulate the base; executive order overreach and our religious freedoms. Yet neither seems to apply here. WPR came up with this Schimel audio clip highlighting his "legal opinion" about our nations biblical, constitutionally protected bathroom laws:

Schimel: "Some in our nations leadership, place a higher priority on so-called rights to use whatever bathroom one feels most comfortable with, than they do on basic religious freedoms."
Walker and Schimel's shameless pandering to religious right populism, got this response by scary Republican State Rep. Tom Larson:
"Mr. Obama has done more to destroy the Christian foundation of this country than anyone I know," Larson wrote in a letter to the editor Wednesday. "Although (the president) claims to be a Christian, such assertions are implausible since his actions consistently oppose Biblical beliefs and principles" 
It's true, God and Jesus both felt strongly about principled and traditional bathroom use, as written somewhere in the Bible...or is it written in our hearts...
... Larson feels strongly that the traditional approach to bathrooms guards against immorality. "I think (God) wrote in my heart that I shouldn't go into a women's restroom because I'd be tempted to be a pervert," Larson said.
As for our incidental governor, who is again being forced to to decide because it's just not on his radar (except for that law lawsuit thing):
The governor has expressed openness to Wisconsin limiting the bathroom options for transgender students but has stopped short of saying he would sign such a bill. 
Who knows where Walker will come down on this issue? 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Idiocracy - with a Vengence!!!

This could be the trailer for Idiocracy 2, right? Instead, it's just the NRA reminding us how dangerous they are to us and themselves. You won't believe this...from the now cartoonish country singer Charlie Daniels.

Oh, and these famous lyrics come to mind...
"...Killed him a bear when he was only three." 

"You haven’t met the heartland, or the people who will defend this nation with their bloody, calloused, bare hands, if that’s what it takes. You haven’t met the steelworkers and the hard-rock miners, or the swamp folks in Cajun country who can wrestle a full-grown gator out of the water.

You haven’t met the farmers, the cowboys, the loggers and the truck drivers. You don’t know the mountain men who live off the land, or the brave cops who fight the good fight in the urban war zones.

No, you’ve never met America. And you oughta pray you never do."

The Grand Old Party of anecdotes whines Democrats using anecdotes! Claims more time to vote gives "...too much access to the voters."

A federal judge continues to wade through the most outrageous excuses for voter ID and shorter voting hours ever. 

This breath taking partisan headline gleaned from a comment by a supposed nonpartisan county clerk caught my attention. Cap Times:
Waukesha county clerk: Weekend voting gave 'too much access' to Milwaukee, Madison.
That’s the problem; too much access for voters to vote. Who knew. Couldn’t have summed up the Republican scheme better.

The party that uses hearsay and anecdotal constituent stories to write policy, doesn’t like it when tables are turned, even though in this instance the stories aren’t anecdotal:
Attorneys for the state argue the plaintiffs are using anecdotal, "one-in-a-million" cases as an argument to strike down the laws.
Of course it was at that point state attorneys ironically went immediately to their anecdotal evidence:
Cedarburg City Clerk Constance McHugh said she hasn't seen long lines or other complications as a result of the photo ID requirement, and said voters in her community have been pleased to have it in place. 
And while Republicans claim voters are smart, and don’t need a costly ad campaign educating the public about the new voter ID laws, they aren't smart enough to handle more than one location for in-person absentee voting…which confuses them.
Clerk McHugh testified that a policy limiting in-person absentee voting to one location allows her to have more control over the process, and said she believes more than one location would be confusing for Cedarburg voters.

Port Washington city clerk Susan Westerbeke agreed … arguing statewide consistency can limit voter confusion.
So we’re smart, but easily confused? 

Here it comes, “TOO MUCH ACCESS TO THE VOTERS AS FAR AS OPPORTUNITIES.” God forbid that from ever happening:
"If there’s an office open 30 days versus an office that’s only open 10 work days, there are obviously voters that have a lot more access than someone else," Novack said.

"There has to come a point where it’s just giving over-access … to particular parts of the state." Asked whether she thought voters in Milwaukee and Madison had too much access, Novack said, "too much access to the voters as far as opportunities."
Large populations centers need more time to process voters, right? Not according to the Republican brain trust, who actually believe it (I thought they were just BSing). Here's the deal though, if small towns want to have longer voting hours like the cities, they should find a way to pay for it, and not take city hours away. Makes sense doesn't it? 
Waukesha County clerk Kathleen Novack. said she believes eliminating weekend voting "level(s) the playing field" between large urban areas and smaller suburban and rural communities that lack the resources to staff weekend hours.
While small communities argue against spending extra money on voting, they’re quick to spend city cash; with lines around the block, cities should spend more money on additional poll workers.
If long lines start to form at a polling place, Novack said, it would make more sense to add more staff and open more lines within that location rather than opening a second one. "For instance if you’re in the grocery store and there’s a long line, they open up another line," she said.
Finally, down the right wing rabbit hole we go for this classic…
She also argued long lines could be evidence that access is not an issue in urban areas. "Apparently access is an easy thing or they wouldn’t have long lines," she said.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Veterans Services gets Walker defunding.

Veterans love Republicans, and I have no idea why.

My dad, a Marine Corps veteran, called me during the Bush administration to tell me he found out they decided not to tell veterans about their benefits. It was a way Republicans could save money. A true story. My dad wasn't much for doctors, and never really used VA health services, but this really affected him.

If he were alive today I know just what he'd say about the states Republican betrayal of our returning vets. Not only will veteran service officers and their offices eventually stop getting paid through state grants, but veterans will not know or have easy access to the services they were promised. Money saved folks. WPR:

County veterans service offices provide everything from counseling to making vets aware of benefits available at the state and federal level. They used to get block grants from the state, but now, they have to apply for reimbursement under a change made in the last (2015-17) state budget.
And in another sign of really bad Republican bill writing:
Kevin Johnson, the county veterans service officer for Ozaukee County, said, "The biggest frustration for us is there's no clear guidance on what the criteria for reimbursement are or, more importantly, how to document the expenses."
This example of big government Republican bureaucracy should break the myth of getting government out of the way forever:
"The way it's now structured, we have to apply two times a year and it's becoming so onerous, the documentation requirement is so onerous that it's just cost prohibitive for us even to request the funds" Critics say state money should support veterans directly, not administrative costs. The state budget change will eventually phase out salaries for the offices.
No salaries, no administrative cost. That would mean no service officers, no veteran direction, no use of benefits, and money saved for the state.

And what about the state Department of Veterans Affairs, I assume they're rushing in to help?
The Department of Veterans Affairs didn't return a request for comment. A sampling of 30 counties showed 10 veteran office grant requests were denied entirely. Fourteen were denied in part.

Hard Working Republicans or Freeloaders?

Does anyone really think Republicans work "hard" legislating a few months a year?

How "hard" is it to take pre-drafted GOP legislation by conservative think tanks, and make it law?

And yet Republicans beat up on teachers and professors who they say don't work long enough hours, not to mention all the stuff they take home with them every day. Oh, and don't get them started on those 3 month summer vacations.

Like Rep. Dale Kooyenga cluelessly said to a room full of educators the other day:
Kooyenga: "Sometimes what you need in a change, is you need to tell your teachers, listen, we're in a tight spot. We're all gonna get here at 7 am, we're not leaving 'til 5 pm. You need to do that sometimes..."

There's a certain arrogance and elitism our freeloading Republican legislators have tp make that kind of statement, as pointed out in the following tweet:

...and by coincidence I just ran across this interesting schedule, from our hard working Republican Senators in the nations Capitol:

As for the Democrats? They spend their time trying to solve problems, sometimes creating a tax to pay for that solution. The horror. Someday they'll learn how stand behind their convictions and carry out an equally aggressive agenda like the Republicans.

For Republicans, the solution always involves making government smaller. Let's get rid of public schools, park lands, the EPA, IRS, Labor Department, business and Wall Street regulation...etc.

Small government is another way of saying, "Now it's not our problem!" That's real hard work.

Turns out Racial minorities Majority trying to get Voter ID's at DMV's

Are they that stupid, think we’re that stupid, or are they just that bad at running government? All three folks.
Nearly one-in-five applicants for a state-issued voter ID have been unable to obtain one ... that of the 61 applicants whose requests were denied, 85 percent were African-American, Latino or Native American. 
The well-researched claims voter ID regulations targeted minorities and low income individuals has been borne out by Wisconsinites who tried to get an ID. In an insulting attempt to distract from that reality, the DMV’s administrator claimed they weren’t “considering” race in the petition process, suggesting racial bias after “seeing” the applicant. No, we’re talking about those forced to go to their nearest DMV to exercise their right to vote. WPR:    
Kristina Boardman, administrator of the state Division of Motor Vehicles, which gives out the IDs, acknowledged there have been particular challenges locating vital records for some individuals born in the South, the Chicago area and Puerto Rico. She stressed, however, that race isn't considered during the petition process.
Again, that’s not the point. It’s now extremely clear; those who tried to get voter a ID at the DMV were minorities, the intentional target of suppression by Republicans …and they know it.  
African-Americans and Latinos make up more than half of those who obtain a free, state-issued ID card after going through a special petition process according to testimony heard in a federal trial on Monday on Wisconsin's controversial voter ID law … lawyers for the plaintiffs focused on racial disparities … despite the fact that those populations make up only 12 percent of the state’s general population.
Boardman did have to openly admit:
"Knowing generally the percentages of races of people in Wisconsin, it is disproportionate," testified Kristina Boardman, administrator of the state Division of Motor Vehicles, which gives out the IDs.
I will continue to use Scott Walker’s own standard for voting, and I’m paraphrasing: Even if one vote is stolen, that's one vote to many. The same should be true for taking even one vote away do to a lack of vital records.
1,389 people have entered the petition process between September 2014, when it was created, and May 12. About 1,100 of those cases have been resolved, resulting in the applicant receiving an ID, 98 cases have been cancelled, 67 are pending and 52 have been denied.

Last week, testimony revealed that 85 percent of ID denials since September 2014 were handed to African-Americans or Latinos. Denials occur when the individual and state -- working together -- are unable to find the vital records necessary for an ID. 
And how about Walker's last minute "rule." That can change or go away in an instant, because it it isn't a state law.
Boardman also spoke about an emergency rule approved by Gov. Scott Walker earlier this month ... allows individuals working through the petition process to vote by providing them a receipt that serves as valid identification at the polls.
Don't forget the arrogant off the cuff comments by Republican state legislators:
Dr. Allan Lichtman has testified ... that changes in Wisconsin's voting laws, particularly the shortening of early voting periods and the elimination of special registration deputies, disproportionately effect minorities and students. He also said Wisconsin politicians have been more open than others across the country about the political intent of the voter ID law.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Walker joins other "Trickle Down" states by losing jobs, ginning up Resentment!!!

In an odd twist of fate, the GOP created Great Recession actually swept Republicans into power in 2010.

Those same states are now convulsing from dramatic revenue shortfalls, debt, and deferred maintenance. Even worse, Republicans are insisting that more debt, deferred maintenance, tax cuts and spending cuts will solve their problems. All this, after already slashing education for the next generation of job seekers and insane handouts to corporate freeloaders laughing under their breaths about letting the "free market" work. Jokes on us.

Under Scott Walker, who made it much harder to get unemployment benefits so he could brag about those numbers too, the state turned away jobs they say are created by company's that commonly fit into the Democratic column. Sticking with the disappearing manufacturing base at the expense of diversification, Wisconsin has forced labor...and then businesses, to leave the state.
Wisconsin's three-month run of job growth was halted in April by the largest one-month loss in jobs in nearly seven years, 11,500. If the figures stand up to revisions, it will be the state's biggest monthly jobs drop since July 2009, during the Great Recession. In April, Wisconsin lost 4,200 manufacturing jobs, 0.9 percent of the total for the state's largest job sector, to return to a flat level of growth since last October.
And business are still fleeing (just sampling):
Old National Bancorp has notified state officials it plans to eliminate 140 full-time jobs, almost all of them in Madison ... Most of the positions will terminate in September.

Caterpillar Inc. said it is moving engineering and technology jobs from its mining equipment division in South Milwaukee to Tucson, Ariz.
But other ballyhoo'ed state templates for "trickle down prosperity" are sinking fast as well. The problem is, the national news doesn't cover the failed "comebacks," like in Indiana, which sounds a whole lot like Walker's scheme (except for evil clean energy):
Stride Rite had left Huntington for Mexico at the tail end of the recession; Breyers Ice Cream had closed its doors after 100 years.

In the weeks after each factory closing in his part of Indiana, union rep. Tom Lewandowski had listened to politicians make promises about jobs — high-tech jobs, right-to-work jobs, clean-energy jobs — but instead Indiana had lost 60,000 middle-class jobs in the past decade and replaced them with a surge of low-paying work in health care, hospitality and fast food.

Scott Walker has also taken aim at the middle class:

...with a dash of irony.
Wisconsin had a faster decline than any other state in the percentage of households in the middle class during the period 2000 to 2013.
Like Wisconsin, wages are depressed and lower: 
Wages of male high school graduates had dropped 19 percent in the past two decades, and the wealth divide between the middle class and the upper class had quadrupled. Fast-food consumption was beginning to tick up. Poverty was up.

Foreclosures were up. Meth usage up. Heroin up. Death rate up. An ideological crisis was spreading across Middle America as it continued its long fall into dependency: median wages down across the country, average income down, total wealth down in the past decade by 28 percent. 

For the first time ever, the vaunted middle class was not the country’s base but a disenfranchised minority, down from 61 percent of the population in the 1970s to just 49 percent as of last year. 
And now, desperate Republicans want plunge even deeper into trickle down, topped with more empty promises, by electing a huckster like Trump. If you hate government, thank a Republicans who made government worse. We now get to see it crash:
As a result of that decline, confusion was turning into fear. Fear was giving way to resentment. Resentment was hardening into a sense of outrage that was unhinging the country’s politics and upending a presidential election.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Rep. Dale Kooyenga on teachers: "...tell your teachers...we're gonna work 7 am 'til 5 pm. You need to do that sometimes!!!"

Republicans have never been afraid to push their agenda down everybody's throats, especially when it's based on anecdotal "evidence" and utter nonsense.

Republican Justices are no different. Remember when the Supreme Court justices had to be told by a fellow justice the ACA marketplace wasn't like a shopping mall, where you could just go in and pick up contraception if you wanted it?

Or closer to the topic here, Republicans bashed supposedly greedy teachers for their high wages, negotiated by unions. Oddly, now under Act 10, teachers can get into education and focus exclusively on their greed, seeking out job offers by the highest bidding school district. That opens the door for exploitation, higher education costs, shortages in the core subject not in high demand, and an advantage for wealthy districts over rural schools. Problems solved...or made worse?

Here we go again. Right up there with lazy teachers having the summer off, Rep. Dale Kooyenga's anecdotal shot that "teachers don't put in a full day" got the kind of response he deserved.
Kooyenga: "Sometimes what you need in a change, is you need to tell your teachers, listen, we're in a tight spot. We're all gonna get here at 7 am, we're not leaving 'til 5 pm. You need to do that sometimes..."

Lauren Baker: "...we do that everyday and then we take our work home with us at 5 pm and we work on it the entire night. Let's go easy on that one, okay?" 

An amazing thing to assume, or even say in front of teachers. Can you imagine what he and his Republican comrades must be saying behind closed doors?
There was a collective gasp when Brookfield Republican and MPS Takeover co-author Rep. Dale Kooyenga had this to say about teachers. Thankfully Milwaukee Teacher's Education Association Executive Director Lauren Baker was there to correct him.

Feel free to let him know how you feel about this statement: (608) 266-9180.
I included two more topics in the clip below. The first half deals with the unfair school funding formula, where some students are worth more than others. The second half is a must see about vouchers, and the obscene money being made by some at a few failed schools, at taxpayer expense.

Did Republicans like Kooyenga ever bother to ask teachers about any of these issues? Not a chance.

Walker's Wisconsin takes Private Sector Jobs Hit.

You'd think after Act 10, right-to-work, zero taxes for agriculture and manufacturing, and about $50 in average middle class tax cuts, businesses would be rushing into Wisconsin on the say-so of Chief Executive magazine’s annual “Best State for Business” survey of CEOs. Guess not...
Wisconsin's three-month run of job growth was halted in April by the largest one-month loss in jobs in nearly seven years. The state lost 11,500 private-sector jobs in April, 0.5 percent of the workforce, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If the figures stand up to revisions, it will be the state's biggest monthly jobs drop since July 2009, during the Great RecessionIn April, Wisconsin lost 4,200 manufacturing jobs, 0.9 percent of the total for the state's largest job sector, to return to a flat level of growth since last October.

Scott Walker, like all the other GOP governors, don't mind being willing dupes of big business CEO's who keep making promises they don't intend to keep. And they're laughing all the way to the bank. Every year Chief Executive magazine praises Walker's Wisconsin, and every year nothing happens.

And it's crazy too, because Walker continues to focus on manufacturing, instead of diversifying the state economic options.

Note: Economist John Koskinen just gave us a little insight into one of Walker's biggest bragging points, that the labor participation rate is higher here than it is for the rest of the country. Hint: labor is leaving the state... 
One of the things that contributes to this increase is that Wisconsin has a fairly low population growth which gives us stronger per capita GDP growth than the rest of the country, “Since 2010, that’s what’s been happening,” Koskinen said.

Clueless & Draconian: Republican Health Plan Emerges...

The Republican health care plan will end up being their suicide note. No employer insurance, no minimum coverage, no requirement to have insurance, a small monetary gift to help pay for your deductible...and that's just the early rumblings of their final proposal. The Hill:
Two Republican lawmakers introduced an alternative to ObamaCare … Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) does not fully repeal ObamaCare … it would eliminate many central aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including the mandates for individuals to have coverage and for employers to provide it, as well as requirements for what an insurance plan must cover.
Wow, what could go wrong with people choosing to not have health insurance, employers not havimg to provide insurance anymore (where most people get their coverage), as well as junk policies, bare bones coverage and loopholes that exempt almost all treatments? What a plan. I can’t wait for the CBO's analysis of this debacle. 

Even worse, Republican lawmakers proved one point with this bill, that they don’t know anything about health insurance…NOTHING. 

Health savings accounts are mostly catastrophic policies with massive high deductibles, I know because I’ve had a few. We’re talking $5,000 to what I ended up having, $10,500. Figure in the monthly premiums and suddenly a whole bunch of people can't afford it. Some will die. But don't worry, Republicans will give you a measly $2,500 and send you on your way:
The core of the plan is a $2,500 tax credit that any citizen would be eligible for and use to purchase health insurance. The lawmakers say this gives flexibility to people, whether they get employer-based insurance or not, to more directly control their healthcare spending, for example by using a health savings account. 

People currently with insurance through the ObamaCare marketplaces could keep it because they would be grandfathered in. 
And guess what, lower income people on the exchanges will see a dramatic reduction in their tax credit, while the wealthy will finally get a bigger tax break. Funny how that worked out:
But new ObamaCare enrollees would no longer be eligible for ObamaCare’s financial assistance. Instead, they would receive the new plan’s $2,500 tax credit … the new tax credit is a flat sum, as opposed to ObamaCare’s tax credits, which increase for lower-income people. Therefore, John Goodman, a health economist who worked with Sessions and Cassidy on the plan, said lower-income people would receive less assistance under the Sessions-Cassidy plan, but higher-income people could receive more. 
Employers will soon be shedding the cost of health insurance too:
The Sessions-Cassidy bill also shakes up the current system of not taxing health insurance plans provided through employers, which can be politically fraught. However, the plan allows employers to opt to stay in the current system if they want, and only opt in to the new tax credit if they choose. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

CEO dupe Scott Walker can't stop the job losses.

Over and over again, job layoff announcements have been announced and no one seems to be around to add them up or point them out. Is it another Scott Walker failure? His big selling point was making the state a great place to do business. But nothing has change, and the bloodletting continues.

I tried to do search of all the recent stories, but time has already swept most of those stories into a forgotten archive somewhere.

 So here's the latest:
Old National Bancorp has notified state officials it plans to eliminate 140 full-time jobs, almost all of them in Madison ... Most of the positions will terminate in September.

Caterpillar Inc. said it is moving engineering and technology jobs from its mining equipment division in South Milwaukee to Tucson, Ariz. … South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks said the company told him 10 to 15 jobs from his city will be moved to Arizona this year and approximately 200 jobs could be moved over the next five to seven years … the bulk of the transfers will take place in 2018.
 Caterpillar has laid off hundreds of employees in the Milwaukee area and now employs about 240 at its manufacturing plant in South Milwaukee, down from 800 a few years ago.
As always, Arizona Republicans found a way to help the supposed free market work its magic…
Some have speculated that Arizona offered Caterpillar more than $50 million in incentives in exchange for the jobs. Caterpillar didn't reach out to Wisconsin or Milwaukee officials for assistance in keeping the jobs here.
Yes, CEO's are saying the business climate great, but they're not lifting a finger to help. Even after Scott Walker’s gift of lax environmental regulations for mining, Caterpillar is still leaving.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ryan predicts Doom, Gloom, "People losing their Livelihoods" if more hard Working Americans get Overtime!

While Democrats stumble around trying to defend no-brainers like the money saving advantages of health care for all or a simple hike in the minimum wage, Republicans are courageously bashing a rule change that would give overtime to more hard working Americans…without consequences. There’s a lesson to be learned, but not by the Democrats.

Reporters and the news media must have given up a long time ago trying to make sense out of GOP policy, because no one blinked an eye when Paul Ryan spewed the following nonsensical warning about expanding overtime:
“This regulation hurts the very people it alleges to help. Who is hurt most? Students, non-profit employees, and people starting a new career. By mandating overtime pay at a much higher salary threshold, many small businesses and non-profits will simply be unable to afford skilled workers and be forced to eliminate salaried positions, complete with benefits, altogether.”
How’d those same warnings work out when he and others predicted massive job losses and a tanked U.S. economy under ObamaCare? Yea, I know, who even remembers that.

And while Republicans tear away at the unreasonably high pay and benefits union workers receive, with new right to work laws and no hikes in the minimum wage, they can come across like they're not doing that at all:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a press release, “Just like Obamacare’s 30 hour work week, this regulation will once again incentivize employers to cut worker hours, provide fewer benefits, and hinder flexible work arrangements for hardworking Americans.”
Never happened, but you’d never know that listening to the bubble world news on conservative talk radio.

But how does all this really effect employers, who might have to pay more, and their employees? It could mean hiring more Americans to cut down on overtime (overtime that wasn’t paid for anyway). Here's a labor department video that explains both sides of this potential job creator:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Walker challenges Constitution, what he calls the "status quo," Loses.

The laughable lapdog antics of our know-nothing AG Brad Schimel, has crossed the line into blantant ass-kissing. Congratulations low information, what-ever-Walker-wants Republican in-the-tank voters, we now know you're not only dangerous to yourself, you're a danger to your community for voting Schimel in. WKOW:
Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling dealt Gov. Scott Walker a rare loss in the high court Wednesday, upholding a ruling that keeps the state education secretary independent ... the court rejected arguments made by Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel to overturn the decision. 
Never getting into the partisan gutter with Walker, Superintendent Evers simply took the high ground:
Current DPI Superintendent Tony Evers (said) the case before the court was about preserving the office's role as a nonpartisan constitutional officer in charge of implementing and overseeing education policy.
Wait, didn't Republicans already blow up the supposed myth of being "nonpartisan," which allows them to politicize everything without guilt or explanation.   

I thought the following was an amazing reveal from Walker's office over the decision. The whole privatization movement is based on playing off the fears every parent has over whether they're doing enough to help their kids succeed in school. Walker's solution is to put average elected school board members with no background in education in charge; parents who haven't been in school for decades in charge; and kids in charge of deciding their districts curriculum. Skip the research, the successes elsewhere, ignore educators. We want parents to feel good, because they know what's best instinctively:
Walker Spokesperson Tom Evenson (wrote), "Beginning with the Act 10 reforms in 2011, Governor Walker is dedicated to challenging the status quo when it impedes the ability of parents, school boards, and students to get the best educational outcomes."

This is Freedom? "The appeals court says while it may be alarming, openly carrying firearms without evidence of criminal or malicious intent is legal."

Feeling safer in our society is not the ultimate goal of our armed band of in your face gun rights strangers. They may feel safer, not safe, carrying a gun, but it's having the opposite effect on society. With armed strangers around, everyone else senses danger, and a limit on their own freedom to feel secure in their own community, their state and their country. We're screwed:
A Wisconsin appeals court has overturned the loitering conviction of a man who was walking near a school with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle on his shoulder.
The following is anything but normal:
The St. Croix County Circuit Court should have dismissed the case because the evidence suggested the only reason Hoffman was stopped was because of the guns. The appeals court says while it may be alarming, openly carrying firearms without evidence of criminal or malicious intent is legal.
Alarming is okay now, thanks to an activist conservative Supreme Court decision overturning a century of reasoned 2nd Amendment decisions.

Wisconsin’s expensive Frack Sand market shifts to cheap southern suppliers, big surprise.

CEO’s might be in love with Wisconsin’s business climate, but business is more in love with even cheaper states and countries, where they want to take their businesses. Massive layoffs continue as manufacturing moves out of state to new facilities. Add to that frack sand manufacturing...WPR:
Wisconsin frac sand is losing ground to sand produced in states like Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas as the market continues to retract … demand for Wisconsin frac sand meant drillers were willing to pay for it to be shipped to their wells around the country. 

Now, with the market in its second year of decline, energy companies are turning to cheaper, lower quality sand mined closer to the oil fields. To be able to compete, Wisconsin frac sand companies have had to build expensive transload facilities to unload sand from rail to trucks near oil fields like the Permian Shale Basin in Texas and New Mexico and the Bakken Shale of North Dakota. Rick Shearer, CEO of Superior Silica Sands, which has operations in Chippewa and Baron counties, said building transload facilities costs tens of millions of dollars ... "frac sand companies are only making around $7 per ton compared to the $35 per ton they made two years ago is painful."
Oddly, the good news depends on all of us paying more for oil, allowing energy companies to spend more at Wisconsin's frack sand mining facilities (many owned by out-of-state companies).  

Scott Walker's "eggs in one basket" style of governing, favoring Republican industries over all others, was destined to come back and haunt us. 

Walker Justice Rebecca Bradley sides with boss, against state Constitution, to make Schools Superintendent subordinate to governor.

The buried headline in the WPR story below is my headline above. We now know how grateful Justice Bradley really is for her 3-year fast tracked journey to a seat on the State Supreme Court.

Even the most conservative Justices couldn’t justify misreading the Constitution, handing ultimate power to Scott Walker.
A Divided Wisconsin Supreme Court Has Overturned Part of a Law That Would Have Given Governors Veto Power Over State Superintendents' Administrative Rules: Walker and Republican legislators passed the law shortly after they came to power in 2011. 

Writing the lead opinion for a divided Supreme Court, Justice Michael Gableman said the law known as 2011 Act 21 gave the state superintendent no way to proceed with rulemaking without the Governor's approval.

"Thus, Act 21 unconstitutionally vests the supervision of public instruction in officers who are not officers of supervision of public instruction," wrote Gableman, one of the court's five conservative justices. Fellow conservative Justice David Prosser also ruled against the law, as did Justices Shirley Abrahamson and Ann Walsh Bradley, the court's two liberal members.  
Clarity on Two Recent Supreme Court Changes: Why did Walker want to make Patience Roggensack chief Justice and install constitutional "originalist" Rebecca Bradley on the bench? Because they will be reliable Walker lapdogs. Seriously, ruling against two previous rulings supporting the Superintendent of Public Education constitutional powers...?
Conservative Justices Patience Roggensack, Annette Ziegler and Rebecca Bradley dissented.

The court's decision upheld rulings by judges at the circuit court and appeals court levels who sided with the teacher's union members who challenged the law: "In the court's view," wrote Dane County Judge Amy Smith in her 2012 order, "the feature that renders Act 21 unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt is the fact that Act 21 permits the governor, and the (Department of Administration) Secretary under certain circumstances, to stop the superintendent from starting and/or pursuing the process of rulemaking." 

Gableman said that rulemaking was the chief means that the legislature had given the superintendent had to carry out its duty.
Proving once and for all that the words "law" and "liberty" are just marketing tools to appear credible to tea party knuckleheads, the lawsuit mill Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty's Rick Esenberg now knows more than the activist conservative justices he's agreed with so often:
Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the conservative legal group Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, who argued before the court in favor of the 2011 law applying to DPI, said Wednesday in a statement that the court's ruling "misapprehends the nature of rule-making and the way in which the Department of Public Instruction actually wields its supervisory authority."

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dumb Ron Johnson compares Democrats to terrorist hijackers on Flight 93!

It's the same old story. Remember Scott Walker's fight with labor supporters who were protesting around the Capitol? He said it was just like fighting ISIS.

The story few people want to talk about is the decades old portrayal of Democrats as terrorists.

Republicans nationally have successfully defined Obama as a foreigner and terrorist hell bent on destroying the country. His entire agenda had to be stopped from day one.

Paul Ryan was in on that first anti-Obama meeting, and he is now using his "genius" to not make the case for Republicans with better ideas, but to instead blindly trash Democrat Hillary Clinton...:
"I think most Republicans at the end of the day are going to come to the conclusion that we’re really in the ‘Never Hillary’ camp," Ryan said.
...because, you know, it just makes sense like that.

Political hack Dumb Ron Johnson is now imagining himself trying to save Flight 93, how he must see his campaign, from crashing. As usual, Democrats are the terrorists out to destroy the country. Funny aside, Johnson thinks "lets roll" had something to do with rolling up your sleeves, and the crowd at the State Republican Convention didn't gasp or offer up a chuckle? From WPR reporter Shawn Johnson:

Johnson invoked United Flight 93, the airplane that went down in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11. Passengers on the doomed flight took a vote before raiding the cockpit to try to stop terrorists who hijacked the plane.

"In November of 2016, we'll be taking a vote," Johnson told Republicans in Green Bay. "We're going to be encouraging our fellow citizens to take a vote. Now, it may not be life and death like the vote the passengers on United Flight 93 took, but boy, is it consequential."

The campaign of Johnson's Democratic challenger, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, sent out a tweet saying: "Beyond bad taste: Sen. Johnson actually compared the horrific tragedies on 9/11 to his own partisan re-election."
Continuing that theme on the Joy Cardin Show, Robin Vos warned the world about Hillary :

Vos: "Republicans are united around the idea that Hillary Clinton can't get into the White House, and would be dangerous for freedom all around the world." 
It was Glenn Grothman's turn to offer up his frightening vision after the Obama administration defended transgender rights; the transgender threat to the military:

Grothman complained about the moral decline in the country...he's right, if you consider the Republicans bigoted, racist authoritarian one party rule plans for America.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Big Government Walker to Protect Wisconsin with Nanny State Transgender Bathroom Law.

Funny thing, at the same time Scott Walker accused Obama and the Justice Department of transgender bathroom overreach by the federal government...he and Rep. Jesse Kremer want a statewide law usurping local control to create their own policy?
Republican state lawmaker Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) plans on renewing his push this year for a "bathroom bill" in Wisconsin similar to the one in North Carolina, which would limit people to entering bathrooms that match their birth sex. "Progressive activists have finally blatantly, and unintentionally, unveiled their real war on women." Kremer and Sen. Steve Nass said the measure was needed to protect all students' privacy and safety and reinforce “the societal norms in our schools.”
Nationally, the Republican talking points network spread the precisely worded response. It included "local" and "that's what school boards are for." Scott Walker memorized every word, despite saying something completely different last year. Today...:
"The bottom line is issues like that need to be addressed at the local level. That's what we elect school boards for. It's not an issue the federal government should be involved in, nor should the state. It should really be left up to the local districts."
Or does Walker mean this, from last October:
“I think it’s important to have some clarity about that and I know school districts around the state have just begun to deal with that,” Walker said of the issue. “I understand at least one school district has looked at a separate bathroom and I think that makes some sense but I think with respect to all the other students there’s got to be some clarity.
Will the "incidental" governor sign Kremer's bill into law because, well it's there in front of him? Anything is better than Obama's overreach, right?

Turning the majority political party into a rightwing socialist sledgehammer is just one goal. Kremer's bill would not just target transgender Wisconsinites, it would also turn liberal supporters into intolerant bigots: 
"In an attempt to appease a few individuals, these (liberal) extremists have overplayed their hand and we, as citizens, must stand up to their intolerance and bigotry," wrote Kremer.
Right wing lawsuit mills, with bizarre spin filled names that typically mean just the opposite of their chosen special interest, like the “Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty,” pick and choose who’s “liberty” to defend. Suddenly, enlightened social changes threaten the “long-standing practice” of discrimination:
The conservative public interest law firm, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, criticized the mandate as an "abrupt change in long-standing practice" and an unconstitutional overreach by the Obama administration.
Who could have foreseen the “party of small government” requiring a birth certificate to go to the restroom, the ultimate in nanny state social engineering.

Adding insult to injury, Republicans continue to use the most conservative courts to peel back progress. The Justice Department’s lawsuits over N. Carolina’s law requiring people to use public restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate is now a battle they really want to fight?

"This is a question for the legislature or for the courts interpreting existing law and constitutional provisions," said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel. "It is not a question to be resolved by a bureaucratic command backed up by the blackmail of withholding federal funding."
Is he describing withholding food stamps and unemployment unless a drug test is given? Just wondering.

Here's what the administration wants from our public schools:
The Obama administration directed schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity ... states that Title IX protects students from discrimination based on their gender identity. The Justice Department on Monday sued North Carolina over a bathroom access law that it said violates the rights of transgender people, a measure that Lynch likened to policies of racial segregation and efforts to deny gay couples the right to marry.

Samantha Bee won't let Democrats forget 2010!!! Will 2016 be repeat?

Samantha Bee has made it a point to blame the Democrats for the latest Republican nanny state wave of repressive laws. Thanks to low Democratic voter turnout in 2010, the Republican cockroach infestation spread nationwide. And Bee won't let us forget it.

Will her "subtle" message educate and energize those disappointed liberal progressives willing to throw their vote away if their candidate doesn't get the pick? You were warned:

Walker speaks without thinking again, bought into and pushed "2.8 students per faculty" lunacy.

Going for broke in his war against education and the University of Wisconsin, Scott Walker made up something so ridiculous for his low information voters, that no fact check or pants on fire rating will ever be able to take back. Common sense would have told most people that a statistic like that isn't possible, but what the hell. Bravo! JS

Our rating: Charging that the ratio of students to faculty at UW-Milwaukee is shrinking, Walker said the school has "2.8 students per faculty" member, "tied for second-lowest in its history since 1994."

But Walker cited the wrong statistic. In fact, UW-Milwaukee has 29 students for every professor, associate professor and assistant professor -- and that ratio has been growing, not shrinking, since 1994.

For a statement that is false and ridiculous, our rating is Pants on Fire.