Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Excess Food no longer wasted, going to Food Pantries.

This last weekend, WPT's Market to Market featured a story on excess food distribution, where there are efforts to connect food markets, farmers, restaurants and business cafeterias, with an app that notifies nearby food pantries. 

Another program is taking off right here in Dane County
A couple of years ago, Chris Brockel and others came up with a plan to connect folks without enough food with those who had too much. The idea was to find farms and cafeterias where food was being wasted and reclaim it for area food pantries. Last year, the Healthy Food For All effort got off the ground ... Epic has joined the effort by donating excess food from its employee cafeteria. As an example. In all, the group has distributed over 60,000 pounds of food, which Brockel said translates into about 40,000 meals. 

Hacker releases not so damaging Democratic Party Black Lives Matter "tactics"

Hackers, internal Democratic memos...looks really bad this. Or is it? 

When Republicans get hooked on meme, they just go nuts. Like hacking and internal private memos and emails. Only in this case, the Democratic Party"secrets" make the party look really good. This is weird.

Still, it's all in how you frame the issue. International Business Times
Democratic Party tactics for 'dealing' with Black Lives Matter leaked by hacker: An internal memo reportedly hacked from the personal computer of Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the US House of Representatives, shows how officials were briefed on how to respond to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement – including "tactics" on how to answer questions by activists.
Wow, this looks really bad, right? Wrong, unless the following secrets and "personal" list of responsible planning involving Black Lives Matter scares you:
1. Democratic Party candidates and members should never use the phrases "all lives matter." 

2. Nor mention "black on black crime" as they are "viewed as red herring attacks" and "will garner additional media scrutiny and only anger BLM activists."
Ouch, stop it. Outraged yet? Looks like Democrats stepped in it again. Damn those hackers...making the Democrats look like they actually care about something. Read on if you dare:
3. Democratic Party candidates and members should never use the phrases "all lives matter" nor mention "black on black crime" as they are "viewed as red herring attacks" and "will garner additional media scrutiny and only anger BLM activists."

4. Under a section marked "tactics", Perry instructs Democratic Party officials to "meet with local activists". He wrote: "If approached by BLM activists, campaign staff should offer to meet with local activists. Invited BLM attendees should be limited. Please aim for personal or small group meetings." He advised to "listen to their concerns" but "don't offer support for concrete policy positions."

5. BLM needs partners to achieve their agenda and they want to be a part of the conversation," Perry wrote in the memo last November. "However, BLM activists don't want their movement co-opted by the Democrat Party. They are leary of politicians who hijack their message to win campaigns."

6. Under the title "What to say to media", Perry noted that officials should aim to "rebuild the relationship" between police and community and "explore reforms" to ensure officers are properly trained and don't infringe on citizens' rights.

Radio caller takes down conservative candidate for State Superintendent pushing Charter Schools!

My how times flies. It seems just like yesterday when State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers had to defend himself against the "reform" lunacy of Republican Rep. Don Pridemore. He thought Common Core was a plot against America by the UN and Europe. Yes, he actually said that with a straight face:

Well another "reformer" has stepped forward, this time pushing charter schools. Charters, like vouchers, have been around for a long time. And yet, despite the moves to privatize, Republicans can't stop claiming our schools are failing.

In a recent post, comedian John Oliver shredded the charter school myth as a great way to improve education.

Below, the candidate for state superintendent Lowell Holtz, get schooled by a caller who catches him twisting the states ACT scores into a pretzel, to push charters. The Mitch Henck Show:

WISGOP offers "safe space" for Oppressed Dane County Republicans in weird ad.

Poor Republicans, they still haven't forced every Wisconsin liberal to pack up and leave the state since taking control. Fearful Republicans still can't express themselves in public. When will conservatives stop being blamed, victimized and questioned over every little failure. What can they do to strike back?

Well, the Republican Party of Dane County knows...they've put out a whiny radio ad blaming "liberals" again for the negative consequences of their own supply side agenda. Isn't it interesting that people are more angry and frustrated now since Scott Walker took over almost 6 years ago.

Here's a clip of WISGOP's radio ad that is oddly similar to the fake radio ads Randi Rhodes played in her show, titled "Republican Rehab." Check them both out for a good laugh...oops, I've just victimized Republicans again:
Ad: "Are you a conservative in  Dane County? Do you feel oppressed? Are your days filled with micro aggression's from your liberal co-workers? Are you afraid to talk politics, worried about the consequences if you - come out of the closet as a Republican. There is hope. The Republican Party of Wisconsin has a "safe space," just for you..."

Here's the scarily similar parody ad "Republican Rehab:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Trump's ad wrong about Clinton emails, but then you knew that right?

When it comes to Hillary Clinton's "classified" emails, I thought this recent bit of information clarified matters a bit:

So with that, do you think Trump is even aware of the above statements? You be the judge from Trump's latest Hillary attack ad:

Former Jeb Supporter said Trump "unfit to be Human?"

This is just fun to watch, especially after the great "unfit to be human" and "raised by wolves" comment. When strategist for a pro-Trump super PAC Alex Castellanos brought up the mind numbingly idiotic idea that Democratic mayors were to blame for our troubled US cities, and not national and state economic policies, the other pundits howled: 

Ana Navarro, a former supporter of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, on Sunday said about Trump:
"Forget being unfit to be president. He's unfit to be human. Was he raised by wolves? Who has that as a first reaction upon somebody's death?"

Navarro was talking about the controversy regarding the GOP nominee's tweet about the death of Dwyane Wade's cousin. Navarro tweeted on Sunday she stands by what she said.On Saturday, Trump faced backlash for his tweet "Dwyane Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!"
She preceded her great comment above with the following:
"Hispanics are not going to forget Judge Curiel. African-Americans are not going to forget that he started the birther movement. I don't think Jewish folks forget the anti-Semitic ad against Hillary Clinton. The problem that Donald Trump has is that most humans have a memory. And we're not going to forget it within one week."

Arizona and Illinois state election databases Hacked-FBI

The presidential election is taking an unusual and potentially ominous turn:

Yahoo News/Michael Isikoff:  The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials.

The FBI warning, contained in a “flash” alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections … the FBI Cyber Division issued a potentially more disturbing warning, titled “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems.” … the “exfiltration,” or theft, of voter registration data … targeting by suspected foreign hackers of voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois

The Arizona attack was more limited, involving malicious software that was introduced into its voter registration system but no successful exfiltration of data, a state official said.
 “This is a big deal,” said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer for ThreatConnect. “Two state election boards have been popped, and data has been taken. This certainly should be concerning to the common American voter.” Barger noted that one of the IP addresses listed in the FBI alert has surfaced before in Russian criminal underground hacker forums. He also said the method of attack on one of the state election systems — including the types of tools used by the hackers to scan for vulnerabilities and exploit them — appears to resemble methods used in other suspected Russian state-sponsored cyberattacks.

Experts say the hackers could also have been common cybercriminals hoping to steal personal data on state voters for fraudulent purposes, such as obtaining bogus tax refunds.

Next Year, Buy from Generic competitors to EpiPen.

Thanks for nothing. The company that upped the price on EpiPen's now wants to dominate the "generic" market with the same drug? I could be wrong but maybe just dropping the price would be easier than discount cards, insurance deals and a generic side product.
Click to enlarge
The drug maker's generic EpiPin will sell for $300, half the cost of its branded product. The move comes amid criticism from the public and lawmakers over big price hikes.
$300, what a break? It was just $100 back in 2009. Mylan of course wants to negotiate downward, while still raking in the higher prices paid by the poor and uninsured.

About a week ago, Mylan's CEO Heather Bresch said she was also frustrated by the price, despite ever really justifying the hike or proving the middleman fee structure changed that much (pictured below). The CNBC Squawk Box host Brian Sullivan did a great job of holding Bresch's feet to the fire:

The price of the EpiPen has soared 500% since generic drug company Mylan bought the treatment nine years ago. Yet Mylan’s controversial CEO Heather Bresch says she and her company aren’t solely to blame. 
Here's the chart (a little fuzzy) that supposedly passes the blame for the price increase onto the middlemen, and not poor Mylan:
"My frustration is there's a list price of $608," said Bresch, who said that price reflects a system where there are "four or five hands that the product touches and companies that it goes through before it ever gets to that patient at the counter." ... intermediaries including wholesalers, retailers and pharmacy benefit managers add to the ultimate cost, and hence can increase the amount paid by patients. She noted that Mylan has costs that include "manufacturing the product, distributing the product, enhancing the product, investing."
 You mean like before when prices were lower? Seriously?

Bresch also blamed our broken health care system based on private insurance companies and high deductibles. And don't forget, high deductible insurance came right out of the Republican idea factory, as a way to make sure patients have "skin in the game" (like being sick or injured isn't enough skin in the game). 
She said that the health-care system is in crisis, causing the patient to pay for full retail prices at the drug counter and rising premiums on their health insurance.

"The patient is paying twice," Bresch said. "They're paying full retail price at the counter, and they're paying higher premiums on their insurance.
I thought this paragraph in The Atlantic pretty much summed up our totally screwed up health care system, which would get much worse under Republicans who want to give insurers and big pharma total control:
"Of course, one reason employers are moving to higher-deductible plans is because they’re reacting to rising health-insurance costs—which are climbing in part because companies like Mylan are hiking drug prices." - The Atlantic
Another reason for EpiPen's price increase? Let the Insurance companies pay, or so says "J. Michael Pearson, the former chief of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, which has come to be viewed as an industry pariah after profiting for years on drastic price increases on old drugs:"

Drug maker Mylan also moved out of the US, in one of those corporate "inversions." Note: A competitor says they'll be back, after their own generic version was recently recalled:
Mylan acquired the EpiPen when it bought a group of medications from drug company Merck in 2007. At the time, the product only produced about $200 million in revenue. Today, according to Bloomberg, it makes about $1 billion per year for the formerly US-based company, now headquartered in the Netherlands after a corporate inversion last year.

The EpiPen is no longer covered by patent protection, but it still has no real competitors. Auvi-Q, the only thing that came close, was recalled for delivering faulty dosages almost a year ago. A competing drug company, Teva, didn’t win approval for its generic version of the EpiPen this year. Teva won’t try to win FDA approval again until at least 2017.
So before you blame the Affordable Care Act for insurer price hikes and cost shifting to high deductibles, you might want to direct your frustration at the pharmaceutical companies.

Here's Sen. Elizabeth Warren's explanation, which makes a whole lot of sense:
"These changes will help some customers who are struggling to afford EpiPens. Your discount programs, however, represent a well-defined industry tactic to keep costs high through a complex shell game," Warren wrote.

"When patients receive short-term co-pay assistance for expensive drugs, they may be insulated from price hikes, but insurance companies, the government, and employers still bear the burden of these excessive prices. In turn, those costs are eventually passed on to consumers in the form of higher premiums."
There's more:
Makers have raised prices on brand-name drugs by double-digit percentages since the start of the year, according to interviews with executives at Express Scripts and CVS Caremark, two major drug-benefit managers. “It used to be the drug companies only took one price increase a year,” said Dr. Steve Miller, chief medical officer at Express Scripts. “Now what they’re doing is taking multiple price increases multiple times a year.”

One of the cruelties of drug pricing is that the burden falls most heavily on those least able to pay it. Uninsured patients often must pay the list price of a drug, and an increasingly large share of insured customers are being asked to pay a percentage of the list price.

“It’s sort of embedded in the health care system that the price is never the price, unless you’re a cash-paying customer,” said Adam J. Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, a management advisory and business research company. “And in that case, we soak the poor.”

Huh? DNC chair Donna Brazile offers advice to Trump?

Donna Brazile is the worst kind of Democrat. She's helped enable the radicalization of the Republican Party by letting them off the hook every time, especially with Trump, and gently criticized them instead of telling it like it is. Her latest mealy mouthed advice to Trump is stunning; asking Trump to distance himself from racism and bigotry? I say let the Incredible Trump's big mouth flap!

Fact: Republicans support Charter School corruption and failures.

It always seemed odd that the supposed "party of responsibility" has relentlessly pushed charter schools and private vouchers that had little or no accountability. Seriously, why hasn't anyone questioned that contradiction?

That aside, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver took a look at the "profit" motivated charter school industry. We should note that if a comedian and his staff can come up with example after example of bad charter schools, then why can't Republican supporters do the same thing and rethink the whole idea? We know why; they hate public education, period, even if it's at the expense of educating Americas next generation of workers and business owners. There's money to be made now, unions to break up, and campaign donations to drain from the Democratic Party.

Oh, but they're doing it for minority students in poverty stricken urban areas, despite increasing or eliminated the income cap entirely in recent years.

John Oliver's appalling list of charter school problems should make anyone ask; why start a parallel school system fraught with massive fraud and failure? Republicans never have to answer that question.

And as you watch the jaw dropping presentation, Oliver never even addressed poorly performing online classes and private school vouchers. Isn't the whole idea of vouchers a sneaky way to get taxpayers to fund religious schools, which are predominately 5 day a week Sunday schools.
Diane Ravitch: John Oliver’s Program on Charter Schools Went Viral - John Oliver’s very sharp critique of charter schools went viral. In one week, it has had more than 5 million views.

There are success stories, but few and far between. But even with those charter schools, why are we seeing them share their formulas for success with their hosting districts? That was the plan, right? If they are sharing it, why haven't I read any stories about that?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Voters Reward & Elect Republicans for making Government Fail, Pt. 1

Did the war on poverty really fail? No, but it wasn't a rip roaring success either, thanks to the efforts of the Republican Party. And oh yea, what about "block grants" and "accountability?" 

The idea that Republicans want to restore "accountability" to taxpayer funded programs and policy is ludicrous. In one of the states biggest expenditures, education, Republicans made a point of reducing school accountability for taxpayer supported vouchers. Environmentally, they've almost completely eliminated any accountability for keeping our water supply plentiful and clean. 

Block Grant Scam that made the War on Poverty look bad: And now, research has revealed the same thing happened to the welfare reform "block grant" program, otherwise known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The term "Block grant" is the first clue the Republican scam is on. Block grants allow Republican states to do pretty much anything they want with taxpayer money, federal or state, by reducing safety net programs and political accountability.

Besides all the liberal warnings about the "block grant" scam, let's check in with conservative Peter Germanis, who worked under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and did research at the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Wisconsin Budget Project:
In a January 2016 paper titled “The Need for Common-Sense Conservative Welfare Reform,” he wrote:
“TANF is not ‘welfare reform’ at all, but a fixed and flexible funding stream that has failed to provide an adequate safety net or an effective welfare-to-work program. In many states, it has become a slush fund used to supplant state spending and fill budget holes.”
Sounds like a scam to me. It basically allows Republicans like Scott Walker to pass budget busting tax and spending cuts, at the expense of those who really need it. It also adds to the GOP meme that government can't do anything right, a campaign winner that increases public resentment and anger, and produces lots of Republican votes. These are all GOP poison pill policy decisions that lets them off the hook, and avoid accountability:
There are many reasons why TANF has not been a successful anti-poverty program, but I think these are the primary factors:
1. The funding level has been frozen since TANF was created, and the fixed appropriation level has lost 35 percent of its value over that 20-year period.

2. Much of the funding is being spent for administration rather than direct assistance.

3. States are able to use TANF funds in ways that supplant money the state had had previously spent from its own coffers, as illustrated by Wisconsin’s use of TANF funds to reduce state support for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Paul Ryan's Block Grant Scam: Anyone surprised?
Nevertheless, some conservatives consider TANF to be a success. Speaker Paul Ryan and a number of other Republican lawmakers want to use it as a model for changing Medicaid into a block grant to states, rather than an entitlement program. 

A new report by CBPP contains a number of good recommendations for addressing TANF’s failures

But the most important lesson is that TANF should not be used as a model for changes to critical safety net programs like Medicaid and Food Share.

As Germanis wrote this week about the Task Force Report offered by Speaker Ryan and a number of other Republican lawmakers, “it would not solve problems, it would add to them.”
And that just fosters more resentment while intentionally building on the scheme that government can't do anything right. Go GOP.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Republicans high on New Hallucination; Democratic Mayors liberal policies failed Black Communities?

This story just kind of fell into place, with video and screen captures. The Trump inspired Alt-Right has kicked into high gear with their latest meme, pictured here in a quick Google search:

It's shear lunacy, especially after watching Scott Walker and his legislative plundering pirates attack Milwaukee, strip them of local control and reject efforts to develop a regional thriving business hub.

The Baltimore Sun posted this editorial comment that takes us quickly down the rabbit hole, expecting us to believe that state and national economic policy had nothing to do with minority high unemployment = poverty = the racial gap:
I would ask the black voters of these cities to seriously question whether they believe their lives have been materially improved since their grandparents lived there. Despite a half century of promises, it takes little reflection to agree that life in urban black communities has improved only marginally, if at all. 

While Democrats are fast to point out the problems are the result of "the drug war" or the "unbridled capitalism" of white-owned businesses who took jobs away, you will never hear them look inward and consider that perhaps their leadership and well-meaning but poorly advised liberal social agendas are to blame for much of the misery in poor urban communities. It is time such communities look to new ways of thinking about urban management. If something doesn't work after 50 years of trying the same things over and over, well, it might be time for a change.
 All in with Chris Hayes explored this concept, getting some surprising and unexpectedly ridiculous answers. Really the definitive discussion that exposes its vapid emptiness:
Chris Hayes: "...inner cities in America particularly poor and black areas, are having a hard time is because of Democratic leadership, when everything we know about the accrued history of white supremacy, and red lining, and segregation, and white flight, and disinvestment, is the reason largely that has brought us about to this moment..."

James Rowen's Political Environment reflected on just a few examples of what the state and Scott Walker did to make sure a Democratic leaning Milwaukee gets sufficiently punished:
Blaming someone else...again?
In the wake of GOP Gov. Scott Walker's pledge of $4.5 million in aid to Milwaukee's job-depressed north side after violence there two weeks ago, I noted on this blog that Walker in 2010 campaigned against and helped forfeit federally-funded Amtrak rail line expansion work worth more than $800 million which included train assembly and maintenance work underway and targeted at low-income north side Milwaukee residents.

I also wrote several posts - - one summary, here - - pointing out that Walker has long been a champion of spending more than $6 billion on the freeway system in the Milwaukee area which keeps the region heavily segregated by race and income by routinely omitting transit upgrades hat could help Milwaukee workers in a city land-locked by state law connect with jobs and other opportunities in the suburbs.

I also want to remind readers of Walker's disinterest in and outright hostility to  Milwaukee job creation when he was a GOP state legislator representing suburban Wauwatosa and, later, as Milwaukee County Executive:

* From his legislative perch, Walker sided with other suburban politicians and killed and helpedkill a light rail system in Milwaukee that would have provided construction work, plus housing and business development at stations and along the rail corridors - - a job-creating phenomenon which has occurred in other cities when light rail was built and expanded.
Walker did away with residency rules, came up with a plan to take away local control the school system, and ended citizen approved paid sick leave. Yea, so lets blame the Democrats.

Trump hired Undocumented Polish Workers, didn't pay them, then threatened to turn them over to the INS.

Just to be clear, I've decided to cover Trump because I don't think we'll ever see a more bizarre con man running for president, ever. It's as if a comedian decided to run for president, just so they could do everything wrong to see how far they could push it, and finding out there was no limit.

For instance, All in with Chris Hayes featured this story about Trump stiffing undocumented workers. Any other candidate would be toast after this one, but in Trump's case, it's just another outrage in a long list of other outrages. Seriously, what do you have to do to turn off a right wing voter?

Remember this ridiculous Trump plea to the black community for their vote using racial stereotypes. Trump also claims he will make walking down the street safe again, saying you won't be killed:

Trump just made this outrageous exploitative, self congratulating tweet that still boggles the mind, referenced in the clip above:

Trump's "Best?" Campaign manager's Domestic Abuse over Jewish school kids, and now possible Election Fraud?

Just another questionable day at Trump headquarters:
Barely a week into the job, Donald Trump’s new campaign CEO is already facing harsh scrutiny over a 20-year-old domestic-violence charge and an allegation of voter-registration fraud.

I tweeted this....
But then this just came out: Election fraud? Seems Stephen Bannon may have used a vacant house to vote elsewhere:
Early Friday morning, Guardian US added its own bombshell: Bannon and another ex-wife are registered to vote at a vacant house in Florida, a key swing state. That registration could be a violation of election laws, representing voter fraud. The fact that Bannon’s registration is not on the up-and-up is particularly damaging because Trump has in recent weeks been warning that “rigged” elections and voter fraud were “the only way we can lose” the election.
Stephen Bannon, the chief executive of Trump’s election campaign, has an active voter registration at the house in Miami-Dade County, Florida, which is vacant and due to be demolished to make way for a new development.

“I have emptied the property,” Luis Guevara, the owner of the house. “Nobody lives there … we are going to make a construction there.” Neighbors said the property had been abandoned for several months.

Bannon, 62, formerly rented the house for use by his ex-wife, Diane Clohesy, but did not live there himself. Clohesy, a Tea Party activist, moved out of the house earlier this year and has her own irregular voting registration arrangement. According to public records, Bannon and Clohesy divorced seven years ago. The Trump campaign said simply that Bannon had moved to another location in Florida. Moreover, the Guardian reports that Bannon may have previously registered at an address in Florida where he did not live. Wilfullly providing false voter-registration information in Florida is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. Bannon also lives in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
TRUMP'S BEST: It was nice of Chris Hayes to put together this story, proving once again Trump's one big bullshitter:

Walker's Act 10 brings Wage Disparity to Teaching.

Abrupt and ideologically based major policy changes often come with unintended consequences.

It never occurred to Republicans that there maybe a reason why our schools are public, and private schools are what they are...businesses.  

One teacher I know mentioned to me that the new business like approach has taken away many of the incentives to pursue other course work and degrees that can improve their ability to teach and make more money. High demand courses will soon create shortages in other fields of work. How long before people enter the teaching profession not as a calling, but as a way to make more and more money. 

And now, private sector wage disparity has come to our educators. A new study is telling us the female dominated field of teaching is underpaying women compared to men, largely due to Scott Walker's Act 10.

Male teachers now make more money than their female colleagues in Wisconsin, and a UW researcher says it's because of Act 10.

In researching the teacher shortage in Wisconsin, Dr. Peter Goff - an education leadership and policy analyst - found men who teach in state public schools are earning about $300 more each year than their women counterparts. Dr. Goff said (the gap) is likely to grow. He said the public school system in Wisconsin now more closely resembles the private sector, where women earn about 79 cents for every dollar a man earns.

"One of the things that's very well known in business literature is that men tend to be a little bit more aggressive in negotiating for pay and there's also some evidence that when women are equally aggressive in negotiating for pay, that they're penalized for it," said Dr. Goff. "They're seen as being pushy."

Astar Herndon, state director for 9 to 5 Wisconsin - a women's employment rights group, said Goff's research mirrors what she's seen before. "Some managers are hearing a woman requesting a raise, whereas a man is due a raise because he is more - whether it's competent, he has a family - there's so many more explanations given to a man when he asks for a raise," said Herndon.

A spokesperson for Gov. Scott Walker did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Scott Walker would halt Clinton Foundation's charitable work fighting AIDS, providing Healthy Foods, Child Care, battling Tropical diseases, and offering Infant Warmers.

I have to admit, every time I see Scott Walker seek out a new target, it's like seeing a cockroach scurrying across the floor, seeking out another GOP trashed Democrat to feed on. 

And so it is with The Clinton Foundation. Walker hates charitable help for people and saving lives, because it gets in the way of someone making a profit.

Yea, shut it down, what the heck. Don't bother us with a complicated transfer of control or even more transparency, we want it closed down to make it seem like Hillary is admitting to being corrupt. Blame, punish and win, that's the GOP mantra.  

Just an aside, but for the last decade all we've been hearing from Republicans is how money does not have an influence on their political decisions, and that unless you can prove it, shut the hell up. But that's not how it works for Democrats, and that double standard is by design.  

Like any organization put under the microscope, problems and lapses of procedure will turn up. Want a thorough list? The Hill (link here) details the big ones that are more nuanced than Republicans would have you believe.

But what does the Clinton Foundation do that Scott Walker would simply shut down to win this political skirmish? Fortune Magazine offers a look at many of the things the world could do without, at least according to Scott Walker:
The foundation has a wide array of initiatives: promoting economic equality for women, boosting entrepreneurship in emerging markets and tackling climate change.

It is perhaps best known for its health care initiatives … The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). (It’s) a launching pad for programs by bringing together a variety of stakeholders, including NGOs, executives, entrepreneurs, politicians, and others, who then commit to various ambitious projects.  Since 2005, according to CGI, it has spawned initiatives that:
1. In 2015 the infant and maternal health group Embrace Innovations pledged to bring its innovative Embrace infant warmer (which doesn’t require a fixed electricity source) to 100,000 babies in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

2. Raised $313 million for R&D into new vaccines and medicines.

3. Helped provide better maternal and child survival care to more than 110 million people.

4. Provided treatment for more than 36 million people with tropical diseases.

5. Private firm giant Gilead  GILD and the NAACP joined forces to recruit religious leaders in the African American community to help fight HIV/AIDS, which disproportionately affects blacks in the U.S. …  Medical tech company Becton Dickinson bd, has committed to dramatically cutting the price of CD4 immune cell tests for HIV-positive people across 55 countries.

6. The Foundation collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA) called the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, has helped provide access to healthier meals across more than 31,000 American schools and boosted physical education, the availability of nutritious meals, and extracurricular exercise in poor communities with high obesity rates.

7. The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), which is an independent entity of the Clinton Foundation, may have had the most wide-ranging impact on global public health to date. It has helped negotiate HIV/AIDS therapy price cuts as high as 90%, ensuring access to these treatments for more than 11.5 million people across more than 70 countries, CHAI says.
Besides the thousands of Foundation workers that would lose their jobs, just how open will most charities be after this media trashing? Come to think of it, don't you just hate all these phony charities now?

CharityWatch gives the organization a solid “A.” The group says that the foundation spent 88% of its 2014 outlays directly on programs (rather than overhead) and that it only has to spend $2 to raise $100.

The available data indicates that the Clinton Foundation is a top-tier institution in the philanthropic world, according to CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff, who also says the foreign fundraising criticisms made about the organization could be applied to any number of international charities. “And by those accounts, the Clinton Foundation has a strong record. They reveal much more information about themselves than many other charities.”
I just found this Americablog statement from the editor. The clip is low quality audio, but does make the case why getting rid of the Clinton Foundation is a bad idea:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Clinton Warns of the Trump Alt-Right Movement

While many assume Hillary Clinton was in pure campaign mode when she described Trump's "alt-right" agenda, I thought it was more of an alert to the nation.

Here's a clip of that speech, minus a few campaign references, that also raises the question why Republicans are oddly silent about Hillary's charges against Trump. This is a 21 minute warning:

Republican solution for everything: Guns and Name Calling.

Oh sure, not every Republicans is like this, blah, blah, blah....

AP: Republican Gov. Paul LePage has unleashed an obscene tirade on a Democratic legislator, leaving him a voicemail message that said "I am after you" and telling reporters he wished it were 1825 so he could challenge the lawmaker to a duel and point a gun between his eyes.
Supposedly, a Democratic legislator called him a racist. But seriously folks, LePage is a racist:

LePage (made) racially insensitive comments Wednesday at a town hall where he said photos he's collected in a binder of drug dealers arrested in the state showed that 90 percent of them "are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut; the Bronx; and Brooklyn." In January, Paul LePage said drug dealers with names like "D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty" are getting Maine's white girls pregnant. He later apologized, saying he meant to say "Maine women" and not "white women."
Whether Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine of Westbrook called LePage a racist or not, the governors knuckle dragging, school yard bully response is now standard operating procedure for the Republican Party. Maine voters intentionally picked this guy as their "leader," believe it or not, twice, because they think like him:

"I want you to prove that I'm a racist. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. When a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist, now I'd like him to come up here because, tell you right now, I wish it were 1825. And we would have a duel, that's how angry I am, and I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you, I would not be (Alexander) Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes because he is a snot-nosed little runt and he has not done a damn thing since he's been in this Legislature to help move the state forward." -LePage
Like Trump, LePage is another fine example of how to blame everyone else, not to deal with problems, not take responsibility, not act like an adult and how use a gun to solve problems. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Walker's AG Schimel's rigged system, setting Milwaukee up for more Violence.

Ever wonder why Scott Walker keeps bragging endlessly about a specific law that is has yet to proven effective? Yea, there's something going on he's not telling us;
Urban Milwaukee's Bruce Murphy: It was a bipartisan effort by state representatives Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) that created the law passed in April 2014 requiring an outside investigation of any police-involved deaths. The law seems particular far-sighted in the case of Sylville Smith, the man killed by a Milwaukee officer, (resulting in the Sherman Park neighborhood violence).
Yup, it’s another Scott Walker con game, where he brags publicly about a law he knows is just a sham to protect campaign donors; the Milwaukee Police Association.
Gov. Scott Walker has bragged about signing the Taylor-Bies law and emphasized the need for independent investigations: “I’m proud to say I’m the only governor in America… who signed a law that says there needs to be an independent investigation any time there’s a death of someone in police custody,” he told the national media while running for president.
So who did Walker call? His lapdog AG Brad Schimel. You’d think Walker would have done everything he could to impress Wisconsin voters with the most impartial and impressive investigation ever. Nope, he's got an agenda:
The fact the state investigation is using retired Milwaukee police officers in the Smith probe. The AG told the media he doesn’t see a conflict in using MPD officers.
This has the potential to not just look like the system is gamed if the officer is most likely cleared, it’ll destroy the trust anyone had in our system of justice:
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, while stressing that the body camera video suggested the shooting of Smith “certainly appeared to be within lawful bounds.” Rep. Chris Taylor: “As one of the authors of the officer-involved shooting legislation that requires outside, independent investigators, I can tell you that allowing former Milwaukee police officers to investigate their former department circumvents the true intention of the bill.” Actually, what Taylor was suggesting was exactly what her Republican co-sponsor and former deputy sheriff Bies had suggested about the Dontre Hamilton investigation.
The AG’s reaction was swift. It didn’t just unfairly criticizing Taylor, but also denounced the Democrats and anyone else in the state who would dare question Brad Schimel’s authority:
His arrogant spokesperson Johnny Koremenos: (It's) a "continued … assault on law enforcement. It should come as no surprise to anybody familiar with Rep. Taylor’s background — an attorney with no experience in the courtroom, either as a prosecutor or criminal defense attorney, and zero experience in any law enforcement capacity — would come up with this meritless idea. To imply that deeply experienced DCI agents are unable to carry out a thorough and thoughtful investigation on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Justice in the search for truth is insulting to all those who wear a badge. Furthermore, one can only deduce that by making such a proposal, Rep. Taylor intends to sow doubt in the public’s mind that law enforcement officers in this state lack the integrity and character our citizens have come to expect.”
Schimel isn’t smart enough to do something that would appear to make matters worse in Milwaukee without Walker’s orders:
When Schimel announces the results of his investigation from his office 75 miles away in Madison, any reaction in Milwaukee will be the concern of Flynn, Mayor Tom Barrett and other officials who must weather the potential storm. I hope I’m wrong, but Schimel’s arrogance, his refusal to recognize the importance of conducting an investigation that looks impartial, could end up being destructive to this city. 

Trump's nationalism lapped up by low information conservative voters in Wisconsin.

It's a funny but sad reality; one moment Republicans tell us to hate government, but in another feel outraged when some students refuse to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance to that same government.

It's opposite day everyday in Republican world. Perhaps conservatives tack more to the Bizarro World pledge...I mean code, pictured to the right.

Like most rightwing cliched memes on Facebook, another clueless parent is supposedly guiding their children through the maze of life with wisdom gleaned from their own low information experiences:

It took this Facebook comment to bring everyone back to reality:
One commenter wrote. "The very thing that many of you claim ('this is America') is what allows people to opt out. History is a wonderful subject."
In Walker's Wisconsin: The Daily Show's Jordan Klepper asked a few Trump supporters, those we now recognize as "real Americans," about his plan to conduct "extreme vetting" for those coming into the country. Their reactions are typically conservative, everything the pledge request is, and more:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Republicans claim Walker Rigged Elections...big surprise.

Republicans say they're the party that defends against voter fraud. It's all about the integrity of our elections.

But what happens when those same Republicans accuse fellow Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker of cheating, election fraud? Crickets from the "stand with Walker" trolls??
Governor Scott Walker is dismissing a claim that he had a hand in rigging Wisconsin elections. Asked about the column on Thursday, the governor brushed it off, saying only that it’s “apparently that’s what the long term effect is of legalizing marijuana in the District of Columbia.”
Really, a pot joke?
In a column released earlier this week, conservative political consultant Roger Stone said there are strong indications Walker and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus rigged as many as five election in Wisconsin…including the recall election that targeted Walker.

Stone based the claim in part on a study done by a voting statistics expert, which compared actual election results to exit polling.

Walker did not offer any further comment. Stone is a former advisor to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign.
 Of course this just might a really sneaky way to try and get Democrats to admit there is such a thing as rigging a presidential election....

Walker takes from UW and Wisconsin's future to Fund Roads.

Republicans will never stopped criticizing former Gov. Jim Doyle for dipping into the transportation fund so he could pay for public education. That's because they believe it should be the other way around.

So now you know how Scott Walker borrowed money for road construction, without increasing our debt. He took money away from the University of Wisconsin for building projects.

If that wasn't bad enough, that little trick will cost the UW $30 million more. Now that "fiscal conservatism."
The state Legislature's nonpartisan budget office says the state could have to spend roughly $30 million more on several University of Wisconsin System building projects that were delayed in the last budget. Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers froze bonding for all but a couple building projects in the last budget. That let them continue to borrow for roads while still keeping overall bonding low.

Oshkosh Democratic state Rep. Gordon Hintz, who asked for the Fiscal Bureau memo, said it shows the folly of delaying these projects in the first place. "It's not any more fiscally responsible to delay doing them only to have to pay more in the future to get the same projects done simply because you can't make good financial decisions," Hintz said. "This was an example of the cost of inaction.”

Bonding will once again be an issue in the next budget as lawmakers and the governor continue to struggle with how to fund transportation ... lawmakers, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who say current levels of road bonding are unsustainable.
But don't take my word for pointing out Walker's folly and bad budgeting, they're proud of the shell game:
Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said, "The last state budget included the lowest levels of bonding in at least 20 years, and the governor will seek to keep bonding low in the next budget," Evenson said.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Walker blasts Clinton for "inflaming the situation" after she simply asked Milwaukee to "rebuild trust" between community and police.

Well, this Hillary Clinton comment about the unrest in Milwaukee seemed harmless enough...
Clinton said that the shooting and riots in Milwaukee demonstrated that police and communities need to "rebuild trust," so that "everyone has respect for the law and is respected by the law."
And yet Scott Walker - after having once compared Wisconsin protesters with ISIS - thought Clinton's comments just made matters worse? Seeing a chance to exploit a bad situation....Business Insider:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday morning that Hillary Clinton is inflaming tensions in Milwaukee following riots in the city over the death of a black man shot by police last week ... both Clinton and Obama of making the situation in the city worse, though he did not specify how.
"I think comments like that are just inflaming the situation. I think people understand in that neighborhood, in Sherman Park and Milwaukee, they want the law enforcement to step up and protect them. The people who live in that neighborhood want police in Milwaukee and the sheriff's department to step up and protect them. They don't want the criminals who are doing those actions against those businesses to do that. I think statements like that and the lack of leadership we've had from the president on this issue only inflames the situation."
Someone's going to have to explain to me how "rebuild trust," and hope "everyone has respect for the law and is respected by the law" "inflames the situation?"

AG Schimel argues Walker illegal campaign coordination legal now, retroactively, to US Supreme Court.

Nothing says political elite than seeing Scott Walker order his Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel to declare his past illegal activity legal. And that's after his march-in-lockstep legislature passed a law allowing campaign coordination with issue advocacy groups, which at the time was illegal.

According to the WSJ story, elites can get off breaking our laws by just changing it later; “Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature have since changed the law making the alleged activity legal.”
Attorney General Brad Schimel asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to reject a review of a halted criminal investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign, Schimel’s filing argues the court should reject the appeal because Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature have since changed the law making the alleged activity legal and prohibiting the use of secret “John Doe” proceedings in investigating campaign finance violations.
Yes, Schimel offered that argument up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Wow.  Skip the legalities, right? And how does prohibiting John Doe investigations of campaign violations help his argument? But the following reason was a head spinner: 
“The people of Wisconsin thus made as clear as they possibly could that they wish to put this unfortunate chapter behind them,” Schimel wrote.
The “people?” Oh, he means those highly partisan representatives controlling all branches of government. Got it:
Walker’s 2012 recall campaign violated election laws regulating coordination between campaigns and so-called issue advocacy groups that have backed Republicans and conservative Supreme Court justices. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Charlie Sykes admits doing a remarkable job attacking media, "but perhaps what we did was also to destroy any sense of a standard ... Where do you go to say this is the truth?"

Call me surprised. TMJ's Charlie Sykes admitted on MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes, that conservative media went to far discrediting every news media source they didn't agree with, and now can't take it back.

Joan Walsh did her best not to say I told you so, agreeing with Sykes' eye opening, right on the mark analysis:

Trump Trolls: Defending insurance companies and telling people with preexisting conditions, it's your problem!!!

There's a reason there are so many stories predicting the end of the Affordable Care Act's exchanges. But the real story is not getting media coverage; insurers simply found out they can't compete with each other by lowering their prices, the underlying free market idea that would make Paul Ryan's supposed "patient centered" reform so successful.

So over the weekend, I responded to the story below with a few comments of my own:
Taxpayers on the Hook as Obamacare Exchanges Near the Edge of Collapse: UnitedHealth is pulling out completely, Humana is pulling out of 88 percent of counties it was in, and last weak Aetna strongly suggested it will be exiting, too, unless it gets bribed to stay with a huge, annual infusion of direct corporate bailout payments from taxpayers. Obamacare supporters need to be held accountable for the law’s manifest failures – not permitted to paper them over with billions more of our tax dollars.
Of the two rightwing rants, the last response pretty much encapsulates the survivalist world view of conservative voters everywhere. It's been that one thing that divides us on health care; do we save people or let them die. It's enough to give you a chill:

No one’s talking about the elephant in the room: Insurers are dropping out because they're losing money competing, lowering their prices to gain customers. The marketplaces simply proved insurers can't survive by competing and dropping the sick to boost their bottom lines. Now what, junk policies under the Republican plan that covers fewer medical issues and includes small print exclusions? Yup.

The liberal is pulling out the 'pity, pity, pity' statements and complaining about the 'evil insurance companies'. Same worthless emotional arguments those snivelers always have.
These sniveling liberals could still (plenty of rich ones!) start their own insurance company or mutual company or something to provide health insurance at a ‘‘fair’’ price. Wow, without the obscene profits, they could compete in the open market at a very low price. Obviously, besides serving themselves, they could take all sorts of current customers away from the bad, evil, big insurance companies.
That is, of course, if the liberals are capable of taking real action. Maybe they are only good at whining, sniveling, and wanting their Mommy (government) to fix everything for them.

Who covers and pays for those with preexisting conditions...oops, forgot to think past your ideology.

That's the problem of the person with the pre-existing condition, not some insurance company that you're trying to force to pay for something that's not their responsibility. And the only insurance company that should be covering a pre-existing condition is the insurance company that the person was with BEFORE the condition existed, since for them, it wasn't a pre-existing condition. And if you didn't have insurance before the condition existed, then it's your own responsibility to pay for it, no one else's. This is the problem with you libs. You're always trying to get someone else to pay for things that are YOUR responsibility to pay for. You're all OPM addicts, as in OPM = Other People's Money!!!

Didn't need to "think past" anything on that. The answer was self-evident.