Thursday, August 31, 2017

Walker Wreaking Havoc in Wisconsin Part 2: Failed Manufacturing Jobs Comeback, Income Inequality Highest Level Since Great Depression!

Scott Walker is still playing up his vision of a "manufacturing Renaissance" in Wisconsin, and he's now betting $3 billion of taxpayer money so he could add 3,000 Foxconn jobs, with a promissory note for 10,000 more, maybe? Is Walker trying to hide something?

Maybe! It's, it's shocking to note:

Funny thing, PolitiFact bent over forwards trying to get Walker off the hook, saying he became governor well after the Great Recession, and that governors have little impact on creating jobs. That's not what Walker himself says daily, going as far as to blame the recessions job losses on Gov. Jim Doyle's liberal policies.

Back to the Great Depression: Walker likes to brag about the low unemployment numbers, Executive magazines anecdotally high opinion of Wisconsin's business climate, and those promised 3,000 Foxconn jobs, but that means squat for the future:
The state hasn't seen such striking levels of inequity since the Great Depression. Wisconsin is seeing a growing income gap between its top-earners and the average worker, according to a report released earlier this month from the Wisconsin Budget Project and the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) in Madison.

The top 1 percent in the state has seen their income rise by 131 percent after adjusting for inflation. At the same time, income for the remaining 99 percent grew just 9 percent. The richest 1 percent in Wisconsin made -- on average -- 19 times as much as everyone else in 2014 ... Most people in Wisconsin made less than $50,000 a year on average while the top 1 percent brought in around $933,000 each year.
So what can Walker do? In the past he discounted a hike in the minimum wage by saying he wanted people to just get better paying jobs. I know, idiotic right?
The report makes several recommendations ... The state can avoid a growing disparity by removing barriers to work, improving access to health care, continuing support for workforce training and increasing the minimum wage.

"Most other states have set a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage, including many states that are controlled by Republicans," she said. The National Conference of State Legislatures lists 29 states with a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour, including Minnesota and Michigan.

Walker Wreaking Havoc in Wisconsin Part 1: Torching building codes that take us back to the 1950's.

Let's go back to a time before the War on Poverty, safety building codes and local government control. Scott Walker's one size-fits-all big government juggernaut is quietly taking us "back to the future," circa 1955.

Burn Baby Burn, the Return of Dangerous Building Codes: Who would have thought a professional group like the Wisconsin Builders Association would not only give themselves a very public black eye, but actually try and make buildings more dangerous and life threatening for renters? Devoid of a good argument, they want to build apartments on the cheap, without sprinkler systems because...wait for it, it conflicts with state law? That's your reason?
The Wisconsin Builders Association has fought the (3-20 apartment) sprinkler regulation, saying "We are hopeful that the rule of law prevails on this issue, and the state statues are the true law of the land and are not superseded by administrative rules that do not have as much review and scrutiny as state statutes,” said Brad Boycks, executive director of the association.
That ego stroking "rule of law" was passed by Walker and his plundering Republican pirates as a way to undercut administrative regulations, saying they hinder businesses with burdensome costly regulations they did not approve: 
The Walker administration stopped enforcing that regulation earlier this summer, saying it conflicts with a 2011 law that limits the power of regulations ... state agencies cannot write regulations that go further than what is spelled out in state law. State law says fire sprinklers are required in buildings with more than 20 units. In 2008, the state put into effect the sprinkler rule for buildings with three or more units for any building built after Jan. 1, 2011.
Back to the 50's: "People will Die:"

Ed Ruckriegel, fire marshal for the city of Madison, said new buildings are constructed with fewer fire safety standards, like shorter hallways, because it's assumed the required sprinklers will be there. If sprinklers aren't there, he said that could cause big problems.
"Then the buildings would be built to like 1950s standards, in terms of fire safety. It's not just a fire sprinkler issue, it is now building unsafe and substandard buildings."
Think about it. Even after our "BIG" government Republicans heard the arguments to keep in place the current rule for sprinklers, they still decided not to do anything about it...and they've had a lot of time to make that save lives (we've seen this with health care and the environment too):
Fire officials and those who work with fire victims said such rules save lives. "I think it's a mistake and it puts lives at risk," said Amy Acton, executive director of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. "It's really going back in fire protection ... People will die."

Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing said if the rule can't be enforced, legislators should quickly address the issue and make sure new buildings with three to 20 apartments are equipped with fire sprinklers.
“To think we’re going to roll that back is disheartening. As firefighters, we know that sprinklers save lives. When you look at a building and you think what can I do for protecting that building and the people in it, the single most important component of that is a sprinkler system.”
Town of Madison Fire Chief David Bloom called the change an "extreme rollback."

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ANTIFA: "We are equating people fighting Nazis with Nazis."

I haven't been shy about my support of ANTIFA. They are a reaction to right wing extremism, and they're ready to use force against the terrorist campaign of white nationalists and right wing militias. I'm using the term terrorist because the use of Nazi symbols, and American citizens dressed in military fatigues armed to the teeth with the weapons of war, are being used to threaten, frighten and terrorize their opposition.

Seriously, who wants to start a conversation or a debate about race or social policy with these guys? They're more about psyching out their opponent than exchanging ideas. I remember concealed carry advocates joking about having the upper hand in a lively debate.

So what about the physical attacks by ANTIFA protesters? I don't like it, but there's more to it. When armed right wing militia groups terrorize the unsuspecting unarmed general public with public protests and the promise of an armed revolution against their liberal enemies, there was bound to be an equal and opposite reaction. Crazy huh, who could have anticipated that?  

Check out the clarifying story below. From NPR:
A planned rally of right-wing activists in Berkeley, Calif., mostly fizzled out, but thousands of peaceful left-wing protesters turned out, singing songs and chanting. About 150 members of anti-facist groups — also known as antifa or black bloc protesters — also were there, marching in formation with covered faces. Then a couple of people from the right-wing did show up.

That's when Al Letson, host of the investigative radio program and podcast Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, saw one right-wing man fall to the ground, and some left-wing antifa protesters beating him. Letson jumped on top of the guy to protect him, because, he says, he didn't want anyone to get hurt. 
"When I glanced to my left I saw, you know, a mass of people just coming off the lawn towards this guy, and I don't know — I just, I thought they were going to kill him. And I just didn't want anybody to die. And I just put my body down on top of his, in the hopes that they would not hit me."
Letson offered up this about the ANTIFA movement (audio): 

On if this event changed his view of antifa protesters: 
"It hasn't really changed the way I think about them at all. I think that the problem that happens when we have the antifa or people on the left engaging in violence is that it shifts the narrative.

Suddenly, we are equating people that are fighting Nazis with Nazis — and the two things don't equate, right? And we've seen what they can do when they're in power. So we see and know exactly what that is.

It's a false equivalency to say that the people fighting back against that are the exact same. But I also see how the violence that is coming from the antifa movement can be spun to make it seem like the two are equivalent.

So you know, we're living in tricky times when there's a lot of nuance that needs to be walked through — and America is not good at nuance. So I think, for me, it didn't change the way I thought about them, but it does mean as a reporter, as a producer, as a journalist ,that I'm thinking even more about what that nuance means, and how to communicate it to the audience."

Walker-Con privatizes profits, socializes risk and other truths...

Let's just call it what it is, Walker-Con. The idea that "jobs" are always more important than sound financial decision making has got to stop, and this would be a good place to start!

The Democrats are moving at a snails pace in coming up with a strong message in opposition to this outrageous Republican flip flop on free market economics. State Superintendent Tony Evers, in announcing his bid to run for governor, framed the issue perfectly. Yet it's getting absolutely no Democratic traction...
Tony Evers criticized the awful Trump-Walker Foxconn deal by comparing it to the favorable deal the City of Verona made with Epic Systems to create jobs in Wisconsin. Evers said in his remarks, “Take a look at Epic in Verona. They invested in Wisconsin because we already had a talented workforce. And they did this all with $9 million dollars of city of Verona investment – not $3 billion like Foxconn. Epic has created almost 10,000 jobs. It’s on a campus almost entirely off-the-grid in terms of its use of utilities…There is a huge difference between this strategic investment and the awful deal Scott Walker and Donald Trump cut with Foxconn.”

Dem. candidate for governor, Milwaukee business executive Andy Gronik said, if he was a corporate director and a CEO like Walker brought a Foxconn deal with so few details to that board, “I would first deny the deal, and then I’d fire Scott Walker.”

Dem. candidate Rep. Dana Wachs, of Eau Claire, repeated his opposition to the deal last week: “It would bring Chinese-style economics to Wisconsin, complete with air and water pollution, fewer worker protections, and government choosing winners and losers based on which corporations curry favor with them.”
...or this middle of the road, pathetic, uninspired framing of the Walker-Con deal that falls noticeably flat. Note: Anyone out there think there won't be another recession in the next 10 to 25 years, or supply side Republicans won't reduce revenues even more via tax cuts? Seriously?:
Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, who sits on the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, agreed the cost of the Foxconn tax credits will be “manageable” if state revenues, through tax collections, increase. But Erpenbach said that may not be the case if an economic downturn occurs. “We have to pay (Foxconn) before we pay anybody else,” Erpenbach said. “That puts a lot of other things at risk.”
Hardly what I would call a finger wagging "I told you so" when things eventually go south.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Beyond the 2nd Amendment - Guns..."these are rights we immediately come out of the womb with."

We were born with the God given right to buy and carry a gun?
Dana Loesch: "These are rights that were inherent to us, being American citizens, born on this soil, these are rights that we immediately come out of the womb with." 

The Second Amendment: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

PBS/Frontline: While conventional wisdom suggests that an individual’s right to bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the Constitution, it is, in fact, a relatively recent interpretation, according to New Yorker writer and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
FRONTLINE spoke with Toobin, author of The Oath, about what he describes as “the conservative re-casting of the Second Amendment” and whether potential new gun control laws could conflict with it.
Describe early understandings of the Second Amendment. Was there uncertainty or ambiguity about what it meant?
The overwhelming consensus was that the Second Amendment gave state militias a right to obtain and bear arms, but it did it not give individuals any rights. … The words of the Second Amendment are ungrammatical and difficult to understand in the best of circumstances. But if you look at the history and context of the amendment, including other references to state militias in the Constitution, it suggests that the amendment only applied to state militias.
Now what makes this subject so difficult in the modern world is that state militias don’t exist anymore, so we have no familiarity with what a state militia is. But it was simply taken as a given in constitutional law that the Second Amendment did not give individuals a right to bear arms.
When and how did that understanding begin to change to reflect an individual’s right?
It really started to change with the rise of the modern conservative movement in the ’70s and ’80s. You had Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese, who was his attorney general, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in the Senate, really making a very sustained argument that the courts had misunderstood the Second Amendment for hundreds of years, and the NRA was an indispensable partner in this moment. And it became the conservative conventional wisdom that the Second Amendment gave an individual the right to bear arms.
You had Orrin Hatch, when he was chairman of the judiciary subcommittee, putting forth a major report [PDF] that said all the courts were wrong about the Second Amendment. The country appears to have gotten more sympathetic to the argument that guns make people safer, not more dangerous.
The idea that the Second Amendment gives individuals a right to bear arms was advocated so forcefully, so broadly and so persuasively that Democrats gave up on fighting the issue.
In your book The Oath, you explore how even then-Sen. Barack Obama took on this individual rights understanding and walked back some of his earlier views on gun control. What does that convey?
I think Obama personally illustrates how much the individual rights view has evolved into the conventional wisdom even for Democrats. Now, I think Obama and at least some Republicans would differ about the extent of what the Second Amendment represents, but I think Obama’s embrace of the individual rights theory illustrates how pervasive that theory has become.
… The climax of this reinvention of the Second Amendment came with the [District of Columbia v.] Heller case in 2008 with the Supreme Court when it reversed decades of precedent and [gave] individuals a right to bear arms. What the court left unclear was how extensive that right was. What Heller says is that you have a right to a handgun in your home. It does not say anything about assault weapons. It does not say anything about concealed weapons.
This is political as much as legal. This is about justices who come out of the conservative movement advocating positions that they’ve advocated for a long time. And what the Second Amendment means is not determined by the Second Amendment, it’s determined by who wins presidential elections and gets to appoint their like-minded justices.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

NRA selling Guns to fight "Elites...that threaten our very survival" trying to stop Right Wing from Fact Checking them?

Where do I start on gun rights, or should I say, weapons rights? The Second Amendment doesn't mention guns specifically, so what we're talking about is anything a citizens wants to use to protect themselves. Oddly, conservatives say there should be no limits on the Second Amendment, but then are fine with limits on tanks, bombs and chemical...etc?

A recently released NRA ad that's just starting to get attention now, especially after Charlottesville, Trump's dog whistle endorsement of the white nationalist movement and his pardon of racist and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, is unapologetically calling liberals "elites," the enemy "threatening our very survival," and promising psycho guns nuts will be "coming for you."
Fox News: The NRA has put out a series of videos that announce a "shot across the bow," and say the gun-rights group is "coming for you" and that "elites ... threaten our very survival," terms that suggest opponents are enemy combatants.
Here's a look at the 2 incendiary ads featuring Dana Loesch, a supposed "former liberal."

The first ad targets the NY Times, and promises to "fact check" the papers criticisms by first destroying the whole idea of actual fact checking, and then reinforcing the right wing myth someone is trying to stop them from fact checking:

"We've had it with your narratives, your propaganda, your fake news. We've had it with your constant protection of your Democrat overlords, your refusal to acknowledge any truth that upsets the fragile construct that you believe is real life. And we've had it with your tone-deaf assertion that you are in any way truth or fact-based journalism. Consider this the shot across your proverbial bow. ... In short? We're coming for you."
A Call for an Armed Insurrection: This is not a joke:
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Associated Press the tone and language is "overwrought rhetoric" that, viewed by the wrong person, could lead to violence. The kicker on one of the videos — "We're coming for you" — is straight out of the movies, she said, and "that phrase means that violence is imminent and we will perpetrate it."
Armed Revolution Coming: My conservative friend in Milwaukee (since the 1960's), who is now a drooling Trump supporter, recently texted the message below after I reminded him of how the white nationalists are running scared and canceling events after encountering the small but growing ANTIFA (anti-fascist) movement. And this wasn't the only time he's said this...:
"If you want to defend your fascist ANTIFA racist pals, go ahead. You want to be on that side of a civil war, be my guest. Just remember, we got the guns, the ammo, and there will be no rules for rules of engagement. Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization just as ANTIFA...we will win."
He really did say that. And I can't discount that there are many others who feel the same way.

A recent Charlottesville video surfaced showing a Nazi sympathizer firing a gun into a crowd of protesters... a "shot across your proverbial bow?" Oh, and this guy is another one of those "responsible" gun owners, until he's not:

NY Times: A white nationalist protester in a bulletproof vest turned, pointed a pistol toward the crowd and fired a single shot at the ground, in the direction of a black man wielding an improvised torch.

To make his escape, a video recording shows, the armed protester strolled past a line of about a dozen state police troopers who were safely positioned about 10 feet away behind two metal barricades. None of them budged. “We all heard it and ran — I know damn well they heard it,” said Rosia Parker, a community activist in Charlottesville. “They never moved.” Police had a suspect in the shooting in custody on Saturday morning ... But residents are still demanding to know why officers did not act in real time as heavily armed people fought and a car sped toward a crowd, killing a woman.
UPDATE: From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
In 2013, a bandana-sporting, Baltimore-area man named Richard Preston served as a Klu Klux Klan imperial wizard, arguing that the KKK was not racist but simply wanted to "stop Barack Obama," as he said at a county meeting that year. He wore a white hood in the appearance.

"We're going to do this all over America nonstop," he said at the meeting. "We're not going to stop."

The Preston arrested on Saturday now faces a charge of discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, according to CNN, a felony that could lead to 10 years in prison.
Peaceful Armed Nationalist Movement? And while Trump supporters spread vile stories of violent ANTIFA protesters breaking windows and burning cars, they never seem to mention stuff like this:
Investigators are also close to making arrests in the case of DeAndre Harris, 20, a local teacher’s aide and African-American who was beaten with a metal pipe and slabs of wood in a parking garage just a few yards from Police Headquarters, the city manager, Maurice Jones said.
Here's Loesch throwing out a few "concerned" looks bragging about how she'll "fisk" (slang, meaning to refute or criticize a journalistic article or blog point by point) the NY Times, perpetuating the surreal myth someone is out there trying to stop them, even the NRA, from fact checking the media. Who comes up with this stuff?

Jacking up Gun Sales under a GOP Authority:
Critics of the NRA contend the organization is relying on the "fake news" mantra started by Trump to whip up its followers after a dip in gun sales that has taken place since Trump succeeded President Barack Obama.

Mike Nelson, a Democratic congressional candidate in Arkansas and self-described hunter and gun-rights supporter, to label them as "hate speech." Nelson, whose website lists the NRA among more than two dozen organization he's supported, said he can no longer back the NRA. In a Facebook post, Nelson wrote: 
"If the NRA does not stop their hate campaign, I will call them out on sedition. Sedition is the willful undermining of the legal authority, the Incitement of Violence."
Robert Spitzer, chairman of the political science department at State University of New York at Cortland, who has examined the firearms industry and Second Amendment issues extensively and a member of the NRA as well as the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said "They've held up the U.N. as ready to swoop in and take everybody's guns." Plenzler, who has since dropped his NRA membership, said he was disturbed by the videos. 
"Lately, it seems like they've gone well out of the bounds of any sort of sane responsible behavior. If you want to advocate for the Second Amendment, which I unapologetically believe in, that's fine. But I think at the point where you are going to demonize half the American population in a recruitment effort to get more members, I've got a big problem with that."

Friday, August 25, 2017

Trump Trolls Exposed!!!

Remember how angry Republicans were about Barack Obama's lack of experience to be president? Yet that lack of experience was the right wings biggest selling point for Trump. Can't imagine what that one little thing was that made all the difference.

It's not racism, that's for sure...

SC resident Russell Walker: "I don't believe [the confederate flag] is a symbol of racism. I don't believe it's a symbol of slavery. Hey, I go down the street I see Martin Luther Coon -- I shouldn't say that. I mean, Martin Luther King. Should I insist they rip the street signs down that say Martin Luther King Street or the rest of that stuff?"
Black Like Me in Reverse....: The world of social media has opened the door to the kind of research below, by award-winning poet and actor from Denver Theo Wilson. Wilson echos what I have experienced with my own rabid Trump trolls; an alternative world of Obama bashing and a normalized Hillary misogyny that resulted after decades of character assassination (often described as being calculating and cold):
Washington Post: As soon as Theo Wilson started making YouTube videos about culture and race, trolls using racial slurs started flocking to his page. After engaging in endless sparring matches in the comments section, Wilson began to notice something curious: His trolls seemed to speak a language unto themselves, one replete with the same twisted facts and false history. It was as if they had all passed through some “dimensional doorway,” arriving from an alternative universe where history, politics and commonly accepted facts had been turned inside out.

There was the idea that slavery was a form of charity that benefited enslaved Africans; that freed blacks owned more slaves than whites before the Civil War; that people of color make up the majority of those receiving aid from America's safety-net programs; and that investor and philanthropist George Soros is funding protest movements like Black Lives Matter. In 2015, he started by creating a ghost profile named “Lucious25,” a digital white supremacist who appeared to be an indigenous member of the alt-right's online echo chamber.

Wilson's alternate identity was questioning President Barack Obama's birthplace, railing against Black Lives Matter and bemoaning people he called “race-baiters,” such as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. After several months, he was a disaffected fixture on alt-right websites that draw white supremacists — such as Info Wars and American Renaissance — and in the comments section of racist YouTube videos.

Language of the National Socialist Nazi Movement: If you've heard a Trump speech, then you've heard the dog whistle language of white nationalists. Don't believe me, well....:

Proud History of Slavery? Sure, why not (thanks to Trump): This is one of the most amazing examples yet this week, where slavery is "good history:"

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Every County in U.S. now covered by Insurers in the ObamaCare Marketplaces.

ObamaCare is collapsing? That must be true if Paul Ryan, Scott Walker and Donald Trump say unequivocally that it's collapsing and putting people in danger.

Republicans have once again proven they have no real concept of what an actual free market does. 

Way back when, I grew up with the popular talking point that there was always somebody behind you waiting to take your place if you decide to give up or fail. I think it's time to bring that back:
As of Thursday, every county in the U.S. will have at least one ObamaCare insurer in 2018.
CareSource announced that it would fill the last remaining "bare" county in Paulding County in Ohio. “The Marketplace provides vital health care coverage to more than 10.3 million Americans and we want to be a resource for consumers left without options," CareSource CEO and President Pamela Morris said in a statement. "Our decision to offer coverage in the bare counties speaks to our mission and commitment to the Marketplace and serving those who are in need of health care coverage.”

Menominee County in Wisconsin was slated to have no insurers on the exchanges next year until Security Health Plan announced Tuesday it would sell plans there in 2018.
With these announcements, there are no more bare counties in the U.S. for next year. About 80 counties at one point or another during the summer were at risk of having no ObamaCare insurers in 2018. Insurers are still waiting for certainty on key ObamaCare insurer payments called cost-sharing reduction subsidies.

Voters against...but for Walker/Republican agenda? How do they do that?

What's wrong with this picture: 25 to 35 percent of the Republican base will go along with anything their party leaders do, even handing taxpayer money over to Foxconn and calling off the next presidential election. That's nuts right?

They'll even put up with the Walker Wrecking Ball: Remember when our "Unintimidated" governor Scott Walker, who spent $7.8 million for law enforcement protection during the 2011 protests, blamed Obama and Black Lives Matter for the number of police shootings in the news, when in fact, those numbers were on the decline. Republican voters bought into it:
Scott Walker alleges ‘a rise in anti-police rhetoric’ under President Obama ... he was alarmed by the "disturbing trend of police officers being murdered on the job" and by the "rise in anti-police rhetoric" that has accompanied President Obama's time in office.
Trump-Like-Me: Walker has never condemned the white nationalists specifically either, and if he had his way, would simply ignore racial tensions ...
"One, I think in general if anyone focuses on racial discord we’re going to get more. Instead of focusing on what divides us, we need to concentrate on what brings us together."

And like Trump, Walker has always believed it's a "winner take all" world of politics:

Now Walker insists dumb Wisconsinites will grow to love the corporate Foxconn giveaway, because...well, give it time?  
Scott Walker: "I think actions speak louder than words, and once ground is broken and we’re going forward with this and they realize there’s a sound plan not only to build family-supporting jobs but there’s a sound plan to continue to protect the environment, I think there will be support as there has been for other things we’ve done in the past."
Let's take a look at Foxconn's support. It appears no matter what Walker does, in contradiction to what voters want, he's still okay. PPP's latest results in one district prove that point:
Walker was asked by reporters about new polls conducted in four state Senate districts over the weekend that show, on average, 55 percent of voters in the districts disapprove of the proposed Foxconn deal.  Some who oppose the deal — and even a few lawmakers who support it — have raised concerns about the environmental exemptions, which Walker said Tuesday was a result of "hype and hysteria."
After all, the environmental damage will no doubt be a difficult problem long after Walker is governor.  

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Velshi's War against Trump's dissemination of Fake News Talking Points.

MSNBC's Ali Velshi is doing what every other cable news host should be doing...offering on the spot critical analysis, correcting any fake news propaganda as it's being spewed out.

For example, the clip that's burning up the twitter-sphere right now is Velshi's take down of Trump adviser Brad Thomas ballyhooing the impact Trump has had on jobs and the markets. Not so, says's one comment that sums it up:
Velshi and Stephanie are exactly how front desk journalism should be. Give no quarter. Call out lies/stretched truths as they come out of these mouth pieces.

Ali Velshi did the same thing with Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who claimed "ObamaCare" was collapsing. Jordan insisted it wasn't because of the GOP's promise to repeal it or cut funding, which was just not true. Note: CBO did say premiums increases would come down, but that's because the sick would no longer be in the insurance market...what a plan?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Freed White Republican Nationalism in Milwaukee spills out...

While I was thinking about how I would put together the following blog post, story after story kept popping up about the Trump wave of white nationalism sweeping the Republican Party. Oh sure many in the GOP have renounced what Trump said, but almost no one dared to mention Trump's name or called for any measures dealing with public outrage.

WISN12 had this amazing story that got very little reaction on twitter...even the signature right-wing misspelling, "Demorcrats," wasn't enough to get a mention?

And of course the following cover art featuring Trump in a way that might break get through to those blind obedient admirers:

Or these....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

GOP health care so far: 22 million Lose Insurance, 20% Increase in Premiums, Insurers Leaving Individual Market. Nice!

There is no tweak, amendment, or new plan that will change the devastating impact of the GOP Trumpcare/Ryancare debacle. And today, the CBO confirmed to everyone that Trump and Trump alone controls the fate of the Affordable Care Act's Marketplaces.

Uncertainty has forced many insurers out of the individual market completely. In those markets where insurers pulled out completely, Republicans wrongly assumed no one else would step in and take their place, ignoring just how markets work. Doh!

The new CBO report offers up even more bad news for Republicans, including every American who's life depends on being insured.
If President Donald Trump stops cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers participating in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, premiums for individual plans would go up 20% on average, according to new analysis released on Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Trump himself has great power over whether the ACA survives, and one of the ways to help “Obamacare victims,” a term Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have used, is to guarantee these cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, instead of threatening to stop them.

The Office’s findings underscore that Trump has control of the costs of these health insurance premiums. Many insurers that exited the marketplaces said they did so because of uncertainty over whether they would receive the cost-sharing payments.

“The most important thing that the president and the Republican senators can do is to ensure the funding for the cost-sharing reductions continues,” Dr. Mario Molina, former CEO of Molina Healthcare, told Yahoo Finance in July. “[Trump] has funded those on a month-to-month basis with no assurance they will continue. This is causing a lot of destabilization in the marketplace.”

For the insurers that have elected to stay on the exchanges to offer plans, many premiums were set in a similar ballpark to the CBO’s 20% as the insurers sought to hedge should the payments stop.

Trump Explodes...goes all White Nationalist "Many Sides" to Blame.

This is the end of Trump presidency, and if it isn't, boy have we lowered the bar.

Trump's infrastructure press conference went off the rails so quickly that even the press couldn't keep up with it. What we did find out was Trump's second message about Charlottesville was a total lie.

I added the incredible pundit reaction at the end of  Trump's rant. Watch and be amazed:

More to come...this was a meltdown. David Duke just tweeted 

Or this from conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin about defending the supposed "historical" statues erected in the 60's:

Vice News/HBO's Charlottesville documentary's eye opening look at White Nationalist Rise!

The incredibly timely video below is a must see that reveals the twisted thinking of the white nationalist movement. All but ignored by the Trump administration, the alt right leaders now have an opportunity to become a legitimate destabilizing political player in our country.

Add to that the news that Trump official Sebastian Gorka's wife helped set the white nationalists free from Homeland Security oversight program CVE, we've got a real problem on our hands:
Controversial Trump Aide Katharine Gorka Helped End Funding For Group (Life After Hate) That Fights White Supremacy. The day after Trump won the election, Sebastian Gorka said, “I predict with absolute certitude, the jettisoning of concepts such as CVE (Countering Violent Extremism).”

The DHS had awarded the Life After Hate $400,000 as part of its Countering Violent Extremism program in January, just days before former President Barack Obama left office. It was the only group selected for a grant that focused exclusively on fighting white supremacy. But the grant money was not immediately disbursed. DHS and the FBI warned in an internal intelligence bulletin of the threat posed by white supremacy. White supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement,”
Vice News, to the outlet's immense credit, was on the ground to document the events in Charlottesville this weekend. They even embedded, for a time, with white supremacist leader Chris Cantwell. What they found speaks for itself, but keep an eye out for the little things. Like, say, how many guns these white supremacists have.

Here's John Oliver's commentary on Trump's "on many sides" debacle:

Monday, August 14, 2017

Foxconn a done very bad deal...

There was always just a little hope that state Democrats would reverse many of Scott Walker policies someday. But with Foxconn, it won't really matter much anymore.

GOP Myth Finally put to Rest
The Foxconn debacle is not reversible, plundering all future budgets for decades with payouts to Foxconn, and sticking taxpayers with huge interest payments on Walker's transportation debt.

Upfront with Mike Gousha's guests DOA's Sec Scott Neitzel and WEDC Sec Mark Hogan confirmed that Sunday, gushing endlessly about the miracle of high tech LCD manufacturing that is already being fazed out by OLED and "surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) or field emission display (FED) making their way to replace the first flat screen technologies in picture quality."

Department of Administration Sec. Scott Neitzel could barely breathe talking up the Foxconn taxpayer holdup. Hey, Foxconn only made $145 billion last year, isn't it obvious they need some help.

News flash for Neitzel; while Wisconsin gets "high-end systems engineers who can operate robots, artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art automation systems (on an) assembly line" at a manufacturing plant (already being threatened by robotic replacements or H-1B Visa's), Foxconn is working on another deal in Michigan, where they want to set up a research facility for the development of new technologies. Screwed again:
Taiwan's Foxconn will open a multibillion-dollar research and development plant in Michigan focused on autonomous vehicles, said Foxconn founder Terry Gou.
"Automotive development in the U.S. is still more advanced than China," Gou was quoted as saying. "Besides self-driving technology, I'm also interested in artificial intelligence and deep learning technology." 

Gousha: "What would be the message if for some reason this deal got bogged down, and didn't happen..."

Hogan: "'s not going to happen Mike...but I don't see that'll get through the Assembly, it'll get through the Senate because they want it, they want the right thing to happen."
The fact that the Senate and Assembly will not be putting in writing, anything that would stand in the way of the utopian handshake deal Walker made with Foxconn, as stated by WEDC's Mark Hogan -"We wouldn't look to do that," pretty much nailed it for me. Gousha rightfully appeared shocked by the lack of concern WEDC and the DOA had for taxpayers. How sellouts like Neitzel and Hogan kept from drooling for 10 minutes is anybodies guess:

And then there's this even more nerve-racking possibility, that never really ever goes away... 

Check out the continuing coverage of this interview here....
Walker administration officials: Foxconn analysis doesn’t tell the whole story of benefits and risks
WEDC's former leader Governor Scott Walker, who was relieved of his duties for mismanagement, still thinks his failed public/private development corporation will stay on top of Foxconn job creation. Fat chance. Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann report from last week, and by the way...:

This article just came out...Foxconn jobs created? Less...under the best case scenario...
The long-term ripple effect of a display screen factory planned for southeastern Wisconsin would create between 4,000 and 10,000 fewer jobs than previously estimated, a new study has concluded ... employ 3,000 initially and as many as 13,000 in the coming years.

EY previously calculated that another 22,200 jobs would be created outside the Foxconn plant at suppliers and other businesses such as restaurants, for a total of 35,200. Baker Tilly, on the other hand, figured that a Foxconn plant would create between 12,000 and 18,100 jobs outside the factory, for a total of between 25,000 and 31,100.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Trump lets Charlottesville stew in White Supremacist Protests....

The fact that Trump has not reacted to or tweeted anything about the white supremacist protests, but Melania did said it all...

Trump probably wanted to miss an opportunity to come out against white supremacy, a large part of his base, but didn't missed an opportunity to retweet his support of the alt right...
CNN: Donald Trump's penchant for retweets once again raised eyebrows, after he recirculated a tweet on Friday from a user with the handle "WhiteGenocideTM."

The profile -- with about 2,300 followers -- used the name "Donald Trumpovitz," linked to a website containing a pro-Adolf Hitler documentary, featured a background photo with red lettering saying "Get the F--- Out of My Country" and had a location of "Jewmerica." The account also includes a photo of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party.
Tom Tomorrow insightfully gave us this...

Voxdotcom put the following video together...
Unite the Right, the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, explainedThe “alt-right” rally was a coming-out party for resurgent white nationalism in America.
Along with this brutal violence:

The innocent victim of the terrorist attack...

Self-described “pro-white” activist Jason Kessler organized the rally to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville. Kessler is affiliated with the “alt-right” movement that uses internet trolling tactics to argue against diversity and “identity politics” — part of a broader cultural backlash that helped elect Donald Trump.

But the rally quickly attracted other more traditional groups of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan.

The rise of the alt-right is one face of a broader backlash against “identity politics” and “political correctness,” which have left some white Americans feeling that they’re losing ground to nonwhites — or that America is losing its identity — and that political, economic, and media elites are either uninterested in defending their heritage or actively trying to eradicate it.

But racist rhetoric has become a hallmark of the movement, from the use of “cuck” to deride anti-alt-right conservatives to Twitter harassment of Jewish journalists by photoshopping them into images of Nazi gas chambers.

That crosses the line into ideologies that most Americans agree are taboo. People may believe that Donald Trump supporters aren’t necessarily racists, but they are willing to agree that members of the Klan and Nazis are racists. Indeed, it’s a contrast with those groups that allows some people to draw the line between “real racism” and liberals “crying wolf” about racism.
 Who can forget the perfectly innocent, inside supremacist joke and Trump Nazi salute?

Or Trump's inability to criticize his white supremacist Nazi base...the fact he read his carefully crafted statement is a dead giveaway:

As Mother Jones magazine reported back in April....

Some Republicans don't feel comfortable hiding behind the Trump racist bluster:

The ultimate is Trump's new "many sides" do it meme, an intentional expansion on the idea that "both sides do it."

Look for the "Make America Great Again" hat and Trump garb symbols....

These whiny oppressed white boys think they've been oppressed? This tweet stream disagreed:

Friday, August 11, 2017

Republican Repeal and Replace schemes repeat of Failed Polices of the Past.

I've always thought of legislation as a show of values, especially the initial first draft, before saner heads prevail. And so it is again with another idea being floated by Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham. You know there's a problem right off the bat if "little dictator" Scott Walker signs off on the deal:

Imagine the governor holding each and every citizen hostage over their health care, that's what this means.

You’ll also notice in the Cassidy-Graham proposal below that if you are anything but a Republican living in a red state, you most certainly don’t count. You lost, winner take all, including your health insurance:
“We need to let states take care of themselves and give power back to patients,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) wrote in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post. “Let a blue state do a blue thing and a red state such as mine take a different, conservative approach.”

The proposal would eliminate the subsidies for private insurance and end the Medicaid expansion ... marketplaces would no longer exist ... The federal government would convert some (but not all) of that spending into a lump-sum payment to states. States could choose to spend this money on providing insurance — or they could use it to fund high-risk pools, or do other activities to pay the bills of patients with high medical needs. 
But this new Cassidy-Graham bill would not allow a state like California to keep the Affordable Care Act in place unless it wanted to kick in significantly more money. Here’s why:
1. The complex funding formula used to divvy up the big pot of money would tilt more funding toward sparsely populated states ... than those with denser, more urban populations.

2. It would also take the current Medicaid expansion spending from the 30 states that participate in the program and divvy it up among all 50 states. For a place like Texas, which has not expanded Medicaid, this would be a windfall ... but California would be dramatically disadvantaged.

3. Cassidy-Graham includes a requirement that insurance plans accept all applicants regardless of preexisting conditions. 

4. Ends the two policies: the mandate to purchase coverage and the tax subsidies to make coverage affordable ... little incentive for those who are relatively healthy to purchase plans. 

The key points; no mandate or incentives to be insured, and a requirement to accept preexisting conditions. As explained below, this is an old failed idea we may be doomed to repeat on a national level. This also proves historically that politicians in the House and Senate never had a clue about how average Americans got their health care coverage in the past, or for that matter, even now in the Marketplaces: 
States have experimented with this combination of policies before. In the 1990s, Washington state ended preexisting conditions without a mandate or subsidies. Seattle Times journalist Carol Ostrom recounted what happened next:
1. Without any leverage to bring healthy people onto insurance rolls, insurers, left with the priciest patients, began a financial death spiral.

2. Ultimately, companies pulled out of the individual market and almost no one in Washington could buy an individual policy for any price.