Tuesday, October 31, 2017

EPA...Pruitt...you won't believe this...

There's no way I can set this up any better than the Washington Post:

That means only corporate research scientist and conservative climate deniers will be guiding the US's environmental future.

In the upside-down logic of Republican bizarro world domination, only this could make sense:
“It is very, very important to ensure independence, to ensure that we’re getting advice and counsel independent of the EPA,” Administrator Scott Pruitt told reporters Tuesday. He argued that the current structure raises questions about their independence, though he did not voice similar objections to industry-funded scientists.
But the EPA is already independent...like the government is supposed to be...or used to be, where policy depended on science and served the American people. It wasn't supposed to be political. Not anymore!!!

But Pruitt has a more clever motive; force scientists to abandon their important possibly breakthrough research.
He noted that researchers will have the option of ending their grant or continuing to advise EPA, “but they can’t do both.”
For the hardcore religious Republican voter that has invested all their faith in Trump and God, in that order, Pruitt's angelic con went something like this:
Pruitt on Tuesday used the Bible to explain his major changes:“In the book of Joshua there is a story about Joshua leading the people of Israel into the promised land after Moses passed away. And Joshua says to the people of Israel choose this day whom you’re going to serve. And I would say to you this is sort of like the ‘Joshua Principle’ that as it relates to grants to this agency, you are going to have to choose either service on the committee to provide counsel to us in an independent fashion or you can choose grants, but you cannot do both.
And what about corporate scientists...? Will they ever be free from corporate influence?
EPA will not impose a similar litmus test on scientific advisers who receive grants from outside sources.

The likely appointments include several categories of experts — voices from regulated industries, academics and environmental regulators from conservative states, and researchers who have a history of critiquing the science and economics underpinning tighter environmental regulations.
Reagan Republican Agast: The current Republican Party is so far out now that not even Reagan administration officials can make sense of this:
Terry F. Yosie, who was the advisory board’s director during the Reagan administration, said the changes “represent a major purge of independent scientists and a decision to sideline the SAB (Science Advisory Board) from major EPA decision-making in the future.”
Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union for Concerned Scientists, said in a statement. “The consequences of these decisions aren’t just bad for a few scientists. This could mean that there’s no independent voice ensuring that EPA follows the science on everything from drinking water pollution to atmospheric chemical exposure.”
This all makes sense if you believe the EPA, its scientists, the government are all politically liberal and Democrats. Only hearsay science, anecdotal stories, and special interest scientists know what's really going on. Here's the Bizarro World code from DC Comics, see if you see any similarities:

The possible Pruitt board might include one of the EPA's biggest critics backing coal:
Pruitt said, “If we have individuals who are on those boards, sometimes receiving money from the agency . . . that to me causes questions on the independence and the veracity and the transparency of those recommendations that are coming our way.”

At least three potential appointees ... one of them, Larry Monroe, previously chief environmental officer at Southern who's particular expertise in how the EPA regulated emissions from coal-fired power plants and criticized the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan argued that the plan, intended to reduce carbon emissions, was “unworkable and would increase electricity prices to customers while hurting reliability.”
Nothing about human health, increased premature deaths, or pollution? Oh yea, that's a little hard to prove. 

If you had to take away one important lesson from Republican Pruitt's actions at the EPA, I think this might sum it up:
Michael Honeycutt, head of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s toxicology division, who Pruitt announced Tuesday as the new head of the Science Advisory Board. Honeycutt has suggested that the health risks associated with smog are overstated.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Meanwhile, what's Hillary doing...asks Fox News...

Walker avoids any connection to continuing Prison and Veterans blot on his governorship, no Photo ops tying him to utter Failure..

Only in Wisconsin media are following Scott Walker debacles considered "highlights," especially to the casual reader who's just happy with the sunshiny headline. I'll be honest, I'm not sure this wasn't a little tongue in cheek slap at Walker...I'm hoping it is....

Take for instance this list of "highlights" for his destruction of the environment...seriously? This is ready-made campaign copy for Walker's Democratic challengers:
Environment: Walker pledged to “continue to protect our natural resources.” He signed laws and rules that eliminated DNR scientist positions, delayed phosphorus pollution standards for lakes and streams, removed restrictions on large-scale withdrawals of ground water, withdrew tax support for state parks, and slowed purchase of conservation lands. His DNR reduced enforcement against polluters and poachers, removed information about climate change from its web site, and was criticized by state auditors for failing to follow its own water quality enforcement rules.
Or when Walker penalized Wisconsin hybrid and electric vehicle users, when he could have easily raised the gas tax, filling the transportation fund with cash from interstate drivers:
Transportation and infrastructure: Walker pledged to “work with the Legislature to come up with long-term funding options for” transportation. In three consecutive budgets, protracted negotiations have not yielded a long-term fix. Walker has opposed tax and fee increases, except a new fee on hybrid and electric vehicles. A recent legislative audit said 17 percent of state highways were rated in poor or worse condition in 2015, up from 7 percent in 2010.
 Walker avoids any connection to Prison and Veterans Blot on his Governorship: Governor Walker's union-busting Act 10 started the ball rolling at prisons and especially at the Lincoln Hills youth prison, and it's only gotten worse. But nothing will tie Walker to Lincoln Hills because he will never set foot in there or personally handle the problem:

Here's how Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Patrick Marley described it on WKOW's Capital City Sunday:

Click to enlarge
1. Gov. Scott Walker recommends closing Ethan Allen School for Boys and Southern Oaks Girls School in southeastern Wisconsin and moving all juvenile offenders to the Lincoln Hills School for Boys campus in northern Wisconsin.

2. (Because of Act 10) many guards who were eligible to retire did so to avoid the 18% deduction from their paychecks or to work in unsafe conditions because the union contract and safety measures which had been negotiated no longer existed.

3. Judge writes to Walker about problems: A juvenile inmate is sexually assaulted and knocked unconscious by another inmate. A judge writes the governor about the staff waiting hours to get medical attention for the boy. No one is disciplined. 

4. A public defender in Milwaukee alerts officials about numerous problems, including that Lincoln Hills inmates have had their arms broken.

5. The state Department of Justice launches a criminal investigation of Lincoln Hills at the request of the Department of Corrections.
6. A John Doe probe is opened and a judge finds there is reason to believe a sweeping series of crimes have been committed. The John Doe phase of the investigation is closed around the time the probe is turned over to the FBI in 2016.
7. ACLU files lawsuit on behalf of four inmates, alleging their rights were violated at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake.
Walker's partisan hiring practice brings in divisive fired secretary...

2 years after firing, Scocos again appointed Wisconsin veterans secretary: In an Aug. 19 media release, the Disabled American Veterans of Wisconsin said that Scocos was an "extremely polarizing figure who raises extreme passion in the veterans community. He is not a unifying force, but a disruptive one," the statement read.

After transferring $10.3 million into the veterans fund in his first term, Walker promised to protect the Veterans Trust Fund while maintaining high-quality health care at veterans nursing homes. The state-run veterans home in King had its federal ratings downgraded in 2016 after a 94-year-old veteran died and federal reviews found multiple incidents of substandard care. A legislative audit found the state Department of Veterans Affairs had transferred $55 million from the home since 2003 and delayed about a third of the requested projects at King since 2011.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Walker defends Virginia gubernatorial candidate Gillespie's racist fear mongering campaign.

I couldn't resist posting this amazing "kid gloves" news media handling of Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate and former RNC chair Ed Gillespie. I looked high and low for fair coverage that presented both sides, and never found it. In fact, real news media pretty much transcribed the story from Breitbart...I know, scary stuff.

It's important to note Gillespie started the now brutal back-and-forth. Here's the fear-mongering racist trash Gillespie spewed out earlier, an ad they never pulled off the air or apologized for:
Virginia Republican Ed Gillespie has released four ads that try to tie his Democratic rival for governor, Ralph Northam, to MS-13 gang violence, despite protests from Democrats and Latino groups that the commercials play on racial stereotypes.

The latest ad begins with a dark, hooded figure in a home holding up a baseball bat as the MS-13 motto “Kill, Rape, Control” flashes on the screen. Then, a narrator warns of violent crime linked to the street gang in Virginia — and accuses Northam of putting Virginia families at risk.

Northam, the state’s lieutenant governor, did cast a tiebreaking vote killing a ban on sanctuary cities, but the bill ultimately passed the state Senate, so Northam did not cast the deciding vote. It was later vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). Meanwhile, Virginia has no such localities, a fact that Gillespie has acknowledged but that is omitted from his ads.
Back at ya: Gillespie Can't Take the Heat: Gillespie's support for everything Trump pretty much says it all about his divisive campaign. Note, Brian Fallon is a CNN contributor, he has nothing to do with Northam's campaign, so the outrage over his comment is surreal.

The Republican Governors Association (RGA)(Scott Walker) slammed Hillary Clinton’s ex-spokesman and CNN political contributor Brian Fallon after Fallon derisively claimed Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie was a white supremacist. 
Here's Mr. Phony Outrage Himself, Wisconsin's own Trump wannabe, Scott Walker stepping in it:
“Brian Fallon’s attack on Ed Gillespie is shameful, disgraceful, and has no place in American politics,” said RGA Chairman Governor Scott Walker. “Ralph Northam, Hillary Clinton and CNN should immediately denounce Fallon’s blatant attempt to score political points from a tragedy, and CNN should question whether it serves the network and the viewing public well by giving a microphone to Fallon’s hateful rhetoric.”
Who's scoring political points here? Here's Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam's equally tough pushback...
Earlier this week, Democrats sent out a flier with President Donald Trump and Gillespie’s images with a picture of the alt-right “Unite the Right” rally that took place in August in Charlottesville, VA, that read, “On Tuesday, November 7th, Virginia Gets to Stand Up…To Hate.”
Gillespie's campaign is so ugly that it got a special slot on "All in with Chris Hayes." So yea, pretty pointless bit of phony outrage over a CNN contributors comments:

Friday, October 27, 2017

Sessions heaps taxpayer "settlement" payoff money on Tea Party, just before 2018 election, decides IRS was guilty.

This is what happens when you turn the Justice Department into an activist arm of the Republican Party by a former Republican Senator. Who would believe them? This stinks. It's a settlement, and a sneaky way to bypassing a decision by our courts. Was anyone proven guilty? Nope, but red meat loving Trumpian's are loving it. Oh, the liberal groups targeted got nothing...odd?

Tea Party groups hit the jackpot:

Justice Department Settles With Conservative Groups Over IRS Scrutiny: The Justice Department on Thursday announced it has reached settlements in a pair of lawsuits led by conservative groups that claimed they had been unfairly scrutinized by the IRS. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Thursday that the criteria IRS agents used to flag the groups was "inappropriate" and "disproportionately impacted conservative groups," though a government watchdog report released this month suggested liberal groups faced similar scrutiny. This month's report by the inspector general's office for the IRS showed the agency also used words like "occupy," "green energy" and "progressive" to flag groups for scrutiny as well.

Trump prices National Parks out of reach of most Americans with fee hikes, funding cuts.

Remember when Scott Walker went ahead and stripped our state parks of taxpayer funding, then raised entrance fees, and then raised fees again, putting our parks out of reach for only the most undeserving poor and middle-class Wisconsinites? The following is from a previous post, with a few little adjustments:

GOP's own Budget Crisis allows Walker to cut funding from State Parks...all just part of the "we can't afford it" plan. In a state (country) known for its parks, lakes, hunting and other recreational activities, tourism would seem like the last place to make dramatic cuts. But that’s what Scott Walker (Trump) has in mind. WSJ-Jan. 2015:
Gov. Scott Walker wants to remove state tax money from the operation of Wisconsin’s state parks and make them self-sustaining … a cut of $4.6 million, or nearly 28 percent, of their current $16.7 million operational budget … In place of tax revenue, the governor is proposing that operation of the state park system be funded by entrance and campsite fees. (Then on Jan. 2017) A $5 million budget shortfall could be fixed temporarily through higher prices for hunting and fishing licenses, new admission charges for non-hunters using natural areas, new registration fees for paddlers, and a smaller annual boosts tied to inflation.
This must be a Republican thing. The Trump administration is also taking aim at hard-working Americans, you know, the vacationing riffraff hoping to enjoy the own God blessed country!
AP: Democratic senators on Thursday criticized a National Park Service plan to impose steep increases in entrance fees at 17 of its most popular parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion … visitors would be charged $70 per vehicle during the peak summer season, up from $25 or $30 per vehicle now. Officials say the higher fees are needed to address an $11 billion backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects that have been put off for years.

Claims that the increased fees are needed to reduce the maintenance backlog are "undercut by the administration's budget proposal to cut" park service operations by $200 million, including a $93 million cut to facility operations and maintenance.
As you can see above, when Scott Walker cut park funding, the state had to "fix" a $5 million shortfall with an increase. Imagine continued increases, and what that will mean for our "grandkids' grandkids?" Parks for the wealthy, commercial naming rights, or land selloffs.
Zinke said the plan was part of his "vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids' grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today."

Northern Wisconsin Republicans get what they deserve...and goodbye tourism!

It won't necessarily pollute our waters or foul up our air, but loud motorized ATV-UHV's traipsing through our beautiful northern forests, campgrounds, bike paths, and around our expensive vacation homes is the perfect ironic fate of our "stand with Walker" Trumpian voters. And good riddance to them all.

Finally, rural voters are getting something they deserve...they want, after voting for their "small" government Republicans.

I can't wait till our big government overlords force mining operations on rural communities, neighborhoods, and schools, destroying their quiet rural utopias and roads. Big business is knocking, and they're not there to help anyone but themselves:
It’s no secret silent sports types in Wisconsin have been taking it on the chin. From a new law making it harder for cities to build bicycle paths to the erosion of public water protections, state policy has not trended eco-friendly over the past years.

And now the DNR (has approved) adding more than 200 miles of trails for ATVs and other motorized off-road vehicles in the Northern Highland–American Legion State Forest in northern Wisconsin. That forest is home to some of the best wilderness camping and paddling in the state. This comes even as planners admit that promoting motorized vehicles could drive away those who visit for the peace and quiet.

Advocates of quieter outdoors experiences said the state was bowing to a vocal, well-funded special interest. “The majority of public input really was not supportive of the increased motorized use,” said Mike McFadzen, who owns a vacation home a few miles outside the state forest. “If it’s approved, you may not find a place in the whole 240,000 acres where you won’t hear a motor.” Two-thirds of the public comments gathered by the DNR in the spring were opposed to motorized access.
Why...just why?
But big monied special interests, the same kind of lobbyists Scott Walker claims he's fighting, got just what they paid for:
Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent in the past decade persuading state politicians to accommodate ATVs. Randy Harden, president of the Wisconsin ATV-UTV Association, has been fighting opposition to ATVs since the 1980s. He’s had help from ATV manufacturers in persuading state legislators and governors to enact a series of ATV-friendly laws ... officials said the move was driven by demographic trends and the growing popularity of ATVs and a similar type of vehicle known as utility task vehicles, or UTVs (4 wheelers).
Property rights Republicans don't even mind, even though those same private interests said no many times:
Private landowners have been reluctant to allow access. They sign agreements with snowmobilers because the snow and cold protect the soil from being torn up, and the owners aren’t outside as much in the winter. A few years ago, the state discontinued a program that offered money for access to private land. There had been no takers.

Noise and dust from ATVs, and their speed, are likely to upset nearby homeowners and drive away some campers, hikers and canoeists, experts say. But there could also be an increase in motorized users, the DNR proposal says. Engine-powered vehicles are likely to cause erosion, spread invasive species and displace wildlife by destroying natural habitat, the proposal says.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tax Cuts for the Wealthy paid for by Middle-Class, with repeal of Estate Tax and Deduction for State and local Taxes.

Trump economic "policy" (seriously, does he have any idea at all?), builds on the old disproven myths of long-dead GOP talking points. For instance...

The DEATH TAX!!! SCARY: There is no death tax because when you're dead, you don't exist and therefore can't be taxed. Make sense? Not to Republicans. 

As hard as Chris Hayes tried to make that point below, he still failed to get through to Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who still thinks farmers are losing out to the estate tax. Not true, and never has been true (more on that with an eye-opening clip below of Sen. Grassley).

And when it comes to middle-class killing repeal of the deduction for state and local taxes on your Federal taxes (more below from Mayor Soglin), the party supposedly against one-size-fits-all laws wants to accomplish just that nationally, by basically forcing high tax states and municipalities to cut their taxes due to the lost deduction. This proves Republicans have no concept of budgeting:

Here's Sen. Chuck Grassley openly admitted the death tax deception is all based on what people end up thinking is true, even if it isn't. Jaw dropping stuff:
Grassley: "I have a lot of people in my neighborhood that would fall into the category of having to pay the estate tax, and they worry about it. Now is that worry legitimate? You know, you have to ask them." 
Yea, if they are worried for no reason at all, Grassley's not going to tell ease their fears:

Below is the complete clip from the show Market to Market, with a detailed breakdown that destroys the myth of the death tax:
Announcer: "In farm country, $5.4 million is the average value of 764 acres of Iowa farmland, which according to the USDA, is twice the size of the average Iowa farm... 

Announcer: "Only 5500 of the 3 million estates settled in 2017, would have to pay any taxes, and of that only 80 would have to pay the estate tax. When asked about any specific instances of heirs selling portions of farms to pay estate taxes, Grassley could not immediately sight a case."
Middle-Class Tax Hike by eliminating State and Local Tax Deductions: First an update on the GOP's latest ruthless attempt to make low and middle-class Americans pay more...while giving business a pass on taking away the state and local tax deduction:
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said Wednesday that he expected to keep an apparently limited version of the state and local tax deduction for individual Americans, a break that party leaders had targeted for elimination in their tax overhaul plan ... the deal would involve allowing individuals to write off property taxes but not state and local income or sales taxes.

Brady also confirmed that the bill would not make any changes to the ability of companies to deduct state and local taxes as a business expense. Democrats have criticized Republicans for proposing to kill the break for individuals but keep it in place for businesses.
Revenge is "Trump" Sweet: Trump a revenge kind of guy, and Republican plans to penalize Democratic states is a no-brainer:
Repealing the deduction would lead to an average tax hike of $3,218 for Californians who claim it, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Most of the states that would be hit hardest by the loss of the deduction are Democratic strongholds. Of the top 10 states for the deduction, Trump carried only three in last fall's election.
Even sweeter, a complete 180 and abandonment of those forgotten Trumpian true believers who feel they were passed over by their government:
Eliminating the deduction would generate as much as $1.8 trillion over the next decade and help pay for the large tax cuts in the Republican plan that, based on details released so far, are focused on corporations and the wealthy.
Madison  Mayor Paul Soglin wrote the opinion below based on math and two separate studies that sounded the alarm to Americans everywhere, especially resentful Trump supporters, that the Republican tax reform debacle will hit the middle class hard:
It appears many middle-income homeowners will see their taxes go up, not down, under the GOP’s Big Six plan … takes away the most popular — and one of the most valuable — deductions for households, which is widely taken by middle-income homeowners: the deduction for state and local taxes.

The state and local tax deduction is claimed by 44 million American households on their federal returns … nearly 86 percent have incomes under $200,000.… Washington has this deduction in its crosshairs because eliminating it raises $1.6 trillion over 10 years that tax writers can use to fund other tax breaks, some of which have nothing to do with the middle class.

An analysis prepared by the National Association of Realtors found that homeowners with average gross income between $50,000 to $200,000 would see their taxes go up with an average increase of $815, even if the standard deduction were doubled. NAR found that housing values might drop about 10 percent because tax reform would increase the after-tax cost of housing and dampen demand.

The independent Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s analysis similarly concluded that nearly 30 percent of taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 would see a tax increase under the proposed plan, due in part to the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes.

So eliminating the deduction would result in a triple whammy for many middle-class taxpayers: higher taxes, lower home values, and fewer public services that make communities vibrant and attractive places to live. 
One more point. Those higher tax states are most likely higher contributing states to the national economy. Resentfully bringing these states down to the level of those more impoverished states, well, that's how Republicans work. These states will also end up sending more money to Washington, get less back, and keep sending the same subsidies to federally dependent states. Check out the interactive map, see for yourself:

2017’s Most & Least Federally Dependent States

Source: WalletHub
Trump administration officials and top congressional Republicans said the state and local tax deduction mostly helps high earners and forces residents in low-tax states to subsidize those in high-tax states.

House Republicans from high-tax states have pushed to save the deduction by adding new limits. One proposal would limit the deduction to individuals with adjusted gross incomes of no more than $400,000, or $800,000 for married couples.

Such a limit would preserve the deduction for all but the top 1 percent of earners _ those with adjusted gross incomes above about $465,000 _ according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation. But limiting rather than scrapping the deduction would raise only about a quarter of the additional revenue that Republicans are seeking to offset their tax cuts.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Anti-Green Energy, Anti-Science Republicans costing taxpayers hundreds of Billions, and it's getting worse!!! "Fiscal Conservative" Myth Explodes!

Republicans say they want you keep more of your hard earned money, but their policies are doing just the opposite, resulting in huge costly disasters:
A federal watchdog says climate change is already costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year, with those costs expected to rise as devastating storms, floods, wildfires and droughts become more frequent in the coming decades.

A Government Accountability Office report released Monday says the federal government has spent about $350 billion over the last decade on disaster assistance programs and losses from flood and crop insurance. That tally does not include the massive toll from this year's wildfires and three major hurricanes, expected to be among the most costly in U.S. history.

The report says there is currently no strategic plan to absorb these recurring costs, which could grow to a budget-busting $35 billion a year by 2050.

President Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax.
Yet we're expected to accept the 2nd grade level right wing argument pictured below, from reckless ideologues who don't think to play it safe by siding with 99 percent of climate scientists. You know, err on the side of caution, just in case:

Although we can't blame climate change for the following story, it's still pretty disturbing:
THE WASHINGTON POST: Flying Insects Are Disappearing at Huge Rates, And We Should All Be Worried. But we can help them survive! Not long ago, a lengthy drive on a hot day wouldn't be complete without scraping bug guts off a windshield. But splattered insects have gone the way of the Chevy Nova - you just don't see them on the road like you used to. Biologists call this the windshield phenomenon. It's a symptom, they say, of a vanishing population. "On warm summer nights you used to see them around streetlights."

Between 1989 and 2016, according to a report published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, the biomass of flying insects captured in these regions decreased by a seasonal average of 76 percent. "This decline happened in nature reserves, which are meant to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. This is very alarming!" What made this research particularly remarkable was the extent of the observed decline. One culprit could be the alteration of the landscape itself, the agriculture that surrounds the preserves. "This suggests a possible role for, for example, fertiliser and pesticide application." 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Illinois basher Scott Walker oddly asked to be in ad for Illinois Gov. Rauner? Good move.

Our economy is on fire? Wow, did you know that? That's just what Scott Walker said in an ad for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's reelection campaign.

Illinois has been in big economic trouble for years, thanks to their hard line Republican millionaire governor doing his best "Scott Walker" impersonation. Rauner attempted to tank the entire Illinois state economy once and for all, after two years of red ink and no budget, when Democrat's raised taxes back up to their previous level.
Gov. Scott Walker says Wisconsin's economy is "on fire" thanks to tax increases passed by Illinois' most powerful Democrat in a new political advertisement to help out a fellow Republican governor's re-election bid. House Speaker Mike Madigan, who this year became the longest-serving House Speaker in U.S. history, and his fellow House Democrats voted this year to override Rauner's veto of the state's first budget in two years and also to increase income taxes in Illinois from from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.
Ouch? Walker made it seem like were doing gangbusters up here. Maybe this will fly in Illinois, but north of the cheddar curtain, not so much. Thanks for nothing Scott Walker. In fact, the selected few months used in the ad to give the impression Wisconsin is doing gangbusters is deceiving, since just the opposite was true. Check it out here.

If anything, after watching the ad, you have to wonder if Walker was a little high on something. Nothing like a little over acting and slurred glassy eyed quips:

It's Official: Republican Terrorists running Wisconsin!!!

Uh oh, Republicans no longer have the Democrats to blame for everything, to vilify and to rescue us from.

Hey wait, here comes Rep. Robin Vos, he'll give us someone to hate:
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has apologized for using the term “terrorists” to describe three Republican senators who struck a last-second budget deal with Gov. Scott Walker. In a WISN-TV interview on Upfront with Mike Gousha, Vos blasted Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, and Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville — for making what Vos called a “backroom deal.”
Vos: "Frankly I wish Gov. Walker had not negotiated with terrorists, I think that's a bad way to operate the legislature..."

Mike Gousha: "Terrorists, you called them rogue Senators and terrorist..."

Vos: "That's what they are."
Here's the video below, and WISC report. See if any of this sounds familiar, especially when Republicans have used this ploy against Democrats just to make themselves look good...tables turned?

Sen. Steve Nass: "He needs to portray the 3 of us as troublemakers, obstructionists..."
Been there Steve. How does it feel?

Alert: How crazy it now to see the news media include the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity as a source telling Republicans how they should act?
Nass and Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin, the influential Koch-funded conservative advocacy group, also called on Vos to apologize. “Vos choosing to take this to a level so personal is severely inappropriate,” Kapenga said.
I'll let you catch your breath.

Make no mistake, Steve Nass is also one of the legislatures biggest assholes and enemies of public education. Thankfully, Nass' arrogance gave us another important insight into how the GOP first creates a villain, just to make themselves look good, so they can lay the "footings to block (their opponents) legislative priorities:"
Nass spokesman Mike Mikalsen said Nass believes Vos sought to portray the three senators as untrustworthy and difficult to work with in order to lay footings to block Senate legislative priorities.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Indiana County shuts down needle exchange for "moral" reasons, after HIV outbreak.

Trump is pushing something Republicans have been passionate about for years; a national conscience clause that allows businesses and government officials to determine policy based on religion and moral values. Gee, sounds kinda dangerous don't you think? 

VP Mike Pence as governor of Indiana over saw a statewide ban on needle exchange programs, until there was an outbreak of HIV cases in one part of the state. It got so bad, even Pence back-peddled and allowed some areas seeing that out break to once again provide clean needles.

Matter of Saving Lives, Disease Prevention, Monetary Cost to Society: Fast forward to today:
An Indiana county shut down its needle exchange program on Tuesday because of moral objections, raising the risk of increasing its number of HIV and Hepatitis C infections.  Madison County’s was shut down in August—also over moral qualms. Lawrence County Commissioner Dustin Gabhart told Indiana Public Media:
“It came down to morally, they’re breaking the law. I can’t condone that. Yes, it’s a problem. Yes, it needs to be resolved. I could not give them the tools to do it.”
So it's moral to let Americans get and die from HIV. This is public policy based on the whims of whoever's in charge. Not pro-life in any way I can see. The facts tell the whole story:
As of last year, 35 of Indiana’s counties had gotten approval for or made plans to start a needle exchange program. They were drawn to the programs’ proven effectiveness: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed 15 studies analyzing needle exchange programs, and found that they were associated with a decrease in HIV infections while not raising the rate of drug use. One study of intravenous drug users in New York City found that, over the course of a decade, distributing clean needles reduced the prevalence of HIV from 54 to 13 percent, and Hepatitis C from 90 to 63 percent.

There’s also a financial benefit to the programs—HIV costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat over a lifetime—but cost is not health advocates’ greatest concern. As Christopher Abert of the Indiana Recovery Alliance, the group that ran Lawrence County’s syringe exchange program, told NBC: “People are going to die.”
But conservative ideological beliefs outweigh real world solutions every time. Republicans wallow in weird convoluted ideas that can sometimes shocks the senses, like the "surveillance of partners" and quarantines for anyone with HIV:

Friday, October 20, 2017

Former Sheriff Clarke's latest Slime trail....

With Gen. John Kelly trashing a black congresswoman for speaking up against Trump's insensitive comment to a Gold Star family, and wishing to go back to a fictional past where women were considered "sacred," isn't it a bit ironic coming from a Republican administration that thinks nothing is sacred?

Let's start with another Wisconsin embarrassment that doesn't seem to want to go away, former Sheriff David Clarke. Again, is nothing sacred?

Clarke wasn't done trashing irony, and abandoning the idea of "sacred" women...

Surprising Bush warning...

Here are the highlights of the surprising speech offered up by George W. Bush the other day, that struck at the heart of the heartless Trump administration...and Republican Party in general:

I thought I would also include a short part of John McCain's speech as well. I should note that Obama also made a statement, but it was unfortunately not anywhere as strong a criticism as Bush or McCain's. This is an ongoing problem for Democrats.


Killing "America's Dairyland" shows GOP disconnect to Wisconsin tradition, economic life blood, history and disrespect for rural voting base.

Scott Walker's Wisconsin promises to be nothing like the Wisconsin I grew up in. Our sense of history, tradition and state identity have been thrown under the wheels of Walker's "Forward" moving bulldozer for the last seven years. 

Republicans wanted to ditch Butter: Remember when former Oak Lawn, Illinois resident and graduate of Chicago Christian High School Wisconsin State Rep. Dale Kooyenga wanted to take butter of the tables of state restaurants? 

I wrote this back in September of 2011: One numskull by the name of State Rep. Dale Kooyenga, and originally from south of the cheddar curtain, is trying to do away with a law that requires restaurants to offer butter for crying out loud. Kooyenga said to the Journal-Sentinel the existing law is "silly, antiquated and anti-free market."
The law Kooyenga seeks to replace also requires that butter be served to students, patients and inmates at state institutions, except as necessary for the health of the person. In accordance with the law, butter is served to the roughly 21,000 inmates in Wisconsin's prisons. Kooyenga argues that changing the law would save the state money since margarine is typically a third of the cost of butter.
Yeah for proposing a more convoluted law to replace the “old” butter law on the books. Let's give everyone unhealthy cheap trans-fat loaded hardened oil to clog up their arteries.

Republicans ditch our Parks and Recreational Sports: Walker killed state funding of our incredible state parks...and turned our ponds, streams and depleted lakes into algae filled dead zones in favor of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and high capacity wells. 

Republican Lobbyist wants to ditch "America's Dairyland" on our License Plate, a tradition since 1940 : The fact that something like this even occurred to the president of Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce, someone who is supposedly promoting business in Wisconsin blows our collective minds. Rural conservative farmers, are you getting it finally that your party has ditched you for Foxconn?

We've been America's Dairyland — at least on license plates — for 77 years. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce President Kurt Bauer told a group Monday that it might be time to rethink the dairy-flavored license plate slogan. Bauer says that other slogans like 'Forward' might be more appropriate to modernize perceptions of the state's economy, rather than just focusing on agriculture.

Bauer ... referenced plans by the Taiwanese company Foxconn Technology Group to locate a high-tech display screen factory in Racine County. Bauer called Foxconn “our mega-opportunity.” Later Monday, Bauer clarified in a follow-up email that his organization would not lobby lawmakers in favor of the change, adding that it’s only a “conversation starter.”
Yes, let's use something new like the state 's 150 year old motto "Forward."

WISC covered the story:

Bauer said “To me, ‘Forward’ connotes resolve, indomitability and progress — not a bad image to project to the rest of the world. It can draw people into the state.”
Here are a few reader comments to this story:
"Come on. Bauer says America's Dairyland might make people hesitate moving to WI to work ... based on what? Agriculture is still the largest industry in the state. Dairy is the largest segment of that industry with over nine thousand businesses called dairy farms. Nearly 1,400,000 Wisconsin cows are producing about 3.5 billion gallons a of milk (or 30 billion lbs if you like). The state produces about 3.2 billion lbs of cheese. Just a heck of a lot of butter and liquid milk. America's Dairyland should stay right where it is on the plates ... although, I do like 'Eat Cheese or Die.'" — Lloyd Schultz 

"I think the WI business lobby isn't using it's time wisely! Attract businesses and manufacturers to WI and leave license plates alone!" — Jerri Welk

Gen. John Kelly wants to go back to a time when Women were...Sacred?

Remember when women were sacred? Let's go back to that time?

That's what 67 year old Gen. John Kelly said about women, that they were "sacred." He apparently grew up in a time I'm completely unaware of. I know we consider life sacred, but that's not a person or a particular sex.

Sacred...like a religious artifact, or some other kind of inanimate thing or place? Kelly just dehumanized women again, in the most profound sexist way. Check out this from Lawrence O'Donnell.

Who the hell was praising this guy as the adult in the room with Trump? More like peas in a pod to me:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trump voters on Medicaid in for unhappy surprise...

Here's an eye opening segment from the new Sarah Silverman show, "I Love you, America" on Hulu, that proves Republican low information voters and in the tank Trumpsters are completely unaware of their mindless double standard on health care:

When these good people wake up, they will know who to blame, and who took total credit for it...maybe:

Scott Walker finally approves what we can or cannot protest at NFL games...or anywhere!!!

The first amendment is just too long and lacks that certain commercial appeal for profit making apparently. Unlike the Second Amendment, which is short and sweet enough for the gun industry to latch onto so they can lobby and sell guns through the NRA, “petitioning the government for a redress of grievances” doesn't even make for a good hat.
Congress shall make no law respecting … the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
Republicans have been trying to put an end to protesting since they lost out to the anti-war movement in the '60's.

When over a million Wisconsinites, including children, protested the vilification of teachers and union busting in Act 10 back in 2011, Scott Walker didn't see it as act of "petitioning the government," he saw it was a form of "intimidation." Believe it or not, he even titled his book "Unintimidated" to make his case, characterizing protesters as out of state agitators, and comparing his stand against them to fighting ISIS.

Walker's family raised their kids to stand during the National Anthem:

Now that Trump has taken a firm nationalistic anti-First Amendment stand on protesting at NFL games, our presidential wannabee is jumping on board:
Walker wrote in a letterto NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "But disrespecting our flag, and the men and women who have fought to protect and defend our country, is not American in the slightest."
Here's the logical response from Democratic Rep. Melissa Sargent:

Walker does have a legislature filled with anti-constitutional Republican sycophants:

And one or two "rebels:"

After bashing Democrats for trying to bring Agricultural Hemp Industry and jobs to state for over a decade...GOP on board?

It's taken over 15 years to bring industrial hemp farming and jobs to Wisconsin, thanks to our anti-business Republican legislature who's favored list of businesses is limited to only the largest campaign contributors. What happened?

We didn't want to "tarnish Wisconsin's image," or give the impression we're a bunch of drug induced hippies milking cows and eating cheese.

Democrats were stopped cold!!!
But industrial hemp has seen huge growth nationwide...just not here in Wisconsin. After all, anything pushed by those 60's pot smoking liberal Democrats was just a marijuana smoke screen to legalize another burgeoning industry nationwide, recreational pot. I wonder how long we'll have to wait for that?
February 23, 2010 – Steps to legalize industrial hemp in Wisconsin are facing Republican oppositionAll Republicans on the Assembly Agriculture Committee recently voted against a measure passed by the Democratic majority, which would allow Wisconsin farmers to apply for permits to grow hemp.
Make no mistake, Republicans didn't have any fact based, or science based reasons for their opposition...just a lot of mindless excuses that made sense then...until now:
State Representative Al Ott (R-Forest Junction) says there are worries about the drug connotation of hemp, which could tarnish Wisconsin’s image. He says there’s also no infrastructure to support a market for the product. Ott says he understands farmers are struggling in the tough economy, but he doesn’t feel it’s time to dilute the agriculture industry.
Now, agricultural hemp is a Republican idea. Hey Democrats...anyone want to remind voters who could have brought thousands of jobs and saved hundreds of family farms mentioned below well before our GOP overlords caught on? It's suddenly a high tech magnet for rural Republican areas (Foxconn fever baby).

Let's see, we were once a leader in hemp production, then what happened? Drug connotations...tarnish our image...dilute the agriculture industry...no infrastructure....blocked legislation for over a decade...yea, I wonder what happened (see and click image of history above):
Guest speaker: "We have watched our state farmers close generational farms year after year. We have lost farmers in the thousands...this is transformational."  
Thank you Republicans:
At least 30 states, including neighboring Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois, have passed legislation allowing hemp cultivation.

Paul Ryan scheme: Spend Tax Cut savings on Higher Insurance Premiums.

Voters are finally getting to see who the real Paul Ryan is, and why he's not their friend at all.

Looking out the little guy and fighting for the forgotten average American struggling to just get by is not the real Paul Ryan, and his tax cut plan piggybacked with the repealed ObamaCare subsidies (SRC) is Ryan finally showing his hand. Note: The subsidies are part of the ACA, the funding source unfortunately was inadvertently not specified:

Thanks to Ryan and Trump's threats to destroy the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies hell bent on making a profit are dumping out of the Marketplaces and raising premiums trying to stay ahead of the Republican chaos: 

Think about it, any tax savings Republican voters were counting on will simply find their way into higher insurance premiums.

Not only did Ryan lie about the subsidies being illegal, since that has never been determined by the courts, but Ryan made it seem like the subsidies helped insurers merge into giant monopolies, something Republicans don't give a rats ass about. Mergers have been going on for years:
In a statement to reporters, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday night the administration concluded that Congress had not appropriated money for the subsidies and thus they were "unlawful payments" to "bailout insurance companies."

Paul Ryan signaled Monday he does not want to restore Obamacare subsidies that President Donald Trump is cutting. Instead, Ryan said, Congress should take a more comprehensive approach the answer is not to shovel more money at a failing program that is doubling premiums and causing monopolies. 
"Propping up Obamacare and just giving insurance subsidies to insurance carriers to keep a failing system propped up is not the answer."
But unlike Ryan, Steve Bannon came right out and told the truth:
Bannon said Trump's decision to not continue funding Obamacare subsidies, was designed to "blow up" the health-care law and insurance marketplaces. "Gonna blow those exchanges up, right?"
Anyone still think Paul Ryan is even remotely serving the people who voted for him? 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Rand Paul's group discount scheme: Single Premiums: $6,251 a year; Family Premiums $17,545 a year. Cheap?

Media Swings at Republican curve balls, and miss again: Just like the discussion around the Affordable Care Act, reporters and media pundits didn't know squat about health care, and that ignorance helped Republicans spread all the lies so many people believed today.

It's happening all over again, this time with Rand Paul's bizarre "group" health insurance idea. He wants every American to leave the individual insurance market and join a group association plan, pay their dues as a member (added cost), and get a similar group policy break that big businesses get. Sweet, it doesn't simplify buying insurance, it adds a whole new mind boggling level of bureaucracy.

What a deal...but there's a bigger problem.

The inconvenient truth #1; health insurance for employers is really really expensive too (according to Kaiser Family Foundation, 2015): 
This type of coverage is commonly called a “group health insurance plan” or “employer-sponsored health insurance.” In 2015, the average premium for single coverage is $521 per month, or $6,251 per year. The average premium for family coverage is $1,462 per month or $17,545 per year (source).Sep 28, 2015.
The inconvenient truth #2; worse still, group associations don't kick in the employer contribution side of the premium they normally give to employees:
On average, employers paid 83 percent of the premium, or $5,179 a year. Employees paid the remaining 17 percent, or $1,071 a year. For family coverage, the average policy totaled $17,545 a year with employers contributing, on average, 72 percent or $12,591. Employees paid the remaining 28 percent or $4,955 a year. Feb 16, 2016.
Group associations do no such thing, since they just provide a group buying discount for it's dues paying members. And then there are the high deductibles...etc.

The above figures are from 2015, and show pretty generous employee contributions. But the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show employers shifting their costs onto their employees ("Civilian" includes both private and government):

The fact is, Rand Paul is oblivious to previous attempts to do just what he thinks is the big solution:
A version of these self-insured association health plans first became widespread in the 1980s, but they failed in droves because many were undercapitalized. More troubling, these earlier association plans had a history of becoming what the Labor Department termed “scam artists” and the Government Accountability Office reported were “bogus entities [that] have exploited employers and individuals seeking affordable coverage.” More than two dozen states reported in 1992 that these early association plans had committed “fraud, embezzlement or other criminal law” violations.

The more ominous aspect of association health plans: market destabilization.People who don’t need to cover preexisting conditions or don’t want to pay community rates gravitate to the better deals offered by associations, leaving sicker people in the regulated markets. Naturally, regulated insurance prices increase as a result, sometimes causing a death spiral that crashes the market.

So Rand Paul really doesn't know what he's talking about, and yet, he sounds so confident. Note: Not one of the 2 morning show pundits asked about these two major points, which is why I didn't include them:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Slowly turning Campuses into Right Wing Institutes.

I've never understood shouting down guest speakers on campus. Maybe adding a profound comment during the lecture would be more effective. Or make your point if there's a Q and A afterwards. Even better was this fun story, as told by another whiny conservative victim..:

Oh, those evil far left groups. Luckily, there are no far right groups anywhere.

War on College: The point is, it's interesting to watch Republicans pollute campuses with mindless ideological dogma, unrelated to actual curriculum, all the while drumming out and vilifying liberal professors nationwide with their finely tuned network of elitist media stars and anonymous social networking trolls.

Unqualified Speakers: For instance, here's the very naive, starry eyed rantings of a youthful 29 year old conservative speaker pushing campus carry at the UW (I'm using the same argument GOP uses against youthful liberal college students:
Katie Pavlich, a 29 year old Fox News contributor and author, spoke to a nearly full lecture hall about the history of the Second Amendment, follows the passage of a policy that will sanction students across the University of Wisconsin System for disrupting free speech. 
Pavlich's "lecture" went on without a hitch, uninterrupted. Oh oh, that can't happen, because then no one would have noticed. She would be just another gun nut speaking to the choir. 

So, leave it to Pavlich to take a shot at the protesters outside, allowed under the new UW pollicy:
Outside of Brogdon Hall a couple dozen people waved around sex toys in the rain to protest Pavlich ... making a comparison between laws and policies barring the display of obscene materials in public, and being able to carry a firearm in public.

Pavlich said the students’ actions were “sexual harassment” and called it “immature, silly, absurd, and really quite frankly, out-right dumb.” 
Brave Katie Pavlich, bashing the free speech rights of protesters outside, by calling them names? Now that's what I call college level "diversity, cultural awareness, and tolerance.” The Republican sponsor of the free speech bill Robin Vos should be proud...
Vos: "Civility begins by appreciating and understanding that the other point of view isn't wrong...it's just...you don't agree with. It's not evil, it's just perhaps somebody you need to inform." 
What, you don't have a gun around? You "silly, absurd, and really quite frankly, out-right dumb" liberal, don't you know you've created a public "death trap," a favorite target of law abiding gun toting mass murderers.
Pavlich called gun-free zones, such as the buildings on the Madison campus, “gun-free death traps.”
Personally, that would make every room in my own home a gun-free death trap." And hasn't the loosey-goosey right to bear arms created these "death traps?" 

Obvious Ploy: Speakers are recruited off campus:  
The UW-Madison chapter of the student organization Young Americans for Freedom sponsored Pavlich’s lecture and hosted Ben Shapiro, a former editor for the conservative news website Breitbart, on campus last fall. While he spoke, students shouted him down several times.

Conservative foundations that for years have quietly given money to help student groups bring speakers to college campuses recently have been under scrutiny in the wake of speaker protests, suggesting the push for conservative views is from off-campus. The Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in recent years has given Young America's Foundation tens of thousands of dollars for such activities as increasing the number of conservative-leaning campus events it sponsors, including in Wisconsin."
What about the threat of big government Republican purging professors they don't agree with?
The most recent case involves professor Olga Perez Stable Cox at Orange Coast College in California. An anonymous student in her human sexuality class secretly recorded Cox discussing her political views. She referred to Donald Trump as a “white supremacist,” his running mate Mike Pence “as one of the most anti-gay humans in this country” and their election as an “act of terrorism.”

Her words were clearly liberal … In the days since her “act of terrorism” talk ripped across the Internet, she has received terroristic death threats herself. Cox has since fled the state. Meanwhile, the Orange Coast College Republicans — the group that disseminated the gotcha video — is campaigning for her firing.

In a similar vein, the conservative group Turning Point USA recently published a “Professor Watchlist,” a catalogue of what it thinks are dangerous and “anti-American” professors who deserve public shaming for allegedly trying to “advance a radical agenda in lecture halls.”