Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Walker leaves voters cold, no political representation, fearing loss of GOP seats!!!

Where's the legal challenge?

Scott Walker is refusing to fill two legislative seats, despite being required to by law. As casual about breaking the law as anyone could be, Walker just wanted to make things simple. WSAW:

The news media has once again taken the neutral, we're not sure position, writing "Some believe." It's more obvious than that.
Some believe the governor may be violating a state statute. The statute referred states the following: "Any vacancy in the office of state senator or representative to the assembly occurring before the 2nd Tuesday in May in the year in which a regular election is held to fill that seat shall be filled as promptly as possible by special election. However, any vacancy in the office of state senator or representative to the assembly occurring after the close of the last regular floor period of the legislature held during his or her term shall be filled only if a special session or extraordinary floor period of the legislature is called or a veto review period is scheduled during the remainder of the term. The special election to fill the vacancy shall be ordered, if possible, so the new member may participate in the special session or floor period."
Supporting to the idea we have a lawbreaking governor on our hands:
"The statute mentions May. And it says if the seat becomes vacant after May then he can leave them open until the next election," UW Stevens Point Political Science Professor Ed Miller said. "Well, this is before May. And it's been a while now. And therefore he may clearly be in violation of the statute." Miller said if Walker were to be challenged on this matter, it would have to happen in court. It's unclear if a legal challenge will occur.

Walker says Reinsurance Plan using Taxpayer "Market Driven?"

Scott Walker just said that government intrusion in the free market doesn't really "distort the market" after all. That runs counter to everything Republicans have been saying for the last 50 years or more.

But even better, Walker indirectly said why he unabashedly thinks his $4.5 billion taxpayer handout to Foxconn wasn't hypocritical or a complete contradiction of conservative free market principles:
Walker got applause when he told doctors he wants a state law to protect those with preexisting conditions. Federal law already does.
Let's be clear, Walker is talking about taxpayer money, and he wants to "distort market prices" downward with it:
1. $200 million in state and federal money to stabilize the state's Obamacare market and hold down rising insurance premiums.

2. $150 million in federal money and $50 million from state Medicaid savings.
You can't make this stuff up. Quoting Walker:
"This is a market driven way to help drive down premiums..."

I can't wait to see RightWisconsin or the MacIver Instute fellows twist themselves into pretzels trying to explain Walker inadvertent moment of honesty. 

Walker to the Rescue, Fixing another Self-inflicted Republican Problem? Of course:
Walker (said), "No matter what happens in the future in Washington (D.C.), no matter what changes they do or don’t make to the Affordable Care Act in Wisconsin, going forward preexisting conditions will be covered so we don’t ever have to worry."
Walker won't say this, but he's fixing a problem that might be created by Republicans and Wisconsin embarrassment Dumb Ron Johnson:
Walker's plan would only kick in if similar protections in the Affordable Care Act are repealed ... Sen. Ron Johnson tried and failed to have those protections removed last year. Walker wants federal permission to set up a reinsurance fund to offset the costs of those with expensive conditions.
Pointing out the obvious, and once again demonstrating why Democrats are better government managers than government hating Republicans:
Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh said Democrats would likely support many of Walker's proposals, but he criticized Walker for abruptly adopting longtime Democratic priorities. He said if Walker was sincere, he would also take additional federal money to expand the state Medicaid health program known as BadgerCare Plus, freeing up $203 million for the state next year. "He's a great politician, but a terrible executive," Hintz said of Walker, "I don't know that the governor deserves credit for putting out fires that he started."
Walker's stolen Democratic Party plan has a few Assembly written health care stripping hoops in it, to keep the number of insured down, like this one...:
GOP lawmakers took a health care bill that Democrats were attempting to pass and used an amendment to swap out the old bill with their own proposal. "Patients would need to avoid a gap in their health coverage" ... returning Wisconsin to a high-risk pool model, which was used to insure high-cost patients with difficult medical conditions before the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Republican Issa warns Tech Leaders, don't Criticize Trump, free speech pushing Social Issues could hurt Business. But GOP Corporate Elites...not so much.

Sorry to sound paranoid, we watch our country slip into a fascist state, it's wise to remember the frightening natural tendencies of the Republican Party.

This is just one small example highlighting the attitude of the iron-fisted party in power, threatening to crush free speech for the sake of business, all without blinking an eye.

You would think free speech naturally fits into the whole idea of our free market system, but it doesn't unless you're on that short list of GOP favored industries:
CNET: One of Trump's point people on tech during the 2016 transition, and one of the go-to voices on tech issues, Congressman Darrell Issa, says tech leaders speaking out against President Donald Trump are making a mistake ... criticizing Trump and his administration on both policy and social issues are making a mistake. For example, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is gay, criticized Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military in July. "We are indebted to all who serve. Discrimination against anyone holds everyone back."

"I stand with the Dreamers," wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, after Trump announced he was rescinding an Obama-era program called DACA, which protected undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation.
Thanks to Trump, Issa is now free to say what Republicans have been thinking for decades, and that is business and stockholders hold sway over progress and social policies that put Americans first:
"The tech leaders who are officers of public companies are really ill-advised to make those statements because those statements, quite frankly, are required to be in the best interest of their stockholders and often they're not."
Home Depot Co-Founder Bernie Marcus' Criticism of Americans? Now that's Free Speech: It's still open season to criticize large swathes of Americans everywhere if you're an elitist Republican supporting corporate jerk. He's not worried about stockholders...odd isn't it?

Note: Bernie Marcus went overboard bragging about how important the $1000 bonus was to Americans, who can now use that money to "pay their mortgage, a car repair, they could be paying for a past due bill." But these things weren't important enough to raise the minimum wage, or at the least, stop wage stagnation:

Jimmy Carter laid it on the line, as he has been known to do, with Thom Hartmann. Why this doesn't seem to register with conservatives, I'll never know:
HARTMANN: Our Supreme Court has now said, “unlimited money in politics.” It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. … Your thoughts on that?

CARTER: It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Trumpian White Evangelicals say "A lot of people don't like him, and are out to get him..." and Trump "is the pastor of the nation."

Wanna know why "Christian" Evangelicals are about to become the punchline for every well deserved joke and attack? Because they're phonies. Headline-Washington Post:
‘He’s not God’: In the wake of porn-star allegations, most evangelicals stand by Trump
There are some shocking and creepy Christian statements rationalizing their love for Trump. This is just how poisoned their religion has become now that it's become a political arm of the Republican Party. There's a reason for the separation of church and state.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released this month found 68 percent of white evangelical Protestants approve of Trump’s job performance Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said last week Trump should get a “mulligan” for the alleged liaison Storm Daniels.
The Ends Justify the Means - Jesus? White Evangelicals are now getting what they want, at the expense of other religions and those not so religious. I've come across the following comments hundreds of times, and that's why I'm putting it in writing and featuring this short video clip from All in with Chris Hayes:

1. Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham said Christians are not looking for Trump to be “pastor of this nation.”

2. Tammy Napier, 53, a cashier in Hartville, Mo.: “I think a lot of people don’t like him and are out to get him any way they can. I’m from Missouri, the ‘Show-Me State,’ and I’m, like, ‘Show me the proof.’ ”

3. Allen Cannon, who lives in Ovett, Miss., and works for the county transportation department, said Trump needs to be held to a human standard: “I’m not saying he didn’t do it. I don’t agree with it if he did. But after all, he’s not God. So if he was God and was president, then I’d have a problem. That is the only being who is sin-free: God. You have to take the good along with the bad. In my view, Donald Trump’s good outweighs his bad.”
4. Marva Burke of Sugar Creek, Mo., “We just thought it was another block in the roadway,” said Burke, 68, an evangelical who characterized Trump’s detractors as “nitwits who are trying to block him on everything.”

5. Dan Perna, a wine distributor from Vermont, mostly praised the president for making the country “safer and more prosperous” and credited him with supporting people’s right to say 'Merry Christmas.' This is a Christian-based country, and it should continue. It’s continuously trying to be dragged in a direction it’s not. You want to have sharia law, go to fricking Iran; leave me out of it.”
Here are the destructive acts supposed "Christian" Evangelicals are celebrating: 
1. An executive order easing enforcement of the so-called Johnson Amendment, which restricts political activity by churches;

2. Signing legislation to give states the right to end funding of Planned Parenthood;

3. Nominating conservative judges, including Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court;

4. Moving toward withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran, which Reed called “a dangerous and bloody regime committed to the destruction of Israel.”
I thought this comment summed it up perfectly:
I grew up down south in the days when most Evangelicals were convinced that the most important issue for the faithful was "States Rights" and "Forced Busing".

So really nothing has changed, these are people pretending their invisible sky daddy shares their racism and their fear. They will insist they love Jesus while they violate everything he taught. A friend once told me that the most dangerous heresy in the world was also the simplest, the move from "Christianity is what I believe" to "What I believe IS Christianity". Jesus Weeps.

After Election loss in Wisconsin, GOP targets Ryan's challenger, "coastal liberal" Randy Bryce with Comedic Exaggerations.

Feeling the heat and possible loss in the upcoming election, Paul Ryan and his backers demonstrated just how desperate and imaginative they can be, releasing a flood of Onion sounding quotes that's guaranteed to make you smile.

Ryan is so dedicated, he's still hasn't decided to run again, so what's the worry?

Randy Bryce, Blogger, Tweaks Twitter Follower Numbers: I never heard of this particular service, Devumi, but unless you're against private businesses offering marketing services, how can you blame someone for trying...?
"Back in 2015, Randy spent about $10-$20 to buy 1,000 to 1,500 followers," said Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for the Bryce campaign. "He was trying out blogging at the time … (not during his) campaign, and he's gained over 200,000 followers on Twitter since we launched in July."
The number to remember is "200,000" followers since July of 2017, with no help from Devumi.

The National Republican Congressional Committee and Ryan's campaign oddly decided to pile on a private business and Bryce's marketing campaign to promote his blog. Hey, either you like business or you don't, which is it you hypocritical whiners?

Here's the funny part. This is basically all the New York Times wrote about Byrce: 
Devumi’s customers include both avid supporters and fervent critics of President Trump, and both liberal cable pundits and a reporter at the alt-right bastion Breitbart. Randy Bryce, an ironworker seeking to unseat Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, purchased Devumi followers in 2015, when he was a blogger and labor activist. Louise Linton, the wife of the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, bought followers when she was trying to gain traction as an actress.
From that brief mention, the NRC and Ryan's campaign saw so much more than I ever could. Besides making it seem like Bryce is supposed lying about Paul Ryan's less than secret agenda, Bryce apparently has a "Hollywood base? Will he be in the new Avengers movie too?:
The National Republican Congressional Committee: "We all know Randy Bryce spends a lot of time on Twitter lobbing false attacks at Paul Ryan and pandering to his Hollywood base," said Chris Martin, regional press secretary for the committee. "But according to today's bombshell story from the New York Times, Bryce's online presence is just as phony as his astroturf campaign."
Wow, his "astroturf campaign?" So the added 199,000-200,000 twitter followers are phony? Who knew?

But the following hyperbolic lunacy should not be forgotten by angry voters tired of Ryan's typically false accusations:
Jeremy Adler, communications director for Ryan's campaign: "Up till this point, the energy behind Randy Bryce's campaign was almost exclusively from coastal liberals. But a revelation in this morning's New York Times' bombshell story exposes just how artificial support for him really is."
I guess that's what they would call there best shot?

I hope they truly feel that way. It would serve them right. Oh, and Trump fire-breathers should take note about their favorite fake news source...appealing to those coastal liberals?:
Aaron Klein, a radio talk show host and the Jerusalem bureau chief for Breitbart News, bought at least 35,000 followers from Devumi, according to records. A Times analysis found that the majority of his followers were bots, as demonstrated by the unusual patterns seen here.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Universal Basic Income: Good idea or Bad?

Okay, I promise to ease up on the idea of a basic income after this post. At least until the next relevant discussion is researched and reported on.

NPR has been covering this fascinating topic for a long time, and I almost missed it covering the backward movement Scott Walker and the Republicans have been pushing for the last 7 years. Let's face it, their bizarre "every day is opposite day" supposed "forward" agenda is an amazing distraction that even got to me.

Whether you're for or against the idea of a "universal basic income" (UBI), the following podcasts will dissect every question you might have right now. From their archives...:
The basic income is a hot topic of social policy. It's a steady payout to citizens. Liberals argue it provides support to struggling citizens with dignity and freedom. Libertarians like that it can be dispensed without an expensive, and controlling, bureaucracy. The rest argue that it's a giveaway that will inspire laziness. 

In Finland, unemployment is 8.8 percent, and most of the time, citizens can't collect unemployment if they're making additional money, discouraging recipients from finding jobs. So the Finnish government has set up something unusual: a live experiment. A test to help settle the debate, or figure if it's even worth having. A test group of 2,000 unemployed Finns receive 560 euros each month from the government. No strings attached. For unemployed researcher Sanna Leskinen, that meant being able to apply for part time jobs and plan for the future. Avery Trufelman went to Finland to see how the experiment was working ... how does the basic income work in practice? And could it work in the U.S.?

Here's another perspective, answering even more questions...(click  on the image for the TED video presentation):
Historian Rutger Bregman says a lack of cash is the cause, not the symptom, of poverty. He proposes a simple but radical solution: give those in need a guaranteed basic income. Bregman's most recent book, Utopia for Realists, explores universal basic income and other provocative ideas. Bregman also writes for The Correspondent and has been featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, and on the BBC.

If you have the time, the report below is a great overview as well:
Much of the anger and anxiety in the 2016 election is fueled by the sense that economic opportunity is slipping away for many Americans. Misha Chellam is a tech entrepreneur in San Francisco and is part of the burgeoning basic income movement … "I have this gut sense from having been in the Valley for a while now that there will be a coming wave of automation that's going to get rid of a lot of jobs." While technological advances make some jobs obsolete, the past has shown that tech has also created new opportunities.

Then there's Uber, which is experimenting with driverless taxis and trucks. "And that would affect 3.5 million truck drivers, another 5 million people who support the truck-driving industry," Chellam says. "And that's just one example of automation."

Chellam says software is eating white-collar jobs, too, and everyone from bookkeepers to doctors and lawyers will be affected. Chellam criticizes politicians for not talking about this automated future. At best, he says, they talk about "retraining," which doesn't address the scope of the problem.

Chellam believes as technology replaces more workers, the traditional 40-hour-a-week job could become a thing of the past. If that happens, how will families get health insurance or save for retirement?

Some experts say the only answer is a government-guaranteed paycheck that would allow people to buy food and housing. That would not only help the individuals but would help keep economic wheels spinning and generate tax revenues.

Natalie Foster, a fellow at the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit research organization in Palo Alto said some technologists suggest setting the basic income at $10,000 a year. Others have proposed raising carbon emission taxes to pay for it. They're hosting panels asking what would it mean to give people money they didn't work for. In Oakland, they're about to find out. Y Combinator is funding a research project on basic income, where it will pay 100 people enough money for food and shelter — no strings attached. The prestigious tech accelerator helped launch companies that include Airbnb and Reddit.

Y Combinator in a blog post by its president, Sam Altman, predicted that "at some point in the future," some version of basic income will be rolled out nationally.

Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook who is active in the basic income movement says that whether you like the idea or not, there won't be an alternative because decent-paying jobs are disappearing for millions of people. "The reality is that work has changed. Forty percent of jobs are now contingent, meaning they're part-time, independent contractors, Uber drivers," he says. And he says that shift has already left middle-class Americans economically insecure. A recent study by the Federal Reserve found that 46 percent of Americans surveyed didn't have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency expense. "I think there is a sense that our economy is broken in many ways," Hughes says. "But rather than try to restructure our economy so it looks like the 1950s, I think we have to be honest with ourselves." Hughes says that means basic income isn't an idea for the distant future but one we need to consider today.

Sadly, the first vote for a basic income in Switzerland failed. Yet maybe a whole country shouldn't try something until a few smaller attempts were made with tweaks and improvements:
Swiss voters over the weekend dealt a stern backslap to a ballot proposal that would have guaranteed a basic monthly income for all 8.1 million residents — regardless of their employment status — of that wealthy European nation.

The vote wasn't even close. Almost 77 percent of voters rejected the proposal that the government give every adult in Switzerland about $2,500 every month. (Children would have received a smaller subsidy of $650.)

Supporters had argued that the bold social experiment would help eradicate poverty and protect workers in an increasingly automated economy. Opponents said the measure, with an estimated price tag of more than $200 billion a year, was too costly and would lead to public spending cuts.Switzerland was the first country to offer its voters their choice on the idea of a government-guaranteed monthly income, USA Today reports. The newspaper says the proposal is being debated in other countries, including the Netherlands, Finland, Canada and New Zealand.

Trump's simple immigration plan...

Thursday, January 25, 2018

US Job Growth of Contractors and Freelancers eliminates Job Security, Benefits, Protections!!! Basic Income needs serious discussion.

Having been a sole proprietor and independent contractor for the last 15 years, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the nation is also moving in that direction. While "old economy" Republicans like Scott Walker salivate over filling big manufacturering plants with warm bodies, the 21st century jobs on online and populated with independent contractors and freelancers is picking up steam.

The fact that the new economy isn't even on the Republicans radar yet is scary. We need to plan now, not ten to twenty years from now. The NPR story fits perfectly with the rising talk of a "basic income" for every American. You'll see why below:
A new NPR/Marist poll finds that 1 in 5 jobs in America is held by a worker under contract. Within a decade, contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce. Workers across all industries and at all professional levels will be touched by the movement toward independent work — one without the constraints, or benefits, of full-time employment. Policymakers are just starting to talk about the implications.

Machines are siphoning off basic tasks, and temporary workers allow flexibility to size up and down. In the legal field, there are online platforms that match freelance lawyers with clients. 

It's not just business driving the trend. Surveys show a large majority of freelancers are free agents by choice. The NPR/Marist poll shows that 34 percent of part-time workers are looking for full-time work. That may be increasingly difficult. Currently, 1 in 5 workers is a contract worker. According to economists Alan Krueger and Lawrence Katz, almost all — or 94 percent — of net jobs created from 2005 to 2015 were these sorts of impermanent jobs.

Within a decade, many labor economists believe freelancers will outnumber full timers.

Arun Sundararajan, a management professor at New York University and author of The Sharing Economy, says "this is the work arrangement for the future." The new normal will be freelance work. "Twenty years from now, I don't think a typical college graduate is going to expect that full-time employment is their path to building a career," Sundararajan says.
20 years from now we'll still be doling out taxpayer money to Foxconn, at time we may need to spend money on never dreamed of education and social structures:

Sundararajan says that will ultimately lead to many other changes, from education to social structures and public services. Those looser ties will shift more responsibility to contract workers. They must handle saving for retirement and their health insurance on their own.

"But some people, despite their best efforts, just aren't going to be successful in doing that," Wheeling's mayor, Glenn Elliott says. "What's going to happen to those who fall through the cracks?  Because the 1950s model of retirement and getting your pension check every year from your company is not a realistic model for a lot of people, increasingly."

The public safety net — the budgets for fire departments and social services — is already strained, he says, by the area's opioid problems, among other things. A future where fewer workers have benefits won't help.
Basic Income may be our Future Safety Net, and Job Creator: I cut and pasted the important points and argument for a basic income, which again is still a pretty undeveloped idea that has worked well in a few early experiments:
Since 1980, average income for the top .01 percent of Americans has more than tripled. For the bottom 90 percent, it’s basically flat-lined. Facebook's Chris Hughes is among those who view the disparity as a national crisis. And so he recently launched the Economic Security Project, a two-year effort to invest $10 million from Hughes and others into research on universal basic income. This investment comes amid a sudden wave of interest in universal basic income in the tech industry. 

Y Combinator, the Palo Alto–based startup accelerator, announced in early 2016 that it was starting its own basic income experiment in which a small number of Oakland residents would receive a cash payment and be compared to a control group. Tesla’s Elon Musk, meanwhile, has warned about the rise of the robots, arguing at the World Government Summit earlier this year that a basic income is “going to be necessary.” And when Mark Zuckerberg delivered his commencement speech at Harvard in May, he advocated for a basic income, saying it would provide people with “a cushion to try new ideas."

Hughes was looking for basic income studies that the Economic Security Project might like to finance. The goal of the organization is to provide the money so that researchers can investigate the impact of a basic income on people’s lives. His group has contributed $1 million to Stockton, California’s basic income experiment, as well as to GiveDirectly, a Google-backed charity that is studying the impact of unconditional cash transfers in Kenya, and other projects.

The Economic Security Project team also recently conducted its own survey of more than 1,000 Alaskans who receive roughly $2,000 per person, per year, through the Alaska Permanent Fund, which is drawn from oil revenues. It found that when faced with a choice between lowering taxes or keeping their cash payments, 71 percent of Alaskans say they want to keep the payments. “It feels like security,” Hughes says, “and in an economy that zigs and zags and has more part-time jobs, security is hard to come by.”

Hughes is no basic income purist. He believes, for instance, that for this economic moonshot to be politically palatable, it would have to be tied to work. “Work is a key source of purpose in our lives.” But the changing nature of work, particularly among top tech employers, is still a critical problem for the American workforce. One illuminating New York Times article illustrated how the men and women who scrub toilets and do other low-skilled work for companies like Apple are hired from contracting companies which set the terms of their employment. Those workers are cut off from the benefits and upward mobility that the company’s engineers and marketers enjoy. Because the workers are contractors, the big tech companies feel no pressure to raise their wages, and aren’t responsible for offering health-care coverage. 

In a new economy that mints billionaires overnight, giving millions of dollars away for experimentation is the easy part. It’s taxpayers, after all, not individual tech companies, who would have to pay for a basic income should one ever come to pass.

A legislated basic income is in the realm of fantasy at the moment. Even among its proponents there is almost no agreement about the fundamentals, starting with how much money would be an optimal basic income. 

Ioana Marinescu, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice, who researches basic income, says that research on the Alaska fund is enlightening, but not dispositive. “We know $2,000 a year makes a real difference to many people,” Marinescu says. “But would something lower still make a difference? We don’t know.”

Others argue that the problem with a universal basic income is the “universal” part. In a world in which every American gets a check, some of that money would necessarily be squandered on rich people. Some libertarian groups like the Cato Institute support the idea, seeing it as a way to replace the country’s existing social safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps, an idea liberals deplore.

Even in a fever dream scenario in which a basic income could pass in Congress, there is so far little evidence that it would help the “forgotten men and women” whom Trump described in his campaign. After all, $2,000 a year hardly feels like an adequate substitute for a disappeared $50,000 union job at the local steel mill.

Still, if anything is to be learned from the experiment, it’s this: To imagine that a basic income, or something like it, would suddenly satisfy the disillusioned, out-of-work Rust Belt worker is as wrongheaded as imagining it would do no good at all, or drive people to stop working. There is a third possibility: that an infusion of cash into struggling households would lift up the youth in those households in all the subtle but still meaningful ways Costello has observed over the years, until finally, when they come of age, they are better prepared for the brave new world of work, whether the robots are coming or not.

Burger King's Net Neutality Pricing System, ATT wants Law Back, and Local Community's targeted by Big Telecom.

Today net neutrality came into focus, thanks to Burger King? Beautiful.

Hitting the Twitter fan in a big way was this Burger King ad explaining net neutrality to its customers in the most obnoxious way. And yes, I will be buying a "slow MPBS" Burger King order:
Burger King's new ad has become a sensation, with more than a million views on YouTube and it's lighting up Twitter. In the ad customers, whom the restaurant says are real, are told they will be charged different prices for a Whopper, based on speed, or MBPS (making burgers per second). Prices range from $5 to $26. And the customers grow increasingly furious in an art-imitating-life display that mocks new internet rules that have led to wide-scale protests, even death threats.

ATT now backs Net Neutrality: This is a twist...but are they serious?
ATT is calling on Congress for a national net neutrality law that would govern Internet providers and tech companies alike, which the telecom giant says would end a fractious, years-long debate over the future of the Web. In a series of full-page ads Wednesday in major newspapers such as The Washington Post and the New York Times, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson proposed an “Internet Bill of Rights” that could help guarantee an open Internet, one in which online content is not blocked or slowed down by telecom or cable companies, nor by Internet companies such as Google or Facebook.

AT T's legislative campaign aims to head off what many analysts say could be another swing of the regulatory pendulum against broadband providers. Many states are also moving to pass their own net neutrality rules to replace the federal regulations. On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) signed an executive order requiring that state agencies purchase Internet access only from broadband providers that abide by net neutrality.

The prospect of having to comply with perhaps dozens of state-level net neutrality rules is a nightmare for Internet providers. Although the FCC has said it will take states to court if they seek to circumvent its decision, companies such as AT&T want a guarantee of stability. AT&T's call for the bill to apply equally to Internet companies and providers reflects a turning point for the long-running net neutrality saga as well as for Silicon Valley's fortunes in Washington.

One tech industry official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to speak more freely. “This is like the big, bad wolf promising better building codes after blowing down all the houses in town,” the official said.
Big Telecom taking Over Broadband Control: Ajit Pai's plan is to turn the internet over to the big players, leaving local government and consumers to Big Telecoms monopolized market prices:

San Jose mayor Mayor Sam Liccardo says he’s quitting FCC broadband committee because Big Telecom is running it: the FCC, under Trump-appointed chairman Ajit Pai, launched an advisory committee on high-speed internet access, saying it planned to bring broadband to more people. 

At a recent meeting, Mayor Liccardo said, a working group with no municipal representatives considered a plan to eliminate municipal control of broadband infrastructure. The goal, he now believes, is to give the industry “publicly-funded infrastructure at taxpayer-subsidized rates.” 

In August, the Center for Public Integrity explained how local governments believed they were being played, as the FCC reportedly stacked more than three out of four positions on the panel with business-friendly interests. 

National Forest Campground closed because nearby property Owner Target practice.

Well, what do you know, guns and freedom just got in the way of business. Guns win...for awhile?

UPDATE: 1/28/2018: What do you know, the guy with guns may be mentally unstable? Freedom folks:
The man whose behavior officials blame for the closure of the Boulder Lake Campground has been ordered to go to a mental health facility for at least six months of treatment. Earlier this month, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest canceled all reservations for the summer and closed the campground, citing safety concerns. The Oconto County Sheriff’s Department said it agreed with the shutdown decision based on deputies' encounters last year with the property owner … As part of the mental health commitment ruling, Judge Conley suspended the man’s right to possess firearms. The man could petition to have those rights restored, Pawlak said.

Businesses in the area say they are hopeful campers will be able to return. “I'm sure everybody is going to be greatly relieved because Boulder Lake campground is the money maker in the Nicolet campground system,” said Beth Boyd of Grudgeville Pub and Grub

This was first reported:
AP: Sheriff's officials say a popular campground in a northern Wisconsin forest will close this season due to safety concerns related to a neighboring property owner. WLUK-TV reports that officials decided to close the Boulder Lake Campground in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest because a nearby property owner was holding target practice on his land.

Oconto County Sheriff's Departmet Chief Deputy Ed Janke says that while that action is legal, it is concerning ... came to the decision to close the campground. About 85 people who have already reserved campsites will get refunds.

Town of Doty chairman, Dick Kendall, says the closure is disruptive to the thousands of visitors who use the campground, as well as the stores and restaurants they patronize.
Then things change, kinda?

A safety concern that led to the shutdown of a popular campground in Oconto County is now stable, deputies say.

According to Chief Deputy Ed Janke, the matter has been resolved through court proceedings and they no longer believe there are significant public safety concerns. Officials did not say how the threat was stabilized.

Climate Change, and Walker's Reckless Denial.

I've got to hand it to WKOW-TV, they weren't shy about their position on climate change. This is one of the best programs I've seen on the subject, and from a Wisconsin perspective. The 55-minute long YouTube piece, Our Wisconsin: The Climate Change Effect, broken up here in sections, presents the growing body of evidence that something needs to be done soon. What's wrong with playing it safe, since we're moving in the green direction anyway?

Here's a short summary of Scott Walker's impact on what was a beautiful state. If you can, check out the entire article in the Journal Sentinel here:
JS: Among states, Wisconsin has been one of the most active in recent years in pulling back from existing environmental protections and programs, said Barry Rabe, a political scientist at the University of Michigan.

In 2010, shortly before taking office, Walker said legislation that would limit the authority of agencies … one instance, they used the state budget bill to quietly change state law in 2015 to ease the way for Enbridge Inc. to gain state authority to condemn private property and avoid added insurance requirements … came after a massive spill in 2010 Enbridge paid $61 million in civil penalties. In Wisconsin, the company paid $1.1 million for running afoul of state environmental laws.

In another case in 2014, lawmakers voted to delay for up to 20 years the full rollout of Doyle-era regulations to limit how much phosphorus could be released into waterways. In recent years, phosphorus has been blamed for large, summer "dead zones" in Green Bay — areas with so little dissolved oxygen that fish can't survive.

An analysis finished in 2012 estimated $18.8 million in net benefits from the planned phosphorus reductions over a 20-year period. But in 2015, state officials commissioned a new study that estimated the reverse — that the new regulations would cost nearly $7 billion. That was used as justification to delay them.

Held steady a requirement that 10% of electricity come from renewable sources … while neighboring states are moving ahead with plans to use a larger share of wind and solar power.

Supporters of efforts to curtail environmental regulations point to the blockbuster deal with Foxconn as a validation of tax and regulatory policies that are more welcoming … for a complex that will include a manufacturing process involving chemicals and heavy metals.

Walker is viewed as the most environmentally indifferent governor since the 1970s, if not long before.

In October 2016, the DNR was sued after the agency said it would no longer consider the potential harm from high-capacity wells to nearby lakes, streams and wetlands when reviewing an application for a new well. Last month, a judge in Dane County ruled against the DNR. 

Passage of legislation in November that strikes down a nearly 20-year moratorium on metallic mining. "When did radical environmentalists become more important to some in the Wisconsin political elite than blue collar workers?" tweeted Eric Bott on Nov. 2. 

Political scientist Katherine J. Cramer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison said she saw this firsthand the attitudes of rural voters in the Walker era. Whether it's accurate or not, "I hear a lot of critiques of the DNR," she said. "Some people feel like these regulations are being imposed by a government that is clueless about them and their lives.”

WMC supported the state's legal challenges of regulations by the Obama administration to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. In 2016, Walker ordered agencies not to prepare for the new climate rules; and in December of that year, it was discovered the DNR had scrubbed information from its website that said the Earth is growing warmer and human activities are the main reason. Officials replaced it with wording saying the subject is a matter of scientific debate. 

A month earlier, during an interview, Cathy Stepp, then-head of the agency, said she believed the DNR would play a role in adapting strategies to a changing climate on matters such as flood control and the health of forests. What about the role humans play in global warming? “That’s above our pay grade here,” Stepp said. 

Cathy Stepp, described the DNR to the audience in Florida as having an “us-against-them mentality,” and that it was her goal to turn her agency from a “prohibiting agency to a permitting agency, which is frankly what I thought we were supposed to be. Some people are not going to like this, but I don’t believe that this agency has been managed by using private-sector business manager philosophies before," Stepp said in a 2016 interview on a department-wide reorganization.

Under Stepp, the number of cases the DNR referred for prosecution over pollution dropped by more than one half, compared with Doyle.

In February, officials blamed workload demands of the agency as a reason to end the publication of the self-supporting Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine … lawmakers restored some of the funding.

In June, the DNR announced it would no longer manage a 2-acre site at the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, where staff ranging from game wardens to biologists have mingled with fairgoers since 1948. 

The taxpayer incentives for Foxconn represent the largest subsidy to a foreign company in U.S. history.  It parallels how Walker and Republicans responded after a Florida company proposed in 2010 to develop a $1.5 billion iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties. Gogebic Taconite demanded lawmakers rewrite laws regulating iron mining … The bill sparked the biggest environmental debate in a decade. It failed by one vote in the Senate in 2012, chiefly over worries of the mine’s impact on water resources. One year later it passed.

What was not known until 2014 was that Gogebic had secretly donated $700,000 in 2011 and 2012 to help Republicans survive recall elections and have enough votes to pass the mining bill. Gogebic pulled out of the project in 2015, citing worries that the EPA under the Obama administration would veto the project because of potential harm to water resources. The EPA denied it would use its power in such a fashion. At the time, President Bill Williams said relations with state regulators had been good. “But there is probably still a subculture at the DNR, for lack of a better word, that is green,” he said.