Thursday, August 30, 2018

Desperate Walker Lobbyists WMC ad lie, get caught, double down and do nothing. Ends justify Means!

Well, this is uncomfortable...and desperate. Walker lackeys apparently don't have anything on Evers:

WMC is wrong, wrong, and wrong again:
JS-Molly Beck: The state's chamber of commerce, WMC, released a new ad this week hitting state schools superintendent and Democratic candidate for governor Tony Evers over giving his staff raises and bonuses instead of putting that money into poorly performing schools. 

But the Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker's Department of Administration have control over such payments, and state law would have prevented Evers from unilaterally taking funding for staff salaries and sending it to schools. DPI spokesman Tom McCarthy said in 2014, the DOA approved retention raises for DPI employees and the Legislature had set bonuses at $2,000 per employee.
Wrong, right? Will WMC kill the ad now exposed as an obvious lie to voters? Nope, in fact, WMC went further, saying it's Tony Evers fault? They said Evers "could have" "had the ability to" "he didn't even try" and "should have tried." You can't make this stuff up:
Nick Novak, spokesman for the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, said Evers should have lobbied the Legislature to move the money anyway. "He could have done this. He had the ability to do this. And he didn't even try," Novak said. "I think he should have tried if he felt strongly about something."
Novak is making stuff up and got caught red-handed creating a fantastical "he could have done this" scenario.  Jaw-dropping, but not unusual for WMC. But lying is now a powerful campaign tactic for Republicans because their voters say they don't care, and WMC's Novak piled on more BS, ignoring the fact Walker and the legislature approved the bonuses, like the headline says. In other words, he's blaming Walker and the legislature for giving bonuses. That's real good reelection message:
Novak said giving bonuses to employees at an agency that oversees public education at a time when dozens of schools are not meeting basic academic standards is unacceptable. 

A spokeswoman for Evers' campaign referred a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter to the DPI. McCarthy said the ad was "laughable. It shows they they don’t understand how the system actually works."
By the way, the "in-kind" coordinated ad with the Walker Campaign about firing teachers for pornography was also a complete fiction. A LIE. And television stations have not pulled it. I think this a major story that will come up sometime when it's too late to make a difference.  

The Good, Bad and Ugly in Trump (and Walker) Energy News...

Like everything else in Scott Walker's Wisconsin, unless you're a well established major Republican corporate campaign contributor, don't expect to do business here. New and reemerging industries like solar and wind that don't quite fit into the conservative dystopian vision, or haven't been pre-approved by ALEC, sadly won't be allowed to prosper or create thousands or millions of next-gen jobs. We have a Groundhog Day governor.

Areas not on Walker's radar: Hemp products, legalized marijuana, solar, wind, climate science dealing with changing weather patterns affecting cities and farmers, mass transit, border to border rollout of rural high-speed broadband, college affordability, prison reform, etc..  But Walker loves that eggs-in-one-basket Foxconn deal with its itty-bitty satellite offices around the state. 

Even more revealing is the fact that so many other deeply red states are actually moving forward with many of the vilified items I listed above. 

Take energy for instance.

Solar Growth Slow in Wisconsin: While the "free market" and so many big energy producers are giving up coal for resource free solar and wind, Walker won't get behind it:
Jim Tinjum, an associate professor of engineering with a specialty in renewable energy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, (went on a) #bikethewind tour last year ... Tinjum noted that on the solar front, Wisconsin leaves a lot to be desired. “Even though I’m from Wisconsin, I see Wisconsin as playing catchup in the role of advancing solar,” noting that his department teaches a course for solar installers, engineers and designers. He noted that the Wisconsin utility WPPI was a sponsor of his trip, and that he expects to see utilities and other players invest more in solar in the Midwest and Wisconsin in coming years.
Walker's "Sand Rush" feeds draconian Fossil Fuel Thinking: And why is solar and wind on the backburner?  Walker's gift; tearing up the most incredibly scenic part of our state:

Domestic drilling for oil and natural gas is expected to drive “extreme” demand for the frac sand prevalent throughout western Wisconsin. Wisconsin has historically produced about a third of the domestic supply of industrial sand.
But on the horizon, we're already being told cheaper solar and wind-generated electricity will flip how we're going to heat our homes. Yup, they're now predicting a return to...electric heat.

Where are the "Pro-lifers? "Pollution Illnesses and Deaths Hard to Prove in Court Pt. 1, so...
Reuter: The EPA said it was reconsidering part of an Obama-era rule on emissions of mercury from coal-fired plants. Under the 2011 Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, or MATS, rule, coal plants have had to reduce emissions of mercury, a pollutant that can be dangerous to pregnant women and put infants and children at risk of developmental problems.

The U.S. Supreme Court which left MATS intact in 2015. But it sent one issue, the justification for creating the rule, back to a lower court ... In 2016, the Obama EPA found the costs justified as the rule saved consumers on healthcare bills, a finding that industry challenged. 

Mary Anne Hitt, who fights coal plants at the Sierra Club: “This is outrageous and appalling. The American people are not going to stand for (a MATS) repeal just to please a few millionaire coal executives.”
Pollution Illnesses and Death Hard to Prove Pt. 2, so...: This is a subscription story I could not find anywhere else, so here's the screen capture and link. Breathtaking? These are our public servants?

Pollution Illnesses and Death Hard to Prove Pt. 3, so...: We have a right to Life, Liberty, and Property, right? It's right there in the 5th and 14th Amendment. Is it now time to change this meaning too, just like the Supreme Court did with the 2nd Amendment?
National Geographic: Juliana v. United States, a lawsuit filed by 21 children against the federal government over climate change, is headed to trial later this year, after the Supreme Court rejected the Trump Administration’s efforts to derail the case. Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected the government’s request ... noted that the “breadth of the (children’s) claim is striking…” The trial is scheduled to begin October 29 in Eugene, Oregon. The Obama Administration sought unsuccessfully to have the case dismissed, arguing remedies for climate change are better addressed by Congress than in court. 

The children’s suit, filed in federal court in 2015 by the non-profit Our Children’s Trust, alleges that the government has failed to protect Earth from the effects of climate change, putting the lives of future generations at risk and violating their basic constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.
Trump Hides National Monuments Successes Undercutting Claims to Reduce Parks: Thanks to Trump accidentally releasing unredacted Interior Department docs. These lying sacks of sh*t:
As the Trump administration downsized Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, Department of the Interior officials dismissed evidence that the monument designations brought benefits, the Washington Post reports.

The Interior Department's Freedom of Information Act team uploaded thousands of pages of documents that had not been completely redacted. The next day, officials took down these documents and replaced them. The erroneously un-redacted documents contain facts that cast some monuments in a positive light. 

1. One 2017 analysis by the Bureau of Land Management mentioned that once Grand Staircase-Escalante became a national monument, the annual rate of archaeological listings in the area more than doubled, and vandalism dropped. In December 2017, President Trump moved to shrink the monument by 46 percent.

2. In another document, Interior Department official Randal Bowman recommended deleting fishing data from an assessment of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The administration reviewed the Atlantic Ocean monument—which President Obama created in 2016—amid concerns that the monument's ban on fishing hurt local fishers. Bowman sought to nix data showing that from 2005 to 2014, about two-thirds of the area's shipping vessels generated less than five percent of their annual landings from the waters that became the monument. “This section is based on information provided by NOAA and the Fishery Management Council, and so can be presumed accurate,” he wrote in a comment. “However, including all this information undercuts the case for the ban being harmful.”
So what does the Trump administration propose doing about the slip?
According to legal experts interviewed by the Post, Trump officials could argue that the intended redactions fall under the “deliberative privilege” exemption of the Freedom of Information Act. That clause aims to protect executive branch staffers as they honestly discuss and hone policies.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Trump Threat to Google, Twitter, and Facebook is not just another story!!!

I'm posting this because we'll probably never see anything like this again...we hope. It's enough to take your breath away in one instance and piss you off like you never believed possible in the next instance.

Keep in mind, this is all happening as the Trump administration is purposely dragging every social media CEO into Congress to embarrass, intimidate, and ultimately vilify them and turn their testimony into resentful right-wing propaganda posters. Personally, the news media should be on fire about this growing McCarthyism:
Trump and Kudlow raised the prospect of regulating the company days before executives from the tech industry are set to answer questions on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee will question Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and possibly a representative from Google during a Sept. 5 in a hearing focused on Russian interference in U.S. elections. Separately, Dorsey will face questions from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
All Hail King Trump: My Trumpian friend in Milwaukee always falsely accused Obama of being a dictator and king. Well, now I know why. It was wishful thinking and what many call projection.

All of Trump's bad Headlines...Google's Fault? The thing is, when horrible people like Trump do rotten things that are racist and incompetent, well, what do you expect? Most people feel bad and get the message and moderate. But not Trump or Republicans like Wisconsin's Scott Walker, who think bad press and angry protests are irrational events to be avoided, vilified, and silenced:
President Donald Trump is considering new regulations on Google's search engine to address his concern that it turns up too many stories that are critical of him, his top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow said ... the administration is “taking a look” at federal regulations for Google.

He spoke after Trump, in a tweet, accused Google's search engine of being "rigged."
Trump: "I think that Google and Twitter and Facebook, they are really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful."
Below, Times reporter Nicholas Confessore made a good point; while conservative media basically owns talk radio, has powerful influential think tanks guiding policy and elections, and Fox News blaring propaganda nationwide 24/7, they're still not happy having dissenting viewpoints challenging their authority. So much for free speech.
First Amendment concerns: There are a growing number of proposals to regulate big tech making the rounds in Washington, among them a proposal to audit algorithms used by tech companies to determine what content users see, but there's not much the White House could do without the cooperation of Congress.

“You should read the First Amendment,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., tweeted to Trump. “Google has the right to, for example, prioritize cute cat videos over weird Alex Jones rants. “If government tried to dictate the free speech algorithms of private companies, courts would strike it down in a nanosecond.”
I also think Times columnist Mara Gay nailed it in this discussion on MSNBC, disputing the idea that there has to be "balance," where there is none:
Mara Gay: "This is an issue of false balance...sometimes the facts don't necessarily acquit one side the same way they do the other...he's upset that the facts don't look good for his administration."

From my own experience, when I look up topics, I'm overwhelmed by conservative media spin that makes finding the actual story impossible. But Trump's whining plays to his victimized dependent base who can't seem to function emotionally without being told by Trump what to do. You don't hear Hillary making similar claims:
A Google search Tuesday of Hillary Clinton produced a mix of unflattering stories, many about the use of her private email server.
Still, the petty whininess of Trump fires up the dedicated drooling 27 percenters:
Trump’s tweets followed Fox Business host Lou Dobbs' interview Monday with Trump boosters ... Paula Bolyard, author of the PJ Media Post, said her methodology was not scientific. She also said she's not in favor of regulating tech companies. Facebook, Google and Twitter were crucial tools in Trump's ascension to the Oval Office. His tweets Tuesday marked a dramatic change in tone from last month when the president described Google as "one of our great companies."

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Trump Republicans Only Value Americans as Workers.

Trump Party elitism couldn't be more clear, especially when they proclaim, "health care is a privilege" because only the monied privileged can get it. Thankfully, Sen. Ron Johnson knows the exact parameters of "freedom" and "rights." Who knew?

And yet there's something incredibly brutal, inhumane, and unethical about taking away health care from those who need it. We're talking about people...Americans. This has nothing to do with unemployment or poverty, just common decency.

The term "work requirement" is a distraction from the grotesque idea of withdrawing actual health care from everyday people, suggesting a person's value in society is based on having a job. As proof, here's what South Dakota wrote in their request for the work requirement:
"South Dakotans value hard work and believe that work can add meaning and purpose to an individual's life."
Work doesn't just "add meaning and purpose to an individual's life," it's the only reason to keep a person alive and well apparently.

This morally repugnant concept went even further. They followed that up with the upside-down nonsense that claims losing health care actually improves your health and empowers you. Yup, just like that feeling of "improved health" and "empowerment" when you give someone holding a gun to your head your wallet and they don't shoot you:
State officials wrote in its application to the Trump administration ... is to "improve the health and wellbeing of able-bodied adult Medicaid recipients while empowering them to obtain full-time meaningful work. Maintaining health coverage is a key tenant of the program," the officials wrote in the application."
Let me get this right; maintaining health coverage is a key tenant and the reason why they're threatening to take it away?

Remember, Medicaid is an insurance plan for the poor and unemployed, or at least it was. Now workers who have multiple low paying jobs have to work more hours or maybe even have to find time to take classes just to see a doctor? at least 80 hours a month, take classes or complete other activities ... parents or caretakers who have small incomes. In South Dakota, a family of three must earn less than $27,159 a year to qualify for Medicaid. Maine, Utah, and Wisconsin, which have not expanded Medicaid, all have work requirement proposals awaiting approval from the Trump administration.
Public Opposition? Who cares, Republicans don't serve anyone but their Party: Like the drooling Trump idol worshipers, political ideology comes first, because things will always get better once their fantasy policies replace real-world problems. Right. These aren't "public servants," these are party servants, and no one cares what we think:
South Dakota noted in its application that the majority of comments it received during the statewide comment period were expressing opposition.
Their response? They know what's best anyway, but thanks for the comments. Still, they "appreciate concerns." How condescending was that?:
"The State understands and appreciates concerns expressed by individuals generally opposed to work requirements or who are concerned about individuals losing Medicaid coverage," the officials wrote, responding to the criticism. "The State has designed the Career Connector program with the intent of preventing anyone making a good faith effort to comply with the program from losing Medicaid coverage due to noncompliance."

Monday, August 27, 2018

Walker increases the chances of future Flooding, more disasters to come...

You really don't have to believe in climate change to see the wisdom of moving to cleaner energy like the sun and wind. The same is true of flooding.

Flooding from Extreme Climate Events Ignored, Prohibited: You don't have to believe in climate change to prevent flooding in the future. So after we've seen the rare and unusually heavy rain event that flooded Middleton, Cross Plains, Black Earth, and Mazomanie, wouldn't it be just as wise to lessen the effects of stormwater runoff? Forget that, if you're Scott Walker.

The Walker administrations outright attack on local control should now be hitting home for many dealing with the aftermath of flooding, because it's going to affect and cost you a bundle. Walker has set us up for future disasters, but by then no one will remember how it happened. Here's a story from last May 2018 that sounds like it could have been written today:
State Journal: Legislation signed by Gov. Scott Walker limits the ability of local governments to regulate stormwater runoff. The governor and Legislature prohibited local ordinances from requiring on-site retention of more than 90 percent of the difference between the pre- and post-development annual runoff from a site. 

Flood risks are increasing throughout the world. Wisconsin has always been a leader in managing flood risk. A local municipality’s ability to protect the public safety and property of its residents requires the ability to control stormwater quantity and flooding, based on local conditions

For example, land development has greatly increased water levels in Stricker, Tiedeman, and Esser ponds in Middleton. To prevent local flooding, all three ponds have been equipped with the capacity to drain into Lake Mendota during wet periods, increasing the flood risk in the Yahara lakes. Middleton’s current stormwater ordinance requires new developments maintain the pre-development runoff amount. This requirement is no longer allowed by Act 243.

The recent stormwater management legislation is counter to this tradition. Section 61 of Act 243 should be repealed. -Ken Potter is a professor emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UW-Madison.
So after all the flooding, Walker only wants to make things worse, instead of better, or even reconsidering the wisdom of the prohibition? Sure.

Oh, we can't forget this now important possibility...

Craft Beer vs Walker's Special Interests, and Jobs vs Wages in Wisconsin.

Now that vacation has ended, here are a few things that have been building up and should be on the front burner.

1. Walker's Complete Failure to Notice the skyrocketing Craft Brewing/Job Creating Industry: Just like he did with the dairy industry, Scott Walker's ideological tunnel vision has steered clear of the difficult job of actually solving current and emerging industry problems, like craft alcohol. We're only now reluctantly having to deal with another famous Wisconsin product, beer. Seriously?:
Cap Times-Katelyn Ferral: Will Glass, a brewer and president of the Wisconsin Craft Beverage Coalition, which represents 250 breweries, wineries and distilleries in the state, said the Legislative Study Committee on Alcohol Beverages Enforcement ... aiming to clarify the state’s alcohol laws is "stacked against" small breweries, wineries and distilleries (Rep. Rob Swearingen, R-Rhinelander, who chairs the alcohol study committee runs a supper club) (and) is headed in the wrong direction. Glass said the scope of the committee should be wider, allowing for the creation of new laws to accommodate a changing craft alcohol beverage industry.
Of the four draft bills ... two would ban breweries and wineries from selling each other's products in their tasting rooms, a practice in which many already engage. "This is bad because we're trying to take this in the opposite direction. We’re looking to ... flexibility," said Glass. "There are businesses that right now are brewpubs that want to get into production. They would have to give up their ability to serve wine and liquor, which in their restaurant, would make it hard to succeed.”

Eric Bott, director of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin, agrees. "The committee should focus on fixing a broken law and making Wisconsin the best state in the country for the hospitality sector," he said. "Instead, it's pursuing the same old protectionist agenda that created this mess in the first place."
Oddly it’s always about Jobs, NOT WAGES: I didn't really take notice of this idea until I read the Cap Times article below. 
Just like President Trump, Walker talks a lot about jobs, but not about wages.

The words of Alexandria Cortez-Ocasio in one of the ads that helped carry her to victory in NY: “Rent gets higher, health care covers less, and our income stays the same.” And recent data confirm Cortez-Ocasio’s claim.
And the last thing Republicans want to discuss is wages. Gov. Walker … opposed increasing the minimum wage.
It's important to remember these two Scott Walker comments as it applies to jobs vs wages:
Scott Walker: "The left claims that they're for American workers and they've just got really lame ideas — things like the minimum wage. Instead of focusing on that, we need to talk about how we get people ... the careers that pay far more than the minimum wage."
So Walker did just that, talked, and never got anyone "far more than the minimum wage."
International Business Times: The DWD issued a statement saying: "Governor Walker wants jobs in Wisconsin that pay two or three times the minimum wage."
Stepping even further into the surreal, Walker even disputed how people would interpret the simple question, "should we increase the minimum wage." Would I kid you?

But here’s where the interesting twist comes into play...
Further, as Tomas Frank has insightfully pointed out, many in the contemporary Democratic Party see economic problems as fundamentally education problems ... educate more people, and those new bachelor’s degree-holders will be able to obtain higher-paying jobs.

But things haven’t worked out this way. By every measure, educational attainment in the U.S. has steadily increased for decades, and yet wage stagnation and economic inequality have increased as well. Simply educating more people does not create more middle-class jobs for those newly educated people to obtain. And the more we focus on the educational system, the less we consider the many public policies and private-sector practices that are the actual causes of wage stagnation.
Red State Missouri voters Protect Unions, but not Wisconsin: It seems Walker hit all the right notes when he passed right-to-work here. No public outrage? But…
...Missouri voters blocked the implementation of a right-to-work law by a whopping margin of roughly 35 percent, clearly illustrating that citizens in a red state see the value of labor unions during a time of growing economic insecurity. And Elizabeth Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act proposes a return to a time not long ago when corporations were not simply beholden to the interests of shareholders, but also to employees, communities, and customers.
Here are a few details in Elizabeth Warren's plan. And if we wanted to play the game of "resentment," let's use Warren's own words, "Workers aren't getting what they've earned:"
Under the legislation, corporations with more than $1bn in annual revenue would be required to obtain a corporate charter from the federal government – and the document would mandate that companies not just consider the financial interests of shareholders … businesses would have to consider … workers, customers, and the cities and towns where those corporations operate.

Large companies dedicated 93% of their earnings to shareholders between 2007 and 2016 – a shift from the early 1980s, when they sent less than half their revenue to shareholders and spent the rest on employees and other priorities, Warren said. “Real wages have stagnated even as productivity has continued to rise. Workers aren’t getting what they’ve earned.” 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Vukmir admits: Okay with out-of-state billionaire buying her off!!!

"Lying Leah" Vukmir hoped no one would remember. The story below from AP remembers.

This time, while now groveling at the feet of Illinois billionaire Dick Uihlein, she's pretending to have never bashed him for supporting her former opponent Kevin Nicholson (Uihlein spent $3.3 million to support Nicholson). Now all of a sudden, an interfering "out of state mega-donor" is good? Wow, "leaves a bad taste in the mouth...," and it pretty much says she was lying, feigning phony ourtrage over being bought off by Uihlein.

This is just too sweet to pass up. What a train wreck (not that GOP voters care):
A week after accusing a billionaire donor of attempting to buy a Wisconsin U.S. Senate seat, Republican nominee Leah Vukmir is now hoping to persuade the same Illinois businessman to open his wallet for her campaign against Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin ... megadonor Dick Uihlein spent nearly $11 million on the race for Nicholson and now ... "I hope that he will want to continue with his commitment ... Let's face it: He wants to defeat Tammy Baldwin."
Ready for it...
That's not what Vukmir was saying last week on "The John Muir Show." "I think it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of a lot of people that a particular out of state donor is spending as much money as he is to, in essence, almost try and buy a Senate seat and that's not what Wisconsin politics is about."
Nothing saves lives like possibly kicking 20 million off insurance?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Democratic Counties big on Jobs and Business, Trump Counties big on keeping their guns.

It's crazy, isn't it? If it wasn't for the Obama economy, steady jobs and business growth, Republicans would have nothing to brag about? Wisconsin's Democratic cities and counties have been propping Scott Walker up for years, and the Dems here have been letting him get away with. The right-wing "mainstream media" machine keeps trying to spin history...but it just sounds crazy, like this from the Washington Times

Loyal panting Trump voters love to keep waiting for the new tariff uncertain economy to improve, eventually reaping big dividends for farmers while paying higher prices for everything. In the meantime, they're losing jobs and income based on a few empty promises from their grifting President. Thank god they'll always have their guns:

WaPo: On average for the year-ended this May, 58.5 percent of the job gains were in counties that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to an Associated Press analysis of monthly government jobs data by county.

Despite an otherwise robust national economy, the analysis shows that a striking number of Trump counties are losing jobs. The AP found that 35.4 percent of Trump counties have shed jobs in the past year, compared with just 19.2 percent of Clinton counties.

The jobs data shows an economy that is as fractured as the political landscape ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. As more money pools in such corporate hubs as Houston, San Francisco or Seattle, prosperity spills over less and less to smaller towns and cities in America’s interior. That would seem to undercut what Trump sees as a central accomplishment of his administration — job creation for middle class and blue-collar workers in towns far removed from glitzy urban centers.

For Trump’s core supporters, cultural issues such as gun rights, immigration and loyalty to the president have become dominant priorities.

Chip Kohser, the county Republican chairman and the bristle-bearded founder of a farm share company, said his party members are rallying around their staunch opposition to gun control. “Our No. 1 motivating factor,” he said, “is Second Amendment issues.” Democratic calls for stricter gun control in the aftermath of mass shootings, he said, are fueling more zeal among his Republican volunteers than are the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts that Trump signed into law last year.

Wages Down thanks to inflation, dwindling Unions, Temporary labor, and Independent contractors.

The promise that tax cuts would lead to higher wages has always been pretty empty, especially when Republicans continue to destroy unions and pass right to work laws. Yet, we have been trained to act surprised when nothing happens while being told to wait just a little longer. Nope.

Reality now says workplace raises outside of Democratic Party induced minimum wage hikes is not going to happen, all because we've seen a major power shift toward corporations. They can wait till people have starved to death thanks to new work requirements for food and healthcare, and this time waiting a little longer makes sense.

Wages aren't rising enough to offset inflation and are actually lower than wages were a year ago. Temp and contract work has also shifted the costs onto hired labor from employers.

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: That's the biggest puzzle that we're trying to figure out ... and we've been for a while waiting for the wages - oh, they're about to go up. But they kind of haven't - still haven't been going up that fast. And the real wage which the economists call the real-wage year - how much your wages went up minus how much inflation went up - at best it's pretty stagnant.

NPR's CHRIS ARNOLD: The short version is the decline of unions might be playing a role or other ways that employees just don't have the power that they used to to negotiate better pay. Productivity growth is slow. And workers might be getting compensation like we heard about - health care, bonuses, gym memberships and other stuff like that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

New Doctors back Single-Payer, and Medicaid Expansion lowers cost for Diabetes and treats Opioid Abuse.

Those baby boomer kids learned a life lesson seeing their parents deal with expensive health care issues as they grew up, and are now poised to change things. 

The days of stable long-term jobs and comprehensive affordable employer-provided health care insurance are gone. Thankfully, the next generation of doctors are now on the front line advocating some kind of single-payer system, in direct contradiction to the American Medical Association's 80 opposition:  
Kaiser Health: When the American Medical Association met in Chicago this June, its medical student caucus seized an opportunity for change. Though they had tried for years to drop its decades-long opposition to single-payer health care, this was the first time it got a full hearing. The debate grew heated — older physicians warned their pay would decrease, calling younger advocates naïve to single-payer’s consequences. But this time, by the meeting’s end, the AMA’s older members had agreed to at least study the possibility of changing its stance.

“We believe health care is a human right, maybe more so than past generations,” said Dr. Brad Zehr, a 29-year-old pathology resident at Ohio State University, who was part of the debate. “There’s a generational shift happening, where we see universal health care as a requirement.”
Democrats on Board with single-payer, Medicare-for-all or option to buy into the Medicare program: The only thing I can add to this is a plea for someone to come up with what the added tax would look like, and the actual savings Americans will see ditching those skyrocketing monthly insurance premiums:
At least 70 House Democrats have signed on to the new “Medicare-for-all” caucus.
Fact: Medicaid Expansion Saves Money,  Fights Diabetes and Opioid Epidemic, so where's Scott Walker? 
As a career politician, Walker has never had to live in the real world. His pursuit of a purely ideological agenda shoved reality aside in Wisconsin, leaving the deadly opioid epidemic to grow and diabetes treatments to fall costing everyone more money as a result:
California Healthline: Low-income people with diabetes are better able to afford their medications and manage their disease in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and saves public money (a $6,394 reduction in health care costs in 2017 dollars), a new Health Affairs study suggests. More than 114 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes or prediabetes, making the disease one of the country’s most formidable health challenges.

The study found a roughly 40 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled for diabetes drugs in Medicaid programs (significantly reduced out-of-pocket spending for insulin) of the 30 states that expanded eligibility in 2014 and 2015 … states that didn’t embrace expansion saw no notable increase ... more than 2 million people who live in non-participating states would have qualified for Medicaid.
That’s your argument? Profit, profit, profit? Those poor old monopolistic drug companies that get so much help from the National Institute of Health can’t stop whining, and free market institutes keep proving just how bad capitalist abuses are to the average American:
Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, said Medicaid pays a fraction of a drug’s list price, so pharmaceutical companies may hike prices for everyone if they don’t feel they’re being compensated fairly. That, in turn, could drive up everyone’s premium costs or lead those with private insurance to pay more out-of-pocket. “As prices rise, fewer people will be able to afford diabetic medications.”
More Doctors taking Medicaid Patients Too: Paul Ryan's fear mongering...wrong:
Health Affairs (no link-my email newsletter): New research, led by Hannah T. Neprash, a professor of health policy at the University of Minnesota, concludes that doctors are not taking fewer Medicaid patients at the same time the program is expanding under Obamacare ... chose to expand ... from 10.2 percent in 2013 to 13.6 percent in 2015. In non-expansion states, there was no notable difference either way, according to the study. 
Medicaid Helps reduce and treat Opioid addiction but Work Requirements Block Access: 
The same has been found in other studies of major public health issues, like opioid abuse, which disproportionately affects low-income Americans. A study published last month in the Journal of Health Economics found admission to treatment facilities increased 18 percent in expansion states, largely due to a 113 percent increase in admissions for opioid treatment by Medicaid beneficiaries.

Adding eligibility requirements creates additional barriers to Medicaid coverage for those patients dealing with chronic health issues, whereas expansion of Medicaid helps more people address those conditions before they get worse — and even more costly. Let's not forget that additional medical costs, whatever they may be, may fall on the taxpayer.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Downloadable Printable Plastic Guns a Future threat!

This is all about the nonsense argument that downloadable plastic guns are an overblown outrage by people who don't know what they're talking about and not a real threat. That may not be true 5 years from now...or sooner. The avalanche of stories calling all of us ignorant about guns, it's their fallback talking point, was pretty much insulting and the last straw for me.

When the right wing argues that we have inherent God-given rights, not just the ones protected by the Constitution), they're trying to broaden the Constitution beyond its limits. God gave people, those in his image, his stand your ground power over life and death. No one can make a law that regulates God's guns.
Yahoo: Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson recently said he views having a gun as a “fundamental human dignity” and “human right.” By working to make guns available to anyone without government approval, Wilson wants to shatter people’s faith in the ability to regulate firearms, dealing a fatal blow to gun control arguments.

Dana Loesch: "These are rights that were inherent to us, being American citizens, born on this soil, these are rights that we immediately come out of the womb with." 
But common sense actual rights that sustain life? That's a privilege, like health care, food, shelter, and clothing:
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson: “I think it’s probably (health care) more of a privilege. Do you consider food a right? Do you consider clothing a right? Do you consider shelter a right?" 
Plastic printable Guns: We have a right to bear arms, but there is no right your choice of gun or a variety of guns, downloadable or not. Here's the real plan backed by the NRA:

The technology is still relatively primitive right now, and people are already making homemade weapons without much trouble, so this isn’t worth worrying about, the argument goes. Nor can you easily print out lethal plastic bullets. The technology isn’t there, at least not yet.

That kind of circular reasoning is textbook NRA, meant to ensure that we do nothing to address the problem until it’s too late, said Robert Spitzer, a professor at SUNY Cortland who’s written five books on gun policy.
“You go down six months, two years, five years, when these things do start to appear, and then they sort of shrug their shoulders and say you can’t regulate these things, the horse is out of the barn. The public policy question is are these worthy of regulation or even prohibition or restriction in the first place, and if they are, what better time to do it than before they become widely in circulation?”
Here's Cody Wilson's carefree attitude toward public safety:

Friday, August 3, 2018

Trump's Economy? Skyrocketing Budget Deficit and GOP "Free-lunchism."

NPR's report on Trump's growing budget deficit couldn't be clearer, and still my Trumpian friend in Milwaukee will say I'm just mad about losing the election:

Corporate tax receipts are down for the year, while government spending is up. Even with a fast-growing economy, the Treasury Department expects to borrow more than $750 billion to pay its bills during the last six months of this year. "The federal budget deficit is ballooning, skyrocketing, soaring, whichever way you want to describe it," said longtime fiscal watchdog Stan Collender, who blogs about federal finances as "The Budget Guy."

Even the White House's own rosy forecast acknowledges that the deficit will exceed 5 percent of the overall economy next year — a level it's previously reached only after deep recessions, when unemployment topped 10 percent. Today, the economy is near full employment. But the government is still acting like a spendthrift family, piling up credit card bills even though times are good.

"Let me be 100 percent clear about one thing: The tax cuts are never going to pay for themselves," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "They can grow the economy, but not enough to come anywhere close to offsetting the cost of them." MacGuineas blamed an outbreak of fiscal "free-lunchism" for the growing mountain of government debt.

The growing deficit also means higher borrowing costs. So far this fiscal year, growth in Social Security, Medicare and defense spending have all been eclipsed by rising interest on the debt.

The Amazing Lying Leah!!!

As State Sen. Leah Vukmir battles it out with a primary opponent who trashed his own parents for exercising their right to max out their campaign donations to Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Vukmir just got caught in a lie; she appears to have been against Trump, before she was for Trump.

Lying must be a campaign thing now made readily acceptable by Trump and his grunting unquestioning voters. Here are 3 clips, together, showing her major jaw-dropping flip-flop:
A new video has emerged of Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir holding her nose when describing how she and others would feel voting for then-likely GOP presidential nominee now President Donald Trump and saying that Trump is “offensive to everyone.” Vukmir herself was also exposed as mocking Trump supporters ... as “Trumpkins.” And she appeared on Fox Business Channel with Stuart Varney on Tuesday, who pressed her on whether she supports the president. In the video appearance, she lied again:
I have always been there with him, I have stood with him, I continue to stand with him,” Vukmir said, leaving out when she refused to endorse Trump after he became the likely nominee for president.

Trump's Warped Gas Guzzler Fantasy!

There's nowhere to go now but...crazy. Trump lies so much now that when he tells the truth, that's news alert stuff.

But lying is only half of Trump's appeal to his devoted obsessed base. They pant even louder when he makes something ridiculous up that can't possibly be true in the real world...unless Trump says so.

Gas Guzzlers Safer, keep us Off the Roads? Enjoy the clip (until MSNBC pulls it) of Brian Williams dryly lays out Trump's latest brain burp:

Just in case you don't have time for the video, here are the video captures that tell the whole story. Every Trump mouthbreather will think this makes sense. And even if it doesn't, they won't care:

Maybe Trump's cheap stripped-down out-of-Marketplace health care plan, with almost no coverage, will force people to live healthier lives? Don't laugh...
A textbook for a required fitness class at UNC-Chapel Hill is under review by the university after criticism about its content, including statements calling cancer and diabetes “diseases of choice.” It maintains that “many if not most women” who are obsessed with weight have become habitual dieters.
And hell, why not include this bubble world fantasy...
And it describes a theory by Holocaust survivor and Austrian psychotherapist Victor Frankl about concentration camps: “The people in the camps who did not tap into the strength that comes from recognizing their intrinsic worth succumbed to the brutality to which they were subjected.”
Remember, health care is a privilege, for the privileged, or so says Wisconsin's Dumb Sen. Ron Johnson. The Republican Party of ghouls has been telling us this for years, it's just that they didn't come right out and say it. Oh, and add to that the privilege of food and clothing:

I think it’s probably more of a privilege. Do you consider food a right? Do you consider clothing a right? Do you consider shelter a right? What we have as rights is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Past that point, we have the right to freedom. Past that point everything else is a limited resource that we have to use our opportunities given to us to afford those things.

“Sen. Rand Paul talked about this on the floor of the Senate. He’s a doctor. He said the minute you consider health care a right, well, who’s going to satisfy that right? And those people who have the skills to satisfy that right, what does that make them if they’re forced to provide you with that rightful product or service?”

Don't pick a Trade War with Wisconsin...