Friday, September 28, 2018

Walker's Roads to Ruin!

Here's a headline history of Scott Walker's growing transportation problem, just in case you might have missed them, in no particular order. Also a few other facts:

Walker transportation spending of $404,250 + for work not done tanks Federal funding help!!!

Walker's Bad Management: Scott Walker is trying to paper over reality, thinking his purely political right-wing fantasy can actually replace real-world oversight and management of our state's massive economy. Here's how Walker saw himself in 2011:
"This wasn't about some wild political agenda ... I just came in trying to, like a small business owner, I saw a problem, saw a solution, I tried to fix it."
But Walker has never worked outside of government, which makes him the real thing, a career politician.

So the Walker administrations transportation bumbling and deception tanked any chance of us getting desperately needed Federal funding for road work. And I'm guessing, Republicans voters won't blame Walker one bit, rewarding him at the polls. Tribal-like partisan politics showing no sign of slowing down.

JS: As a percentage of the nearly $200 million budget for rebuilding a chunk of Wisconsin’s busiest freeway, $404,250 might seem insignificant ... money ... paid by Wisconsin taxpayers for work that was never done? And what if the state knew it when the bill was paid?

That’s what happened when contractors for the Milwaukee Zoo Interchange project double billed the state for 15,000 cubic yards of gravel, enough to help pave one lane of highway for five miles. Although a project engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation discovered the discrepancy in advance, and alerted supervisors, those in charge insisted the contractor be paid the additional money anyway, an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found. The federal agency had initially agreed to cover 50 percent of the cost for the gravel.
The result of this knowing abuse and frivolous spending of taxpayer money?
When regulators at the Federal Highway Administration learned of the payment, the agency made a rare decision to withdraw federal funding that had been allocated for the work, saying justification for the expenditure “seems inconsistent” and “makes no sense,” according to documents obtained by the Journal Sentinel through state and federal open records laws. As a result, state taxpayers had to cover the cost. And, the same bidding arrangement that allowed for the double payment was used for dozens of other projects, raising the opportunity for additional misspending ... Yet nobody sought to recover the funds. And nobody has been held accountable for the waste.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Scott Walker's reelection ideas...

A Delusional Scott Walker thinks "Special Interests" attacking him, fabricating need for road repairs and Transportation Funding!!!

Voters are wising up Scott Walker odd opposition to transportation!!?

Even criticism from a former Republican legislator and DOT secretary don't mean anything when it comes to Scott Walker's backward hatred for transportation. Not all of us have airplanes to scoot around Wisconsin in Scotty. Keep this in mind as well, Walker's transportation funding shortfall forced the DOT to stop picking up roadkill carcasses. Yup, it's that bad here.

Based on nothing and backed up by pure political nonsense, Walker backhands criticism:
Gov. Scott Walker is dismissing fresh criticism from his former transportation chief, who says Walker isn’t leveling with Wisconsinites about the consequences of his approach to funding ... Mark Gottlieb, a Republican who led the state DOT from 2011 to 2017, said Walker is “fear-mongering” by claiming his campaign opponent, Democrat Tony Evers, could raise the gas tax by as much as a dollar per gallon.
Yet Wisconsinites were supposed to go along with Walker's "trust me" approach to union busting, tax cuts, DNR deregulation, the loss of local control, and rejection of alternative energy? 
Walker fired back at the Milton event: “What’s ridiculous is Tony Evers is just expecting the voters to take a ‘trust me’ approach when it comes to taxes.”
In one of the most surreal moments of his tenure as governor, Walker bashed his own DOT report and all those subsequent "special interest" studies that factually counter his ideological position.
“The reports that many people allude to are reports they paid for, overwhelmingly, by the same special interests that are running ads attacking us on transportation,” Walker said.

Gottlieb said Walker's claims wrongly implied that decisions ... were made by outside groups. He noted state and federal laws require extended review of such decisions and officials take into account public input ... "is profoundly disrespectful to the professionals in the private and public sector who are trained to design and build safe and efficient highways for all to use."
Walker Blames Himself? Even worse, Walker asked for and got his own fact-based state/taxpayer-funded DOT report, what I guess he now calls "special interests."
A commission championed by Walker and created through legislation signed by him, (which) had eight Republicans and two Democrats, chaired by a transportation engineer by trade Mark Gottlieb, then-secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation, released an 176-page report, affirming what at least two other commissions led by both Republicans and Democrats over the last decade had found: Wisconsin’s highway system and local roads were rapidly deteriorating and there was not enough money to fix or maintain them.
A question for Walker, just what study(s) are you relying on...editorial musings from right-wing sources like the Wisconsin Watchdog, MacIver Institute, or talk radio callers passing along their personal anecdotes...?

 The problem Walker has with anything comes down to one thing, criticism, he can't take it: 
“If the media’s now using reports that are paid for by groups as the base, as their foundation, maybe I should go out and create a group and pay for my own study.”
The irony; Walker did just that as mentioned above. But wait...Walker did have one solution rolling around in his head...

Gov. Scott Walker's transportation secretary told business officials and others last week he had talked to a London financier about selling off Wisconsin's highways but had rejected the idea.

Transportation Secretary Dave Ross told a group last week that Walker's administration was adopting new ways of getting its work done and mentioned in passing his discussion about selling off roads, according to people familiar with the meeting. He then said he was not pursuing the proposal because Wisconsin has good contractors to maintain the state's roads.
Governor candidate Tony Evers passed this message along...
Walker's Democratic opponent, state schools Superintendent Tony Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback said Ross' talk with the financier was shocking and noted Walker's previous transportation secretary, Mark Gottlieb, this month said Walker has been "increasingly inaccurate" when talking about roads.
"Quite frankly, it’s staggering and absurd that Scott Walker would even entertain the idea of selling off Wisconsin’s highways to the highest bidder. No wonder his former transportation secretary has spoken out about his harmful roads policies."
Speaking of Harmful, Wisconsinites Paying for Fixing up their Cars, thanks to Walker:

1. A combination of rough roads, traffic congestion and missing safety features costs drivers in Wisconsin $6.8 billion each year, according to a study released Tuesday by TRIP Tuesday.

2. That comes to about $1,500 a year for every driver in the Appleton, Green Bay and Oshkosh area, the study said, referencing higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and delays due to congestion.

3. The cost is about the same for drivers in Wausau, but even higher for those on the roads in Madison and Milwaukee — at about $2,100 and $2,300, respectively.

4. (The study) also found that about half of the state's major locally and state-maintained roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition due to a lack of state and local funding.

5. That number is even higher in the Appleton, Green Bay and Oshkosh area, where 70 percent of those types of roads are in poor or mediocre condition. That alone costs drivers in the area $816 each year, according to the study.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Lesson for Trump losers - Projection; An unconscious self-defence mechanism characterised by a person unconsciously attributing their own issues onto someone or something else as a form of delusion and denial.

Just to give you an idea of how authoritarian Trump Republicans are now, this little exchange caught my eye on Vicki McKenna's Facebook page. I'm seeing the same kind of stuff from my Trumpian idol worshiper in Milwaukee as well. What could be wrong with uniformed adults pulling immigrant children out of school in front of classmates?

Trumpian Projection, the biggest its ever been: 

WSJ: Even before President Trump’s election, hatred had begun to emerge on the American left—counterintuitively, as an assertion of guilelessness and moral superiority ... a hateful anti-Americanism has become a self-congratulatory lifestyle. “America was never that great,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently said.
Of course, if "America was never that great," wouldn't you have to MAGA? This drives me nuts. You'll also notice the tone of this article is flat out ruthless while creating a myth around a non-existent hatred that can only be best described as, wait for it...criticism? Yup, can't have criticism hurting adoring Trump sycophants, pushing a white nationalist agenda:
It began in the 1960s, when America finally accepted that slavery and segregation were profound moral failings. Thus the labor of redeeming the nation from its immoral past would fall on the left ... led to the greatest array of government-sponsored social programs in history—at an expense of more than $22 trillion. 

But for the left to wield this power, there had to be a great menace to fight against If racism was necessarily at the top of the list, it was quickly followed by a litany of bigotries ending in “ism” and “phobia.” The Achilles’ heel of the left has been its dependence on menace for power. 
With white nationalism on the GOP's front burner, isn't it convenient to now pretend racism isn't really a problem? Can't criticize the dumbest, most unqualified narcist lunatic of a president...
Today the left looks to be slowly dying from lack of racial menace. It is driven to find a replacement for racism,  Failing this, only hatred is left. The left has used hate to transform President Trump into a symbol of the new racism, not a flawed president but a systemic evil. And he must be opposed as one opposes racism, with a scorched-earth absolutism. The voices that speak for the left have never been less convincing. It is hard for people to see the menace that drives millionaire football players to kneel before the flag. And then there is the failure of virtually every program the left has ever espoused—welfare, public housing, school busing, affirmative action, diversity programs, and so on.For the American left today, the indulgence in hate is a death rattle.
Yea sure, it's liberals: Who can forget this "happy" idea from the Newt Gingrich 90's:
This document, a working paper from GOPAC, Newt Gingrich's political action committee, was circulated to freshman Republican members of the 104th Congress in 1995. It functions as a rudimentary rhetorical handbook ... with a lexicon of terms that drive a wedge of distinctions between themselves and members of the opposing party. 
Here's a list of "respectful" words to describe Democrats, that have nothing to do with hatred or division...

Wisconsinites still not getting anywhere under Trump and Walker.

In an email newsletter, the Economic Policy Institute said this about the GOP/Trump/Ryan tax cut, along with the Republican argument that blames us for not being smart enough to notice how much larger are paychecks were. Not kidding. But voters are getting wise to them:

It’s been nine months since the tax bill was signed into law, and the rapid surge in investment promised by proponents of the TCJA has still yet to materialize. 

In short, that $4,000 raise promised by Donald Trump and Paul Ryan hasn’t materialized. The administration has been reduced to claiming that workers don’t know their own pay and would see benefits from the tax cut if they just knew how to calculate their salary correctly, but EPI researchers have explained why this is wrong.[1][2]

The reality is that instead of investing in the U.S. economy through wage hikes and new good-paying jobs, corporations are instead rewarding CEOs and wealthy shareholders with their windfall tax breaks. But instead of prioritizing policies that actually raise the wages of working people, the House of Representatives plans on voting this week on a second round of tax breaks that mostly benefit those at the top.
Short story; Paul Ryan oddly screwed over homeowner's "wealth," measured by the value of their home, by changing home equity lines of credit. Before, families could buy things like a car or help pay for their kid's tuition and get an interest deduction, but not anymore. Republican took it away, leaving the deduction for home improvements only. Why Republicans did this, who knows?

Here in Wisconsin, you would have thought we were all swimming in money, jobs and tax cuts like most of Scott Walker's corporate friends and business donors. But like everything having to do with "trickle down," it didn't happen. 

COWS, the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, just issued a report that details what's really going on:

The state and nation have yet to pull out of a decades-long trend of wage stagnation...

The Center on Wisconsin Strategy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (issued the) State of Working Wisconsin 2018 report. Laura Dresser, the center’s associate director (said) ... In 1979 the median worker in Wisconsin earned $17.30 an hour, adjusted for inflation to 2017 dollars. As of 2017, the median worker in the state earned about $18.30 an hour.

"We've seen productivity and gross domestic product grow substantially over that period. The average return to the worker is about 3 cents an hour per year over that period to get that dollar more now. That's long-term wage stagnation. We've been seeing it even in this low-unemployment time, and that's a really troubling sign."
While Scott Walker measures success by how many ideological and theoretical economic risks he got passed into law, the rest of us toiling away in the real world got nothing, so many desperately voted for Trump. That's how bad it still is in Wisconsin: 

The state's economy as a whole is "treading water" over the long term (for the last 7 years), and 2018's measures represent a mere return to 2000 levels ... rather than a new age of prosperity ... analysts have stressed that the state's economic gains are leaving behind people of color and rural residents, and that Wisconsinites are persistently stuck in low-wage jobs.
1. Wisconsin's African-American unemployment rate is 9 percent ... the worst in the nation. 

2. And that rural counties are among those with the highest unemployment ... losing jobs and urban areas grow them. 

3. Previous reports even found wages declining for some groups, including African-American men ... 

4. 675,000 Wisconsin workers are earning $12 or less per hour.
"That's one in five workers," she said. "I think sometimes people feel like, 'I worked in a low-wage job once.' But when you see that one in five workers is in a job paying $12 an hour or less, you know that those workers have a fraction of the health-care benefits through their employment, and pension, and even sick leave is hard to get at below $12 an hour. It's just a different reality for many, many workers."

Saturday, September 22, 2018

How We got Trump...and beyond?

I'm hoping the Democratic Party noticed how quickly, driven, and confident Republicans were when they passed their bizarre and radical agenda with lightning speed. An agenda not supported by most Americans.

The Democratic Party's problem was aptly illustrated by Tom Tomorrow in This Modern World years back when Hillary and Tom Daschle were calling the shots. I found this clipping while cleaning out my stockpiles of old radio shows:

Because of their unmotivated agenda, we got the government we deserved; an excitingly new lower bar of expectations from the Trump Republican Party:

I also found this in my kid's old saved homework file (why I have such a file is still a mystery). It's perfect, isn't it?:

Friday, September 21, 2018

New Mosquito Defense System?

Maternal Deaths in the US rising, Republicans blame Women, not Medical Care.

Pro-life groups have sold their scam to the public for years. They are zealots backed by a radicalized Republican Party that's been played for suckers for years, promising to ban legal abortions.

For years I've asked these groups to explain why they're not supporting life-saving universal health care, demanding life-saving gun legislation, preventing premature deaths from air pollution, and ending the death penalty. Without every item on this list, they're not pro-life...more like a scary cult.

I was happy to see other's picking on this idea:

Add to the top of that list, preventing maternal deaths. The United Kingdom's government-run health care, the worst system ever say Republicans, cut maternal deaths by a third:
In the United Kingdom, a team of 10 or more experts reviews maternal deaths to determine what went wrong in each case. The panel alerts doctors, nurses, and hospitals to the problems it finds. Solutions get incorporated into lessons in medical schools.

The U.K. has cut maternal deaths by nearly a third from 2000 to 2015, as America’s maternal death rate rose by about half.
The same approach has saved lives in California: 
Maternal death rate is now one-fourth of the nation’s.
Where is Wisconsin among the 47 states that were part of this review? 
Wisconsin Number of births (2016): 66,615;   Death rate (2012-16): 13.7 per 100,000 births;   Rank out of 47: 38
Here's the current state of maternal death review across the country:

USA TODAY examined every state to see how they review maternal deaths and read more than 100 reports published by the panels. Among the findings:
1. Fewer than 20 states that have panels studying mothers’ deaths identify medical care flaws such as delayed diagnoses, inadequate treatments or the failures of hospitals to follow basic safety measures.

2. Most reports just list stats or emphasize problems other than the quality of medical care. Cindy Pearson, executive director of the National Women’s Health Network said “Don’t tell me what was wrong with the women. Don’t give me a list of whether they smoked or how much they weighed. Someone was taking care of the women. What did those people do?”

3. Among 10 states with the highest death rates, just four panels reported on flaws in medical care.

4. More than a third of states haven’t been studying deaths at all. At least 1,165 pregnant women and new mothers died from 2011 to 2016 in the 18 states that had no review panels. Some have created panels since, but the federal government does not review maternal deaths.
Missouri's attitude changed but Republicans there did not...
This year, the Missouri Republican appointee Randall Williams, an obstetrician and gynecologist who has led Missouri’s health department since 2017, backed (a review panel) but despite bipartisan backing, the Missouri House voted her measure down in May.
I hope you're sitting down for this unbelievable explanation, Remember, Republicans have made it expensive and almost unthinkable to access health care on demand (mythical wait times for everything). It's not:
Several lawmakers said a more aggressive death review panel would meddle too much in how doctors treat patients. State Rep. Mike Moon, a Republican who spent 27 years in marketing for Mercy Hospital in Missouri, said that women smoking, being overweight and not going to the doctor while pregnant put them at risk for complications that could kill them.

At least 130 more women in Missouri have died from pregnancy since 2012. At least 4,000 suffered severe childbirth complications.
We can sum it up with this observation:
Abby Koch, a senior research specialist at the Center for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Illinois who has helped review moms’ deaths in her state, said the fact that elected officials and state regulators have emphasized infant deaths over childbirth deaths is a sign of bias, too ... “Somehow, it’s a little less universal to look at mothers as well. It’s a political reality: As soon as women become pregnant, they become vessels for the baby, rather than people who have value on their own.”

The Case for Universal Health Care!

 And now, this declaration of ignorance from our illiterate grifter and President:
Trump: "Like, if you take insurance, they want single payer, which can’t be afforded, and we want really great health care where people get a great price. You know, really great stuff where people get a great price. I mean there are such differences, I could go on, on almost every subject."
It took a comedian like Samantha Bee to make the simple case for Universal Health Care, and the absurdity of GOP arguments against saving trillions of dollars and American lives:

Private Sector Health Care Ripping off Americans, Part 1,000,001: This is a never-ending story, yet Republicans continue to pretend nothing is wrong. They say shop, be happy! And medical providers say, "hide the real cost," and that makes them happy, so it's never going to change.

Universal healthcare is the solution, where both the government and insurers negotiate a standard price for all sorts of care with hospitals and doctors. No gouging, no artificial price increases, complete transparency, no bills, so there are no surprises.

The magic of the free market has allowed the following practice to get completely out of control in more markets:

Dominant hospital systems use an array of secret contract terms to protect their turf and block efforts to curb health-care costs. As part of these deals, hospitals can demand insurers include them in every plan and discourage use of less-expensive rivals. Other terms allow hospitals to mask prices from consumers, limit audits of claims, add extra fees and block efforts to exclude health-care providers based on quality or cost. 

The Wall Street Journal has identified dozens of contracts with terms that limit how insurers design plans, involving operators such as Johns Hopkins Medicine in Maryland, the 10-hospital OhioHealth system and Aurora Health Care, a major system in the Milwaukee market. National hospital operator HCA Healthcare Inc. also has restrictions in insurer contracts in certain markets.

Walker's Tax Hikes; Privatized Election Trouble; Paul Ryan won't stop Armed Stalkers and ex-Boyfriends!

Walker’s Hiden Tax Hikes!!!: Gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers is right, Walker's Wisconsin really hasn’t cut taxes much, he’s just shifted it and passed those increases off to local governments by way of school referendums and wheel taxes. And the zero tax on agriculture and manufacturing lets industry off the hook to educate and train their own eventual workforce. When did that become alright? Who does that? Like Evers said, priorities are truly out of whack. WPR:
 "Right now, Wisconsin priorities are out of whack," Evers said. Evers proposed a $1.4 billion budget for K-12 schools over the 2019-21 biennium. "Taxes have gone up under Scott Walker, all those millions of people who voted for school referenda — they did it because Scott Walker has decided not to fund their public schools." He also pointed out wheel taxes to cover road repair work in response to insufficient state allocations. 

"It’s always about priorities — we found $4.5 billion for Foxconn suddenly out of thin air." Evers said he may consider "shifting" income taxes to do away with policies that benefit high earners, including the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit. 

The Walker ... ad saying Evers may raise the gas tax by $1 a gallon to pay for road work. Evers rebuffed that statement. "It’s ridiculous — who the hell would, frankly," he said of a $1 per gallon gas tax increase.
Capitalism now Owns our Elections: And wouldn't you know it, all that concern about voter fraud and the integrity of our elections, fake!!! We’ve handed our basic right to vote to for-profit private businesses because we cut our taxes so much, that states can't fund or manage our elections and voting machines:
Hacks, Security Gaps And Oligarchs: Private companies play a crucial role in elections, from printing and designing ballots, to manufacturing voting machines, to hosting results websites. The industry exists because the local and state governments who run elections don't have the resources or expertise to maintain all aspects of an election themselves.
1. There's the state that discovered a Russian oligarch now finances the company that hosts its voting data.

2. Then there's the company that manufactures and services voter registration software in eight states that found itself hacked by Russian operatives leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

3. And then there's the largest voting machine company in the country, which initially denied and then admitted it had installed software on its systems considered by experts to be extremely vulnerable to hacking.
Paul Ryan Protects 2nd Amendment right to Kill Women: A bit harsh, I know, but true. What else could explain the shocking facts Ryan has decided to ignore. Nothing else:
A short-term extension of the landmark Violence Against Women Act (was) slipped into a must-pass continuing resolution that kept the government funded until Dec. 7. A task force of Democrats and organizations dedicated to fighting domestic violence and sexual assault has been working on how to improve the existing law.
Speaker Paul Ryan won’t update the law to include a gun control that would save women’s lives, it's that simple:
But the poison pill for Republicans is the so-called "boyfriend loophole," to ensure dating partners under a protective order are prohibited from having a firearm. Currently, that law only applies to couples who are married, live together, or share a child. It also extends the firearm prohibition to people accused of stalking. Finally, it restricts people under temporary restraining orders from possessing a gun. 

The task force offers staggering statistics to back up these requests: Nearly half of women killed by intimate partners are killed by dating partners, and 75 percent of women murdered by intimate partners and 85 percent of women who survived murder attempts were stalked first. A 10-city study cited by the task force found that 20 percent of homicide victims with temporary protective orders were murdered within two days of obtaining the order.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Capitalism? "Pharma chief defends 400% drug price rise as a ‘moral requirement’"

Capitalism should not be a guiding factor when it comes to healthcare or the development of life-saving drugs. But now even this is up for profit taking.

First, it's inhumane and immoral. Yet the following comments were uttered in defense of hiking drug prices for profit and saving jobs, at the expense of peoples pain and their lives:
“I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can.” 
“We have to make money when we can.”
Second, while drug companies complain they need higher drug prices for research and development, they've actually cut back on introducing new drugs for an easier solution to make money; buy old generics and jack their prices sky high:
There’s a general feeling in drug development that manufacturers are entitled to recoup the cost of developing a drug, widely held to be about 10 to 15 years of employee time and about $1 billion. Manufacturers’ inability to earn those sums back has been one justification for companies leaving the market.
Setting aside the fact that taxpayers and the National Institute of Health developed many of our most important drugs, let's focus on big pharma's exploitation of human suffering for profit and shareholder happiness:

A HANDFUL OF years ago, a small pharmaceutical company quietly acquired the rights to an old 65-year-old generic antibiotic. New owner Nostrum Laboratories... abruptly raised the price more than 400 percent - $474.75 to $2,392. Nitrofurantoin ... is precious to the 6 to 8 million Americans who get urinary tract infections ... a liquid, used for children, elderly patients, and anyone who can’t swallow a pill.

Company CEO Nirman Mulye, telling the Financial Times, “We have to make money when we can. I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can. My exact words to the guy was, 'Listen I don't have a moral obligation to breathe and eat, but if I don't do those things I'll die. It's common sense that if a business doesn't make profit or at least break even it's not going to be able to stay in business, right? American jobs will be lost."
Old Drugs Make a High Priced Comeback: Why develop new cures when the old ones rake in profits? This is sick stuff:
There’s a particular reason why Nostrum’s price hike has sparked such a reaction. Like Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company is proposing to profit off a drug it didn’t invent. 

Mr Mulye: “I agree with Martin Shkreli that when he raised the price of his drug he was within his rights because he had to reward his shareholders. If he’s the only one selling it then he can make as much money as he can. This is a capitalist economy and if you can’t make money you can’t stay in business. We have to make money when we can. The price of iPhones goes up, the price of cars goes up, hotel rooms are very expensive.”
Another absurd rationalization...
Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and vice-provost at the University of Pennsylvania, argued that case somewhat flippantly in The New York Times in 2015. “As a society we seem willing to pay $100,000 or more for cancer drugs that cure no one and at best add weeks or a few months to life. We are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for knee surgery that, at best, improves function but is not lifesaving,” he wrote. “So why won’t we pay $10,000 for a lifesaving antibiotic?”

The answers to that question have been: No, we shouldn’t raise antibiotic prices, because other drugs are overpriced already, or No, because poor countries who already struggle to buy enough antibiotics won’t be able to afford them at all.
Even a Trump administration official gagged on this one:
That didn’t sit well with FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb—who tweeted, “There’s no moral imperative to price gouge and take advantage of patients”—or with senators Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who sent a letter to Nostrum calling the increase “shocking.”

ACA opponent Walker wants us to believe he'll protect the uninsured and lower insurance rates?

Scott Walker wants us to forget about "the devil in the details," like how he would end up covering pre-existing conditions...if at all.

Republicans hate "ObamaCare" because it does just that, creating a large pool that spread the cost to everyone. Is this another "good cop" Scott Walker vs "bad cop" legislature? And don't think for one minute Walker isn't aware of public opinion?
The Democrats' strategy to focus on health care in the midterm elections has helped crack open opportunities in states they wouldn't have dreamed of winning two years ago.
Doing this would be costly for taxpayers and raise premiums for the insured, just so insurance companies could make money instead of spending it;

Would the Wisconsin Legislature be willing to adopt many of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act? That would have to happen ... The Trump administration is asking the court to strike down the protections for people with pre-existing conditions...

Insurers would have multiple ways to avoid covering people with pre-existing health conditions, even if required to sell them insurance.
If a health insurer didn’t want to attract people with high medical costs it could exclude expensive specialty drugs from its benefits or not cover drugs at all ... Impose limits on annual and lifetime out-of-pocket expenses.
Like Walker, Republicans on a national level are repeating the same lie. WaPo:
The Pinocchio Test: In many ways, the GOP pledge on preexisting conditions is the equivalent of Obama’s infamous pledge that under Obamacare, “if you like your plan you can keep it.” It may look great on paper, but the reality is that it is not a sustainable pledge. That was apparent with Obama’s promise when the ACA was being debated — as The Washington Post highlighted three times in 2009and 2010 — and that’s also the case here. The problems inherent in the structure are well documented in the CBO report.

Thus Cramer goes too far to claim that in the AHCA, there are “safeguards to make sure that there’s not price discrimination as a result of preexisting conditions.” In a state that did not seek a waiver, that might have been correct. But the proposed law gave states the option to seek waivers that would in effect nullify those promises, and it is quite possible North Dakota would have been one of those states. He earns Three Pinocchios

And funding those high-risk pools?
HIRSP also had a cost. It was funded by a tax on health insurance sold in Wisconsin. And health systems, physicians and other health care providers were paid rates slightly above those for Medicare but much lower than those paid by commercial insurers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Truth about the Trump Economy, and Women Trump Voters think he knows what he's doing.

Republican and Democratic voters bought into the idea that Trump the million-billionaire must know what he's doing economically as president. Even weirder, these independent "we don't need government" loudmouths are expecting Trump to help them out with big government handouts, like those deficit-increasing tax cuts they can now spend on higher priced goods thanks to sky-high tariffs. It's crazy, right?

Borrowing more Money for Tax Cuts? Yes: From NPR's Marketplace, this eye-opener about our rising trade deficits, borrowing from other countries to pay for tax cuts...Trumps smoke and mirrors. NPR Audio:

Wage Stagnation...again: Sure wages are going up, but only for certain industries and in states raising their minimum wage, but manufacturing is taking a hit. Business just isn't competing with wages. NPR Audio:

Trump Voters Think He's an Economic Genius (below): The guest group of women Trump voters on CNN below basically thought Trump was real change, and a billionaire that felt their pain (really?). Everything else in the media about Trump is just noise (how much he lies, women, Russia, uncertainty, the environment). He's made the economy roar, and nothing else matters. Warning: This clip will make you sick:

He's a genius if you like massive debt and absolutely no investment in our country. I posted this story a few days ago:

Hunters, thank Walker for Spread of CWD! He's your guy...

The spread of CWD in Wisconsin is pretty much out of control, thanks to Scott Walker. He thought hunters didn't care too much about eating contaminated meat, but since reports came out that it is possible CWD could spread to humans, well, hunting has since declined a lot. Go figure.

While other states have taken action, Wisconsin has not, until now...but wait, maybe not?
JS: An emergency rule recently signed by Gov. Scott Walker to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin may consider suspending all or part of the emergency CWD rule ... on the day it is scheduled to take effect. The emergency rule would have been the first substantive effort to curtail the disease in more than a decade. The rule was opposed by deer farming interests. 

The fatal deer disease has been spreading across Wisconsin relatively unchecked for the last 16 years. The Legislature has failed to enact measures to reduce the prevalence or distribution of CWD in the state.
Instead of using science and common sense to control CWD, Sen. Steve Nass wants a few unelected whiny hunters to run the DNR:
Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) said he ... can block or alter a rule with a simple vote. "This emergency rule contains substantial and burdensome changes to the way Wisconsin hunters will deal with deer carcasses with little advance notice or education," Nass wrote.

More and more hunters have been contacting their legislators and speaking against provisions in the rule, said Mike Mikalsen, chief of staff for Nass.
Many of the solutions in the approved emergency rules have been debated and researched for nearly a decade, so Nass is lying about "little advance notice or education." These are long overdue actions:
1. The measure has two prongs, one to enhance fencing at deer farms to reduce the risk of contact between captive and wild deer ... Deer farmers would have one year, or a time agreed to with the DNR, to perform any required fencing changes.

2. The other to reduce the distribution of infected carcasses by hunters, the rule would require deer killed in a CWD-affected county to be quartered or boned out before being removed from the county. There are two important exceptions: A whole carcass could be moved out of a CWD-affected county if it is taken to a taxidermist or a licensed meat processor anywhere in the state.
When will Republicans ever be blamed for destroying recreational hunting and outdoor sports in the state? 
George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, said "We know there are going to be challenges for sportsmen and women. But this is about protecting Wisconsin's deer herd."

As of early September, Wisconsin had 55 CWD-affected counties.
Two maps tell the whole Walker CWD disaster, today and from January 2017:

Jan. 2017

Sept. 2018

Walker's plan for Pre-Existing Conditions Not Paid For, Eliminates other Protections, Imposes Lifetime Caps again.

Remember this brilliant Trump revelation...

We all knew...

And thanks to the Republicans ever-changing Rube Goldberg like "private-for-profit" health care system, it'll be getting even more complicated, especially in Wisconsin. Expect to see politicians like Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, and Brad Schimel pose for holy pictures after giving people something that looks like coverage for pre-existing conditions, but isn't really.

Covering Pre-existing Condition could mean Many Different things: As described in the WPR audio report by Shawn Johnson:

Experts say such a state protection is unlikely to work without the other safeguards provided right now by the federal law known as Obamacare. "It's like trying to replace a dam in a river with a couple of rocks," said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C. "The bad behavior will just kind of go around the barrier that you put up."

1. It would mean the elimination of other ACA protections; 

2. Insurance companies offer major medical coverage as opposed to policies that might only cover a few doctor's office visits per year.

3. Eliminate federal subsidies designed to make such plans affordable.

4. Nadereh Pourat, the associate director of the UCLA Center for Policy Research, said insurance companies could once again impose lifetime limits on the most expensive customers, like cancer patients. "People used to hit the limit and then nobody would insure them anymore," ... the state bill Walker supports would not prevent those lifetime caps on insurance.
AG Brad Schimel is leading the lawsuit to repeal ObamaCare, knowing it will get rid of coverage for pre-existing conditions:
Schimel conceded (it) would end protections for people with preexisting conditions.

"Without the individual mandate it all fails. It's not going to be able to stand. We've asked the court to stay Obamacare across the board."
While Walker supporters love the idea of killing ObamaCare's coverage for pre-existing conditions, they can't help applauding Walker's plan to provide more complicated and costly high-risk pools no one can afford.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and State Superintendent Tony Evers is challenging Walker to pull out of the lawsuit:

"Scott Walker, if you're watching, I have a challenge for you. If you want to protect the millions of Wisconsinites with a pre-existing condition, drop Wisconsin from this lawsuit today because actions speak louder than empty political promises."
Lt. Gov. Kleefisch backs Walker's doublespeak on pre-existing conditions, and brags about how ObamaCare is already covering pre-existing conditions...?:
In her ad, Kleefisch said she was “shocked” that Evers and his allies would argue Walker wants to end the protections. “Today in Wisconsin, people with pre-existing conditions are already covered,” Kleefisch said, without noting that they are covered only because of the national law Walker opposes. “And as long as Scott and I are in office, they always will be.” 
Yup, both Walker and Kleefisch love to brag about replacing the same reinsurance money their own party and Trump repealed. Thanks for saving us from your own policies?
Kleefisch called Obamacare an "abomination" and touted Walker's $200 million plan to stabilize insurance prices for individuals who get coverage through the Obamacare marketplaces.
No Urgency over Insurance denying coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions? Kleefisch digs her hole a little deeper with this out-of-touch gem:
Asked why Walker and Republicans haven't yet passed a bill to protect people with preexisting conditions in the eight years that they've controlled the Legislature, Kleefisch said it was a matter of urgency. "Before this, there was not the ACA lawsuit and therefore the issue of urgency," she said. "It was not an immediate need."
Making Sick People an even More Profitable Business: There's no free lunch for Americans with diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, heart problems, arthritis, old age...they all have to pay more. That's capitalism at its most immoral best.

Like Walker, Kleefisch plays Race Card, says Tiki Torch White Nationalism No "Big Deal!"

White big deal? Not for Lilly white Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who made an amazingly shocking admission in a recent tweet about black Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate Mandela Barnes; tiki torch carrying white nationalism no big deal. That goes along with the Trumpian meme; Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group and kneeling players support them.

Oh, and somewhere in Becky's brain, this made sense; white nationalism = tonsillectomies?

You can't make this kind of stuff up: killing ObamaCare is not like dying without health insurance. 

I should note that like all conservative policy, Kleefisch's claim is based on anecdotal, second-hand information that's often made up, or what conspiratorial Republicans like to call "facts."
Asked Monday if she had seen Barnes kneeling during the national anthem or had seen evidence of him kneeling, she answered, “What I mentioned was that people had told me this.” She did not say who those people were.
“It was at an event that we both attended at the opening of State Fair Park at the Wisconsin State Fair, during the playing of the national anthem. As I always do, I was looking at the flag with my hand over my heart.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett made the more logical conclusion, racism:
Barrett said he believes the allegations are "racially tinged." "Here in the state they've perfected the dog whistle," Barrett said. He added that the only difference is at the national level President Donald Trump instead uses a "circus whistle."
BREAKING: Race bating Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch caught lying, has to apologize:

She backed off of her claim Tuesday, a day after she tried to stick by it. "I have to believe him and I have to apologize for something I was told," Kleefisch said on WTMJ-AM (620).