Friday, August 16, 2019

Walker hates UW Campus Liberals! "Censorship Exposed!!!"

As I continue to read Scott Walker's fantasy world tweets, it sends a shudder through me knowing he was in charge of this state once. His lack of public access and sparse commentary hid just how completely incompetent this caricature of a right-wing zealot was. If we all knew then what we are seeing now, especially after seeing his ripped off Trump-like tweets, we'd all be nervous wrecks by now.

Like this tweet about a totally fabricated "problem:"

Thank you Scott Walker, for opening this can of worms. You only have to look at Walker's own "censorship exposed," when he discriminated against and silenced a conservative UW student not in his cult of worship:

A University of Wisconsin-Platteville engineering student Joshua Inglett, anticipating a new seat on the UW System's Board of Regents, was renounced at the eleventh hour by Gov. Scott Walker, who withdrew the young man's appointment after finding out he had signed a petition as an 18-year-old freshman calling for the governor's recall ... an aide to Walker asked him whether he had signed the recall petition. He told him he had, and within hours another Walker aide left him a voice mail that made it clear to Inglett he wouldn't get the position.

"I felt like my character had been attacked," he said. Asked whether Inglett's characterization of what happened was accurate, Walker said, "I wasn't involved in that directly."
Oddly, Walker is somehow never involved. These original snowflakes and conservative victims of liberal silencing on campus, didn't stop there either:

You may remember the case of Joshua Inglett ... We mention this now because the story has resurfaced again, and in a big way. "This American Life," a nationally syndicated public radio show that is akin to "60 MInutes" on TV, has just broadcast a piece on Inglett's 15 minutes of fame.

Producer Ben Calhoun describes how Inglett, a Republican from Portage, was everything you could hope for in a UW regent, even if you were Scott Walker. But Inglett ran afoul of the searchable online black list that conservative groups made out of the petition papers. The report tells the story of how Team Walker shot itself in the foot by withdrawing Inglett's name, especially after Walker praised him effusively.

And there's more in the piece about how the conservative black-listing of recall petition signers has ended up with Wisconsin Republicans recklessly going after some of their own, apparently in the name of total political correctness.

You can listen to the 28-minute installment
So remember this tweet and how ridiculous it is in comparison to the blacklist and silencing descent on campus:

Blow Your Mind with this.....

Walker sat down with the Young America's Foundation board earlier this year (and) told the board he was their guy if they wanted “someone who can elevate this at a time when I think we need it more than ever, when free speech is under constant threat, particularly on college campuses.”
Indoctrination: Again, there's no threat from this phony conspiratorial fear of being silenced, but Walker does see the threat of not being patriotic enough. He blames those not so pleasant but accurate accounts of U.S. history. Walker isn't shy about demanding actual indoctrination with HIS "truth," with HIS conservative "our point of view" aimed at "teens and pre-teens." Walker's mind-numbing political poison is right there for all to see. 

He noted it is now a time when “nearly 60 percent of adults under 30 think that socialism is acceptable, and when, sadly, less than one-quarter of that age group are exceptionally proud to be Americans.”

Walker said another priority of his, both at the high school and university level, would be to promote more objective teaching of American history, global history, economics, and simple financial literacy: “If you just give people the facts, if you don’t put your spin on it, the facts will overwhelmingly lead people to be more aligned with our point of view.” 

He added that because of progressive professors and liberal politicians, “this generation just doesn’t believe what the facts show to be true.”

“YAF has been great – but we have to multiply it a thousand times over and reach more students and more campuses and earlier. Not just in college and high school, but teens and pre-teens, to find more ways to expose people to the truth, he said he told the board.
Check out Walker's attack on the UW and public education that includes blacklisting and liberal bans:

Trump's Republican Russian backers...

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Trump eyeing Internet Censorship on his way to fascist state!

Republicans have always portrayed themselves as victims of censorship, silenced at colleges and in public gatherings, and fearful of being attacked physically by threatening fire-breathing liberals who brandish...a better argument.
President Trump frequently attacks … social media companies over an alleged but unproven systemic bias against conservatives by technology platforms
Anyone surprised Trump's twisted way of thinking would result in this, censorship by unelected bureaucrats ?

A leaked draft of a Trump administration edict—dubbed by critics as a "Censor the Internet" executive order, that would give powerful federal agencies far-reaching powers to pick and choose which kind of Internet material is and is not acceptable.
Meant to do what campus free speech rights were designed to do, protect radical right-wing nationalism, fascism, and racism, our "small government' Republicans want to call the free speech shots. Read it and weep: 
According to CNN, the new rule "calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms ... also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies." 

PEN America warned that any executive order based on this draft rule would be an unconstitutional "anti-American edict. 

"It's hard to put into words how mind bogglingly absurd this executive order is," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, in a tweet. "In the name of defending free speech it would allow mass government censorship of online content. In practice, it means whichever party is in power can decide what speech is allowed on the internet." 
Action alert: [The] leaked documents ... give these bureaucratic government agencies unprecedented control over how Internet platforms ... whichever political party is in power could dictate what speech is allowed on the Internet. If the government doesn't like the way a private company is moderating content, they can shut their entire website down.
GOP's Trumpian Paranoia: So just make up a conspiracy around political bias against poor socially conservative rejects: 
Public Knowledge's Lewis said "Political bias by digital platforms remains unproven. In fact, an independent study by The Economist points towards search platforms having a bias towards virality and attention, not political ideology," said Lewis. "This matches reports from books like Tim Wu's "The Attention Merchants" and others that study social media addiction. It is this sort of algorithmic bias towards virality that foreign adversaries use to sow disinformation and mistrust in our country."
Social Media Regulations to Protect Right-Wing Nationalism: Check out this followup story here:
NPR: A new legislative proposal by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., would ban elements of social media he views as addictive ... (in) social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Concerns with technological addiction are merging with rising political anger against Big Tech. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, a champion of free markets, seems at least open to it. "Nobody wants to see a federal speech police. But at the same time allowing a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires to be the censors of all political speech in America is a terrible outcome. And so I think Sen. Hawley's bill is a positive step in the right direction," Cruz said.

Nanny State Republicans are really Social Media Engineers who think Government is the answer?

Republican warrior against social engineering and small government, Sen. Josh Hawley, has exposed himself as the political hypocrite and liar.we thought he was.

When it comes to almost everything, including guns, Republicans are quick to put all the responsibility on the users best judgement, you know, to avoid regulation. They say the government isn't the answer to everything, and certainly shouldn't be telling people what to do in their personal lives...except maybe social media?

This nanny state Republican Senator doesn't just want to ban things, but he also doesn't care how his legislation would derail the way these social media companies pay for themselves. And if they can't make money, you guessed it, we as consumers will start paying monthly premiums. Not a good idea, and it would also price out many more low income users:

NPR: A new legislative proposal by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., would ban elements of social media he views as addictive ... (in) social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Concerns with technological addiction are merging with rising political anger against Big Tech.
That concern is huge in China, which already controls what their citizens see on the internet, so we want to be like a communist country? Do we want to go there?
Hawley's proposal strikes at the heart of how social media companies make money. "Their business model is based on user engagement and time spent on the platform. ... Certainly they're using sophisticated psychological measures like the auto-play feature and others to keep people on the platform," said Lindsay Gorman, a fellow for emerging technologies at the German Marshall Fund, explaining just how crucial these sorts of features are to the big tech companies.
Hawley assumes Americans can't think for themselves:
"Their business model is increasingly exploitative in nature and I think that these are companies that are trying to evade accountability." The freshman Missouri senator drafted a bill that would: 
1. Require social media companies to tell users every 30 minutes how long they've been on a platform each day.

2. Make illegal the concept of "infinite scroll," which endlessly populates apps with additional content. 

3. It would also prohibit the auto-play of video and audio.
Sorry, auto play is something every user can set up for themselves. It also appears Hawley just woke up to the fact that social media has been using our media habits to make money. Outrageous?
"The big tech platforms have adopted a business model that takes our private information without telling us, sells it without our consent, and then it tries to use exploitative and addictive practices in order to get us to spend more time on their platform, so they can take more stuff from us," he said. Hawley's legislation isn't likely to pass.
Give Racist Nationalism a Platform? Or is this just another effort to stop private companies from blocking what they want, according to their own business model and social media identity? No surprise, this is really all about letting white nationalism, racism, fascism and right-wing political content continue to have a platform: 
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, a champion of free markets, seems at least open to it. "Nobody wants to see a federal speech police. But at the same time allowing a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires to be the censors of all political speech in America is a terrible outcome. And so I think Sen. Hawley's bill is a positive step in the right direction," Cruz said.

Another reason Health Care-for-All is the solution to problems below...

The stories about health care on spinning out fast and furious, so it's hard to cover every nightmarish situation that screams for universal health care, now.

Trump's Junk Insurance Plan Wastes Money, Doesn't Pay for Health Care: Here's one thing almost everyone said would happen...except Trump and his drooling mod of deplorable's:
BREAKING: Trump’s junk insurance plans are spending an average of 39% of your premium on actual medical care. ACA requires 75% minimum. Short-term health plans spend little on medical care.
No, really? This is what happened before the ACA became law, and why the ACA was so desperately needed.

Uninsured Rise, Again: Excluding Trump and his panting cult, almost everyone predicted an increase in the uninsured rate thanks to Trump's attack on Obama's one big political and social success:
ModernHealthcare: The Obamacare exchanges last year lost 1.2 million of its unsubsidized enrollment last year, the CMS found in a report released Monday.

From 2016 to 2018, 2.5 million people who were paying their entire Affordable Care Act premiums dropped out of the individual market.

The Trump administration's latest enrollment snapshot doesn't bring many surprises given the high price tag for premiums, but the numbers are stark. The exchanges saw a 40% drop in unsubsidized enrollment from 2016 to 2018, and the declines hit almost every state.
Check out this down-the-rabbit-hole perspective:
In a statement, CMS Administrator Seema Verma characterized the report as another sign that the ACA isn't working. "The ongoing exodus of the unsubsidized population from the market proves that Obamacare's sky-high premiums are unaffordable."
Uh, that "unaffordable" and "unsubsidized" market Verma is talking about is...the existing insurance market without government subsidies, which is what Republicans call the free market and want to return to. Doh?
The high premiums (are) attributed to "sabotage" by the Trump administration and GOP lawmakers in Congress.
Medicare-for-All includes all coverage, all doctors, and all hospitals!!! Democrats continue to repeat absolute nonsensical talking points pushed by Republicans:
Joe Biden and other moderate Democratic candidates opposed to “Medicare for All” have cast the plan as anti-labor, arguing that it would leave union members worse off by stripping them of the health care benefits they painstakingly negotiated. But not all labor unions agree. Many others unions remain undecided. 

Some of the biggest labor groups in the country have embraced the plan. Those supporting Medicare for All say health care increasingly dominates contract battles, consuming bargaining power that could instead be directed toward raising wages and improving working conditions.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants: “When we’re able to hang on to the health plan we have, that’s considered a massive win. But it’s a huge drag on our bargaining. So our message is: Get it off the table.”
It's true that union workers are wary of giving up hard-won benefits, even when promised a plan that covers more services for less money.
Eliminate International Medical Vacations: Lower Hospital Costs Dramatically, Pay Doctors Well Instead in Medicare-for-All: Bet you didn't know a major Wisconsin manufacturer is saving huge amounts of medical payouts with this in foreign countries: 
Donna Ferguson awoke in the resort city of Cancun. She walked down a short hallway from her Sheraton hotel and into Galenia Hospital. A surgeon, Dr. Thomas Parisi, who had flown in from Wisconsin the day before, stood by Ferguson’s hospital bed and used a black marker to note which knee needed repair. For this surgery, she would not only receive free care but would receive a check when she got home.

The hospital costs of the American medical system are so high that it made financial sense for both a highly trained orthopedist from Milwaukee and a patient from Mississippi to leave the country and meet at an upscale private Mexican hospital for the surgery.

Ferguson gets her health coverage through her husband’s employer, Ashley Furniture Industries. The cost to Ashley was less than half of what a knee replacement in the United States would have been. That’s why its employees and dependents who use this option have no out-of-pocket copayments or deductibles for the procedure; in fact, they receive a $5,000 payment from the company, and all their travel costs are covered. Parisi, who spent less than 24 hours in Cancun, was paid $2,700, or three times what he would get from Medicare, the largest single payer of hospital costs in the United States. Private health plans and hospitals often negotiate payment schedules using the Medicare reimbursement rate as a floor.

The high prices charged at American hospitals make it relatively easy to offer surgical bargains in Mexico: In the United States, knee replacement surgery costs an average of about $30,000 — sometimes double or triple that — but at Galenia, it is only $12,000, said Dr. Gabriela Flores Teón, medical director of the facility.

The standard charge for a night in the hospital is $300 at Galenia, Flores said, compared with $2,000 on average at hospitals in the United States. The other big savings is the cost of the medical device — made by a subsidiary of the New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson — used in Ferguson’s knee replacement surgery. The very same implant she would have received at home costs $3,500 at Galenia, compared with nearly $8,000 in the United States, Flores said.
Medicare Needs Major Changes Too: Here's a story I personally experienced with own mom that ended up costing our family a lot of needless out-of-pocket spending.

NOTE: Every bad thing in the blog post would not be an issue with universal health care. Think about that: 
Medicare paid for Betty Gordon’s knee replacement surgery in March, but the 72-year-old former high school teacher needed a nursing home stay and care at home to recover.

Yet Medicare wouldn’t pay for that. So Gordon is stuck with a $7,000 bill she can’t afford — and, as if that were not bad enough, she can’t appeal. The reasons Medicare won’t pay have frustrated the Rhode Island woman and many others trapped in the maze of regulations surrounding something called “observation care.”

Patients, like Gordon, receive observation care in the hospital when their doctors think they are too sick to go home but not sick enough to be admitted. They stay overnight or longer, usually in regular hospital rooms, getting some of the same services and treatment (often for the same problems) as an admitted patient — intravenous fluids, medications and other treatment, diagnostic tests and round-the-clock care they can get only in a hospital.

But observation care is considered an outpatient service under Medicare rules, like a doctor’s appointment or a lab test. Observation patients may have to pay a larger share of the hospital bill than if they were officially admitted to the hospital. Plus, they have to pick up the tab for any nursing home care. Medicare’s nursing home benefit is available only to those admitted to the hospital for three consecutive days. Gordon spent three days in the hospital after her surgery, but because she was getting observation care, that time didn’t count.

There’s another twist: Patients might want to file an appeal, as they can with many other Medicare decisions. But that is not allowed if the dispute involves observation care.

Monday, a trial begins in federal court in Hartford, Conn., where patients who were denied Medicare’s nursing home benefit are hoping to force the government to eliminate that exception. A victory would clear the way for appeals from hundreds of thousands of people. The class-action lawsuit was filed in 2011 by seven Medicare observation patients and their families against the Department of Health and Human Services. Seven more plaintiffs later joined the case.

“This is about whether the government can take away health care coverage you may be entitled to and leave you no opportunity to fight for it,” said Alice Bers, litigation director at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, one of the groups representing the plaintiffs. If they win, people with traditional Medicare who received observation care services for three days or longer since Jan. 1, 2009, could file appeals seeking reimbursement for bills Medicare would have paid had they been admitted to the hospital. More than 1.3 million observation claims meet these criteria for the 10-year period through 2017, according to the most recently available government data.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Sadly, Republicans not in any rush to save America's Dairyland!

Watching "America's Dairyland" Disappear: Besides the rapid rise of lake choking algae threatening Wisconsin's summer tourism industry, including...

...we're also watching a rapid disappearance of our dairy farms:

1. Over the past two years, nearly 1,200 of the state’s dairy farms have stopped milking cows and so far this year, another 212 have disappeared, with many shifting production to beef or vegetables. 

2. The total number of herds in Wisconsin is now below 8,000 — about half as many as 15 years ago. 

3. In 2018, 49 Wisconsin farms filed for bankruptcy — the highest of any state in the country, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Trump Tariff Debacle? Again, he isn't in any hurry: Trump's tariffs needlessly put farmers on the front line of a battle that only benefits businesses trying to protect intellectual rights, copyrights, and drug patents. It was never about agriculture, which has now lost markets that may or may not get them back entirely, and even if they did, it would put the US back where it was.
YahooNews: the problem for American farmers has becomes bigger than something a bailout can fix. “This trade thing is what’s brought on by the president and it’s really frustrating because he took away all of our markets. Our prices are probably as low as I’ve seen them in a long time,” he told Yahoo Finance. 

“We were losing just about $70 an acre just by putting our crop in [the ground] this spring,”Bob Kuylen, a farmer from North Dakota who grows spring wheat and sunflowers, told Yahoo Finance. “All these countries went to different countries to get their grain,” Kuylen said. “How are we going to get the relations back with them to buy our grain again and be our customers?”

“Farmers are profoundly wary of the trade war, embarrassed that ad hoc government subsidies are all that stands between many of us and financial ruin, and ready for the return of more normal times.”

Between 2016-2017, China was the fourth-largest wheat buyer in the world, importing more than 61 million U.S. bushels. In 2019, the top U.S. export destinations for wheat include Mexico, the Philippines, Japan, and Nigeria — China is not even among the top 10.
Blame Canada?: Rising corporate farms and over supply is the biggest culprit, but Trump and Republicans want to blame Canada's control of milk production, and a few high tariffs, as the problem. Instead, the U.S. should be looking at Canada's solution to saving dairy: 
PRI; The new NAFTA agreement, called the USMCA ... boiled down to Canadian milk ... the president has been railing against Canadian dairy farmers in rallies ... US dairy farmers would get more access to Canada, a worrying prospect for Canadian dairy farmer Phillip Armstrong. Armstrong says his cows are nearly twice as productive ... to keep things in check, Canada has a system (to) match supply with consumer demand. “Each farm has a quota and that's our share of the Canadian market.” 

Part of its supply management system ... Canada does let in some American dairy before (a 300 percent) tariff kicks in ... the updated trade deal would open up 3.6 percent more of its market to American dairy. Armstrong says. “That's (3.6 percent) growth in income that we're giving up that allows us to modernize, to expand. And Trump said we were hurting their dairy farmers. Well, the Americans had a $600 million surplus with us. But he got into his head that we were mistreating their farmers.”
It's true Canada had made a few other changes to protect against losing dairy farms...but one of those changes, price supports that shut out American products, has been repealed.

Dairy Farmers Hurt, a Nationwide Problem: While we're seeing thousands of dairy farms shutting down in Wisconsin and elsewhere...
It’s not all because of Canada, far from it. American farmers have been squeezed out by consolidation, corporate agriculture, global competition and low prices. People are also simply consuming less milk.

Brian Gould, a professor of agribusiness at the University of Wisconsin says the US shouldn’t be telling Canada how to manage its internal agriculture. "I really think we're on thin ice when we demand that they get rid of their quota system" ... think of the reverse: Canada telling the US to dismantle its system. The US government sets a minimum price for milk and also provides subsidies to American dairy farmers. And, the US has its own high tariffs on certain products — the US sour cream tariff, for example, is 187 percent.
Failed "Supply-Side" Scott Walker Meddling: When 70 percent of the U.S. economy is driven by consumer spending, it's hard to imagine why anyone would take the opposite economic approach, unless your only plan is to give more money and power to business. Oh wait.

The following isn't me saying it, but I have so many times here on my blog:
NYT: Farmer advocacy groups say policies enforced by former Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, exacerbated the problem. In 2012, Mr. Walker put into place a program to encourage dairy farmers to step up production with the goal of producing 30 billion pounds of milk a year by 2020. That was easily accomplished by 2016, but the oversupply crippled the industry.

“He wanted to put Wisconsin back into the lead in milk production over California,” said Joel Greeno, a dairy farmer and the president of the Wisconsin advocacy group Family Farm Defenders. “It was more an example of arrogance than practicality.”
And so...
Still, there’s an ironic twist here: Many American dairy farmers and organizations are actually now looking into a supply management system of their own ... similar to Canada’s. Armstrong says the new NAFTA agreement doesn’t address the fundamental problem: American farmers are producing too much milk ... opening a little bit more of Canada won’t make a dent in that. “I feel for the dairy farmer in the United States. I mean, it's got to hurt,” Armstrong says. The new trade agreement, he says, “is going to hurt us here, but it has no impact on their well-being at all.”
Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and now enlightened Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher are on the same page:
Senator Tammy Baldwin said of Mr. Trump in an interview. “Our farmers need good trade deals, not trade wars.”

Representative Mike Gallagher had said that the top concerns of dairy farmers were the tariffs, along with Mr. Trump’s immigration policies, which make finding farm labor more difficult.
The First Red Flag? Republican targeted Butter as Too Expensive: This really happened:
Republican state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, an accountant from Brookfield wants to undo law he calls silly, antiquated and anti-free market. A quirky Wisconsin law intended to protect the state's dairy industry by making it illegal for restaurants to serve margarine as a replacement for butter is being targeted for repeal. Kooyenga argues that changing the law would save the state money since margarine is typically a third of the cost of butter.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Welcome to The State Republican Supreme Court!

The news headlines should really read, "This is getting ridiculous!!!"

I keep thinking back on a time when Republicans always accused Democrats of using the courts to pass their left-wing agenda. Well, as it turns out, it was another serious case of "projection." 

It's all here; "Conservative Activist Justices" "Legislating from the Bench": Another Walker legacy, the gerrymandered Republicans legislature and their legal attack dogs at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) are now openly admitting the State Supreme Court is conservative and theirs to command. Seriously, they couldn't wait a few days?:

WILL’s lawsuit was filed on the last day that former Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson served on the court. When Hagedorn takes Abrahamson’s place on Thursday, the Court will have a 5-2 conservative majority.

Republicans filed their lawsuit directly with the state Supreme Court just hours after conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn was sworn into office.
...and who could forget how it all started...

On limiting Gov. Evers veto power, it will be interesting to see how the State Republican Supreme Court will sell their eventual limit on vetos and over 80 years of precedent because you know they will:
Esenberg said he may also pursue having the court reverse a 1935 Supreme Court decision to further curtail the veto powers of the governor. Those who have challenged past vetoes have typically lost. In 1988, for instance, the high court ruled the governor held a "quasi-legislative" role and was allowed to strike out words, digits and even individual letters from budgets to string together new sentences.
Republican Voters love it: Even when it's obvious, GOP voters will never want to give up power. Like the originalist's con "interpreting" the legal text which could mean anything; or the lame-duck session stripping the governor and attorney generals of their power...: 
Justice Rebecca Dallet contended ... no state law gave them that power ... the state constitution says lawmakers can meet only when called into a special session by the governor or as provided by law. Lawmakers wrote a work schedule (not law) ... that was enough to comply with the constitutional provisions the majority concluded.
Ultra-Gerrymandering up Next: Would Republicans really try to bypass the governor when it's time to redraw districts? Seriously?
“I’ve heard about it,” Rick Esenberg, executive director of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), said of the plan. “Whether we would have anything to do with it, I can’t say.”

But, he added, “I understand the argument. The argument is the constitution reserves [redistricting] to the state legislature, and it should be taken literally; the state legislature should do it. It would require that precedent be overruled,” Esenberg acknowledged. But, he added, “I don’t think it’s a frivolous argument.”

Sunday, July 21, 2019

8 Cent Gas Tax is Bridge to Electric Vehicle Future, and will phase-out naturally over time.

Gov. Tony Evers' proposed 8 cents a gallon increase on gas was a fair way to fund highways, asking everyone who uses Wisconsin roads, local and out-of-state drivers, to pay for repairs and replacement.

The Republican reaction to raising taxes showed the world what really matters them most; politics! Sticking with their no tax pledge, Wisconsinites are now on the hook exclusively for transportation funding and spending every penny of their tax cut savings. Sweet. It also lets interstate drivers off the hook. That's Wisconsin friendly.

Scott Walker/GOP record on Transportation: Note the jump in interest for transportation borrowing. Add to that the Republican fee increases hitting only Wisconsinites:

Fee Increase, No Gas Tax is a Bridge to the Future? The only reason Republicans didn't raise the gas tax; as hybrid and electric cars take over, it would negate any increase in the gas tax.

WPT's Here and Now host Frederica Freyberg argued with Republican Rep. John Nygren that such a changeover and possible new toll road funding was a long way off: 

Gasoline/Gas Tax would phase out Naturally with Increased Electric Vehicle Use!!! My head is exploding over how easy this one is to grasp. Adding an 8 cent gas tax now would pay for our roads until then, creating that "bridge to the future." We would also be making interstate drivers pay as well. Republicans are either this stupid, or they're just trying to sell another ridiculous excuse to their unquestioning voters. Maybe both.

Again, the 8 cent increase would naturally phase out in the changeover, so what's the beef? From Upfront, here's Mike Nichols from the right-wing Badger Institute admitting we're about 20 years out from seeing any major benefits from toll roads or a majority of electric vehicles. Imagine how 8 cents a gallon would help fund transportation in that time. Arrgggggg:

All Steil, no Substance!!!

I'd like to have a conversation...?

That's the dumb "do nothing" GOP mantra right now that should be driving everyone crazy. "Having a conversation" is an outgrowth of the failed idea pushing "we need to have a debate," but it's just as nonsensical.

Paul Ryan's generic look-alike replacement Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) appeared on WKOW's Capitol City Sunday blathering on and on about "having a conversation," which in plain terms means "all talk, no action." I suspect this is what he's running on, having a conversation, while at the same time telling voters to forget about solving the big problems. You can't make this stuff up.

Here's a compilation of Steil's "having a conservation" rhetorical crutch:

Steil another Trump Racism Appeaser: Reporter Emilee Fannon wasn't shy about making this safe observation about Steil's disastrous dodge over Trump's obvious racism...
Congressman Bryan Steil (R-WI) refused to answer whether or not he believes President Trump tweets two weeks ago were “racist.”
No, really? Steil blamed "both sides;" the four congresswomen for being women and looking foreign, and Trump's blatant "go back" to where you came from racism. This is a remarkable, rehearsed, and unforgettable fumble:

Steil Favors a "Natural Force" to Raise inserting Government of course: Starting with the current actual numbers showing the "natural forces" of the marketplace at work stagnating wages for the last 40 years...

Steil repeats Scott Walker's excuse for not raising the minimum wage; he blames the "skill gap," and wants "government focused in on solving that problem to allow people to see higher wages." Gotta love that "natural force." Wages haven't gone up even with their current trained workforce. By the way, having better high paying jobs doesn't eliminate current minimum wage jobs they claim were never meant to raise a family on. And that's written in stone where...?:

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The "I'm not racist" Trump racist Trump!

Surprise, Trump's not a racist after all? While I thought we finally thought we had Trump dead to rights on racism, with his tweets and comments to the press, his cultist followers heard something completely different.

Leave it to NPR to search out reactions to Trump's racist comments at Montana's Black Butte shooting range. And despite Trump quadrupling down on exactly what he said...:
Paul, military veteran: "Makes me giggle that everyone's all up in arms about this. Trump saying they need to go back to their country, is pretty much saying go back to California, go back to New York." 
...or this Montana Republican Representative trashing our country and elected Democrats, when in fact, the Trump party were the first to trash America saying it wasn't great...

...or this mind-numbing nonsense...
Black Butte Range Co-owner Andrew Stappleton: "Essentially, how I read this, is don't throw rocks if you live in a glass house. It just has to do with, just go back and fix your areas, and then you can try and fix my area." 
...but what about Trump's racism...
Tanner, Trump Supporter as long as he doesn't go after gun rights: "...I mean, it doesn't sound like they really want to be here, so, I agree they should probably...if they don't want to be here, probably go somewhere else." 

The "I'm not a racist" Racism: Now that the initial shock has worn off and most of us finally have definitive proof Trump is a racist, it kind of fun to see Trump supporters coming out insisting "they're not racists." Warning, the following video clip from CNN will make it seem like we're seeing the end of this great experiment. Here are some of the women's comments:

#1. “He was saying if they hate America so much because what we’re seeing out of them and hearing out of them, they hate America. If it’s so bad, there’s a lot of places they can go.”

#2. “I’m glad that the president said what he said because all they are doing is they are — they are inciting hatred and division and that’s not what our country is about.” 

#3. “He didn’t say anything about color,” one protested.

#4. “I wish there was a white one that they — if they aren’t racist, how come they haven’t befriended one of their white female congresswomen colleagues and let her join?” said another woman, apparently missing the point that they are being grouped together specifically because the president attacked them by name, not because they only arbitrarily decided to be friends with each other.

#5. “They won’t,” agreed another woman. “They don’t like white people, come on. They are racist.”

Kellyanne Conway "We're sick and tired of this country!!!" Have you noticed the pattern taking shape for Trump and Republicans up for reelection? They plan to skip the failed policy ideas and lack of solutions to the nations major problems, and instead want to concentrate on calling Democrats anti-American racists, people who hate and criticize our country. That's it. Blows your mind doesn't it? For example, here's Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy:
“In America, if you hate our Country, you are free to leave. The simple fact of the matter is, the four Congresswomen think that America is wicked in its origins, they think that America is even more wicked now, that we are all racist and evil. They’re entitled to their opinion, they’re Americans. Now I’m entitled to my opinion, & I just think they’re left wing cranks. They’re the reason there are directions on a shampoo bottle, & we should ignore them. The ‘squad’ has moved the Democrat Party substantially LEFT, and they are destroying the Democrat Party. I’m appalled that so many of our Presidential candidates are falling all over themselves to try to agree with the four horsewomen of the apocalypse. I’m entitled to say that they’re Wack Jobs.”

Here's Kellyanne Conway doubling down on Trump's racist comments by being racist:
Reporter Andrew Feinberg of Breakfast Media asked Conway what the president was referring to when he said that progressive lawmakers — three out of four of whom were born in the United States — should “go back” to their countries.

In response, Conway demanded “What’s your ethnicity?” 

“Why is that relevant?” Feinberg responded, taken aback.

Wrapping up, a word from Thomas Friedman, who revealed just what Americans Trump was talking about...all Americans:

This is the official word from the Trump campaign, who will focus only on name calling, forget all issues:

Monday, July 15, 2019

Trump Campaign Train leaves station...

Trump Fascism!!!

UPDATE-7/16: Well, this makes everything perfectly clear:
When asked if he was concerned that many people saw that tweet as racist and that white nationalist groups were finding common cause with the statement, Trump said Monday he wasn’t because “many people agree with me.”
“[They’re] complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave right now,” added Trump. “Come back if you want, don’t come back, it’s OK too. But if you’re not happy, you can leave.”
I wrote a blog post yesterday about a Trump appeaser who doesn't see him as a threat, and it appears I may have understated my point, and that's not a good thing. The one word I should have included over and over? Fascism. See if anything in the chart reminds you of a common Trump theme:

In my blog post yesterday I wrote...Rick Esenberg, the founder of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative-libertarian law firm ... became a willing partner in the Trumpian cultist movement to take down traitorous liberals. For instance, Esenberg's comments in the recent Isthmus ... saying (Trump's) "not a threat to the constitutional order". Seriously? 
1. “I don’t think Donald Trump is that serious about a lot of the things that he says ... And so, he tweets a lot of stupid classless and vulgar things, but it doesn’t really translate to any kind of action.”
Welcome to Trump Fascism: Trump's latest tweet storm posted this morning is probably the most incendiary call to action yet; the total vilification and proposed elimination of America's true enemies; everyone not a Trump cultists:

Heck, parade floats were onto this guy...

Fascist America is here: Explaining fascism is not easy, but the following contemporized look at Trump's reckless version of fascism shows us how real and threatening it is. From Vox, these are the articles main points made by Jason Stanley:    
The targets are leftists, minorities, labor unions, and anyone or any institution that isn’t glorified in the fascist narrative. We’re not on the brink of some fascist takeover. But there are reasons to be concerned, and we should always be on guard — that’s the lesson of history. 

Fascist politics would focus on the dominant cultural group. The goal is to make them feel like victims, to make them feel like they’ve lost something and that the thing they’ve lost has been taken from them by a specific enemy, usually some minority out-group This is why fascism flourishes in moments of great anxiety, because you can connect that anxiety with fake loss.

The story is typically that a once-great society has been destroyed by liberalism or feminism or cultural Marxism or whatever, and you make the dominant group feel angry and resentful about the loss of their status and power. Almost every manifestation of fascism mirrors this general narrative.

Truth is required to act freely. Freedom requires knowledge, you need to know what the world is and know what you’re doing. So, freedom requires truth, and so to smash freedom you must smash truth.

Philosopher Hannah Arendt … she says that fascists are never content to merely lie; they must transform their lie into a new reality, and they must persuade people to believe in the unreality they’ve created. And if you get people to do that, you can convince them to do anything. 

Part of what fascist politics does is get people to disassociate from reality. You get them to sign on to this fantasy version of reality, usually a nationalist narrative about the decline of the country and the need for a strong leader to return it to greatness, and from then on their anchor isn’t the world around them — it’s the leader. 

The thing is, people willingly adopt the mythical past. Fascists are always telling a story about a glorious past that’s been lost, and they tap into this nostalgia. So when you fight back against fascism, you’ve got one hand tied behind your back, because the truth is messy and complex and the mythical story is always clear and compelling and entertaining. It’s hard to undercut that with facts.
My son provided me with the video below that didn't just explain fascism, but ANTIFA, the supposed freedom of expression movement on college campuses, and more: 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

It's bad...

Esenberg, the legal mind defending Walker, Fitzgerald, and Vos says Trump Harmless.

Let's talk about two bloated egos; Rick Esenberg and Trump.

Simply put, Esenberg is a legal conservative elitist who's inflated image of himself is due mostly to his impressive record in profoundly conservative courts. Nice. He'll remind you that he is the founder and wizard behind the curtain of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative-libertarian law firm that became a willing partner in the Trumpian cultist movement to take down traitorous liberals. Come on, Trump's no threat:

I had to laugh at Esenberg's comments in the recent Isthmus, where he unsuccessfully tried to cast a magically crafted spell in defense of Trump, saying he's "not a threat to the constitutional order". Seriously? 

This suppose sharp legal mind imagines that we can somehow separate Trump's "stupid classless" and "vulgar" twitter lunacy from his similarly troubled thinking, overt racism, misogyny, and oppressive actions against humanity. Hey, he's just kidding: 
1. “I don’t think Donald Trump is that serious about a lot of the things that he says ... And so, he tweets a lot of stupid classless and vulgar things, but it doesn’t really translate to any kind of action.”
Sure, nothing to worry about with thinking like this...

This should get him a lot of votes...
Or like the time today Trump told "Progressive Congresswomen" to go back to the countries they came from...yup he really said that:

For policy and political mastermind Rick Esenberg...
2. He dismisses graver existential assessments ... “I think there’s a lot of exaggeration that goes on. What Trump is and what he does — I don’t think that he is a threat to the constitutional order.”
Like the Trump's claim about dirty and diseased immigrants? No threat to anyone Rick?

None of this is a secret to anyone but Esenberg:
1. Sykes says “the nativism, the phobia, the attitude towards women, the character issues involving deception, his isolationism, his willingness to play the race card, his support for protectionism,” set him squarely against Trump from the start. Someday Trump will leave office. But this alternative reality universe and hyper tribalization of politics — that’s not going to disappear when he disappears from the stage. This is a period of real turmoil, and I worry about that.”

2. Ed Wall wrote a tell-all book critical of Walker and ... sees Walker’s leadership as a model for how Trump has governed. “It went from a representative government, where they had to talk and they had to negotiate things, to more of a dictatorship. That bothered me as a taxpayer and a voter,” says Wall, who characterized the prevailing sentiment as being, “We won and we’re going to shove everything down your throat.”

3. Under Trump, that impulse has grown, Wall says. “Look at Vos and Fitzgerald” — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. “They feel empowered by an electorate that sees something in Donald Trump.”Wall says: “This is essentially the Republican Party saying, ‘We don’t accept the last election.’ They are acting as if they’re governing now. They’re tightening control.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Snap! Dem Governor caught again in GOP School Funding Trap?

The Republican formula is so simple; cut taxes + cut spending = nothing else matters? 

The Vos/Fitzgerald Stunt: Conservative voters love campaign ads ballyhooing how Republicans didn't raise taxes...while at the time they're approving referendums to raise their own local taxes to pay for schools. Huh? Weirder still, their voters still haven't caught on...or have they? Are we that dumb?

Snap! School Funding Trap #1, Governor Doyle: Democratic Governors keep getting lured into the school funding trap. For example, the failed GOP deregulation experiment that caused a global economic collapse, "The Great Recession," forced Governor Doyle to use his veto pen to save our schools...:

WSJ: Former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle used his veto power by stitching together numbers and words from different sentences in order to spend $330 million more than the Legislature intended on K-12 education (taking money from transportation) ...led to voters abolishing what became known as the “Frankenstein veto” via constitutional amendment.
Believe it or not, Republicans continue to brag about protecting transportation funding at the expense of school funding during the Great Recession, and their voters bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Snap! School Funding Trap #2, Tony Evers: After the largest cuts to school funding by any state in the nation, the trap was set for Democratic Governor Tony Evers to pulled out his veto pen so he could fulfill his major campaign promise to restore school funding...snap! How dare he?
Republican lawmakers have introduced a state constitutional amendment that would prevent governors from using their partial veto powers to increase spending in any bills.

The proposal comes less than a week after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers used his veto power in one case to increase school funding by about $84 million more than the Republican-controlled Legislature intended.
Governors Evers Must Be Stopped!!? Since polling indicates that about 60 percent of the public approves of increased spending for schools, just how will our radically right wing gerrymandered safe Republican legislators sell the horrors of Gov. Evers additional funding for schools? A power grab...worse???
State Sen. David Craig, R-Town of Vernon said, “We need to prevent this from ever happening again.” And Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, began circulating the amendment for co-sponsors Monday, calling what Evers did a “power grab.”
Either Courts Legislate or Constitutional Amendment = Block Democrats: After 8 years of one party domination, it's laughable to accuse a Democrat of committing a "power grab," which is strange. Evers grabbed power from...or gain power by...adding more school funding?

You can bet Republicans will try to suck the air out of the room when it comes to other big agenda items pushed by Evers with this constitutional amendment distraction. And that's all it is, but will the media fall for it?
“The public should be outraged at the repeated attempts to change the powers of the office because they disagree with how those powers were used,” said Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

"No Tax" Pledge and Laffer Curve Suckers!!!

Republicans are the juvenile party of bad ideas now controlling the country. Here are just two that should embarrass them. 

Grover Norquist, at 12 years old, gave us the "No Tax" Pledge: A little noticed part of the 60 Minutes interview with Grover Norquist should tell you everything you ever needed to know about the no tax pledge, and the idiots who took it. Admit it, didn't Norquist's plan always seem really stupid, unless you were some math challenged conservative?

Norquist actually hatched his idea when he was 12 years old during his bus riding to school.

Let's be clear; the GOP is marching in lockstep to a 12 year old's dumb-ass idea.

Tax Cuts beloved Laffer Curve Myth: An idea sketched on a napkin...why not, and just as ridiculous, taken seriously by every Republican no matter how many times if fails miserably. NPR:

Ronald Reagan's former budget director, David Stockman, calls Art Laffer "the greatest FakeEconomist to ever come down the pike."

Laffer helped popularize the notion that tax cuts pay for themselves through faster economic growth. It almost never works out in practice.

Tax historian Bruce Bartlett, who later worked in the Reagan White House, said "So if you wanted to have a tax cut, you had to either pay for it by raising other taxes, cutting spending or come up with some gimmick like the Laffer Curve to simply assert that it wouldn't lose revenue." 

Laffer received the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation's highest civilian honor — from President Trump. "Few people in history have revolutionized economic thought and policy like Dr. Art Laffer," Trump said. "Prominent academics called this theory 'insanity,' 'totally wacky' and 'completely off the wall,' " Trump said. "Art would go on to prove them all wrong."

In fact, it was Laffer's rosy forecasts that were proved wrong, time and time again.

Laffer's journey to this moment began 45 years ago with a round of drinks in a Washington cocktail lounge. At the time, Laffer was a young economist at the University of Chicago trying to convince President Ford's deputy chief of staff — a man named Dick Cheney — that lowering taxes could actually boost government revenue. "He sketched out this Laffer Curve on a paper cocktail napkin at the Hotel Washington, just across the street from the White House."
I also loved this analysis

In the real world, Laffer’s contributions have built a streak of unbroken wrongness over a time and scale few policy entrepreneurs in history can match. 

1. Laffer predicted Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts would pay for themselves. When they instead produced historic deficits, Laffer continued to claim he was right. 

2. He predicted Bill Clinton’s attempt to reduce the deficit by raising taxes on the rich would backfire (“I think the plan will fail. It entails price controls, which have never worked. It calls for tax increases, and that’s exactly the wrong way to go. It makes no sense to raise taxes on people who work and pay more to those who don’t work. This is the Reagan revolution in reverse”). Instead, revenue growth exceeded projections.

3. He likewise predicted President Obama’s plan would “destroy the economy” (it did not) and that President Trump’s tax cut would “pay for itself many times over” (it did not pay for itself at all), among many other failed predictions. 

4. Not content to botch his analysis of the federal budget, he has parachuted into several state governments and prodded Republicans into adopting his utterly false worldview. In Kansas and Louisiana, Republican governors listened to Laffer and produced fiscal catastrophe so comprehensive and undeniable Republicans in their state revolted.