Sunday, April 28, 2019

Trump's "P.T. Barnum" circus like presidency baffles Democrats!!!

This is just a short cathartic post on the current situation facing the Democratic Party right now. I'll start with a great jumping off point that I hope will help me connect a few points.

The biggest problem facing Democrats is Trump's "P.T. Barnum" wall of boastful rhetoric and lies:

Republicans have long believed that if only the economy held up, President Donald Trump could win a second term. Following another spate of positive economic news — and without a cohesive economic message of their own — many Democrats are starting to fear he might.
Most of Trump's chaotic and disturbing shoot-from-the-hip policy decisions will more than likely hurt the U.S.'s longer term social and economic health, a point not on the media radar right now because everything if fine right now. 

Where is Obama? To answer the question in the headline above: Obama never tooted his own horn, letting Republicans reframe the recovery from their own Great Recession as too "slow." Right now Obama should be passing out a list of policies he can point to that helped build the ecomony we have today so candidates can contrast that with Trump's lack of direction.

Republicans get Media Coverage, Democrats not so much: Having had my own radio talk show in a career that spanned 24 years, I know personally how the media works and how it thinks. The titlewave of conservative talk wiped out my radio time slot after Vicki Mckenna was inserted as cohost by management, eventually taking control of topics and guests. They asked if I was interested in filling in, but declined. Probably shouldn't have done that.

And then I saw this today...

News media continues to invite in and cover every word of every Republican willing to spout utter nonsense, invites you never get to see with Democrats, especially at the time Republicans were in the majority.

The lie that Republicans are being silenced is breathtakingly ridiculous. Look around and you won't see Democrats being interviewed on conservative talk radio and television anywhere. They actually want to block the Democratic message, and it's another reason the media continues to claim Democrats lack an agenda, because no one is talking to them. 

From my own personal experience, I've been blocked by conservative radio talk hosts on Facebook and Twitter sites (McKenna and Sykes). Even my conservative Trumpian friend in Milwaukee blocked my comments to his insane Facebook rants because his friends complained they didn't want to see them. Seriously, I'm not exactly a flame thrower over here. That's how walled off conservative Trumpian Republicans are right now, and they like it.

Democrats have come a long way though, like Rep. Ron Kind and Sen. Tammy Baldwin's focus on dairy farmers and the problems in rural communties. James Rowen's Political Environment has added dairy farm issues as a major topic to follow. We're getting there.

That's it, just had to get this off my list of things to say.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

It's Ironic? Green New Deal/AOC/Democratic Agenda good for Capitalism after all?

Okay, after about an hour of mumbling and ranting about the State Journal's Tom Still revelation that clean green energy is "A-Ok" for capitalism, not to mention massive job creator, I had to sit down and get it out of my system.

After years of Republican claims of a liberal global conspiracy against fossil fuels, Tom Still now thinks it's "ironic" that, gee, it's also good for capitalism too?

Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, follows the conservative pattern of denial...and than acceptance of liberal progressive ideas that are only thought to be credible if a Republican jumps on board. 

I almost spit out my coffee when I read this line:
The irony is that parts of AOC’s “Green New Deal” already seem A-OK with trends well underway in the nation’s capitalist markets.
What the hell? I swear Still is messing with us...and it's working, especially after this:
Renewable energy sources; conservation strategies in manufacturing, construction and other sectors; “smart” power grids and transportation hubs; and the wise use of natural resources are all part of the U.S. economy’s general movement toward sustainability. It is happening, in large part, because it makes good business sense but also because government and academic research is generating new products and processes for market adoption.
STOP ACTING LIKE THIS IS YOUR IDEA AND SOMETHING NEW!!! Suddenly, without Scott Walker at the controls guiding the state back into a 20th century ozone haze, the Democratic idea that the state could be more energy "self-reliant" is what, a flash of your genius?
That picture emerged in an April 23 Madison forum produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, where 90 people heard from the director of one of the nation’s top bioenergy research laboratories and two advocates for strategies that can make Wisconsin more energy self-reliant, cleaner and able to capitalize on “green” jobs.
Oh, and we can thank Trump? OMG...
The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, part of the UW-Madison Energy Institute ... was recently renewed – with an increase in federal dollars – by the Trump administration. That renewal was a vote of confidence for a lab that has filed nearly 200 U.S. patent applications, produced 109 technology licenses or option agreements, published 1,250 scholarly papers, led to five startup companies and trained hundreds of students, many of whom work in industry. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation holds those patents and licenses.

Tim Donohue, the GLBRC lab’s director, said the chance to create more clean products and energy jobs over time is significant (there were 2.7 million such U.S. jobs in 2016), and it’s poised to grow ... adding Wisconsin can compete in that race when it comes to bio-energy, wind, solar, conservation and energy storage.
Oh and did you forgot all of the constructive debates Republicans have had over clean green energy? Anyone remember that? No?
Scott Coenen, executive director of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum ... was created to give Republicans and conservatives a constructive voice in the debate, often dominated by unyielding opposition from some on the right – especially when it comes to global climate change.
Without Scott Walker's iron fisted opposition to clean energy, "brave" special interest lackey's are just now speaking up, and it's no coincedence:
John Imes, executive director of the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative, said Wisconsin has “fallen a little behind” the rest of the Midwest in developing clean energy industries, but the state’s strong manufacturing base can lead in catching up ... be a part of producing wind turbines, for example. “We’ve got access to markets, we’ve got deep water ports,” Imes said. “So those jobs could be in Wisconsin.”
And this will make your head explode, after all the trash talk we've heard from our out of touch Republican legislators at the Capitol:
Coenen said solar energy is an example of a renewable energy source that costs far less today than even a few years ago. Over the next four years, he said, around 1,700 megawatts of solar panel projects will come on line in Wisconsin. If that happens as scheduled, Wisconsin would move from getting about 1 percent of its energy from solar to about 20 percent.
Is there a damn wall I can hit my head against....
“That has never happened like that in the history of our state, no matter how much government has pushed mandates or tax credits,” Coenen said. “It’s happening specifically, because the market has gotten behind these technologies.”

“Green New Deal” or no, the American economy is embracing changes to its energy portfolio. The question is whether government will be a catalyst or a top-down regulator. The former is more likely to produce results.
Embracing changes after AOC made a big deal about it!!! Sure go ahead, exercize your freedom to buy a big gulp soda or pigtail lightbulb...

Here's AOC on why the Green New Deal makes sense, well before Tom Still suddenly realized it's A-Ok:

Sean Duffy not on Still's/Big Energies move to create Jobs and Manufacturing of Green Cheaper Energy: Now watch one of the most unqualified and embarrassing Representatives from Wisconsin we've ever seen,  Sean Duffy, explain how clean energy will drive manufacturing OUT of our country (see above story Sean?). Note: voters just gave him a 2 more years to spout this lunacy. Says a lot about them too:

Friday, April 26, 2019

Trump causes increase in Uninsured, while frustrated Public demands Medicare-for-All!!!

One of my biggest frustrations listening to Democrats talk about Medicare-for-All, is that they're not getting to the bottom line; how do you pay for it? At least give us some idea so Americans have time to let it settle in. It should be a priority. Vox:

Sanders’s office has released a list of financing options that generally impose higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans, such as increased income and estate taxes, establishing a new wealth tax on the top 0.1 percent, and imposing new fees on large banks.

Medicare for America (DeLauro and Schakowsky): The Republican tax cuts would be rolled back. An additional 5 percent tax on income over $500,000 would be applied. Payroll taxes for Medicare would also be hiked, as would the net investment income tax rate. New excise taxes on tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks would be introduced. The bill also requires states to continue making payments to the federal government equivalent to what they pay right now for Medicaid’s costs.
We already know how much Bernie Sanders' plan cost, as explained below. Note: It should be mentioned often that Medicare-for-All will cover everyone who is now uninsured. The number of uninsured, by the way, is increasing thanks to Trump, as explained by Steve Rattner on NBC:

The number of uninsured nonelderly Americans decreased from over 44 million in 2013 (the year before the major coverage provisions went into effect) to just below27 million in 2016. However, in 2017, the number of uninsured people increased by nearly 700,000 people, the first increase since implementation of the ACA.
And still, Sanders' plan cost $2 trillion less while covering 28 million more who are uninsured.

And people want it...

Thanks to a study by the Mercatus Center, a libertarian-leaning think tank, we know how much Medicare-for-All is going to cost and save money at the same time. Again, every American will have health care, keep their own doctors, and save businesses the cost of providing insurance in the workplace, putting them on an even playing field with other industrialized trading partners:
A study estimating that a universal health-care plan by Sen. Bernie Sanders would cost the federal government $33 trillion by 2031, arguing that it proves Democrats have moved too far left. Sanders, looking at the same study, says it shows his “Medicare for All” proposal would save Americans $2 trillion. What’s going on here?

Sanders’s single-payer plan would add trillions to government books, by placing all Americans on one government health insurer ... But his plan would reduce overall spending on health care in the United States. Sanders’s plan would transition virtually all private spending to the public sector, dramatically increasing government expenditures on health care while also reducing national health-care spending overall, according to the report.
Republican Plan not so Popular: The crowd at a town meeting with Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley didn't go as well. He couldn't answer why he voted to kill the ACA so many time, yet still claim to want to keep coverage for preexisting conditions, which is part of the ACA and would be repealed. The crowd wouldn't let him off the hook. He so deserved it:


Immigrant workers force Employers to exploit and abuse them, invite depressed wages? Ron Johnson thinks so.

How easy is for Republicans to simply vilify every immigrant working hard in the country employed by American businesses who know what they're doing?

Where would Republicans be without a Villian? Dumb Ron Johnson made an interesting comment on Upfront. I highlighted the offending comment:
Johnson: "It's people coming into this country illegally, living in the shadows that depress wages. They're the ones that can be abused by their employers, so it has to be a legal process." 
See that, Johnson simply made the "shadowy" immigrants the ones be "abused," they are the villians here, and oddly not the abusive businesses paying depressed wages. They can't help themselves. So in Johnson's scrambled mind businesses are off the hook, and it's those mmigrant workers who are making their employer abuse them.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Scott Walker really is that dumb...

The following is one of my favorite mindless Scott Walker tweets. I seriously don't know how we made through his eight-year term with thinking like this. No, I'm not kidding. Oh, and love the answer...:

The only political party claiming health care, daycare and guaranteed jobs for everyone are free - they are paid for with taxes, are fiscally challenged Republicans and cliche crazy former governor Scott Walker.

Also, Republicans are the ones questioning whether our kids seriously need a college education or not, especially when it costs so much, it's not for everyone, etc.!

Imagine not having the socialist programs America already has: military, police, fire department highways, libraries, public schools, FBI, museums, the EPA, parks, the sewer system, courts, the Hoover Dam, vaccines, state parks, corporate bailouts, DCD, FEMA, OSHA, Census, Peace Corps...

Scott Walker Wears Jeans for Denim Day: There are fewer bigger hypocrites than Scott Walker, more on that in a moment:
Denim Day is a campaign organized by the group Peace Over Violence, that came up with the idea for the day in the 1990s, after the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans, and therefore (per the ruling) must have helped her attacker remove her pants, implying consent. On their website, the Denim Day organizers ask that, on April 24, “community members, elected officials, businesses and students … make a social statement with their fashion statement by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence.”
It’s a little hard to take Walker’s show of support for victims of sexual assault (who tend, overwhelmingly, to be women) seriously given, well, his entire career.
In 2015, for example, as governor of Wisconsin, he signed into a law a bill that banned abortions after 20 weeks, with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. “I mean, I think for most people who are concerned about that [rape and incest], it’s in the initial months where they’re most concerned about it,” he explained on a local television station when pushing for the bill (it is unclear whether he was wearing jeans at the time). 

He also signed a law that required anyone seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound, and called the invasive procedure, “Just a cool thing out there.”

In addition, he defunded Planned Parenthood across Wisconsin. 

Pushed for the elimination of a law that required insurance companies to cover contraceptives, repealed the state’s comprehensive sex-education law, and also repealed its equal pay law.

#DerangedDonald voters not really into us anymore!

I recently found out all the crazy Trump stuff I was sending to my Trump worshiping friend in Milwaukee via Twitter/email was being ignored...because as a "liberal," I'm just not on his radar anymore and neither is my personal point of view. Hey, I'm not in the cult.
Thus the persistent belief among Trump’s critics that exposing his manifest dishonesty will finally awaken his base to reality is mistaken. His ability to get away with every possible form of cheating is part of his appeal, because he is cheating the establishment, the elite, the “deep state”, the “them” that is not “us”.
I sent him this great "debate" between right wing lunatic Jesse Lee Peterson and sane "Beta Male Gamer" named "Destiny" (Steven), because I knew he would love it. Didn't watch it. And I thought he would be outraged at the Dutch dairy farmer being kicked out of the county because of Trump's disastrous immigration policies...nope, didn't watch or read the story!

Coincidentally, a few stories turned up that dealt with my own disturbing realization that if you're not on board with Trump, you're nothing, just a noise disturbing their perfect world now made great again by Trump. 

Trump’s supporters cannot be won back to normal politics and normal society until they hit rock bottom and have a moment of personal and group catharsis. It is not the job of the Democrats to help Donald Trump’s supporters become healthy and well.
Yup, news stories and tweets mean nothing, and they're certainly are not worth bothering with.
Steven Hassan, who is one of the world’s leading experts on cults explained to me in a conversation here at Salon in March of 2018 how, “Donald Trump fits the stereotypical profile of a cult leader. His followers fit the model as well. Many of them ... sound like people who have been indoctrinated into a totalistic mindset.Trump’s strategies of fear programming, redefining reality and defining independent journalism as “fake news” mirrors a country on the verge of a totalitarian takeover.”

Donald Trump represents an authoritarian movement and a cultural force. Trumpism is not merely or just a set of political policy preferences. Like other authoritarian cultural movements Trumpism promises a national-cultural transformation, psychological uplift, group superiority, personal salvation, and a sense of membership and belonging in an exclusive community for its members and other supporters.

As a cultural force, Trumpism offers pleasure and joy for its followers and other members of the right-wing as Donald Trump gives permission to torment and commit violent and other harmful acts against “liberals”, “progressives”, “minorities”, “immigrants”, “Muslims”, “the news media” and any other group which he as the leader and they as the followers deem to be “unAmerican” and not sufficiently “loyal” to the “cause” and “the movement”.

CNN reported on Wednesday how: The Florida man who pleaded guilty to mailing explosive devices said in a letter to a federal judge that attending a rally for President Donald Trump “became like a new found drug.”

Trump’s followers only trust him to tell them the truth — even though it has been shown that he has publicly lied almost 10,000 times since becoming president ... they believe that Trump’s lies are a way of destroying “the system.” Trump’s supporters actually think that he is “god’s vessel” and some type of divine and holy figure. Republican Fox News viewers overwhelmingly believe that Trump is “the greatest president ever”.
Remember this comment by rural Trump voter:
70-year-old Sonny Sonnichsen: "I'm not a die hard Republican, but I'm following Trump. We needed a change, and if they just give him a chance, I think he'd do wonders, if he hasn't already done some great things." He says the Washington establishment won't give Trump any credit. He says they still can't get over the fact that Trump won.
And yet...
At the heart of connection between bad boy folk hero Trump and his adulating base is a fundamental misunderstanding. Trump is not fighting the establishment. Trump is not using his powers to help his angry supporters. Trump is screwing them.

He attacks their health by eliminating rules which reduce corporate air and water pollution. He hasn’t stopped his repeated attempts to cut their health insurance by Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. He is dismantling the bank and lending regulations. These are all assaults on the standard of living, present and future, of non-elite America.
In other words, it's not a mistake to give up on changing the Trumpist cult. And like Trump, Democrats need to appeal to the base and independents, since polling shows there is strong support for the platform.

Stubborn Rural Republican die hard Trump voters still think he knows what he's doing!!!

Republican voters don't expect much from their beloved do-nothing Republican politicians. Despite the GOP's growing list of failed policies and waste of consumer/taxpayer dollars, conservatives will always give them the benefit of the doubt, "more time," to test out their fantastical Ayn Randian theories.

For example, the costly Trump tariffs; washing machine prices have gone up by hundreds of dollars because of the tariffs, picking the pocket of American consumers by the tune of $1.5 billion, resulting in just 200 US manufacturing jobs. That $800,000 for each US job!!! Ridiculous, sure, but they did create jobs so what's the beef?

Trump Exploits Farmers:  Rural farm communities are still head over heals for Trump, despite being used as trade bait with no real timeline to end the tariffs. The NPR story below proves there's nothing that will flip die hard Trump supporters who still think he knows what he's doing.

70-year-old Sonny Sonnichsen: "I'm not a die hard Republican, but I'm following Trump. We needed a change, and if they just give him a chance, I think he'd do wonders, if he hasn't already done some great things." He says the Washington establishment won't give Trump any credit. He says they still can't get over the fact that Trump won.

68-year-old electrician Jerry Bryan: "We'll get through it, but someplace along the line, you've got to have a little pain for a little gain." He acknowledges that Trump often gets his facts wrong and that he lacks polish and that he relishes picking a fight. But he says the media, which he labels the left-wing media, jump on him no matter what. He thinks Trump has the skills as a businessman that the country needs right now.
You'll notice that's a whole lot different than rural voters tolerance of Obama, who was left with a Great Recession dig out from for gods sake:
John Boehner offering his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed up his plan to National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Even the 2 or 3 daily disasters coming out of the Trump administration isn't enough to raise a few red flags for them, and they're still beating the old "they still can't get over the fact that Trump won" bullshit.

Meanwhile farmers are still left out there on the front lines of the tariff war, and continue to think Trump is trying to help them. Here's the difficult reality:
Marketplace: Chad Hart, a professor of economics at Iowa State University, (said) the longer tariffs are in place, the more Chinese companies might want to do business with Argentine or Brazilian companies. Overall, the Congressional Research Service predicts that the U.S.-China trade dispute is “expected to shift trade patterns and diminish U.S. export prospects in 2019.” According to Wesley Peterson, professor of agriculture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:
1. Net farm income, the USDA’s tabulation of the money made by American farmers minus operation costs, was forecasted to be down in 2018 by over $9 billion, or 12%. 

2. Commodity prices for farm products have been falling, according to USDA chief economist Robert C. Johansson

3. But these indicators aren’t the total picture. U.S. farms were already facing challenges, and the trade war has only added to them. The trade war has disrupted international markets, and it’ll take time to see the full impact on the U.S. agricultural industry.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Medicaid maze of GOP hoops just a ruthless way to save money for tax cuts.

For me, the idea that Republican's want to deny people Medicaid coverage because someone said it should be more of a trampoline instead of a hammock is profoundly cruel and morally bankrupt. Sure, go ahead, make your argument, but it won't make you any less sociopathic. Admit it you will hurt others to save a few bucks.

The fact that Republican voters were okay with Wisconsin expanding Medicaid but not expanding eligibility and NOT taking our own federal dollars back to pay for it (losing over $1 billion) is not just inexcusable but it also trashes the idea that they're good stewards of taxpayer money.

Work Requirement Bureaucracy vs Streamlining Business Regulations: It never made any sense. But Republicans have successfully gotten away with burdening the very people they're elected to serve while bragging about removing burdensome red tape and regulation on business.

While the courts have determined states are doing little to no research on how their draconian regulations like work requirements are hurting adults and children who qualify but don't fulfill one of the so many hoops they're required to jump through, media reports are raising red flags hoping everyone will finally notice. Here's one such report:
Burdensome state eligibility redetermination processes have pushed down Medicaid enrollment in a number of states, raising questions about whether eligible adults and children are being wrongly dropped from coverage, according to a new report.
1. Enrollment dipped last year by about 1.6 million, including 744,000 children, according to the report by the liberal advocacy group Families USA. It fell most sharply in states like Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri, which have established tougher new eligibility redetermination processes ... new Medicaid work requirements established by the Trump administration and Republican elected officials in a number of states.

2. State waivers eliminating 90-day retrospective Medicaid eligibility.

3. Onerous eligibility processes ... may violate federal rules requiring state Medicaid agencies to use all available data to renew a beneficiary's eligibility before requesting any additional information from the person. "The failure of some states to correctly implement the law—and the failure of the Trump administration to effectively enforce the law—is driving a drop in Medicaid and CHIP enrollment that shows no sign of slowing down."

4. In Tennessee, Medicaid and CHIP enrollment dropped last year by nearly 149,000, including 55,000 children ... some beneficiaries have repeatedly mailed in their lengthy renewal application, only to be dropped from coverage when the state said it never received the packet.

5. The head of the state Medicaid program recently told lawmakers that out of 218,000 Tennesseans who have appealed an eligibility denial since 2015, 159,000 people subsequently have been found eligible.

6. "Tennessee has created as much red tape as possible to see if families can run the gantlet," said Michele Johnson, executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center. "But if you lose that many kids from coverage, someone should be raising a red flag and saying, 'How can we fix that?' "

7. Timothy McBride, a Washington University health economist who chairs the oversight committee for the Missouri Medicaid program, said employment gains couldn't account for 67,000 children losing coverage over the past year. A Missouri family's income level would have to rise from 100% of the federal poverty level to 310% for a child to become ineligible for CHIP coverage. "I'm having a hard time believing that's happening." It's far more likely that the enrollment decline is driven by the state Medicaid program's "notoriously bad" computer system and a troubled call center system that puts people on hold for an hour and then cuts them off.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Paul Ryan to teach Economics and Catholicism at Notre Dame, no joke!!!

There was a certain irony and sadness watching Notre Dame burn and learning Paul Ryan will be guest teacher at the University of Notre Dame.

Focusing on Paul Ryan, here's the surreal bit of news:
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan will teach at the University of Notre Dame next school year ... a guest lecturer on "the fundamentals of American government, the current state of political polarization." He'll also teach economics.
Here's what Ryan will teach...?

I guess it's always good to hear from "both sides," even when the losing side won't admit failure. In a normal reality, having been proven wrong to this degree ideologically and economically, most people would slip quietly out of the spotlight. Not Paul Ryan. Here's an NPR interview where Ryan's claims predictions of trillion dollar deficits are wrong:

Pope Critic Paul Ryan teaches his version of Catholicism at a Catholic College: You can't make this stuff up. Yes, he'll also teach topics including Catholicism ...
Ryan: “As an Irish Catholic from the Midwest ... it is an honor to be part of a University where Catholic principles, robust debates, academic freedoms and diverse viewpoints are allowed to flourish.”
Ryan's not so Catholic principles hit the sh** fan awhile back. So for those who don't remember how bad check out the story below. Notre Dame should be embarrassed, and maybe read the paper from time to time:
Paul Ryan visited Georgetown University, the flagship Jesuit school and decidedly hostile terrain for Ryan's strain of economic libertarianism … sought to justify his budget priorities in terms of the Catholic principle known as "subsidiarity." "Subsidiarity" has been central to how the church envisions a just and equitable society functioning in a world dominated by big business and big government, both of which can dehumanize individuals and undermine the common good. "The principle of subsidiarity protects people from abuses by higher-level social authority and calls on these same authorities to help individuals," says the Vatican's Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

University of Dayton theologian Vincent Miller called (Ryan's) interpretation the "careful lobotomization of subsidiarity." In his 1961 encyclical, Pope John XXIII articulated another element of subsidiarity, writing that, "In a system of taxation based on justice and equity, it is fundamental that the burdens be proportioned to the capacity of the people contributing."

When the bishop chairing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' said the GOP budget Ryan spearheaded failed to meet a basic moral test -- and described cuts to programs that fell heavily on children and other vulnerable populations as "unjust and wrong" -- Ryan curtly dismissed those concerns as not reflective of all church leaders.

Pope Francis argued in May, imploring followers instead to focus on combating trickle-down economics and the world of inequality it produces. Ryan has a more condescending response to a pope who blasts "trickle-down" theories as "naïve" and denounces "an economy of exclusion and inequality." "The guy is from Argentina," he scoffs. "They haven't had real capitalism in Argentina. They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don't have a true free enterprise system."
Paul Ryan's theories have been tested in the real world and failed, over and over again, from the Kansas Comeback to the current corporate tax cut specifically designed to force cuts to our social safety nets. Real Catholic-like:

David Campbell, Notre Dame's Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy and chair of the department of political science, said in a statement that the chance for students to learn from what the school calls "professor of the practice" is unique to the university. "Having former officials in the classroom provides important insights for students — an opportunity to put the theories we study to the test.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Anti-Education State Republicans Exposed for Massive Cuts to UW, but will Voters hold them Accountable?

The national reputation of the University of Wisconsin is of little concern to state Republicans. Despite its massive contributions as a revenue source and job creator, Republicans were determined to turn it into nothing more than a tech college for business interests, and a breeding ground for ultra right-wing politics pushing supply-side economics, nationalism, and research backing extremist public policy proposals.

Since Wisconsin residents will most likely have a child going to the UW, Republican attempts to sabotage the university just got exposed, with the kind of headline they never saw coming:

The analysis by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, or SHEEO, looked at higher education finances since the Great Recession.
1. Report: Wisconsin Saw Fourth Largest Decline In Higher Ed Funding Between 2013 And 2018

2. While (other) States Support For Higher Education Increased 15 Percent, Post Recession Wisconsin Continued To Cut ... Wisconsin’s state funding for higher education did not follow the national trend.
3. A national report ranking ... Wisconsin saw the fourth largest decline in per-student spending between 2013 and 2018. The only states with larger decreases in that timeframe were Mississippi, West Virginia and Oklahoma.

4. Educational appropriations fell ... But between 2013 and 2018 the report showed the trend reversing in a majority of states, with the United States as a whole seeing more than a 15 percent increase in state funds per student. 

5. The SHEEO found between 2013 and 2018 state appropriations per student fell by just more than 8 percent, from $7,002 to $6,435, putting it toward the bottom of the national rankings.

6. The state Legislature included $35 million in new funding for the UW System in the 2017-19 biennial state budget ... That followed a cut of $250 million in the 2015-17 biennial budget.
All of this might just change, but don't hold your breath:
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has proposed a $150 million increase for the state’s UW campuses in his proposed 2019-21 state budget, along with a $2.5 billion capital budget for new construction and renovations.

Wisconsin Congressmen keep Rural Voters in Broadband slow lane by denying access!!!

You'd think if something were consumer friendly, it would be a no brainer that business would flourish. Not so much.

What about that scary old Net Neutrality thing Republican hate so much? It's a consumer-friendly, pro-constituency idea that benefits all American voters, especially those in rural areas...but it doesn't benefit GOP campaign coffers desperate for funding from ISP lobbyists.

How can anyone argue with these benefits:
Rules require (1) the Internet to be made equally accessible to all users. (2) They prohibit service providers such as Verizon and Comcast from offering faster content delivery to customers in return for higher fees while leaving other customers in a slower lane ... (3) give the FCC permanent authority to prevent Internet gatekeepers from blocking or throttling customer access, (4) retains FCC programs that expand broadband access in rural areas and make the Internet more accessible to low-income persons.
Who would argue against consumer benefits promoting business and jobs?

Wisconsin Congressional Republicans, that's who. Next time you see them, ask them why? Keep in mind a few things; like how providers are now devising ways to game the system to increase profits; trying to fleece customers despite their income. And because the net is a vital lifeline, Democrats are determined to classify it as a "utility:"
Classifying ISPs as utility companies under Title II meant they had to treat the internet like every other utility — that is, just like gas, water, or phone service — and that they couldn’t cut off service at will or control how much of it any one person received based on how much that person paid for it. The idea was that the internet should be a public service that everyone has a right to use, not a privilege, and that regulating ISPs like utilities would prevent them from hijacking or monopolize that access.
The Republicans voting against their constituents best interests:
Voting no: Bryan Steil, R-1st; Jim Sensenbrenner, R-5th; Glenn Grothman, R-6th; Sean Duffy, R-7th; Mike Gallagher, R-8th
These Republicans stand to gain at the voter's expense, despite being elected to serve the public:
The communications industry is one of the largest lobbying groups in US history; internet providers and the telephone companies before them are notorious for spreading wealth across the aisle
And those who voted yes? Give them credit: Mark Pocan, D-2nd; Ron Kind, D-3rd; Gwen Moore, D-4th

Despite the popular talking point, net neutrality did not discourage ISP's from investing in their systems:
Some broadband providers, like Comcast and Charter, actually increased investment in 2015 and 2016. Others, like AT&T, decreased investment, but told shareholders years before the FCC adopted its rules that they planned to slash infrastructure spending after completing network upgrades.
Can we afford the mistakes that no regulation will create?
"Consumers don’t have anywhere to turn when they are wronged by these large corporations, because the FCC took itself off the beat entirely,” said Representative Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey). “Consumers are left watching the internet slowly change in front of their eyes."

One particular incident has become a flash point in the debate. During the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018, Verizon throttled mobile internet speeds for firefighters, according to a brief filed by the county of Santa Clara, California, as part of the federal suit against the FCC. The county paid for "unlimited" plans for the firefighters, but the plan limited connection speeds to 1/200th of their usual speeds after exceeding 25 GB of data. "This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services," the brief says. The county was able to restore full speeds only after contacting Verizon's billing department and switching to a new plan that cost twice as much.

Vox: Even though public support for restoring net neutrality rules is overwhelming (including among Republican voters), due to conditions in the Senate and Trump’s veto threat, net neutrality is still dead and doesn’t appear headed for resurrection.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Immigrant Dairy Farmer from Holland getting kicked out of US!!!

While rural voters and farmers fight against electing Democrats and battle against "regulations" and "big government," I will personally continue to try an solve their problems anyway in a simple blog post. It's not political, it's problem solving.

Immigration Law Avoidance-Stall Tactic: Scott Walker provided me with that epiphanic moment; Republicans never try to solve problems, they just pass their own theoretical agenda and ignore the rest.

And taking care of the border first, securing that, like Trump's ridiculous wall, was an obvious excuse not to solve anything about work visas, Dreamers, asylum seekers, and other tough topics that requires them to do their jobs as elected officials. Forget that.

Trump's brutal immigration and trade policies are impacting farm communities in every way, with no signs of ending.

Gee, maybe if Trump heavy-breathers didn't see their typical South American immigrant....

BELLINGHAM, Minn: The Mulder Dairy is clouded by doom. Kelsey Mulder milked his father’s herd of 170 Holstein cows ... (and he) is counting the days until the United States of America – the only country he's ever known - forces him to leave. “That’s hard to accept,” Kor Mulder said, “very hard to accept.”

Eighteen years ago, Kor Mulder and his former wife brought their two sons - ages two and three - from their native Holland to the open spaces of western Minnesota to start a dairy farm. With an E-2 Visa in hand, Mulder saw in the U.S. freedom and opportunity.

He hoped that if he paid his taxes and invested in his community, a nation built by immigrants would one day open its arms to his family and grant permanent status. “Boys go to school, I don’t live on welfare, then you would think you could eventually make it work to permanent residency. That’s logical thinking,” Kor Mulder said.

But Mulder’s hopes have repeatedly been thwarted by rigid immigration rules. Now Kelsey - weeks from his 21st birthday – must, according to those same rules, return to Holland. In June he’ll go back to a language he doesn't speak and a country he barely knows. “I prefer the gravel roads of western Minnesota, that's for sure,” Kelsey Mulder said. And Kelsey will not be the first Mulder to go. Garion, Kelsey's older brother, was forced off the farm and back to Holland last year.

With both his boys in Europe – and unable to run the dairy alone – Kor Mulder sees only one course: liquidating his farm and returning to Holland too.

He wonders how new immigrants from other nations can seemingly swiftly find a path to citizenship, while he’s toiled on his farm for nearly two decades, done everything asked of him by the U.S. government, yet still feels treated like an outsider. After tens-of-thousands of dollars spent over the years on immigration attorneys and applications, Mulder and his sons have found no workable path to permanent status in the United States.
“The other day I heard President Trump say we like people to come to America, invest in our country. Here I am,” Mulder said. 

“This is people who have come and earned their place here as far as I'm concerned,” Chris Anderson added. Jim Barthel stood with his wife Carrie, each wearing matching black jackets with the logo of seed corn company. “I've been farming alongside Kor for almost 20 years and I couldn't get a better neighbor, he's the best there is.” Jim Barthel said raising his voice. “We like him, we want him here.” A petition started by a Mulder family friend has collected more than 2500 signatures.

Residents of Lac qui Parle county have written letters to their state and federal elected representatives – all to no avail. “They all do understand, they all sympathize - it's not right,” Kor Mulder said of the politicians with whom he’s pleaded for help. “Do something about it!,” he added in frustration. “I can’t”

As the days continue to tick off the calendar, the life Kor Mulder has built unravels in an immigration system pulling his farm and family apart.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Republicans blame Gov. Evers for CWD spread? Sure, why not.

Suddenly Republicans have a sudden urge to tackle the CWD crisis infecting our deer herd in Wisconsin, after doing nothing and making it worse for 8 years? No, not really...
Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker took a largely hands-off approach after he took office in 2011. The disease has since spread across the state. According to the DNR, 26 counties had at least one infected deer in the wild ... 56 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties qualify as affected.

Republican Sen. Devin LeMahieu pressed Cole on why the governor's spending plan includes no new strategies for combatting CWD ... asked (if) Evers thinks fighting the disease is important.
Walker/Republicans Punted on CWD for 8 Years, Even Stopped Picking up Road Kill Deer: So I nearly spit out my coffee a few weeks back when I heard the outraged voices of Republicans grilling DNR Secretary Preston Cole about Gov. Tony Evers lack of effort to do anything about CWD.

Enter State Sen. Tom Tiffany, the guy most responsible for ripping up Wisconsin's natural resources and environmental laws. He has single-handedly put industries like mining and corporate farming ahead of sports hunting and clean water. Seriously...and I'm not joking, he's the chairman of the sporting heritage committee. Just 3 months after Evers took over as governor, Tiffany had the balls to say..."I could...say this is a failure of the Evers administration...!" I also missed the part where the state spent millions trying to fight CWD:
Republican Tom Tiffany, chairman of the state Senate’s sporting heritage committee, said he’s not surprised Evers “punted” on the disease. The state has spent millions trying to fight it to no avail, he said. 
“I could take a real partisan line here and say this is a failure of the Evers administration, but these are difficult decisions. We’re just not sure yet what is going to be effective. But they’ve got to come forward with a plan. We need leadership from the Department of Natural Resources and … the governor as well.”
Hold on there. I'm guessing Sen. Tiffany's low information voters wouldn't have noticed, but here's how Republicans made things even worse...recently.

Trolling to get moderate voters to support his reelection, Walker issued a few emergency rules supported by Democrats, including double fencing deer farms, restrictions on the movement of live deer from one farm to another, and putting a stop to transporting deer carcasses across county lines. But a joint committee of GOP Senators and Representatives basically killed all the new rules. We're now starting from scratch thanks to our anti-government/deregulation Republican majority. 

As for Evers plans for CWD...
Cole says the governor wants to see what research reveals about the disease and doesn't want to spend money on it when other states are doing the work ... the DNR needs to do more to persuade hunters to turn in deer heads for testing ... the DNR is in the middle of a four-year study on deer mortality and Evers and the agency should wait until that’s complete before making any decisions.

Friday, April 5, 2019

State "Windfall" tax revenue should go back into our pockets (mostly corporate pockets)?

Republicans have successfully sold the public on the weird concept that a state's surplus general revenue is an example of over taxation. And they always want to give it back, as if everything is paid for, replaced, and updated for the next generation.

Remember: Just when the country was about to balance its budget (without a constitutional amendment), and start paying down the national debt, George W. Bush gave all that "surplus" tax revenue back, and we're now $22 trillion in the hole. 

Here's what I mean; Kansas Republicans want all that extra state revenue, what they call a "windfall," to go "back in (our) pocket." Not into their starving underfunded schools and health care...

How does this make fiscal sense to anyone?
AP: Top Republican lawmakers in Kansas struggled to find enough GOP votes to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's veto of a tax relief bill. The bill was designed to prevent individuals and businesses from paying more in state income taxes ... allowing them to keep itemizing even if they don't on their federal returns. Changes in federal tax laws raised money for Kansas, in part by discouraging individual filers from claiming itemized deductions.

Kelly framed the bill as a return to a tax-cutting experiment under former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback that made Kansas nationally notorious because of the persistent budget woes that followed.
Freeloader Republican Message Crazy:
Republican leaders made it their top priority this year and argue that failing to return the revenue "windfall" represents an unlegislated tax increase. GOP State Chairman Mike Kuckelman and Secretary Emily Wellman issued statements Wednesday calling for a veto override.

"As a taxpayer, I might not even understand that Kansas took additional taxes from me that was intended to go in my pocket," Kuckelman said during a telephone interview. 

GOP holdout State Sen. John Skubal, a moderate Republican, said he was elected in his Kansas City-area district in 2016 to help "fix' state government. "To do that, we have to have some money," he said.
Ya think? And the lamebrained cost of the Republican bill, and more amazingly, who would get it?
Kelly's administration estimated that the bill would have cost the state $209 million during the budget year beginning in July, undercutting her plans to boost spending on public schools and expand Medicaid health coverage for the needy. Much of the taxpayer savings would have gone to corporations, particularly those with operations outside the U.S.

Republicans just taxpayer funded corporate lobbyists.

Our elected Republican corporate lobbyists at the Capitol are having a hard time defending "job creators" when in fact, there aren't enough people seeking jobs. The complete contempt they have for Wisconsinites as valued employees and human beings is nothing short of brutal.

Higher Wages Attract Workers to Wisconsin? Republicans apparently see no value in attracting labor to the state by offering higher wages. Note: 70 percent of the economy is driven by consumers spending the money they earn by working.
Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman called the (wage) increase ($10.25) "modest" and "incremental." He argued it would help spur economic growth by giving low-income workers more spending power ... "It shouldn’t be a partisan issue," said Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison. "We are lagging behind (other states) once more in not increasing our minimum wage."

In the upside-down world of Senate Republican corporate lobbying, the "ripple effect" of consumer spending is ignored completely. Statements like "people are begging for employees" totally misses the point that wages suck and Gov. Evers is trying to attract workers to the state. Note-Sen. Olsen uses the word "people" in place of "business." 


Republican lawmakers ... criticized the governor's budget for not doing more to attract workers to Wisconsin"People are begging for employees," said state Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon.

GOP lawmakers argued the (hike in wage) plan would hurt the economy. "What's the ripple effect to employers when we impose more expenses on them?" said state Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls.
The contempt elected Republican lobbyist have for you and me as hard workers? Are you kidding:
Evers would also increase unemployment benefits and remove drug testing for unemployment insurance. Republican lawmakers said that would make it too easy for some to live on those benefits, without seeking work. "It makes it easier to stay at home," said Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette. "I would suggest this budget is riddled with free rides."
I guess Nygren missed how low unemployment numbers kinda disproves his condescending theory about "free rides" and "staying at home."

Our elected lobbyists think Wisconsin workers wouldn't be motivated to earn higher incomes than $10.25 an know, the opposite of basic human nature:
Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls, said she used to be a minimum-wage earner and, at that time, was intent on “improving.”“If we just raise it (minimum wage), what incentive would I possibly have had to improve?” Zimmerman said
Republican Sen. Howard Marklein wants the good old 60's back when $5 a day was enough? Would I kid you:
Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, said his career started when he did farm work for $5 a day. 
Not enough is said about the Republican's free market disaster, the Great Recession, the massive job losses, and bankrupt businesses. The eventual recovery guided by Obama and the Democrats? Every Republican-dominated state took credit for that:
Republicans also expressed concern about Evers' proposals to roll back Wisconsin’s right-to-work law and reinstate the prevailing wage on state construction projects, both of which were important to the Walker administration. "I think a lot of those policies we’ve implemented are the reason we’re in the position we are today," said Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville.
"...the reason we're in the position we are today!!!"

A Higher Minimum Wage better than Walker Ad Campaign: 
The governor’s plan eliminates funding for a marketing program aimed at attracting millennials, veterans and University of Wisconsin System graduates who have moved out of Wisconsin. Democrats on the committee argued that is the right move, saying the state should focus on creating an attractive environment for those people, rather than marketing to them. "You need to create communities they want to live in," Taylor said.
Republicans Far Right Political Theories Hurting Income: Higher wages/greater consumer spending: