Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Cheating game!

Trump era pardons still in the works...

Trump Republicans attack Covid-19 with...Tax Cut? Isn't it the answer to everything?

Like the help Republicans offered dairy farmers to stay in business, revive rural communities and health care clinics, fix roads, connect high speed broadband statewide, solve drinking water pollution etc., tax cuts fix everything (and look sound good on the campaign trail).

Now the Trump White House plans to fight the coronavirus, COVID-19 specifically, with a tax cut? Yup.

Who thought of The Shock Doctrine, the Rise of "Disaster Capitalism" right away?

I used the term “shock doctrine” to describe the brutal tactic of using the public’s disorientation following a collective shock – wars, coups, terrorist attacks, market crashes or natural disasters – to push through radical pro-corporate measures, often called “shock therapy”.
It's the obvious reason a drooling swamp filled government of corporate special interest would ever spring into action.

Trump administration officials are holding preliminary conversations about economic responses to the coronavirus … the options being considered are pursuing a targeted tax cut package These ideas would not be designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but they would seek to arrest the economic fears spreading through the economy.
Riiightttt. In other words, "Buy More, Save the Economy!!! Four more Years!"

The spread of Covid-19 is now turning up without any known contacts with possibly infected people. Sadly, its taken a turn for the worse:

Washington state public health officials said two additional confirmed cases of the virus — including a health care worker — are associated with a long-term care facility in the state. Officials said 27 patients and 25 staff members at the nursing home had reported symptoms similar to the coronavirus.
Trump botches Condolences: Trump faked sadness for "a wonderful woman":
The patient who died was identified as a man in his 50s. While President Trump, speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., initially identified the patient as a woman, state and King County officials during a news conference hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention insisted that the patient was a man. Trump called the victim a "wonderful woman" and said she died overnight. Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the new coronavirus task force, expressed his condolences to the woman's family.
So 52 patients and staff members at the nursing home in Washington state have reported similar symptoms to Covid-19. Trump is having none of that...
Trump said there are 22 patients in the U.S. who have been confirmed as having the virus. He said 15 of them are either recovered fully "or well on their way."
Trump prepared US to FailGovernment is bad, right?

Here's the story:
(Trump administration) wiped out its “entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure” and shutting down both the National Security Council’s global health security team and its counterpart at the Department of Homeland Security.

Having realized that maybe it looks bad to not even ask Congress for some money to deal with the crisis, on Monday (Feb. 26) the White House requested $2.5 billion to address the outbreak, funds that would go toward vaccines, treatment, and protective equipment.
so this happened...

Census??? No ones asking; how will this effect Census, and those enumerators visiting to peoples homes? Sadly, I couldn't find one story about this looming problem which is one month away:
Notices and forms will start arriving in the mail in March 2020. For households that don’t respond to the census, nonresponse follow-up begins in April 2020 and wraps up at the end of July 2020.

Friday, February 28, 2020

AG Barr warns of progressive secular Totalitarian Democracy, wants religion to guide American values.

Who knew Attorney General William Barr, speaking to the National Religious Broadcasters, would open a whole new can of worms, like the term "totalitarian democracy?"

When I heard his comments in the clip below on NPR, my head exploded, since it sounded like another extreme example of GOP projection:
Barr: "Totalitarian democracy seeks to submerge the individual in a collectivist agenda … subverts individual freedom in favor of elite conceptions about what best serves the collective."
But it's Trump's elite conceptions that cultists claim "know what best serves the collective," they being the collective, right? It's blind fanaticism that still takes my breath away. Just more vilification of the other half of our countries citizens.

Here's a typical and almost cliched antigovernmental thought; "AG Barr challenged the notion that government exists to make society more just." Crazy to want society to be more just.

Isn't it ironic that Republicans are making government less responsive to its citizens, the very definition of totalitarian democracy? Barr projects how Democrats are to blame. Not surprisingly, there's even a Nazi tie in:
Totalitarian democracy is a paradoxical term popularized by Israeli historian J. L. Talmon to refer to a system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process. It gained currency in the 1930s as a means of singling out those common traits which were curiously shared by Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia
Channeling the spirits of the founders, Barr somehow knew exactly what they were thinking when the wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and it sure wasn't a "united states" they were looking to create:
BARR: "The framers would have seen a one-size-fits-all government for hundreds of millions of people, of diverse citizens as being utterly unworkable and the straight road to tyranny. The tacit goal of this project is to convert all of us into 25-year-olds living in the government's basement focusing our energies on obtaining a larger allowance rather than getting a job and moving out." (applause) 
Barr wants one person's religion, and not government, to transform the world one powerless person at a time. Forget all that "collective" stuff. Meanwhile, the elite and powerful who have more monitized "freedom," will have no limits. Note: Barr sees "men" as the controlling power:
BARR: "The mission is not to make new men or transform the world through the use of government power. On the contrary, the central idea is that the right way to transform the world is for each of us to focus on morally transforming ourselves."
The corporately funded right-wing media outlets, corporate Fox News, and corporate think tanks churning out conservative propaganda aren't corporate? It's all those other companies against Trump's cultist sentiment. Note: You'll notice Barr only talks about "viewpoints" and "perspective" as replacement for facts in news, which is pretty much what it's like today: 
WILLIAM BARR: "The corporate--or mainstream--media press is massively consolidated …  remarkably monolithic … This is not a positive cycle, and I think it is fair to say that it puts the press’ role as a breakwater for the tyranny of the majority in jeopardy.

That is where you come in. You are one of the last holdouts in the consolidation of organs and viewpoints of the press. It is, therefore, essential that you continue your work and continue to supply the people with diverse, divergent perspectives on the news of the day. And in this secular age, it is especially vital that your religious perspective is voiced.
The dominionistic views of the Trump Republican cult, which is just another poisoning of religion, is a major reason for a more secular state. With both the Constitution and religion usurping the constitutional, anything is acceptable. I will post the speech highlights soon, from this bag of winds 35 minute liberal takedown.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Republicans protecting Wisconsin from change! Move along, these aren't the changes you're looking for!

Republicans like things in Wisconsin just the way they are. Republicans are now willing to let things slide as a way of protecting their failing policies while the public watches in horror.

Bad Republican Timing Exposes Vos/Fitzgerald as Bad Leaders: Mass Shootings: Nothing like sticking your foot in your arrogant mouth highlighting another bad decision that ignores a Marquette University Law School poll where over 80% of Wisconsinites support new gun control measures:
Just hours before one of the worst mass shootings in state history ... Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, made clear that the state's gun laws would not change under a Republican-controlled Legislature despite a call for a review from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers:
"We’re going to have that discussion about the Second Amendment forever," Sen. Scott Fitzgerald told reporters in Franklin, about an hour before the shooting at the Molson Coors brewery. "A lot of the provisions that are in place already, people are satisfied with."
But 80 percent aren't satisfied, especially with this kind of response:

The Dumbest most repeated GOP freeloader idea Ever!!! A one time surplus in exchange for a permanent ratcheted down tax cut is madness, and an outright refusal to pay for anything. George W. Bush set the template:
“Today, our high taxes fund a surplus. The surplus is not the government's money. The surplus is the people's money.”

I have an idea. Why not take a look at Wisconsin's current list of needs including future plans, determine estimates for the amount of spending, and then compare that to state revenues!!!

For Republicans, Surprise, THIS is a Functioning Government? Republicans like former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch now wants to push a similar but more simplistic idea stressing there really is a "free lunch" entitling conservative freeloaders a pass on paying their current bills, fixing things up, and improving the future of our state. Just off the top of my head:
Who needs to pay for transportation, new youth prisons, replacing lead water pipes, dairy farm support, broadband fiber optics in all rural communities for job creation, provide affordable health care, return schools to 2/3rds funding, fund the UW again, provide expanded public transportation, affordable housing, ask manufacturers to help pay for schools that educate their future employees by repealing their tax credit, and finally, wiping out our structural debt. 
Assembly "Leader" Robin Vos repeated W's nonsensical deficit growing logic:


Try this instead: A growing business, like our growing state, has a good year and higher profits. Should that business give back those higher profits, or invest, expand, and prosper? Tough one huh?

One year under Tony Evers limited control as governor, Republicans have conditioned their low information voters to think like this. Note: remember how Republicans accused Democrats of wanting Trump empeached right from the beginning...

Still, I'm waiting for Wisconsin Democrats to frame their message of responsibility in the simplest terms...hmm, what could they say...

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Phonics for Republicans...

Disaster Capitalism/Great Recession: Birth Rate Declined = Future Workforce Shortage; Business owned Rental Housing!

The Great Recession's results are in: Thanks to the lack of critical thinking by the news media, as predicted, this has now come back to haunt us in so many different ways. Starting with Republicans like Scott Walker, who blamed the Great Recession on Democrats, while completely ignoring the error in capitalisms "free market" thinking, admitted to by Alan Greenspan in the clip below:

Great Recession = Labor Shortage in Wisconsin: Note: Scott Walker focused all of his attention on passing hard GOP policy theories, and not on any of the real problems facing the state's labor shortage, even while the business community sounded the alarm.

That labor shortage coming out of the Great Recession is only starting to become a problem after years of much slower increases in population...

The U.S. Census Bureau released its population change estimates for the year ending in July 2018 … the national rate of population growth is at its lowest since 1937  declines in the number of births, gains in the number of deaths, and that the nation’s under age 18 population has declined since the 2010 census … geographic mobility within the U.S. is at a historic low … nearly a fifth of all states displayed absolute population losses over the past two years … The delayed impact of the Great Recession … the aging American population is the broader cause, a factor that the nation will have to cope with for years and decades to come.
…A labor shortage not only affects employers, but a workers taxed income used to support current Medicare recipients. A big problem for retiring baby boomers:

From Sept. 2017, a few notable comments from a series of articles:
Workers Wanted: Wisconsin's Looming Crisis:  Wisconsin businesses grapple with a growing worker shortage. Wisconsin is expected to need 45,000 workers in seven years but it simply lacks the people to fill them … expected to worsen over the next decade, according to Wisconsin State Journal interviews with dozens of employers, economists, advocacy group experts and state political and economic development officials. "We are right at the brink of the crisis," said Ann Franz, director of the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance in Green Bay. "I would call it Wisconsin's mega-issue," said Kurt Bauer, president of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which recently found 77 percent of members surveyed had difficulty finding workers, up from 53 percent two years ago.
"We have the potential of losing some of our business sector to other places where skilled labor is stronger, where there's greater population base," said Susan May, president of Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. "The more we lose our economic base, it affects education and transportation and everything else. … It really presents a scary future for our state."
These are all symptoms screaming for attention. Believe it or not, Walker actually tried to turn lemons like this into lemonade:
"It's a good problem to have, but it's a challenge for sure," Gov. Scott Walker said in an interview.

Housing wealth in Milwaukee is being transferred to out-of-state investorsYesterday, we found out the Great Recession resulted in this:

The Great Recession hit Milwaukee hard ... a tidal wave of foreclosures ... Simply put: Thousands of residential properties in Milwaukee are no longer owned by city residents (but) instead by individuals and companies. Housing wealth in Milwaukee is being transferred to out-of-state investors: Half of all rented properties are now owned by someone outside Milwaukee. From 2005 to 2019, suburban landlords grew 70%, from nearly 7,700 properties to more than 13,000. Landlords outside of Wisconsin quadrupled from 1,300 to more than 5,800 ... properties owned by someone outside Wisconsin grew from 77 to 573 in 2019. Landlords with Illinois addresses own more than 1,600 residential units ... Landlords in California own 1,400 units ... Texas landlords own nearly 700. Keep in mind that none of these figures includes large apartment buildings.

Build the Wall/Stop Immigration-The final Straw: Just by coincidence Trump Republicans want to shut down the border. Seriously, you couldn't devise a worse economic plan. And voters want Republicans in charge of the economy?
This leaves immigration as an ever-more-important contributor to national population growth. Because of the recent decline in natural increase, immigration now contributes nearly as much to population growth, and is projected to be the primary contributor to national population growth after 2030 as natural increase continues to decline. Thus immigration—its size and its attributes—will be an important contributor to the nation’s future population that is growing slowly and aging quickly.

Free Market Failure and the "returning over-taxation back to the people, it's their money" cliche: George W. Bush set the template with this:
In the late 1990s the federal government ran a budget surplus. The Brookings Institution called the surplus “one of the supreme budgetary accomplishments in American history.” Bush, took a clear stance on the issue: 
Bush: “Today, our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend. But they've got it backwards. The surplus is not the government's money. The surplus is the people's money.”
Let's hear from Bruce Bartlett, Treasury official under George H. W. Bush, about the current Trump Republican Party failure. His bottom line: Had we kept Clinton's tax policy after he left office, we would have paid off the national debt by the time George W. Bush left office. We might have had the working capital to pay for universal health care, free K through college education, tax reform, infrastructure investment...etc. But as Bartlett says, using deficits to cut spending on people, but not the military, is the ultimate goal that keeps Republicans in power:

While Scott Walker, a Trump supporter now, chants Bible verse suggesting he's got the higher calling while still claiming success for doing nothing, he can't erase how Trump exposed the real Walker legacy...

Bloomberg's possible Wisconsin strategy.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Let's call for a Tax Cut Freeze on the Free Lunch Freeloading Republicans!

While Trump cultist celebrate good jobs numbers and higher Wall Street averages, the real story and trajectory of our nations economy is being ignored. As planned, Republicans want to make the message utterly simple, with a couple of mindless bragging points made famous by George W. Bush's tax cuts and now the entire Trump Republican Party. Here's GOP Rep. Robin Vos parroting absolute drivel:

Vos is simply pushing the failed Taxpayer Bill of Rights; use one-time surpluses to permanently ratchet down taxes by the same amount, while NEVER increasing taxes. It's not hard seeing where that takes us. Ask Colorado about it.
Democrats want to eliminate some or all of TABOR’s spending restrictions to enable public spending to keep up with Colorado’s rapid growth. Colorado currently ranks between 40th and 45th nationwide for per-pupil K–12 spending and 48th for higher ed spending. Republicans counter that TABOR provides an effective restraint on Democratic overreach.
Maybe Democrats could call for a tax cut freeze until we study what the real costs are in the future? It's called budgeting?

As I have said before, the greed that infects many baby boomers, with their tax cuts and trickle down scheme, is setting Gen-X and Millennial's up for a fall. See the chart below. This is the jaw-dropping picture that already seems beyond our control:
Using Federal Reserve data to compare how generations fared financially at different points of their life cycles ... What people own: their assets minus their debts; it gives families a safety net during hard economic times and is intertwined with such milestones of adult life as buying a home, starting a business or retiring comfortably.
As the chart above shows, baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — collectively owned 21 percent of the nation’s wealth by the time their generation hit a median age of 35 in 1990.
Republicans want to stay in the 20th century, telling us to believe this is what you're getting out of life. And if change does occur, like reduced manufacturing, a dominant service economy, and the overwhelming market takeover of the internet, the government shouldn't step in because government only makes things worse. Simple. Lowered expectations sure makes their job easier.

Barring a Trump strong man takeover of the US, some future generation in a growing gig economy, making less money with no benefits, will be forced to spend and increase taxes somehow, or lose it all:
1. It illustrates the size of the financial hole today’s young adults are in relative to their parents. It’s a hole they’ll never truly be able to dig out of: The less money you start out with, the less you’ll make during the rest of your life ... some will instead require their heirs to care for them, putting further strains on the budgets of young households.

2. Some of the generational gap will eventually close as boomers age out of the population and pass their riches on to their heirs

Though the long-term political and economic implications of these shifts remain unclear, at present it seems apparent that these harsh financial realities drive many young Americans’ disgruntlement with the country’s economic system.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Latest Sen. Nass UW outrage pale in comparison to GOP Estimated cost of Manufacturing Tax Credit!

With our full time GOP legislative geniuses about to take the rest of the year off (think about that), one criticism stood out for me.

The UW took another blow from critic and anti-educations ultimate warrior Sen. Steve Nass, who seems to manufacture a new outrage every time the university needs funding. The latest example shines a light on Nass' lack of self-awareness:
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is seeking an additional $33.3 million to fund two building projects and Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, is blaming “poor project management and cost overruns.” Nass called the projects the "most recent example of mounting fiscal management issues" in the University of Wisconsin System. “These are not isolated circumstances and the Board of Regents is partially at fault for failing to provide proper oversight of building projects."
The Irony: Let's look at Nass' "poor project management" and "mounting fiscal management issues" he rips the UW for:  Nass and his band of plundering legislative pirates were breathtakingly off on the projected cost of the manufacturer and ag tax credit. Maybe if he blames the UW no one will notice or bring up the mounting cost overruns depleting state revenues year after year that are now completely out of control and getting worse:

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Not Robots, it's Trumpbots who are the real threat!

The following article at AlerNet, by Jeremy Sherman, got it exactly right about my cultist and Trumpbot friend in Milwaukee. It should help end that empty frustrating feeling that you get after wasting many of your best arguments on someone who is by default, always right and always wins:

Throughout history people have fallen for an easy way out of life’s complications by just pretending that they can do no wrong ... they find trumped-up rationalizations that they pretend trump all challenges to their absolute authority ... be completely undisciplined, no consistency in the playing of those trumped-up trump cards, discipline to play with absolute confidence whichever cards work in the moment paying no attention to reality, or the meaning of the things you say since all that matters is keeping up the appearance of winning. 

Call it trumpbotting, acting like a robot programmed to pretend to trump every challenge, sorting all wins to you and loses to whoever challenges or threatens your authority. To trumpbot you need to know almost nothing and yet you get to act like a complete and absolute know-it-all.

For a trumpbot to stay on message, there can’t be a message other than a relentless “See? I win!” Trumpbots cloak themselves in whatever fake crusade justifies declaring total war against all of their competition. It gives trumpbots a fake high horse to attack from, and a claim that their passionate commitment to their moral cause, proves that they’re right about everything.

They’re ready for your reaction whatever it may be. If you scold them they’ll call you a prude. If you walk away, they’ll call you a chicken. If you try to be nice to them, they’ll call you a wimp. If you act out, they’ll call you upset. If you attack them they’ll scold you for being uncivil. They’ll posture automatically and robotically any which way to maintain their false appearance of invincibility.

How do you beat people whose sole goal is remaining unbeatable? How do you correct the incorrigible? How does having standards ever beat have no standards other than winning?

Don’t try to persuade a trumpbot. Talk past the trumpbot to the audience. He’s just a specimen of mindless, mechanical, pretend invincibility. 

Whatever your standards, a trumpbot will make you wrong for having them. 

Anyone can become a trumpbot. He thinks he’s special. Far from it. He’s just another in a long line of people for whom reality is too scary to face ... learning how to shut down know-nothing, know-it-all trumpbots who pretend they’re done learning ... With trumpbots it’s not that the emperor has no clothes. It’s that the emperor is nothing but clothes, a suit of armor with nobody home.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Transphobic Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty use Lawsuit to intimidate public schools, students, and weaponize "Parental Rights."

Scott Walker's once pure political style of governing is now standard operating procedure in the GOP legislature. And their go-to think tank, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), is now their legal arm designed to use the courts as a way to legislate "from the bench."

The Constitution, as WILL imagines it, demands Parental Rights as a cure for Gender Dysphoria: WILL is suing "the Madison Metropolitan School District over its guidance for staff on how to handle transgender or gender-questioning students." WILL wants schools to make teachers and administrators expose gender-questioning students to disconnected parents. They say it's a constitutional right of parents:

"Constitutional?" About that...
The parental rights the U.S. Supreme Court previously recognized are of this type: there’s no specific clause that specifies that parents are entitled to direct the upbringing of their children, but the Court has (correctly) recognized such a right as an inherent feature of liberty.
It's also not surprising conservative constitutional literalists magically knew that "liberty" inherently applied to parental rights. WILL glosses over any parental responsibility at home of course. 
“By the time Plaintiffs learn the truth, the District may have already enabled their child to transition socially to a different gender identity without their consent, and that transition may become self-reinforcing, reducing the chances that their child will resolve the dysphoria in favor of his or her biological sex, as the vast majority of children do.” 
It's true the vast majority do resolve their gender dysphoria, still...
According to prospective studies, the majority of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria cease to desire to be the other sex by puberty, with most growing up to identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, with or without therapeutic intervention. If the dysphoria persists into puberty, it is very likely permanent.
Yes, there's a definite dominionist religious element at the center of WILL's argument. Where could something like that go wrong? Conversion therapy?
As a direct result of their religious beliefs, if these Plaintiffs’ children ever experience gender dysphoria, they would not immediately ‘affirm’ whatever beliefs their children might have about their gender, but would instead remind them that they were ‘fearfully and wonderfully made,’ see Psalm 139:14, and seek to help them identify and address the underlying causes of the dysphoria and learn to accept and embrace their God-given sex,” the complaint states. 
...and I love this "guarantee," as if anyone has that kind of policy control:
“At the same time, Plaintiffs will never stop loving their children, or love them any less, no matter what they believe about their gender.”
Getting public schools into the middle of gender identity politics is part of the Republican effort to feed into homophobia and bigotry. This has nothing to do with "parental rights."

Point #1; If you believe as strongly in parental rights as WILL is pretending, you'll love this idea. A Missouri Republican used parental rights to get 14 and 15-year-olds into the labor force without public schools permission. This really happened in March of 2011. It never passed:
State Sen. Jane Cunningham says her quest to change Missouri's child labor laws is driven by her belief that the current restrictions are "implying that government can make a better decision than a parent." Children age 14 and 15 must obtain signed permits from the school they attend. She also contends the state's current labor laws are "over the top'' and prevent parents from "teaching a work ethic to their children." "This act modifies the child labor laws. It eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age 14. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed. It also repeals the requirement that a child aged 14 or 15 obtain a work certificate or work permit in order to be employed. Children under 16 will also be allowed to work in any capacity in a motel, resort or hotel where sleeping accommodations are furnished. It also removes the authority of the director of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who employ children and to require them to keep certain records for children they employ. 
Point #2: 14-Year-Old workers in Texas too, with a union twist: We should be thankful the Walker administration didn't insist on going this far:
If the bill passes, children as young as 14 will be able to enter into an employment agreement with most employers without parental consent, but they will not be permitted to join a union without a signed parental consent.
Point #3: Parental Rights GONE thanks to Wisconsin Republicans, and WILL did nothing at the time, and still hasn't since it passed. Constitutional rights...?: 
The GOP-controlled legislature has given final approval and sent to Republican Gov. Scott Walker a bill that would loosen child labor laws. Assembly Bill 25 removes the requirement for 16- and 17-year-olds to obtain permits signed by a parent or guardian in order to work. The measure was approved on a party line 20-12 vote. Democrats maintain the bill would allow children to make important life decisions that could adversely affect their educations — against their parents’ wishes.

In 2011, Walker signed into law a provision in the 2011-13 state budget which eliminated restrictions on 16- and 17-year-olds working more than 26 hours during a school week and more than 50 hours a week during vacations.

 If no parent or guardian is available, a DWD officer can sign off for a child worker. These officers are funded by a $10 permit fee paid by the employer. A portion of the fee also goes to the state’s General Treasury. By eliminating this fee, Republicans are cutting funding for the enforcement of child labor laws and at a time when every penny counts, needlessly reducing state revenue.
WILL Lawsuit is against Gender Questioning Students, and not really about Parents, it's Political Transphobia: Wouldn't you know it, a high school junior and sophomore sound more like the adults in the room identifying the real intent of the lawsuit:
The Madison Memorial High School Gender Equity Association began to rally in support of the guidance after WILL’s initial complaint in the fall, said junior Maggie Di Sanza and sophomore Amira Pierotti, two of its leaders. They said the guidance serves as an essential way to protect students’ rights and help them through a period of time that can be challenging, even with parental support.

“It’s just incomprehensible to me that anyone would target these rights and do it with not a care about the students, about kids,” Amira said in an interview last month. “This (lawsuit) isn’t for the betterment of others, this is because you are scared that you don’t know what’s going on with your kids and that you’re afraid they’re trans or gender-expansive because you are transphobic.”

Their advocacy has included circulating a petition to other district schools and creating signage for buildings to reassure students they have staff’s support. Amira cited statistics showing non-binary and gender fluid students are more likely to be kicked out by their parents, report anxiety and consider self-harm. “It’s just a really frightening time right now,” she said, adding that showing “visible support” for those students is important when opposition like this is made public.
WILL is setting up for Constitutional Amendment: Winning this case is an important precursor to a proposed constitutional amendment. Who knew this was out there:

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Republican Sanfelippo blames Democrats for partisan opposition to School Choice and ICE that he added to bill!??

The lack of Republican self-awareness is almost comical if it wasn't so divisive and nonsensical.

One Party Authority Know-it-alls: Whatever happened to "local control?" While Republican Rep. Robin Vos still uses the idea of "local control" when it's convenient, he boldly brags about his big-government vision of Wisconsin. How can you lose? Vos seems totally unaware of the contradiction:

What's that you say, Democrats don't like School Choice and the heavy hand of ICE? Without a shred of self-awareness, Republican Rep. Joe Sanfelippo's arrogance went off the Richter scale when he blamed Democrats for playing politics on a bill he knew they would oppose after he included choice schools and ICE notification to sexual assault kit testing reform. No apparent reason why he couldn't drop them off the bill. He kept saying it would be the Democrat's fault for killing the bill over school choice and ICE. Conservative voters falling for this rank stupidity? From Capitol City Sunday on WKOW:

Attorney General Josh Kaul and Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-West Allis) debate the issue (of) untested sexual assault kits. But now the issue is taking a turn which could halt progress on finding justice for victims in their final weeks of the session.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Vos/Fitzgerald's zombie-like costly and outdated Tough-on-Crime" policies back, more draconian than ever.

So far, PolitiFact Wisconsin has taken the bait set out by scheming Republicans to portray Gov. Tony Evers a failure for not passing most of his campaign promises, including criminal justice reform, a huge drain on scarce taxpayer funding. 

Almost completely unnoticed (never mentioned in current coverage), Evers Unveiled his List of Criminal Justice Reforms:

Evers campaigned on a pledge to halve the state’s prison population. The bills would: 
1. Set incarceration limits for non-criminal supervision violations ... short-term sanctions as an alternative to revocation ... successful supervision and revocation systems in Texas and Michigan could be replicated in Wisconsin.

2. Expand earned release eligibility to include vocational or educational programs.

3. Expand on a compliance credit to allow for shortened community supervision options.

4. Evaluate and provide possible alternatives to prison for those in the state’s elderly inmate population.

5. Wisconsin is an outlier in many ways when it comes to the criminal justice system ... the state’s crowded prison system operated at 133% capacity through mid-2018.
The Republicans "Opposite Day, Every Day" Agenda: In another attempt to reverse the 2018 election of Gov. Evers (after lame-duck power grab by GOP legislators):

Pretending voters never elected a Democratic Governor, Rep. Robin Vos rejected what many deep-red Republican states did with money-saving criminal justice reform, by passing an in-your-face costly and outdated tougher-on-crime spree (all while promising tax cuts):
The bills are likely to face opposition from Gov. Tony Evers, who has advocated for halving the state's prison population. Part of the Republican "Tougher on Crime" push:
1.  Expand the types of crimes juveniles could be incarcerated for to include actions that would be felonies if committed by adults; 

2. Bar individuals who committed certain violent crimes from being discharged early from probation; 

3. Make it a felony to try to intimidate a victim in a domestic abuse crime.

4. One of the bills with the largest price tag would require the Department of Corrections to recommend that people charged with crimes while on parole, probation or extended supervision would have those statuses revoked.

5. That bill carries a $211 million annual estimate, and the agency also said it would require the building of two additional prisons costing $350 million each.

6.  Another bill to make "swatting," or reporting a fake emergency to police, a felony.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

I can't believe Vos/Fitzgerald are trying to wipe out Farmers and Rural communities, wow!

To help their all-important rural voters, the Vos/Fitzgerald authority reached into their pocket of GOP "solutions" and came up with...wait for it, TAX CUTS? Uh, Wisconsin farmers, forget about broadband, saving local schools, access to community medical clinics, road repair, the labor shortage, and young people moving cuts, their answer to everything.

I'm Not Kidding: Now, after Wisconsin lost 819 dairy farms in 2019, Vos/Fitzgerald is going to make it even easier for small farms to go out of business. 

Remember this jaw-dropping offhand comment from Ag Sec. Sonny Perdue that left most farmers breathless:
Perdue told reporters that he doesn’t know if the family dairy farm can survive as the industry moves toward a factory farm model ... “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.”
Here are two farmers reactions, and they're not good:

Wake-up Farmers, tone-deaf Republicans want to kill your Family Farm: The story below should make it all perfectly clear. WPR:

Republican Rep. Travis Tranel needs a comb...
Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, one sponsor of the plan, said it would give farmers the confidence they need to get bigger ... 

"The way that farming is working is farmers are continually having to get bigger and consolidate, not because they want to, but in order to compete. I'm not necessarily saying that I like that, but that is the reality."-Tranel
But if Rep. Tranel doesn't like it, then why go big-corporate-farm? Why not?

Goodbye Local Control...Again: Like what happened under Walker, Rep. Tranel wants to take local control away, and put Vos/Fitzgerald and lobbyists in complete control:
The bill would also take the decision out of the hands of local governments that have adopted the state's livestock siting standards ..."It shifts what are state rules, state responsibilities, back to where we believe they belong," said Wisconsin Towns Association President Mike Koles. "The state."
Remember city guy Scott Walker's really bad idea to increase milk production? Yes, Walker started this downward slide:
In 2012, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced an incentive program to produce, as a state, 30 billion pounds of milk a year by 2020 — a 15 percent increaseDespite record production every year since 2002Walker urged farmers to step it up even more.

Dairy farmers ... reached 30 billion pounds in 2016 — four years ahead of schedule. By then, however, the market had turned and many dairy farmers were having trouble breaking even on their new investments. Some felt duped by the agribusiness system. The more surplus farmers produce, the lower the price of agricultural commodities for food processors," said Kara O'Connor, government relations director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
But it gets worse. Getting bigger through more Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations will actually destroy small rural communities.

But don't take my word for it, here's a comment made at the Minnesota Farmfest about CAFO's, explaining how this will happen: 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Thanks Gov. Evers: Republican exposed for having ignored Rural communities and Farmers for 8 years!!!

Wisconsin Republicans are the laziest do nothing "representatives" you'll find anywhere.

1. State Parks Get All Funding Cut: For example, Republicans hate undeveloped publicly owned land that doesn't pad some private companies bottom parks. So they passed and defunded state parks:
Gov. Scott Walker wants to remove state tax money from the operation of Wisconsin’s state parks and make them self-sustaining … proposing to remove all general-purpose revenue to operate Wisconsin state parks, trails and recreation areas - 46 state parks, 14 state trails, four recreational areas and two national scenic trails; In place of tax revenue, the governor is proposing that operation of the state park system be funded by entrance and campsite fees.
But that didn't work out so well. Sadly, Democrats failed to remind voters how we got to this place. You'll also notice ONLY Republicans came to rescue our parks...from themselves?:

2. Farmers Ignored, Rural Areas Completely Ignored, until Gov. Evers Exposed themWith little time left at the Capitol, Republicans are now scrambling to make Gov. Evers special session focus on farmers and rural communities something they came up with...after 8 frigging years of doing nothing, borrowing liberally from Evers first budget. You remember that, the one Republican Rep. Robin Vos and Sen. Scott Fitzgerald tossed into the trash bin. 

In fact, Republicans abandoned farmers completely under Walker. wrote this back in Jan. 2016:
Scott Walker's $3.6 million budget cut to the UW Extension should get rural Republican voters riled up. It continues the Republican assault on their own rural constituents that keeps them frustrated and angry at their own government. The UW Extension "provides farmers with technical assistance, nutrient management and more," but those days are slipping away, thanks to cuts signed by Walker. UW-Extension, which applies research and expertise across the state in myriad areas, has been forced to restructure ... cut $1.2 million from county-level programs, $1.7 million from campus programs and state specialists and $700,000 from the administration.

Vos and Fitzgerald are now trying to cover their asses and look like heroes after arrogantly removing Evers first budget efforts. Hell, they're even blaming Democrats. Remember, Scott Walker ruled over the state for the last 8 years, so who's "they're?" Seriously, Vos actually said...
"It's nice that they're playing catchup, after literally almost a decade of ignoring rural Wisconsin."
Believe it or not, now they want to evaluated how the UW had been helping farmers after dumping the UW Extension program 3 years ago. Again, Republicans are rescuing farmers from their own bad legislation!!! You can't make this stuff up:
The package includes two bills aimed at the University of Wisconsin System. One would require the UW System to study the current problems facing farmers and evaluate how the university is helping support farmers through curriculum and staffing of agricultural programs. The other bill would require the UW System to develop an agricultural science and technology program. (Plus) amended versions of two of Evers’ bills...items included in Evers’ 2019-21 budget, including similar health insurance deductions for self-employed individuals, dairy processing grants and increasing dairy export spending. However they were removed by the Republican-led Legislature.
Adam Warthesen, director of government and industry affairs at Organic Valley, said the state's efforts are coming too late for many dairy farmers who have gone out of business in the last few years. "We should be out in front and figuring out what's going to help agriculture earlier in every year," Warthesen said. 
And rural Republican voters just keep putting these people back in Madison.

They even wanted to make it easier for farmers to lose their farms...not kidding: Walker went after Rural Farmers Estates to Fund Medicaid:
WSJ-Dee J. Hall: The state Department of Health Services has new powers under the state budget to recover money from the estates of people whose loved ones have received Medicaid funding for long-term care … the Legislature’s own nonpartisan legal and financial agencies have warned that the changes … could violate federal law. Critics say the changes could prompt some elderly couples to divorce and make it harder for children to inherit the family farm or business. A couple’s home is exempted … But proceeds from the sale of that home could be taken by the state to repay Medicaid used to pay for a spouse’s nursing home or other long-term care. An elder law attorneys said, “It greatly expands the types of property the state can go after … In the past, the state could not go after the property of the (non-Medicaid receiving) spouse.”