Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Republicans, you have failed Wisconsin! The List just keep growing...

The Covid-19 pandemic is the system shock exposing every wrong Republican policy bragged about for the last 20 years. Wisconsin's Scott Walker was a walking/talking checklist of right-wing clich├ęs and truisms. We now have real world proof our gerrymanders Republican overlords were wrong about almost everything. Let's take a look.

First, shouldn't we start by determining the actual minimum cost to run state government, build in cost of living increases per year, and then spend surplus revenue (profit) on improvements and debt before ever cutting taxes. Not paying for health care, transportation, state parks, clean water, and education doesn't actually save money as we're finding out. Note: Democrats opposed every failure below, and they're the extreme party?

It Starts with Tax Cut Madness: Returning money back to overtaxed Wisconsinites, saying it's their money and not the governments sounded so ridiculous and resentful. Below I've listed the most recent examples of backfilling their failed policy. First, Rep. Robin Vos with the same logic that W. Bush used to take tax surplus dollars that would have balanced the US budget 15 years ago, and the reason he kinda "won" (close/supreme court):



All Failed Ideological Theories...

1. RETURNED FUNDING to STATE PARKS: Republicans cut taxpayer funding that supported our state parks, using only admission fees. Didn't work:
Republicans approved part of Evers’ plan for restoring tax support to state parks. Republicans withdrew tax funding for parks in 2015 and began increasing fees … but some maintenance needs have gone unmet and low employee pay rates have made it tough for the state to adequately staff certain popular parks … approved a $1.2 million increase for park staffing and operations, about $700,000 less than what Evers requested.
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2.  CUT UW SURPLUS/NO STATE FUNDING TO BACKFILL TUITION FREEZE: They must think running state colleges is magical. What now after the pandemic?


Plus, No estimate for the collective financial loss of its 26 campuses, some of which were grappling with multimillion-dollar deficits before the coronavirus even emerged.
Republican lawmakers vowed to freeze UW System tuition, seizing on a report that shows the system has amassed a huge $414 million surplus of tuition dollars … only about $82 million isn’t committed to a specific purpose … citing dwindling state aid and the need to recruit and retain top-tier faculty with competitive compensation packages.
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3. PAID SICK LEAVE REPEALED STATEWIDE: Big government Republicans didn't like Milwaukee's voter approved sick leave benefit, so they passed a one-size-fits-all ban statewide. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed why that was a bad decision and why other countries have paid sick leave:
Level of Compensation Required for Paid Sick Leave. Covered employers are required to pay every employee who takes emergency paid sick leave at a rate of compensation no less than the employee’s “regular rate” of pay (as that term is defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
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4. OPPOSITION TO UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE/MEDICARE FOR ALL: With over 26 million uninsured still, and at twice the cost of other nations, there's nothing "fiscally conservative" or morally justifiable for not having universal health care, as recently documented here...




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5. TAX CUTS, IMAGINE THE PAINFUL SPOT WE'D BE IN NOW: From an earlier post:

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a major $250 million Republican-led tax-cut package that would have used unanticipated revenues to reduce the average taxpayer’s income tax bill by $106. The veto came one year and a week after Evers' first veto, which was of a similar income tax cut passed by Republicans.
Eh, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald plays down what was always a Bad Idea: The COVID-19 outbreak exposed the GOP again, but did they notice? Nope. Republicans don't govern, they simply pass ideologically driven ideas, devoid of any real world connection to the consequences of their actions.
Another question is how much the coronavirus, paired with a national economic slowdown, could affect the state budget — A recession would likely erase the surplus.

“That’s definitely on our minds,” Republican Sen. Scott Fitzgerald said. “Hindsight is 20-20, but that projection could change dramatically, and as a result of that, things could be a lot tighter than where we thought they were.”
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6. NO RURAL BROADBAND URGENCY: With closed schools now online, guess what, no internet or deathly slow.

Already, Wisconsin lags behind the national average in broadband coverage. An estimated 43% of Wisconsin’s rural residents lack access to high-speed internet, compared to about 31% of rural residents nationwide, according to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. “We have such a long ways to go,” said state Sen. Jeff Smith, a Democrat who has tried unsuccessfully to increase the state’s investment in broadband.
From an earlier blog postIt all started when Walker turned down $23 million in stimulus money to expand broadband everywhere in the state. Like the Journal Sentinel wrote in this Feb. 18, 2011 editorial:

Walker is now spending state taxpayer money instead.

The state is turning down $23 million because state taxpayers would have been on the hook for the entire amount if the state could not meet the grant's precise requirements, Mike Huebsch, secretary of the state Department of Administration, said in a memo to school and library associations. "This is simply not an acceptable risk," Huebsch wrote.

Actually, it is. High-speed Internet is part of the necessary infrastructure that is vital to communities that want to grow. The state will get there anyway, but this money could have speeded up the journey.
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7. PANDEMIC FORCES GOP TO ELIMINATE PUNISHING UNEMPLOYMENT WAITING PERIOD: Well, we could have saved a lot of time and a lot of jobless pain if this bad idea never made it into law. Guess Vos/Fitzgerald were wrong again:

Under current law, workers do not receive unemployment benefits for their first week of unemployment, effectively denying them one week of benefits. Lawmakers support eliminating the waiting period for at least the rest of the year.

“People need help right now that lost their job,” Fitzgerald said.

Evers has been pushing for the elimination of the one-week waiting period, which he originally included in his 2019-21 state budget request.

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8. A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT STRAIGHTJACKET, NOW, DURING A PANDEMIC?: Imagine if the federal government were blocked from spending $2 trillion-$4 trillion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet Republicans like Scott Walker are unfazed and undeterred. This is beyond tone deaf, it's sociopathic. Besides, the truth is, TAX CUTS ARE DRIVING DEFICITS.

Believe it or not, Walker tweeted this jaw-dropping demand for a balanced budget amendment...today:


We know Republicans will never increase spending or taxes, heck they didn't want to spend anything to help the COVID-19 affected unemployed. Will some reporter please interview Walker, and get his take the points below. From a previous blog post:
1. Many economists say federal deficit spending can be necessary to fund wars, combat economic recessions or respond to natural disasters.

2. Matt Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said, "It's like the economy has cancer and you won't let the economy get chemotherapy or radiation, it's like the economy has diabetes and you won't give the economy insulin — you'd be killing the economy."

3. Democratic lawmakers as well as the John Birch Society, a far-right advocacy group say a balanced budget amendment would make it harder for the federal government to respond to economic downturns and natural disasters.

4. EPI: A balanced budget amendment would mandate perverse actions in the face of recessions. In economic downturns, tax revenues fall and some outlays, such as unemployment benefits, rise. These so-called built-in stabilizers increase the deficit but limit declines of after-tax income and purchasing power. To keep the budget balanced every year would aggravate recessions. Unlike many state constitutions, which permit borrowing to finance capital expenditures, the federal budget makes no distinction between capital investments and current outlays. Private businesses and households borrow all the time to finance capital spending.

5. It would prevent federal borrowing to finance expenditures for infrastructure, education, research and development, environmental protection, and other investment vital to the nation's future well being.

6. It would invite Congress to enact unfunded mandates, requiring states, localities, and private businesses to do what it cannot finance itself. It also invites dubious accounting maneuvers (such as selling more public lands and other assets and counting the proceeds as deficit-reducing revenues), and other budgetary gimmicks.

7. Disputes on the meaning of budget balance would likely end up in the courts, resulting in judge-made economic policy. So would disputes about how to balance an unbalanced budget when Congress lacks the votes to inflict painful cuts.

8. An overall spending cap would further limit Congress’s ability to fight recessions. Even during expansions, a binding spending cap could harm economic growth because increases in high-return investments — even those fully paid for with additional revenue — would be deemed unconstitutional if not offset by other spending reductions. A binding spending cap also would mean that emergency spending (for example on natural disasters) would necessitate reductions elsewhere, leading to increased volatility in the funding for non-emergency programs.

9. The budget not only attained balance, but actually recorded surpluses and reduced debt, for four consecutive years … Between 1998 and 2000, President Bill Clinton’s Treasury Department paid off more than $360 billion in debt. As a result of 115 straight months of economic expansion that began after an increase in the top income tax rate — which was virulently opposed by the right — the huge deficits left by 12 years of Republican rule had been transformed into a surplus. Within months after taking office George W. Bush had begun to turn that surplus back into deficits that grew and grew, despite funding two wars on emergency supplemental bills that were not figured into the budget.
More to come, make suggestions...

Trump's "back to work by Easter" thing cultists loved, never mind! Betrayed and left holding the bag, Trumpsters now back plan to wait!

Trump cult dummies never looked so duped, especially now, after Trump changed his mind about getting people back-to-work by Easter..."that beautiful Easter day."  Outspoken cultists now own it.

Here's Trump's wildly irresponsible "evolution" on getting our nation back-to-work...against the invisible enemy.




Conspiracy Against Trump's Reelection: Don't take my word for it...



Exposing the Cruel Intentions of Freedom and Liberty: The Trump cult immediately jumped on board, exposing the "family values" lie; a bizarre willingness to sacrifice themselves for Trump; blind allegiance to "late stage capitalism" (the hypocrisy and absurdities of capitalism as it digs its own grave); and an unquestioning "whichever way the Trump wind blows" support for utter and sometimes dangerous nonsense.

Who are the fools left holding the Trump back-to-work bag? I'm relishing this...let's start with Dumb Ron Johnson...
Ron Johnson: “Each year, approximately 48,000 Americans commit suicide and an estimated 67,000 die of a drug overdose,” he wrote. “That level of individual despair has occurred in a strong economy with near-record low levels of unemployment in virtually every demographic.”


I am not saying “the cure is worse than the disease.” I am saying it is unrealistic to choose between economic devastation on the one hand and millions of deaths on the other. Wisconsinites know that is a false choice. There has to be a middle ground that takes our livelihoods, both physical and economic, into account. - Rep. Mike Gallagher


Sacrifice yourself for Capitalism...




What's Next? Public Health Emergencies Unconstitutional and Threat to Liberty and Freedom: You can be sure this bizarre effort will take off soon, despite seeing both Democratic and Republican governors ordering stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, and nonessential business closings. Will  there be a day when our own government can't help ourselves?
(On temporarily suspending civil and criminal jury trials) Wisconsin Supreme Court Activist Justice Rebecca Bradley: “Justifying the suspension of the people’s constitutionally guaranteed rights based on a public health emergency nullifies our Constitution.”
Small government Republicans are arguing that government could order people to stay on their jobs during a pandemic, siding with the whims of big business:
WILL published a legal analysis that argued Evers' emergency powers could face constitutional challenges, particularly if the pandemic persists for a long time. Strong arguments could be made that Evers' actions violate the rights to free speech, due process, peaceably assemble and worship as one chooses, wrote WILL's president, Rick Esenberg. Evers' orders shutting businesses could also be construed as unconstitutionally taking something of value without fair compensation, he argued. 

Trump's 2024 dream...


Trump Pass!!!


Friday, March 27, 2020

Trump believer Fitzgerald rejects mail-in ballots, claims Gov. Evers is "lying" and "acting like this is doable is a Hoax." Factcheck: Trump made 16,241 false or misleading claims in his first three years.

Okay, we're already at a point of where many media outlets has stopped broadcasting Trump's daily press conference because he can't stop lying, even now during a pandemic, the courage to do something like that took way too long a time.

Take for example what just happened: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers just asked the gerrymandered GOP legislature to send out ballots to every resident to vote my mail.

What, give everyone voting age a chance to...vote? No way.

The news media and Democrats could take a lesson from Republican State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, who said what everyone else took 3 and a half years to say:
"The Legislature on both sides of the aisle has to know this is ridiculous," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "In pitching this idea, the governor is lying directly to Wisconsinites about this even being remotely possible. Acting like this is doable is a hoax."
It was that easy. Trump speak is the new "conversation" that avoids facts and thinking.

Question, did Fitzgerald look into it? Was there an option to delay the count if ballots needed more time to arrive across the state? Who knows.

And just like a Democrat, Evers helped Republicans run the table at the polls across the state. With right-wing media screaming about losing their liberties and freedom and begging to go back to work, guess who's going to show up at the polls and who won't want to risk their life?

The decision to hold the election in a time when nonessential travel and mass gatherings are banned in hopes of mitigating the respiratory disease's spread has drawn strong criticism from poll workers, clerks and members of the public who argue doing so puts voters and poll workers at risk of infection  postpone in-person voting in the April 7 election at least until Evers' "safer at home" order expires. The order expires April 24, but it could be extended.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Press strikes back?


Random thoughts on COVID-19 lockdown...


Republicans Vos/Fitzgerald seek another power grab over Gov. Evers, using deadly COVID-19!

Are there any other adults in the room embarrassed by the constant bitching by Wisconsin Republicans for their own self imposed irrelevance and victimhood after taking the rest of the year off during a pandemic?

These elite authoritarians, after taking the rest of the year off, were exposed for their gut wrenching double standard:


The pathetic whining emanating from the Capitol by the gerrymandered Republican Party elite, who have never outgrown the resentment they had for parental limitations, should be embarrassing enough during a pandemic. Yet they've found another way to wallow in their victimhood. 

Vos is now framing an argument to make the governor completely irrelevant. 
They (Fitzgerald and Vos) also made clear … "Fundamentally I think that our entire republic is based on the concept of three co-equal branches (of government) and we have temporarily loaned the ability to (the governor) make decisions without the same due process … (they) signaled they would not have limitless patience.
It was a Bad Idea but we Have to Follow it....



Not letting Evers get all the credit, Vos/Fitzgerald said in their own words all the reasons Gov. Evers gave for his stay-at-home policy, yet questioned if Evers knows that "we should not tolerate this for no good reason"....uh, the deadly pandemic guys. They're so smart: 
…they raised concerns about the prospect of forcing businesses to close and limiting people's movement for an extended period. "We should not tolerate this for no good reason and we certainly should not tolerate it for a long period of time unless it’s in the public’s best interest," Fitzgerald said. 

Under state law, Evers can declare a health emergency for up to 60 days. The emergency declaration can continue after that only if lawmakers sign off on it. Evers declared the emergency on March 12 and his expanded powers can continue under that order until mid-May.
POWER GRAB AGAIN PT 2: The Borg-like Vos/Fitzgerald legislature is already moving toward another power grab on two more fronts after their surprising lame duck victory. First...:
Sen. David Craig of Big Bend introduced legislation this week that would require Evers to get legislative approval before issuing such edicts … (like a) statewide order to stay home to prevent infectious diseases from spreading. . Craig wrote: 

"The Executive Branch does not have unchecked authority in such a crisis. To impair fundamental rights — as gathering bans, etc. do — the government must have a compelling state interest to do so AND must do so in a narrowly-tailored and least restrictive means possible under the constitution."
Remember, they're doing this during a deadly pandemic, still predicted to become much worse!!!
Evers would be required to provide lawmakers with a report detailing reasons that justify issuing a ban on large gatherings and a report on arrests made for violating such bans.
POWR GRAB AGAIN PT 3: Republicans setup a "legislate from the bench" arm of their power structure, hiring Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty (WILL) to take all cases to the conservative activist State Supreme Court. Again, we have a national COVID-19 pandemic with people dying:
WILL published a legal analysis that argued Evers' emergency powers could face constitutional challenges, particularly if the pandemic persists for a long time. Strong arguments could be made that Evers' actions violate the rights to free speech, due process, peaceably assemble and worship as one chooses, wrote WILL's president, Rick Esenberg. Evers' orders shutting businesses could also be construed as unconstitutionally taking something of value without fair compensation, he argued. 
Feeling left out and powerless, Vos will not give up his "arm-chair-governorship," and using the pandemic makes sense:
Vos said he hoped the emergency would last less than 60 days. Lawmakers will evaluate the situation if Evers believes it should continue after that. "Once we get past that 60 days we have to see a very clear-cut reason" to continue it, Vos said. Evers has pushed Republicans to waive a one-week waiting period for people to access unemployment benefits. Vos said Republicans were considering doing that temporarily. “The longer this order goes, the more businesses are never going to have a chance to reopen,” said Vos, who owns a popcorn business.
Trump's Easter Economic Resurrection: Nationally, Trump Republicans are all onboard ending any safety measures. Twitter commentary...



Still a good idea to invite this loony tune on campuses?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Mike Gallagher wants to Cancel Apocalypse-Get back to Work: "There has to be a middle ground" nonsense, again.

So let's see if I have this right; Gov. Evers...
…"ordered millions of people to stay at home as much as possible under the powers he has during emergencies...(he's) closed schools, shuttered bars and limited restaurants to takeout and delivery (and) the stay-at-home order he ultimately issued.
Since businesses have closed, employees really don't have an option to "go back to work."

That won't stop Republicans. Like Trump, even our own Congressmen want people to go back to work. But they can't. And even if they could, who would risk their life for a job? Hate to break the news, but company loyalties died during the Great Recession.

Want to get people back to work, TEST: Trump's 2 month messed up testing debacle resulted in "stay at home" policies. An NPR story cut right to the point:
As the coronavirus spreads across the United States, researchers say there's only one way out of lockdown: widespread testing for everyone who might be infected with the virus.

Trump cult-Rep. Mike Gallagher wrote this editorial: "Wisconsin can cancel the apocalypse." I know, Gallagher makes it sounds crazy easy, right? Hey, it's just an apocalypse, go back to work?:
I am not saying “the cure is worse than the disease.” I am saying it is unrealistic to choose between economic devastation on the one hand and millions of deaths on the other. Wisconsinites know that is a false choice. There has to be a middle ground that takes our livelihoods, both physical and economic, into account.
Noooo, it's actually unrealistic for someone to choose millions of deaths, right.

"Balance" has always been the Wisconsin Republican argument, like the balance between the environment and jobs, clean air or lower bills  with cheap coal...surprise, the environment and clean air lost!

Trump just contradicted Gallagher's sociopathic message of "hope," saying his reason is to foil the mainstream media's attempt to sink his reelection...

Monday, March 23, 2020

Trump Republicans decide to save economy, give Americans 15 days to live.

Trump is calling it, and I'm not kidding, the 15 Day Challenge? 

Being in uncharted territory just won't cut it anymore: Republicans are gritting their teeth watching the economy crumble just so Democrats can save a few American lives. They've now reached their limit, especially in Wisconsin:


…but then Evers did this...
Vos, R-Rochester, criticized how Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, announced his "Stay at Home" order Monday. “The governor’s announcement has created mass amounts of confusion. The governor’s executive order came as a surprise to the Legislature. The people of Wisconsin deserve clear communications during a public health emergency."
Actually everybody else knew this was being planned. Vos still hasn't waived the one week wait for unemployment. Too confusing?

It didn't take long for this idea to catch on nationally, starting with this signal from Trump, and his "15 Day Challenge":


President Trump is signaling interest in scaling back “social distancing” and other steps promoted by health officials to contain the novel coronavirus as a growing number of conservatives argue that impact on the U.S. economy has become too severe. The 15-day period is set to end on March 30.

The lineup of big corporate sellouts have also chimed in. Note; the article states Stephen Moore is an economist-he isn't really, but plays one:
The push to reopen parts of the economy has gained traction among Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), conservative economists Steven Moore and Art Laffer (who) have been lobbying the White House to strongly consider scaling back the recommendation that restaurants, stores and other gathering spots be closed. 

Moore: "You can’t have a policy that says we’re going to save every human life at any cost, no matter how many trillion of dollars you’re talking about.” Leading Wall Street and conservative media figures have also embraced the idea. 

Larry Kudlow said on Fox News on Monday. “The president is right. The cure can’t be worse than the disease. And we’re going to have to make some difficult trade-offs.”
Trump cultists agree, throwing in a little resentment...:
Warnings that the “fear of the virus cannot collapse our economy” and complaints that ordinary citizens are under “house arrest” at a time when officials are considering releasing nonviolent elderly criminals..."
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Sacrifices Seniors for Economy: Hope you're sitting down:
Patrick: “Let's get back to living... And those of us that are 70+, we'll take care of ourselves.”
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Our own conservative radio talk host is on board, jabbing Democrats for trying to shut down the country for as long as they can, why, who the hell knows...


I'm hoping every Republican sacrifices themselves for me, as a rugged individual would do for the economy...please, please lead by example!!! Better dead than in the red?

For Republicans, nothing worse than watching businesses die. Sorry people: They're wrong, deadly wrong:


Wisconsin Rollback? "Making some Difficult Trade-offs," where "You can’t have a policy that says we’re going to save every human life at any cost,: If Trump scaled back closures at the end of March -  COVIDACTNOW


Wisconsin's Republican leaders Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Robin Vos sent this message to Gov. Tony Evers:
"The consequences felt by citizens and small businesses around the state has already been tremendous … the people we serve need the jobs they have today to help weather this storm. Continued economic activity will not only help us in our fight against this virus today, it will also ensure that we don't have to fight to recover from economic collapse tomorrow.”
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Brave Talk Radio Hosts: The right-wing propaganda machine went further, fear mongering the imagined loss of "freedom," the government intrusion by dictator Gov. Evers, and the lunacy that the "seizure of power by government (during a pandemic) is more serious than the virus:


…and Vicki McKenna agrees. What a rebel:

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Scott Walker always believed people's value came from working. That's why he took food and health care away from those who didn't work. No value. 

Still, Trump can try opening businesses again, but who's going to show up? 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Wisconsin COVID-19 Denier, Uline, demand Profits over Employee Health and Lives!

Sadly, Wisconsin made a New York Times story about hard core Trump cultist COVID-19 deniers.

When that denier is a major Wisconsin employer and Republican donor, ULINE, it answer a lot of questions what "real American values" are for your typical conservative:  

 
And in the Midwest, Uline, a major distributor of packaging materials and industrial supplies, kept its work force going through the week, despite complaints from employees, including those crowded into its call centers, working side-by-side in cubicles.

“Nothing’s really changed,” one employee said. “It’s just nerve-racking.”

Employees received an email Thursday from the Uihlein Family, owners of the $5.8 billion company and big donors to Republican causes, thanking them for their efforts and saying that the “White House called upon us twice with huge orders” this week.

The same day, a manager at one Uline call center sent a note to employees. “If you, or family members, are under the weather with cold/allergies — or anything aside from Covid-19,” it read, “please do NOT tell your peers about the symptoms & your assumptions. By doing so, you are causing unnecessary panic in the office.”

Trump-Virus Weaponized, Government power grows!

Disaster capitalism, "taking advantage of a major disaster," is now playing out thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic: And Trump is leading the charge.

The move has tapped into a broader fear … that the president will use a moment of crisis to push for controversial policy changes. Already, he has cited the pandemic as a reason for heightening border restrictions and restricting asylum claims. He has also pushed for further tax cuts as the economy withers, arguing that it would soften the financial blow to Americans. And even without policy changes, Trump has vast emergency powers that he could legally deploy right now to try and slow the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump's China Conspiracy Theory: The Trump Cultist base will Believe anything, so devour this:
It also issues guidelines for how U.S. officials should answer questions on, or speak about, the coronavirus and the White House’s response in relation to China. One section of the cable reads “NSC Top Lines: [People’s Republic of China] Propaganda and Disinformation on the Wuhan Virus Pandemic.” “Chinese Communist Party officials in Wuhan and Beijing had a special responsibility to inform the Chinese people and the world of the threat, since they were the first to learn of it. Over the last several weeks top administration officials, including President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have referred to the coronavirus as both the “Chinese virus” and the “Wuhan virus.”
Here's something that might appear eerily similar to the Trump response:
Instead, the... (China) government hid news of the virus from its own people for weeks, while suppressing information and punishing doctors and journalists who raised the alarm. The Party cared more about its reputation than its own people’s suffering.”
None of this Needed to Happen: The Trump administration is busy spreading fear, suspicion, resentment, and creating conspiracy theories you would not have thought possible, to his panting and easily convinced voter base. 

Had Trump kept in place pandemic prevention measures, and listened to government warnings, the severity of all this would not be the economy collapsing mess it is today:  
Dr. Ashish Jha, a physician and the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, who has been tracking the coronavirus story closely over the past couple months: 
“Oh, my God, if we had got on top of this thing two months ago, America would look very, very different. So, let’s walk through that scenario. Imagine that when the W.H.O. put out its test kit [in January] we either took it or built an effective test ourselves. We would have then ramped up those tests. The data by late January was very clear that we were going to see a lot of these infections in the United States, and, actually, we had started seeing the first cases from travellers from China. We would have started testing people who had symptoms. Initially, it was the travellers, because that is how it got introduced. We would have isolated those people. We would have had contact tracing, which is really critical. Everyone that had been in touch with them would have been monitored, and any of them that showed symptoms would have been tested. If we had done that extensively across the United States, I believe we would have got on top of this infection.”

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Dumb Ron Johnson's other concerns...


Vos/Fitzgerald scheme to Blame Gov. Evers for COVID-19 State Economic Crash!

Not Kidding: Republicans think the COVID-19 pandemic shouldn't end up hurting residents' ability to spend money. Priorities, right?

Contrast how COVID-19 affects people, according to a respiratory therapist:
Seeing patients with COVID-19, it’s a lot more frightening. This is knocking out what should be perfectly fit, healthy people. Patients will be on minimal support, on a little bit of oxygen, and then all of a sudden, they go into complete respiratory arrest, shut down and can’t breathe at all” …  I’ve never seen a microorganism or an infectious process cause such acute damage to the lungs so rapidly. That was what really shocked me. It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube and out of his mouth. We had to restrain him. They really hyperventilate, really struggle to breathe. When you’re in that mindstate of struggling to breathe and delirious with fever, you don’t know when someone is trying to help you, so you’ll try to rip the breathing tube out because you feel it is choking you, but you are drowning.
Contrast that with concerned Republicans mustering up phony outrage over Gov. Tony Evers efforts to hurt business: It's Gov. Evers fault now!!! That's their setup for November. Anyone tell them business have closed and people are dying? 

JS: Republican leaders are asking Gov. Tony Evers not to place any further restrictions on Wisconsin residents’ ability to spend money, warning of an economic collapse.

"The consequences felt by citizens and small businesses around the state has already been tremendous … the people we serve need the jobs they have today to help weather this storm. Continued economic activity will not only help us in our fight against this virus today, it will also ensure that we don't have to fight to recover from economic collapse tomorrow.”
 A little late for that? No?

Let's look at the numbers, if we took the Vos/Fitzgerald approach, keeping more people out there working instead...
Columbia University researchers estimate the percentage of Wisconsin residentswithout severe restrictions in place similar to ones Evers has taken, infected in Milwaukee County could reach 65% by July and 74% in Dane County by June — infecting 610,000 and 360,000 people in each county, respectively — 
Under measures (pushed by Evers) that infection rate drops dramatically to 2% of Milwaukee County residents and Dane County residents by the end of July. 
Blame Trump, Blame Trump, Blame Trump: No, really blame Trump...

WaPoU.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting … and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak.

Taken together, the reports and warnings showed the characteristics of a globe-encircling pandemic that could require governments to take swift actions to contain it. But despite that constant flow of reporting, Trump continued publicly and privately to play down the threat the virus posed to Americans. Lawmakers, too, did not grapple with the virus in earnest until this month.
A few Senators suddenly sold their stock, coincidentally of course, like Dumb Ron Johnson, all the while saying the US had it handled.

Blame Trump, Blame Trump, who was even more concerned about getting vaping products back in the stores:
Inside the White House, Trump’s advisers struggled to get him to take the virus seriously, according to multiple officials with knowledge of meetings among those advisers and with the president.

Azar couldn’t get through to Trump to speak with him about the virus until Jan. 18, according to two senior administration officials. When he reached Trump by phone, the president interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market, the senior administration officials said.
Who could make stuff like this up, point by point?

Not Trump's Fault, again. Surprised? Note: Can anyone tell me what the "clear threat to this great country" would clearly be? Oh, and being late doesn't count:
 A White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said, “It’s more than disgusting, despicable and disgraceful for cowardly unnamed sources to attempt to rewrite history — it’s a clear threat to this great country. President Trump has taken historic, aggressive measures to protect the health, wealth and safety of the American people — and did so, while the media and Democrats chose to only focus on the stupid politics of a sham illegitimate impeachment.” 
How about the Crimson Contagion SimulationTrump didn't care...
That scenario, code-named “Crimson Contagion” and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.

The simulation’s sobering results — contained in a draft report dated October 2019 that has not previously been reported — drove home just how underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed.

The draft report, marked “not to be disclosed,” laid out in stark detail repeated cases of “confusion” in the exercise. Federal agencies jockeyed over who was in charge. State officials and hospitals struggled to figure out what kind of equipment was stockpiled or available. Cities and states went their own ways on school closings.
Trump Response...
“Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion. Nobody has ever seen anything like this before.”

The work done over the past five years, however, demonstrates that the government had considerable knowledge about the risks of a pandemic and accurately predicted the very types of problems Mr. Trump is now scrambling belatedly to address.
Roll the clips...



Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dumb Ron Johnson worries about COVID-19 Freeloaders, and "the costs of potentially going too far here." Dr. Fauci: " I don’t think with any moral conscience you can say, ‘Why don’t we just let it rip and happen and let ‘x’ percent of the people die.' I don’t understand that reasoning at all.”

BREAKING 3/20/2020: Dumb Ron Johnson in the story below is willing to hold up help to Americans because he fears many will freeload, and take advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak. Well, look who took advantage of the pandemic...


It doesn't matter when the sale process began, it's the time Johnson made sure that sale took place. Anyone else believing his bullsheet?
With two of his GOP colleagues, Republican Sens. Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler, coming under fire for selling stock after getting a security briefing on the coronavirus Jan. 24, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson on Friday defended selling his stake in his family's privately held company earlier this month. He said the actual bidding process took place late last summer.

Johnson said the deal had been in the works since 2018 … "Obviously, this had nothing to do with the coronavirus." He made between $5 million and $25 million on the March 2 sale of his share of Pacur LLC, Johnson headed the company before he was elected to the Senate in 2010.
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...now more of the original blog post below:

It's been bad week for Dumb Ron Johnson. But Johnson's not the only one. We're now looking into the darkest recesses of the entire GOP mindset. This is really how they think, and a COVID-19 pandemic ain't gonna change anything.

Johnson's sociopathic distrust of employees is brutal, even now, as many of them are sent home due to business closings. Imagine how strongly Republicans feel when times are normal. With businesses shuttered, Johnson actually said...
"People are going to have to work..." 
…whether they die or not? There are no words:

"(Worried about) incentivizing people to not show up for work either and don't necessarily want to do that. You have to think this thing through in terms of what are the unintended consequences of good intentions. People are going to have to work. People do need to recognize the fact that this is not Ebola. This is not MERS. It's not quite the seasonal flu. But we have to keep things in perspective and we got to keep our economy."
But when you thought Johnson couldn't get any darker than this, well, he did:
"One thing the press has not covered at all is the people who have really recovered. Right now, all people are hearing about are the deaths. I’m sure the deaths are horrific, but the flip side of this is the vast majority of people who get coronavirus do survive.” 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interview:
“I’m not denying what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it’s obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population.

But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu… getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less.”

This Intelligencer saw it this way:
Johnson is comparing the virus to auto fatalities (around 37,000). But we might shut down the economy to prevent 100 times that many deaths. Joseph Stalin allegedly said, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” It’s not reassuring to hear this philosophy espoused by high-ranking national officials.
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BREAKING 3/20/2020: Don't take my word for how bad Johnson's comments were... Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

'That's totally way out': Ron Johnson comments on coronavirus draw fire from Fauci at White House briefing



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Johnson has from the beginning, never worked on solutions, but instead focused all his effort making sure we all understood the problem first, even if it takes years.

He must think we're all as slow as he is. 

Can't get enough of that Johnson deep thinking? Agonize over this...:
"But we also need to really understand the costs of potentially going too far here. But nobody knows what too far is, which is what’s so difficult about the situation.”

Radical Republican Wisconsin: Rabid Republicans, in the face of the total collapse of the economy, voted against helping Americans wait out the COVID-19 epidemic:



Republicans still making it hard to get Medicaid: While Arizona and Iowa loosen Medicaid requirements...
...two other Republican-led states, Oklahoma and Utah, are pushing ahead with Medicaid waiver changes intended to tighten eligibility for expanded coverage to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act, including work requirements.

Utah is proceeding with its plan to require Medicaid expansion enrollees report at least 48 job searches in the first 90 days of eligibility, as well as to complete an online job readiness survey. "At a time when the job market is collapsing, the absurdity of that requirement is even more apparent."