Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Wisconsin's Gerrymandered Republicans continue Scott Walker's Act 10 anti-market wage restraint, a gift to the top 1 Percent.

I thought it might be a good idea to remind everyone what Scott Walker did as governor, how he stunted Wisconsin's wages and buying power for a generation, just to fulfil a partisan agenda free of solutions to deal with the state's current list of problems.  

ACT 10 Mistake: First, Scott Walker passed Act 10, destroying public unions and lowering wages. It was a purely political solution to a nonexistent state budget problem. Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich shredded this paper-thin politician. 

What Walker set in motion would eventually be a devastating hit on individual incomes and business expansion for a decade. 

Act 10 reversed century of progress. Wisconsin Supreme Court should toss law.
Comparing Wisconsin to Minnesota, we can see how massive a hit our workers took on inflation-adjusted median household incomes.

Act 10 choked wage growth for all state workers, public and private. The law legislated wage decline. Public and private sector workers alike exist in a common labor market, driving down the wages of one, drives them down for all, and private sector enterprises could pay all workers less.
Wisconsin vs Minnesota: It's real ugly...
In 2012 our median household incomes were $53,079, Minnesota’s were $61,759.

A decade after Act 10, that spread grew from $73,330 in the Badger
State, to a whopping $90,390 in Minnesota. A nominal spread of $8,000 between the states was transformed into a $17,060 gap.

If labor had discretionary income it goes to corner taps and restaurants, hairstylists and barbers, landscapers, sports shops selling hunting rifles, fishing rods and bait, etc. But if workers did not get this money the past decade, who did? The TOP “1%.” Money pocketed by big business.

The “savings” from Act 10's anti-market wage restraint reduced government budgets permitting tax cuts benefiting those who already have the most.

The same politicians legislating less pay for labor can’t claim to be saving Wisconsin money when they made the state one of only ten to rejected the return of some $2 billion of Wisconsin’s tax dollars from Washington to expand healthcare over the past decade.

Wisconsin is not “saving money” with Act 10. It is shrinking wage and small business growth while giving the 1% cash taken from its workers. This raw deal legislating low wages runs counter to the great New Deal that expanded our middle class. It’s more than time for Wisconsin’s State Supreme Court to reverse it ending gerrymandering.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Republicans abandon farmers, offer up silence instead.

Do Republicans deserve the vote of rural towns and farmers? Nope. 

I've been making this case for years, but the example below crystalizes that point. They have done nothing but promise no spending, while offering tax cuts. Spending would have helped farmers and small towns, and the extra money was there to finally clean up the wells and help upgrade infrastructure. But nothing was ever done. Then they messed up the tax credits too, as shown below.

First let's look for a cameo appearance of Senator Marklein, who sits on the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Tourism. Below is his district map. Pretty rural. 

In the shocking video below, not one Republican, including Marklein, offer up even the weakest excuse. Nothing...

Any questions? 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

John & Gordy Show returns...

We're back...Monday Oct 30, 6-8 am on WMDX 92.7. 

Friday, October 13, 2023

Universal Basic Income blocked in Wisconsin, because Republicans don't want to know.

Universal Basic Income and Guaranteed Income! Wisconsin Republicans hate to give anyone a chance, despite the fact that UBI works. 
"Republican lawmakers held a day of back-to-back public hearings in mid-April for bills, (like) the ban local guaranteed income programs."
Okay, we heard you, stop. WIS Republicans are loudly broadcasting that only they are in control. Not you, or parents, or "real Americans." THEY ARE IN CONTROL. For example, the recently passed ban on advisory referendums screams authoritarian control, keeping popular ideas from ever getting off the ground. These are not just popular but, in many cases, successful ideas implemented elsewhere. But they don't want to hear about it. Can you think of any other reason why they banned them?  

Like a Guaranteed Income or even Universal Basic Income (UBI). 

Republicans still living in and saying the same old 20th Century Things: This never rang true for me: "They didn't earn it." 
Universal basic income does not give people something for nothing so much as equalize everyone’s share of the luck. Fair giving and taking would then take place on the basis of a more equitable starting place.
Question: Did a recently graduated teen from a well-to-do family actually earn an advantage over a graduated teen coming from a poor struggling family? No. This is where, in this case a guaranteed income that is targeted to lower income individuals only, tries to give a hand up to those unable to get started.
And a growing body of research based on the experiments shows that guaranteed income works — that it pulls people out of poverty, improves health outcomes, and makes it easier for people to find jobs and take care of their children. If empirical evidence ruled the world, guaranteed income would be available to every poor person in America, and many of those people would no longer be poor.
Recently I interviewed a 20-something who kept apologizing to me for having not made enough money last year to be able to buy a car so he could get a better job this year. A guaranteed income would have made a difference. 

The only thing holding up this proven policy is resentment. Someone getting something for "nothing." 
UBI is also a very conservative idea: 
Figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Milton Friedman (backed the idea)—but the conversation did not pick up much in subsequent decades.
There are no examples of where guaranteed income and universal basic income didn't work. At least, I didn't find any. So here are some examples:
Example A:
Beginning in February 2019, for example, 125 residents of Stockton, California, received a monthly stipend of $500 over the course of 24 months through a citywide initiative. “And they did find that full-time employment increased,” says Donna Pavetti, vice president for family income support policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“It just gave people some flexibility,” she says, “So if they were working two part-time jobs, they could cut back, which gave them time to look for a better job.”

One year into the two-year pilot, Stockton recipients had spent 37% of their allotments on food, 22% on home goods and personal clothing items, and 11% on utilities. They spent less than 1% on alcohol and tobacco.

Beyond covering their own needs, some of the Stockton Compton recipients have committed to using the funds to pay it forward. That’s part of what the program’s organizers hope to demonstrate: that redistributing wealth through direct payments could improve access to education, housing and nutrition; reduce the racial wealth gap; and stimulate economic activity—which in turn can lift up a whole community.

Already, at least two members of the Compton Pledge have used some of their funding to start their own nonprofits
Example B: 
A study of 25 residents of Hudson, New York, who began receiving $500 per month in the fall of 2020 on behalf of research organization the Jain Family Institute, found similar results. Participants’ employment (both full and part-time) grew from 29% to 63%, and their physical and mental health improved as well.
Example C: 
The final results of Finland’s program found that a basic income actually had a positive impact on employment. People on the basic income were more likely to be employed than those in the control group, and the differences were statistically significant, albeit small. Concurrent changes in other unemployment policies make it difficult to ascertain, from this study, whether the basic income, the other changes, or both were responsible for the higher employment levels. However, something about the modest level of the basic income and the lack of conditions attached to receiving it seems to have motivated recipients to seek and accept work they otherwise might not have.

Monday, August 21, 2023

WISGOP's 14- to 15-year-old child labor push exposes Kids to dangerous jobs and Sexual harassment in Bars and Restaurants. "Protecting our kids?"

Who thinks the three Republicans pushing legislation allowing 8th thru 10th graders (ages 14 and 15) to work without a permit or even permission from their parents is a good idea? Not only is this not a solution to our labor shortage, but a regressive idea returning our nation to the worst of the Gilded Age.  

Republicans actually said child labor laws in Wisconsin are "needless administrative barriers," and excessive "government regulation." 

(AP) Children ages 14 and 15 would no longer need a work permit or parental permission to get a job under a Republican bill. This comes amid a wider push by state lawmakers to roll back child labor laws, despite the efforts of federal investigators to crack down on a surge in child labor violations nationally...violation of child labor laws has increased by 37% within the last year.

So "parental rights" works to dismantle public education, but parental rights don't work for their teenagers getting a job while just entering high school? 

Sen. Cory Tomczyk and Reps. Clint Moses and Amy Binsfeld, the Republicans sponsoring the bill, called youth work permits “needless administrative barriers that slow down the hiring process. It’s important that young people have the opportunity to work without having to endure excessive government regulation...”
...enforcing child labor laws? Exhibit A, defining what Republicans mean by "excess government regulation." Never forget. 

WISGOP Protecting Employers from being Caught, not kidding: While Republicans make getting unemployment benefits almost impossible to get, they're helping employers hide abuses like kids doing dangerous jobs and low wages:
The bill continues to require employers to keep their own records of employees’ ages and hours worked, but without work permits verified by a state agency, companies caught violating child labor laws can more easily claim ignorance...eliminating the permit requirement makes it significantly more difficult to investigate violations because there are fewer records of where kids are being employed.
Sadly, one child was killed on the job because his father worked at the same business, a legal exemption in Federal child labor law: 
Michael Schuls, 16, died on June 29 after sustaining injuries at the Florence Hardwoods logging company in Florence, Wisconsin. Michael was attempting to unjam a wood-stacking machine when he became pinned under machinery on a conveyor belt, resulting in what the coroner identified as traumatic asphyxiation, The Associated Press reported.

Note: Sen. Cory Tomczyk's use of the word "fagot" spark a lawsuit that smacks of violating freedom of the press:

Wisconsin Examiner: Tomczyk, then just a businessman and former school board member, alleged that the paper defamed him when it published accusations that he had called a 13-year-old boy a “fag” during an Aug. 12, 2021, meeting. The boy had spoken in favor of a resolution called “A Community for All,” which was meant to reinforce the importance of diversity and inclusivity.

Digital newspaper The Wausau Review & Pilot editor and founder Shereen Siewert, said she believed the purpose of Tomczyk’s lawsuit is “to bankrupt me and crush our organization.” She recalled..."that even if we win, we lose, because there is no way for us to counter sue or recoup our losses in any way … because we live in Wisconsin.”

Unlike 31 other states and the District of Columbia, Wisconsin has no laws on its books to push back against what are known as SLAPP lawsuits, meant to silence critics by presenting them with crushing legal costs that cannot be recovered, even in cases where the suits have little merit.
In light of Senator Tomczyk’s horrific, bullying comments made towards a child coupled with him attempting to stifle reporting on the incident, leading to their potential closure, the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee (SSDC) is calling on Senator Cory Tomczyk to resign.
14 Year Olds Serving Alcohol? That's NOT protecting kids from sexual harassment: Again, while MAGA Republicans push their phony "protect the kids" from school library book "pornography," they're okay with subjecting 14-year-old girls to drunk or toxic manliness in bars and restaurants. After all, women dominate wait server jobs (80% of Waitresses are female, and 19% are male). Got it.

In Wisconsin lawmakers are advocating for lowering the ageto serve alcohol in bars and restaurants to 14. It would be a nationwide first if approved, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Let's hope voters are smart enough to decide who deserves to be reelected. The guilty parties...
The bill sponsors Sen. Rob Stafsholt, of New Richmond, and Rep. Chanz Green, of Grandview, sent a memo seeking cosponsors.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Chief Justice Ziegler plays the Victim, sobs over loss of power! Remember when she took the Governor and AG's powers away!

Well, what do you know, what goes around comes around.

Stay with me on this. Remember this blatantly obvious partisan WI Supreme Court decision to take the Governors powers away?

Wisconsin Examiner: The lame-duck session has been described by many as ‘power grabs’ because after Gov. Tony Evers and Kaul were elected — but before they took office — the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker moved quickly to diminish the incoming constitutional officer. These were powers Walker enjoyed his eight years in office, but Republicans did not want an incoming Democratic governor to have. 
In other words, some of the governors' powers were replaced by the legislature.

Conservative Justices Fire Liberal Chief Justice Immediately: Justice Shirley Abrahason was the court’s longest-serving member under the 126-year-old pre-amendment rules. Or were they more like guidelines...arrrrr, I'm a pirate???
I tried to ask the conservative justices — Michael Gableman, Patience Roggensack, Annette Ziegler and David Prosser — why they thought it was important to go ahead and vote Roggensack into the chief’s spot on the same day state elections officials certified the results of the April 7 statewide vote approving the amendment.
Fast forward to this week and conservative Chief Justice Ziegler's public tantrum: It's not so much fun when it happens to you...? 
Ziegler: "This is a complete outlier with respect to my colleagues gutting the rule of the Supreme Court Chief Justice that has been long standing. 40 years, since 1984, it has been defined by the internal operating procedures, and they basically took everyplace it said Chief Justice, gutted it, and put sham committee in its place.
Aw...again, this is the Chief Justice whining, going public, playing the victim, and appealing to MAGAs. No wonder this conservative court was considered one of the worst in the nation. WKOW

Background: Republican Justices had to ignore the Wisconsin Constitution:
The court ruled 4-3 in favor of the GOP, dismissing an argument that the session was called unconstitutionally. The court's majority opinion, written by conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley, rejected that. "The Wisconsin Constitution itself affords the legislature absolute discretion to determine the rules of its own proceedings."

The court's liberal justices dissented, saying the majority "subverts the plain text of ... the Wisconsin Constitution." ...the state constitution does not ascribe the power to call an extraordinary session of the legislature to lawmakers. "The Legislature's ability to determine the rules of its proceedings pursuant to Article IV, Section 8 does not swallow up the meeting requirements of Article IV, Section 11 or allow it to wield unbridled power," wrote Justice Rebecca Dallet.


Crisis Pregnancy Center Con lowering the bar for Women's Health Care.

 Hey, "there's so much good they do" for women, why not spend our taxpayer dollars on this...PBSWIS

According to Choose Life Wisconsin, there are more than 70 pregnancy resource centers like Life’s Connection around the state. And because of their prenatal support and the fact that these organizations don’t refer pregnant people for abortions and do actively discourage abortions, some Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin think they should receive state taxpayer funding.

State Senator Romaine Robert Quinn has introduced legislation toT fund these centers, (with) $1 million per year funneled to the centers through grants administered by Choose Life Wisconsin. The senator says the state should provide the money because "there’s so much good they do."
Here's a clip:

Another MAGA Republican Con-Crisis Pregnancy Centers: The stream of nonstop unregulated "do-it-yourself" opportunities by the MAGA grifting class is getting ridiculous. After reading about taxpayer voucher money nationally going to "education" centers that don't have teachers but do baby sit kids while their parents are at work, I came across this amazing grift about Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Since Republicans love this kind of stuff, they'll recklessly throw money at it. The Big But?: 
Most Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not licensed medical clinics. Most of their staff, likewise, does not include medical professionals (Bryant & Swartz, 2018). According to a report from the pro-life Lozier Foundation, Crisis Pregnancy Centers across the United States have had around 67,400 volunteers. 7,500 of those volunteers have been medical professionals, meaning only roughly 11 percent of Crisis Pregnancy Center staff are medical professionals (Charlotte Lozier Institute, 2018).
The con starts at the door...Wisconsin Examiner (Sept 2019):
“These so-called resource centers are designed to mislead women and to be deceptive,” says Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison). “Women are tricked into entering facilities thinking they are accessing a legitimate health clinic offering services based on factually accurate medical information.” One group specifically stated their goal was to go in the wrong door,’ accessing their group when they were looking for a Planned Parenthood or other clinic with a full range of reproductive health options.

With something this important, you would have thought Sen. Romain Quinn would have looked into the history of Crisis Pregnancy Centers? Nope: 

A student in Wisconsin was told the abortion pill would render her infertile and a sophomore seeking STD testing was encouraged to sign a chastity pledge and told various horror stories about sex (Gerson, 2019).
Downgrading Womens Health Care? Anecdotal health care treatment and advice is a growing right-wing industry:
Sara Finger, the founder and executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health: “The Republican majority is out of touch with what women in Wisconsin need. We are perfectly capable of making healthcare decisions for ourselves. What we need is access to accurate information and affordable quality healthcare.”
Here are more bizarre politically motivated Facts about Crisis Pregnancy Centers: These centers gained legitimacy via the conservative Roberts court and chaos Czar Justice Thomas: 
There has been legislation, such as California’s FACT Act, that has attempted to require Crisis Pregnancy Centers to meet certain standards of accountability - like telling patients that the state offers services including family planning services, prenatal care, and abortion. The Supreme Court struck down this legislation in a 5 - 4 decision. The majority opinion, written by Justice Thomas, argued that such legislation was a violation of Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ freedom of speech.     Justice Breyer argued in the dissenting opinion: “If a state can lawfully require a doctor to tell a woman seeking an abortion about adoption services, why should it not be able, as here, to require a medical counselor to tell a woman seeking prenatal care or other reproductive healthcare about childbirth and abortion services?” (Barnes, 2018).
1. Heartbeat International also published a “List of Major Psychological Effects of Abortion” that claims that women suffer from “Post-Abortion Syndrome” after they terminate their pregnancy (Heartbeat International, 1997). Investigators called 25 crisis pregnancy centers that received federal funding and found that 87% of the centers “provided false or misleading information about the health effects of abortion” on subjects such as the risk of breast cancer, fertility, and mental health effects of abortion (U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, 2006).

2. The guide, “A Pro-Active Strategy to Defend Your Pregnancy Center Against Legislative Attacks”, was meant to be a confidential resource but was easily accessible in an online PDF. In it, they state a key part of the messaging and strategy of CPCs have been purposefully obscuring their connection to pro-life political activism as to not scare away those who are seeking an abortion. As more and more research and attention have been brought to these centers, they made a turn to instead proactively present themselves to state elected officials “[f]or the sake of God’s glory and protecting the ongoing work of pregnancy centers” (CareNet, NIFLA, Heartbeat International, 2008). A big part of this initiative was counteracting plans to regulate or shut down Crisis Pregnancy Centers

3. The largest adoption agency in the nation, Bethany Christian Services is notorious for manipulating women to keep their pregnancies and treating “birth mothers” terribly. Bethany Christain Services run a CPC-like pregnancy counseling apparatus. Critics argue that they artificially produce orphans even for women that want to carry their pregnancy to term and parent and make tens of thousands from adoptive parents.
And no surprise, Crisis Pregnancy Centers have failed:
There is no evidence that Crisis Pregnancy Centers are even fulfilling their missions. A study published in 2018 found that there was no “evidence that pregnant women regularly seek CPC services or that CPCs persuade women who are certain abortion is the right decision for them to continue their pregnancies”. Prenatal patients reported receiving inaccurate information, and patients generally recognized that these centers were not medical clinics. Only 3 of the 383 people surveyed reported visiting a CPC that impacted their decisions regarding abortion. For organizations that center their operations on persuading women not to go through with abortion, their tactics do not seem to be very effective (Kimport, Kriz, & Roberts, 2018) As organizations that receive government assistance and taxpayer funding both federally and in a long list of states, it is fair to demand accountability from Crisis Pregnancy Centers. The mission of Crisis Pregnancy Centers is not to provide resources or information to women seeking to carry to term. They are extensions of a larger political apparatus.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Vos threatens Impeachment for New Liberal Justice if she steps out of line, which must be a crime?

After finally gaining enough gerrymandered MAGA Republican seats in the State Senate, impeachment is now the sledgehammer they intend to use as a threat to anyone who they think is stepping out of line. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Keep in mind...
Article VII, section 1, of the Wisconsin Constitution provides that “the assembly shall have the power of impeaching all civil officers of this state for corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors.
Vos' made up "violation of office" would be considered a CRIME? Good luck with that one Robin. 

Of course, no threats of any kind were made when conservative activist Justices didn't recuse themselves despite major conflicts of interest or previous social and political hardline statements in the last 15 years. Because when conservatives put that "black robe on, they put opinions aside":

Bradley's argument makes Vos' point moot, but here's Bradley entire quote that includes political inclinations: 

Every judge comes to the bench as a human being having opinions on the issues of the day. It requires a judicial mindset when we put that black robe on to be able to set aside those personal opinions, policy preferences and political inclinations and to always follow the law and that’s why I emphasize to the voters my judicial philosophy.”
But according to Vos, liberal Justices that believe facts conservatives refuse to believe should be stopped:
Vos: "You cannot have a judge who said, you know, the maps are rigged because she bought into the argument that that's why we're winning elections, not the quality of our candidates..."
But the maps are rigged....

WUWM: The new maps, drawn by the Wisconsin State Legislature, are considered the most partisan-biased, court-adopted maps in the nation. That’s according to a new analysis from the University of Wisconsin Law School. The maps heavily advantage Republican politicians, all but guaranteeing Republican-rule in the state Legislature, regardless of what most voters want.

The analysis looked at four metrics: partisan-bias, efficiency gap, mean-median difference and declination.

"On every one of these standard partisan fairness metrics, these new maps are the worst, court-adopted maps that we’ve seen anywhere in the country," says Rob Yablon, an associate professor at the law school, who published the analysis.
Yet "Least Change" Redistricting Maps, a jaw dropping joke, Adopted:
By multiple established measures, Wisconsin’s state legislature is among the most heavily gerrymandered in the country. Republicans gained an even stronger legislative advantage in the most recent redistricting cycle—but this time, the (least change) maps were chosen by the Wisconsin Supreme Court...After intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, ultimately adopted the assembly and senate maps drafted by the legislature—the same ones Governor Evers had previously vetoed.
Wisconsin had One of the Worst State Supreme Courts in the Country. The recent change was a welcome change...

The New Yorker noticed... a decadelong saga that, largely through money-fueled and often nasty judicial elections, has intensified the turn of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from a congenial, moderately liberal institution into a severely divided conservative stronghold. More to the point, the elections have reduced it from one of the nation’s most respected state tribunals into a disgraceful mess.
It was so bad (no joke), a conservative Justice wrapped his hands around a female Justices happened:

It's no coincidence that Rep. Robin Vos is focusing on the two major court challenges: gerrymandered maps and an 1849 abortion ban. If there is "any semblance of honor" left after years of destroying its reputation...:
"If there's any semblance of honor on the state Supreme Court left, you cannot have a person who runs for the court prejudging a case and being open about it, and then acting on the case as if you're an impartial observer, she would violate her oath of office, " Vos (said).
But if Justice Janet Protasiewicz (prota-say'-wisz) has supposedly "prejudged" a few cases, has any other Justice done the same? Sure, but would conservative Justice Bradley recuse herself from the important 1849 abortion ban? She should...:

Like the other conservative Justices, they told us how theywere going to vote by right wing policy statements of the organizations they were a part of. Check out Badley's political ties: 

She has served as president of the Milwaukee chapter of the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers group, and has belonged to the Republican National Lawyers Association and the Thomas More Society, a Catholic legal group.
What's so biased about the libertarian Federalist interpretation of the law, or pushing conservative orthodoxy via the National Lawyers Association?
The extreme MAGA influence is clear in the disconnect Bradley has when it comes to the government's role in PUBLIC HEALTH. This is brutal. Bradley ignores Wisconsin statutes regarding public health, especially when it comes to a deadly pandemic. Watch for... "in May 2020, Bradley "compared the state's stay-at-home orders to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II," a case known as Korematsu v. the United States"

NEW: Rebecca Bradley revises her own history like they all do now:

"Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice @JudgeBradleyWI is currently engaging in an edit war on her Wikipedia page under an anonymous username that she also uses in her personal email." The username? "rlgbjd," which could very well refer to Rebecca Lynn Grassl Bradley, J.D. According to her Wikipedia page, in May 2020, Bradley "compared the state's stay-at-home orders to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II," a case known as Korematsu v. the United States. With her Wikipedia edits, Bradley dropped what she said during oral arguments and replaced it with a quote from her concurring opinion that overturned the stay-at-home order.

She also revised the description of her majority opinion in the 2021 redistricting case aimed at setting new political boundary lines in the state.

Originally, her Wikipedia bio said her written decision in the case "declined to change district maps that were in favor of Republicans." That sounds a lot like the Associated Press' version, which said the high court "sided with Republicans" in the redistricting ruling.

But Bradley revised the section to say her majority decision "declined to change district maps to achieve partisan 'fairness' and limited the court's involvement in redistricting to ensuring the maps comported with the law."

Sounds so nonpartisan, doesn't it?
New North Carolina Conservative Majority shows how MAGAs have Remade the Rule of Law:  Vos would have to make the case for NC's breathtaking reversal of a Court decision made only 3 months before by a more liberal court. I guess politics had everything to do with it? 

A new majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday gave Republican lawmakers free rein to draw state legislative and congressional maps as they see fit, reversing a decision issued in December, when liberals controlled the court. “This case is not about partisan politics but rather about realigning the proper roles of the judicial and legislative branches. The new majority said North Carolina courts don’t have a reliable way to determine when maps are overly partisan and so cannot throw out maps for giving one political party an advantage over the other.
WOW! There's no way of knowing. Yes, Republicans are in the "proper roles" taking over the government. 
In dissent, Justice Anita Earls, a Democrat, wrote that the majority “tells North Carolinians that the state constitution and the courts cannot protect their basic human right to self-governance and self-determination.” Justice Michael Morgan joined in the dissent.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Not about "Protecting Kids." Republicans alone want to Own the Youth and Gain the Future!

Who knew Hitler was right all along? MAGA Republicans seem to think so, using Hitler's genius to reform and weed out "woke" public education. 

The Walker Youth Movement, Pre-DeSantis. Goin after the kids: When voters kicked Scott Walker out as governor, he took aim at America's youth, becoming the president of the Young America's Foundation (YAF). Playing off the "liberal indoctrination" myth, he was pretty clear...
Walker said another priority of his, both at the high school and university level, would be to promote more objective teaching of American history, global history, economics, and simple financial literacy: “If you just give people the facts, if you don’t put your spin on it, the facts will overwhelmingly lead people to be more aligned with our point of view.” He added that because of progressive professors and liberal politicians, “this generation just doesn’t believe what the facts show to be true.”

“YAF has been great – but we have to multiply it a thousand times over and reach more students and more campuses and earlier. Not just in college and high school, but teens and pre-teens, to find more ways to expose people to the truth, he said he told the board.

White Religious Nationalism Indoctrination Okay? You would have thought some of the $3.5 billion proposed tax cut could have gone instead to our public schools and the UW Engineering Department, but no. Rep. Robin Vos bravely doubles down the imagined enemy of public education, liberal indoctrination:

“They tell me we don’t have enough people to be in engineering. We don’t have enough folks who are teaching an awful lot of careers. But. boy are they able to find millions of dollars to put into a curriculum and an ideology,” Vos added. “So, if they have extra money then I think it should be taken back, and the taxpayers of Wisconsin will have a chance to use it for something better than indoctrinating kids with left-wing ideology. It should not be indoctrination, where you’re only allowed to have one point of view.”

Then there's the idea that students aren't allowed to present a different opinion in class. Not true. It turns out conservative students know their view might be unpopular, so they self-censor. No one is shutting them down. From a YAF poll, mirroring a similar recent result from a UW poll:

46 percent admit they "have stopped myself from sharing my ideas or opinions in class discussions." As for why these students refrained, it appears that peer pressure is the dominating factor as 50 percent said they held back their opinions because they "thought my classmates would judge me."

That's not on the instructor or the other students. 

GOP's Religious Nationalism and Hitler's Comeback: The following clips may be from around the country, but they clearly represent Wisconsin's gerrymandered Republican majority. Saying the quiet parts outload now, proving "liberal indoctrination" never did work if it ever did exist, here are a few amazing examples: First, openly admit what you're doing...

...and pointing out who inspired you...

...doubling down via Moms for Liberty, who hope to "own the youth," which in someway "empowers parents?" a history loving 20 year old school board candidate casually quoting Hitler to make his case to voters:

Not going to take it anymore: What more can be said, it's all here...

NOTE: I thought this is something we should get an update on; the health of democracy in Wisconsin: 

 Here's what happened to democracy in Wisconsin. Surprise, it's not all "freedom and liberty:"

The conclusions were clear: The GOP is the problem. “Results suggest a minimal role for all factors except Republican control of state government, which dramatically reduces states’ democratic performance during this period,” he writes. While many researchers have attempted to quantify the health of democracy in different countries around the world, Grumbach’s paper is the first effort to develop some kind of ranking system for US states. And it’s yet another piece of evidence that the Republican Party has become an anti-democratic political faction.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Stopping the Red State Grift taking Blue State tax dollars.

Is it intentionally ironic how Republicans are demanding we not use public tax dollars to fund DEI programs because they're part of a "WOKE" left wing agenda, while at the same time blatantly accept Blue State tax dollars to fund authoritarian one-party rule and tax breaks in Red States? 

While I would have like to have seen the House Republican's cut all wasteful "spending" first in red states, just to test out their theory of austerity, I think Thom Hartmann's suggestion below should be taken very seriously. 

The idea below really does hold Republican states feet to the fire:

When the Biden administration tried to just slightly slow down the Red state gravy train, specifying in the American Rescue Plan could not be misappropriated and redirected to tax cuts for local billionaires, their politicians — dancing to the tune of their in-state oligarchs — went ballistic. As Forbes documented:
“In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, 21 Republican state attorneys general described it as ‘the greatest attempted invasion of state sovereignty by Congress in the history of our Republic.’”
Federal policy fails to equalize revenue flowing to Red states against the tax money they send Washington DC. This loophole in US tax law is driving this bizarre process where citizens in Blue states are forced by law to pay for all-white “Christian” academies, enforcement of abortion restrictions, persecution of asylum seekers and immigrants, and political attacks on queer people.

Red state “welfare queen” governors and legislatures are going to happily continue this grift as long as we let them get away with it. Congress should pass legislation mandating that Red state revenues to DC must at least match 90 percent of the money they get back; 100 percent would be better, and help hugely with our nation’s budget deficit.

It’s time to end Red state welfare!

Here's an example:

Cartoonist found Alive!


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Vos Republicans plan to punish UW, again! Adopt fabricated MAGA policies attacking Equity and Diversity or lose funding.

Apparently, Republicans denying state funding for the expansion of the job creating engineering department due to high demand, wasn't enough of an economic killer for the state

The UW-Madison College of Engineering receives some 8,000 applicants annually but only has the space and teaching resources to accept about 1,200. The $347 million building would allow the state flagship to graduate at least 1,000 more undergraduate engineers annually, as well as hire more faculty and expand research. “Today is certainly a sad day for UW–Madison, but the real tragedy is for the state of Wisconsin,” Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said in a statement. "This building would promote the state’s economic development. It would create significant workforce opportunities. It would propel innovation. And without it, we harm businesses all across Wisconsin."
Where's Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), who were big supporters of the expansion? Business was also shocked:
CEOs were "terrified" and confused as to why Wisconsin wouldn't fund the project, which would make it even more difficult for businesses to hire engineers ... some companies are offering jobs to students two years before graduation.

This isn't really an Issue: Now the ridiculously gerrymandered Republican majority wants to spew their party's racism and bigotry into the UW System by banning equity and inclusion. It's still surreal to think anyone would be against equity and inclusion, but hey, their MAGA voters will buy into anything. So, bring out the torches and pitchforks for their latest fabricated outrage.

Keep in mind, Republicans have always found some way to punish the UW System, the state's economic engine, for its liberal reputation. So, why the labor shortage? Gee, I don't know...  

The fight this year centers on issues of free speech and UW's work to advance diversity and racial equity. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he wants to cut all funding the university system would use for diversity initiatives. 

“I want the university to grow and succeed, but if they are obsessed with spending all the scarce dollars that they have on programs that are clearly divisive and offer little public good, I don’t know why we’d want to support that." Republican lawmakers this year have proposed more than 30 bills in 12 states to limit diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in higher education. 
The horror, right? Maybe we should limit all those "diverse" right-wing speakers and topics at the UW? Cuts both ways.
Democratic Sen. Kelda Roys said. "The UW is the economic engine of the state. Making any cuts to the UW, especially politically motivated ones, is just going to harm every person in this state.”
How bad can it get, and who will eventually pay for this? Parents and students. Sweet. "Come to Wisconsin?" Dream on.
UW regents asked the Legislature for a total spending increase of nearly $436 million in state money over the next two years, citing low revenue from a decade long tuition freeze and rising costs due to inflation. Vos said the budget committee plans to reject that request. Tuesday's vote could leave the UW System nearly half a billion dollars short of what school officials say they need.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Wisconsin, we're going Nowhere Fast...

The shocking lack of progress in Wisconsin has now become glaringly obvious. Anti-job legislation doesn't even get a passing glance by Republican voters anymore. Hey, it's just the way it is. Trapped in amber;

1. "Strip out All of the Milwaukee things!" Republicans have been trashing Milwaukee for decades, so guess what? Despite being one of the top economic engines statewide...

After credit downgrade, Vos smells blood in the water, and threatens to strip Milwaukee provisions from government funding bill...
WPR: "If we do not get a deal this week, I think we should strip out all of the Milwaukee things," Vos told reporters Wednesday. "And we will just focus on the balance of the bill, which is repealing the personal property tax and making sure that every community around the state is not held hostage by Milwaukee's problems."
So why aren't Milwaukee's problems the state's problem? After Milwaukee's credit rating was downgraded due to inadequate funding by Republican over the last decade, now it's Gov. Evers responsibility? 
If an agreement is not reached, Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said the Senate would pursue a shared revenue bill that does not include a sales tax option for Milwaukee. "The governor has a chance to save Wisconsin's largest city and most populous county from bankruptcy. We hope he takes it."

2. WI Republicans denounce progress by protecting gas guzzling machines and power equipment. TMJ4:

The Environmental group Wisconsin Conservation Voters told lawmakers last month that the measure “is at best a solution in search of a problem” given that no community in Wisconsin or the state itself is attempting to ban any type of fuel.
3. Public Health is Tyranny: This is an issue? WI Republicans decided meningitis isn't a real danger after all, forget about protecting the children. But drag shows...yup, just more WOKE tyranny:

This is what we get for trying to stop the COVID pandemic...

The state Assembly and state Senate voted to bar Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' administration from implementing a new rule that would have required seventh graders to get vaccinated against meningitis and mandated parents to show proof their children were infected with chickenpox before obtaining a waiver from the state's chickenpox vaccination requirement...voted in March to block the rule after a GOP members questioned the decision-making of state health officials, largely because they disagreed with their orders to shutter businesses in the weeks after Evers declared a health emergency over COVID-19 and to wear masks during the most threatening periods of the coronavirus pandemic.
4. Forget Job Creation, Republicans Punish UW System...Again, by Rejecting Engineering Expansion: With one third already funded, all the state had to do was contribute the rest, with a massive budget surplus as a cushion. Nope. 
UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin in February called it a “critical project” that would help boost economic development in the state. "Investing in this facility will help address a crucial workforce shortage in the state as well as enhance the world-class research that draws talent into our state and drives economic vibrancy. We will continue to champion this vital project.” JSONLINE: The UW-Madison College of Engineering receives some 8,000 applicants annually but only has the space and teaching resources to accept about 1,200. The $347 million building would allow the state flagship to graduate at least 1,000 more undergraduate engineers annually, as well as hire more faculty and expand research.
Sen. Kelda Roys (D-Madison) said defunding the UW engineering building “makes no economic sense” and blamed it, and other UW-related funding cancellations, on hostility toward the university by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. “It only make sense if you think about it as political retribution,” Roys said.
Around $100 million in private donations for a planned engineering building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are at risk after Republican lawmakers pulled the $347 million project from the state's capital budget.

It was first included in Gov. Tony Evers' 2021-23 capital budget recommendations. Evers included the project again in his current $3.8 billion capital budget proposal.

But the engineering building — singled out as the top priority both for the university and for the UW System — was axed. Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, said "it shouldn't be surprising" that Republicans trimmed down Evers' original request. Born said Evers' capital budget "was unrealistic and spent beyond the state's means."
5. WI Republicans Kill High Speed Broadband Rollout, AGAIN: This affects rural Republican voters most, but they're watching distraction TV and reading alt-right media instead. 

The GOP lawmakers who hold three out of four seats on the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) rejected Evers’ proposal to put $750 million in state funds into broadband internet service expansion, saying that pending federal infrastructure money would be more than enough for that purpose through the 2023-25 budget cycle. According to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau report, the state will receive $700 million to $1.1 billion in federal broadband funds starting by July 1 from the bipartisan infrastructure law enacted in late 2021.
6. WI Republicans may turn down Federal Money for EV Charging stations: Republicans don't quite fit in to the 21st century, you know. 

WPR: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation hopes to nearly double the number of publicly-available electric vehicle charging stations around the state with an infusion of federal dollars — but an outdated state law stands in the way. But federal requirements stipulate those stations need to charge customers by the amount of electricity used, also known as kilowatt-hour. In Wisconsin, only regulated utilities are allowed to charge per kilowatt-hour.

Recent attempts to change the law have failed. A bill was introduced in the state Legislature last session, but died in the Assembly after being approved by the Senate. The language change was included in Gov. Tony Evers' budget, but was removed earlier this year by the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee.
7. ...and finally, illegal recreational Marijuana, WI is the island in the Midwest: