Saturday, February 8, 2014

Not just the Party of No, but the Party of No Jobs

Two big job creators are being blocked by the same Republican Party that can’t stop talking about the job creators. Clue: “Jobs” might be a trick into passing their many theoretical “Path’s to Prosperity.”

Since reducing government just takes control away from the people, the plan they have is an ugly one. Welcome to their capitalist utopia.
Finance: Just Like That, the ‘Party of No’ Is Back: Within the space of a few hours, Republicans put roadblocks in front of a pair of popular legislative proposals that supporters insist would create jobs, increase economic growth and alleviate a lot of human suffering.

1. A hard core of conservatives in John Boehner’s conference would oppose almost any immigration reform acceptable to Senate Democrats, but Boehner blamed the problem on a lack of “trust” in President Obama.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that comprehensive immigration reform would generate economic growth and shrink the federal deficit.
2. Later on Thursday, Republicans blocked the Senate from moving forward on a three-month extension of federal unemployment benefits (for) 1.7 million long-term unemployed people.
CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee that the extension of benefits would help the economy and create an estimated 200,000 jobs. 
And that's why Republicans still think they can sell the public on being job creators?

AG Candidate Brad Schimel ready to see changes in Secret Probes: "Public is concerned about how long (John Doe) has gone on."

Republicans have quickly turned the State Justice Department into just another political arm of the Walker Authority. After J.B. Van Hollen's transparently partisan reign ends, he wants to turn the keys over to conservative county DA Brad Schimel, who has already been given his talking points about a very inconvenient second Scott Walker John Doe probe.

Republicans want to make it illegal to conduct what is currently a legal investigation into possible illegal campaigning during Walker's recall election...I guess there are just too many of them.

In what can only be seen as a down-the-rabbit-hole explanation, Schimel told Upfront's Mike Gousha that he's all for changing the way secret John Doe investigations are run in the state. Does Schimel believes people are starting to lose confidence in the corrupt way Walker is running the state?
"...But I know there's a crisis in confidence. That the public is concerned about what they're hearing about how long this has gone on, and they're starting to have doubts."
Just so much bullshit from a guy who could head up the Justice Department.

jsonline: Assembly Republicans may consider revising the state law allowing secret John Doe investigations: Speaker Robin Vos  said "It is my understanding that other states do things differently." Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) quickly blasted the idea floated by Vos. “Republicans' desire to weaken John Doe law shows they are once again willing to go to extremes to avoid accountability and to hide questionable or potentially unethical actions for themselves and their allies."

Walker abandons 28 year old Wisconsin Business for Louisiana Advertising Company, Costing Business ads Twice as Much.

Scott Walker is attracting businesses alright, but the out-of-state kind that sends revenues and jobs out of Wisconsin.  Goodbye 28 year old homegrown businesses, you’re out of work.

I’m still astonishment that Walker would dump a Wisconsin company for a monopoly out of Louisiana. No loyalty? You've got to wonder what backroom deal had been struck to make this happen. Remember United Sportsmen of Wisconsin?
Some businesses are finding themselves in a lurch as a fight brews over who the state will put in charge of the blue highway signs that direct drivers to gas stations and restaurants.

New signs aren't going up because the Department of Transportation is trying to switch over to a new vendor … Derse-Wisconsin Highway Business Signs of Milwaukee has run the program for about 28 years, but is poised to lose it to Interstate Logos, a subsidiary of billboard giant Lamar Advertising Co. that is in charge of the blue signs in 22 other states.
That’s right, 28 years of service gone. These are the business friendly, job creating Republicans? And the price doubles for business:
In analyzing proposals from the two companies, the DOT awarded Interstate Logos 848 points and Derse 826 points … Derse filed an appeal … contending the sign work should not go to a firm headquartered in Louisiana that proposes to charge gas stations, restaurants and hotels twice as much in some cases for the signs.
The DOA made the change despite the proposed doubling of sign charges:
Derse proposed charging businesses $21 a month for signs along the interstate and $10 a month for signs along exit ramps. Interstate Logos proposed charging $46 per month for signs on the interstate, with no additional charge for signs on ramps … interstate signs would pay more than twice as much under Interstate Logos' proposal and businesses that need both interstate signs and ramp signs would pay 48% more. That could translate into as much as $8.6 million in additional costs for businesses over the 12-year life of the contract. The DOT has emphasized that no final decisions have been made on sign prices.
Illegal fast track to appoval:
Derse argued that giving the work to Interstate Logos was improper because the company was not registered to do business in Wisconsin at the time it submitted its proposal to the DOT; offered an impermissible pricing scheme; and ran a monopoly that could later jack up prices.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (in) a letter to Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, (said), "It appears the decision, as it stands now, would kill Wisconsin jobs, increase costs for Wisconsin businesses, and send local dollars to an out-of-state firm," he wrote.

Study: "Having a Republican Governor is Associated with Lower Rates of Growth!" Walker's Austerity and Tax Cuts Folly Proof.

Trickle-down true believers continue to repeat their voodoo incantations, despite overwhelming proof they've been wrong for years. Now the new real world numbers are in, again, and the news is even more unsettling.

This embarrassingly clueless comment from state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, who like Dumb Ron Johnson is a former and failed accountant, is just more gut wrenching trickle down BS:

But Kooyenga's theory is so very wrong. Low tax state don't do better, but states with liberal governors? See for yourself:
The Atlantic: The idea that lower income taxes spur economic development is a mantra for many Republicans and fiscal conservatives ... lower tax rates provide the needed financial incentives that attract capital, entrepreneurs, businesses, and talented people. But is this actually true?

A new study by Tulane's James Alm and Janet Rogers of Nevada's Department of Budget and Planning takes a close look at the effects of tax and spending policies at the state level. Entitled "Do State Fiscal Policies Affect State Economic Growth?", it examines 50 years of data (from 1947 to 1997), tracking  the effects of state tax policies, spending policies, and political orientation on economic growth. 
Get ready for "the bomb:"
They found "moderately strong evidence" that a "state's political orientation, as indicated by whether the governor is Republican or Democrat, whether the state has enacted tax and expenditure limitation legislation, and whether the state frequently elects a governor of the same party as the incumbent, have consistent, measurable, and significant effects on economic growth."  

And then they drop their bombshell: "Having a Republican governor," they conclude, "is associated with lower rates of growth." They qualify their conclusions slightly--but only slightly--noting that past measurement errors may have introduced some distortions into the record.

Taken together, these findings seem to support the spending orientation favored by liberals and pose a rather stark challenge to Republican governors who are embracing austerity.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Paul Ryan sounding more and more like Dumb Ron Johnson, and the public is starting to catch on...

The eager young brilliant minds at Carroll College may have had their dreams smashed, thanks to Rep. Paul Ryan’s predictions of a nightmarish dystopian future. What he said:
jsonline: America is facing a continuing cycle of debt, slow growth and joblessness that is setting up young adults to make less money and live at a lower standard than their parents, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan warned students at Carroll University on Friday. "I hate that law," he said of the Affordable Care Act.
The solution doesn't leave us in much better shape either. Ryan wants people to give up more their retirement money to Wall Street, border patrols, tax cuts to business and the black hole inside the military.

He’s Wisconsin’s policy genius:
Lower tax rates for business, shore up the borders and get those who are here illegally on special permits, let people divert part of their work taxes into protected accounts for retirement, and spend more on military readiness training.
 Anyone buying this scary vision of the future? No. Here a sample of the comment section that gives me hope:
Click to enlarge

Opposing Minimum Wage Hike, GOP like taking $4 billion from Taxpayers for Social Programs.

It's ironically true; no matter how much Paul Ryan complains about our safety net programs, he and his fellow Republicans are the reason so many people are on them.

Opposite Day Again? Think about it: Since 2001, the GOP spent money like drunken sailors, blew through revenue surpluses as far as the eye could see, and ushered in the second biggest economic crash in our history. And now they're whining about the people they forced out of their jobs? Amazing!

Ryan is convinced government help turns families into takers. But what if the nations biggest fast food businesses are using taxpayer money to give their employees food stamps and Medicaid benefits? Are they the real takers?

The Hideous Face of Wealth Entitlement.

Another billionaire chimes in!  

After the wealthy were being told for years by Republican politicians begging them for their money, that they were the "job creators," billionaires started to believe the bullshit. 

Sam Zell seems to think there aren't any laws in place that helped him. Their sense of entitlement reeks, and their belief that the public envy's them is laughable. For Zell, getting rid of all the rules and regulations, along with Social Security, would level the playing field. It would also open the flood gates for the rich to buy everything up: 

Chicago Tribune: Billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell agreed with capital pioneer Tom Perkins that wealthy Americans are being unfairly criticized and said that the 1 percent work harder.

"The 1 percent are getting pummeled because it's politically convenient to do so," Zell said, an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg Television’s "In the Loop" with Betty Liu. People "should not talk about envy of the 1 percent, they should talk about emulating the 1 percent. The 1 percent work harder, the 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society."
Even though we don't envy the 1 percent, they still think we do.

Republican boycotts good, Democratic Boycotts bad.

Boycott Girl Scout cookies? But Republicans say boycott's are bad. This supposed party of "freedom and liberty," if given the chance though, would legally block all liberal attempts to have boycotts. 

State Sen. Glenn Grothman is leading that charge. Grothman wants to ban the unfair left wing boycotts of Scott Walker contributors. These brave defenders of democracy, in reaction to seeing the public rise up in anger, call it "harassment."

You want to talk about harassment, here's a list of petty boycotts and phony outrage from the right wing:
Coke for their Superbowl ad,   Girl Scout cookies due to a few admired liberal women leaders,   another interracial Cheerio's ad (the first of which drew many racially motivated hate comments) that prompted a GOP boycott of MSNBC (remember Chris Wallace“Democrats are damn fools...not coming on Fox News”),   proposed Republican boycott of the State of the Union speech,   boycott the Superbowl over unionized players),   boycott 2016 presidential debates,   Florida boycott of Oprah Winfrey,   boycott a Univision debate,   ObamaCare boycott...etc.
Typically hypocritical. After all they have a more legitimate reason: 
jsonline: State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) ... bill to raise the threshold for when donors to state and local campaigns must disclose their occupations from its current level of more than $100 to more than $500 … also would eliminate the requirement that the donor's principal place of employment be disclosed … say(ing) the change is needed to reduce the harassment of businesses whose employees back candidates … he pointed to a boycott organized in March 2011 by firefighters, police and teachers unions against businesses, such as M&I Bank, with employees who had contributed to Walker's campaign.
I want to add Johnsonville Sausage to that as well.
"I don't like feeling that I'm putting someone's business at risk by asking for a campaign contribution," Grothman said.
Kind of like a Republican government "protection" racket. And yet...:
Government Accountability Board(s) Kevin Kennedy told the Senate committee that his agency has used the employer information to identify instances in which wealthy donors were evading spending limits by illegally funneling contributions through their employees. As for people and business getting blowback because of the candidates they support, Kennedy said, "That's part of the price of our democracy."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

CBO "problem" caused by Republicans!!! Ryan Flip Flops on his opposition to "Job Lock," hates worker freedom.

The news media in the state has yet to catch up to the real Paul Ryan. They like the manufactured public image of a proud kid from Wisconsin and who ran as vice president.

But Ryan's latest blowup may finally get the media to revise its take on Ryan once and for all.

The Affordable Care Act as it turns out, encourages entrepreneurs to start their own business without the worry of losing their health care. It's lifted a great weight off the shoulders of families everywhere, who can leave their lousy jobs and strike out on their own.

Ryan doesn't like empowering working Americans. Ryan knows that any labor shortage will result in a bidding war for workers, pushing up wages.

The Root River Siren put it best this way:
Ryan said that Obamacare is a "poverty trap" that will disincentivize people from working because they can get insurance anywhere they like:
“I guess I understand ‘better off’ in the context of healthcare. But ‘better off’ in inducing a person not to work who is on the low-income scale, not to get on the ladder of life, to begin working, getting the dignity of work, getting more opportunities, rising their income, joining the middle class, this means fewer people will do that," said Ryan.
Wow. Just. Wow. According to Paul Ryan, poor people will not aspire to the middle class because they will have the luxury of portable health care - Obamacare will "induce" poor people to not work. This should be a torches and pitchforks moment for Ryan - but we have all grown so accustomed to him saying shit like this - hardly anyone notices.
MSNBC took it too Ryan, showing a past clip from 2009 where he denounced "job lock," where workers are forced to stay at a job they didn't like for insurance. Now he's flip flopped. Looks like lyin' Ryan's political ambitions are showing again...

Just as interesting, from Bloomberg News, Nela Richardson exposes how the GOP created this new CBO outrage. Yes, it's their fault:

WISGOP trying to distract from Walker's Jobs Plan Failure!!! It didn't work.

Why is WISGOP pushing Mary Burke so hard for a jobs plan? You think they might be trying to cover up for Scott Walker's dismal failure? And didn't Republicans always say "government doesn't create jobs?" So what's the rush WISGOP? After all, it's been nearly 4 years and Walker isn't even halfway there. Can't keep a promise?

Anything more grotesque than the trumped up Attack on the Girl Scouts?

Hideous and petty, the truly ugly side of conservative politics can be summed up with their latest targeted victim:
Thank you, just in time for a midterm purging. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Walker makes sneering comments about Mary Burke, but adds "he hasn't been the one criticizing her for it."

Now that Mary Burke has come out swinging on the minimum wage, the WISGOP tune has changed from "why can't she tell us her plan" to "now she's grandstanding."

But even worse is the incidental governors ignorance of the market, and how fundamental demand is for job creation and business expansion. Demand, Scott Walker, the one thing tax credits and tort reform cannot create. If the following condescending response is a peak at what we'll see in the Walker/Burke debates, Walker's toast. In response to Burke's proposed minimum wage hike to $10.10 an hour over a few years Walker said this. WKOW:
"That's what happens when you don't have a jobs plan. You pretend to have one by pointing to something like that," Gov. Walker told reporters on Wednesday morning.  "We have a jobs plan, we've been implementing it, we'll continue to implement it."
The Walker jobs debacle makes what he said sound like a...threat.

Walker has done nothing to produce the states surpluses, but he will take credit for them. He's feeding off the supposed mismanagement and "horror" of Obama's socialist dictatorial recovery. 

But why is Walker running on his jobs record? Because he is desperately trying to make his promise inconsequential...old news. But Burke had this angle: 
Burke questioned why (she needs a jobs plan now), saying that Walker himself didn't have a jobs plan during his 2010 run for Governor until March of that year.
Here’s where our incidental governor shines. Soft spoken and detached from the swirling controversy's around him, Walker is again playing the victim and nice guy trying to take the high road:
But Gov. Walker said he hasn't been the one criticizing her for it (jobs plan). "I've just said if people are gonna comment about it, you'd think they'd have a plan," said Gov. Walker. "If the whole reason she got in was because of her background talking about jobs, if that's the number one issue, I'd think I'd have a plan of how I'd get there, but, I can't speak as to why she did or did not."
Which sounds a lot like the WISGOP talking points. This weird ability to appear to be on the sidelines isn't new:
Capital Times Contrubutor Joel McNally wrote:
When “Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker refuses to submit a budget with a tax increase to pay what it costs to run the county, he has essentially made his role as county executive irrelevant. The County Board passes its own budget every year to run the county. Walker criticizes the board for raising taxes. Then, the next year, Walker adopts the county board's budget from the previous year as his baseline and says he won't raise taxes beyond that.
Walker even managed to delay a devastating report about Milwaukee County going bankrupt under his control, so it wouldn't hurt his chances to run for governor. Back in October 2010 I wrote:
And the Greater Milwaukee Committees reported recommendations were not going to be made public until after the election, because…get ready for this…”members didn't want this to become some sort of political football during the fall election campaigns.”- H. Carl Mueller, (who is) a Milwaukee PR executive who sits on the committee.

Electing our Governor, one out-of-state billionaire at a time...

Remember when Scott Walker tossed off the stigma of out-of-state donations by claiming billionaires had nothing to gain by helping him become governor? It was ridiculously funny back then too.

Walker even claimed many of the protesters around the Capitol in the winter of 2011 were from out-of-state, which delegitimised the backlash to Act 10 because of that outside influence.

And yet the majority of money coming from out-of-state billionaires and others last year, and a Walker meeting with one this week in Texas, is a sign of national support for his agenda. Imagine a Democratic getting this kind of money from out-of-state?

Below, Mary Burke  commented:
"I'm concerned that our governor is going to be chosen by people outside of this state, and that it's money from people outside of Wisconsin who are going to buy this governorship." 
The report wraps up with a reminder that Walker was attending a fundraiser at the mansion of billionaire Harlan Crow in Texas.  Burke also commented on jobs and the minimum wage. WKOW:

Rubio attacks supposed "wasteful" ObamaCare "Bailout!" CBO says it will actually save the government $8 Billion over 3 years.

So Republicans managed to cut food stamps by $8 billion in the current farm bill to save the government money.

Oops, I take that back. Now they want to cost the government $8 billion in revenue and throw that away. So we're back to square one again?

That's what they call "fiscal conservatism," which is crazy and by all measurable standards, a massive failure. It's just more obvious now.
Bloomberg: Obamacare foes have been harping for the last few months on what they call the law’s “bailout” for insurance companies. Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been particularly vocal about his desire to repeal the piece of the law known as risk corridors: The provision lasts three years and applies only to companies offering plans on and state-run exchanges. If those insurers pay out much more in medical claims than they anticipated when setting premiums, the government will backstop some of their losses. That’s why critics call it a bailout, even though the government offers insurers similar protection from catastrophic risks such as floods and terrorism. 
I want to note here that “risk corridors” are also a permanent part of the unpaid for Republican Medicare Part D law. Hypocritical…ya think? But they won’t remind you of that.
If insurers set rates too high and pay out much less in medical claims than they expected, they will have to pay some of that money back to the government … an incentive to be on the safe side and not price premiums too high. And it removes insurers’ incentives to recruit only the healthiest people.
Brilliant plan, isn't it. Knowing Rubio’s plan is pure idiocy, anyone want to take a chance on their own health care reform plan? Anyone?
A new budget outlook (PDF) published Tuesday (by the CBO), however, estimates the provision will cause a net gain of $8 billion over three years.
Chris Hayes proves my point below, with guest Josh Barro:

Tea party has Tantrum, sues over sign ban on bridge overpass

For years signs have been banned on pedestrian overpasses to prevent driver distractions and possible abusive free placement of advertising on public property.

But these and other reasons don't amount to a hill of beans to low information tea party voters hell bent on impeaching Obama for...who knows what.
jsonline: Two La Crosse men have sued the Town of Campbell over its 2013 ordinance banning signs and other displays from a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 90, and from an area 100 feet around the bridge. The plaintiffs contend that the bridge is like a sidewalk, a traditional public forum, and that town officials tried to ban signs only after tea party activists hung banners urging passing motorists to impeach President Barack Obama.
Yup, instead of getting special treatment, tea party loons are always getting picked on. And since they haven’t caused an accident with their distractingly stupid signs...yet:
According to their lawsuit Greg Luce and Nicholas Newman had been demonstrating along the pedestrian bridge from August to October without incident, or any traffic accidents … In early October, the town passed an ordinance banning signs, flags, banners and such from the bridge, citing safety concerns. The plaintiffs contend the ban was in response to local news media coverage of the impeachment message.
And what a serious message too. Never one to act like adults, these losers decided to act like bratty children. Come to think of it, didn't conservatives bash Walker protesters for their signs and civil disobedience...but that was different? 
So on Oct. 24, Luce and fellow demonstrators came to the bridge wearing T-shirts that spelled out IMPEACH on one side, and OBAMA on the other. They were told by Campbell police to leave the overpass, and they did. On Oct. 27, Newman stood on the overpass with an American flag "to express his pride for his country and the ideals on which it was founded" when he was ticketed for violating the new ordinance, the suit states.

Brent Smith, a La Crosse attorney who represents the town, said the point of the ban was to prevent accidents. Smith said a similar restriction was adopted in Madison several years ago that was subjected to a similar challenge but upheld by a federal appellate court.
I just loved the reason given for defending these teabillies:
Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center "defends and promotes America's Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values."
Is anybody still buying this crap?

Mortgage Crisis Returns for Struggling Homeowners, while the banks get off easy.

Two huge relatively unreported stories are proving once and for all how easily the wealthy can crush the poor and middle class, with a lot of help from the do-nothing GOP congress. NY Times:
Outrage #1: Come tax time, JPMorgan Chase will be able to write off the $1.5 billion in debt relief it must give homeowners to satisfy the terms of a recent settlement. But the homeowners who receive the help will have to treat it as taxable income, resulting in whopping tax bills for many families who have just lost their homes or only narrowly managed to keep them.
I know, it’s almost too hard to believe, isn’t it? Just as bad…
Outrage #2: A tax exemption for mortgage debt forgiveness, put in place when the economy began to falter in 2007, was allowed to expire on Dec. 31, leaving hundreds of thousands of struggling homeowners in financial limbo there are still more than 6.4 million households underwater.

Typically, if someone lends you money and later says you do not have to pay it back, the I.R.S. counts the amount forgiven as income … (EXAMPLE) Eric Heil, 50, owes $250,000 on his mortgage, and has found a buyer willing to take the house for $150,000. The bank has agreed. But if Congress does not extend the exemption, he will be forced to count the $100,000 difference as income. That would mean a $28,000 tax bill, and Mr. Heil has no idea how he would afford it.

Lord Voldemort Stroebel says Larger Cities should get as much time as Small Towns for Voting, because it's fair?

Despite the media's reluctance to call it what it is, voter suppression, Wisconsin voters are about to see their right to vote curtailed. Lord Duey Voldemort Stroebel is successfully ramming one of the dumbest bills yet through the Republican legislature, which doesn't say much about the brain trust there:
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would change when residents can vote. The bill, already approved in the Assembly, would restrict the number of hours clerks can be open for in-person absentee voting: local clerks could only be open for 52.5 hours a week for the two weeks before Election Day, 7:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  Authors of the bill said extra hours in cities like Madison and Milwaukee are disenfranchising rural voters whose clerk's offices aren't open as much.
That’s right, area’s with huge populations only get as much time as those sparsely populated rural communities to vote. That makes so much sense, right?

But leave it to a hard working bartender to "Hulk smash" the idea with this brilliant argument: 
"The reality is this is a restricting bill," said Mary Oglesby, a bartender from Milwaukee who spoke at a Senate hearing Tuesday. "To say that a smaller community would be disenfranchised by a larger community having extra hours is just a false assumption because if you take away the hours from everyone how does that change anything for the small community? They still don't have the hours." 
Why didn't our Democratic lawmakers come up with that? From WISC Channel3000-Jessica Arp:

Sleazy Scott Suder; No Class in or Out of Office.

Let’s be adults here, and admit, what former Rep. Scott Suder did with his remaining campaign money was illegal. It’s not ambiguous, so it’s not hard to say he got caught, it’s that simple.
jsonline-Jason Stein: After announcing he was leaving the Legislature last fall, then Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder splurged and spent the remaining $5,700 in his campaign account on items like a new Apple computer, $2,000 in mileage money to himself and a steakhouse dinner, a review of candidate filings shows.

By law, spending from a state campaign account must be for a political purpose and not for a candidate's personal benefit, though the lines between those ends can be blurry. Hardware such as the computer, Suder bought it a month and a half after leaving the Legislature, must be used primarily for political purposes. 
So why did he buy a computer so long after he was already out of office? 
Suder told the website WisPolitics in case he decided to run for office again or needed it to help a former colleague seeking campaign help. 
Yea, that's the ticket. And unlike most every other retiring politician, Suder showed his true colors:
Suder didn't give any of his $5,721 in leftover funds to charity or other candidates. Suder used the campaign account to pay cellphone charges through late October, including a $580 charge from Verizon on Sept. 23 that didn't match other regular bills from that carrier. $106 on Sept. 25 at Fleming's, a high-end steakhouse in Madison. $291 at Sam's Club for office supplies on Sept. 13.
And don't forget about his now exposed deal with a group of lobbyists disguised as United Sportsmen of Wisconsin:
$194 to the Kewaunee Inn for a hotel stay on Aug. 23. That last stay was part of a Lake Michigan fishing trip taken by Suder and officials from United Sportsmen of Wisconsin.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pro-Life Wisconsin beating up on Girl Scouts now, Boycotting Cookies. Still don't think they're crazy?

After opposing pro-life health care access for all through the Affordable Care Act, isn't it time “pro-life” activists say enough is enough. Really, Pro-Life Wisconsin is now going after the Girl Scouts too?  

In what is a cooked up campaign of anti-Planned Parenthood swill, Pro-Life Wisconsin along with its national chain of zealots, has now determined the Girl Scouts are bloody accomplices to killer doctors.
They want you to buying this too! 
Pro-Life Wisconsin is asking its members to reconsider purchasing Girl Scout cookies, saying the organization is too closely linked to the abortion rights movement. In an email to supporters Monday, Pro-Life Wisconsin said that "while some local troops' activities may be wholesome, sadly, Girl Scouts USA promotes radically, anti-life women, such as Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, as role models, regularly partners with pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood for 'educational' activities, and encourages girls to fight for abortion on demand."
As usual, Pro-life Wisconsin doesn't need to have its fact straight, because it’s the smear campaign and public intimidation that’s most important to them.

Think twice though, says Pro-Life Wisconsin:
"They get involve in promoting, and advocating for women's reproductive rights. And we know what that exactly stands for." 
And we know they shouldn't obviously have those rights. Hey how about a lie?
Pro-Life Wisconsin told its supporters that "approximately 15 percent of each box sold goes to the troop. The rest goes to the regional and national organizations of Girl Scouts USA."

That's not true, said Christy Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Badgerland Council … No portion of cookie proceeds goes to the national Girl Scouts organization, she said. Of the $3.75 per-box retail price, about $2 goes to the regional council to pay for programming costs. While the organization's 112 regional councils do provide funding for the national Girl Scouts of the USA, that money comes from a portion of registration fees (not the cookies).
Still want to give them your money via a state sanctioned license plate? Proving you don’t have to be too smart to be a part of this cult, state director Peggy Hamill made this dumbfounding comment about the actual allocation of money:
Told of this, Peggy Hamill, Pro-Life Wisconsin's state director, said "our concerns still stand. Money is fungible. Regardless of whether it's actually the cookie money supporting the national Girl Scouts, we know that money goes from the regional councils to the national organization."
That's right, keep any education elements away from the Girl Scouts. From CBSLA:

CBO says Deficit down to $510 Billion this year.

Despite Republican efforts to prevent Americans from seeing the real effects of the Democratic Party's policies on the economy, Obama has been able to cut the deficit in half. 
The CBO reported that the federal budget deficit is rapidly shrinking and is projected to narrow to $514 billion this year, providing fresh evidence that the problem that has been Washington’s obsession for the past several years has become far less urgent.

Tax increases, spending cuts and faster economic growth have helped close the deficit.

GOP Spin Machine Again; CBO's 2 million people not working due to ObamaCare is not a loss but a choice people are making.

Right wing fabricator and fear mongering talk show host Charlie Sykes has found another way of keeping his listeners ramped up on anger. 

The CBO just reported that due health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, some workers might forego working completely, or reduce the number of hours on the job. The EQUIVALENCE of about two million people. 

That would be called a “choice.” It’s not that the ACA killing jobs but people deciding to do something else. Freedom and liberty all the way....
Many of those “not working” will be the self-employed, and many will now be able to relying on one bread winner per family, and not be forced to keep a job because of health insurance. The Post story did not expand on any of this. It's also a CBO prediction. It might not happen at all.

More importantly, the ACA nationwide is predicted to create around 270,000 jobs in ten years, that negates some of the losses we’ll see when some people choose to work less or not at all.

That’s not the way Sykes wants his listeners to think. But don’t let the facts get in the way:
According to a damning new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Obamacare is expected to directly reduce the number of fulltime employees in the United States by 2 million.

The Washington Post reports: The Affordable Care Act will also reduce the number of fulltime workers by 2.3 million (by 2021), congressional budget analysts said in the most detailed analysis of the law’s impact on jobs. The CBO said the law’s impact on jobs would be mostly felt starting after 2016.  

The impact is likely to be most felt, the CBO said, among low-wage workers. The agency said that most of the effect would come from Americans deciding not to seek work as a result of the ACA’s impact on the economy. Some workers may forgo employment, while others may reduce hours, for a equivalent of at least 2 million fulltime workers dropping out of the labor force.
Again, these aren't job losses, but a choice made by people. Is that so bad?
CNBC reports: "CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 to 2 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor — given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive," said the report.
Sykes mucks up the facts by introducing something the CBO never mentioned; productivity.
Two million jobs, lost hours and productivity, and all centering on low-income Americans. Not exactly a message that fits in with the fight for "income inequality." Expect to see the 2 million number everywhere this campaign season.
If a few dumb ass Republican candidates do use this, they’ll be criticizing people for choosing something else, which the last time I looked was just the opposite of their beloved freedom and liberty agenda. As one person said in the comments:
ObamaCare will still not pay the rent, the mortgage, transportation, school expenses etc, so people will still have as much of a need to work and earn incomes as they ever had.
The Post's Greg Sargent had this on the mark observation:
Indeed, the response from many Republicans to the report suggests they are so wedded to their “Obamacare is a job killer” talking point that they will misrepresent what it actually says in order to continue making it. That’s not surprising, in a way. After all, the larger political context here is that claiming the safety net is a disincentive to work ... Remember how Republicans moved away from arguing that unemployment benefits lull people into a state of dependency — Paul Ryan’s Hammock Theory of Poverty — and began arguing instead that it needed to be paid for?

Republican Sen. Dale Schultz dishes out the truth on Walker and his Party.

While Democratic Party searches for right words to criticize our current Republican administration, outgoing Sen. Dale Schultz had no problem taking on his own party. 

I put together a condensed 7 minute lesson in messaging for Democrats, using Schultz's no nonsense take down of Walker and his fellow Republicans. Not once does he give the benefit of the doubt to his majority party's intentions, like so many Democrats often do.

I can't tell you how many times I've screamed at the radio and TV, when without fail, Democrats blather on about hoping the 'Republicans will come back to the table and work together with them, blah, blah, blah'...stop it please.  

My favorite Schultz line leads off the clip:  
“Life has in recent years we've been steered by a group of people with enormous power and very powerful media organs, and you know, they've sort of picked at the scab of the carnage of the great recession. It’s a damn poor kind of leadership when people seek to divide, don’t appeal to the best in people, they appeal to the worst.”
Or this top contender:
“I think it fair to challenge educators … but we have had generations of Wisconsinites who have built one of the finest educational systems in the world, and I think just trashing it, ah, and demonizing the professionals that serve us, doesn't improve education and again tears at the fabric of our society.” 
 Worth a listen (audio) to say the least. From WPT:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and U.S. Chamber backs Common Core! See why...I agree.

Common Core can't get a fair break.

Liberal Opposition: Liberals have rightfully questioned the development of Common Core because of its business ties and influence. It seems all the wrong people are involved in pushing its roll out.

Tea Party Opposition: Teabillies believe its a European attack on our countries educational system, and attempt to make us dumber and take away our sovereignty. They also believe its Obama's way to brainwash our children.

Republican Opposition: They fear it's a one size fits all big government overreach, in contradiction with the constitution that threatens their planned expansion of voucher privatization.

Business Support: The business community likes Common Core because it will hopefully churn out potentially smarter employees and managers. For some though, it's another way to make a profit.

My own take, influenced by my 11 and 15 year old kids, is that's its working wonders in Middleton, Wisconsin.

This time business and liberals might actually be on the same page. Stranger things have happened.

Even Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is making sense, for once. It's scary:
WMC: The state's largest business group is defending the use of Common Core State Standards in Wisconsin schools as some Republican lawmakers seek to undo them … wrote that the Common Core standards will make sure schools are consistent, accountable and competitive. Foundation President Jim Morgan said they'll help businesses measure a prospective employee's skills … We’ve had standards and assessments in place in Wisconsin,” said Morgan. “We could compare between districts, but we couldn't compare to other states and to other nations. And so in terms of really understanding where we were at, that was a piece of information that we didn't have.”

“You know, quite frankly, it doesn't tell you how to teach and when to teach,” said Morgan. “It gives us a little bit better understanding of what it is we expect people to know.” WMC's stand is in line with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking of the U.S.Chamber, EdWeek reported this:
Chambers of commerce in a growing number of states are casting themselves in the role of defenders of the common core against increasingly vocal opposition to the new standards from some of their traditional Republican allies. "The battle lines are informally drawn nationally between the business establishment and a more conservative element, a more politically motivated element," explained David C. Adkisson, who chairs the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Education, Employment, and Training Committee.

State chambers of commerce—which have longstanding relationships, networks, and well-established resources—are considered to be among the most proactive and highly regarded interest groups. They are defending the common core on the grounds that the standards are essential to business interests and the long-term economic viability of their states. "Common Core: College- and Career-Ready Standards," a 16-page document, was published earlier this month.

A bit surprised by the mounting backlash, most chamber supporters seem to think the standards will stand the test of the tea party backlash. But they wish President Barack Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, would stop publicly endorsing it.

"The more the administration talks about common core, the worse it is for the effort," said Ms. Oldham, who worked for eight years in President George W. Bush's administration.

Is Reince Priebus serious?

The clueless balls....

The Koch's + Keystone XL Pipeline = $100 Billion.

The purpose of the Keystone XL Pipeline is to export oil out of the U.S.. Reports have already confirmed Midwest pump prices will go up once the pipeline is functional.  

Still the tea party is desperately fighting to make the nation a little less energy independent and big oil a lot richer, like oil moguls David and Charles Koch. Coincidence?  

Now tea party freeloaders are all defensive over this “shocking” discovery:
Building Keystone XL Pipeline Could Mean Roughly $100 Billion in Profits for the Koch Brothers, New Report Reveals.
It wasn't long before tea party dunderheads repeated this familiar old refrain in the comments section: 
Jake5577: Ah yes, those bad straw men the Koch brothers. They’re behind everything. No need to debate issues, or costs and benefits, or compare options. Just isolate and demonize your opponents. It’s lazy and dishonest, as well as destructive for everybody, but apparently it works.
I highlighted the section that is pure projection, and a perfected right wing tactic used against unions and teachers. Of course conservatives never mention bogyman George Soros, right?

But that’s a distraction that works for low information voters, who will miss the details behind the headline:
“The Kochs have repeatedly claimed that they have no interest in the Keystone XL Pipeline, this report shows that is false.” Said Nathalie Lowenthal-Savy , a researcher with IFG. “We noticed Koch Funded Tea Party members and think tanks pushing for the pipeline. We dug deeper and found $100 billion in potential profit, $50 million sent to organizations supporting the pipeline, and perhaps 2 million acres of land. That sounds like an interest to me.” Nathalie continued, “We all know they will use that money to fund and expand their influence network, subvert democracy, crush unions like in Wisconsin, and get more extremists elected to congress.

Other Findings in the report include:
The Kochs could earn 1 million times more than the average worker of the pipeline.

Evidence suggests The Kochs alone will be responsible for over 19 billion metric tons of carbon emissions in their tar sands holdings.

Think tanks funded by the Kochs have released nearly 1000 pro-KXL reports or statements.
I think those straw men Koch brothers also claimed they had no interest in Scott Walker. 

GOP Racism overblown? Didn't think so...

This flag waving Super Bowl ad from Coke provoked this amazing but revealing response. Only from the right wing:
Coke's stirring "It's Beautiful" spot featured Americans of all different backgrounds singing "America the Beautiful" in a variety of languages. Whether singing in English, Hindi, Arabic, or Tagalog, the ad's singers proved that America's diversity is one of its most important assets.

Sadly, many on Twitter appeared to differ, as social media was soon deluged messages of anger and ignorance directed at the commercial.

Wealthy Consumer Spending propping up nations jobless Economic Recovery. It really is all about them now.

It appears the middle class is being abandoned for much greener (money), wealthier pastures.

I can’t tell you enough how important I think this story is. It’s the underlying reason for everything right now, with no sign of it stopping. Scary as well as depressing, we’re in real trouble if all we have left are dollar stores:
NY Times: Business knows better than anyone else that the middle class is shrinking. "As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away. If there is any doubt, the speed at which companies are adapting to the new consumer landscape serves as very convincing evidence. Within top consulting firms and among Wall Street analysts, the shift is being described with a frankness more often associated with left-wing academics than business experts."
In response to the upward shift in spending, PricewaterhouseCoopers clients like big stores and restaurants are chasing richer customers with a wider offering of high-end goods and services, or focusing on rock-bottom prices to attract the expanding ranks of penny-pinching consumers. “You don’t want to be stuck in the middle.”

In 2012, the top 5 percent of earners were responsible for 38 percent of domestic consumption, up from 28 percent in 1995 … Since 2009, the year the recession ended, inflation-adjusted spending by this top echelon has risen 17 percent, compared with just 1 percent among the bottom 95 percent90 percent of the overall increase in inflation-adjusted consumption between 2009 and 2012 was generated by the top 20 percent of households.

Sears and J. C. Penney, retailers whose wares are aimed squarely at middle-class Americans, are both in dire straits. Investors have taken notice of the shrinking middle … Shares have fallen more than 50 percent since the end of 2009.

A shift at Darden … casual dining properties like Red Lobster and Olive Garden has dropped in every quarter but one since 2005 … On the other hand, at the Capital Grille, an upscale Darden chain where the average check per person is about $71, spending is up by an average of 5 percent annually over the last three years. LongHorn Steakhouse, another Darden chain, has been reworked to target a slightly more affluent crowd .. Now, hedge fund investors are pressuring Darden’s management to break up the company and spin out the more upscale properties into a separate entity.

Cutting off the Revenues to Spite our State....

Rep. Dale Kooyenga assumes his background as an accountant somehow makes his ideological tax cut rantings good policy, when it's anything but.

What the Walker administration is doing, besides repeating the same bad tax cut policy as George W. Bush, is instituting TABOR, the "taxpayer bill of rights." TABOR was a bust, but that didn't stop Republicans from reworking it, so it accomplishes the same thing.

Like TABOR, Walker's tax cuts ratchet down tax revenues every time they whittle away at the surpluses. These cuts are permanent and lost revenues for future budgets. So if you want to improve schools, parks, government infrastructure, technology, or the environment in the future...forget it, because the state is bringing in just enough money to use what we have until it breaks.

Plus, "projected surpluses" are based on current policy. So if current policy changes due to a whole bunch of tax cuts, doesn't that change the size of the surplus?

The smirking egomaniac know-it-all featured in the clip here projects his ideologically driven infallibility, what we used to call a "sure thing." Most adults have learned to never trust a sure thing, so why are we buying into Kooyenga's scheme? Good question.

Like the borrowed, "charge card" tax cuts under Bush, Kooyenga is calling these "pro-growth tax cuts." My head is spinning. The MacIver Institute:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Walker's condescending letter to the President. Propane shortage just an excuse to look presidential.

The free market lobbyists for the propane industry are raking in huge profits shipping supplies overseas, while taxpayers come to the  rescue of homeowners hit with propane shortages. We pay again.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin's  been all over this:
Senator Tammy Baldwin today continued to push the Obama Administration for action on the propane crisis in Wisconsin. Last week, in light of the fact that propane exports increased by 120,000 a day while Wisconsin faced a supply shortfall, Baldwin called on President Obama to moderate exports to ensure consumers have the fuel they need to keep warm through the winter.
Our tiny little dictator, Scott Walker is also chiming in, telling the president what he would do. In the following transparent attempt to look presidential, Scott Walker looked even more desperate. WKOW:

Dumb Ron Johnson's typical detached response?
Johnson Announces Staff Mobile Office Hours Dedicated to Propane Shortage Assistance

Tea Party's Lyin' Ryan claims Obama is a Lawless President! And we're supposed to take him seriously on the budget?

Paul Ryan knows how to spin BS, like his workaround argument regarding the number of Obama’s “executive orders.”

According to Ryan, it’s not how many orders, because Republicans lost that lie to the facts, but the
“scope” of his executive orders. And that means…?

One important fact: The Affordable Care Act allows for flexibility and delays to the mandates as problems come up. Below, Ryan feeds off the tea party frenzy over ObamaCare.

Think about it, this guy who could have been our vice president is calling Obama's term, a “Lawless presidency.” That's not true, unless we’re getting rid of presumed innocence?
jsonline: Rep. Paul Ryan said Sunday that President Barack Obama is running an "increasingly lawless presidency" by circumventing Congress. Host George Stephanopoulos suggested to Ryan that Obama's rate of using executive orders was far behind Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton.
It’s the “scope” and “new laws?” Ryan then admits it’s just a difference of opinion:
Said Ryan: "It's not the number of executive orders, it's the scope of the executive orders. It's the fact that he is actually contradicting law like in the health care case, or proposing new laws without going through congress, George, that's the issue."

Stephanopoulos asked Ryan if he planned to try to impeach Obama. Said Ryan: "No, I'm not — look, what we — we have a difference of opinion, clearly, and — and some of these are going to get fought out in court. And I think these executive orders are creating a dangerous trend which is contrary to the Constitution."
Like the dangerous trend from all the past presidents? Ryan has lost it. 

Another Walker Broken Promise: "Put more deer in the forest." Walker can't blame Doyle....

What, deer numbers are declining? Yes, we saw low deer numbers going into the 2013 hunting season, a hot issue for Scott Walker, candidate. That can't help bring in tourism dollars.

Rewind to Sept. 2, 2010 jsonline:
Remember the outrage...?
Walker called for an independent auditor to monitor the health and population of deer, saying a third party is needed because many hunters had lost faith in how the Department of Natural Resources manages the herd. Barrett and Neumann said it was needless expense … Walker said as governor he would take politics out of deer management with a so-called "whitetail deer trustee." DNR wildlife staff said a "gag" order exists in the department regarding the position.

Walker also pledged to "put more deer in the forest" … Like many hunters, Walker said he got tired of standing in a tree stand last season and not seeing deer. Walker said he has been hunting for three or four years and has not killed a deer.

Mark Toso, president of the Wisconsin Deer Hunters Association said Walker is "trying to feed off of anti-DNR sentiment" and frustration among hunters.
Declining deer numbers Under Walker…oops! Looks like that's a BROKEN PROMISE. Blame the harsh winter … for the last 3 years?
The Wisconsin DNR is asking people to report any dead deer they see as the agency works to track the harsh winter's toll on the state herd.
Scott Walker is getting a big pass on an issue he blamed Gov. Jim Doyle for during his campaign for governor:
Walker says Gov. Jim Doyle and the state Department of Natural Resources have engaged in "political games" and "put bureaucrats in Madison ahead of hunters of the state." Walker claimed that the "deer population has dwindled" as a result of "mismanagement" by Doyle and the DNR.
Excuses excuses? 
Last year's significant snow and cold that persisted into May resulted in lower deer numbers going into the 2013 fall seasons antlerless permit numbers at their lowest levels since the 1990s.
Can’t blame former Gov. Jim Doyle for this DNR failure and deer herd management disaster:
…in northern Wisconsin, where deer numbers have been declining. DNR officials anticipate no antlerless permits or extremely limited numbers of antlerless permits in many northern counties this fall to help the herd recover.
You can thank our “deer whisperer” from Texas, privateer and "white tail deer trustee" James Kroll. 

Blame those lazy blue collar workers? The right wing says yes.

The most revealing thing about every right wing study is that it confirms what we already knew; they don't understand economics and can't solve simple problems wearing an ideological straight jacket.

The conservative low information reporters at Townhall are again making their case against the victims of "free market" deregulated business interests, the displaced blue collar worker:
The most interesting analyses of the problem are on the right, not the left. Let's start with Charles Murray, who says we are experiencing an ever widening cultural divide. Upper-middle class professional types live by old fashioned puritan values … They get married and stay married. They work hard and work long hours.
Not so for the blue collar, never-got-beyond-high-school class ... A shocking number aren't even working at all. Many are not getting married in the first place. Of those that get married, the divorce and separation rates are soaring.
Huh? But the GOP has been saying don't go to college. As for marriage, maybe conservatives are suggesting a legal ban on divorce. They are our social engineers after all.

So what’s the solution to the massive income gap? What’s the magic path to wealth?
For the scholars, behavioral remedies are paramount. From the Cato Institute and the National Center for Policy Analysis comes the observation that if you do these four things, it's almost impossible to remain poor:

1. Finish high school,    2. Get a job,    3. Get married, and    4. Don't have children until you get married.
I have never seen a Krugman column discussing how the solution to inequality is for those at the bottom of the income ladder to change their behavior. Instead, we find the ever-present hint that those at the top are somehow to blame.
Naw, those low wage high profit companies can't be to blame. One question: Anyone see the wealthy “charitably” handing out decent paying jobs to the desperately poor?