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Saturday, May 3, 2014

These Roads are taking a Toll on me.

Wisconsin politicians have bipartisan support to keep tolls out of the state. It’s dumb and plays off our hatred of the Illinois toll system. But tolls don’t have to be the same.

Still it seems like everyone is still so traumatized by our past experiences that we can’t think straight:
A proposal to allow tolls on the nation’s interstate highways is meeting bipartisan opposition in the House … "I absolutely will do everything I can to make certain that it doesn't see the light of day," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., a former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told NBC News. Mica says that’s the kind of proposal that makes constituents bring out “pitchforks.”

In a bill introduced by the White House this week, the ban would be lifted and states would have the flexibility to implement tolls to help pay for repairs to their highway systems.

Democrat Rep. Peter Defazio of California said it is “a non-starter.”"I live in the western United States, [where] tolls are not a practical way of paying for interstates that span vast distances.”
Oh but they can be practical. Here’s my idea:
Implement a national state entry and exit fee. No toll booths dotting the highway, or any of those annoying on and off ramp fees. Just one toll booth when you enter a state and another one when you’re exiting a state. The fee would supplement federal dollars. State residents living near the border, within 20 to 30 miles, could get a free i-pass with their license renewal.

Industries that use our highways should pay their fair share as they pass through. And that doesn’t have to be much either. But let’s stop obsessing over our past experiences with tollways. 

Dumb Ron Johnson sabotages new the Service Economy by blocking Minimum Wage Increase.

Now that the U.S. has gone from manufacturing to being a low wage service economy, it would be irresponsible to pretend service industry wages should stay at its current level.

But that's what Dumb Ron Johnson thinks. The cost of doing nothing, thanks to Johnson, would not only cost taxpayers money when it comes to food stamps and Medicaid, but it would also dramatically suffocate consumer demand.

It's cruel to not raise the hourly wage for tipped workers. Roll Call:
Johnson's inadvertent truth...
FEDERAL MINIMUM-WAGE INCREASE: The Senate failed to reach 60 votes needed to end Republican blockage of a Democratic-sponsored bill (S 2223) to raise the federal minimum wage from its present $7.25 per hour to $10.10 over two years. The bill also would raise the “tipped minimum wage” from its present $2.13 per hour to a level that is 70 percent of the regular minimum wage. The tipped minimum wage, which is received by restaurant workers, hotel valets and others who depend mainly on tips for their income, has not been raised since 1991.
Voting no because restaurant workers just don’t work hard enough; Dumb Ron Johnson. Would you serve this guy at your table?

Wisconsin House GOP keeps making taxpayers pay for their $600 a month vehicle leases!!!

Wanna talk about entitlements? Our elite class of representatives don't like it when "saving the taxpayers money" gets in the way of their own luxurious lifestyle of fancy cars. Roll Call:
LAWMAKERS’ LEASED VEHICLES: The House refused to end public funding of leased vehicles for use by members on official business. Under the amendment to HR 4487, members would be required to use their personal vehicles for official travel, with reimbursement from the legislative branch budget on the basis of miles driven. About 60 House members use leased vehicles, at an average cost of under $600 per month, while most other members use their own vehicles for official business and receive reimbursements. The Senate prohibits its members from leasing vehicles. A yes vote was to end taxpayer funding of leased vehicles for House members.
Paul Ryan sided with Democrats Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan, believe it or not. But voting yes to keep the perk...

 Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, and Ribble.

Backward Wisconsin House Representatives Deny Medical Marijuana to Veterans with PTSD.

Despite the successful treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder with medical marijuana, our house Republicans are still trying to get over the shock of old Cheech and Chong movies:
VETERANS’ USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA: House Republicans refused to allow the Veterans Health Administration to counsel patients on using medical marijuana for ailments such as chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and nine allow it to be prescribed for treating PTSD. A yes vote was to allow VHA doctors to counsel patients on medical marijuana.-Roll Call

Sorry, that’s a BIG NO from Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble.

Republican Secessionists Convention #2 - Conservative Justice!

It looks like the Republican Secessionist mob at the convention just selected another “leader” for their ruggedly independent voting contingent; Waukesha DA Brad Schimel.

Get use to the word “projection” this election season, as we get inundated by laughably ridiculous characterizations that don’t come close to describing Democrats or their Party.
Projection: “An immature defense, the projection of one's negative qualities onto others.”
Nothing partisan here...?
Schimel has the balls to pretend he and his fellow conservative DA’s, judges and justices don’t have a strictly partisan agenda? Casting the liberal candidates as "radical" proves just how Schimel will dole out "justice" to his opponents:

Twitter/WSJ/Mary Spacuzza: Brad Schimel wins unanimous support as the Attorney General candidate at the GOP convention. AG candidate Brad Schimel says Democrats running for attorney general will pursue a "radical, activist agenda. 
Because our legal system is a conservative one, right?

Republican Secessionists Convention #1

Wisconsin State Journal reporter Mary Spicuzza is covering the GOP Secessionists Convention, providing the following tweets, from the beginning:
Phone charger hat...
Rep. Brett Hulsey says he is dressed as a Confederate soldier to highlight "Republicans' racist agenda" … his "confederate soldier" hat also serves as a phone charger … calling himself Gen. Bass Ackwards … GOP delegate Pam Stevens says Brett Hulsey's Confederate soldier uniform is racist and offensive.

Matt Walker, son of @GovWalker, says "if we want to be competitive again, we've got to reach out to young voters." @RebeccaforReal to convention goers: "The future is bright if we have Matt Walker on our side."
This is one of my favorite "in the tank for the rich" lines uttered today:
Mary Buestrin, national GOP committeewoman: You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
A slightly higher percentage hike in taxes will destroy the rich? Surreal
. There's even more insanity, projection and BS:
@SpeakerVos on Assembly Republicans at GOP Convention: We will do whatever it takes to make sure voter ID becomes the law in Wisconsin.

Sensenbrenner: Not only should Common Core go in the waste basket, it should go in the paper shredder & be used as confetti (when defeated)

@RepPaulRyan" Americans are wising up to the false promises of liberal progressivism."

US Rep Tom Petri walks on stage to "Baba O'Riley (Teenage Wasteland) by The Who.

U.S. Rep Sean Duffy says 4 lanes were closed by Gov. Christie in New Jersey, complains it more coverage then Benghazi

U.S. Sen Ron Johnson says four Americans died in Benghazi because of Hillary Clinton's "dereliction of duty."  ...  Shawn Johnson ‏@SJohnsonWPR The first boos at the state GOP convention today are for Hillary Clinton. Sen. Ron Johnson talking to the crowd about Benghazi    ...   Sen. Ron Johnson: The Democrats, the liberals, the progressives, they’re relentless in their denial of our freedoms.
Best suggestion yet: Walker asked for prayers before money. Let's hold him to it:


@GovWalker tells GOP convention crowd: “We appreciate the financial contributions… but what I appreciate the most is your prayers"

"Walker in Wonderland's" tumble into the deep dark tax cut hole.

It ain't working.

I think I know why supply side true believers think their policies work; because they blame the few remaining liberal policies for holding back "reform." But if you look closely at the numbers, the immovable facts, than all the fantasy scenario's don't amount to a hill of beans.

I just recently asked why no one did the hard work of compiling a list of all the Walker tax cuts since he took office...well someone did. From the Wisconsin Budget Project:

The largest tax cuts over the four year period include:
The income tax cut included in the 2013-15 budget, which reduced revenue by $647.9 million over this period;

The January 2014 property tax cut, which reduced revenue by $406.0 million; A tax break for businesses hiring new employees, $134.0 million;

A tax cut that will nearly eliminate income taxes for manufacturers once it is fully phased in, $126.6 million;

and A tax cut for multi-state corporations that allows them to shift some income to states with no income tax, $126.4 million. 
Here's the really ugly truth about Walker's supply side fantasies:
The Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, a nonpartisan agency, put together a list of all the tax changes enacted since January 2011. You can read the memo here. Unfortunately, tax cuts haven’t led to job growth in Wisconsin.

Not only have the tax cuts not created jobs, they have made it harder for Wisconsin to build a strong economy, by reducing the revenue that Wisconsin needs to invest in schools, transportation, safe communities, and other tried-and-true building blocks of economic growth. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

National Review revs up base claiming Dems Constitutional Amendment will "lock their critics out of the public square."

The National Review is in full panic mode, or it’s doing what it does best, fear monger.  

I especially enjoyed their agonizing effort to make money sound like an essential part of “free speech.”
Displeased with recent legal victories in which free speech has prevailed over limitations on political speech imposed by Congress … Senate Democrats have introduced a constitutional amendment that would not only set aside the Supreme Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence and invest Congress with virtually unlimited power to regulate the political activism of private citizens, alone or in groups, but would also give the federal government and the states the power to shut down newspapers, television stations, and radio networks that displease them.
There’s so much projection here you can choke on it. After reading that first paragraph, the base is probably foaming at the mouth at this point, or will after this additional nudge:
This is an all-out assault on the First Amendment and an act of vandalism against the Constitution.
To many of us, it’s called campaign finance reform, and while we had it in place, the nation didn't collapse or shred the constitution. That’s the job of our activist conservative Supreme Court.
The amendment they are contemplating would … in effect repeal the First Amendment.
Now suspend the idea that this broad amendment would any affect on Democratic contributors:
What they object to is money moving through channels that do not confer advantages upon Democrats. The Left is comfortably ensconced in the unions, the public sector, the educational bureaucracies, and the traditional media, and groups such as Citizens United and True the Vote and thousands of others create new competition in the political marketplace. This amendment is not about cleaning up elections — it’s about the Democrats’ seeking to lock their critics out of the public square.
Now return to the idea that the amendment would indeed have an affect on both parties:

The question here is not the idea of a constitutional amendment but the content of this proposed amendment, which would place virtually all political activism — and most political speech of any consequence — under federal regulation. It is a cynical and dangerous attack on the First Amendment, and should be met not only with resistance but with contempt — for the amendment itself, and for the sort of power-mad men who would propose it. 
The power mad men? Democrats? Try the 300 to 400 million/billionaires who are already power mad. Who attended the Adelson primary...?

Burke catches up to Walker, both at 47% in conservative Poll.

I heard about this yesterday, and believe it or not, couldn't find a media mention anywhere. I finally found this story after a Google search. It wasn't easily found at any of the local TV or newspaper sites. Even the Burke campaigns email failed to mention the pollster or supply a link. 

Thank you Sheboygan conservative radio WTAQ:

The Liberty Foundation and Magellan Strategies said both candidates had 47 percent support among 851 likely Wisconsin voters polled in mid-April. The conservative National Review called the results a "shocker." 

Sorry GOP, too late...

A last minute conversion...

...and the Senate GOP opposition? Like this won't come up again either. 
jsonline: The letter : "The Republican State Convention is a time to put our best foot forward to show the state and country what conservative ideals can bring if given the chance to be implemented. Unfortunately, a small minority of members wish to prove a meaningless point by voting on a resolution regarding secession."

Tea Party Demands End to Common Core, to Hell with Everyone Else...

Funny how a small minority of tea party fanatics think they can tell the rest of Wisconsin, the state department of public instruction, schools superintendents, school boards, teachers and parents that they can't have Common Core. Three years of taxpayer dollars funding the change, gone.

Teabillies seem to think one party rule means they can simply ignore everyone else. The arrogance and rabid authoritarian mindset that drives these control freaks should send a shudder down the spines of parents everywhere.

With no alternative in the offing, and a blind hatred of Obama and anything governmental, tea party members attending the Republican convention this weekend explained their irrational behavior by listing why they can't stand Common Core:
1. Nothing more than a continuation of the past failed programs of the federal Department of Education and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction that sought to indoctrinate students instead of educating them.

2. As a biased champion for Common Core in Wisconsin Sen. Luther Olsen has failed to withdraw his involvement in educational matters in which he has a conflict of interest.

3. Olsen and Rep. Steve Kestell do not seem to have the ability, inclination or commitment to represent the views and positions of their constituents ... the state and the Republican National Committee.
To be clear, the tea party is still worried about liberal/UN/socialist/union "indoctrination," allowing different viewpoints in developing educational standards and towing the supposed "district" and mostly party line.

When Republican Rep. Don Pridemore ran for state superintendent, he gave voice to the tea party lunatic fringe trying to bring everybody down to their IQ level. From WKOW's Capitol City Sunday:


Paul Ryan never really Apologized for his Racial Stereotype of inner city men.

So what did Paul Ryan say to the Congressional Black Caucus the other day, that could possibly take back how he really feels about minorities:
"...tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work."
He didn't have to say much because it really had more to do with his attitude:


Unemployment Benefit Extension Ended in December, Suddenly, U.S. Rate Down to 6.3...Magic!!!

Remember when Senate Republicans killed the federal unemployment benefit extension in December? 

That threw over 2 million people off the official unemployment rolls...
WaPo: After the payments ended in December, some workers opted to file for early Social Security benefits. Others may have enrolled in school or simply stopped looking for a job, disqualifying them for retroactive payments.
The number of the uncounted unemployed will continue to grow month after frustrating month. 
Fiscal Times: By the end of the year there will be 4.9 million people cut off from unemployment insurance. Add in their children and other family members, and you are talking about many millions of people who are affected. 
So is it any surprise the unemployment rate is at its lowest level since the Great Recession?
Jsonline: The Labor Department also said Friday that the unemployment rate sank to 6.3 percent, its lowest level since September 2008, from 6.7 percent in March. But the drop occurred because the number of people working or seeking work fell sharply. People aren't counted as unemployed if they're not looking for a job.
This is the same ploy used by Scott Walker, when he change the requirements to receive benefits on top of those losing federal extension benefits. Magically, and in time for Walker's reelection, the unemployment rate dipped to 5.9.  That's pretty close to the drop federally.

Rep. Hulsey to Pass out KKK Party “Hats” to GOP Secessionist Convention Goers.

The master of the overstatement and party wacko Rep. Brett Hulsey must think that if the hat fits, wear it:
Hulsey, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate … called the hoods, which are generally regarded as a racist symbol akin to a Nazi swastika, "Republican Party hats."
“Generally regarded?” Well that’s a ridiculous media neutral description. Hulsey listed a few odd coincidences that hinted at his only logical conclusion:
wsj: Asked whether handing out the hoods would be viewed as offensive, Hulsey said, "What I find offensive is Gov. Walker and the Republicans' racist record. They’re the ones considering the resolution to leave the United States" … he takes issue with Republicans discontinuing record-keeping on racial profiling by police agencies, scaling back the income eligibility limits for Medicaid and making changes to voting policies that critics say could suppress minority turnout … A vote on a resolution affirming the state's right to secede from the union, an issue that sparked the American Civil War … he plans to hold a rally outside a Walker speech Friday with participants dressed as Confederate soldiers.
The GOP record is pretty clear isn't it? Repugnant to be sure. The party in denial's official statement?
State GOP executive director Joe Fadness said: "If true, Brett Hulsey's actions amount to nothing more than a reprehensible, vile stunt and everyone should be outraged."
In fact, if you were to look real hard, you might find racism in the GOP leader class, but not in the rank-and-fill<br />

In fact, if you were to look real hard, you might find racism in the GOP leader class, but not in the rank-and-file:

Republican Candidate compares Food Stamps for the Poor to Feeding the Animals in Parks.

Sure this is just one Republican out of so many who have criticized the food program, but honestly, isn't this really what they've been saying all along?
Huffington Post: A Republican Senate candidate equated food stamp recipients to wild animals in a Facebook post Monday. The candidate, Dr. Annette Bosworth, is running in the Republican primary to succeed Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), who is retiring. Bosworth shared a viral imageon her personal Facebook page:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Republican World Vision!!! If they took the Senate....

The Daily Beast depressed me with this:
Here’s What Happens When the GOP Takes Over the Senate: Passing a federal law banning almost all abortions after 20 weeks; Defunding parts of Obamacare; Weakening the Environmental Protection Agency; Kneecapping the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren’s baby, the new agency within the Fed to police consumer fraud; And—maybe, just maybe—letting a Supreme Court seat sit vacant until after the next presidential election.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown: “Their whole effort is grounded in their contempt for government … they’ve gone after voters’ rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights. They’d bring that to Washington.”

Republicans would pass bills reducing Pell grants, food stamps, money for renewable energy. How would Mitch McConnell, if he’s majority leader, change the filibuster rules? Would he try to make it apply to fewer situations, so he could pass bills with 51 Republicans and just a few Democrats for cover?
It's a partial list. The GOP also wants to get rid of the minimum wage. Surprisingly, voters are still okay with giving these people control of their government.

Walker plays race card and claims his Voter ID law wiped out 100% of "Fraud."

Wisconsin's voter ID law was predictable loser to everyone but Scott Walker:
WPR: Judge Adelman decided to strike down the voter ID law, saying it violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because it disproportionately affected black and Latino voters.
Walker’s insulting “only racist call other people racist” response is dog whistle politics at its lowest.
Walker: “I think that's an insensitive comment, to imply that one group or another is more or less likely to be able to get a driver's license or photo ID card,” Walker said. “I think it's pretty clear that people—regardless of race, regardless of income—have perfectly acceptable access to getting identification in the state of Wisconsin.”
Walker's “I know you are but what am I” comeback says more about his intolerant inner child than how desperate he is to win reelection. It was also pretty clear 9%, or 300,000 Wisconsinites didn't have what Walker demanded.

And when Judge Adelman found no evidence of voter fraud in Wisconsin (big surprise), Walker went over-the-top; not even one vote canceled by fraud would be tolerated. Who knew Walker’s Voter ID law made elections error free...perfect:
“The question I have for him or anyone else is, ‘Ok, tell me, identify which person it's alright to have their vote canceled on?' Because if there's one vote cast by someone who's not legal to vote in this state, that means at least one legitimate citizen of this state has had their vote canceled out by someone who voted illegally,” Walker said.

Heck, why even have elections then? But if we counted every fearful conservative worried about having their vote canceled…see, fraud.

ObamaCare Sign-Ups Peak, Dissatisfaction Eases even in Red States.

The amazing sign-up surge in the ObamaCare exchanges proves Americans can get used to something that easy once the website bugs were worked out. From Vox:

 And for those conservatives hung up on how many uninsured signed up:
Health and Human Services found that, of the 5.2 million people required to answer a question about whether they had insurance at time of signing up, 13 percent (695,000 people) said they already had coverage. That suggests a high proportion of people seeking coverage on the exchange who weren't replacing an old plan, but rather were without health insurance in 2013.
And it seems no matter how Republicans whine, even in their red states, constituents are signing up in droves. From Greg Sargent:
It turns out that several of the states with some of the hardest fought races of the cycle are also boasting some of the highest Obamacare sign-up numbers in the country. In Florida, some 983,000 people are now signed up for private insurance through the federal exchange — up from 442,000 at the end of February. In North Carolina, some 357,000 people have now signed up for coverage through the federal exchange — up from 200,000 at the end ofFebruary. In Michigan, some 272,000 people have now signed up for coverage through the federal exchange — up from around 144,000 people at the end of February. 
Here's a breakdown on age:

Glenn Grothman supports Locking Gay Ugandans up for Life!

State Sen. Glenn Grothman wants your vote for him as your next Congressman because he hates America and homosexuals. Summing it up, he said:
"Now America, supposed to be the light of the world, instead we’re the light going in the opposite direction.”
Grothman is talking about the U.S.'s sick embrace of the gay life style. In this Cap Times Steve Elbow piece, Grothman would rather have gay Ugandans locked up for life than help change their policies, as Sec. John Kerry suggested:  
State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, has a message for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: Send missionaries to Africa, not scientists to tell leaders “how normal homosexuality is.”

In February, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill that could put people in prison for life for committing “aggravated homosexuality.” Museveni said he was prompted to sign the law after a report by Ugandan scientists concluded that homosexuality has no genetic basis. Kerry called the law “tragic” and later said he would send scientists to Uganda to help them understand homosexuality.
Grothman wants everyone to know just how he'll handle things if he were sent to congress:
“I mean, what must God think of our country if now … rather than sending people to Uganda to explain better agricultural techniques, sending missionaries to Africa, educating people on Christianity, we send scientists to Africa to say how wonderful the homosexual lifestyle is?” Grothman told Voice of Christian Youth America. “It is just unbelievable what has become of our country.”

Grothman has made headlines in the past for, among other things, saying single parenthood is equivalent to child abuse, calling Kwanzaa a “fake holiday,” opposing Martin Luther King Jr. Day and calling for a roll-back on restrictions to a seven-day work week.

Limbaugh's Excellence In Broadcasting (KEIB Los Angeles) ratings fall behind College Radio.

Exploding the myth of Limbaugh's excellence:
There's only one radio station in America that takes its name from Rush Limbaugh's radio empire and that's KEIB in Los Angeles -- the EIB mirrors Limbaugh's "Excellence in Broadcasting" motto. Clear Channel, which syndicates Limbaugh's program nationally, owns the station and flipped the call letters to KEIB in honor of him in January. Three months later, Limbaugh's KEIB is a ratings disaster, coming in 37th place in the second largest radio market in America with a .5 rating share in March, the most recent month available, according to Nielsen ratings … eleven non-English radio stations have larger audiences in Los Angeles … And so small that KEIB actually trails four college-run, non-commercial stations in the market. This, for a man who makes $40 million a year to attract big radio audiences?

Democratic campaign against the Koch brothers Criticized; Who are these billionaires anyway?

Hey, isn't that the point? 

Check out this clueless media coverage from The Hill:
Democrats are doubling down on their Koch brothers strategy even though most people don’t know who the conservative billionaire industrialists are.
Again, isn't that the point? Not missing a beat, The Hill took a bizarre jab at the Democrats for coming up with a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC. Unlike the GOP’s pathetic 50 attempts to kill ObamaCare, it’s the Democrats who are just wasting everybody’s time proposing something they know won’t pass anyway, and has massive public opinion poll support.
The amendment has virtually no chance of passing this year 
The Hill kept up its knock on Democrats:
The Democratic game plan carries risk because polls show many people still don’t know who the Koch brothers are. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday showed that half of those surveyed do not recognize the names of Charles and David Koch and 20 percent have a neutral view of them. A recent George Washington University Battleground survey found that 52 percent of respondents don’t know who the Koch’s are.

Schumer said that will change.
And isn't that the point?
Here's a nice piece featuring Esquire Magazine's Charlie Pierce, on the Koch brothers:

Sadly, CBS responds to Rush Limbaugh's disapproval of Stephen Colbert.

It was kinda stupid when we first heard the phony outrage over Stephen Colbert:
CBS' decision to tap Stephen Colbert as David Letterman's "Late Show" replacement sparked outrage on the right, as Colbert is best known for making fun of conservatives…
In an odd way, the right wing anger exposed their unsettling designs on the U.S.; a one party takeover that discourages "dissension" disguised as parody.

My heart sank when I saw a major TV network respond to a known racist, bigot and BS bloviating conservative talk host like Rush Limbaugh. What we’re they thinking?
TPM: Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh sounded the alarms when CBS made the announcement. "CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America," Limbaugh said. "No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's just wide out in the open."

CBS chief executive Les Moonves addressed Limbaugh's criticisms: "I would respectfully disagree with that assessment of who Stephen Colbert is," Moonves said. "As one reporter put it, 'So suddenly Rush is going soft on Letterman?'"
Isn't it also true that Rush attacked every American who doesn't fit in to his twisted world view? Yet we waste our time responding to homophobic misogynists like Limbaugh. 

Moonves’ comment had the destructive effect of legitimizing the ranting’s of a madman.  
"You know what? Ironically, Stephen Colbert is much more moderate than people think he is," said Wednesday at the Milken Institute Global Conference, as recorded by the Hollywood Reporter. "He's a great social commentator, and that's sort of what we want. That's sort of what David Letterman has been."
Intimidate, submit...the drum beat continues: 
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly also expressed concern over CBS' choice. "It'd be hard to fathom that 40 percent of Americans that describe themselves as conservative will watch Colbert," he said.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nullification and Secession the Big Issues for GOP Convention Goers....

Journal Sentinel's Dan Bice got a copy of the actual resolution the state GOP will vote on to secede, accept surprise, the even bigger topic is nullification of federal laws. We really are the northern most neo-confederate state. These teabillies are feeling pretty good about themselves and gerrymandered majority:



Big Oil Fears Solar, join ALEC to Penalize Homeowners for Tapping into the Sun.

Chris Hayes is a master of summing each and every important issue he covers. And that goes for solar energy. For years utilities have been trying to penalize solar users for trying to, believe it or not, freeloading off their infrastructure. Arizona was at one point ground zero, but big energy lost after asking for way to much from costumers; $100 a month. Crazy? Unbelievably so.

Check this Chris' guest Nikki Silvestri, from Green For All. She makes a great case solar.

The Impact of Wisconsin's Unconstitutional Voter ID Defeat, and the Racial Issues Affected.

I finally have enough information to post a few videos and perspectives on the recent Voter ID setback for Scott Walker. Seeing voting rights win based on the testimony of actual witnesses is a welcome change from the predictable activist conservative Supreme Court decisions in D.C.. And of course, the federal court is just where Walker wants this to end up. Here's the latest:
The leader of the state Senate Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said that the Legislature will not go back into session to fix Wisconsin's voter ID law … Tuesday's rejection of the law left little room for lawmakers to act. “It’s not going to be resolved for the November election."

Any new law would have to be approved by Adelman, who not only struck down the voter ID law but also blocked the state from enacting any similar requirement. But Gov. Scott Walker said he's confident the law will be upheld on appeal. Walker said "This was just basically a full-out rejection of the position, and one that we think will not be sustained.” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has vowed to challenge Adelman's ruling.
From WISC Channel3000:



Check out the racial aspects of Voter ID in the video below, following more Voter ID details:
WSJ: Adelman found that Wisconsin's law disproportionately disenfranchises black and Latino voters, who are more likely to lack the required photo ID. The judge also found no evidence of the type of voter fraud that proponents, including the Republican majority in the state Legislature, have used to justify passing voter ID laws. Wisconsin's voter ID law, passed in 2011, has been suspended since 2012 by previous circuit court rulings that found it violates the state Constitution.

Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center said (of voter ID)“This is going to keep more people away from the polls than prevent fraudulent voting because there’s just no evidence that it (fraud) is a real issue,” Schultz said.

Tuesday's federal court decision could be a blueprint for challenging other such laws around the country, advocates said. Adelman's ruling was the first successful challenge to a voter ID requirement under Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act … Section 2 prohibits states from imposing any "voting qualification or prerequisite to voting ... that results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color."
ID supporters continue to point to the Indiana case, but:
7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner has expressed doubts about his 2007 ruling upholding Indiana's voter ID law. In a 2012 book, Posner wrote that the type of law he upheld is "now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.”

The difference between the Wisconsin case and the Indiana case was the powerful testimony of Wisconsin voters who described lengthy and costly ordeals to get photo identification cards after the law was passed. One of the plaintiffs, Bettye Jones, died before the case went to trial in November. Another, Lorene Hutchins, left her hospital bed to testify, but died before the decision was issued. Both had been voting without problem for decades until Wisconsin passed its law.Adelman found that about 9 percent of the state's voters, or roughly 300,000 people, lack photo IDs.
Here's MSNBC tackling the racial issues dealing with Voter ID's impact on policy. The Voter ID case is at around the 2:30 minute mark:

The First Amendment is under attack again! Republicans to coerce inclusion of "under God" in Pledge of Allegiance!!!

Here we thought saying the Pledge of Allegiance was voluntary, or that the inclusion of “under God,” was voluntary.

Not under the iron fist of Republican “patriots.” We're hearing about seditious behavior in our public schools. Where do you think that got such notions? 
WSJ: The Madison School District acknowledged Tuesday that students at East High School twice omitted “under God” when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during morning announcements last month, after allegations in a blog post circulated widely among conservative circles this week.

But spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson said the school has offered the Pledge daily, and has not removed any words from it. But she said that during two days in March, students reciting the Pledge during the morning announcements skipped words on the first day and replaced “under God” — which was added to the Pledge in 1954 — with “under peace” on the second day.
Here’s a very unsettling comment:
“Both students were followed up with,” she said.
Wow. If anything, I’m encouraged by the individualism and activism of those who chose a different path. But that’s not conservative protocol, and will not be tolerated.
16 year old Benji Backer, who calls himself a conservative activist and columnist, published a post last week on “RedState,” a conservative blog … Backer quotes East junior Samantha Murphy as saying the students misread the Pledge over three days, removing “one nation under God” one day, skipping “under God” the following day and replacing “God” with “peace” on the third day.
Here’s a very unsettling comment…again:
Efforts to identify and reach the students were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Gee, I hope we find these seditious teenagers and run them out of town. But junior Samantha Murphy’s mom is just as much to blame:
Mother Jodi Murphy said in an email that “I would think parents, students, staff would be upset that the pledge was changed.”
Perhaps Jodi Murphy could head up a neighborhood watch for what looks like un-American behavior.

But I am encouraged by this:
T.J. Mertz, who represents East High on the board said his immediate reaction was to support the students who may have been acting in support of their beliefs when omitting the words. He said he also applauds Samantha for speaking up for her beliefs. “We want our students to be self-advocating and have beliefs,” he said. “I support them acting on their beliefs.”
Here’s a very unsettling comment…again again:
Parent teacher organization East High United co-coordinator Laura Chern said her son told her Tuesday that the school’s security guard read the Pledge on Tuesday and he included “under God.”
Perhaps "one nation, under Walker," works? He's working on it.

I did find this story about the Pledge's origin, which would end the morning ritual in a heartbeat:
Almost no American students are aware of the history of the Pledge of Allegiance. The original Pledge of Allegiance began with the classic military salute (to the forehead) that was then extended out toward the flag. It was known as the "Bellamy salute." It was the origin of the stiff-arm salute adopted later by the National Socialist German Workers Party in chants to its swastika flag ... Francis Bellamy, author of the Pledge, would have opposed the change to the hand-over-the-heart (the hand placed flat against the chest). A modified version of the gesture used the military salute from the chest and then extended outward in the stiff-arm salute. It is frightening to note that Adolf Hitler and German National Socialists also adopted the gesture … the German National Socialist salute may have been copied from American cheerleaders. A government report claims of the Hitler salute: "In 1923 he adored American football marches and college songs. 

Republican/ALEC State Sen. Vukmir will bring in Out-of-State Common Core Opponents to Shape our "Locally Controlled" Public Schools.

The following interview with Sen. Leah Vukmir goes back to February 18. 

The reason this is getting any attention at all stems from the phony outrage over the fact DPI transcribed Vukmir's interview with radio host Vicki McKenna. Outrageous right?

Look out! Out-of-state Control of Wisconsin’s Curriculum: What I found surprising was Vukmir’s plan to bring in outsiders to guide our state educational system, which remains a mystery to this day. Like repealing ObamaCare, they've got no real plan, just something much better. These outsiders are also, no surprise, opponents of Common Core. Gee, I wonder how that'll work out?

From a February McKenna interview:  
VM: All right. Who’s on the board? Who helps develop these standards?

LV: The subcommittees are where all the heavy lifting will be done; these are the individuals who actually writes the standards so these have to be experts. And that group will also have some non-voting members so that we can bring in some people nationally can come in and have oversight over the writing of the standards, people who may not be able to be there for the entire process of developing the standards but will have the influence over the creation of those standards because of their expertise.

VM: O.k. so people like James Milgram, for instance from Standford, or people like Sandy Stotsky who is an English language arts content expert.

LV: We had to find a way to make sure that individuals like that have input, but recognizing that they don’t live to create Wisconsin standards, so we had to find a way that we would be able to weave them into the process without, you know, making them have to move to Wisconsin while they’re being created, if you understand what I mean.
And how about a smidgen, or “element” of local control? From Vukmir's comment below, it looks like we'll have the appearance of local control. Remember, the Borg like structure of the Republican Party spans the country, swallowing up the individual identities of each state (they'll deny it):
VM: So this functionally puts Wisconsin back in control of Wisconsin standards, it puts Wisconsin back in control of Wisconsin testing?

LV: Well yes, and ultimately you know, that was the other thing we kept hearing is, where is the local control in all of this, and we wanted to make sure that we had that element of local controls.

Wasting Taxpayer Money the Price of Big Conservative Government.

When I saw this Facebook post by radio cancer stick Vicki McKenna, the tea party voice of the lunatic fringe, it struck me as a bit whiny:
That's for the entire country. And it fixed the web site problems. 

And yet, maybe McKenna is completely unaware of the added taxpayer expense Scott Walker put us on the hook for when he decided not to expand Medicaid (which in turn costs the state $119 million in federal help).
(Republicans) agree to pay hospitals up to $73.5 million over the next two years in anticipation they could see an increase in uninsured patients visiting emergency rooms. State taxpayers would fund $30 million of that, with the rest coming from the federal government.
That's $73 million for our state alone, taxpayer money no matter how you look at it, and a total waste.

The Complete Opposite of Conservative Values: If you're a conservative, there are two ways to look at this $73 million handout: Your giving up your hard earned dollars to shore up the profit margins of private hospitals, or you're paying for some deadbeats health care costs. 

Are you getting the feeling "saving taxpayers money" is pretty much a meaningless cliche by now? Money matters little if it advances their costly agenda. 

Sheriff Clarke, proud and humble friend of former Sheriff who wanted women as human shields in Bundy face-off.

It would seem only fitting that the most unqualified right wing sheriffs in Wisconsin, Milwaukee's David Clarke, received his just deserts for hitching his wagon to a bunch of anti-government zealots.
He must be a great judge of character. Poor guy is speechless too.
jsonline-Dan Bice: The typically loquacious Clarke has not responded to requests for comment on the situation and the organization that has called him a "modern-day hero." 

Victimized again?

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke is coming under criticism from his campaign opponent for his close ties to a fringe group that sided with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his face-off with federal officials. In fact, the head of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association — which named Clarke as the sheriff of the year for 2013 — even went so far as to suggest in two interviews that Bundy's allies use women and children as human shields in case "rogue" federal agents opened fire during the dispute.
He's Clarke and he' Proud:
Last year, Clarke said he was "extremely proud and humbled" for the award from the group, which seeks to organize sheriffs against the "tyranny" of the federal government. He touted the honor in a county press release and on his Facebook page. Clarke told the organization  that it had a "friend for life."
I'm still amazed Clarke has never been held accountable for his bizarre behavior, that includes providing minimal security for an Obama visit to Milwaukee, disguised campaign releases made to look like public service announcements, advice the public not to count on 911 so he could promote gun ownership, discontinuing early release, defying county budgetary reductions and actually guest hosting a conservative radio talk show. Nice nonpartisan job.

He's a crazy man with a gun.

Slow News day stirs new Benghazi outrage over..."underscoring" protest over YouTube video.

I will only blog about this story once in my lifetime. Here it is...

Conservative media is lighting up again over the revelations that an inexperienced speechwriter made up and pushed the Benghazi YouTube video attack for Susan Rice. It’s another failed face saving narrative pushed by the embarrassed fringe news elements of the Republican Party. They just can’t be wrong, ever. But here’s what we know from actual news sources…
The Times' David D. Kirkpatrick writes: "The reality in Benghazi was different, and murkier, than either of those story lines suggests. Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs." Rather than Al Qaeda, the Times says those responsible were local militants that And it was this anti-Islamic video posted to YouTube — “Innocence of Muslims" — that largely fueled the violence according to The Times' investigation.  NBC cites a senior Obama administration official who said the White House does not dispute those findings.
Researching this new and energized right wing “discovery,” I found so little coverage from legitimate reporting services that it would be impossible for anyone to find out the real story, as you can see by the picture here. The latest, according to the rabid right wing:
Fox News: "With the subject line 'PREP CALL with Susan,'" Rhodes writes to a dozen members of the administration's inner circle, including key players on the White House communications team such as spokesman Jay Carney, that one of the goals is, quote, 'to underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policy.'"
Ouch?

Here's Alex Wagner with the details:

Health Care Ranking Lags behind Walker's refusal to Expand Medicaid, tossing 97,000 off Program!!!

Scott Walker is still be benefiting from health care policies championed by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle. Our continued rankings don't come close to changes made with increased copay's, not to mention throwing 97,000 off the program and into the federal exchanges this year. These changes should have a major impact on our future ranking.

Which makes the following ranking completely worthless, but a bragging point for Walker:
jsonline: Wisconsin ranks seventh in the country in the overall performance of its health system and has made gains in reducing infant mortality and improving care for people covered by Medicare, according to a report released by the Commonwealth Fund. The measures include health care access, quality, costs and outcomes between 2007 and 2012. And how states perform on those measures can vary widely.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

GOP ObamaCare Lies cloud Public Perception of Favorite Covered Health Care Elements.

Vox featured these interesting charts about the the Affordable Care Act, which shows how successful Republicans were muddying up public perceptions of ObamaCare:


And there's still a problem with perception.

With congress on an extended midterm election break, the negative ObamaCare spin machine will be less effective than its been.

Junk Policy Johnson's Health Care Nightmare...

The news media is doing a lousy job of exposing the lunacy of the Republican idea of health care. Their plan is decades old, and they're still getting a pass on it.

I hope to dash the myths surrounding their "patient centered" "free market" solution here, in as few words as possible, by dissecting Dumb Ron Johnson's comments the other day on Upfront with Mike Gousha. Credit to Johnson for being completely open about his intentions:



Johnson's plan: "Preserving Freedom and Choice in Health Care"
"Eliminate all the mandated coverage's...would actually protect patients and make health care more affordable...the problem with ObamaCare, it's so coercive. It's not about freedom and choice."
EXPOSED: Junk Policy Johnson wants you to pick and choose your possible illness or accident coverage based on your ability to pay. That's crazy right, especially for families? Pick wrong and welcome to bankruptcy.

Those "mandates" simply provide the basic coverage needed by everyone to have a little economic certainty.

Johnson and Paul Ryan call this "patient centered" health care, because the fewer things covered, the lower the price. It's similar to "buying insurance across state lines," where basic coverage is obliterated by those states that eliminate all the mandates. Feeling lucky? Pick your illness or accident, like Junk Policy Johnson suggests.

EXPOSED: Johnson loves high deductible insurance plans but hates the high deductible plans in the exchanges. Go figure. He even pokes fun at Obama's suggested "Copper" plans, that offer reduced coverage...yes, just like his own patient centered junk policies. Johnson cluelessly jokes:
"They have to offer a very substandard plan just to get the cost of health care down."
But that's Johnson's plan. Doh!

EXPOSED:  Socializing all the risk, and privatizing all the profits!!! That's what Johnson and other Republicans are talking about when they bring up "high risk pools." Taxpayers pay for preexisting conditions, while insurers get all the healthy people.

Junk Policy Johnson and Paul Ryan are hiding their intentions in plain sight, because the media never asks them to justify what are essentially junk policies.  Maybe I'm a little too frugal, but I want my monthly premiums to be worth something.

Walker article inspires "followers" to load comments section with hate filled compassion, mercy, goodness and optimism!

What a response to the Scott Walker article “Scott Walker:Wisconsin is better off than four years ago.”

If better off means that 48 percent of the voting population who DIDN'T vote for Scott Walker gets ripped a new asshole by the other 52 percent, well then our governor would be right. 

The problem Wisconsin and the country has politically, according to "Stand with Walker" supporters, is that we have this troublesome two party system. How can you be principled if you have to compromise?

For me, reading through the comments section is always fun and still a real eye opener.

Veritas777 is one of those right wing name calling screamers the comments sections see a lot of. His enemies include half of the state’s population who didn't vote for Walker. The truth and Veritas777 are never on the same page. He was okay when his party spent like drunken sailors, borrowed trillions of dollars and enter into an unnecessary trillion dollar war, but it’s Obama who’s acting like a king. Oh, and Clippers owner Donald Sterling is still a Republican:
Veritas777: INCOME INEQUALITY ... Are black Americans better off five years into
the Obama presidency? Let me answer your question very forthrightly. No, they are not … and yet rich white liberals are doing quite well - - just ask the Clippers owner ... or Mary Burke ... or Harry Reid ... It is liberalism that is the cause of income inequality exponential expansion under 5 years of Obama and his imperialist dictatorship where he changes law by executive decree like King George.
The Great Recession blew out 8.7 million hard working middle class jobs, but...never mind that hiccup in deregulated supply side economics. Hard work didn't reward them with success or save their jobs, did it? Is it any surprise Veritas777 is also a proud rugged follower of his party’s leader:
Veritas777: Let the liberals cry "racism", and "income inequality", while Republican's show there is a better way.....HARD work, lower taxes, and REWARD success rather than subsidizing failure … People WILL respond to leadership ... and SOME governors are leading in Texas, Wisconsin, Louisiana, and Florida, while New York and California are drowning in their own liberal filth.
It’s also amusing to read a hate filled diatribe that blames liberals for hate filled diatribes. To top that off, they’re the real optimists:

Doing the people's business, or his own?
GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN: Lefty's worldview is like those of the Hate America Firster's, the Angry Blue-Fister's and other proggy paleo-lib protectors and defenders of their old status quo political power. They're always humorless, mean, grievence-filled and cynical. Righties are the new innovative, new tech, new style, new goodness and mercy compassionate, common sense Conservatives. We're big tent and welcoming to all. We want the best for all our fellow citizens. We want to grow the pie. We're optimistic, honest and open.
This is the Walker "divide and conquer" legacy in Wisconsin. And that's okay too.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Best Supreme Court Justice the Club for Growth could Buy!!!

Well aren't they the lucky ones? It looks like all that money the Club for Growth spent getting Justice David Posser elected will finally pay off after all. Barring a recusal, which will never happen if know Justice David Prosser, this bought and paid for justice will show the public just how much confidence they should have in our politicized legal system. It's not much of a surprise though, since a one-sided conservative legal system is something the party has been promising for a decade.  
A recent court filing raises questions about whether four of the state's seven Supreme Court justices can hear one or more challenges to an ongoing probe into whether a conservative group illegally coordinated with Gov. Scott Walker's campaign … legal ethics experts said Justice David Prosser should step aside in the case, adding others may have to do so as well.

In recent years, the club has spent about $1.8 million to help the four justices who make up the conservative bloc controlling the court — $400,000 for Annette Ziegler in 2007; $507,000 for Michael Gableman in 2008; $520,000 for Prosser in 2011; and $350,000 for Patience Roggensack in 2013. Those figures are estimates tabulated by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

In addition, the club was the sole funder of Citizens for a Strong America in 2011, and that group spent an estimated $985,000 that year to help Prosser. Both the club and Citizens for a Strong America were subpoenaed as part of the investigation ... the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that judges must recuse themselves from cases when a party has spent huge sums to help them win election.

The club's level of spending in Prosser's 2011 race "is sufficient to warrant recusal in a case in which the club has publicly expressed a strong interest, on the ground that the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned," Gillers wrote in an email to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Thanks Scott Walker, Wisconsin not great anymore...

Before Scott Walker people got along and loved living in Wisconsin. Not anymore. What is it about the Republican penchant for making everything seem nastier than they should be, more costly than we ever could have tolerated, and just a little bit "cold war" scary.

A recent poll shows shines a light on how policy affects the general nature of a state's population under Republican and Democratic control. Cap Times:
Between June and December last year, Gallup asked people about their satisfaction with the state in which they live. Gallup reported the responses:
In Wisconsin, 49 percent of those surveyed say it's at least one of the best, with 8 percent putting the state at No. 1 and 2 percent ranking it at the bottom of the union. Minnesotans see a better life across the border, with 61 percent calling their state among the best. Of that, 13 percent had Minnesota at the top, while 2 percent said it was the worst.
One more interesting side note: party dominance in the top states has an affect too. But that's a bad thing if you start with the idea that "divide and conquer" is part of your bigger vision, especially in a purple state. Many aren't that happy. That's why Minnesota beats us again.

40% increase in private sector jobs over the last 4 years were minimum wage.

Why middle class conservatives continue to sit by watching their jobs disappear and their incomes decline is a mystery to me. 

I want you to take note of every Republicans who sticks to the old jobs and wages talking points that unfortunately for them, were made obsolete after the Great Recession. Scott Walker and Paul Ryan especially. A new report confirms what Democrats have been saying for the last 3 years; we're a service economy now, along with a new business model:
NY Times: The deep recession wiped out primarily high-wage and middle-wage jobs. Yet the strongest employment growth during the sluggish recovery has been in low-wage work, at places like strip malls and fast-food restaurants … the poor economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones. That is the conclusion of a new report from the National Employment Law Project, a research and advocacy group, analyzing employment trends four years into the recovery.

“Fast food is driving the bulk of the job growth at the low end — the job gains there are absolutely phenomenal,” said Michael Evangelist, the report’s author. “If this is the reality — if these jobs are here to stay and are going to be making up a considerable part of the economy — the question is, how do we make them better?”

The report shows that total employment has finally surpassed its pre-recession level. “The good news is we’re back to zero,” Mr. Evangelist said.

Higher-wage industries shed 3.6 million positions during the recession and have added only 2.6 million positions. But lower-wage industries lost two million jobs, then added 3.8 million.

With 10.5 million Americans still looking for work employers feel no pressure to raise wages for those who are working. As a result, the average household’s take-home pay has declined through the recession and the recovery to $51,017 in 2012 from $55,627 in 2007, after adjusting for inflation.

With joblessness high and job gains concentrated in low-wage industries, hundreds of thousands of Americans have accepted positions that pay less than they used to make, in some cases, sliding out of the middle class and into the ranks of the working poor.

There were about a million fewer jobs in middle-wage industries … Economists worry that even a stronger recovery might not bring back jobs in traditionally middle-class occupations eroded by mechanization and offshoring. 

President Obama said raising (the minimum wage) to $10.10 would “lift wages for nearly 28 million Americans across the country. The average minimum-wage worker is 35 years old. But many Republicans oppose raising the wage floor while the economy remains weak. 

The study found especially strong growth in restaurants and food services, administrative and waste services and retail trades. Those industries, which often pay wages at the federal minimum, accounted for about 40 percent of the increase in private sector employment over the past four years. Strong jobs growth in some high-paying industries, accounted for about 9 percent of the private-sector job gains in the recovery.