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Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Defensive Walker makes the case to do away with "partisan" Democratic District Attorney's. There's only one real party...

It’s not the denial by Scott Walker that’s unsettling, but his suggestion that only Republican DA’s can be trusted with the law and “nonpartisan” investigations. These subtle comments provide the emotional gun powder for agitating the base. Maybe the media should ask Walker why he thinks Democratic DA candidates shouldn't run for office.

In his desperate attempt to contain the damage, he let it slip in this editorial:
“The truth on the widely covered John Doe is that two judges, one state and one federal, reviewed the accusations of partisans within a Democratic District Attorney’s Office and determined their theories have no merit or basis in law.”
What does that say about Walker’s respect for elections and those who see things differently...like Democrats?


The enemy among us: Walker’s “above the law” arrogance toward petty liberal partisans opposed to his one party ideal of government and “truth” is unnerving:
Each of these judges explicitly issued judicial orders that these partisan prosecutors must end their investigation immediately. These are the truths that need to be stated over and over again to fight the slander directed at me and our campaign by my political opponents.
Walker the Victim: Remember, this is about pay-to-play, campaign funding that pushes the limits and attempts to get around the law, whether legal or illegal. This isn’t about his failed agenda, it’s about elections controlled by big government corporate special interests. 

Bottom line; why wouldn't conservative prosecutors be considered just as partisan? 
Still, many in the media proceed as though the opinion of the partisan prosecutors … ignore the truths I have stated above. No charges. No case. Watching the media frenzy, it is clear that this is what happens when someone takes on the big government special interests. I will not back down. We will continue to fight using the truth...

Free Market Failure: The Great Recession!!!

A nice series on the failure of conservative free market economics hits all the right marks with one example after the next. Check out part one of the series here, at Populist Daily.com. I especially liked the following quote, which I framed for downloading. It was THE defining moment:

















Proof? Here's the video I edited together with the reckless comments of Gov. and Presidential candidate Rich Perry:



Here's a little more. Part 2 and part 3 are here.
Since Ronald Reagan, two serious economic crises, one of which was and is devastating to our society and possibly our future. One very damaging unnecessary war (not only for us but for innocent citizens of Iraq…and we wonder why Arabs hate us), tax cuts primarily for the wealthiest Americans that have dropped our annual revenues to approximately 15% of GDP from 20% under Clinton and Carter, causing massive deficits and a national debt of $16 trillion.

So we know what to expect from Conservatism. Promises of gold in the hills, promises that tax cuts will create a more vibrant economy, promises that all will be well, until…things don’t work out. And now what is their solution, those Conservatives working for huge corporations and billionaires…the Conservative solution is to blame the average person for wanting the “entitlements” we all paid for over 40 years or more of a working life. Conservatives want to cut Social Security and Medicare. 

Judge Randa Blocks Media Access to John Doe 2 Documents to hide possible Walker Lawbreaking.

Republicans have touted the wonders of conservative judges and justices for the last decade. They aren't shy about nominating strictly conservative candidates. And no one seems to think that’s odd.
Due to that, activist conservative judges have never felt more arrogant. They’re now rewriting law and legislating from the bench. Like Judge Rudy Randa.

Referenced in a nice piece at Rock Netroots, it appears Judge Rudy Randa’s partisan nature bubbled over:
Wisconsin Reporter: In a scorching critique, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa verbally hammers the prosecutors in a politically charged John Doe investigation for seeking “refuge in the Court of Public Opinion, having lost in this Court of law.” The federal judge’s stinging assessment of the prosecutors-turned defendants in a civil rights lawsuit came in a ruling Thursday that rejects in part unsealing a raft of records related to the investigation, a move that Randa believes is needed to protect two unnamed intervenors in the matter.

The prosecutors, in a filing last month, criticized conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and his Wisconsin Club for growth ... “(It is) beyond irony that the plaintiffs and their counsel now ask the Court to block media access to the documents that outline the investigation and detail the reasons why the plaintiffs’ conduct was subject to scrutiny,” the prosecutors claimed.
Is Walker Guilty of Coordinated Spending in Violation of Campaign Law? Here’s a legal look at the possible violation:
jsonline: Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Irvine who authors a popular blog on election law, said Thursday that the Citizens United case didn't go quite as far as many people think it did. The ruling left intact certain limits on coordinating such spending with candidates or their campaigns, restrictions similar to the Wisconsin laws.

"We're talking Wisconsin law" in the John Doe case, Hasen said, "but it’s fairly analogous. All kinds of issue advocacy can count as coordination, and therefore be illegal," depending on the specifics. Both Hasen and another election law expert, Ohio State University law professor Daniel Tokaji, think Randa's interpretations of the law will not be shared by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"I was flabbergasted by some of the things he said that were like applauding coordination," Hasen said. Tokaji said coordination is illegal for good reason, because it "raises the specter of corruption," and the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the purpose of preventing the exchange of cash for political favors. He said the new documents don't suggest the prosecutors looking into the Walker campaign were biased.

Ilya Shapiro, from the Cato Institute, called Thursday's developments "sort of a non-story" and a "fishing expedition" that doesn't change anything. Shapiro predicts the 7th Circuit will affirm Randa's findings but "with less sweeping rhetoric" on narrower grounds.

Another Walker Lie on National Television. Fox News willing Dupe.

It really is just amazing how "stand with Walker" loyalists are willing to believe anything from this known liar and manipulator. My god at least question something, anything:













PolitiFact: Walker said the secret John Doe criminal investigation of his campaign has been "resolved" and two judges have said it is "over."

His characterization is misleading at best. The investigation has been stopped, for now, under one judge’s ruling. But the second ruling, while a serious blow, did not end the probe, and in any event prosecutors have appealed the two rulings Walker mentioned.

We rate Walker’s statement False.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Damage Control: Walker Desperately Runs to Fox News!

It's fascinating to hear Republicans like Scott Walker praise...
"...two objective judges, third parties removed from the executive legislative branch..."
...but trash the judiciary when an issue like voter ID and the ban on same sex marriage are determined to be unconstitutional. No problem flip flopping on those same "activist" courts.

Walker's Wishful Thinking:


...and don't forget the judges order to destroy all the evidence. Thank you Judge Randa. 

Outside Millionaire/Billionaire Corporate Campaign Contributors aren't Big Government "Special Interests?" Walker especially hates big government special interests; marginalized unions who would dare fund candidates opposed to the GOP agenda.

In less than 24 hours, Walker ran to Fox News for a sit down interview, the go to network to help repair his faltering national image and save his possible presidential run. He did not go to the local Wisconsin stations. If anything, it's good to see the calm "incidental governor" show how bitterly partisan he really is. We only got a glimpse of that from the bigoted racist emails sent by his carefully chosen like-minded staff.

Victim Scott Walker is being questioned by...the media:
Walker: "The media is, at least many in the media, are willing accomplices." 
Accomplices? But it's surreal to see how Walker simply rationalized away big government conservative corporate interests:
Steve Doocy: "And they came after you, you say, because the action out in Wisconsin where famously, you tried to change the way the unions work in Wisconsin."

Walker: "That's right, we tried to take the government away from the big government interests and put it firmly in the hands of the hard working taxpayers.
Like "the hands of the hard working" Wisconsin Club for Growth, Citizens for a Strong America, Wisconsin Right to Life and United Sportsmen of Wisconsin. You know, right wing big government interests.

Walker ended the interview with a plea for "grassroots help" NATIONALLY to win reelection in Wisconsin.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ObamaCare Helping the Uninsured!

So far the ObamaCare enrollment numbers for the previously uninsured are looking good. I was one of them...
Vox: A slim majority of Obamacare's private insurance enrollees were uninsured when they signed up for coverage, a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds.

Walker judged in court of Public Opinion over what looks like Illegal Campaign Coordination Revealed in Email to Karl Rove.

The media is buzzing over Scott Walker's apparent involvement in illegal campaign coordination, which is a violation of Wisconsin law, hit the fan today.

BREAKING NEWS: Walker is scrambling to repair his public image. jsonline-Dan Bice:
Insiders say Walker's campaign has dropped $245,000 to air a new commercial on TV stations in five markets beginning Friday. Also on Friday, the first-term Republican governor will be going on national network "Fox and Friends"program at 6:15 a.m. to discuss the release of the John Doe records. "The accusation of any wrongdoing written in the complaint by the office of a partisan Dem DA by me or by my campaign is categorically false," Walker said ... Walker also posted tweets calling on prosecutors to end the investigation. He also suggested that Democrats will "use these false accusations to distract from the issues important to the voters of Wisconsin."
Distract us from his jobs failure. Not a chance Scotty.

Let's start with the local station WISC Channel3000 and Jessica Arp:



Big Ed Schultz, who talked with the Progressive's Ruth Conniff and State Sen. Lena Taylor:



Here's Rev. Al with State Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Journal Sentinel reporter Patrick Marley:



Here's Chris Hayes with Ruth Conniff again, on the phone, with a nice summation:



And a short comment from Rachel Maddow, who also mentions Walker's jobs promise:



Pregnant Doctor harangued by Republican Rep. over Maternity Mandate in ObamaCare, Proves he doesn't know how insurance actually works. And we should Trust these guys with Health Care Reform?

One thing about Republicans, once they get what they want in life, they could care less about anyone else. I've seen it over and over. They got their due. 

I would compare it to no longer having a kid in school, where our obligation to provide for future generations doesn't end with their graduation. The same is true for spreading the high cost of child birth to everyone in society, we owe it to future generations, and it's how insurance works. 

Showing their ignorance of insurance, and a lack of any social responsibility, Republicans have been fuming over ObamaCare's requirement to provide maternity care to everyone, even childless couples. 

This disgusting display of arrogance and stupidity is made worse because the North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows badgers pregnant Dr. Mandy Cohen, who's due in three weeks. Sadly, Cohen wasn't ready with the simple answer; this is how insurance works, by spreading the cost. From Think Progress:

  
Congressman Demands Pregnant Woman Explain Why Obamacare Includes Maternity Coverage:During Cohen’s testimony, Rep. Meadows demanded to know why Americans are forced to buy coverage for services that don’t apply to them. MEADOWS: So you have to buy maternity, even though you may never have a child?

COHEN: That is correct.

MEADOWS: Are there other things you have to buy that you may never use?

COHEN: It depends on your personal family situation and your medical situation. I’ll say as an internist, and a primary care doc, that sometimes you don’t know what that medical situation will be going forward, and that’s the nature–

MEADOWS: But maternity is one that you can probably analyze pretty well for someone who’s in their 50s.

COHEN: Right, but it’s a minimal essential benefit we wanted to make sure that all Americans had access to.
Sen. Tom Harkin said it best last fall:
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) responded to the critiques of maternity coverage, comparing it to the property taxes that fund public schools. “Maybe because my wife and I do not have any more children and they are grown up, maybe I should not have to pay property taxes to pay for my local schools,” he said. “We are better than that in this country. We are talking about being part of our society. It is to our benefit, my wife and I, to support our local schools because that is our next generation, we want them well taught. Same with health care. It is a values system.” 

Walker's uses Great Recession again as Excuse, diversion from his Failed Jobs Policies.

Obama's job creation numbers are twice that of Scott Walker's, yet Obama's recovery is a failure and Walker's is a success...double standard?

We also heard how Obama should stop blaming Bush for everything, yet Walker can blame former Gov. Jim Doyle for everything, including the Great Recession...double standard?

And Walker's continued use of the Great Recession ("free market" anyone?) as a ploy to use against against Democrats has been surreal for some long time now. He just went off the rails today:

Here's the jobs chart showing both Doyle's and Walker's record. Anyone notice the dip in 2008-2009? The Great Recession, right? Supporters should be asking themselves, "Is Walker that stupid or is he conning us?" By the looks of his Tweet, we all know the answer:
Just to be clear, here's the latest rankings:
jsonline: Wisconsin gained 28,141 private-sector jobs in the 12 months of 2013, a 1.2% increase that ranks the state 37th among the 50 states in the pace of job creation during that period. The latest rank is little changed from the state's previous status. In 2012, Wisconsin ranked 36 out of 50 in private-sector job creation and in 2011 it was 35th.

The United States created private-sector jobs at a rate of 2.1% in the latest 12-month period, nearly double Wisconsin's 1.2% rate.

John Doe 2 Explodes, Walker brags he’s at the center of Illegal Coordination: “We are running 9 recall elections.”

The groups that successfully halted, for the time being, the John Doe 2 investigation are now suffering the unintended consequences of their own legal brilliance.

And prosecutors are now legally able to make their case to the public. They dropped the bomb, so to speak. What turn:
jsonline: Prosecutors allege that Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among conservative groups to help his campaign and those of Republican senators fend off recall elections during 2011 and '12, according to documents unsealed Thursday. In the documents, prosecutors lay out what they call a "criminal scheme" to bypass state election laws by Walker, his campaign and two top deputies — R.J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl.

The governor and his close confidants helped raise money and control spending through 12 conservative groups during the recall elections, according to the prosecutors' filings. The documents include an email in which Walker tells Karl Rove, former top adviser to President George W. Bush, that Johnson would lead the coordination campaign. Johnson is also chief adviser to Wisconsin Club for Growth, a conservative group active in the recall elections.

"Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state (and Twin Cities)," Walker wrote to Rove on May 4, 2011.
 Salon writes:
Today was a bad day for Republican governors. Out in Wisconsin, the long-simmering investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign boiled over as prosecutors unsealed documents laying out what they say was Walker’s central role in a “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate with outside groups. And in New Jersey, reports are that investigators picking apart the almost comedic corruption of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration have several of the governor’s top aides dead-to-rights and are closing in on Christie himself.

For pro-union forces out there, seeing Walker and Christie in the hot seat has to engender more than a little Schadenfreude. 

Walker’s successful push to strip state government workers of their collective bargaining rights was what led to the recall election in the first place. Christie’s national profile was first built on his public shouting matches with members of the New Jersey teachers union. 

Red Wisconsin Slips to 37th in Job Creation. Blue Minnesota is 23rd.

Job creation is a result of consumer demand. Economist say it's 70% of our economy.

But let's ignore that important fact right now. Let's take a purely conservative "supply side" economic approach to job creation. It looks like corporate CEO's broke their side of the agreement with Republicans like Scott Walker, who gave them everything they wanted, but got nothing in return except their love and appreciation.

Walker is now a dismal failure and stuck defending his lackluster record with the help of a few low information supporters. The new numbers are in:
jsonline: Wisconsin gained 28,141 private-sector jobs in the 12 months of 2013, a 1.2% increase that ranks the state 37th among the 50 states in the pace of job creation during that period. The latest rank is little changed from the state's previous status. In 2012, Wisconsin ranked 36 out of 50 in private-sector job creation and in 2011 it was 35th.

The United States created private-sector jobs at a rate of 2.1% in the latest 12-month period, nearly double Wisconsin's 1.2% rate
According to Walker's logic and campaign spin, creating even one job is moving "forward," which technically is true but...

Remember the "Uncertainty" Excuse? For years Republicans pushed the ridiculous idea that uncertainty in the business community prevented job creation and growth. An odd argument for those pushing a free market system, where there's no certainty at all.

But now those same Republicans, who are blocking anything and everything in congress, are being accused of creating uncertainty by their big business supporters for doing nothing.  Ironic isn't it. Thank you GOP:
jsonline: The U.S. economy needs to pick up speed, but political uncertainty in Washington, D.C., has left businesses reluctant to spend money and generate more jobs, a market strategist for Fidelity Investments said Wednesday. Bruce Johnstone, a Fidelity managing director, said "So the economy is growing at 2% rather than 3% because everybody is waiting. Let's not kid ourselves, we're going to have to get together at the top, and everybody is going to have to agree to take a hit. Until that happens, we're just not going to get the job done."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Scott Walker gets Colbert treatment on Same Sex Marriage

Stephen Colbert plays with Scott Walker's complete whiff on same sex marriage. Colbert himself is taking no stand too:

Walker borrows more while cutting taxes. What a plan.

Wisconsin Public Radio's Shawn Johnson is doing a three part series: "Walker's Promises: By the Numbers." In this first piece, spending seems to be one of Walker's biggest problems, and growing: 
Walker Veers from Promise Not To 'Spend More Than You Have’: Walker lived up to that in his first budget, according to Todd Berry with the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. But Berry said Walker's second budget is headed in a different direction starting with the next fiscal year. "We're going to spend, it looks like, more than we're going to bring in in revenue, and the reason simply is we have some big tax cuts," Berry said.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects that in year two of this budget, the state will spend $559 million more than it takes in. That number is just the general fund.  To really dig into this promise, people have to look at the transportation budget.

The trouble in Wisconsin is that borrowing keeps going up with no end in sight. Officials with the Fiscal Bureau said total state indebtedness is projected to grow by more than $1 billion under the governor's watch. 

Jon Peacock, who directs the Budget Project at the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, said continuing this idea is the opposite of what state officials should be doing. "At a time when the economy was doing well and coming out of a recession, that's the perfect time to reduce the amount of bonding, but instead, we've increased it," Peacock said. It's not that people don't know how to fix this, but Walker has shot down proposals to raise taxes or fees to pay for roads. 

Walker's wage deficit another big Campaign issue.

Mary Burke has another big issue:












Here's the devastating conclusion. This time, Walker can't blame on anyone but himself since he opposes a minimum wage hike:
Burke told delegates at the state Democratic convention that "the typical Wisconsin worker makes $5,000 less each year than our neighbors in Minnesota" under Walker’s policies.

The gap is real and Burke hit the mark with her description of it. The gap has grown or held steady in Walker’s time depending on the measuring stick used. Burke didn’t say Walker created the gap, but the disparity is a longstanding one, and one that existed and grew under governors of both political stripes. We rate her claim Mostly True.

More Common Core support in Wisconsin: "Marshfield is not an island, and is operating in a global marketplace."

I have rarely seen a negative article about Common Core in Wisconsin, besides the occasional story about the tea party's opposition.

Here's another example that flies in the face of what we're seeing nationwide:
MARSHFIELDNewsHarold: Despite the controversy surrounding Common Core, Marshfield School Board’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee doesn’t foresee the district doing anything to distance itself from the set of standards Wisconsin adopted in 2010, according to committee members. “If you listen to the (Professional Learning Community) committees, or how we develop curriculum, that’s not what drives the development. It’s so much more than that,” said Dorothy Chaney, who sits on the committee. “Common Core is not what drives our curriculum development, period,” Chaney said.

“My opinion is I don’t think it would rise to the level of a high priority,” Committee member Randell Kruger said. “Given that there are a lot of standards that we have to abide by … (like) the standards to teach Advanced Placement, Project Lead the Way, or transcripted credit courses through local institutions of higher learning.

Chair Amber Leifheit said, “The community gets a curriculum that it wants.”
If you take anything away from this story, this is it:
Common Core critics say schools are losing local control over curriculum choices, however, Kruger said people have to realize Marshfield is not an island, and is operating in a global marketplace.

“I see the concern, but I don’t think it’s losing control,” he said. “You have to realize you’re not alone in the world.”

Walker's embarrassing denial he criticized Dumb Ron Johnson and divided the people of Wisconsin.

The Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice followed up on a National Review piece that quoted Scott Walker trashing Dumb Ron Johnson. Here comes another awkward moment for the incidental governor. No, he wasn't talking about the only senator in full panic mode about the economy, not a chance? I suppose Walker is talking directly to his strident “stand with Walker” believers, who feel his victimhood.

It's clear to anyone not in the bag for Walker who he was talking about.
According to the conservative National Review, Walker took a swipe at a particular Republican U.S. senator, whom he didn't name, for always grousing about the national debt. National Review's Eliana Johnson (wrote) "At times, he said that listening to the senator harping on it makes him 'want to slit my wrists because I'm just like, "My God, this is so awful, I cannot believe this.""

Hmm, Wisconsin has a U.S. senator, Ron Johnson, who likes to harp on the national debt. So Johnson's got to be the guy. Except the governor denied it on Tuesday. Walker said he didn't criticize anyone in particular … "It's flat-out wrong," Walker said.

Was Walker misquoted? "Well," he said, "that's what flat-out wrong means."

That sentiment did not go over well at the offices of the National Review. Rich Lowry, the editor said of his reporter in an interview … "It's completely accurate. We have the audio."
In fact Walker is also spinning a list of fact in a recent New Republic piece, "The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker." Walker is claiming a well-researched series of articles detailing how partisan Wisconsin has become since Walker became governor isn't his fault, even though he came right out and said “divide and conquer” was part of the plan.
Walker said the story was "filled with half-truths and misunderstanding.” The piece also relied heavily, he said, on a recent Journal Sentinel series on Wisconsin voting patterns. Walker claimed the polarization described in the series began emerging long before he ran for office. 

Obama's Presidency is Over?

I was kind of waiting for this day to arrive, and it officially has via this MSNBC announcement from Chuck Todd:














My conservative friend in Milwaukee took a break from Benghazi and Obama's IRS scandal to tell me, "see, I told you so." Chuck Todd's opinion centered on just one poll. But to me, it proved how one party can win the public over with a massive unrelenting campaign to discredit anyone it chooses. In this case it was Obama. But this tactic can be used on anyone not looked on favorably by the political authority in charge.

I emailed back:
I’m doing a quick story on this. What it really says to me: The tactic of one party to fully trash relentlessly everything a president does, with lies, fabrications, fictions and conspiracy theories, works. I never thought it was possible to align everyone in a party to think and say the same thing over and over whether it was true or not...but it is.

Congratulations, it must feel great being on the “winning” side (according to Todd anyway). All this time you have been obsessed with “winning” in our conversations, at any cost. Yes, the great Chuck Todd is now the voice of reason and not just a part of the liberal cabal at MSNBC. Flip flop?

And your plan for the new government and constitutional convention after you throw out the old one? Maybe we can make the government more like you, or maybe like someone else you don’t agree with all. See how much say you’ll have when they draw that up.
 Besides losing on their push for a war with Russia and staying in an endless war in Afghanistan, the GOP campaign proved they could put the country on a firm war footing and leave prisoners of war behind if they so choose to in the future under a Republican controlled government:
According to the poll, 44% of respondents said the administration should not have made the exchange, compared with 30% who supported it. 

When asked their predictions on the rest of Obama's term in office, 54% said they thought he "cannot lead and get the job done," compared with only 42% who said the opposite. 

Over the last 12 months, 41% of respondents said their views of the Obama administration have "gotten worse." 
But there was good news here:
On the generic congressional ballot, 35% said they would vote for a Democratic candidate in their district, compared with 30% who chose a theoretical Republican candidate.

“Outraged” Republicans try to hide possible Voucher discrimination against Students with Disabilities. Big Surprise!!!

It's now okay to deny students with disabilities a place in private voucher schools? What's next, keeping the low income riff raff out? 

After all, don’t taxpayers have a right to know if their money is going to private schools refusing children they don’t want?  What are they afraid? Are they above taxpayer accountability?  

Republican State Sen. Paul Farrow didn't just push back against the request, but sounded as guilty as hell with his accusations that Superintendent Evers is “undermining” choice schools, and mismanaging the elected office. Simply just asking for the information is deceitful? jsonline:
Sen. Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) sent a letter Monday to DPI Superintendent Tony Evers reprimanding him for the request. "I am disappointed in your mismanagement, deceit, and undermining of not only the parental school choice programs, but of the authority of the Legislature as well," Farrow wrote in the letter.
Did you get that? How dare we question the political “authority” (sounds like big government?), even from an elected office holder like Sup. Evers?

Unfortunately, the DPI’s response was less hyperbolic, which doesn't garner public outrage like Sen. Farrow’s response. I’ll bet Walker supporters will defend the practice of denying students with disabilities because private schools have to make a profit. You know, all that freedom and liberty stuff.
DPI spokesman John Johnson stressed that the department is asking for schools to voluntarily provide the data … state law does not compel private voucher schools to make available data about the demographics and performance of their students with disabilities. Public schools must provide that data.
What, a double standard favoring private sector schools, who wrote that law?

But the outrage doesn't stop there: The ridiculously named "Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, another one of those conservative "think" tanks, chimed in. President Rick Esenberg and “education policy” director C.J. Szafir acted as guilty as hell as they appealed to the conservative paranoia that government is out to get them.
Rick Esenberg blasted the DPI in a news release, saying the department was being "commandeered" by the Justice Department. C.J. Szafir (said) "I think DPI in the wording of its request is setting schools up to fail if there is no definition or guidance as to how to provide the data." 
Suggesting this is all a trick by DPI and the Justice Department, Szafir actually contradicted his own argument. In his statement below, Szafir worries about revealing personal identifiable student information:
Szafir expressed concerns that schools that comply with the DPI's request may be putting themselves at risk of violating state and federal privacy laws, such as FERPA — it prohibits schools from disclosing personally identifiable information on students — or the Wisconsin Medical Records Privacy Act.
But then complains that DPI’s request is too vague on data:
Beyond legal concerns Szafir also took issue with the vagueness of the data, such as the DPI's request for the number of disabled students who were expelled or suspended from choice schools. "It doesn't give the schools the opportunity to tell why they were expelled." 
It's as simple as this really:
Monica Murphy, managing attorney at Disability Rights Wisconsin said, "DPI can ask for whatever it wants. Why are (voucher advocates) afraid to provide the data?"
This is one way to make sure school choice programs are obeying our civil rights laws, unless you have something against that.
Representative Sondy Pope wrote “If discriminatory practices are occurring against disabled students in voucher schools, it is in the best interest that the discrimination be investigated and stopped. Those who would defend or cover up this practice show a certain moral bankruptcy that has no place in the legislature.

Walker's embarrassing denial he criticized Dumb Ron Johnson and divided the people of Wisconsin.

The Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice followed up on a National Review piece that quoted Scott Walker trashing Dumb Ron Johnson. Here comes another awkward moment for the incidental governor. No, he wasn't talking about the only senator in full panic mode about the economy, not a chance? I suppose Walker is talking directly to his strident “stand with Walker” believers, who feel his victimhood.

It's clear to anyone not in the bag for Walker who he was talking about.
According to the conservative National Review, Walker took a swipe at a particular Republican U.S. senator, whom he didn't name, for always grousing about the national debt. National Review's Eliana Johnson (wrote) "At times, he said that listening to the senator harping on it makes him 'want to slit my wrists because I'm just like, "My God, this is so awful, I cannot believe this.""

Hmm, Wisconsin has a U.S. senator, Ron Johnson, who likes to harp on the national debt. So Johnson's got to be the guy. Except the governor denied it on Tuesday. Walker said he didn't criticize anyone in particular … "It's flat-out wrong," Walker said.

Was Walker misquoted? "Well," he said, "that's what flat-out wrong means."

That sentiment did not go over well at the offices of the National Review. Rich Lowry, the editor said of his reporter in an interview … "It's completely accurate. We have the audio."
In fact Walker is also spinning a list of fact in a recent New Republic piece, "The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker." Walker is claiming a well-researched series of articles detailing how partisan Wisconsin has become since Walker became governor isn't his fault, even though he came right out and said “divide and conquer” was part of the plan.
Walker said the story was "filled with half-truths and misunderstanding.” The piece also relied heavily, he said, on a recent Journal Sentinel series on Wisconsin voting patterns. Walker claimed the polarization described in the series began emerging long before he ran for office. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ridiculously Expensive U.S. Health Care vs other Countries.

Here's an update on the condition of the U.S. health care system, pretty much before we completely locked into the Affordable Care Act. 

First up, the Republican vision supporting a free market U.S. model no one in the world would dare try, let alone experiment on, on such a grand scale. You'll notice in the video clip below Singapore's free market attempt didn't work out well. A lesson to be learned? By everybody but Republicans.    


Free market "competition" failed, just like it did in the U.S. within the "individual insurance marketplace." This flew under the radar of most Americans because they received their health care through an employer, just like many career politicians got theirs from taxpayers. 

Lots of Graphs: Pictures tell the whole story, simple enough for even the lamest conservative troll to understand. Click to hopefully enlarge:
Vox: Ways the American health care system is literally the worst: The United States comes in dead last in a new, international ranking of health care systems from a top health-care non-profit. A new Commonwealth Fund report looks at how the United States stacks up against other countries on things like access to doctors and quality of care. It pulls from three separate surveys conducted over the past three years: a 2011 survey of sicker patients, a 2012 survey of doctors and a 2013 survey of adults over 18. It also uses health outcome data from the OECD and World Health Organization.

Vox: This is the most depressing graph in American health care: The chart, from a 2013 report, maps what countries spend per-person on health care against how long people in those countries live. It captures two long-standing truths about the American system: the United States consistently ranks way above peer nations in health care spending, but also ranks way behind in health care outcomes. In other words, we're not getting what we pay for.

Walker's circle of friends includes Gov. Tom Corbett? Shows he's still a great judge of character!

Did Scott Walker just tie his wagon to America's least favorite governor? Oh yes he did:














Corbett appears to have Walker's playbook, and yet voters there are not too happy about the results:
The New York Times profiled Corbett a month ago, detailing how he has been unable to bounce back from the unpopularity of his first year in office, during which he presided over large-scale budget cuts and teacher layoffs.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Scott Walker trashes Dumb Ron Johnson, believes in a Perpetual War "Properly Administered."

Scott Walker says Americans love perpetual war, and want to engage the world militarily for however long it takes to "win." Who knew? 

Breathtakingly authoritarian, Scott Walker believes that our recent wars "just haven't been properly administered." This great military mind knows what to do?  
National Review: On foreign policy, Walker positioned himself firmly in the establishment camp, dismissing arguments that Republican voters want to see the United States reduce its engagement with the world. “I don’t believe that,” he said. “I believe fundamentally the reason why many young voters are suspect about foreign policy and the wars and many things like that is that they just haven’t been properly administered,” he said.
Even Scott Walker can't stand Dumb Ron Johnson's panicky guy routine. Nice quotable Democratic campaign material for 2016:
Walker also threw some elbows at Washington Republicans, criticizing them for harping on issues like the debt and the deficit without offering a positive vision for the future. “We have to be optimistic,” he said. He pointed to a particular senator who “constantly talks about how horrible the debt is.” Walker said that, while he shares the sentiment, the issue has limited popular appeal. At times, he said that listening to the senator harping on it makes him “want to slit my wrists because I’m just like, ‘My God, this is so awful, I cannot believe this.’”
Here in Wisconsin, Walker is playing gender politics against Mary Burke, with condescending comments that sound amazingly desperate. Maybe it's the people...again, he's surrounded himself with:
As Walker was garnering applause from the lunch crowd, the aides he had in tow were getting less positive feedback. Though operating on friendly turf, they acted skittish, guarded, and unfriendly. An event organizer complained that the governor’s team was dismissive and difficult to deal with, and that she found it nearly impossible to get Walker on the phone with his host.

Walker demeans Burke, hides from gay Marriage, insists media stick with settled Act 10 debate. Don't think so.

Scott Walker’s in trouble. He never expected to see same sex marriage as a major hot button issue. And that's why he’s desperately trying to shift the debate back to the tired old discussion over Act 10. I can say that because Mary Burke has made herself perfectly clear about where she stands on the issue. There's nothing left to say, but Walker is desperate:
"If you all spent a fraction of the energy you're spending on this issue asking Madison School Board Member Mary Burke where she stood, that actually is important," Walker added. The State Journal reported Sunday that Burke wants to repeal major parts of the law ... that make it harder for unions to function. The newspaper also reported that she would retain or modify other parts, including those requiring state employees pay more of their health insurance premiums and pension contributions.
Here's WKOW:



But Act 10 energizes the base, and Walker needs the debate to fire up voters, or else...he'll lose. But, it's not going to happen. Desperate, desperate, desperate:
Walker suggested that reporters were too focused on the same-sex marriage issue, and should focus instead on candidate's positions on things like Act 10 … "I would suggest that where people stand on Act 10 is infinitely more important than where people stand on the issues all of you started out asking about," Walker said, referring to media questions about same-sex marriage. "That actually matters to the future."
Here's more from WISC, where Walker suggests Burke's changes to Act 10 will cost money or ruin the state:



Burke's positions won't cost the state anything on Act 10. As for leadership, Walker has decided it's not so important now.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel chides Gov. Scott Walker for dodging questions about his stance on gay marriage these days. Walker has claimed that his views "don't matter" since a U.S. district court judge found Wisconsin's anti-gay marriage law unconstitutional. What Walker believes indeed does matter, the paper says, and he should let the public know what it is.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke criticized Gov. Scott Walker on Monday for "not being clear with voters" about his position on same-sex marriage. "I think the people of Wisconsin would like to hear what the governor thinks," Burke said. "As governor I’m going to be clear about where I stand on issues. It seems pretty political to me that he seems now to be waffling on whether he supports gay marriage or doesn’t."
Walker's short temper is showing, big time, with gender based condescending comments like this:
Told by reporters that Burke said he wasn't leading on the issue, Walker fired back. "She needs to understand government 101, which is that the governor of the state of Wisconsin can't arbitrarily change the Constitution," Walker said. "There's only two ways it will be changed. One is if a court ultimately decides the U.S. Constitution overpowers the state's Constitution. Or that the voters of the state … vote to put an amendment on the ballot, and that changes the Constitution."
Burke never said she would arbitrarily change the constitution, a Walker false premise his base would firmly believe is true. And yes, the U.S. Constitution does "overpower" Wisconsin's. But we’re talking failed leadership here, and Walker knows it:
Walker added, "The governor of the state, no matter who it is, has no bearing on that issue. It has nothing to do with changing a position, it has everything to do with the fact that it doesn't matter, because it will be decided either in the courts or by the voters."

Burke said. "It’s about being clear on a stance, particularly when something is discriminatory … If I was governor I would want to see gay marriage go forward."
Has the incidental governor given up his leadership skills bashing gay marriage:
Walker has previously been a staunch supporter of the ban on same-sex marriage, but in recent interviews with reporters has dismissed the ban as not something voters talk about. As a state representative, Walker also voted for a bill in 1997 to prohibit same-sex marriages and declare those conducted in other states to be invalid. Then in 2009, while serving as Milwaukee County executive, Walker vetoed a measure to provide benefits to same-sex partners of county workers. And after becoming governor in 2011, Walker fired the state’s attorney defending Wisconsin’s domestic registry law.
Equality is not in Walker's constitution?

Big Energy companies like MG&E attack Green Energy, charge more to small customers, Boost their Profits.

Your basic bill from MG&E is going to go up big time, just so you can be their customer, while the energy charge (kilowatt hour) will go down. It’s an amazing counter offensive to save the big energy industry. If only horse and carriage companies had thought of this, they might still be around.

Another words, energy will be cheap whether you get it from MG&E or solar panels on your roof, but your bill will always be really high. That in turn will discourage the growth of green energy. Checkmate. Pretty clever huh?

A few years ago I blogged about how these same big energy companies were having a tantrum over customers saving way too much, which in turn hurt their profits. They were threatening to charge more and penalize those frugal homeowners.

Now they've got an even better plan, and customers have no way to escape getting fleeced by their local monopoly.
Cap Times: Smaller customers of Madison Gas & Electric could see the fixed portion of their monthly bill jump dramatically under a sweeping rate change proposal from the investor-owned utility.

Right now, homeowners and renters pay MGE a set charge of about $10 a month (called a "customer charge" on typical MGE bills) regardless of how much electricity they use. That would increase to $49 by 2016 under a two-year rate plan … For natural gas customers, the monthly fixed charge is proposed to go from $12 to $21 in 2015.
If you save energy, you’re a freeloader to MG&E:
“Under MGE's current rates, lower usage customers are not paying an appropriate share of the fixed costs of service,” (an) MGE’s rate analyst said in testimony to the PSC earlier this month, adding that the fixed charges could rise to $69 in 2017. MGE proposal also includes a lowering of the kilowatt hour (kWh) charge for the amount of electricity used. 

Consumer advocates say the changes will have a chilling effect on customers who have taken steps to cut their electricity use. “Increasing the minimum monthly payment from $10 to nearly $70 is a giant step backwards and runs completely counter to the concept of a ‘community energy company,’ ” says Kira Loehr, acting director of the Citizens Utility Board which is fighting the proposal.

But environmental groups say … will act as a disincentive for customers to purchase energy-efficient appliances or make other improvements. A lowering of electric rates could especially hurt those who have invested in solar power installations based on calculations of how much money they will save over the long term. The bottom line is that bills are going down for big users and going to go up for smaller users,” says Michael Vickerman of Renew Wisconsin, which has done its own analysis of the proposal.

Some states like Arizona are now charging a tariff to those who have installed solar panels on their homes or businesses in an attempt to make up for lost electric sales.
Always remember who's in the back pocket of big energy, and it's not the Democrats.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

GOP Hillary Discredit Campaign laughably Transparent, but most likely shockingly effective.

Like Mitt Romney ever had a handle on the issues? He didn't know anything then, and still doesn't. An amazing attack so early in the process and ridiculously preemptive.