Saturday, July 12, 2014

How about that Minnesota: Democratic Party's new Early Voting Laws Embraced by State Republicans!!!

Wisconsin Republicans, two sessions in a row, cut early down dramatically. They don't like it.

But if Republicans hate early voting  so much, why don't they walk the walk and follow their own advice; stay away until election day?

What, No Thank You? This Minnesota GOP post says it all about their strongly held "princibals," and their gratitude for the new Democratic Party passed early voting laws:

Here's their total sell out to early voting and call to action video:

Blue Minnesota vs Red Wisconsin; Minnesota has surplus, Wisconsin doesn't.

We kinda knew this would happen, didn't we?

Democratic economic policies work, when given the chance, while the Republicans "fiscally conservative" policies stink up the place as usual. Who can forget the Great Recession, right? Check out the analysis at Jake's Economic TA Funhouse between Minnesota's projected surplus and Wisconsin's projected deficit.

I thought the following details were worth highlighting from a more partisan prospective:
Star Tribune: Minnesota tax collections beat expectations for the final three months of the fiscal year, and Minnesota is now expected to finish the fiscal year with $168 million more in revenues than projected state finance officials said. The update will undoubtedly factor into the governor's race.
Desperate to a point of being laughable, minority Republicans struggled to find something to whine about:
Jeff Johnson's firm grasp of the surplus problem...Democrats!
Republicans contend the economy is sputtering while Dayton has tried to present a more-upbeat picture. House GOP Leader Kurt Daudt accused Dayton and Democrats of trying to distract Minnesotans from other issues such as the federal health care overhaul or a planned new government office building for state senators that opponents view as wasteful. "The reality is: Governor Dayton and Democrats continue to put themselves and their extreme special interests before the best interests of hardworking Minnesotans."

Yea, Democrats are just distracting Minnesotans with the good economic news. God their funny. 

It’s better than Wisconsin’s projected $200 million shortfall, or the $2 billion deficit in the next fiscal budget, which is best explained at Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse (where I found this story). 

Celebrating "Dependence Day" another failed Fox News Guilt Trip.

I'm still struck by how the media has avoided connecting the dots between economic policy and the rise of American dependence on government assistance. Business control of our political system destroyed the middle class in the form of the Great Recession.

Democrats for decades focused their attention on helping Americans affected by the free market agenda by instituting safety net programs. They were vilified for it by Republicans.

Which brings me to the following wonderfully ridiculous and hilarious presentation by Fox News' Eric Bolling. He wants to adopt a new holiday called “Dependence Day.” Based on one false premise after the next, it's This Modern World and The Onion combined:

Ring of Fire Radio:
Bolling: “We were once a strong and proud people built on a rock solid work ethic. Independence recently however, we've evolved for the worse. A massive 55 percent of all Americans have relied on the government for an entitlement. 46 million Americans are receiving food stamps. That’s up over 14 million since Barack Obama took office. Nine million workers are now on disability, up 20 percent under Obama ... more and more takers are in the cart and fewer and fewer makers are pulling the darned thing.”

Fact: 43 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes, about half of those did not make enough income to qualify, including those retired workers who are living on Social Security, according to the Tax Policy Center. Nearly two thirds do pay payroll taxes, meaning they are, in fact, helping to pull the metaphorical cart Bolling spoke of.

The tax breaks given to corporations cost the US government billions each year. In fact, 280 Fortune 500 companies raked in a total of $27.3 billion in just three years because of the “excess stock option” tax break, which Facebook used to eliminate it’s entire tax liability and take home a $429 million tax rebate in 2012.

Apparently Bolling only considers it “taking” when it’s the American people getting help, and not when it’s corporations exploiting tax codes, or simply hiding trillions of dollars overseas from the government. 

Go figure, Republican Voters happy with ObamaCare after all.

It's always funny to see just how hypocritical Republican voters are when it comes to policy. Here are a few short clips featuring Alex Wagner and Chris Hayes. Interesting fact, Bush delayed Medicare Part D without congressional approval:

MSNBC: The majority of Republicans who enrolled in new health insurance coverage are satisfied with their decision, a new survey found.

Seventy-four percent of newly insured Republicans liked their plans, according to data recently released by a research group, the Commonwealth Fund.

The figures also showed that 73% of people who bought health plans and 87% who registered for Medicaid said they were “somewhat” or “very satisfied” with their new coverage. And 77% of the public that had insurance before last year’s October rollout were content with their coverage.
The website is greatly improved, and navigating around to come up with coverage choices was easy. Since I have a business dependent on royalties, I selected a number of possible income scenarios and premium choices with ease. 
The percentage of adults younger than 65 who lack health insurance dropped from 20% to 15% after the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in January.

After Interviewing Finalists, Cindy Archer Takes their Job.

Scott Walker knows how to pick 'em. We've seem examples of that from John Doe 1 & 2.

What seemed strange got even stranger: Getting a job you didn't apply for seemed unusual enough when Cindy Archer, a former Walker aide, took the job at the public defender’s office. But as it turns out, Archer was the one giving the interviews...for the job she took...from her two hand picked finalists. Channel3000:
Newly released records show a longtime aide to Gov. Scott Walker helped interview the two finalists for the $113,000 job at the state public defender's office she landed. State Public Defender Kelli Thompson determined that Archer was the best person for the IT manager job.
Archer apparently didn't think the job paid enough to bring the best and the brightest…like herself:
The Journal Sentinel reported that Archer's salary is $3,400 a year more than the top pay listed in an advertisement for the position. 
It must have been painful interviewing the less qualified riff raff.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Every Wisconsin Republican Congressmen Voted Yes to Increase Deficit $287 Billion in Ten Years.

It’s opposite day again for House Republicans, who want to increase deficits, not cut them. Roll Call:
BONUS DEPRECIATION MADE PERMANENT: The House sent the Senate a bill (HR 4718) to make “bonus depreciation” for businesses a permanent feature of the Internal Revenue Code. This would add $287 billion to federal deficits between fiscal 2014 and 2024, according to official projections. Bonus depreciation allows businesses to deduct 50 percent of the cost of qualified property in the year in which the item was bought. It applies to most types of tangible personal property and software and is in addition to regular depreciation allowances.
Voting yes to increase the nations deficit by adding another handout to corporations, permanently, adding $287 billion to national debt over 11 years: Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble.

And you thought they wanted to cut spending and balance the budget? 

6 Member Elections Board now filled with 5 Walker Appointees, restoring confidence in a November GOP Win.

After the first Scott Walker John Doe investigation and recall, the Republican legislature decided they wanted to replace the Government Accountability Board with their own very partisan panel of appointees to oversee elections. They weren't happy with some of their calls against Republican candidates.
jsonline-Jason Stein: State Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald … said the state might need to replace its elections and ethics agency, saying it has strayed from its nonpartisan mission. 

jsonline-Patrick Marley: The state Senate's incoming leader said Monday he would like to take retired judges off the state's nonpartisan elections and ethics board and replace them with political appointees.Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), said he believed the state Government Accountability Board has made decisions favoring Democrats and that putting political appointees on the board would "strike more of a balance." "GAB, it's not working the way it's supposed to," Fitzgerald said.
Claiming everyone has a political point of view, it only made sense to put their majority party in charge of elections. But after a whole lot of public blowback, that didn’t happen…until now.
jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker announced Friday he had appointed former Milwaukee County Circuit Judge John Franke as a member of the state's elections and ethics board … rather than renew the appointment of board member Michael Brennan. The accountability board consists of six former … With the latest appointment, the board now includes five members appointed by Walker. The sixth member was appointed by former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat.
It appears Walker took his time with this one, so he could quietly weaken elections enough to guarantee the boards approval to cheat legally. We’ll see.  I should point out a tweet from John noted:  "one of those five Walker appointees was a reapointment of a member originally appointed by Doyle."

Ryan, Duffy and Ribble vote against Energy Efficiency and Water saving Toilets.

From Roll Call, another look at what the U.S. will look like under Republican control.
The Republican-led House of Representatives passed the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

See, Republicans are trying to manage the country by passing laws, like they're always telling us. They're making sure we don’t keep up with other industrialized nations moving forward:
1. Slashes funding for renewable energy programs in the Department of Energy by more than $100 million, while boosting funding for coal and other fossil fuels.
 2. Prevents the Energy Department from using appropriated funds for its climate model development and validation program -- an amendment from Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). Gosar said his amendment "is not about making a statement on climate change or the validity of climate science," but about "restoring fiscal responsibility and efficiency to federal spending.
Too bad that same efficiency isn't allowed for everyday people like me, who pay a monthly water bill:
Slashes funding for a federal program that provides incentives for swapping low-efficiency toilets for higher-efficiency models. Gosar also offered this amendment, axing what he dubbed the "Cash for Crappers" program.
Real cute and sarcastic, but dumb. After I swapped out my old toilets for new ones (3), I saved between $50 to $60 a month…that’s a month. Gosar sure is “restoring fiscal responsibility and efficiency to spending” alright. 

Voting for this partisan regressive mess? Paul Ryan, Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble. Way to go guys.

Mr. Unintimidated Scott Walker spends budget busting millions on personal Security. What, “Divide and Conquer” agenda not popular?

The more respected conservatives pundits, fellows and candidates touring the country brag about their massive security teams, a badge of honor proving their conservative cred's with their low information base. Right wingers need protecting them from those latte drinking, Prius driving, anti-gun liberals. Real dangerous.  

Our “unintimidated” paranoid leader,” Scott Walker is pouring ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money into security for a home he doesn't live in, and tours around the country campaigning for president. And we need to pay that bill?  
Brave governor forced to have protection?
jsonline: Citing personal safety concerns, Gov. Scott Walker has sharply increased the amount the state is paying to protect him and his family, boosting the budget for his security detail by 239% in his term.

Records show taxpayers spent more than $2.23 million in 2013 for the 10 state troopers who protect Walker and his family … That was up from $657,457 paid out by Gov. Jim Doyle on security during his last year in office in 2010.
So who’s unintimidated again? This amazing spending spree is a result of unpopular policies and paranoid fantasy’s brought on by Walker’s aggrandized self image.

Knowing just how divisive and unpopular his government takeover has been, Walker admitted his forced agenda may have made a few enemies:
"Have you been asleep for the past three years?" Walker said when pressed about his rising security budget.
Here’s a rundown of costs. See if you think this is money well spent:
· Taxpayers have paid some $978,000 to provide security for Walker's home in Wauwatosa — a figure that continues to rise sharply even though his two sons are in college and the governor has said he's spending more nights at the Executive Residence in Maple Bluff.

· Spending on items designated "other expenses" has increased by 716% in the past five years, with annual $600 clothing allowances for the security team; $975 bulletproof vests and iPads and iPad accessories for all 10 bodyguards; and a safe and car tinting.

· The number of out-of-state trips for which security has accompanied Walker has increased as his national profile rises and he is increasingly seen as a possible 2016 presidential contender. In 2011, he had state-funded security for 29 trips outside Wisconsin, a number that had risen to 47 by 2013.

Big AG fighting for the "right to farm" unregulated, and Wolf Hunt advocates have a "common law right" to cruelty.

For years Republicans like Paul Ryan have been tossing off the Constitution as an irrelevant relic that takes a back seat to our “God given rights.” That leaves almost every law, regulation and societal norm up for removal if someone decides that’s not what God would do.

Watch for it next time, because Republicans never miss a chance to slip their natural God given rights right in there if the constitution doesn't cover it.

That said, our courts are now making similar arguments, spinning rights and “common law” behavior out of whole cloth:
AP: A state appeals court ruled Thursday that hunters can train dogs to chase down wolves … making Wisconsin the only state that allows dogs to track wolves.

Dane County Judge Peter Anderson said Wisconsin residents have a common law right to hunt. The freedom to use dogs extends from that right, not from DNR regulations.
No more rules and regulations here. “Common law” pretty much coverage it and everything else.

The Right to Farm? Big Ag is doing the same thing now in a bid to do whatever they want with animals and how they grow food. God never said anything about animal cruelty and food safety, did he?
Some powerful agriculture interests want to declare farming a right at the state level as part of a wider campaign to fortify the ag industry against crusades by animal-welfare activists and opponents of genetically modified crops. Animal advocates and other groups … goals include trying to curtail what they consider cruel methods of raising livestock and unsafe ways of growing food.

Supporters hope the wording provides a legal shield against initiatives that would restrict particular farming methods, such ... setting minimum cage space for hens … (or the) hope to pre-empt any proposals to ban genetically modified crops.
The "right to farm" comes from God, who sacrificed animals and never thought to post warning signs or list food ingredients.

Tipped Worker Pay must be increased.

In the EPI research arcticle, “Twenty-Three Years and Still Waiting for Change-Why It’s Time to Give Tipped Workers the Regular Minimum Wage,” they discovered customer tips paid more to employees than their employer. Check out their interactive map: 

The shocking facts below and the fact that we've become a service industry economy is reason enough to raise wages now:
The subminimum wage for tipped workers has remained at $2.13 since 1991. In 1996, it was decoupled from the regular minimum wage, such that the tipped wage remained at $2.13 even as the regular minimum wage was increased. At that time, the tipped minimum wage was equal to 50 percent of the regular minimum wage; today it is only equal to a record low 29.4 percent of the regular federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Customers’ tips pay the $5.12 difference between the federal tipped minimum wage and the federal regular minimum wage … customers provide a subsidy to employers of tipped workers worth more than twice the wage these employers are required to pay their tipped staff.

The restaurant industry … more than 60 percent of tipped workers employed in food service. The full-service restaurant sector has grown about 86 percent from 1990 to 2013, while overall growth in the private sector was up 24 percent.

Tipped workers are predominantly women (66.6 percent) and disproportionately young; however, the majority are at least 25, and over one in four are at least 40 years of age.

Poverty rate of non-tipped workers is 6.5 percent, tipped workers have a poverty rate of 12.8 percent. 

About 46.0 percent of tipped workers and their families rely on public benefits, compared with 35.5 percent of non-tipped workers and their families. 

Paying tipped workers the regular minimum wage has had no discernable effect on leisure and hospitality employment growth in the seven states where tipped workers receive the full regular minimum wage. In fact, sector growth in these states has been stronger since 1995 than in the states where tipped workers are paid a subminimum wage.

Walker spends nearly $20 Million without oversight, to offshore jobs and in some cases, in violation of HUD regulations as Chairman of WEDC. And Mary Burke is the Problem?

I'm hoping the Mary Burke campaign picks on this critical point of Scott Walker hypocrisy quickly.

Walker, who chairs the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, has lost track of millions of taxpayer dollars in loans and not surprisingly, spent million$ in violation of federal HUD laws that make Mary Burke's land purchase look tame. Remember this from September 2012 in the WSJ:
Wisconsin apparently drew HUD's attention with a February announcement by Walker that four communities had received $9.6 million in community development block grant funding ... "At the time these awards were made WEDC had no legal authority under the CDBG program to award or administer the CDBG funds. The federal agency ordered Wisconsin to hire a high-level administrator for monitoring, oversight and compliance, saying DOA currently lacks "adequate staff or experience to adequately oversee . . . the new activities that are being undertaken by the WEDC."

Officials failed to check the financial soundness of two companies receiving $1.4 million in federal grants. Questions remain about an $8.6 million chunk of CDBG funds withdrawn under unusual circumstances late last year.
So our "glass house" governor " really shouldn't "throwing stones" at Mary Burke, like in his latest Tweet below. 

Apparently the rules that apply to Burke don't apply to "fiscally irresponsible" bumblers like Scott Walker. Yet Scott Walker has spent $5.7 million in tax credits to two companies that have dumped 280 employees so they could outsource those jobs overseas. Spending they would do again and again if it meant saving just one job:
WKOW News: At least two companies that received financial awards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) later outsourced jobs to foreign countries, with one of those companies receiving a second WEDC award after the fact.
Couldn't we also say that spending on food stamps is worth it knowing at least one family doesn't go hungry? Didn't think so.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wisconsin and Kansas Governors use same playbook, heading "forward" into statewide economic disaster.

After watching this story from MSNBC's Chris Hayes, I couldn't help but see how bizarrely similar the Republican agenda is between governors. But there's one big problem; if the plan fails, so does every other state. Kansas is failing with a dramatically similar plan to Wisconsin's, and we can thank Scott Walker for not having the imagination to govern with independence.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is even bragging about "business creation," just like Scott Walker. They're not new businesses at all, "but existing businesses that have changed their tax status." Same old tricks and deceptions that turn conservative low information voters into suckers.  

Corporate Tax Rate Highest in the World? Big Lie; now just 12.6%, 11th lowest GDP of 27 wealthy country.

This is big news right? The middle class pays more, and will never be able to do what business can do to lower their taxes this much, from 35% to 12.6%?
CNN: Large, profitable U.S. corporations paid an average effective federal tax rate of 12.6% in 2010, the Government Accountability Office said Monday. The federal corporate tax rate stands at 35%, and jumps to 39.2% when state rates are taken into account. But thanks to things like tax credits, exemptions and offshore tax havens, the actual tax burden of American companies is much lower. Even when foreign, state and local taxes were taken into account, the companies paid only 16.9% of their worldwide income in taxes in 2010.

Coburn said in a statement that the report "underscores the need for comprehensive tax reform. It's especially wrong to ask families who are struggling to make ends meet to subsidize special breaks for corporations." The GAO's calculation for effective corporate tax rates is lower than a number of previous estimates. That's in part because the office excluded unprofitable firms, which pay little or no taxes, from its analysis. 

U.S. corporate tax collection totaled 2.6% of GDP in 2011, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That was the eleventh lowest in a ranking of 27 wealthy nations. 

Scott Walker helping companies Offshore Labor with WEDC taxpayer money.

In an exclusive report by WKOW 27 News (video to come), this Scott Walker WEDC bombshell:
At least two companies that received financial awards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) later outsourced jobs to foreign countries, with one of those companies receiving a second WEDC award after the fact.

A 27 News investigation has uncovered that both the Eaton Corporation and Plexus Corporation received millions of dollars only to later lay off workers whose jobs were taken by employees at the companies' foreign facilities. In April of 2013, Eaton laid off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee and announced it was moving those jobs to Mexico  … WEDC awarded Plexus Corp. with tax credits of up to $2 million in 2011 and up to $15 million in 2012.  Plexus has received $4.7 million in tax credits to this point. In July of 2012, Plexus announced it was laying off 116 workers from its facility in Neenah.  The U.S. Department of Labor has since ruled those employees are eligible to receive federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits … employees who were laid off because their jobs were outsourced to foreign countries.
But offshoring won’t stop the corporate welfare:
WEDC Spokesperson Mark Maley says "If a company makes a business decision to move some of its jobs out of the state - despite our best efforts - we will continue to work with that company to ensure that as many jobs as possible remain in Wisconsin."
Burke was quick to response thank god:
Mary Burke: "It is appalling to me that at a time when we rank dead last, 10th out of 10 in the Midwest in private sector job growth, Governor Walker's WEDC is giving taxpayer money to companies that lay off Wisconsin workers and then ship jobs overseas. As Governor, I will insist that every WEDC award protects against the outsourcing of Wisconsin jobs and companies that don't live up to their end of the deal give back every tax dollar they received."
Oh yeah, hello to WISGOP...a big oops:
The Republican Party of Wisconsin has criticized Burke for outsourcing jobs to China as an executive Trek Bicycle.
Bottom line: 
The leader of one Wisconsin business group calls the news disturbing. "What's troubling to me about this is that these companies were given tax dollars explicitly to keep jobs here in Wisconsin," said Lori Compas, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Business Alliance.  "To take taxpayers' money and then turn around and fire hundreds of Wisconsin workers is a real slap in the face."
Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann with the report:

Walker Editorial tries to Shame Justice Department into backing off School Choice Discrimination investigation.

For a party that continues to seek out proof Obama messed up Benghazi, might be to blame for the mess in Iraq, possibly faked his birth certificate, and broke the law with signing statements, they’re now crying foul over the Department of Justice’s investigation into possible discrimination against students with disabilities in the school choice programs? Amazing!

And Scott Walker is leading the down-the-rabbit-hole charge by saying that without proof, how can the justice department turn up...proof? It’s like calling off the John Doe investigation to uncover wrong doing because there’s no proof of wrong doing. My head is hurting now.

Along with being one of the dumbest excuses yet, Walker and Jindal seem to think that without parental complaints, laws weren't broken. Basically, we're supposed to believe the word of business. Plus, Walker chose to ignore the fact that school choice had expanded well beyond minority groups:
jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker has co-authored a commentary in Politico Magazine with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal criticizing the Obama Administration for challenging school choice programs in Wisconsin and Louisiana.

In the piece: "Why would the federal Department of Justice cite the Civil Rights Act and the specter of segregation to try and block a school choice program where more than nine in 10 participants come from racial minority groups? Or use the Americans with Disabilities Act to claim another school voucher program discriminates against individuals with disabilities, without so much as a single complaint from a student or parent to prove their case?"

The two governors are citing a National Review commentary co-authored by Rick Esenberg and C.J. Szafir, both of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, criticizing a Department of Justice inquiry into whether private schools in Wisconsin were turning away students with disabilities.

Ellen Canale, public affairs specialist at the Justice Department, said the agency was working to make sure school choice programs are adhering to civil rights laws.
If laws weren't broken, then why is Walker and Jindal opposed to looking into the choice program? After all, the public has a right to know how their money is being spent, right?

UPDATE: I thought this comment was important enough to include in this post:

The Walker/Jindal statement about there being no parent complaints is misleading/untrue on two levels.

Level 1: The fact is that no formal state complaint mechanism exists... in other words, if we do not allow official complaints, then there will be none.

Level 2: But there WERE complaints. In the absence of a state complaint mechanism, families of students with special needs took their charges to Disability Rights Wisconsin and the ACLU. Those two organizations filed a formal complaint in 2011, which in turn led to the very DOJ investigation that the Politico piece is decrying! In other words, it's all ABOUT the family complaints!

A summary of some of those family complaints was published in a Journal Sentinel column in May 2013.

The ACLU has also responded in a July 8 piece of their own.

To me, the most disturbing thing about the Walker/Jindal column is the way it "disappears" families of students with special needs. Their experiences of discrimination, that they documented to DRW and the ACLU, apparently simply don't exist, because they've been declared not to exist. 

An ACLU article highlighted this reason for asking documentation:
"DPI must further ensure that voucher schools, absent a valid ADA defense, do not expel/exit a student with a disability unless the school has first determined, on a case-by-case basis, that there are no reasonable modifications to school policies, practices or procedures that could enhance the school's capacity to serve that student."

Proof: Slow Job Growth a result of new Business Model adopted after the Bush Great Recession.

Republicans are wrong about the “sluggish” jobs recovery under Obama.

While they “blame Obama” for the slow job and economic growth nationally, Republicans governors facing the same problem in their states are asking voters to be patient and celebrate any forward movement.

But the Great Recession is really to blame for the change in hiring. Look, I’m not an economist, but I have been watching how businesses have shifted their employment model in the wake of the recession.

The Milwaukee Biz Journal finally explained why employment has slowed, and part time workers are brought in during peak selling seasons to save money on labor and benefits.

The problem is reflected by temporary staffing increases. It’s a troubling development:
Temporary agencies service employment is at an all-time high for the eighth consecutive month, said Mark Marcon, senior research analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. The staffing industry in the U.S. has grown from $55 billion in 1995 to $120 billion in 2013.

In June, temporary help services added 10,100 jobs in June in the U.S., an 8.1 percent increase year over year, according to Baird. “Having a job through a temporary agency was viewed as a sub-optimal type of work, but broadly speaking… it’s increasing in recognition as a social good rather than social negative and it’s a good way to get people from a state of unemployment to employment,” Marcon said.
No, the growth in “sub-optimal type of work” doesn’t suddenly make it into something “good.”

Here’s how the business model changed after the Great Recession, a point no one brings up nationally when they’re talking about slowing jobs and business growth. And while some partially blame the Affordable Care Act, health care benefits alone have always been a problem for business:
Companies prefer hiring through temporary agencies because it gives them more flexibility, and helps them deal with “uncertain times and uncertain regulations,” Marcon said. “Part of the drive behind this increased usage is that companies are facing more regulatory burdens, like the Affordable Care Act … By hiring through temporary agencies, they are offloading that responsibility and putting it onto the temp agency.”
But temp agencies don’t provide health benefits. This might be a little unsettling:
There is a temporary staffing agency service from doctors and lawyers to assembly workers.
Here are a few companies leading the way with their stripped down labor force. I only noticed this trend because many of these companies were from Wisconsin:
Amazon uses temporary workers to fill its seasonal surge at Christmas time. Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. uses a flexible workforce in its plants to get motorcycles made faster and just in time to the consumer. Quad/Graphics Inc. in Sussex uses temporary workers to fill their production level jobs. Marcon said, “Most companies are trying to become as lean as possible, so they are bringing in workers on as they need them.”
Skilled labor Shortage? Nope, Temp Labor Model:
Case in point, several former Harley-Davidson Inc. employees have filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court against Infosys, a staffing firm Harley contracted with … Employees allege that the firm discriminated against American workers by replacing them with temporary workers from South Asia, who had H-1B visas. Infosys, which is based out of India, has disputed the claims saying that the company faced a talent shortage in the U.S..
But that’s a big decades old industry created lie.

Check out this old but shocking CNN report from around 2005 that proved, even then, the skilled labor shortage was a scam. Note: job shortages increase wages, yet wages haven't increased:

Walker's now seeing Veterans Trust Fund Deficit looming ahead!

Remember when Republicans gave Wisconsin veterans and their families a free UW college education, but refused to pay for it? They said the university could easily absorb the costs.

Well, that’s the kind of veterans support we’re getting from Republicans; glowing praise but no financial backing whatsoever.

And with no apparent ability to raise fees or taxes, all the while cutting taxes, Republicans are unable to offer solutions to state and veterans funding problems.

Democratic State Sen. Jennifer Shilling said as much in the following press release that got little or no media coverage:
$46.1 million budget deficit projected for Veterans Trust Fund: Services for veterans face uncertain future amid growing budget concerns. Neither the current administration nor DVA Sec. Scoccos have identified a long-term solution to balance the Veterans Trust Fund budget or address the projected structural deficit.

In addition to the deficit in the Veterans Trust Fund, Wisconsin is facing a projected deficit of over $800 million in the General Fund, Transportation Fund and Medical Assistance budget (BadgerCare shortfall).

The Veterans Trust Fund deficit news comes as veterans have grown increasingly critical of Republicans in Madison … particularly concerned with recent legislation making it more difficult for veterans to seek justice for employment discrimination claims and compensation for injuries caused by asbestos exposure.

Veterans thought Republicans had their backs. Like tea party conservatives who are now turning on business, state veterans services are next. They've already cut funding for veterans nationally, resulting in waiting lists and possible deaths. 

Right Wingnut Dinesh D'Souza blames box office flop "America" on Google search engine.

People are free to blow their own credibility, over and over if they choose. They can look the fool freely and often if their focus in life is considered ridiculous by everyone else.

But if you’re conservative, it’s never the fault of your own ideas and wacky behavior. And your fellow right wing supporters are right there to help bend that funhouse mirror even further out of shape.

Fringe pundit Dinesh D’Souza has been circling out in the ether for years, with mind draining books like; Illiberal Education, Ronald Reagan: How An Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader, The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, The Roots of Obama's Rage, Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream. 

So it’s not a big surprise to see D’Souza blaming others for his own lack of credibility and bad box office weekend for his second cinematic hallucination, "America." Big surprise, Google search turned up everything with "America" in title:   
Bloomberg: Conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza latest documentary, "America," opened in theaters around the nation, and pulled in $2.7 million on its opening weekend … Who might be to blame for the sluggish turnout? Maybe, possibly, perhaps … Google. Lawyers representing D’Souza’s film sent a letter this week to Google, according to the Hollywood Reporter, in which they demanded clarification of confusing search results about where and when the movie is playing. “…demands that Google disclose ‘whether human or automated error was the source’ of the alleged mistakes and asks ‘what measures have been taken to fix the problem.’”
We need to stop responding to the lunatic rantings of the blame shifting right, who just can't believe no one is taking them seriously anymore.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reminder: Walker admits withholding Free Voter ID offer at state DOT offices.

The upcoming gubernatorial election is not just about Scott Walker's failed jobs policy. It should also be about Walker's voter ID scheme that prevented the DOT from proactively offering free ID's. The word "scheme" is the best way to describe it, as you'll see in the video clip below from a September 2011 Upfront with Mike Gousha.

Gousha appeared stunned by Walker's position; Walker endorsed the deceptive DOT policy of withholding information offering a free voter ID to those applicants who might just need one. People had to ask for it. There would be no proactive outreach to offer voter ID cards, either in the media or with signs and posters at the DOT.

Why would Walker not want everyone to have an ID, free or not?

The Mary Burke campaign should remind Wisconsinites how Walker intentionally withheld free voter ID's from those who may have needed them. By the way, Walker's deer-in-the-headlights reaction and answer said a lot about who he really is and what he's prepared to do to win. He's the worst kind of con artist.

Here's the original story from WISC Channel3000, and you won't believe their reasoning for not offering the free voter ID:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Hobby Lobby Terrorist is Born?

Notice the frightening similarity between this highly circulated picture of the Holly Hobby Lobby caressing her gun, with a similar terrorist photo. Oops? 

This photo is very real and worth a thousand words. Now she claims to be a victim after threatening everyone with a gun. 
Holly Fisher has become infamous as Holly Hobby Lobby for the Facebook photo she posted that showed her support for the recent Supreme Court decision. Holly posted a photograph of herself standing in front of a Hobby Lobby store while wearing a “pro-life” T-shirt and holding a Chik-fil-a cup.

"I didn’t do it to try to change minds of those who disagree with me, but more so to show like-minded people that they’re not alone and it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in, even if it’s not popular right now. I want younger Americans to know it’s okay to not follow the current liberal path…”
It's time to protect Hobby Lobby with "younger" armed civilians?   

Candidate and Milton Friedman wannabee Jonathan Steitz pushes free market education in Wisconsin.

What the...after going through the hell of No Child Left Behind, student testing, teacher testing, privatizing schools that fail, GOP candidate Jonathan Steitz is now pushing a completely unregulated voucher school system statewide with no accountability - A Milton Friedman free market fantasy.

Get this: $12,000 savings accounts controlled by parents? What could go wrong?

Will these guys ever make up their mind? Friedman's plan left everything up to the free market; good schools, bad schools, bad students, children with needs, poverty...whatever. Try watching the YouTube Friedman debate located here (at 27:30 in). The pundits were much smarter than the smirking know-it-all free marketer.

Someone like Friedman, who has an answer for everything and is never stumped, is obviously winging it. The biggest joke? This guy won a Nobel prize for economic science for gods sake. His grand scheme never took off, did it. In Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine a few dictatorial countries tried Friedman's plan and failed miserably.

With over 20 years of what has been proven to be a failed voucher system in Milwaukee, we definitively know Friedman was wrong. But the real reason for vouchers?
Milton Friedman: “Vouchers are not an end in themselves; they are a means to make a transition from a government to a free-market system.”
Here's audio of Steitz on Upfront with Mike Gousha. He not only wants a free market educational system, but he's nearly doubling the amount of money taxpayers will contribute to each voucher. Vouchers were supposed to be a bargain that accomplished the same thing, remember? That no longer applies either:

New Study Proves GOP Wrong to target War on Poverty Programs.

Public Television had a series illustrating how stress greatly increased your chances of bad health and early death. Poverty and economic stress were the culprits. "Unnatural Death:" 
The series took a look at the epidemic of premature "aging" and death among the poor … explores the question, "Is there something deadly in the American experience of urban poverty itself?" An overview of research on the negative effects of racial inequity on physical health. Studies show that exposure to discrimination causes increases in blood pressure and heart rate, but new research from around the world goes further, using advanced methods to examine how repeated experiences with racism are linked to more severe conditions such as coronary blockages and chronically elevated stress hormone levels. 

Overcoming Obstacles to Health: Report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the Commission to Build a Healthier America (PDF): This report, written in conjunction with the launch of the foundation’s new Commission to Build a Healthier America, describes in stark detail the scope of health disparities in America – how the poor and middle class are so much less healthy than those above them on the economic ladder, the factors in our society and communities that contribute to such disparities, and the areas that hold promise for improving the health of this country.
I never understood why this series was never brought up as a reason for universal health care prior to putting together the Affordable Care Act.

Now we’re finding out poverty adversely affects the brains development early in life.

The new findings below don’t just contradict the notion that safety net programs are a disincentive to get people out of poverty, they’re an actual benefit that only begins to help the next generation.

If the research below doesn't change the way politicians like Paul Ryan think about getting people to work and lifting folks out of poverty, than we’re in big trouble 20 to 30 years from now, IF they do away with our safety net programs.    
jsonline: A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has shown that chronic stress of poverty, neglect and physical abuse in early life may shrink the parts of a child's developing brain responsible for memory, learning and processing emotion.

While early-life stress already has been linked to depression, anxiety, heart disease, cancer and a lack of educational and employment success, researchers have long been seeking to understand what part of the brain is affected by stress to help guide interventions.

The research may inform social policy and interventions to help vulnerable children, the study's lead author and recent UW PhD graduate Jamie Hanson said.  

Not everyone who experiences chronic early stress has negative outcomes, Hanson noted. "We can think about lots of people who overcome adversity," he said. "I look at our research as showing a probability. You may have a greater risk, but it's not 100%."

GOP candidate Jonathan Steitz wants to dump state income tax, hike sales tax...thinks we're still spending too much?

Another Milton Friedman wannabe. Here's how Upfront with Mike Gousha promoted their interview with Jonathan Steitz: 
Republican Senate candidate Jonathan Steitz of Pleasant Prairie said he will be a more reliable conservative for the 21st Senate District. Steitz will face former Sen. Van Wanggaard in the August primary.
Who brags they'll follow leadership with a "reliable" vote if elected? Jonathan Steitz would. Steitz would also get rid of the income tax by cutting government spending (Boehner cliche) and raising the sales tax to 8 or 9 percent. Why?

Confident Bullshitter: Steitz falsely claimed the 9 states that don't have income taxes are doing much better than states that do. Wrong, unless Steitz thinks Wisconsin can become another oil producing state. But performance is everything, and Steitz is a fast talking huckster with a confident air. The truth...WSJ:
Do cuts create jobs? Mike Leachman, director of state research at the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said past studies showing states that enacted large income tax cuts in the 1990s and 2000s had a mixed record on economic growth. Several tax-cutting states performed worse than those with higher taxes, and those that performed better were oil producers … cutting income taxes doesn’t spur major economic growth because they’re usually accompanied by reductions in government services. 
Steitz is running against Van H. Wanggaard, a recall election loser given a second chance after redistricting. Just wait till you hear Steitz's plan to deregulate a statewide school vouchers plan (another post). Audio only:

Check out Jake's TA Funhouse for a detailed look at this conservative kooks plan.