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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wisconsin Energy Industry wants to kill Solar and Wind energy generated by Homeowners.

The Bottom Line: Our current regional energy monopolies need to change their business model from supplying energy via coal, gas and nuclear, to mostly providing the infrastructure to deliver energy.

Like the horse and buggy, technology is about to turn We Energy and MG&E out to pasture, and they don’t like it one bit. Big energy is fighting this in other states as well. In Arizona for example, companies actually wanted to charge customers who installed solar panels $100 more a month. That not only kills the green energy market, but penalizes people for trying to save money.

That brings us to Wisconsin:
jsonline: We Energies has dropped its protest of a move by a solar energy coalition and environmental group to get involved in the upcoming fight over its plan to slash payments to customers who generate their own power. The decision means the hearings will become a showdown on questions that could decide how the market for clean energy unfolds in the years ahead.
That already sounds like an outrageous move from a desperate energy company trying to hold onto the past.
We Energies is proposing big changes … say(ing) the move will be more fair for all of its customers. Like We Energies, Madison Gas & Electric Co. wants to pay less to solar power generating customers, as well as add a significant increase in the fixed charge on all customers' bills.

Those in the solar business disagree. They say the utility wants to limit customers' ability to take advantage of falling prices of equipment to generate solar power.

Earlier this month, We Energies … chastised them for … missing a PSC deadline for getting involved in the case. The groups countered that their tardiness should be excused. They claimed that We Energies didn't float its solar proposal and 75% increase in the monthly fixed charge on customers' bills until after that PSC deadline had passed … a customer generating solar power could see the amount paid by the utility drop by more than 34% in 2016.
Scott Walker and the Republican legislature have made it incredibly difficult for green energy to get started in Wisconsin, since big energy contributors call the shots here. That’s not a partisan statement either. Energy monopolies are killing jobs here:
Companies in the solar business, like SunVest Solar in Pewaukee, say the impact will be to spur more clean-energy development — and job creation — outside the state. SunVest develops solar projects in Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin. "Unfortunately, 90% or more of that work is being done in other states," said SunVest owner Matt Neumann. "We're creating these jobs in other states and our tax credits are getting invested in other states."
One final note. The following comment is a lie, because rate payers have always paid for utility upgrades and improvements alongside their actual energy costs. The idea that a utility didn't get full compensation from a customer for the power grid is insulting.  
We Energies stresses that customers who don't produce their own power are gaining benefits from the power grid that they aren't fully compensating the utility for. 

So far during this session of Congress, the House has passed permanent tax cuts that would add some $721 billion to the deficit over the next decade.

Enuff said!!!

What's next for GOP? Right to shoot the poor who pose threat...to Wealthy Elite?

Republicans couldn't be more obvious this time:
The House of Representatives voted to change a tax credit in a way that would add $115 billion to the deficit and hurt poorer parents while aiding the well-to-do.
Not surprising is it? The GOP desensitizing scheme continues. Huffington Post:
The House decided to make permanent the child tax credit and expand it to families earning up to $205,000 a year. The credit, which is worth up to $1,000 for each child in a family, would also be indexed to rise with inflation, as would the eligibility thresholds. 
The same week Paul Ryan took another shot at cutting aid to the poor with the Orwellian "Opportunity Act," his fellow pirates introduced the jaw dropping "Child Tax Credit Improvement Act" that does away with the tax credit for poor children and their families:
But the new measure fails to extend the part of the credit that was passed in 2009 to help impoverished families and that currently allows parents with annual earnings as low as $3,000 to claim some of the break. That element expires in 2017. Without it, a family would have to earn at least $15,000 to qualify for the credit.
An example worth noting:
According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, that means a mom working full time at a minimum wage job would receive no help from the credit -- because she would be earning only $14,500. Indeed, that mom would lose $1,725 under the new bill, while a family of four earning $150,000 would gain $2,200, according to the center's analysis. About 12 million people, including 6 million children, would be pushed further into poverty if the measure became law.
I don't even know how to describe the following. Here’s the down-the-rabbit-hole argument put forth by the GOP:
Republicans argued that Democrats were raising a phony issue in pointing to the failure to extend the lower-income part of the credit. They said there was plenty of time to consider that later.
Plenty of time? How about right now?
The bill also includes a provision that would bar … immigrants … somewhere around 80 percent of the children of undocumented immigrants are believed to be U.S. citizens … some 5 million children, about 4 million of whom are citizens, would be cut off from the credit's aid.
 And why not take a few war veterans down with them?
"Its net effect is to push 12 million people, including 6 million children, right into poverty or deeper into it," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas). "That includes 400,000 veterans and armed forces families who would lose all or part of their child tax credit."

Debt, what debt?
The measure would add $115 billion to the deficit over 10 years because the House did not find any way to offset the lost revenue. So far during this session of Congress, the House has passed permanent tax cuts that would add some $721 billion to the deficit over the next decade.

Walker's troublesome WEDC goes Dark, until after the Election!!!

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's chairman Scott Walker has an abysmal record for mismanagement and lost taxpayer money. Recently, we discovered two companies offshored jobs and laid 279 workers off after Walker gave them public funding.

It’s campaign magic for Mary Burke, who’s been reminding voters just how bad WEDC has been mismanaged by pretend “small businessman” Governor Walker. Not anymore.

After laughably “weighing the public’s right to government information against any potential harm to the public’s interest,” WEDC is about to dark. It's a media blackout.

In fact, Walker isn't even trying to hide his blatantly obvious intentions from Wisconsin voters, who I hope will be outraged. Note to the WSJ, this is not a page 5 story:
Walker’s office is no longer disclosing the names and phone numbers of companies that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is working with on economic incentive packages. The … legal counsel determined releasing the information could “wreak havoc” with WEDC’s mission of retaining and creating quality jobs in the state.
Below is every reason the public DOES have a right to know where their tax dollars are going, and more importantly, who’s buying influence:
“Harmful information could include, for example, that a business is considering relocating to or from Wisconsin, expanding or downsizing, moving its headquarters, shifting its focus to a new industry, developing a new technology, or experiencing a hardship,” the statement said. “If businesses hesitate or simply refuse to deal with WEDC because they fear disclosure of this information, the people of this state suffer the consequences.”
Why shouldn't businesses take the heat for accepting corporate welfare and government favors if what they’re doing would piss taxpayers off?

We’ll tell you After the Election: No, really, that's what Walker is saying. Walker is trying to eliminate any possible bad press from WEDC, at least until after the election:
“Because there may come a time when it will no longer harm these discussions if the businesses names are revealed, it may be possible that we will be able to release the names of these businesses at a later date,” the statement concluded.
You can't make this stuff up. And conservative voters, you're okay with Walker's calculated scheme? 

Summing it...
Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, disagreed with both arguments for withholding the information. “There is a public interest in knowing who the state is meeting with over subsidies. If you want money from us, you should be willing to accept that the public has a right to know it. There should be no question that at some point, the public has a right to this information. Already, we know if and when a corporation does get state support. There is also a public interest in knowing who the state says ‘no’ to.”

Friday, July 25, 2014

WISGOP caught in outrageous lie about Mary Burke. Walker Campaign must be Desperate.

Imagine how Scott Walker would campaign for president, if this is the best he and his party can do.

Yes, it's another phony Walker/WISGOP ad campaign lie by WISGOP!! Doesn't there have to be some tie to reality? Guess not.

And it appears WISGOP’s Joe fadness got caught in another lie. Like a side show circus act, Fadness bends facts into lies, awing the crowd of "stand with Walker" voters. Fearless Fadness has no moral or ethical boundaries:
WSJ: The Wisconsin Republican Party's latest attack ad against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke uses misleading video to suggest Burke didn't attend Wednesday's School Board meeting. In fact, Burke participated in the closed meeting by telephone, Madison School District spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson said.
But technically she physically wasn't there. Modern use of telephones doesn't count in this backward Bizarro World of GOP politics. Was Fadness embarrassed? Are you kidding:
In an emailed response, Wisconsin GOP executive director Joe Fadness stood behind the ad. "Give me a break. The video and accompanying press release accurately depict that Burke chose to attend a campaign event over attending the official meeting in person. To suggest otherwise is nothing more than a desperate attempt to distract from Burke's abysmal record …
…blah, blah, blah. And why would conservative voters allow the use of deceptive comments and ridiculous lies to win elections?

Even the video's interviewer had his agenda figured out:


Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki said, "Scott Walker and his Republican Party make up an awful lot of stupid things to say about Mary Burke, but this one is right up there for among the stupidest."
The on screen statements are even wrong:
Burke was physically absent, she did participate in the meeting by conference call, board member Dean Loumos said. Board member Ed Hughes said the members' name placards shown in the video were not used at Wednesday's meeting, nor did did board president Arlene Silveira sit in the spot the photo shows her in. Loumos said an unidentified man attempted to take pictures of the Wednesday meeting before being told to leave. "And he came back, trying to sneak taking pictures from outside the window," said Loumos. "This is really low-level type of stuff."

Republican repeal of Affordable Care Act would only increase premiums and the uninsured, while providing no coverage for the sick.

I was fascinated by the headline sent to me by my conservative friend in Milwaukee:
"This Newest Obamacare Blanket Exemption May Have You Considering a Move to Guam or Puerto Rico"
My friend would love to see the Affordable Care Act crash and burn, despite his recent difficulties he had getting health care. He’s now on Medicaid’s BadgerCare Plus due to his income level. Go figure.
The Department of Health and Human Services website announced that a vast number of Obamacare regulations will no longer apply to all U.S. territories. Two of the main components of the plan, the individual mandate and the premium subsidies, have never applied to the territories, however.
Every item U.S. territories are now exempt from, and wildly supported by my friend, are the very protections any normal human being would want to have.

This highlights the irrational outright hatred of the president’s program, him personally, the ideological mindlessness of smaller government, no desire to slow rising costs, and a willingness to waste lots of hard earned income on junk insurance policies that don’t cover even essential benefits.
They will be exempted from guaranteed coverage, community rating, single risk pools, rate review, the medical loss ratio, and “essential” benefits.
The article ends with a comment that proves how voting against your self-interest is considered a win, and any consequences suffered by the sick are their own damn fault.

How about allowing additional flexibility to actual U.S. citizens in recognition of our unique situations, hmm?
Of course, the suggested flexibility only increases premiums for those who do buy insurance, and segregates the sick into publically paid for risk pools. The insurers? They get to make a profit, without any risk. Nice.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Walker Donors Exposed for Offshoring.

Ed Schultz and The Progressives Ruth Conniff get into the offshoring details of some of Scott Walker's donors. The nation is getting a taste of this guys politics.

Walker told reporters Mitt Romney did not run for president based on his business experience.

Before I forget; During WPR's morning show, reporter Shawn Johnson played a clip of Scott Walker answering a question about the Wall Street Journal's criticism that he's using the same argument against Burke that Obama used against Romney-outsourcing to overseas countries.

Walker answered by saying Romney didn't run on his business experience.
Walker: "Mitt Romney did not run his campaign on the basis of his arguing his experience in the business world as a reason to vote for him. If he did, than I think it would be fair game to look at all the experience." 
I know, I nearly spit out my coffee. Even funnier still, the reporter played a Romney audio clip of him declaring how his business experience would make him a better president.

Walker's ridiculous lie, made in front of reporters who I'm sure still remember the presidential campaign, should be front page news. Why isn't it?

Here's WPR's Shawn Johnson:



The following shorter audio clip starts with Walker's comment and ends with Romney and then Johnson summing up Walker's big mistake. For those who can't resist playing it over and over:



WPR: Obama often blasted his Republican opponent for the time he spent running the private equity Bain Capital. At one point, he called Romney the “outsourcer in chief.”

In his autobiography, “Unintimidated,” Walker wrote: “I deplore the kind of character assassination the Obama camp used against Mitt Romney.”

Ryan’s “Opportunity Grant:” Put everyone using Social Safety nets under Contract, penalize them for failure.

You really can't make this stuff up.

With the promise of streamlining all of the different safety net programs and cutting red tape, Paul Ryan has devised an amazingly convoluted solution to his imagine "social hammock" problem.
You can't hide from this one...

Imagine those families struggling to make ends meet, on assistance, and under contract by a “local provider.” Call them a neighborhood "jobs boss." Someone who watches over their every move, wagging a finger and doling out consequences for missing job training benchmarks, income and wage expectations... 

Big government enough for you yet? Working but not making enough and collecting food stamps? Now you have two bosses. And the one that helps you feed your family with food share is hanging a contract over your head…with penalties.

Here's a sample from Ryan's transcript:
Take an example. Let’s call her Andrea. She’s 24. She has two kids … Her husband left … her only work experience was a two-year stint in retail. She and her kids now live with her parents in a two-bedroom mobile home. She’s been trying to find work … She doesn't have a car. She can’t afford child care. And her dream is to become a teacher.

Under this plan, Andrea would go to a local service provider. She would sit down with a case manager and develop an “opportunity plan.” That plan would pinpoint her strengths; her opportunities for growth; her short-, medium-, and long-term goals. The two of them would sign a contract. Andrea would agree to meet specific benchmarks of success, a timeline for meeting them, consequences for missing them, and rewards for exceeding them.
Ryan Spreads Big Government in the form of oversight, more red tape and reporting…
A neutral third party would keep tabs on each provider and their success rate. It would look at key metrics agreed to by the state and federal government: How many people are finding jobs? How many people are getting off assistance? How many people are moving out of poverty? And so on. Any provider who came up short could no longer participate. And at the end of the program, we would pool the results and go from there. 
Here's 7 minutes of absolute lunacy, if you've got the time (edited for time and sanity):



Join Ryan's "War for America's Poor."

I also found this analysis over the problem with any form of block grant system:
The block-grant approach has fundamental flaws. A 2014 analysis by the Center for Law and Social Policy, or CLASP, summarized the problems: “Block grants do not respond well to economic downturns like the recent Great Recession, thus leaving families, communities, and states without resources just when they need them most. They are ill-suited to supporting core national goals – such as ensuring that every American starts life healthy and well-nourished – but instead contribute to disparate life chances based on where a child is born. And, since there is no direct link between spending and need, Congressional appropriations for block grants tend to shrink over time.”

Revealed: Wisconsin AG’s Shocking GOP “Logic” behind Gay Marriage and Abortion.

In what could have been a small throwaway news story, I found this most amazing explanation yet for the GOP’s opposition to same sex marriage and abortion. It’ll blow your mind. Post Crescent:
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen made his arguments in a brief filed with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court appealing a federal judge's June decision declaring Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
 Van Hollen said the due process clause in the U.S. Constitution doesn't require states to grant rights but only bars them from depriving citizens of fundamental rights.
Let’s break that down.

J.B. said“The U.S. Constitution doesn't require states to grant rights:” But that's not what the Constitution is doing in this case. It's simply repealing a gay marriage ban, restoring a right taken away by the states.

J.B. said: (The Constitution) “only bars (states) from depriving citizens of fundamental rights.”
Exactly, marriage equality was a right all the time, so states were wrong to take that right away by banning gay marriage. It looks like J.B. inadvertently made the case against himself. Doh! 

J.B. Van Hollen offered up this scary way of thinking about duty of government when it comes to not defending individual rights:
Van Hollen compared gay marriage to abortion. "Although the constitutional right of privacy protects a woman's right to obtain an abortion and precludes government from prohibiting or punishing her exercise of that right, there is no corresponding obligation on government to affirmatively endorse or support her exercise of the abortion right," he wrote.
It’s a constitutional right our government won’t protect? Talk about a slippery slope. What other rights won't Republicans want to defend?

Walker's Wisconsin still moving Forward? "...childhood poverty increase...parents lack of secure employment...teens not working."

So is the state moving in right direction, as Scott Walker claims? WPR
(A) report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked Wisconsin 13th in the country for childhood well-being. Iowa and Minnesota respectively ranked third and fifth in the rankings.
Wisconsin's ranking is a holdover, still based on policies that have since been replaced. Here's the supposed forward movement Walker is so proud of:
Wisconsin showed gains in education and health, but “Within the economic well-being category, we saw childhood poverty increase, we saw children whose parents lack secure employment get worse, and we saw teens not in school and not working also get worse,” said Ken Taylor, the executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, which helped produce the report.

Taylor also pointed out that a report earlier this year found that Wisconsin was the worst state in the country for well-being of African-American children.

Taylor said he's concerned … “Our state has made some choices not to expand the use of the Affordable Care Act, for example,” he said. “The long-term implications of that, we're going to be watching those closely and we're concerned about those.”

Walker Ideologically blocked from preventing "Brain Drain," as young seek out public transportation.

When state policy doesn’t quite match up to prevent “brain drain,” retaining our best and brightest young people, Scott Walker still won’t make any adjustments.
WPR: As people age out of the workforce, state job growth will depend in part on young educated professionals staying in Wisconsin. However, many young graduates are leaving. Earlier this year, the Governor's Conference on Economic Development discussed the brain drain. Featured speaker UW-Madison's Morris Davis with the Wisconsin School of Business (said), “Job growth is on everyone's mind,” said Davis … between 2008 and 2012, on average Wisconsin lost 14,000 college graduates per year, with most of those leaving between the ages of 21 and 29. “If you were to rank the (Midwestern) states we're second-best relative to Minnesota.”
But the difference between Minnesota and Wisconsin is still pretty dramatic, as shown in the graphic here (click to enlarge).

Jeff Sachse, a labor economist with the Department Workforce Development (said) What's different now, is that quality of life issues are increasingly important for young professionals and new college graduates. Groups like the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group and the Rockefeller Foundation say access to public transportation is one factor that helps millennials decide where to live. 

And we know the collectivist socialist idea of “public transportation,” which is typically used by poor people to go to rich suburban neighborhoods, is completely out of the question. Heck, Walker won an election turning away the biggest regional public transportation plan yet. Think about it; high speed rail would  have linked Illinois and Minnesota, with Wisconsin as the benefactor and common state between them, making us ripe for massive regional development. Wisconsin should be trying to work off, and benefit from, the successes of both Illinois and Minnesota instead of trashing them. 

Walker ignores State Contraception Law! Who made him King?

It’s a funny hypocritical thing to watch Republicans accuse "King" Obama of not enforcing the “laws on the books,” while at the same time pick and choose the laws they think should enforced.

Such is the case with Scott Walker’s decision not to “enforce the state’s contraception coverage law for employers with religious objections.” That’s a blanket assumption isn't it? 

Just a note, Republicans have in other state's said they would not enforce tighter guns laws despite state law. The same goes for laws that prevent political coordination between campaigns and outside groups.
   
Walker seems to think his opinion alone is reason enough to preempt law:
WSJ: A spokesman for the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance said that the high court’s Hobby Lobby ruling … means the state can no longer enforce its lawWisconsin is “pre-empted” from enforcing the state law because the Affordable Care Act allows some employers exemptions from providing contraceptive coverage.

But Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin (said) the state law “is a separate legal requirement on insurance plans in the state that is not directly affected by the Hobby Lobby decision.”

“Gov. Walker’s latest effort to unilaterally end the enforcement of Wisconsin’s birth control law without legislative action shows just how far he is willing to go to restrict women’s access to essential health care,” Tanya Atkinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, said in a statement. According to a National Women’s Law Center memo, “Closely-held for-profit corporations doing business in Wisconsin that do not self-insure must abide by the state law, and continue to provide birth control coverage to the same extent they provide preventive care and prescription drugs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Walker won't prevent 130,000 Wisconsinites from losing tax credits on the exchanges!!!

It’s interesting to see Scott Walker work under pressure, to see how he handles potentially difficult problems heading his way. What we're learning is troubling to say the least.

The recent conflicting court decisions over the governments health exchange subsidies is a really big deal to those getting the tax credit. For many it's a matter of life and death.

The big picture is even scarier, knowing tens of thousands of citizens may lose their ability to buy insurance in an instant.

But Walker is an ideologue, a strict party guy, who has no desire to support anything that deviates from the platform. Sociopathic behavior? See for yourself below:
WSAU-Wheeler News: Governor Scott Walker's office says it will not rush to create Wisconsin's own health care marketplace to preserve tax subsides that were placed in doubt yesterday. Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster would not say if Wisconsin would create its own exchange if it meant preserving subsidies for users. 

She said the 130-thousand Wisconsinites under Obama-care are not affected at this point -- and the Republican Walker won't deal in "hypotheticals." 
While the courts are also supposed to seriously consider the intent of congress, and not just the faulty or ambiguous language, two activist conservative judges decided to simply misinterpret the entire reason for the Affordable Care Act. Picking up on that, as ridiculous as it sounds, Walker expects us to think Obama and congress supposedly never intended the tax credits for the the government exchanges?
Walker's office put the blame on what Webster called the government's "inept interpretation of their own flawed law." 
The definitive piece on this can be found here, at Vox

7th Circuit Court skeptical, wants good reason for John Doe 2 Conservative groups to remain Anonymous.

Slowly but surely the wheels of justice turn....
Twin Cities: A federal appeals court is asking two unnamed parties related to an investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall campaign and other conservative groups to explain why they are entitled to remain anonymous.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday asked the unnamed parties (Wisconsin Club for Growth) to address that in briefs due in September.

Marquette Poll shows Burke Pulling away ever so slightly.

Here are the numbers, from jsonline:
Gov. Scott Walker leads 46%-45% among registered voters, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday.

Among likely voters, Burke led Walker, 47%-46%.

Walker's job approval slipped from 49% in May to 47% in July … Walker slipping among coveted independent voters, from 49% to 45%, and Burke from 40% to 44%.

Walker's likability, 45% favorable view, compared to 47% unfavorable views. Burke, 26% favorable and 24% unfavorable.

75% heard something about the John Doe investigation, while 24% had not. Among those who knew, 54% said the John Doe probe was just more politics, while 42% said it was serious.

45% of the voters said the state budget was in a better shape, 28% the same and 22% said it was in worse shape.

On jobs, 9% said the state was creating jobs faster than other states, 42% the same as others, 43% said the state was lagging others.

Only 37% would now vote to retain, and 56% would vote to repeal, the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. 

Marquette Poll shows Burke Pulling away ever so slightly.

Here are the numbers:
Gov. Scott Walker leads 46%-45% among registered voters, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday.

Among likely voters, Burke led Walker, 47%-46%.

Walker's job approval slipped from 49% in May to 47% in July … Walker slipping among coveted independent voters, from 49% to 45%, and Burke from 40% to 44%.

Walker's likability, 45% favorable view, compared to 47% unfavorable views. Burke, 26% favorable and 24% unfavorable.

75% heard something about the John Doe investigation, while 24% had not. Among those who knew, 54% said the John Doe probe was just more politics, while 42% said it was serious.

45% of the voters said the state budget was in a better shape, 28% the same and 22% said it was in worse shape.

On jobs, 9% said the state was creating jobs faster than other states, 42% the same as others, 43% said the state was lagging others.

Only 37% would now vote to retain, and 56% would vote to repeal, the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. 

Radio's Word Salad Simpleton Vicki McKenna serves up student data fears over Common Core.

The great right wing geniuses would like you to think they're the undaunted protectors of our freedoms, liberties and personal data. For example; Common Core student data.

From the babbling mindlessness of conservative radio talker Vicki McKenna, we're led to believe Common Core student data will be used at some later date to destroy the lives of conservative grownups everywhere. And that liberals and backers of Common Core don't give a damn about it.

Thank god we have tea party leader and mouthpiece Mckenna watching over us. In what I would call a breathless word salad of fear mongering, McKenna throws ridiculously old talking points about "teachers unions supporting leftists..." (remember Act 10 Vicki?) and juvenile comments like "are you creeped out yet? You should be." Here's one of my favorites:
"There is nothing the government needs to know about you that it would ever use to make your life better. Ever! When has the government ever used information gathered about individuals citizens to make their life better?"
When? How about gathered information to improve education, food safety, traffic signs, product safety, drug safety, health, invaluable census data used for policy and business needs centered around demographics, income, marketing, housing needs, zoning...etc. Is she an idiot? Yes.

Having been a radio veteran for 26 years and liberal talk host (Vicki and I were a team for one year), I truly believe she's just making this stuff up to fill the hour. A bottomless word salad of unrelated terms meant to dazzle the low information listener. Here's a tip, stop talking, and take a call. Breath:



Securing student data Important: But the coverage I've seen in my EdWeek email updates, nothing could be more important than privacy. From local districts, superintendents and school boards, student data is a concern they've already dealt with in their contracts and policies...locked away, or so says my own local superintendent. But beyond local governments, Common Core backer Bill Gates is at the forefront of keeping that data secure. I'm not a big fan of billionaire involvement, but Gates knows his stuff when it comes to security issues, which is an ongoing and never ending process:
As some of its competitors have been battered over their policies for protecting student data, Microsoft Corp. has sought to make sure that the issue—and what it regards as its strong record on privacy—remain firmly in the public eye. During the past year, Microsoft has supported academic research on privacy and guides for school officials on the subject. Its executives have also kept a steady presence at public forums urging school districts and policymakers, as well as parents and families, to pay attention to the issue. "Students are not products," Cameron Evans, Microsoft's chief technology officer for U.S. education, said

But as the company moves aggressively to position itself as a protector of student-data privacy, some say it also runs the risk of a backlash if it doesn't back up its talk with the kind of vigilance the technology giant promises to deliver.While it makes sense for Microsoft to market its privacy brand, "having a business reason for doing that doesn't mean they don't believe what they do," said John M. Simpson, the privacy-project director for Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based organization.

Mark Schneiderman, the senior director of education policy for the Software & Information Industry Association, a Washington-based trade association, said in a statement that K-12 companies are competing on many fronts, and promising strong "data security and related tools" is just one of them. "[T]here is a lack of understanding among parents, the media, and policymakers about what is, and is not happening in the sector," Mr. Schneiderman told Education Week. Mr. Mutkoski, the Microsoft public-sector-services official, said in an interview.

Major organizations, he added, typically expect data-privacy guarantees to be "baked into our contracts," and, he argued, school districts should expect the same.

With No Warning, Shocked Parents told Private School is Bankrupt in De Pere. $19,000 to $29,000 in prepaid tuition lost.

The Republican attempts to commodify our kids by privatizing our public schools introduces a number of other major downsides to their movement.

Private Schools can do anything they want: I want to highlight the last line in the story below:
"Parents were angered by the closing, saying no one ever warned them the school was struggling financially."
Private schools don't have to tell parents anything. And private school closings don't get nearly enough media coverage as it should. Just consider the devastating effects on students and families left scrambling to find another school-usually a public one. Search my blog with the key words "charter" and "voucher," and you'll see what I mean. It's not a pretty picture. 

Here's another reason why having a reliable, accountable public school system is so important:
APA private school in De Pere has closed and filed for bankruptcy, leaving some parents out nearly $30,000 in tuition payments.

A Press-Gazette Media report says the Wisconsin International School filed for bankruptcy this month. The school has estimated assets of $50,000, but liabilities of about $550,000.

Under the terms of the bankruptcy, parents who prepaid their tuition likely won't get it back. The bankruptcy filing says two families each paid more than $29,000, and several others paid about $19,000.

School officials offered little explanation when they shut down the school last month. It sent notices to parents saying it couldn't balance its books due to declining enrollment and fundraising shortfalls.

Parents were angered by the closing, saying no one ever warned them the school was struggling financially.
The dirty little secret Republicans don't want to tell parents about private schools? Important information about declining enrollment for some charter and vouchers schools never needs to be disclosed.

Republican Rep. Bill Kramer using campaign money to defend against Sexual Assault Charges.

Why am I not surprised? One of the most arrogant Republican bullies in the legislature, outgoing Rep. Bill Kramer, appears to be breaking the law again. Kramer is using campaign money to defend himself against sexual assault chargers, a personal matter and a legal no-no.

WKOW's  Tony  Galli has the story:
A campaign finance report shows republican lawmaker Bill Kramer used donor funds to pay an attorney $10,000 to defend him against felony, sex assault accusations.

"There is no way on earth that campaign funds should be able to be used by an official to defend that official against sexual assault charges," Executive Director Mike McCabe of the watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign tells 27 News. McCabe says Kramer's use of campaign funds for this purpose appears to be illegal. "This is totally inconsistent with the plain meaning of state law," McCabe says.

"State law says you can only use campaign funds if you are being investigated for, or being charged with violations of campaign finance and election laws," McCabe says.

Racine School District clears library shelves of Bible, Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain and other classics.

Who the hell is on the Racine Unified School District, and why are they taking away our books?

Empty shelves....
In what is a early look at a bizarre story out of Racine, the district is purging a massive quantity of books from school library's. Breathtaking and shocking in scope, let's hope there's a detail here that makes what is happening in Racine schools less surreal than the story below describes:
Racine County Eye-DENISE LOCKWOOD: Members of the Racine Education Association are calling on the Racine Unified School District to stop “weeding” school library books out of school libraries by the “tens of thousands,” Among the books being pulled are ones written by local authors David Kherdian and Kevin Henkes; books on the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Bible, the Koran, and Beowulf.

Shel Silverstien poetry and many Dr. Seuss books are expected to be removed from some elementary schools.

At Case High School, 2,505 books were removed, including: Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Holy Bible, Pable Picasso: A Modern Master, and The Iliad & The Odyssey of Homer. “

Aaron Eick, vice president of the REA and teacher at Horlick High School, said the librarians are at a loss on how the books will be replaced. “There is not nearly enough money to buy enough books to replace what has been lost,” Eick said. The Racine Unified School District is purging “tens of thousands of books” copyrighted prior to the year 2000, according to a statement by the REA. 
From the Racine Journal Times: 
One of the hardest-hit schools was Mitchell Middle School, according to Gabrielle Sharrock, who has worked as a library media specialist in the district for five years and will start as the school’s librarian next academic year.

She said she was not consulted about books being removed and she visited the library two days after the school was “weeded” and found dozens of boxes full of books slated to be destroyed (see pic above), numerous shelves bare and most of the non-fiction section nearly cleared out.

“It was just devastating to see that,” she said. “If I had to replace all of those books with my budget it would take 16 years, and by then they would be outdated.”

Walker wants to focus on the horrors of Out Sourcing Overseas? Look in the mirror.

There's something fishing about Scott Walker's Hail Mary attack over offshoring jobs. He must know he's got a record a mile long supporting out sourcing and backing businesses that do. And yet, he seems confident none of that will stick to him.

It's also a case of "Swift boating" Mary Burke for her greatest strength, actual business experience at a very successful global company known for it's philanthropy and community involvement. It's a world most career politicians are completely unfamiliar with, like you know who, Scott Walker.

Just as surprisingly, the media is actually pointing out Walker's hypocrisy. Like WKOW's Greg Neumann:
WKOW: Gov. Scott Walker's most recent campaign finance report shows he received money, a total of $68,500 to Gov. Walker over the last six months, from at least 11 corporations that have outsourced jobs to other countries.
Here's a list of outsourcing companies Walker should be attacking next...yea, right:
WellPoint, one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, gave $15,000 to Gov. Walker's campaign.  Three other corporations gave $10,000 each, including Caterpillar, 3M - a multifaceted manufacturing company based in Minnesota, and Deloitte - a national tax consulting firm. Other corporations that donated to Gov. Walker through their PACs were Coca-Cola ($2,500), Pfizer ($5,000), PepsiCo ($2,000), J.P. Morgan Chase ($1,000), Hewlett-Packard ($3,000), General Motors ($6,000) and CenturyLink ($4,000).

U.S. Department of Labor records show those companies have had successful claims filed against them for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) … awarded to workers who can prove they are unemployed because their jobs were outsourced overseas.
No Company Outsourcers from PAC's supporting Mary Burke: Really, not one?
The campaign finance report for Democratic Challenger Mary Burke shows she raked in over $351,000 in PAC donations, but none from corporations that outsourced jobs.  The majority of PAC donations to Burke came from national and state unions.

The Burke campaign has criticized Walker, because his Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded tax credits to at least two companies that have shipped Wisconsin jobs overseas.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It looks like Scott Walker set up Wisconsinites to lose Premium Subsidies on the Exchanges. Now that's moving forward.

It was a bizarre ruling today by a conservative activist court that called into question all the tax credits people on the ObamaCare government exchanges would be receiving.

While repeal crazy low information voters cheered the ruling, little do they realize that once the subsidies are gone, insurers will literally kill them with premium price increases and exclusions. But it's a victory for them none the less.

It now looks like Scott Walker's decision to abandon our nearly completed state exchanges for political reasons will jeopardize all 130,000 ObamaCare customers in the state. Add to that the 35,000 families once covered by BadgerCare (Medicaid) who no longer have anything.

Channel3000's Jessica Arp reported this:




It was Walker's completely disconnected response pictured here, that should concern Wisconsinites; it had nothing to do with today's ruling about the exchanges, but only referred to expanding Medicaid. Another words, Walker's got nothing, no solutions, no concern over those he pushed into the exchanges and a convenient way to avoid responsibility.
The Wisconsin Budget Project: Why did Wisconsin cut BadgerCare eligibility in half for parents, based on reliance on federal funding to subsidize the federal health insurance Marketplace? 

Thanks to a ruling today by a subset of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals … two of the three judges participating in that ruling concluded that federal subsidies for the health insurance Marketplace can only go to people in states that set up their own Marketplaces … considering that 90% of the Wisconsinites who have purchased plans from the federal Marketplace are receiving federal subsidies, and those subsidies cover 74% of the cost of Marketplace premiums … The stakes are even higher in Wisconsin because Wisconsin lawmakers decided to cut in half the BadgerCare income ceiling for parents. About 70,000 fewer parents are now enrolled in BadgerCare and it was assumed by state policymakers that most of those adults would move into subsidized Marketplace plans.

Wisconsin policymakers express concerns about taking federal funding to expand BadgerCare … Ironically, those policymakers pushed through an alternative plan that costs state taxpayers more, covers fewer people in BadgerCare, and relies on federal Marketplace subsidies that might be at greater risk than Medicaid funding.  

Free Market Offshoring by Global Businesses is now Bad, says clueless Scott Walker.

Boy, if you're a global corporation, with manufacturing all over the world, you might want to steer clear of Wisconsin as a place to locate your business.

Scott Walker doesn't like you,  and will go out of his way to vilify your very existence.

It's not enough for Trek Bicycle to manufacture their product here in Wisconsin as well as in the other foreign markets they serve (business 101), after all, its a global company now.

As a career politician, living and raising a family on the government dole, running an international business is not a Scott Walker strength after all.

Remember, Walker says he's is not actually attacking a successful business in our state, he's just pointing out how bad they are because the owners sister is trying to take his job.

The worst part of the ad below is how ignorant Scott Walker looks regarding the function of global businesses setting up shop in the markets they serve. Oddly, this "terrible" policy is something Republicans love and have been pushing for the last 30 years. Chairman Walker's own WEDC gave money to companies that fired Wisconsin workers for offshoring as well. Is all this just a distraction?



What I like about this is the free press and media coverage Walker is giving Burke, all the while bashing Wisconsin business. It's a twofer and I hope a game changer for this little man.
Trek, the world's second-largest bicycle maker, does not employ children at its overseas plants, John Burke said. Trek's manufacturing plants in China, Germany and Holland all follow local labor laws and pay prevailing wages, he said.

Scott Walker, the out-of-state Governor? Outside Special Interests say yes, want Walker!!!

Isn't it time Wisconsin had it's own in-state governor? It seems our state elections and interests are now in the control of out-of-state big money donors. jsonline:
Gov. Scott Walker raised more than half his sizable haul of campaign cash from outside Wisconsin this year, while his challenger Mary Burke raised two-thirds of her donations inside the state.
Breaking it down:
Of the $8.3 million raised by the Republican governor in the first half of 2014, $4.6 million, or 55.4%, came from out of state donors while $3.7 million, or 44.7%, came from within the state, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis.
Wisconsinites have a different candidate in mind: Mary Burke:
Of the $3.6 million brought in by Burke, a Democrat and former Trek bicycle executive, donors living outside Wisconsin gave $1.2 million, or 34%, and in-state donors gave $2.4 million, or 66%, the newspaper's analysis of state campaign filings found Tuesday.

WISGOP attacks Trek Bike's free speech rights to defend itself against Walker's political Smear Campaign

Warning to out-of-state businesses, don't get on the bad side of Gov. Scott Walker. 

For a party that hates frivolous lawsuits, using courts, and supports Citizens United, they sure hate it when the tables are turned.

Trek CEO John Burke featured a full page ad in local newspapers defending his company from political attacks by Mr. “Open for Business” Scott Walker. Apparently, free speech and the money that pays for newspaper ads is now illegal for businesses that have a blood tie to a political candidate.

WISGOP’s Joe Fadness continues to highlight the party’s hypocrisy and willingness to flip flop at a moments notice to maintain power. The ends do justify the means for these pirates, even if it means bashing successful state businesses. LaCrosse Tribune:
The Wisconsin Republican Party has filed a complaint with the state elections board over a full-page newspaper ad by Trek Bicycle Corp., saying it amounts to an illegal contribution to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. She is the sister of Trek president John Burke. 
That wasn't all:
The company had broken the law by responding to criticism from the Walker campaign about outsourcing by Trek. "Trek's advertisement uses corporate funds to aid the campaign of Mary Burke and uses language mirroring Mary Burke's talking points," the complaint reads.

Trek spokeswoman Marina Marich said in a statement: "The governor's television ad clearly attacked Trek, and Trek is entitled to defend itself under the First Amendment by running its own advertisements containing the true facts. We are confident that our letter published in newspaper advertisements is constitutionally protected free speech that fully complies with Wisconsin law." 
 For those who don't check the comments, here one that nailed it:
Anonymous said...Sounds like the Republican Party is alleging coordination between Trek and Mary Burke's campaign. Haven't they been claiming (incorrectly) that coordination is allowed under Wisconsin law -- or at least should be following the latest US Supreme Court rulings favoring "corporate free speech"? So what's their position? That collaboration is legal for Scott Walker, but illegal for Mary Burke's campaign?

Mark Belling accused poor defenseless Mary Burke of recruiting her Brother to Fight her campaign battles.

My conservative friend in Milwaukee called to tell me how WISN's Mark Belling was about to trash Mary Burke for offshoring jobs at Trek. He even held the phone up to the radio so I hear Belling's commentary. He accused Burke of being a weak defenseless woman for getting her brother John to bash Walker for lying.
Belling: Says women like Burke are weak,
need men to defend them.

Belling accused Burke of not having the leadership to responded to Scott Walker's accusations that she ordered Trek to out source jobs to China.

Burke didn't respond? Even after running ads that RESPONDED to Walker's clueless misguided claims about offshoring jobs. Even the papers covered this one. Like this supposed "non-response" in the Journal Sentinel:
Mary Burke said that if Walker knew more about business he would understand that Wisconsin companies such as Trek, Kohler or Harley-Davidson need to manufacture around the world.
"That ad says more about him than it does about me, or for Trek," Burke said during an interview with the Journal Sentinel. "It shows that he puts politics in front of what's good for the state, and for the people. For him to drag a great Wisconsin company through the mud is bad for business. It's all about politics with him."
Burke is right, Walker is a career politician who thinks of himself as a "small businessman" managing the states economy. The state is "small?" Walker made that claim after becoming governor.

Belling's War on Women continued: Belling then accused Burke of enlisting her brother to fight her battles for her, because you know, women are weak and depend on men for everything. Belling knew what he was doing, getting as much mileage out of his misogynistic, demeaning and completely fabricated attack on Burke.

Check out the audio clip below, which features Belling reading from John Burke's newspaper ad that offered up a few things you may not have known, like the fact that Trek helped fund the Madison bike sharing service. Gee, a business that cares about, and funds, social services. Walker can't have that:
Belling: "Mary Burke doesn't have guts to respond to a political attack ad on her by responding herself. She's got to trot out her brother...do the responding for her. Just in and of itself, it gives you an indication of her leadership skills, or lack there of."


What's just as strange is Belling's willingness to support Walker's deceptive twisting of the facts to make his case for reelection. Twisting the truth upside down is apparently fair game.

Unrelated but important: Walker's claim Trek didn't pay any corporate income tax is another fine example of lying while still telling the "truth." This factoid goes out to the guy who Tweeted he still trusts Walker more than Burke or any Democrat. Walkerites love being duped?
jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker stepped up his attack on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke and her family's bicycle business Monday by accusing the company of not paying state corporate income tax.

Burke's campaign fired back and said Walker is either "ignorant or outright lying" about how Trek Bicycle pays taxes in Wisconsin. Like many other businesses, Trek's owners pay taxes on the company's profits as individuals rather than through corporate taxes. Trek files taxes under "Subchapter S" of the Internal Revenue Service Code. In an S-corporation, the tax obligation is passed on to a company's shareholders.
Oddly, Walker doesn't have a problem with his blatant misdirection play to his supporters. Not much to brag about Scott?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Federal Judge Rules Dumb Ron Johnson...Dumb, over ObamaCare Lawsuit.

It was a ridiculous lawsuit, but Dumb Ron Johnson had time on his side to get as much traction out of his ObamaCare attack as he possibly could, and he got it. Tea party low information voters were impressed with Johnson's suit and challenge to the imperial president.

Wisconsin's political Embarrassment: The Federal Judge pretty much laughed in Dumb Ron Johnson's face:
A federal judge Monday dismissed U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson's suit over an Obama administration ruling on the Affordable Care Act, finding he had failed to demonstrate any true harm he faced from the decision. 
In what is the dumbest reason yet to impress the judge:
WisPolitics: Johnson argued the ruling hurts his reputation with his constituents by requiring him to participate in an "illegal" scheme, Judge William Griesbach ruled Johnson and his aide lacked standing to file the suit, finding much of the injuries the lawmaker claimed were speculative. 
Illegal Scheme? Who said? The judges statement could also be applied party wide:
The judge also rejected Johnson's argument that he was being required to participate in something he found illegal. Griesbach noted no court had yet found the administration's rule illegal and the provision does not require any member of Congress to act. Simply believing the provision is illegal was not "enough to create standing because that would open the door to any uninjured party who had a generalized grievance with a government regulation. Under such an approach, there would be no principled limit on standing because a plaintiff need only allege a belief that the challenged regulation is illegal," the judge wrote. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Corporate Welfare State: Taxpayers now on the hook for Job Training, while state pushes importing cheaper "Skills Gap" labor!

Taxpayers are now on the hook, subsidizing private business so they can train workers to fill the “skills gap.” But wait, the “skills gap” is a myth, created by business to keep wages low and import temporary foreign workers. If taxpayers really want to cuts government spending, try cutting this area of corporate welfare first.

Institutionalized Corporate Welfare: Even worse, Scott Walker has now officially institutionalized corporate welfare with taxpayer subsidized job training. It’s all a noble cause, and I feel lousy coming out against this...

…but business created the “skills gap” to import cheap labor, lower wages, and get taxpayers to foot the bill…or at least pay for part of the bill. As so many economists have stated, if there’s a shortage of workers, wages would have gone up. That didn't happen.

Walker’s WEDC gift of taxpayer money to job train is just the beginning:  
jsonline: (It’s an) initiative to train welders in four areas of the state … being funded by the state and the welding industry. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has committed $400,000 to fund the customized technical skill development for the first year, with $100,000 going to each of the four regional sites … In addition, Illinois Tools Works Inc. — the parent company of Miller — is providing $400,000 in matching funds. The American Welding Society has committed $200,000.
Appearing on WPT's Here and Now, the President of the Wisconsin Technology Council Tom Still made a few amazing statements. Not only did he defend importing cheap foreign labor to fill that mythical "skills gap," but he also bragged those same workers have a "propensity" to start their own businesses. If we lag in jobs created, Still said, it's because we don't have enough foreign workers in Wisconsin. Would I kid you?

  
The official sounding “Sullivan Report” Tom Still mentions above is all CEO bluster pushing the “skills gap” myth. Here’s a sample of "Sullivan's" recommendations, including importing temp workers and institutionalizing corporate welfare:
The report by former Bucyrus International Chairman Tim Sullivan offers a series of recommendations to fill that gap … The skills gap "is hurting economic competitiveness in Wisconsin," Sullivan said. Giving the state Department of Workforce Development responsibility for coordinating job training programs … expanding funding for part-time technical college students to keep them enrolled while increasing tuition for technical college students who already have four-year degrees … and welcoming legal immigrants to the state. 
I found the comment below, to the story above, the appropriate less profane response:
Ace Rothstein: If I were to go knocking on doors on Lake Drive how many welders do you think I would come across? Yeah, its a wage problem. If you need more welders then start paying them more. Don't whine to the governor. Don't whine to the Jounal-Sentinel. Bust out your checkbook or go out of business.