Saturday, August 23, 2014

Paul Ryan seemed bothered by a Seniors questions about Medicare and Medicaid.

Brad Blog ran across this very revealing video of Paul Ryan ignoring a woman's questions about Medicare and Medicaid cuts. Ryan seemed to think she wanted a photo of them standing together at a recent book signing in Florida. What's not to love about Ryan's attempts to weaken a seniors two most valuable programs, while giving tax brakes to millionaires and billionaires.

She's not "sorry, you're misinformed" as Ryan quickly suggests. Ryan may have included normal Medicare as an option, but that doesn't change the fact that the other options will eventually kill the program. And block granting Medicaid, no matter how he redefined lately, basically ends the program, giving states the ability to slash the program down to nothing:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dumb Ron Johnson kills Rail Tanker Emergency Preparedness bill trying to approve Keystone XL Pipeline.

It's dangerous irresponsible behavior like this that has stalled so many bills in the Senate. In a mind boggling move, Dumb Ron Johnson put the breaks on a simple study to deal with tanker disasters. It's a tale of two approaches:  
KUWS-Mike Simonson: An emergency preparedness bill that would investigate the best way for local first-responders to react to a railroad crude oil spill is on hold in Congress. The Response Act would simply form a panel to decide the best way to respond to a rail tanker incident involving North Dakota Bakken crude. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin says it’s needed in Wisconsin because that oil is transported across 18 counties about 45 times a week. But Baldwin says the bill was derailed at the last minute.

“Regrettably, there was an attempt to politicize the issue by adding an amendment that would approve the Keystone pipeline.”
Who wrote the Amendment?
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson sponsored that amendment. 
To get an idea of what this really means, and the dangerous political game Johnson doesn't even realize he's playing, check out this story reported Friday in the La Crosse Tribune:
The Canadian oil train that derailed in 2013 killing 47 people in Lac-M├ęgantic passed through the Coulee Region on its way to Quebec, according to Canadian safety officials. The ensuing explosions destroyed 40 buildings, and contaminated the city’s downtown as well as a nearby river and lake.

According to the report, the tank cars originated in New Town, N.D., and were hauled by Canadian Pacific through Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit on their way to Montreal … The derailment brought additional attention to the increase in rail shipments of highly flammable crude oil as production in the Bakken formation of North Dakota has soared. 

No Question, Walker pushed illegal coordination with Outside Group.

Scott Walker came right out and said that he wanted to illegally coordinate his campaigns message with the outside group, Wisconsin Club for Growth.
"The Governor is encouraging all to invest in the Wisconsin Club for Growth," said an April 28, 2011, email from Kate Doner, a Walker campaign consultant … Doner wrote to Johnson that Walker wanted Wisconsin Club for Growth exclusively to coordinate campaign themes. "As the Governor discussed ... he wants all the issue advocacy efforts run thru one group to ensure correct messaging," she wrote.
In the jsonline article, this line stood out that really got to the heart of debate.  

Prosecutors contend candidates and outside groups cannot collaborate on their messaging and strategy. Walker and the club have contended they can, because the club's ads do not explicitly tell people who to vote for or against.
It's not the advocacy ads, it's coordinating the message.

The following should give everyone an opportunity to see who's really calling the shots politically in Wisconsin. And right wing trolls teasing liberals about their obsession with the Koch brothers, explain yourselves now:
In September 2011, Doner sent an email to Walker and others with brainstorming ideas for raising money for the Wisconsin Club for Growth. Among them: "Take Koch's money," "Get on a plane to Vegas and sit down with Sheldon Adelson," and "Go heavy after (corporations) to give."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Outside liberal group takes on Outside conservative groups with Mary Burke ad.

Despite Democratic efforts to get money out of politics, they're forced to play the game as Republican special interests plow ahead reaching new levels of funding.
jsonline: A liberal group injected $737,000 in a TV ad campaign Wednesday against Gov. Scott Walker — providing outside help on the airwaves for the first time in Democrat Mary Burke's campaign.

The new ad builds on a theme Burke has hammered on for weeks: how Wisconsin's job creation efforts have lagged behind its neighbors. From there, it goes on to contend Walker has doled out state money to help campaign supporters. "Scott Walker gave Wisconsin job creation money to his cronies, corporate friends who contributed to his campaigns — $570 million of our jobs money to Scott Walker's friends," a narrator says.

Funny how the slow to notice "incidental governor" dropped everything to respond to the ad:
Walker hastily called a news conference to respond, citing jobs data he'd previously dismissed as less-than-reliable to argue the state's economy is rebounding. In arguing that Wisconsin's economy is rebounding, Walker said, "Wisconsin now ranks third in the Midwest for actual private sector job creation. That's just this week announced as data came out from the Current Employment Statistics by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics."

Relying on those statistics is a reversal for Walker. Those monthly figures are based on a survey of a sample and can fluctuate significantly; Walker's office has dubbed quarterly figures based on an actual count of jobs as the "gold standard." For two years, Walker has argued against using the monthly Current Employment Statistics.

Mary Burke seized on that shift in a statement she issued after Walker's news conference. "This is what career politicians do — cherry pick numbers as they see fit, even if they directly contradict past commitments to use the numbers they've called 'the gold standard,'" her statement said.

Walker 6th on "ringmaster" list of Worst Governors in America!!!

Sold on Scott Walker's forward movement in Wisconsin, or his supposed honesty about getting things done? The Cap Times' Steven Elbow reports there is one group who would disagree with that Walker mythology:
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s report, “The Worst Governors in America,” ranks Walker only sixth … according to CREW, Walker has amassed a resume of cronyism, scandal, partisan shenanigans and mismanagement that has propelled him to the upper echelons of bad governing.

CREW, according to its website, is “dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests.” The report separates 18 governors into three categories: the ringmasters, the clowns and the sideshows.

Walker is listed among the ringmasters. The report explains:
“His inclusion stems from: (1) using his office to promote donors’ interests; (2) illegally using state troopers to track down his political opponents; (3) an investigation into illegal activity by his aides; (4) diverting money from a nationwide mortgage settlement; (5) an investigation into the state economic development corporation he chairs; (6) dismissing a political appointee for signing the recall petition against him; and (7) advocating for new voter identification restrictions.”  
Ahead of Walker on the list are Nathan Deal of Georgia, Paul LePage of Maine, Robert McDonnell of Virginia, Rick Perry of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida, all Republicans.

While the vast majority of bad governors on the list are Republicans, there are exceptions. Democrat Steven Beshear of Kentucky heads up the list of clowns, and New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo comes in second on the sideshows. 

Walker myth about Government Reneging on Medicaid Funding continues....

Way back on February 23, 2014, PolitiFact corrected Scott Walker's claim the government had renege on Medicaid funding before, and will again. 

As you can see by this screen capture, he was wrong. Even with this public shaming, what could be described as an outright lie, wasn't enough to change his opinion or penetrate the Walker campaign bubble.

For once, could we just admit Walker knows he's lying about Medicaid. I know, it's hard to imagine someone playing a cruel trick like this on so many families in need of health care.

As PolitiFact pointed out to Walker in February:
There’s a major problem in Walker’s contention.

The federal share -- known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, or FMAP -- fluctuates annually and varies from state to state based on a formula dating to Medicaid’s inception in 1965.

That formula is "designed so that the federal government pays a larger portion of Medicaid costs in states with lower per-capita incomes relative to the national average (and vice versa for states with higher per-capita incomes)," a Congressional Research Service paper noted in 2013.

In other words, the standard federal share of Medicaid costs is not promised or guaranteed to hold steady; it must only stay between the statutory minimum of 50 percent and maximum of 83 percent.

It has gone up notably in some recent years as well. In fact, Wisconsin saw its federal rate rise from 2009 to 2010, and also got a big additional bump to more than 70 percent for almost three years under the federal stimulus law and a subsequent legislative action -- both of which applied nationally.
When many of us say Walker is a sociopath, we're being sincere. Just look at his calm almost listless demeanor as he repeats this outright lie. Anyone really think he's protecting us from the expanded "risk" of lost funding? Post Crescent:

Republicans, if elected, will cut funding. That's the underlying message.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

National Republican Congressional Committee launched Fake News websites. They really did.

How low will Republicans go to win it all? Dana Milbank explains:
Republicans are learning to embrace their phoniness: The Republican Party finally has admitted what has been fairly obvious for much of the past six years: It produces fake news … it's an important step for the party to embrace the phoniness.

"NRCC launches fake news sites to attack Democratic candidates" was a headline in the National Journal on Tuesday. As Shane Goldmacher reported, "The National Republican Congressional Committee, which came under fire earlier this year for a deceptive series of fake Democratic candidate websites that it later changed after public outcry, has launched a new set of deceptive websites, this time designed to look like local news sources."

These two dozen sites, with names such as "North County Update" and "Central Valley Update" look like political fact-checking sites.
 An NRCC official told me the sites are legal because, if you scroll all the way to the bottom, you'll find, "Paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee" in small print. "They're not fake websites," the official said. "These are real attack websites." Real attacks, but fake news: This is a fairly accurate summary of what the GOP's scandalmongers have been purveying during the Obama years.

Fast and Furious? No evidence was found. Money for Solyndra to pay the president's political cronies. Didn't happen that way. Obamacare would bring about the collapse of the American health-care system and replace it with socialized medicine and death panels. No such thing has occurred. The IRS scandal? Nope. And now, we have the Benghazi exoneration.

The actual truth of the allegations doesn't matter. Each one sullied President Obama's name. That's why fake news works: Falsehoods can drive a president's approval rating into the cellar while the truth still is getting out of bed. 

Ferguson gut check: Liberal vs Conservative Law enforcement in Wisconsin.

I was struck how different our law enforcement leaders differed in their approach to something like the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

Talking about the militarized confrontation in Ferguson, Rachel  Maddow brought up the violent 60's war protests in Madison, and how Police Chief David Couper came in and turned all that around. A really nice piece:

Now check out this less than grateful reelection interview with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who bashed "this soft on crime, revolving door, social engineering experiment being conducted by the DA, and the lenient Milwaukee County Judiciary...I'm going to continue to push back on it. It's hurting this community...I believe the (election) results were a repudiation of their soft on crime social engineering experiments...I promote a clash of ideas."

Fianlly, check out Madison's new Police Chief Mike Koval's approach, and tell me who you would put your confidence in. WISC:

Walker again blames Gov. Doyle and Burke for tanked manufacturing, job losses during the GOP Great Recession

This is getting ridiculous. Will someone in the media break the news to Scott Walker that conservative free market deregulation caused the Bush Great Recession, and not the former governor? I'm going mad...! And you'll notice at the end of this clip, no one corrected Walker's mistake. WKOW:

Why Vote for Scott Walker? Call in Listeners offer up Clue.

You'll get a kick out of this short compilation of "Stand with Walker" supporters calling in to WPR's Joy Cardin show. Her gubernatorial straw poll brought out the deep Walker thinkers, whose comments sounded like bumper sticker slogans. They really haven't been paying attention. Audio only:

Incidental Governor and WEDC Chairman Walker surprised 2 private Businesses and big Donors to his campaign picked in state promotion.

WEDC Chairman and incidental Governor Scott Walker accidentally started marketing 2 private businesses that just happen to donate big time money to him. They're the only private businesses out of 33 to get Walker's help. He says he didn't know. Well that's enough proof for me...WKOW News, Greg Neumann:

I'm sure Walker's like minded board members had no idea the private businesses picked and promoted by the "Certified in Wisconsin" program were also valued donors to the governor. What would make you think otherwise?

Walker not at fault, as Doe-eyed Republicans play up social media threats...Victims again.

You want to get threats, sign a recall petition against Scott Walker. Or try surviving as a liberal blogger.

Harassing politicians and bloggers is just the day-to-day pass time for the many that just need to vent.  But threats are all too easily tossed around today as well.

I put the blame on Scott Walker and a party pushing an extreme agenda, whose motto is "to hell with moderation."

Who created an atmosphere where someone is so willing to threaten a politician and his family? Scott Walker. Although threats are dumb, it's human nature for some to take that step, and the next one.

Scott Walker even said he thinks having a divided state is healthy. Scott Walker set the tone in Wisconsin, starting with his promise to "divide and conquer." Not your usual message to a state made up of two major parties. And Republicans have ignored half the state's citizens with their winner take all agenda. And they're wondering why Twitter and Facebook comments are so negative?

The final nail for me was Scott Walker's recall blacklist. If you signed a petition for his recall, Walker made it clear you didn't have any kind of future in Wisconsin while he was governor. If you're willing to blacklist Wisconsinites, you're capable of doing anything.

Scott Walker is now worried about his son's recent string of threats by one angry individual. And yet, Matt Walker has embraced his fathers agenda. He's a "20-year-old student at Marquette University (and) head of the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans." He's also been known to throw a few political verbal punches as well, playing the victim when the language gets out of control.

Republicans would love it if everyone forgot about the death threats and verbal abuse against people with yard signs or recall signup tables. How about the possible attacks at recall signers homes?

And yet the following rightwing authoritarians are now whining about being held to the same public standards, with the same public scrutiny and possibility of blowback:
Wisconsin Reporter: Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth knows the consequences of speaking out against powerful prosecutors in a politically charged investigation. “Indeed, Mr. O’Keefe has faced threatening behavior—including online stalking of his children and grandchildren—due to his participation in this litigation,” the conservative activist’s attorney writes in a court document filed this week.

O’Keefe alleges that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, two of his assistant DAs, trampled on conservatives’ rights to speech and association. “Based on these (O’Keefe’s) and other instances of retaliation and threats of retaliation, many Club supporters have specifically requested assurances that their identities will not be publicly disclosed, for fear that they too will face reprisal for their political associations and advocacy,” the attorney wrote.
What these bottom feeders are hoping for is no public accountability for manipulating our public elections.

The Truth behind the New Talking Point: Walker saved taxpayers money when he turned down Medicaid Expansion.

Rep. John Nygren likes to think of himself as a “fiscally conservative” know-it-all, saving us money. He would be if BS actually did saved taxpayers cash, but...

The going lie pushed by the Wisconsin Reporter and parroted by clueless Republicans, is that Scott Walker saved taxpayers money on a federal level by not expanding Medicaid.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau just released a report saying something a little different, but that reality has now been reshaped into something that fits neatly into the right wing bubble.

Want the truth? Here’s what I came up with after a little research, point by point, disputing Rep. John Nygren’s misdirection play. Just as scary, Nygren in co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, which means he should know better, but doesn't:
Nygren: “Protecting taxpayers from future costs of an unsustainable government program is one of the reasons the governor and lawmakers decided to turn down the federal funds.”
Truth: Nygren reveals the GOP’s plan; they will end Medicaid. And if Scott Walker is willing to work with Medicaid’s current 60% share of funding, why not 90%? Remember, Nygren said it’s an unsustainable program.
Nygren: “What they fail to mention is that expanding Medicaid would actually cost taxpayers billions in the long run. A point that is lost on some is where that federal money comes from — the taxpayers … the dollars would come from the federal pot of borrowed money rather than the state coffers. Misguided is what I call a proposal that claims to save taxpayer dollars.”
Truth: Nygren is misguided and very wrong. Medicaid expansion is paid for through the Affordable Care Act, it’s not an outside program taking taxpayer money. The Supreme Court’s ruling struck the ACA's mandated expansion down. Actually, because so many states turned down the expansion, ObamaCare isn't spending as much as they saved.
Nygren: “An expansion of Medicaid to those who can otherwise attain affordable coverage in the private sector would mean even higher insurance premiums for everyone else on private insurance. This is due to the cost-shifting that takes place as a result of low government reimbursement for providers.”
Truth: Two big lies, and Nygren is ass backwards on this. Lie 1. Those between 100% and 138% are still very poor and can’t afford the co-pays and deductibles. That’s why they didn't sign up for the Exchanges. Lie 2. Perhaps Nygren doesn't know that Medicaid expansion actually increases government reimbursements to providers to keep doctors and hospitals from dropping patients (to Medicare levels). Just as important, doctors and hospitals no longer lose money treating the uninsured. Insurers, hospitals and doctors also benefit from a larger pool of new marketplace customers. Combining the elements above is how the Affordable Care Act pays for expanded Medicaid.
Nygren: “We implemented reforms that ensure every person living in poverty has access to health care — for the first time in state history. This is worth repeating: The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Walker worked together to ensure all persons living under the federal poverty level now have access to coverage.
Truth: Wow. An inadvertently funny new and foolish election year talking point you’ll hear over and over from Republicans. Unfortunately, their new bragging point is made possible by, wait for it...The Affordable Care Act, their most despised new government entitlement. Bizarre huh? They dumped 63,000 people, mostly families, from the rolls and sent them to ObamaCare. That doesn't include the 87,000 childless adult that would have also been covered under the expanded program. When you cut down the percentage used to define poverty, and send the rest to ObamaCare, magically every person for the first time in history is covered.
Nygren: “The waiting list had been in existence since 2009 when the Democratic-controlled Legislature imposed it. Our state also will continue to have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country.”
Truth: The waiting list disappeared because of the Affordable Care Act. And why did we have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country? Government run BadgerCare! Coverage was at a whopping 300% over the poverty line. We had a waiting list because there wasn't enough funding. So Nygren is unknowingly bragging about what he called an unsustainable Medicaid program, that gave Wisconsin one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation. 
Any questions John? 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Walker supporters okay spending $200 Million $315 Million more not expanding Medicaid. Fiscal Dodos.

I'm finally getting to this story, but I felt a few issues, many political, were ignored.

Saving taxpayer money has never been the real reason why Scott Walker or his band of Republican pirates have screwed around with Medicaid expansion and ObamaCare. They have their ideological principles. We're seeing that now with predicted deficits for BadgerCare. Remember, hospitals we're reimbursed $73 million for treating the uninsured with taxpayer dollars, money that would have come our way by expanding Medicaid. Add that amount to the following:
jsonline: According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau Wisconsin, taxpayers would have saved $206 million over two years, 73% more than previously estimated, if officials had fully expanded its main health care program for the poor under the federal 
If Gov. Mary Burke expanded BadgerCare:
State taxpayers would save another $261 million to $315 million through June 2017. In all, the state could have saved more than $500 million over 31/2 years. 
And for "fiscal conservatives," get angry. We missed out on more money for you and me:
That would have allowed Gov. Scott Walker and legislators to put more money toward schools or roads or cut taxes more deeply than they did over the last year. The full expansion would have served an estimated 87,000 more adults each month under BadgerCare Plus. The program provides better coverage for people with low incomes — and at a lower cost — than the subsidized health plans sold on the federal marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act.
Those still in poverty just above the 100% mark won't be able to afford co-pays and deductibles. But Republicans have chosen a more ideological path to take. 
Normally, BadgerCare costs are shared, with the federal government paying about 60% and the state paying about 40%.
That percentage fluctuates slightly due to the current economic numbers nationally and per state. It's not reneging. It's a calculation. If Wisconsin goes from 90% to 89%, do we panic? Of course not.

The unspoken issue is this; Republicans will renege on Medicare if they take control of congress and the presidency. They will block grant it, with no strings attached, allowing states to shed almost everybody from coverage. That would include a number of hoops to jump through, like an attempt to perform of a drug testing.

Mary Burke wasn't timid in her response:
"In the business world, CEOs get fired for decisions like that," her statement said. "As governor, I'm going to put common sense before politics. Governor Walker's politics-first approach has left Wisconsin taxpayers paying the price."
Will ideology trump wasting millions and spending more of our hard earned taxpayer money? And will Scott Walker admit to the Republican Party's plans to kill Medicaid? Yes.
But in comments to reporters Friday in Platteville, Walker said he was undeterred by the report and sticking by his BadgerCare plan. He said he didn't believe the federal government would provide the funding it has promised. "We haven't exposed our taxpayers to something I think eventually is going to happen ... We believe confidently going forward this federal government is likely to renege from its promises on Medicaid to the states. And we won't be exposed to that."

Paul Ryan calls Obama "a committed ideologue?" Projection much?

Much of the GOP agenda is vindictive, with Paul Ryan leading the way. It’s time to take back what the “takers” have been grabbing away from the well off.

For Ryan it’s personal. After building up his wonk creds for years, Obama had the nerve to challenge that image, making him look inhumane, cruel, elitist, and f*******.
USA Today: Ryan is withering toward the president — a breach he dates to a speech Obama gave in April 2011 outlining his budget plan. Ryan was sitting in a front-row seat reserved for him for an address he thought would embrace a bipartisan commission's deficit-reduction plan and move toward compromise. Instead, Obama blasted the GOP budget Ryan had drafted as imperiling the most vulnerable. He called for cuts in defense spending and higher taxes for the affluent.

"That was the moment where I realized, oh, wow, he really is a committed ideologue," Ryan says.
Really Paul, Obama’s the ideologue? Then like clockwork, after Ryan "got taken to the shed," the Democrats screwed it up royally:
He says Erskine Bowles, the commission's Democratic co-chairman, called him afterward to apologize, saying, "That was reprehensible behavior and I'm ashamed of it as a Democrat."
Just like a Democrat, apologizing for being blunt and utterly truthful.

Ryan’s strict hard line budgeting and attacks on the poor, the “takers,” have made Ryan a no compromise partisan. The media doesn't think so, pretending Ryan’s draconian plans for the poor are a sincere effort to open a dialogue. Yeah, I know, the Democrats have been doing this since the 60’s:
(Ryan’s) 73-page anti-poverty plan (is) an effort, he says, to start a conversation … the fact that he is calling for attention to the issue of poverty…
…blah, blah, blah. The press continues to fawn all over this elitist scrooge. I'm sure the story of his father will make him appear human. But his story isn't so unique or as sad as those families who live in poverty, and depend on those troublesome safety nets Ryan wants to cut away. 

The GOP Flip-Flop; they're now the party of continuous Frivolous Lawsuits.

I could only dream of getting the kind of press MAL Contends is getting:

GOP attorneys hit it big, they are the litigation jackpot winners, now that the courts (thanks to George W. Bush) are still stacked with conservative activist judges and justices.

Perhaps Rep. Paul Krug still hasn't figured out that now that he's a politician, he's also a public figure open to criticism. It's a distinction that protects private citizens from the full force of the media.

Maybe it's another devious plan to sue bloggers out of existence, knowing few of us can afford to take on the deep pocketed right wing special interest attorneys.

I'll be the first to defend Krug from those who might say he looks a lot like Porky Pig.

Platitudes from Planet Paul Ryan...

Well, Paul Ryan decided to gather up his endless list of Ryanisms and put them into one Seuss-like book, "The Way Forward."

To get a sense of what you will find in this must read rehash filled with dire warnings and contradictions, behold Ryan's God-like statement of party aggrandizement:
Also out as a children's book.
This can’t be the full measure of our party and our movement. If it is, we’re dead and the country is lost.”
Yes, without the Republican Party, "the country is lost." You see, our big brother authoritarians must convert the U.S. to a one party system to save it, just as the founding fathers envisioned.

Pity the Poor Fool: Ryan shows how little he gets it. While people are repulsed by his cruel Dickensian platform, he thinks it's a "communication" problem:
He acknowledges his communication problems in explaining his budget ideas, which the House Republicans’ campaign arm encouraged candidates to disavow and left Ryan feeling “ostracized.”
Ryan even basks in his own hypocrisy, bragging how having it both ways allows him to see both sides:
While Ryan has faced criticism from Democrats who say he would like to strip social services and make changes to Social Security, Ryan writes that he saw the benefits and importance of the programs in his life. When his father died he received Social Security survivor benefits that allowed him to pay for college. Ryan writes that critics distort his plan.
I suppose it was just a coincidence that so many different critics distorted his "plan" in the exact same way. And Ryan's egocentric vision prevents him from noticing the devolution of his own party:
Ryan singles out the government shutdown in fall 2013 … the government shuttered for 16 days and the Republican brand took a massive hit in voters’ eyes.
Ryan’s in a bad State of Denial: Ryan says past economic failures were the result of bad messaging. If only he had used the right words...:
Ryan says his party needs to be more inclusive, spend far more time talking to black and Latino voters, and avoid playing into what he calls a caricature of the "cold-hearted Republican."
When a constituent once clearly explained the reality and the need for our social safety net programs, instead of getting the point, cold-hearted Ryan questioned his...terminology.
jsonline: He even points to some of his own past rhetoric as part of the problem … his use of the phrase "makers and takers" … The congressman says he began second-guessing his use of that language after a constituent approached him at the Rock County 4-H Fair in July 2012 and asked, "Who are the takers? Is it the person who lost their job and is on unemployment benefits? Is it the person who served in Iraq and gets their medical care through the VA?"

Ryan stopped using the term when he realized that "it sounds like we're saying people who are struggling are deadbeats ... The phrase gave insult where none was intended." 
You know, like his condescending description of the safety nets as hammocks. No insult intended, right? 

Governing, but not Governing?!! In a mind bender, Ryan thinks governing ourselves is different than governing ourselves through government. I’ll admit, this play on words has been a pet peeve of mine for at least a decade. And yet, it makes sense to conservatives. String together just he highlighted words. It's crazy:
Ryan offers a broad attack on progressivism across the decades and a sharp denunciation of Barack Obama as a president whose "policies represent an ideological mission to re-order the human condition through state action, empowering bureaucrats to decide what's best for everyone rather than allowing citizens to govern themselves."
No one wants to decide “what’s best for everyone" except maybe the GOP. No liberal, progressive, or Democrat ever said that, or would say something so ridiculous. That’s a fiction dreamed up by conservative paranoids, who are pushing for a Borg-like one party authority. Talk about irony.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Burke the Walker "Giant Killer?"

I found this recent interview with Mary Burke on' Top Line, that I thought went well. I couldn't help but notice the headline:

One thing, the ABC interviewer suggested a great question Burke should ask Scott Walker; will you promise to make an "iron clad commitment that he will serve a full 4 years.?" Mary Burke should ask.

Kleefisch Crossbow Madness another Lazy Conservative Shortcut to Kill Deer, shorten Season?

The Walker Authority's deer and hunting policy is in shambles, and isn't getting the kind of press it should. 

With another lousy hunting season behind us (15% decline in harvest), a broken Walker promise to put more deer in the forests, deer herds dwindling, ridiculous public input on deer counts, expanded hunting in state parks, doing away with reporting deer kills at local bars/convenience stores/DNR stations, a White-Tailed Deer Trustee Dr. James Kroll who says people who call for more public hunting opportunities are “pining for socialism,” promote hunting via the fake Koch brothers "United Sportsman" group, and the expansion of private hunting permits that may exacerbate the low deer counts, we've now got to worry about the effects of crossbow hunting mania.

Are bow hunters looking at the expanded crossbow hunting law as another misstep that could have negative unintended consequences? Could be. 

Typically shortsighted Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch pushed through his lazy crossbow law without any attempt to think things through. Even worse, crossbow hunters got an exemption "from a state law that prohibits hunting within 1,700 feet of a school or hospital." To sell his idea, Kleefisch renamed his crossbow hunting "Assembly Bill 8" to the "Deer Collision Reduction Act." Now I feel better about it. 
Check out the following hunters point of view regarding crossbow hunting. WPR
Bill Herrmann of Chippewa Falls, who has been bow hunting for 50 years, said that the accuracy of crossbows gives them a huge advantage over traditional bows, and that he expects high deer kills to eventually lead to shorter crossbow seasons.

Herrmann also said he doesn’t expect many bowhunters to switch over to crossbows just because they’re now able to. “The people that are in archery are dedicated archers. They’re not going to be using crossbows,” Herrmann said. “The people that are going to be using crossbows are the people who don’t want to put in the time and effort to learn how to shoot a bow.”
That describes our lazy, freeloading, public dole Republican lawmakers perfectly. After all, whose got all that time to hunt anymore? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

More Expensive for Profit Hospitals in Red States forcing many Non-Profits to Raise Rates and Cut Services too.

Medicare needs some reform, but not the kind of cuts Paul Ryan is proposing. And the idea of making a "profit" off of sick people continues to pick up steam, even though the idea itself is repugnant and rejected worldwide. 

A recent study connected to Connecticut's debate over converting non-profit hospitals to profit revealed an interesting fact: Southern and Western red states cost Medicare more than most other Northern states that have a greater percentage of non-profit hospitals. And those non-profits are influenced by profit driven hospitals in the what they offer and what they don't. That's deadly. Check out the analysis:

Non-Profits Change Behavior to Act More Like For-Profits: As the research above notes, investor-owned hospitals focus more on profitable services than non-profit hospitals and the states dominated by for-profits have higher costs. Research also shows that the overall healthcare hospital market is impacted when for-profits are prevalent.  
For example, research has demonstrated that the proximity of for-profits changes the way non-profit hospitals behave financially, as non-profits start to mimic the for-profits in an attempt to stay competitive. The Schlesinger and Gray study notes, “The more for-profit hospitals in a locality, the more nonprofit hospitals (1) respond aggressively to revenue-increasing opportunities, (2) adopt profitable services, (3) discourage admissions of unprofitable patients, and (4) reduce resources devoted to treating the patients they do admit.” Another study found that, with the exception of burn care, nonprofits are less likely to offer unprofitable services in high for-profit markets.

Free Market Medicare starting at age 75? You'd have to be crazy...

The message I'm getting from reading about all the brutally draconian health care plans floated by either conservative politicians or right wing think tanks is this; they either don't understand health care or would rather die (likely) than see their own government step in with a solution.

Behold a new embarrassing attempt to seem creditable on health care. Which is it; stay true to ideological purity or face the reality of a failed health care system? Ideology of course.

"The conservative Manhattan Institute fellow and Forbes columnist Avik Roy offered his own plan (Avikcare?) that would supplant the ACA. Roy's 68-page tome (PDF) lays out policies" that will blow your mind. The lesson we should take away from the following "solution" is this; conservatives are completely incapable of solving the health care the rest of the world solved long ago. My answers are in bold
1. Gradually raise Medicare's eligibility age to 75. Is Avik f**king kidding. That keeps retired seniors in the private health care market longer, so they can pay higher and higher premiums, forcing them to blow through their life savings on insurance instead of travel. Breathtaking? Which means…

2. …Shift most Medicare and Medicaid enrollees onto the exchanges. Same answer from above. 

3. Repeal the individual mandate. This would allow freeloaders into the system again, raising health care costs to those who pay for insurance. Wow.

4. Replace the mandate and Obamacare's annual 3 month open enrollment with a 6 week open-enrollment period every 2 years, giving people a strong incentive. “Strong incentive” is conservative lingo for penalty, while being very coercive.

5. Federal premium subsidies would phase out at 317% of the federal poverty level instead of the current 400%. Cost-sharing subsidies would be converted to health savings account contributions. This would decrease the subsidies substantially for those approaching the cutoff point, making insurance unaffordable. When it comes to cost subsidies, this is just ridiculous busy work, since what's done automatically now would have to be manually take that money in their savings and pay down their premium anyway. 

6. Strips down exchange regulations so insurers can create plans that “are more attractive to consumers,” or those that are cheaper, but have fewer covered benefits. This is the creation of junk policies that pay for nothing. Everyone should see that I hope. It also straps customers with uncovered expenses all-the-while paying their monthly premiums to insurers.

7. Insurers would be allowed to charge older Americans premiums six times as high as younger people, compared with the current 3-1 differential. Wow, not a good deal for seniors, while lowering the cost for the young healthy invincible's. It creates two problems. 

8. Roy’s plan would save the government $8 trillion over 30 years and increase health coverage by 12.1 million people compared with ACA projections. Impossible for all the reasons above.

9. Roy's proposal almost certainly will not appeal to members of the tea party faction, which vehemently opposes any government involvement in healthcare. Yes, the tea party is a reckless, dangerous gathering of people who either don’t know health care history, or are incapable of learning from the past and are prone to repeat it. The free market will certainly leave the sick to die, like it did before the Affordable Care Act.

The Problem with the Press: The media will treat this like it’s a serious debatable plan, instead of the predictable nightmare anyone who reads this would see instantly.