Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wisconsin Voucher spending on students already in private schools not saving money, and any money saved is going...where?

This seems odd; Two years in a row, 73% of new voucher students were already going to private schools. That means many people aren't jumping at the chance to toss their kids into a for profit (nonprofit too) money making religious experience.

Even worse; new research by the conservative free market Friedman Foundation reports the money going to kids already in private schools isn't saving taxpayers anything. Walker's expansion is failing at doing even that.

Worse than worse; the study didn't even know or couldn't track the savings. This is a plan?

The new study covers the ten oldest voucher programs in the country. Edweek:
School vouchers have saved states $1.7 billion over the past 20 years, however it's unclear what happens to those savings, according to a report out today from the Indianapolis-based Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Lack of transparency obscures some of the fiscal effects of private school choice programs, the report argues.
Here’s one of the above mentioned problems:
It also acknowledges there are some circumstances where voucher programs may not save states money; the program is open to students already enrolled in private schools…
Here’s another twist that I don’t completely understand, and maybe that’s also intentional:
The report's analysis does not include fixed costs for district schools—such as buildings—which schools still have to pay to maintain even if they have fewer students and therefore less per-pupil funding. But it ventures a counter argument for readers who might raise that question, noting that state school finance laws are "frequently ... written in a way that results in much of the savings from a school voucher program being passively reallocated back to the public schools."
After nearly 25 years, you would think the voucher program would be blazing new trails by now. Not happening. Check out how bad vouchers are doing in Louisiana:
In Louisiana, state education department numbers show that fewer than half of voucher students who took state assessment tests passed.  But Louisiana's schools chief pointed out that the 44 percent pass rate for 2014 is still higher than in 2010 when only 31 percent of students passed.
Wow, that better? So how does 44% compare with the public school pass rate?
 In contrast, The Times-Picayune reports that 69 percent of public school students passed the state assessment tests.
A 25% difference. That should make parents feel real good. And yet Republicans can't get enough of this failed voucher idea.  

Don't waste time explaining anything to Anti-Education Rep. Robin Vos!

Towing the anti-education line in the Republican Party makes for some unbelievably surreal moments. Perhaps these guys thought their own education didn't tell them anything they didn't already know. It must be that "I hate school" attitude that makes them want to get back at those arrogant know-it-all teachers, the ones who questioned their inner genius.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin put his disdain for education and inner playground bully on full display when he took a shot at history's unintended but life changing discoveries that resulted from basic research. 

The problem is, why spend time trying to explain anything to this obvious dimwit. Seriously, who doesn't get it, except for an entire Republican Party that assumes TV's, electricity, engines, and space travel are just naturally occurring conditions of life.
Cap Times: Researchers at UW-Madison are focusing their responses to Vos’ remarks on how the university already boosts the state economy through research and places a high priority on quality teaching. Steve Ackerman, associate vice chancellor for research in the physical sciences, said it is hard to predict whether study of the fundamental aspects of science, undertaken without specific applications in mind, will pay off in the end."
Yea, right, isn't it obvious, all these UW researchers want is more state money to throw away on "ancient mating habits of whatever."

Walker won't have his panting lap dog voters if he runs for president.

Walkermaniacs have invested so much of themselves in Scott Walker's faltering ideologically driven political agenda, that any attempt to defeat him just hardened their resolve at election time. Their voter turnout never wavered. Why? Because any attempt to stop, set back or defeat Walker were taken personally by his voting base.

Just barely interested? 
Progressives have nothing to apologize for in their attempt to protest Walker's attack on collective bargaining or their decision to have him recalled. But each of those events solidified Walker's base. That's another reason vote totals supporting Walker never changed. That's why Wisconsin is the most divided state. He could conceivably stay in power for a long time too, because performance in office isn't an issue.

Slower job growth, more borrowing, deeper spending cuts aren't on his voters radar, because their finely oiled media machine keeps them distracted with newly created hot button issues that bash the nations home grown liberal terrorists. John Doe convictions for Walker's closest aides? Forget about it.

But Walker has a problem running for president. He won't have that loyal and breathlessly dedicated voter base to cling to. He'll have to stand on stage with the other presidential contenders raising his hand for yes or no questions about global warming, gay marriage, contraception, the minimum wage, cutting Social Security and Medicare. He won't be able to play the victim of his party's relentless focus on abortion, voter suppression and education reform.

Slick Scottie will have to lay it all out there. The America Prospect wrote this about our states popular sociopath:
Of all the potential GOP 2016 candidates, Walker may be the most terrifying. Yes, it would be a calamity of apocalyptic proportions if Ted Cruz were to become president, but we all know that's never going to happen. Walker, however, is a much more credible candidate.
But I don't think so, at least, not without his loyal base. As the Prospect noted:
"Walker? He's all hard edges and ideological search-and-destroy missions, leaving bitterness and anger in his wake even when he wins.
Yea, that's our governor.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Federal Health Care exchanges could lose life saving Tax Credits and Subsidies, dismantle reform.

Tennessee Republican Representative Diane Black couldn't have been happier about the possible dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, she relished this possibility:
"Even more worrisome is what implications this could have for Americans who have already received subsidies and may be on the hook for back taxes."
Revenge is sweet, isn't it Rep. Black? 

A little known and overlooked sentence in the ACA could take away the tax credits in states that use the federal exchange. The Hill:
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to take up a new challenge to ObamaCare that Democrats fear could dismantle the healthcare law.
Here's what the challenge is based on:
In setting up the subsidy scheme, Congress said it would apply to exchanges “established by the State.”
According to the 5 authors of the law:
“As members of Congress who shaped and debated the legislation, we want to set the record straight. Those who brought the recent lawsuits have developed a fanciful notion about Congress’s intentions. But the language on which the law’s opponents rely means no such thing. That is the law we intended. That is the law we enacted. That is the law that is covering millions of people through marketplaces. And that is the law that should continue to be in force.” 
The supreme court is supposed to rely on Congressional intent when interpreting the law, but as we've seen, legal tradition and precedent don't amount to a hill of beans anymore.
The case, King v. Burwell, rests on whether the federal government can legally hand out healthcare subsidies in 34 states that have opted out of creating their own exchanges. About 87 percent of people enrolled in ObamaCare receive the subsidies.

If the high court rules against the premium credits, it would gut a core component of the law that’s already gone into effect for more than 4 million people in the U.S.

Governors could still set up their own exchanges to safeguard their constituents coverage, but that's not going to happen after the midterm Democratic blowout. 
More than $36 billion in subsidies could be lost if the court sides with the law’s opponents, the report found. The ruling would a “domino effect” on other parts of the law, the researchers said. 
So on a happier GOP note, let's review again what Rep. Black considered her repeal ObamaCare silver lining:
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) applauded the court’s decision to take up the case: "Even more worrisome is what implications this could have for Americans who have already received subsidies and may be on the hook for back taxes."
I would owe about $14,000 after being in the exchange for two years. Sweet.

Paul Ryan Medicare Plan a Copy of ObamaCare!!! A Train Wreck for 50 Million Seniors?

Going through my old "before the election" video archive, I discovered the most amazing...really AMAZING analysis of Paul Ryan's Medicare reform plan. You can thank MSNBC's Chris Hayes for this one.

Paul Ryan plans to put seniors in Medicare exchanges, just like the Affordable Care Act's exchanges. That would mean switching over 50 million plus seniors into a subsidized marketplace of insurers, with detailed policies so convoluted they're sure to stump and frustrate the elderly. I don't even understand my own policy.

This is a report that everyone should watch and shove in the face of those lying hypocrites in the Republican Party. Trolls won't know what to Tweet. Democrats should run on it in 2016. Crap, even John Boehner came right out and said it was very similar to the presidents health care bill. You can't make this stuff up:

Boehner continued to bash ObamaCare the other day, promising to try and repeal that horrible law:

Will the Democratic Party stand for something? Please?

I think Thom Hartmann's take on why the Democrats lost the midterm election in such a dramatic way is right on the money. His statement is included at the bottom. And yes, it's what I've been saying here for years. But first...

...what is most heartening? How so many other Democrats have come to the same conclusion; Stand firmly behind the party's populist agenda, and pound that message into the American psyche, just like the Republicans have done for decades. We've got to stop being the abused partner in this political relationship and fight back. 

This Voxdotcom graph offers up the obvious: 

How can you lose with that kind of support? The Democrats found a way. Wake the hell up guys.
As Zachary Goldfarb writes, voters have "fallen out with Obama, but on the biggest issues facing Congress, they still agree with Democrats on ... almost everything. That includes issues like raising the minimum wage, making the rich pay more in taxes, letting illegal immigrants stay in the United States, taking action to stem global warming, legalizing same sex marriage and fixing the Affordable Care Act rather than repealing it." 
After reading Thom Hartmann's commentary, you'll wonder why the Democrats ever let things get so bad, while having so much ammunition against the Republican anti-Obama scheme:

Dear Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Schultz: You've been played for a sucker by the Republicans, and it worked. Tuesday night’s blow to Democrats could have been prevented; in fact, you could have won big, nationally. But you lost, and here's why.

Back on the night of January 20th, 2009, when most Americans were out celebrating the end of the Bush years and Barack and Michelle were dancing at the inaugural balls, a group of powerful Republicans was planting the seeds of your loss this week. The Caucus Room Conspiracy had three major objectives.

The first was to use obstruction - knowing the corporate media would call it "gridlock" as if the Democrats were responsible, too - to prevent President Obama from having any legislative success.

The second was to sabotage any legislative victories that the president did manage to win - like Obamacare - and convince the American people that they were actually failures.

And the third was to blame all the economic damage caused by Republicans on BOTH parties and then come out in a critical election like 2014 and say that Republicans are the party that will make things right in Washington as if the state of the economy was the Democrats' fault.

Based on Tuesday night’s shellacking, it looks like the Caucus Room Conspiracy was a success. But here’s the thing. Democrats could have pointed out the relentless obstruction by Republicans … they could have made the Caucus Room Conspiracy a household phrase.

Instead, Democrats played right into Republicans’ hands, so the Caucus Room Conspiracy was wildly successful … as the New York Times points out, Americans had absolutely no idea what either party stood for in this election. Democrats failed to run on their platform, and to publicize the issues that Americans really care about. In 2012, the Democratic Party published their platform. Among other things, it outlined the party’s plans to put Americans back to work, grow the middle-class, reform Wall Street, reel in campaign spending, and enact sensible tax reform. 

Why wasn't this platform out there for the American people to see? Democrats also need to step up and embrace their progressive base, instead of marginalizing them. Republicans are great at embracing their base, and Democrats need to start doing the same thing with the progressive movement.

Walker's DNR muddies water on Judges Dirty Water Ruling: "Massive regulatory failure to protect groundwater."

Why should we worry? We have Scott Walker's DNR watch dogging our environment, right? 
jsonline: A state administrative law judge who put conditions on a closely watched expansion of a large dairy farm in Kewaunee County has found that numerous contaminated wells in the area "represented a massive regulatory failure to protect groundwater.
In one of the most ironic statements yet put out by this administrations DNR:
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, however, was critical of the tone of the ruling and told a farm publication it may "present an opportunity for misinformation and confusion to take place."
 No shit, ya think. When opportunity knocks...
Stepp took a swipe at Judge Boldt at a forum in Marshfield for "editorializing" in his 18-page ruling on the agency's regulatory oversight.
"…his 'editorializing' of our department came as a surprise to me. We have worked with him on farm issues before and usually find him to be very fair. I did not expect his comments that question our authority when it comes regulating groundwater contamination."
“Question our authority?” Wow, love the outright and unmistakable rightwing authoritarian slip. And all this coming from a “usually very fair” judge. How could that be? 
Boldt's ruling: “…many members of the public were deeply upset about what could only be described as a crisis with respect to groundwater quality in the area. It is also striking that none of this important context" was noted by the DNR in its environmental review of the farm's expansion plans. It is not unreasonable for residents to see a link to large farming practices in the area.
Does Judge Boldt's "editorializing" sound unreasonable concerning the quality of groundwater in the area? And what about the jobs?

Big Energy slows consumer solar adoption, proposes new natural gas power plant. Coincidence?

The good news is a few coal fired power plants are going to be shut down. The bad news?

We're going to get a new natural gas power plant at the same time the Public Service Commission is granting huge fixed rate increases to discourage the adoption of consumer installed solar panels.
jsonline: Wisconsin Power and Light Co. announced the project on Thursday, saying it's needed to replace older and less-efficient coal and natural gas-fired power plants owned by Alliant across the state.
Have no fear, Alliant Energy is "thinking" of cornering the solar market too with their own clean energy panels. Hey, if anybody's going to use the free low cost energy of the sun and charge something for it, it might as well be our monopolistic energy companies.
Utility spokesman Scott Reigstad said, "Over the coming months, we are going to look at how solar may fit into our plans."
Oh sure they will.  You think this might also be a way to raise customer bills for the new plant, make up for a drop in their profits, all the while paying out big stockholder dividends? Ya never know.
Alliant said its net income fell nearly 3% … its board has approved an 8% increase in its stockholder dividend target for 2015
Have we answered the question about the Koch brothers interest in reelecting Scott Walker yet? 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Electoral Breakdown so predictable.

The partisan divide in Wisconsin is so extreme now, that Republicans who may or may not be qualified, are pretty much a sure thing. Conservative voters have their own identities so closely tied in with the Republicans, that any election failure is a personal insult to them:
WSJ: Democratic strategist Paul Maslin said another explanation for Walker’s big win was his continued success in courting voters outside Dane, Rock, Milwaukee and the five other counties that make up southeastern Wisconsin. In Milwaukee County, Burke received almost 20,000 fewer votes than Barrett (Walker’s total dipped by nearly 11,000 votes). “Republicans are better at holding onto their voters and keeping them active in a midterm election,” UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden said.

David Wegge, director of the St. Norbert College poll said part of the explanation for the break toward Walker is there are no undecided voters in the final election results.
Here's the proof in graphs. Thank you so much Milwaukee for letting us all down. And you guys in Racine...I hope vouchers continue to destroy and defund your public schools. Enjoy your empty lives:

Walker PSC Crony Commissioners Vote to Raise Home Energy Prices to Stop Customers moving to Solar.

The 2 Scott Walker appointed commissioners on the PSC just sided with one of the major state utilities to discourage energy conservation by their customers. Walker has done everything he can to discourage wind and solar energy expansion in Wisconsin to protect his big money buddies in the coal and gas industries. He's moving fossil fuel "forward:"
jsonline: In a 2-1 vote, state energy regulators authorized an 83% increase in the fixed charge for customers of Wisconsin Public Service Corp., siding with the Green Bay utility and against solar and consumer advocates.
And the price of what could be the first of many additional utility increases:
The Public Service Commission voted to raise the customer fixed charge to $19 a month from $10.40 currently. The utility had sought a 140% increase to $25 a month. The case is the first of several expected to be voted on this month by the PSC, which has similar proposals pending from Milwaukee-based We Energies and Madison-based Madison Gas & Electric Co.

The two commissioners appointed by Gov. Scott Walker agreed with utilities' arguments that a higher fixed charge is justified ... Montgomery and Nowak said it is reasonable for utilities to collect a greater portion of their fixed costs, such as poles, wires and utility equipment, through the fixed charge.
Not beating around the bush, the commissioners were increase the price now before public opposition builds:
They agreed that now is the time to make a change before it becomes a bigger issue as more customers start generating their own power. "This is not an attack on wind and solar," Nowak said. "It's about fairness."
I'm sure the same was said about the once struggling horse and buggy industry. Other state's were breathlessly watching the decision here, hoping it could set a trend for higher base prices. Here's what has happened in other parts of the country. Bloomberg:
In Arizona, 1,000 protesters last month swarmed the state capital while local and national solar advocates lobbied against an effort by utility Arizona Public Service to impose a $50 monthly fee on new solar adopters ... after two days of often contentious debate, voted to allow the state’s largest utility to charge customers about $4.90 a month for solar connections after Dec. 31 -- less than 10 percent of what it was asking for. Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity Corp., said it was “crazy for a utility to charge for services they didn't deliver. 

William Walker estimates his bill would have dropped most months to an $18 service charge -- offsetting that $305 loan payment … he figured the (solar) system could pay for itself in as little as five years; his electricity after that would be free. That is until his utility, a subsidiary of Honolulu-based Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. (HE), told the Walker’s they couldn’t connect their system to the grid. They aren’t alone ... hundreds if not thousands of the state’s residents are being put in solar limbo by a virtual moratorium on new connections. The reason ... circuits may become oversaturated, causing voltage spikes, damaging appliances ... The company needs more time to study the matter.
Oddly, the Democratically appointed commissioner took the solar customers side:  
Commissioner Eric Callisto, who was appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle, said the commission should have frozen fixed charges for all the utilities seeking increases this year, and ordered a statewide study of fixed charge and customer-sited generation.

"It is the key issue in this rate case season and one that has given the utilities in this state and this commission national attention," said Callisto of the fixed charge controversy.

The commission should only consider an increase in the fixed charge if it reduces the profit rate, or return on equity, that utilities earn below the 10.2% that the PSC approved Thursday, Callisto said.

Walker ran and won because he was..."for something?" Another big lie...

Okay, so the news media has decided not to question Scott Walker's rousing acceptance speech that made the wildly ridiculous claim the midterms were all about "being for something."

Ah, apparently no one has talked to a conservative voter lately. They're against their own government for gods sake, not to mention health care, SS, Medicare/Medicaid, unemployment, consumer protection, environmental protection, clean energy, climate change, education, Obama, Democrats, liberals, peace, food stamps, decent roads, rural high speed internet, local control, legalization of pot, biotechnology, state colleges, controlling student loan debt...etc.

Having it both ways, again: I edited together the following video clips to prove Walker is lying again, during his acceptance speech of all places. Mary Burke's campaign was a positive attempt to sell Wisconsinites on a better business plan for the state. Walker and his campaign surrogates smeared her and a successful major state company. That's "for something?" Rachel Maddow pointed out what Walker and the Republicans were against. Walker voters know I'm right:

Here's an adoring letter to the editor from a "stand with Walker" low information voter:
Gov. Walker creates electricity in a crowd. It is not empty hope, it is a vitality you can feel and want to be a part of. Last night, most of our nation made a resounding statement that they wanted to be a part of this type of electricity and contribute from a positive position.

Gov. Walker is the real thing. He is a success because he governs from a positive position in an attempt to impact as many of the people as possible in a way that will improve their lives.

The Unshakable Walker Voter does without BadgerCare and a hike in the Minimum Wage!

Republicans no longer think policy issues are important. They're more concerned with their party's dominance and leadership, than the minimum wage or BadgerCare. They also see this as a time to get even with freedom suppressing liberals. Scott Walker's divide and conquer scheme oddly turned conservatives into Borg-like voters.

So Republicans have turned elections into a form of political intimidation, bullying. They won't give in to the Democratic Party's pleas for a wage hike and health care. Party unity and leadership mean so much more.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin accumulated the vote totals from referendums around the state, and it's clear Republican Party leadership doesn't care what the public wants. There's an ideological principle to uphold, despite the lopsided support for both BadgerCare (on left), and the Minimum Wage (on right):

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Red" Rural Areas struggling with school funding and closings, can find another shoulder to cry on.

I've been a big defender of public schools in the state...but not anymore when it come to those crimson areas you see below.

From now on, using the map below, I'm going to be pointing out how in certain parts of the state experiencing heart breaking school closings, "stand with Walker" voters can thank themselves for destroying their communities. School districts can live with the fruits of their own voting records. I don't care to defend them or their kids anymore. Enjoy statewide vouchers suckers:

Walker seeks a one party dictatorial government devoid of opposition party "special interests."

Scott Walker’s one act union busting play is still drawing big crowds, despite the lack of organized labor’s presence in the country. Walker is so good what he does, he convinced statewide voters that his predecessor was the one who wiped out 130,000 jobs, and not the GOP’s free market disaster-the Great Recession.

The old “Special Interests” Switcheroo: Under the “job creator” banner, corporate special interests; lobbyist; think tanks; and John Birch Society/Federalist Society billionaire contributors have poured billions into campaigns; these special interests are the good kind, providing a solid message and helping bring about big GOP wins.

But the bad kind of special interests, the ones funding his opponents, doesn't work for Walker. They make his plans for a dictatorial one party takeover of the government a little harder.  
“There was a group out of Washington — Washington-based special interests — who thought they could spend a lot of money and a lot of time in the state and somehow convince the people of this state to be against something,” Mr. Walker told hundreds of supporters at an exposition center at the State Fair Park.
Being “against something” will not be tolerated in a free society protected by the 1st Amendment. 

Being "against something" like the Affordable Care Act, a minimum wage, pay equity, women’s choice, an actual immigration policy, fewer interventionist wars and environmental protection isn't really being “against something.” It’s just simple common sense to not to like this stuff, right?

And while Walker let’s his multitude of angry, racist, bigoted special interests and corporate shills do all the dirty work, he’s got a friendly smile and concerned look on his face.
“I've got to tell you, I’m an optimist. I believed all along if we got a positive message out that in the end people of the state wanted to be for something not against something, and look what happened.”
The conservative voters lack of introspection and self-criticism will only move us closer to a new lower standard of living, one we’re already getting used to in the southern states.  

With God on their side, even economically struggling states keep the faith in their governors:
“First off, I want to thank God,” Walker told a cheering crowd of more than 2,000.

Republican governors elected in 2010 that included Florida’s Rick Scott, Ohio’s John Kasich and Michigan’s Rick Snyder.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Disaster....Walker's part-time governorship takes backseat to presidency.

Republicans in Wisconsin have it easy here now, knowing that whatever happens can be blamed on former governor Jim Doyle. With their conscience cleared, they head to the polls and vote for Scott Walker.

And while Scott Walker is telling everyone how how great things are, the public is seeing something different, like lower standards, a crumbling infrastructure, and declining wages. They've soured on the economy and the direction of the country thanks to guys like Scott Walker, but can't resist taking his petty tax cuts. They're also pretty happy to find out the Great Recession wasn't their fault, it was because of Jim Doyle and Mary Burke.

Scott Walker gave a nationalized speech tonight, and for good reason, he got that one thing he said would force him to run for president, a Republican  senate.

Walker is a walking memorized script of talking points and stories we now get to hear over and over all over again.

The conservative Wisconsin State Journal gave a whole bunch of good reasons why they endorsed Mary Burke for governor. I posted it here a few days ago as a way to look back at what we missed. Burke was smart, apolitical, and business all the way. Funny, business didn't care much about that CEO toughness. They knew they wouldn't have Governor Dupe anymore, and their BS gravy train would be over.

Here's what the Walker mob did during Mary Burke's concession speech.

Here's Mary Burke's speech, the one that got booed by those classy "stand with Walker" brownshirted thugs:

Here's Walker's presidential speech...I mean acceptance speech. Oh, and I think he wants Democrats to blame God for his victory:

When Walker promises to let everyone run their own lives and control their own destiny, his followers cheered. There's another way of looking at it though; as individuals supposedly controlling your own life and destiny, try fighting large corporate groups, think tanks and business lobbyists all by yourself. Kinda puts us all at a major disadvantage against the monied interests, and divides the nations people from their government. That can't end well.

Still too early....?

Election Suppression #1....Tidbits of Election Violations Hit the Fan!!

Tidbits of election violations hit the fan:
SunTimes: Mysterious calls giving thousands of election judges false information leading them not to show up in the city on Election Day, warrants a criminal investigation, Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen said. The calls indicated that the judges had to vote a certain way in order to work on election day and that additional training was required of them — which was not true. In one case, election authorities had to break down a door to open a polling place where no judges showed.
There's more...too quick on the draw at just 6%?

Fox News couldn't resist this violation on exit polling...

Republicans have it both ways, no questions asked.

I knew there was a reason why I saved reporter Charlie Pierce’s clip below. For one, the guy clearly articulated the problem we’re seeing with Republican fear mongering and flip flopping positions. 

Having it Both Ways GOP Politics: Republicans are allowed to have it both ways. Like my conservative friend in Milwaukee who doesn't like the Affordable Care Act because government is involved. When I asked him how he would deal with preexisting conditions in the private market, he said government should mandate coverage for that too. Huh? Conservatives have no self-awareness when it comes to their contradictory positions. And don’t confuse their "answers" with actual solutions, because they don’t have any. Politicus USA:
Joni Ernst Goes all Palin, Calls Obama an Apathetic Dictator: MSNBC’s Ben Terris reported yesterday that Joni Ernst’s latest foray in self-contradiction is that President Obama, whom she has previously called a dictator, is “apathetic.”

“We have an apathetic president,” she told a crowd in Newton, Iowa. When the press got to her afterward, she tried to explain, relates Terris, without much success, what she meant: “He is just standing back and letting things happen, he is reactive rather than proactive,” she said. “With Ebola, he’s been very hands off.”

Esquire blogger Charlie Pierce asked her: “What should he have done about Ebola? One person in America has Ebola.”

Ernst: “OK, you’re the press, you’re giving me your opinion.”

Pierce: “It’s not an opinion, only one person in America has it.”
Ernst: “But he is the leader, he is the leader of our nation. So what he can do is make sure that all of these agencies are coordinating together, to make sure he is sharing with the American people he cares about them, he cares about their safety.”

Pierce: “You don’t think he does?”

Ernst: “I don’t know that he does, he hasn’t demonstrated that.”

Pierce: “You don’t think he’s demonstrated that he cares about the American people?”

Ernst: “He hasn’t. I’m done. So anybody else?”

This is the woman who, back in January of this year, was saying Obama should be impeached for acting without the approval of Congress. As Yahoo News reported:
Ernst told a crowd that she believed Obama had “become a dictator” and that he needed to face the consequences for his executive actions, “whether that’s removal from office, whether that’s impeachment.”“He is running amok. He is not following our Constitution, and unfortunately we have leaders who are not serving as leaders right now, they’re not defending the Constitution and they’re not defending you and me.”
MSNBC’s Steve Benen quipped: “Oh, I see. Joni Ernst wants Obama to lead more and lead less. She wants him to be more proactive without Congress and more reactive waiting for Congress. She’s looking for him to do exactly what he’s already done, but Ernst pretends not to notice.” (Ernst) is all too common in a media landscape where Republicans are allowed to lie with impunity, no matter how divorced from reality their comments.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dumb Ron Johnson: "Put it all in perspective. Are we spending too much money on Halloween candy? Are we spending too much money on free speech...?"

Yes, Dumb Ron Johnson did make that comparison, including what we also spend on peanut butter ...on the MIC's 92.1 Devil's Advocates show:

Walker Bashes Burke's campaign "Surrogates" same day he brings in Chris Christie!!!

Scott Walker doesn't need no surrogates. And if he had one, Walker says, it's because they asked to visit and he just couldn't say believing this? From WPT's Here and Now:

No Cap on Teacher Pay may strain school Budgets.

The Mic 92.1's The Devil's Advocates talked to Poynette School Board President Kathleen Lucey about Act 10's unintended consequence; the uncapped individual teacher salaries and bidding wars between the wealthier districts and rural schools. Guess who wins and guess who sees their budgets explode?

Most of us would love to see teachers get higher pay, they deserve it, but under the old uniform system. I'm curious to see if other states have seen their teachers wages strain school budgets. Especially if those districts have revenue limits. Or will there be an unfair wage gap?

Mary Burke lost 130,000 jobs after she caused the Great Recession.

Okay, this is an obsession of mine and I can't stop posting stories it. I'm talking about Scott Walker's unbelievable lie: Former governor Jim Doyle and Mary Burke caused the Republican Great Recession that wiped 130,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

It's ridiculous of course, but the media has resisted correcting Walker for the last 4 years...yes, a whole 4 years. Only a few times was Walker asked about the absurdity of the claim, like this from Upfront with Mike Gousha, but even then he was able to word salad his way out of it:

Here's the latest attempt to get people to forget how the Republicans caused the Great Recession, and shift the blame to Mary Burke. Maybe it's her fault, says Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce:

Mitch McConnell's Election Information Fraud Alert....

This "fraudulent information" warning is utterly evil, and amazingly creative:
Click to Enlarge

Walker's positive and stolen "Comeback" campaign includes Mary Burke Bashing Reince Priebus...all in good fun?

Our classless Governor Walker couldn't help but take a jab at Mary Burke's outside support from Michelle and Barack Obama, President Clinton and others who didn't follow Walker's own campaign trip through Wisconsin. Poor Mary Burke, stuck in old Milwaukee again?

But as WPR reported, Walker's snide remarks pale in comparison to RNC thug Reince Priebus's screed, as he played an even "badder cop" bashing Mary Burke with old and new disproved attacks on her character. The audio clip ends with a call from "Phil" bashing Burke for not denying she was ever fired from her Trek job. She must be guilty? Reporter Shawn Johnson disproved that talking point as well:  

Even before the Election, Scott Walker tries to limit access to Birth Control!!!

Scott Walker said he supports women's rights and loves a debate on abortions? All gentle reelection words. But even the election won't stop Walker's wheels from rolling over access to birth control drugs. He really couldn't wait?
WSJ: Two family planning providers serving low-income women say their operations will be at serious financial risk if state auditors stand firm on claims that they overbilled Medicaid by $3.5 million, largely for birth control drugs and devices.

Department of Health Services Inspector General Alan White defended his auditors’ choice of targets and their findings. “This administration, this agency has put a great deal of effort into improving program integrity,” White said. “And protecting the taxpayers of Wisconsin is their predominant responsibility.”
"Integrity." A Republican buzzword for “your next” for cuts, in this case the end of contraception for low-income women. The state has decided to change and interpret the rules differently for contraception, even though providers were never told or given the ability to itemize their services with the state. Here's the basics of Walker's scheme to supposedly "protect taxpayers:" 
The auditors are challenging a reimbursement price for oral contraception that providers say the state itself set and is what their peers use. The claims concern the clinics’ use of Medicaid’s 340B drug-pricing program, in which pharmaceutical companies are required to provide discounted drugs to safety net providers. They say the state never asked them to track those costs individually, and instead told them to bill for each monthly pack of birth control pills the “usual and customary charge up to the maximum allowable fee,” which the state set at $26.02 in 2009 … the higher reimbursement rates help the clinics avoid losing money. The auditors faulted the providers for failing to bill Medicaid for the actual cost of each pack of oral contraception, plus a dispensing fee.
Here's their sneaky way to go after contraception for low income women:
Office of Inspector General’s White argues that the rate does not apply to the 340B drug-pricing program — it was directed at “family planning clinics” — and so is irrelevant. But virtually all of the family planning clinics are enrolled in the 340B program.

Jennifer Waloway, NEWCAP’s director of community health services said NEWCAP may have to close; “I don’t understand how they can expect anybody to be sustainable in a business when all you can charge is acquisition price,” Waloway said. “Nobody can run a business like that.”
And it gets even more transparently obvious:
The state is also claiming money on the grounds that the providers entered claims incorrectly. It states the providers did not note the invoice price for medications. But providers say the state’s own computerized claim-entry system does not include a way to enter the cost. Public policy director Nicole Safar said, “This is a very under-the-radar way to block access to birth control.”
And as usual, Democrats were silent in their outrage, working behind the scenes I guess:
Two Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Chris Taylor of Madison and Sen. Dave Hansen of Green Bay, wrote the inspector general last week saying “there appears to be no legal basis” for the claims.
If this had happened to the Republicans, we wouldn't be hearing the end of it.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hell Froze Over: Conservative Wisconsin State Journal endorses Democrat Mary Burke!!!

For most of us, it makes sense. But “stand with Walker” supporters contend we’re all a bunch of dipsh**s and dummies when defending Scotties policies. Hard to argue with that rabid reasoning. 

I'm going to pass along a few sections of their editorial for future reference if Walker is reelected. The words of the editorial board may come back to haunt us. 
The State Journal editorial board endorses Burke for governor in Tuesday’s election: A pro-business Democrat, Burke isn’t your typical Madison liberal. The teachers union opposed her bid for Madison School Board. Burke isn’t flashy. She’s matter of fact and analytical. She has integrity, heart and smarts.

Burke earned a finance degree from Georgetown and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard. She quickly became an entrepreneur … Trek reports that its European sales soared during her tenure. She later served as director of forecasting and strategic planning for nearly a decade.

Free-market Republicans have oddly attacked Burke for outsourcing jobs at Trek. What she and her family’s company really have done is succeed in a highly competitive global marketplace.

So it’s easy to dismiss as last-minute politicking the accusations last week by two former Trek executives. The two men — both conservatives who back Walker — questioned Burke’s success as a young woman running Trek’s European division more than two decades ago. One of the critics is a highly partisan Republican Party official who was fired from Trek and lacks credibility. The other had a falling out with the Burke family years ago after he took over a rival company.

As governor, Burke wants to capitalize on university research. Wisconsin is a leader in filing patents yet lacks the private investment needed to push great ideas into the marketplace. She would quadruple Walker’s inadequate $30 million venture capital fund to leverage more private dollars for innovative small businesses. Unlike Walker, she would allow the fund to invest in biotechnology.

Walker’s signature jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), has been sloppy and disappointing. State exports slipped last year, and job growth has been slow — less than half what the governor promised. Walker’s first term was bogged down by his repeal of collective bargaining … he could have achieved many of the same results — without two years of tumult — by suspending collective bargaining, rather than ending it … once the state’s balance sheet improved, the governor and Republican-run Legislature prioritized showy tax cuts over fiscal responsibility. Now a $1.8 billion budget shortfall looms, plus $1 billion in spending requests.

Our editorial board met with both candidates for governor, and we’ve closely followed their public lives and careers. Our endorsement of Burke isn’t a prediction of who will win. It’s who we believe is best to lead Wisconsin forward. Mary Burke is that candidate.