Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's the Taliban, now we're outraged.

Really, in country where our own citizens target children in schools, we’re outraged now, demanding action?

Even worse, we did nothing about it, and pretended it had something to do with the 2nd Amendment.

Our gun toting mob of tea party, concealed carry, “Second Amendment remedies” backers may not like the comparison, but there is one to be made. Along those lines, here's a more recent example of their conscience free passion.

Take a look at the reaction to a new law requiring background checks, passed by a majority of voters in Washington state:
A "I will not comply" rally in Olympia, Washington, (protested) Initiative 594, which expands background checks on the sales of guns between private owners. This riled up the state's gun-rights-supersede-everything-else crowd, and approximately 1,000 people showed up, mostly men, mostly white, and all of them toting weapons.

The worst thing was … when Gabby Giffords was mentioned by a speech maker, she was booed. Gabby Giffords name was booed. A woman who was shot in the head and almost killed by a gun nut, she was booed on the very anniversary of the massacre of little kids at Newtown, Connecticut. These people have no shame, no compassion…
Yes, 2nd Amendment backers booed Giffords. We’re so far gone on guns that even this happened in the election to replace Giffords:
On December 17, pro-Second Amendment candidate Martha McSally (R) was officially declared the winner in the race (167 votes) for Arizona’s second congressional district over pro-gun control Representative Ron Barber (D)

The Misunderstood Drone.

I've been sitting on the video clip about drones for a while now (below), but I’m glad I held onto it. Public Televisions Market to Market explained in detail the incredible, industry changing influence drones could have on a number of different businesses, including farming, the entertainment industry and real estate.

But negative press over the use of drones to kill terrorists and anyone else near them appears to be hindering public acceptance for their use for good:
Americans broadly back tight regulations on commercial drone operators, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, as concerns about privacy and safety override the potential benefits of the heralded drone revolution. By a 2-to-1 margin those who had an opinion opposed using drones for commercial purposes. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to propose restricting drones weighing less than 55 pounds to flights under 400 feet high, forbid nighttime flights, and require drones be kept within sight of their operators … It may require drone operators to get pilot's licenses … But 64 percent support requiring the pilot's licenses.

Eddy Dufault, 58, a machinist and part-time wildlife photographer said he … opposes licensing. It can cost would-be pilots $15,000 for the necessary flight training and practice flights adding it would be more appropriate to require operators to attend a few classes and pass a drone flight test.
Even harder to understand? Republican opposition. The supposed party of jobs, jobs, jobs, might want to consider the number of jobs created by the drone manufacturing industry. Have they forgotten their base of rural farm voters, whose drone use could save, even make agriculture take off economically:
Congress may step in next year to try to nudge the FAA to move faster. Drones are forecast to account for 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact in the first 10 years they're allowed.
Here's an incredibly informative look at the game-changing use of drones:

Only 21 percent favored commercial use of drones, compared with 43 percent opposed. About 35 percent were in the middle. Support for using commercial drones was the weakest among women and seniors, while college graduates and wealthier people were more apt to favor it.

Flag Waving Republicans refuse to protect U.S. Mascot, the American Eagle!!! Exempt Lead Bullets from EPA Regs.

American lead!!!

House Republicans have been getting away with murder. Americans would be stunned if they knew what was in most of their passed legislation. Unfortunately, the media spends all its time showcasing the political blowhards taking shots at Obama. 

A little noticed part of the recently passed budget giveaway to Republicans included this bizarre must have:
Prohibits the EPA from regulating lead in ammunition or fishing tackle. Lead in fishing sinkers and bullet fragments are being blamed for poisoning birds, such as loons and the endangered California condor. Republicans said EPA regulation would be overreach and just the threat of it was making it hard to find bullets in stores. 
We'd hate to see the marketplace lose money or change for the better. 

In an article that doesn't even mention the recently passed EPA exemption for lead bullets, we're now finding out lead poisoning is a real problem. We're killing our national mascot, the Bald Eagle. You'll notice we've got a voluntary system of empty recommendations rugged gun toting hunters would likely ignore. It's more touchy-feely big government meddling from liberal alarmists I suppose:
Wildlife advocates are recommending hunters use nontoxic bullets after two bald eagles were brought to the Dane County Humane Society recently with lead poisoning. One of the eagles, a 5-year-old male, died. The other, a 21-year-old female, is in serious condition. The lead most likely was ingested by the eagles when they fed on the carcasses of deer, pheasants or other wildlife that had been shot, or from live waterfowl that had ingested lead and then were eaten by the eagles.
 The GOP hatred for environmental protection has now succeeded in taking the country back to 1989:
The agency gets $8.1 billion, down $60 million from the last fiscal year. The agency's budget has been slashed by $2.2 billion, or 21 percent, since fiscal 2010, according to GOP aides. The cuts mean that EPA will have to reduce its staffing to the lowest levels since 1989.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Two Conservative states sue, try to stop Colorado's pot law, saying they can't protect their borders from pot importation.

Let the state’s do their own thing say Republicans? Get the federal government out of our way...

...not this time though. Conservative governors and AG's are now trying to interfere with another states right to have legalized pot. Hypocritical? Big surprise.

Even more outrageous, they apparently don’t want to or can’t “defend their own borders” like good Republicans are supposed to do. This is another example of how flip floppy hypocritical Republicans are about their unwavering principles.
AP: Colorado's top law enforcement official promises to vigorously defend the state's historic law legalizing marijuana after Nebraska and Oklahoma asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional, saying the drug is freely flowing into neighboring states.

The two states filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to prevent Colorado from enforcing (a law allowing) recreational marijuana for adults over 21. The complaint says the measure runs afoul of federal law and therefore violates the Constitution's supremacy clause, which says federal laws trump state laws.
Yes, while state after state pass some kind of marijuana legalization law, the few Republican states that are bucking the trend now want to use the big federal government to reverse that inevitable social transition.
Make up your mind, do you like big government or don’t you?  

And they can't control their borders? It’s always someone else’s fault isn't it? Funny, Republicans weren't like this when lax gun law states were pouring firearms into more regulated liberal states. Gee, what changed?
"This contraband has been heavily trafficked into our state," Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said at a news conference in Lincoln. "While Colorado reaps millions from the sale of pot, Nebraska taxpayers have to bear the cost." Bruning, a Republican, blamed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for failing to enforce the federal law's ban on drugs in Colorado.
But the federal government dealt with this already, and besides, where’s the proof:
In a policy statement last year, the U.S. Justice Department laid out eight federal law enforcement priorities that states need to protect if they want to authorize "marijuana-related conduct." They include keeping marijuana in-state. The suit doesn't contain statistics to support the claim.

Confirmed after bogus denials: WEDC handed out tax credits to outsourcing Plexus Corporation.

Thanks to WKOW's Greg Neumann, for staying on top of his own story about one lying Wisconsin company, and the administration that got away with bullshitting the public for awhile.

And congratulations to Governor Walker, for diffusing and obscuring another massive WEDC failure till after the election. This is what real good career politicians do:
The six-month saga over the question of whether or not Plexus Corporation of Neenah outsourced Wisconsin jobs after receiving millions of dollars in state tax incentives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is now complete and the conclusion reached by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is a resounding YES.

After reviewing the original award of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits to former Plexus employees, DOL officials have concluded once again that the company did shift production of printed circuit boards overseas in May of 2012.

DOL’s review of its original ruling came after the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel emailed the agency about Plexus’ claims that it had never outsourced any jobs. outsourced Wisconsin jobs overseas after receiving close to $5 million in WEDC tax credits. In other words, yes, Plexus still outsourced Wisconsin jobs after receiving WEDC tax credits. TAA ruling here.

Enbridge Oil Spill on same Pipeline running through Wisconsin!!!

The Enbridge Pipeline will be cranking more tar sand crude through Wisconsin than even the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which has been held up for environmental reasons.

Well guess what Wisconsin. Now comes word of a massive spill in Canada from that same pipeline:
Canadian energy delivery company Enbridge Inc. has temporarily shut down and isolated one of its crude oil pipelines that connects to the United States after a 1,350-barrel, or 56,700-gallon oil spill, the company reported Wednesday evening ... the 796,000 barrel-a-day Line 4 pipeline, which connects to a terminal in Wisconsin, carries heavy, medium, and light sour crude ... the spill happened because of a problem with a valve within the terminal, and not because of a problem with the actual pipeline. 

It has made headlines here due to its role in the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in U.S. history, an event which saw more than 800,000-gallons of thick Canadian tar sands crude oil flow out of a ruptured Enbridge pipeline and into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. That spill was also the costliest inland oil spill in U.S. history, with Enbridge estimating cleanup costs alone to be about $1.2 billion. 
A problem valve? As you can see by the map, Wisconsin will soon see a whole bunch of new pump stations, with similar valves? The story is unclear about that. But still, will our DNR look into this?
Enbridge won't have the same kind of regulatory scrutiny, because Scott Walker has already approved the massive build up of the pipeline:
The state Department of Natural Resources on Thursday approved an air permit that gives an oil pipeline company the go-ahead to triple capacity between Superior and the Illinois state line. DNR officials also said state law doesn't allow officials to use a company's past operating record when reviewing environmental permits.
Enbridge has had problems with spills before in Wisconsin:
In January 2007, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured, pouring more than 29,000 gallons of crude oil onto a farm field in the town of Curtis in Clark County. A month later, another Enbridge pipeline rupture dumped 176,000 gallons of heavy crude oil in a Rusk County farm field. In January 2009, Enbridge Energy Partners paid the State of Wisconsin $1.1 million to settle claims under Wisconsin’s waterway and wetland protection and storm water control laws. In July 2012 a farm field in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin was covered by at least 1,200 barrels of oil after an Enbridge pipeline ruptured there. Enbridge had to purchase a nearby home that a local resident described as being “covered in oil.”

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Walker's opposition to new EPA smog standards will lead to more children with Autism.

Not only do Republicans want to roll back the new EPA standards that would reduce the particulate pollution contained in localized smog, but they want to get rid of the agency altogether. Yet they might want to rethink that position, since this same pollution is now tied to autism. Yea, right.

Until then, they intend to slow walk changes until they take control, when all of this will just magically goes away. Even if it means peoples lives will be at risk, including developing 3rd trimester fetuses.

Here's what we know about Wisconsin foot dragging:
Nearly five years after the federal government set new standards designed to protect public health from short, sharp spikes in air pollution levels, Wisconsin hasn't made the rules mandatory for all polluters. “The Department (DNR) has not met its statutory obligation to promulgate standards ... consistent with the federal standard,” the Midwest Environmental Defense Center and Clean Wisconsin said in their suit.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “finding of failure” issued to the DNR in August for missing a 2012 deadline for new state rules on “incremental” increases in particles from smokestacks. Rewriting state rules ... should not have been complicated because it would require inserting new numbers into existing rules.
Now, new research has more than substantiated what was already assumed about particulate pollution and autism:
Pregnant women may nearly double their risk of giving birth to a child with autism by inhaling smog spewed by vehicles or smoke stacks, according to a new Harvard study that could help unlock the deepest autism mysteries … fortifies previous scientific findings that linked air pollution to autismAnd it offers fresh insights by showing women in their third trimesters seem most vulnerable if they breathe in elevated levels of tiny airborne particles emitted by power plants, fires and automobiles said Marc Weisskopf, the report's senior author and associate professor of environmental and occupational epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. The higher the exposure rate, the greater the risk, he found.

Will someone ask Scott Walker to give "a reason" and justify why we continued the Cold War policy toward Cuba. Anyone?

The completely meaningless talking point about Cuba, spouted by far right politicians including Scott Walker, is getting a lot of press without any blowback.

Gee, the way Republicans are acting now, discussions with Red China would have been impossible. The same goes for Vietnam. Anyone? How about Marco Rubio:
“This notion that somehow being able to travel more to Cuba, to sell more consumer products, the idea that’s going to lead to some democratic opening is absurd,” Rubio said.
Crazy notion, isn't it? Sadly we're still waiting for some "democratic opening" to appear in China as well...guess we better give up on that one too? Do these people think all?

Republican continue to be in "all or nothing" mode (thanks to the antics of the cowering Democratic Party), demanding Cuba flip the switch and instantly become a democratic republic with voting rights, political party's, etc.

Repeating this all-or-nothing word salad? Scott Walker:
Gov. Scott Walker says that he thinks normalizing relations with Cuba is a "bad idea." Walker said he thinks "there's a reason" the restrictions were put in place and doesn't think there have been enough changes in Cuba that show it's committed to becoming a more free and prosperous country.

Walker ... said he thinks the move opens the door to problems. "I don't think there's been any noticeable change towards making that a more free and prosperous country ... There's a reason we had the policy in the first place."
And that reason is...? Well lets see, slavery was there in the constitution for a reason, right? There's a reason women couldn't vote too? You'd have to look as far back as the late 50's and early 60's, for the reason we had our Cuban policy; the Cold War. From that sprouted a few extra reasons, listed at Voxdotcom.

I guess making small and incremental steps with Cuba isn't worth ending a half century of failed Cold War policy. Nuke missiles anyone?

Rubio wasn't done either, when he suddenly started taking verbal pot shots at the Pope:
U.S. officials said Pope Francis was personally engaged in the process as well and sent separate letters to Obama and Castro this summer urging them to restart relations." 

"My understanding is that the influence that His Holiness had was on the release of Mr. [Alan] Gross, which I've not criticized. As I said, I'm happy that he's with the Cuban people [sic]. I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy, which is critical for a free people — for a people to truly be free. I think the people of Cuba deserve the same chances to have democracy as the people of Argentina have had, where he comes from."

Stop placating the Angry, Incoherent Far Right!!!

It’s time we stop acting like a bunch of complete dupes. Are we really so dumb that we think Republicans won’t pass right-to-work, disband the GAB, expand vouchers, give Wisconsin up to mining, regulate and complicate voting, pretend Walker isn't running for president, won't dump women’s health care, reject the casino, and bounce the Supreme Court’s chief justice out the door? Seriously?

“Boots and Sabers” blogger Owen Robinson is another conservative space cadet the media swoons over, like the mind numbing recycled nonsense from Christian Schneider. Robinson put it all out there yesterday, proving to everyone these people are bat crazy and should not be sitting across the table from educated professionals.

Name calling? Well, have you seen Robinson’s list of “solutions?”

Any intelligent adult who knows anything about life, and governments roll managing the state, taxes and services, will be appalled at the following deconstruction of our state. It appears freeloading and handing the bill to our kids is the party platform now.

Lifted from a 70's bumper sticker reading “We live in a state that taxes, regulates and spends too much,” Robinson goes for the throat of everything that’s left to slash, leaving behind a wasteland of dangerous products and services in communities that don’t have safe drinking water, paved roads to drive on, fewer schools to teach, and more ozone to breath. Oh, and lets defund the UW:
But if the Republicans really want to move the needle … they need to advance some fundamental and seismic reforms. The state should:
 freeze property taxes and take a chainsaw to the regulatory structure that shackles Wisconsinites; match massive tax cuts with massive spending cuts; abolish shared revenue as Gov. Scott McCallum wisely advocated years ago; cut funding for transportation; reform the criminal code and cut prison funding; cut the lavish funding for the University of Wisconsin; and continue to reform and cut spending on K-12 education.
"Lavish funding," for the UW? If you say so Owen...
According to the Postsecondary Education Opportunity report, Wisconsin’s investment efforts since 1980 have fallen by 54.3 percent, putting it in the top 10 worst in the country. Significant hikes in tuition have been a natural response at schools around the country.
 Sorry, now I'm debating this mindless time wasting lunacy.

Far Right GOP believers ready to toss health care overboard. Voters in Arkansas now worried.

As the wealth gap continues to expand, so will the “health gap,” where the unworthy are being told to find somebody else’s pocket to pick if they want to stay alive. The recent wave of Republican wins nationwide is proof the American public has move on, and wants to focus their attention on the least problematic elements of society; the rich, and what we do for them. This poor and middle class thing is getting tiresome, and people need to get over it. 

We all remember Diane Hendricks? Her actual Wikipedia page describes her this way:
Diane Hendricks owns the Hendricks Holding Company and she serves as chairperson of ABC Supply Co., Inc. She is worth $4.8 billion, making her the richest woman in Wisconsin. 
Watch the plea for more power from the most identifiable face of greed, Diane Hendricks:  

Think about it; why would a unhappy billionaire, who's done extremely well within our current supposedly over-regulated job killing system, complain that we're not "red" enough as a state? What more could she want? Total domination of our political system? A state where people may vote, but business interests end up wining elections. 
The Most Surreal Target of all: Health Care: How is it possible a political party can get away with trying to take health care away from Americans? They're doing it, and Republicans are now so extreme, that even conservative solutions aren't cutting it anymore:
Arkansas could be on the brink of another distinction: becoming the first to abandon its Medicaid expansion after giving coverage to thousands of people. A wave of newly elected Republican lawmakers who ran on vows to fight so-called "Obamacare" — including the state's "private option" Medicaid expansion — has raised doubts about the future of a leading model for conservative states.

Senate President Jonathan Dismang, one of several Republicans who helped craft the program and is pushing for its continuation said, "I think there's one thing that's clear and that's the private option is not going to exist in its current form."
The human toll, in this case 213,000 people, isn't even a blip on the GOP’s radar, as they threaten the financial security of every individual and family dependent on their health care coverage:
The prospect of losing their new insurance is already causing anxiety among some of the 213,000 people in Arkansas who got coverage. The program uses money that would otherwise go to expanding Medicaid to purchase the private insurance for the newly eligible. Arkansas, which has a high poverty rate, experienced the largest drop in uninsured in the country — from 22.5 percent in 2013, to 12.4 percent, according to a Gallup survey released in August.
It’s a cruel and unusual torture foisted off onto the American public. Yet they will continues to vote against their own health interests.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Truth, and nothing but the Truth, from Dale Schultz.

Why does it always take a Republican to come right out with the brutal truth? Ever notice how Democrats are always softening the message and try to mediate the political disagreements they know they're not going to win?

From the Devil's Advocates show, soon to be former Republican State Sen. Dale Schultz absolutely trashed Rep. Robin Vos, the defunding of the UW, letting our roads go to hell, cut taxes while public education withers away in rural areas...everything is here. It's a myth busting 9 minutes of reality...from a Republican:

The Cap Times' Steve Elbow has transcribed a number of Schultz's comments.

Bears fan sings the Christmas-like Chicago Blues...

Despite taking numerous shots at Illinois and Chicago in my previous life as a radio DJ, I now love the windy city and the people there. I can also identify with frustrated Bears fans, remembering the decades long struggle by our own Green Bay Packers. The Bears were a formidable opponent.

From their seasonal frustration sprung this creative and fun venting by one badly dressed fan:

I found this Christmas take on the Browns...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Republicans "resent" city folk, liberals and public jobs, but love handouts to "hard working" rural conservative voters.

The incredibly spot on look at politics now needs no further comment. From the Cap Times:
Paul Fanlund: No end in sight to Wisconsin’s politics of resentment: Kathy Cramer, a youthful and charismatic political scientist from the University of Wisconsin, struck up conversations that uncovered a pattern of simmering resentment toward those of us in Madison and Milwaukee. What she heard then and we see clearly now is that across Wisconsin, they really, really don’t like many of us very much, and appear unlikely to like us more any time soon.

My conclusion is that Walker’s three victories were in part about him and his personal brand, but the much bigger factor was the anti-government tide that has swept the country, Wisconsin included.

First, that people have been inundated by anti-government messages for decades, especially since the Reagan presidency. Those resentments calcified during the great recession and in the years since, even as wealthy people grew much wealthier and the middle class lost ground.

Second, because those with the most education are doing better (and Madison is jammed with academic elites) we are seen as not suffering as much, and that is noticed and resented.

Third, many outside Madison and Milwaukee see public employees with a level of retirement and health insurance benefits they no longer enjoy or never did.

Fourth, there is a ubiquitous message that government programs are skewed to help those who do not help themselves … the racial subtext is always there. Many in outlying Wisconsin see themselves as hard-working and self-reliant and getting no government help. They do not perceive their own public schools, Medicare, Social Security, highway infrastructure and so forth as the “handouts” they think flow to others.

How, some may ask, do (Walker) and fellow Republicans win even though they oppose such proposals as an increase in the minimum wage, widely supported in exit polls? … the minimum wage does not directly affect most voters, just as the GOP’s opposition to reproductive rights and same-sex marriage does not. Only the economy matters, and while Walker’s record is mediocre at best, he’s fully aligned against the perceived “takers:” the poor and the whiny public employees with their garish protests in Madison.

63 percent in that national poll said the economic system favors the wealthy. In a similar vein, a recent New York Times op-ed was headlined: “Inequality, Unbelievably, Gets Worse.” The analysis said that our taxes, while progressive, are low by international standards and that our social welfare programs are consequently less generous.

Yet any significant populist movement against wealth inequality seems hampered because — in the minds of many — that’s how capitalism is supposed to work. It is tolerable that a CEO makes 100 times what his workers make and pays taxes at lower rates.

Attitudes seemed to grow more visceral during the financial meltdown, which, ironically, occurred under the presidential leadership of a Republican, George W. Bush.

“Resentment” is the perfect one-word brand for the current political culture. In fact, Cramer, the traveling professor, is writing a book whose working title is: “Understanding the Politics of Resentment.”

She adds: “My sense is that his success in the suburbs is a little different than it is in the rural areas. In both cases, you could say there’s individualism going on, where much of what I heard was about hard work and who’s deserving. And their notion of the people who are deserving are those who work really hard ‘like I do’ and ‘pull themselves up by the bootstraps’ and that whole thing. You hear that kind of tone in suburbs as well as in the rural areas.

“But in the rural areas, the support I found was people not necessarily identifying with a Republican platform, but instead saying, ‘We’re going to support somebody who’s coming along and saying I’m going to decrease your taxes and I’m going to cut back government.’ ”

Barry Burden, a UW-Madison political scientist and expert on U.S. politics, agrees with Cramer on the topic of rural individualism. “People often feel like they’re hanging out by themselves,” he says. “You don’t feel like you’re getting much from the taxes you do pay. So you would jump at the chance at a tax cut.”

Cramer mentions race. “When you respect people, it’s very difficult to see racism in what they’re saying or doing. Race has often been used to argue against redistribution and wealth equality in American history. I think in the way that our country has argued about redistribution, it’s always been at some level about race.

Such lashing out at privilege does not extend to business elites, she says. “Why do you think the big battle is between public workers and private workers, for example, rather than CEOs and their workers or the rich and the relatively low-income?’ — the answer I almost always got was they’re supposed to make money. They’re in business. That’s what they are supposed to do. There’s just this huge separation between the … political world and the economic world. People’s sense of what’s just, that ‘massive inequality in the private sector is OK because that’s how it’s designed.’

Burden says he believes many residents have a misunderstanding about government spending. Small-town and rural residents “seem to perceive people living in Madison in particular, but also Milwaukee, as having these government jobs with excessively generous benefits and salary, whereas they were working hard and didn’t have access to those kinds of goodies. So, when a Republican goes into a smaller community and says — ‘I want to give back some of your money to you, put it in your pocket and let you make decisions about how to spend it. You’re better at doing that than some legislator in Madison or Washington’ — that’s a really appealing, intuitive logic.”

Burden adds that many seem to believe that most state money goes to the big cities. “But the truth is that on a per-capita basis the cities actually get less than smaller communities. That’s actually true nationwide. The rural red states get more than their share of tax money back from the federal government, whereas the more industrial blue states, like New York and Massachusetts, don’t get back as much as they pay in.”

Perhaps no truly path-altering solutions exist, and that is saddest of all. So the resentment simmers, and, here in Wisconsin, only conservatives have figured out how to fully exploit it.

60% of the Unemployed couldn't get through for benefits. Any Republican Outrage?

Remember this outrageous earth shaking event that brought the hammer down by Republicans. jsonline:
report of the state's ethics and elections agency released Friday found officials waited years in some cases to review whether felons had voted and did not promptly audit electronic voting equipment. Republicans who control the Legislature pounced on the report by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureausaying it provided evidence the accountability board needs to be dismantled.
Think we’ll see anything like that from this report. jsonline-Jason Stein:
Highlighting a recurring problem for out of work Wisconsin residents (dates back at least to 2009), a new audit found that jobless workers had 60% of their phone calls for help blocked last year when they sought unemployment benefits. Auditors found that almost 1.7 million phone calls to state centers by jobless workers were blocked last fiscal year because there was no one to answer the calls and not enough phone lines available to put the workers on hold ... the state has often been unable to handle the rush of calls.

Those workers included Ron Youngbluth of Pewaukee … He estimated he called up to two dozen times over the next month, sometimes several times a day. He got through to the automated system, but never to a person. "I called them the past at least three weeks, I don't know how many times. I couldn't get ahold of anyone," he told the Public Investigator.  
I’m wondering if the number of blocked calls had any effect on the unemployment numbers that made Walker look so good?

The usual conservative comments popped up:
Mr Iguanna: If they weren't losers, they wouldn't be unemployed.

Pokerface: Did they have have to call back? oh the horror!!!
But I thought this was the best response:
Swift: 86% failure rate. Where's the outrage from our GOP legislators? Nonexistent, because they don't care what happens to the unemployed and the poor. 

The new system will have a recorded message while you are waiting to talk to a state representative that says "Please hold for the next available representative, if you would rather die then you had better do it and decrease the surplus population".

The sickening devotion and unquestioning love affair Republicans have with their leader, Scott Walker.

I couldn't resist posting this outrageously ironic conversation on the Devil's Advocates show, from Tom the caller.

Tom, like all Republicans, can't stop talking about voter fraud and restoring confidence in elections. Protecting the integrity of elections is big with these guys...except when they're the ones winning. Now suddenly, electoral fraud, whether at the ballot box or manipulated through voting machine software, is non-existent.

Tom the caller is reacting to an article questioning whether Scott Walker beat Mary Burke.

Tom the caller said we've got to get over it, Walker won, it's just sour grapes and whining now. He even said we had to get over Bush, ironically forgetting how Scott Walker continued to blame former Gov. Jim Doyle for everything, not even mentioning Mary Burke's name in the campaign.

Tom the caller then went on to list everything that's really important to a functioning society, telling the hosts:
Tom the caller: "You lost because people are sick and tired of the talk about the war on women, the war on the elderly, the war on big PHARMA, the war on middle class gotta get over it. It's just out of hand now...nobody...everybody sees through it. You're fooling nobody." 
I heard this same rap from my former conservative friend in Milwaukee, who now gets his news from every fringe right wing phony news site.

Hilarity ensued as Tom the caller claimed we had "less debt" than when Gov. Doyle left office.

Wrong, but you couldn't tell Tom the caller that, who claimed anyone could "find figures that go in anyone's favor." Ah, guess so "ironic" Tom. Surreal stuff and another example of the intractable belief system conservatives strictly adhere too.

Partisan Republican Electoral Decisions to add extra layer of "Integrity?"

“So if we can create a system that has partisan makeup where decisions can be made, of course I'm open to that.” - Rep. Robin Vos
Is this the most amazing comment...confession? The real, authoritarian, big government Republican Party is now out there for everyone to see. Let's find out if "small government," freedom and liberty loving conservative voters will stand by their principles, or grovel at the feet of their all controlling leaders. From WPR audio:

Elections over, so is Ebola threat!!!

For purely political reasons, which was obvious to any sane individual, the Ebola threat has now faded into the vapor. Sigh, it's not the end of the potential threats used to pass ridiculous fear laden legislation, but the most recent identifiable scam. It's the top lie of the year:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reaganomics started Supply Side Slide, killing the Middle Class, and Republicans are about to shift that into overdrive.

In the last few years of the Clinton administration, incomes peaked for most Wisconsinites. But according to the chart below, Milwaukee County peaked in 1969, and Racine County, 1979.

A recent Washington Post piece laid it out before us. You'll notice that before Ronald Reagan, things were normal and predictable:
From the Great Depression through the 1980s, American recessions and recoveries followed a pattern: Employers shed jobs when the economy turned south but added them back quickly once it recovered.
Adding jobs back is longer happening. Companies have a new model; employing just enough full timers, and bring in part time help when demand rises.

With the new Republican majority in D.C., and GOP dominance in 30 states, the anger and unhappiness of the American lower and middle class is bound to increase. But oddly, during uncertain times, people look to the more conservative party for help. Good luck with that:
The middle class took America to the moon. Then something went horribly wrong.

Yes, the stock market is soaring, the unemployment rate is finally retreating after the Great Recession and the economy added 321,000 jobs last month. But all that growth has done nothing to boost pay for the typical American worker ... over the past 25 years, the economy has grown 83 percent, after adjusting for inflation — and the typical family’s income hasn't budged. 

In that time, corporate profits doubled as a share of the economy. Workers today produce nearly twice as many goods and services per hour on the job as they did in 1989, but as a group, they get less of the nation’s economic pie. 

In 81 percent of America’s counties, the median income is lower today than it was 15 years ago. 

Even before the 2008 crisis, the 2000's were on track to be the weakest decade for job creation since the Labor Department started tracking the statistics.

It’s the reason why tax cuts, stimulus spending and rock-bottom interest rates haven’t jolted the middle class back to its postwar prosperity.
 If you read anything this week, check out the following, before I post a highly edited summary:
Paul Fanlund: No end in sight to Wisconsin’s politics of resentment

Mining costs shifted to Wisconsinites, thanks to our Republican guardians of taxpayer money.

There is a direct cause and effect that can no longer be “debated.” We don’t need to dance around the subject anymore. The press can ask very specific questions about the mining industries campaign contributions and the level of their taxpayer handout. Why play stupid? jsonline-Patrick Marley:
To oversee a proposed iron mine in northern Wisconsin, the state has spent nearly $260,000 that it will not recover from the mining firm — an arrangement drawing questions and criticism from opponents. That figure will continue to grow because of how the Department of Natural Resources is interpreting a law … Gogebic Taconite, was getting special treatment because it gave $700,000 to a group that helped Republicans survive recall elections in 2011 and 2012. The legislation lowered how much mining companies have to pay the state for the environmental review of their plans, a process that takes years. To cover those costs, the DNR used taxpayer money and revenue from funds that are made up of landfill tipping fees and hunting and fishing license fees.
Gee, it must be our partisan imaginations running away on us. It looks like a pay-to-play kinda thing. But if Tom Tiffany’s comment is any indication, we should have known this would happen:
Sen. Tom Tiffany, lobbyist?
Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), a sponsor of the mining legislation, said costs the state is absorbing are in line with what he expected.

"As a taxpayer and someone that buys hunting and fishing licenses, it's truly unfair," said George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and a former DNR secretary.
How did this happen? Well…I can’t be sure…just speculating…don’t quote me on this but…:
Those records showed Gogebic gave $700,000 to the club around the time of the recalls. Walker has said he did not know about that contribution at the time. The Wisconsin Club for Growth spent more than $900,000 on the 2012 race that saw Republican Rick Gudex of Fond du Lac defeat then-Sen. Jessica King (D-Oshkosh). That win gave Republicans the 18-15 majority they needed to pass the mining bill in early 2013.
Ya think? Oh, how much did Walker save taxpayers? Duped again.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It looks like Concealed Carry is Killing Us.

Are we safer since concealed carry? We're supposed to be, according to Scott Walker. 

If the following graph took a look at how effective ObamaCare was at decreasing the number of people without insurance, it would be rightfully called a major disaster. But the increase below shows how many more people were killed by guns, not saved by them. Thanks to Political Heat for pointing out the gun death trend lines since concealed carry: 
The number of murders in the state related to gun deaths also reflects this conclusion. Estimates from 2014 (from Wisconsin Public Radio, which has been tracking gun homicides from media reports over the year) suggest that this current year is also going to be high in terms of the number of murders committed, especially when looking at gun homicides alone. These increases in murders and violent crime should cause concerns for the governor and state legislators. The stats are contradictory to the statement that Walker made when he signed the concealed carry bill into law -- that “we are making Wisconsin safer.” 

Republicans are...ruthless...disgusting...

Who would think to make the following comment, really, from the picture below?

I found this tweet on Wyatt's page...