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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Another Walker Propane fiasco a failure of Leadership!!!

Did we not see something like this coming? Another problem not fixed by strong rhetoric, by a leader too focused on his own out-of-whack ambitions. 
WKOW: Walker declares energy emergency because of propane problem: Gov. Scott Walker has declared a precautionary energy emergency because of service interruptions on a key propane pipeline.

Intermittent interruptions are affecting the Mid-America East Blue Pipeline at the Janesville terminal. Walker says in a statement that early indications are the supply problem will be short-lived.

The main effect of the order is relaxing rules on hours for motor carriers and truckers who transport propane in case they need to travel to other terminals.
Relaxing the rules on truckers hours...transporting explosive propane?

Anonymous declares war on Hebdo terrorists and the "enemies of freedom of expression."

div class="MsoNormal tr_bq"> As unsettling as ever, Anonymous will be going after the terrorists inspired by the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attackers:

Telegraph: Hacker group Anonymous have released a video and a statement via Twitter condemning the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people, including eight journalists, were murdered. The video description says that it is "a message for al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorists."

In the clip, a figure wearing the group's symbolic Guy Fawkes mask is seated in front of a desk with the hashtag #OpCharlieHebdo - which stands for Operation Charlie Hebdo - featured on screen.

"We are declaring war against you, the terrorists." They add that the group will track down and close all accounts on social networks related to terrorists in order to avenge those who have been killed. This is backed up with a statement entitled "a message to the enemies of freedom of expression ... freedom of expression has suffered inhuman assault ... and it is our duty to react."

The hacker collective offered their condolences to "the families of the victims of this cowardly and despicable act".

In the past the group have carried out cyber attacks on government, religious, and corporate websites by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks which attempt to overwhelm an online service with traffic from numerous sources so that users can no longer access it.

State Republicans want Indoor Smoking again, say if you don't like it, go to a different restaurant or bar.

It's enough to take your breath away; Republicans are talking up "freedom and liberty" when it comes irresponsible and dangerous behaviors that impacts peoples health, like smoking.

Republicans have never liked the statewide smoking ban that saves lives and prevents other respiratory illnesses. While the number of smokers gets smaller every year, those not smart enough to quit seems to think the majority of healthy Wisconsinites should be the ones to lose their freedom. Like in this comment at WKOW:

That's right, without the distinct characteristic of cigarette smoke, "every establishment is going to be identical." Smoking is a health hazard that infringes on everybody else's freedom. Or is it? Maybe it's another constitutionally protected right...like say, buying a big gulp or an incandescent light bulb.

On Tuesday, Madison decided to protect the public from cancer, disease and premature death:
WKOW: Madison's City Council approved a ban on electronic cigarettes. It prohibits vaping in public places like bars, restaurants and stores. Council members say chemicals in the vapor of E-cigarettes can be harmful to others. Those against the ban argued that the devices help people quit smoking real cigarettes.
E-cigarette "flavors" emit vapors like nicotine. The effects of nicotine?
Nicotine can also lead to insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance, as well as an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It affects thyroid hormones, pituitary hormones, sex hormones and adrenal hormones.
Bizarro World former state senator and Congressman Glenn Grothman once backed a bill allowing e-cigarette smoking statewide:
Sen. Glenn Grothman's bill would do the opposite, explicitly allowing e-cigarette users to inhale the nicotine-laced vapors indoors despite the state's 2009 law that prohibits indoor smoking.

"Why should we compare e-cigarettes to cigarettes when we should be comparing them to clean air?" said Murray Katcher, a Madison pediatrician.  
Taking Grothman's place is Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt. Check out his amazing response: 
Thiesfeldt: "I enjoy the smoke free air too, but that was my choice, to go to a restaurant that there was smoke in the air, I could go to a different one if I wanted." 
The freedom loving Republican Party, and their phony, devil-may-care, feckless, unaccountable, do-nothing attitude. Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann:

Friday, January 9, 2015

AG Brad Schimel says, Gun Locks Threaten our freedoms, spends taxpayer money on Lawsuit against San Francisco.

Gun lock regulations infringe on your 2nd Amendment rights? AG Brad Schimel says yes, and he’s willing to spend taxpayer money challenging a San Francisco, California law...in Nebraska.

Schimel says he’s just protecting Wisconsinites from a law that could come to our state. So, safe gun storage is unconstitutional now? Didn't Justice Scalia say the court’s decision didn't rule out all gun regulation? jsonline:
San Francisco’s “safe storage” law requires handguns to be either stored in a locked container or secured with a trigger lock when not being carried by the owner. The amicus brief charges that such a requirement violates the Second Amendment. The ordinance keeps “the firearm inoperable ... even if you are sleeping or bathing or the sole occupant of your home,” it argues.
Need a gun when you’re asleep? Or bathing? Maybe if you’re a sleepwalker or take lots of showers.
The “friend of the court” brief filed by the state of Nebraska and now joined by Wisconsin asks the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision that upheld the San Francisco ordinance.

“We must act, because if the decision by the federal Court of Appeals is not reversed, the precedent it sets could influence policy decisions and court holdings affecting the Constitutional rights of citizens within their homes, not just in the City of San Francisco, but anywhere in America, including Wisconsin,” he said.
Stop the spread of gun locks? Here's what the court determined:
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that while the ordinance does place a burden on gun owners, that burden is overridden by other factors. “The record contains ample evidence that storing handguns in a locked container reduces the risk of both accidental and intentional handgun-related deaths, including suicide,” the court found.
So while driving hundreds of mile to get women's health care/abortion, or jumping through multiple hoops to get a voter ID isn't considered a burden, gun locks are?
Schimel has said he does not favor additional gun restrictions but better enforcement of existing gun laws.
I'm sorry, but that doesn't make any sense. Just send conservative voters the bill please, or is this another case where adding to our deficit is worth it to protect our "freedoms?" I'm already tired of hearing it.

Republican reasons for Abortion Doctor Admitting Privilege Laws exposed, with new bill to allow hospitals, doctors and nurses right to refuse emergency care.

Remember this line of BS from state Republicans trying to ban abortion by requiring admitting privileges:
The law's supporters argue that admitting privileges will ensure women get prompt and proper care if they need to go to a hospital.
They’re so concerned, aren’t they? And yet, just today in Congress, Sen. David Vitter introduced this conflicting bill:
“Allow hospitals, doctors and nurses to refuse to provide or participate in abortion care for women, even in cases of emergency.”
So much for “ensuring prompt proper care,” suckers.  

This is one of many "conscience clause" ideas that would turn our health care system into a strictly voluntary one for doctors, nurses and hospitals. No guarantees and no certainty when it comes to public health. 

Nebraska Republicans, Special Interests, bypass Citizens and PSC oversight to pass Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Republican governor of Nebraska beat the people, and legally won his approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Nebraska Republicans decided to tilt the scales of justice to their side, by requiring a super majority of justices on the State Supreme Court to overturn any piece of legislation thought to be unconstitutional. Yes, they made it harder to overturn unconstitutional legislation. That’s freedom and liberty, “constitutional conservative” style.

So when Republicans gave the partisan governor complete control over the Keystone XL Pipeline, allowing him to bypass his own state Public Service Commission, they also gave up their constituents property rights. And now the pipeline is a done deal.

This is the power of special interests, which are now controlling state legislatures everywhere. Sadly, conservative voters may even like this ploy if they can actually get what the party wants.

From today’s amazing State Supreme Court decision:
L.B. 1161 allows “major oil pipeline” carriers to bypass the regulatory procedures of the Public Service Commission (PSC). As an alternative to obtaining approval from the PSC—a constitutional body charged with regulating common carriers— L.B. 1161 permits these pipeline carriers to obtain approval from the Governor to exercise the power of eminent domain for building a pipeline in Nebraska. The district court ruled that the Legislature had unconstitutionally divested the PSC of its regulatory authority over common carriers.

Four judges of this court have determined that the appellees (the landowners), who challenged the constitutionality of L.B. 1161, have standing to raise this issue and that the legislation is unconstitutional. Three judges of this court conclude that the landowners lacked standing and decline to exercise their option to address the constitutional issues.

The majority’s opinion that the landowners have standing controls that issue. But because there are not five judges of this court voting on the constitutionality of L.B. 1161, the legislation must stand by default. Accordingly, we vacate the district court’s judgment.
The Minority Wins? The minority, who actually won the decision, made this stunning leap of logic:
The Legislature did not abolish the Public Service Commission or take away any of its powers. Instead, it conferred alternative jurisdiction on the executive to approve the site of a proposed pipeline.
A legal loophole you could drive a fleet of trucks through. Don't be surprised if you don't see something like this happen here in Wisconsin. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Vouchers program violating Wisconsin Constitution, allows "sectarian instruction!"

I  thought this was an interesting line about public education in our state constitution:
"as nearly uniform as practicable; and such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years; and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein."
There's nothing there okaying the funding of religious schools through vouchers, even if public schools are also an option. Our constitution does not allow religious instruction...at all, with taxpayer money.

Anyone else a little surprised? And yet in Wisconsin...well here's a headline from 2013:

And yet our constitution says "no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein." If it's public, no religion. Perhaps someone can answer how Wisconsin is getting around the state constitution. I'm just curious. Our incidental governor, who isn't swayed by polls or anything the public wants, has decided to expand vouchers despite mounting opposition: 


Rep. Reid Ribble's GOP solution to Health Care: "...help people not have access to insurance, but have access to health care itself." Huh?

Uh oh, I think our own Republican Rep. Reid Ribble is bringing back the "chicken for health care" barter system.

Remember this amazing suggestion from the "party of ideas?" The Guardian:
Republican politician Sue Lowden, a wealthy casino owner who challenged Sen. Harry Reid, started propounding her chicken-based healthcare plan. "You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say I'll paint your house.... In the old days that's what people would do to get health care with their doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I'm not backing down from that system." 
In not so many words, Reid Ribble is seemingly on board. While other Republicans waffle, supporting a vague "patient centered" system of care, Ribble may have let the chicken out-of-the-bag:
Replace the Affordable Care Act with...what we believe will help people not have access to insurance, but have access to health care itself, we think there's a better way to go about it."
I know, it blew my mind too. It was nonsensical, and WPR's host amazingly didn't think to ask him what the hell he was talking about. But wait, there's more...
"If you don't address the issue of access to health care, but force a person to purchase a product they may not in some parts of the country be able to use because there's not adequate service providers, we think that's not the right approach to fix it." 
I'm going to try to unpack what sounds like big government conservatism, point by point:
1. Big government would bypass through regulation, insurers, in a not so free market way? Sounds a lot like the beginning stages of single payer.

2. Big government would require adequate service providers everywhere for direct patient access? This issue is not something I've ever heard Republicans complain about.

3. That leaves the payment system up for grabs (chickens?). And cost containment? Eh. 
Ribble's website doesn't address this bizarre new angle. Here's the audio clip of Ribble's verbal trip down the rabbit hole:



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Charter Disaster to Expand. There's money to be made, not better grades.

So let's do this...


...because those charter schools are great, and parents just magically know what's best. Remember this recent comparison? Gotta love those charter schools?


And what makes more sense than to have different tests to compare schools and grades? 
The measure would allow private schools to use a different exam from the state test to measure student learning, though it would create a process for comparing those differing tests. 

Walker let's BadgerCare doctor fees plummet...see government is bad.

It's kind of upside down crazy. Scott Walker is all about supporting that old expensive health care system and its hefty doctors fees. After all, that's your problem and very free market.

But boosting slightly the already very low doctor fee structure in Medicaid is to costly. Technically, Medicaid fees are a bargain and cheap, and all President Obama wanted to do was pay doctors a much fairer fee, and keep them in the program.

Crazy. Who wants government to work? Not Walker:



Here's the real story, see for yourself. What we're seeing is a very incurious and dangerously misinformed governor and likely candidate for president. Bloomberg:
Medicaid Is Too Cheap: On New Year's Day, an Obamacare provision that temporarily boosted Medicaid payments to primary-care doctors expired. The pay doctors receive for seeing those patients will drop by an estimated 43 percenton average. The change could cause more doctors to stop seeing people on Medicaid, which covers the poorest Americans.

Conservatives will undoubtedly present the change as further proof that Medicaid, which is expanding thanks to the health-care law, isinherently flawed. There's another interpretation: If the goal is to cover lots of people at minimum cost, Medicaid is extremely effective. If anything, it's too cheap.

The chart shows that Medicaid spending per beneficiary is lower than average per-capita health costs. It also shows that, as of 2013, Medicaid spending was lower, in real dollars, than it was a decade earlier. (The uptick in 2013 probably reflects, in part, the extra money for primary-care doctors provided by Obamacare.) The optimistic interpretation is that Medicaid is a tremendously efficient program. The pessimistic one is that state administrators of Medicaid are pushing payments to unrealistically low levels.

The second interpretation is probably closer to the truth. And at some point, conservative warnings about the dysfunctions of Medicaid will become self-fulfilling: Providers will stop participating, pushed out by spending restraint that no other health-insurance program would dare match. If that happens, the program won't be to blame. While some states are boosting Medicaid payment rates in response to the end of the Obamacare top-up, many aren't. So those most responsible for doctors dropping out will be the state officials who complain about out-of-control costs, even as they squeeze Medicaid ever more tightly.

Incidental Gov. Walker won't lift a finger if Wisconsinites lose Tax Credits on the Exchanges.

Were you under the impression Scott Walker was elected to serve the people? Crazy idea. In a WISEye interview, Walker was clear; 
"I don't make decisions based on polls, or based on what people are going to like or dislike...I'm gonna do what I think is the right thing to do."



A one party big government authority, and you're supposed to follow.  

And he won't do a thing if the Affordable Care Act is forced to drop the tax credit for those on the federal, not state, exchanges. 
Gov. Scott Walker’s plan if the Supreme Court reinterprets Obamacare to take health care away from hundreds of thousands of his constituents is to “do nothing,” according to a local news report, even though he and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans have the power to save these individuals from that fate … the problem would be too big for Wisconsin or any one state to try and fix. “It would create an urgent problem across the country—not just in Wisconsin,” Walker said in an interview with WisconsinEye.
Yea, in 35 states. Here's the audio from Wisconsin Eye, demonstrating how our incidental governor plans to just get out of the way. What, help the people of Wisconsin?



There is a chance our crazy conservative activist Supreme Court will find a way to say the congress meant to only fund the state based exchanges. Do a search, see if anyone ever brought this up. Gazette Extra:
Walker predicted that his fellow Republicans who control Congress would “create a time frame for a transition” and authorize “alternatives for the states” … and should be replaced with a market-driven system where patients make their health care decisions.
Walker is deceptive and tricky too. He's right to say we were one of the best state for insurance coverage, but that's because a lot of people were on BadgerCare due to the higher percentage rate over poverty. It wasn't because people were insured privately. Walker lowered it back down to 100%.

Will Republicans take insurance away from people, just like they claimed Obama did? Sure why not:
“It's clear that's not what was intended in Wisconsin and we'll all have to find a way to address what could be an urgent problem,” said Eric Borgerding, president of the Wisconsin Hospital Association.Borgerding said “thousands” of Wisconsin residents could lose health care. “One of the key reasons many Wisconsin lawmakers ultimately rejected Medicaid expansion and reduced Medicaid eligibility down to 100 percent of the federal poverty limit is because those coming off Medicaid would be able to obtain subsidized coverage on a federal exchange.

Bob DeVita, who founded Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative said: “Uninsured rates would rapidly increase across the nation in all states affected like Wisconsin, and the impact on individuals losing coverage would be both immediate and significant. This sudden, immediate impact on thousands of Wisconsinites and millions of individual American citizens would be so newsworthy it would likely receive major news exposure—similar to the media attention which a government shutdown gets,” DeVita added.

Wisconsin should finally set up the state-based exchange authorized by the ACA, said state Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse. “Wisconsin families and businesses can't afford to have the rug pulled out from under them again due to the stubborn inaction of Republicans in Madison.”

Republicans target government, roll out Voodoo Economic.

Sen. Bernie Sanders got it right. It's dynamic scoring and the GOP's voodoo economic deceit, where a repeat of their failed policy will eventually make anyone hate government. PoliticusUSA:
The senator said the main reason Republicans want to change the budget rule is to disguise the impact of their plan.

The Republicans are politicizing the budget process in a way that will undermine the credibility of the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation, which have provided unbiased, nonpartisan analysis on the cost of tax and spending bills.

Republicans are refusing to face the reality that tax cuts for the wealthy don’t grow the economy. Instead, they are trying to rewrite the rules in order to hide their policy failures. 
Howard Dean didn't hold back either, warning Americans Republicans will now easily invent growth with magical dynamic scoring, all the while spending money:

Medical Device makers want all the profit, but don't want to help contain costs.

The very small number of medical device companies that responded to a survey two years ago about their new Affordable Care Act, tax may have had an ax to grind. I say that because a larger sampling would have provided a broader picture; out of 300 members surveyed, only 38 companies responded. Ouch. And maybe they were the more angry, greedy companies trying to make a political point.

Fact: Because the ACA expanded the number of people getting health care...and medical devices, that should have translated into higher sales and company profits. And don’t forget, this is a reform of a system where price increases were unsustainable, so any containment or reduction in those increases is a step forward. Every part of the health care chain is taking a cut or reforming their business model to save money, so why not device makers?

Another big problem? Anecdotal “evidence.” My conservative friend had a lot of anecdotes from his own customer base that sounded similar to those on the list of GOP talking points. But the facts were always different. From WaPo:
Lawmakers also cite anecdotes of local manufacturers blaming the tax for creating harm to their companies. 
A larger survey is telling something different though (click graph):
January 2014 survey of 1,203 senior managers at U.S. medical device companies by Emergo Group … found the impact of the tax was not as severe as predicted. Fifty percent of respondents in 2014 said they did not make any significant changes in response to the tax.
This is all about change, and some companies will have adjust, whether it's because of a tax or a competitor. Every company at some time does that. For Republicans to complain about something so fundamental and natural to doing business tells me they don't have a clue. They do like donations though.

Oklahoma Earthquakes due to Fracking?

The party of big energy may be getting what they deserve...

Why is Paul Ryan so Wrong...all the Time?

Our new dystopian Republican congress has a lot of people thinking about what might happen under their control. For me, a smart Democratic plan would be to take every GOP bill and highlight what it would do. A two column analysis, one side Democratic and the other Republican, for every major bill. Dream on John, because that would be like "framing" the issues, and Democrats don't do that ever.

But reporters are still curious about those in charge, and their records to date, like Paul Ryan's:
Why is why Ryan has been so spectacularly wrong about inflation, the dollar, and, well, the whole economy the past few years.

"Pressed for cash, the government will take the easy way out," Ryan mused in 2013, and "crank up the printing presses." The result wouldn't be any run-of-the-mill inflation, but rather "the debasement of our currency." And in case you have any doubt how bad that would be, well, Lenin supposedly said that's the best way to destroy the capitalist system. So pretty bad.

In 2009, he philosophized that "a lot of people would observe that we are right now
living in an Ayn Rand novel." A year later, he all but accused the Fed of using the printing press to pay our bills … And in 2011, he somberly warned then-Fed Chair Ben Bernanke that "there is nothing more insidious that a country can do its citizens than debase its currency."

It was a weird thing to be worrying about. Inflation was just 1.7 percent when Ryan brought up dollar debasement. It's 1.2 percent now. And rather than being debased, debauched or otherwise devalued, the dollar is actually up 13 percent against a broad index of currencies over this time … there hasn't been anything resembling "debasement."

Why has Paul Ryan been wrong about everything? Well, he missed what a lot of people miss, which is that the rules change when interest rates are zero. You won't learn that from Ayn Rand's books, though.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Voodoo Supply Side Trickle Down Economics.

For Republican voters, it's worth thinking about...
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivered a scathing critique of trickle-down economics in which she cited former President George H.W. Bush:
"Since the 1980s, too many of the people running this country have followed one form or another of supply side — or trickle-down — economic theory. Many in Washington still support it. When all the varnish is removed, trickle-down just means helping the biggest corporations and the richest people in this country, and claiming that those big corporations and rich people could be counted to create an economy that would work for everyone else. Trickle-down was popular with big corporations and their lobbyists, but it never really made much sense."
She noted that the senior president Bush called it "voodoo economics."
"He was right, and let’s call it out for what it is: Trickle-down was nothing more than the politics of helping the rich-and-powerful get richer and more powerful, and it cut the legs out from under America’s middle class. Pretty much the whole Republican Party – and, if we’re going to be honest, too many Democrats – talked about the evils of 'big government' and called for deregulation. It sounded good, but it was really about tying the hands of regulators and turning loose big banks and giant international corporations to do whatever they wanted to do—turning them loose to rig the markets and reduce competition, to outsource more jobs, to load up on more risks and hide behind taxpayer guarantees, to sell more mortgages and credit cards that cheated people. In short, to do whatever juiced short term profits even if it came at the expense of working families. The trickle-down experiment that began in the Reagan years failed America's middle class. Sure, the rich are doing great. Giant corporations are doing great. Lobbyists are doing great. But we need an economy where everyone else who works hard gets a shot at doing great!"

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Democrats in decline....

I could make this a longer blog post, but suffice it to say, both Democratic minority leaders have performed poorly so far in their public statements. It's shocking, disheartening and I can't stand listening to them. What fantasy world or bubble are they living in, after 4 years of experiencing this red state living hell?

It's as if they've learned nothing, and are now hoping the other party doesn't beat them up too badly this time around. The same old "working together," "common ground," and making believe Walker will play it safe, blah, blah, blah.

This morning on WPR, Mordecai Lee even helped Republicans sell their large irresponsible, unforeseen deficits, by suggesting somehow it was the price of smaller government. Good one Lee. He also made excuses for this arrogant, one party authoritarian Republican takeover by saying, heck, everybody's doing it, what's the big deal?

In the words of Han Solo, "I've got a bad feeling about this." I truly hate the Democratic Party for continuing to play the battered partner. Yea, this time Republicans will be nicer to us.

Republicans propose change to ObamaCare that will drop insurance for 1.5 million employees, saving Business money, and expand Deficit $74 billion over 10 years. That's "Fiscal Conservatism."

You heard the whining. Republicans complained that many Americans lost their old insurance plans to ObamaCare.

And yet those same Republicans want to take health care away from 1.5 million hard working people. By changing the Affordable Care Act for the worse, they would allow businesses to drop their employee insurance. More on that below. And the public isn't outraged or clamoring to stop them?

Am I pissed? You bet, and here's why: If the Affordable Care Act was the disaster the GOP claimed it was, then why are they rewriting it to intentionally making it worse, angering the public even more? From MotherJones:
Republicans plan to vote on a bill that would gut Obamacare—and could deprive up to 1.5 million Americans of their employer-sponsored health insurance. The law defines employees who work 30 or more hours per week as full time. The legislation ... would change the definition of full time to 40 hours per week for purposes of the law. Companies that don't want to provide health insurance for their employees can avoid doing so by cutting workers' hours.

"I call this the 'send people home a half hour early on Friday and deny them health insurance' bill," says Tim Jost, a health care law scholar at the Washington and Lee University School of Law who has consulted with the Obama administration on implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Cutting time at work by a half hour, even 15 minutes, is no joke. But can Republicans still blame ObamaCare if something they changed in the law takes health care away from 1 and half million people? Of course, because Obama would have signed it into law as part of an important budget bill.
"Raising the threshold to 40 hours would place more than five times as many workers at risk of having their hours reduced," Paul van de Water, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, wrote in 2013.
And the cost of this Republicans ObamaCare add-on?
"...increasing the federal deficit by $73.7 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation."
Incredibly, Democrats continue to waffle on the basic fundamental human right to health care, and Republicans are loving it. For that reason, the GOP can make the case health care is a consumer product that people can "shop" for. Cancer? Shop, shop, shop.

Insurers, hospitals, doctors, drug and device makers will all share in the profits of the "health care" buying public. Can't afford it? Ask your neighbor to donate a few hundred dollars for a little help. Maybe that church down the street. Schools are now requiring their students to provide some kind of social service...maybe a car wash or bake sale.

Monday, January 5, 2015

RNC's Priebus says Obama ignoring Voters? Maybe hard Core Tea Party Republican voters.

It's an upside down, Bizarro World of politics, isn't it? RNC president Reince Priebus's recent tweet opened the door for a quick "this is what the people want" myth bust:

He's not even close. Who's ignoring voters?

Remember when Republicans wanted to slow bills down, preventing Democrats from ramming through agenda?

I guess it has more to do with who's doing the ramming. Like Scott Walker's request to speed up the state tax cuts and budgeting, Republicans in D.C. are just as impatient. What, not enough time off? What happened to a per page public debate, online posting, and a test for each bills constitutionality?

Regulatory overreach killing Businesses? Sure, why not says new Republican Majority.

Consumer confidence is up and the economy is doing well. So how do you spin that if you're the new Republican majority? Like before, they are creatng their own, more downbeat pessimistic reality right before our eyes.
Politico: In their view, Obama is indifferent to the economic impact of all of his regulations. “The president doesn’t seem to care about the impact of these regulations on families,” said John Barrasso of Wyoming, the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, adding that the administration is showing “a complete neglect of the economic impact” of the load of new rules.
Did you notice the more personalized, supposed man on the street reference to the impact regulations have on..."families." What does that mean? I guess low wages are due to highly profitable businesses being regulated. Without Obama regulations, corporations would be free to cut profits and hand out big fat raises to Joe shmo employees, right? And there is a Santa Claus too.

Well, let's see how bad things are, under the oppressive regulatory thumb of the Obama administrations socialist agenda. Thankfully, we've put the Republicans in charge of the economy now:

AG Schimel brings in favored big money special interests before taking office.

Sure, you could call it bad timing, but who cares nowadays when it coming from the party of big money-the Republicans. WPR:
Attorney General-elect Brad Schimel will hold a fundraising celebration in Madison on Monday morning just a few hours before his inauguration… 
Nothing looks bad or out of place when it comes to money, politics and law. The cost of electoral bribes is up, so why not? You’ll notice Schimel is trying to firm up his list of legally favored special interests just before he takes office:
Schimel’s fundraiser will charge $100 a plate for general attendees, with “Host Levels” ranging from $500 to 2,500. A spokesman for Schimel’s campaign said it's a victory celebration that will help pay off campaign debts and fund future campaigns.

Mike McCabe of the watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said “Political fundraising has become so central to (officials’) lives that they just don't think that it's possible to have any event that isn't linked to their insatiable need for more campaign money,” said McCabe.
But the reporters recap of former AG J.B. Van Hollen's fund raising efforts may actually stun the senses if this is the first time you’re hearing about memberships in his “Attorney General’s Club.” It seems almost funny now:
When Schimel's predecessor J.B. Van Hollen held an inauguration fundraiser in 2006, some critics said it smacked of influence peddling. Donors who contributed $500 or more were offered memberships in an “Attorney General’s Club.” 
It’s just money after all…
… contributors wouldn't get any special treatment from the Department of Justice. 
That goes without saying.

I'll always remember Schimel's campaign for its blatant admission that whatever the legislature does is fine with him. His devotion to party leaders sends a signal to challengers that he will protect the state from those who dare question authority.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Walker loses to Minnesota, in Political Test of Ideologies.

One of the best articles yet comparing Minnesota's blue success with Wisconsin's red failure, appeared in the LaCrosse Tribune over the weekend. By every measurement it's embarrassing. And we reelected this guy? What are the consequences of the differing governing styles and legislative agendas? It will take your breath away:
Walker’s tax plan reduced the highest rate for the wealthiest Wisconsinites from 7.75 to 7.65 percent and brought slight relief to all income levels. Dayton’s plan created a new rate of 9.850 percent for the top 2 percent of Minnesota’s wealthiest. His plan also increased tax credits for renters — the opposite of Wisconsin, where those tax credits were reduced. Dayton also signed a $508 million tax cut in 2014 of which $232 million was aimed at the middle class and $232 million was earmarked for the elimination of some business taxes.

Minnesota has increased its minimum wage to $9.50 an hour and has it indexed to increase with inflation. Walker has said he does not support raising the minimum wage.

Dayton also signed a $508 million tax cut in 2014 of which $232 million was aimed at the middle class and $232 million was earmarked for the elimination of some business taxes.

While Wisconsin faces an estimated $2 billion deficit — including a $750 million deficit in transportation spending — Minnesota has a $1.2 billion surplus. Minnesota has the luxury of being able to invest in its state; Wisconsin faces some challenging spending decisions.
And it doesn't stop there either...
Under Walker, Wisconsin has been a leader in cutting education spending. ranked No. 2 in the nation — behind only Alabama — with a $1,038 spending per student decrease. Minnesota was one of a handful of states that actually increases spending during that time.

Minnesota took Medicaid money and created its own health care marketplace, reducing the number of uninsured residents. Wisconsin rejected federal money ...  That cost the state an estimated $206 million over the past two years and an estimated $460 million through 2020.

The business-friendly policy embraced by Walker has resulted in private-sector job growth that continues to lag behind the national average. The latest 12-month period numbers that ended in June show Wisconsin 32nd in the nation in job growth. Minnesota was 26th. Minnesota’s jobless rate in November was 3.7 percent. Wisconsin’s was 5.2.

Forbes ranks Minnesota as the ninth best state for business, No. 7 in economic climate and No. 2 in quality of life. Wisconsin is ranked 32nd, 27 and 17 on the same measures. 

The cost of doing business in Minnesota is 0.2 percent below the national average. Wisconsin is 1.7 percent above the average. The median household income in Minnesota is about $60,000. It’s just below $52,000 in Wisconsin.

Clearly the ideology of both governors and legislatures steered the course. Walker is one of the nation’s most conservative governors who has eagerly embraced policies and ideas driven by the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC. Wisconsin has become a national laboratory for ALEC policies. 

An analysis done by Menzie Chinn, a University of Wisconsin economist, measured private nonfarm job growth in four states — California, Wisconsin, Kansas and Minnesota — that elected new governors in 2010. Wisconsin and Kansas are ALEC-friendly. Minnesota and California are not. Minnesota was ranked 46th and California ranked 47th on an ALEC-economic index that measures taxes, public employees per capita, minimum wage and right-to-work law — among others. Yet those states grew more jobs than Kansas (ranked 15th by ALEC) and Wisconsin (ranked 17th).

Chinn compared ALEC rankings to all 50 states and found the same correlation. States that received a higher ALEC ranking on how it was expected to perform economically based on 15 policy areas had worse economic growth when it comes to creating jobs.

Scott Walker's most clicked PolitiFact Review 2014!!!

If you look at all of Scott Walker's PolitiFact "False" and "Mostly True" ratings, it's obvious this guy needed to unapologetically lie and spin the facts the get reelected. Sadly, "stand with Walker" voters didn't care. He's a Republican, what's new:
Top most-clicked Walker claims of the year.
1. In the heat of the campaign, Walker portrayed Burke as an outsourcer extraordinaire because she was an executive at Trek Bicycles, the Burke family company. We rated that Mostly True, calling it Burke’s company was a stretch because she left a decade earlier.

2. In June, Walker said the secret John Doe criminal investigation of his campaign finances has been "resolved" and two judges have said it is "over." We rated that False

3. On cable TV’s MSNBC, Walker said "Jobs that involve the minimum wage are overwhelmingly jobs for young people starting out in the workforce." False, we said. 

4.  In a debate with Burke, Walker said, "The next state budget will begin with a surplus of over half a billion dollars -- $535 million to be exact." We rated that False

5. In February, the governor was under fire for rejecting the federal Medicaid expansion. He said he didn’t trust that the money would come. We rated that False.

6. Walker claimed that a poll taken "a few months ago" found "70 percent approval or higher" of Act 10. We rated that False. No known poll asked Wisconsinites about Act 10 

7. We rated Mostly True the governor’s claim that Act 10 "saved the taxpayers some $3 billion." Those costs haven’t simply been eliminated, however. They’ve been taken on by public employees, who are also taxpayers.

8. "Walker sticks to claim on Midwest jobs growth." The ranking was outdated, we found in rating the claim False.

9. Walker earned a True when he claimed: "Wisconsin is #1 in the Midwest for personal income growth over the year."

Will Republicans oppose local grocery store Beer Growler fill-ups?

I'm liking the following idea a lot. In fact it sounds too good to be true. It could even destroy the Republican majority if they defy the public on this one:  
WKOW: Grocery stores could soon allow customers to get fresh beer on tap, you've probably heard of "growlers" -- they come in half gallon or 64-ounce ceramic or glass containers. You find them at many local breweries, but now Wisconsin Grocers Association wants to change licensing laws so you can fill them up right in the store.

Brent Weycker, owner of Titletown Brewing Company in Green Bay says,"One of the new phenomenon's with craft beers is, and beers in general is that a lot of them don't package a lot of the specialty beers, so the only way to get them home in a smaller quantity is to put them in growlers."

But not everyone is in favor the fill-up proposal. The state tavern league says it opposes the idea -- but won't give a further explanation until they can take a look at legislation.

Walker is either lying or isn't to bright about Medicaid Funding Formula.

You may have noticed how Scott Walker confidently gives the same wrong answer over and over again about Medicaid funding. To the casual listener, it's easy to assumed he must be telling them the truth. He sounds so sure of it. But he’s only reciting a well rehearsed lie the media never asks Walker to explain. Just this last week, he said it again to WKOW’s Greg Neumann. Check out the video clip below, but first the facts.

Medicaid funding for BadgerCare has never been shortchanged, reneged on, by the federal government. PolitiFact mentioned that point today in a year end review of their most viewed responses from Scott Walker:
In February, the governor was under fire for rejecting the federal Medicaid expansion. He said he didn't trust that the money would come. He said: "Federal government reneging" on Medicaid payments to Wisconsin caused about $240 million in extra costs in the 2013-’15 state budget.

We rated that False. Typical cost-sharing fluctuations, based mainly on a longstanding formula, explain the extra state burden -- not any reversal of course or pulling back on a commitment by Washington.
In the clip, Walker not only repeats the lie, but makes things worse by refusing to maintain higher doctor reimbursements, which are set to go down. He could use the money saved with Medicaid expansion to pay doctors, but not Walker. What he’s doing is killing health care reform, which will in turn frustrate the public even more, and play into the Republican meme "government can’t do anything right." Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Robert Kraig takes issue with Walker, saying he and the legislature are sabotaging reform. Kraig also offers a solution: